Football365 summed up the weekend simply as 'wow'. Chelsea conceded 3 goals at home having conceded one in the previous seven fixtures, while United lost at home to Villa for the first time since 1983. The weekend served up 5 clean sheets (ranked 3rd, 8th, 12th, 17th and 20th in my weekly preview) including Wolves and Blackburn on the road who had conceded a combined 37 goals in 14 games on their travels to date.
The randomness of the clean sheets was exacerbated by goals from players who were rightly benched based on their matchup leaving their managers frustrated with fantasy points sitting on the bench (offenders included Saha, Gary Cahill and Villa defenders). It was also one of the worst days for the premium players in a while with only Drogba and Anelka delivering more than 5 points of the 9m+ players in action on Saturday. This was improved somewhatby Fabregas, Arshavin and Kuyt who all had decent contributions on Sunday afternoon. It has been noted by a few readers that Arsenal do not look like the same fluid team without Van Persie and that perhaps Fabregas has peaked. I will add a post midweek to discuss the options available if you wish to dump the Spanish maestro.
The top of my captain rankings had some good returns this week as I liked Drogba (13 points), Fabregas (7), Lampard (5) and Bent (5) though the returns from Defoe (2), Lennon (2) and Cole (1) were big disappointments. Hopefully most of you stuck with Drogba rather than the frustratingly inconsistent Spurs players, who I downgraded for precisely the reason that happened this week - they occasionally have an off day and get you no returns and so make risky captaincy picks.
The first board that caught my eye was Frank Lampard, who I liked this week and who duly delivered a solid but largely unspectacular 5 points. A look at his chalkboard compared with Joe Cole shows that Lampard was stuck playing on the left point of the diamond rather than at its apex which limited his opportunities to play dangerous balls into the box. It's hard to be too down on a guy who is third among all players in fantasy but he is also the most expensive at 12.6m; 1m more than Drogba and Fabregas. With so many good mid-value players (Bent, Milner, Dempsey, Saha etc) and a few top options departing for the African cup in January (Drogba and Adebayor) I think Lampard will become extensively held in a few weeks as owners look to spend all their available cash. In that scenario he is probably good value but I still prefer Cesc and Drogba by some distance for now.
A quick look at Rooney's board shows he had an incredible 9 shots on the day including an effort off the bar after he controlled a cross brilliantly inside the area. United have some pretty friendly fixtures over the coming weeks and I like Rooney to continue his solid premium form. He and Torres are the obvious replacements for Drogba during the African Nations in a few weeks time. Don't let this off game put you off the English forward.
Adebayor has firmly moved into my sell category and I am looking to ditch him this week. His chalkboard shows zero shots on goal and no passes completed from within Bolton's area. I don't really understand how Hughes is deploying him, and having not seen the game I can only assume from the chalkboards that Adebayor was told to collect the ball deep and then lay it off to the advancing SWP, Tevez, and even Micah Richards. Needless to say, this is not good enough for a 10m striker and I think the extra 1.5m is well worth it to upgrade to Rooney, Drogba or Torres. If cash is tight I think Bent and Defoe have better long term value, though City's fixtures are much better than Defoe's so I would hesitate slightly before making that switch.
Finally, I am not sure how highly to rate Arshavin who was not involved that much against Liverpool but came away with a goal and 2 bonus points, having played up front alone for most of the game. His lack of involvement does worry me though and I think he will be liable to have a few 2 point games so isn't a great captain choice. That said, he has the ability to generate big returns from nothing and being held by just 11.5% of players would allow you differentiate your team if necessary.
Don't forget that Gameweek 17 is midweek with the deadline at 19:30 GMT on Tuesday. I will post the weekly preview tomorrow. Why not post your thoughts and questions below or tweet them @plfantasy.