Thursday, March 25, 2010

Gameweek 32 Preview

Before we get stuck into gameweek 32, I am going to quickly fly through my top strikers for the remainder of the season, as promised yesterday. I also urge, nay implore you to look at yesterday's ramblings on midfielders which while somewhat of a Cesc-love-fest contains at least a few useful stats for your amusement.

I am limiting this discussion to the big three strikers (Torres, Drogba and Rooney) though that is not a slight on the prospects of Tevez, Bent etc, more that most of us can only afford to employ one or at most two of these stud strikers and so we really need to know which one (or two) we should hitch our wagon to. It must also be noted that Van Persie still leads all strikers with 7.7 PPG, an astonishing stat given the plaudits Rooney (7.4 PPG) has received this year. While some reports are suggesting Van Persie may be back before the end of the season I will only entertain the prospect of spending 10m+ on a player when he is a lock to start, which just isn't the case for Van Persie right now. I am therefore with Wenger (as usual) who has suggested we all calm down over the strikers' return.

Wayne Rooney (26 - 5 - 46 - 7.4 - 8.0) £12m
Rooney is rightfully receiving plaudits from around the globe for his performances this season, with Franz Beckenbauer the latest to offer some superlatives. The fantasy praise is equally strong with the general public voting with their feet to make Rooney the most owned player in the whole fantasy game (45%).
The future is somewhat more rocky, given his recent knee injury, a tough run of fixtures and the potential for fixture congestion and fatigue to kick in given United's continued presence in the Champions League. The knee injury should only rule him out for one week, though that in itself is hard to take when you have 12m invested and Torres is ready to welcome a leaky Sunderland defense to Anfield.
The fixtures are tough but Rooney has already scored against three of United's opponents and has repeatedly shown that he can score against anyone. I am concerned with the lack of games where you expect at least 2 or 3 goals, with only Bolton this week (which Rooney may miss) conceding more 1.5 GPG and three future opponents averaging less than a goal a game. In essence, you wouldn't buy Rooney for the fixtures but you probably wouldn't sell him either and if you think he can continue to stay fit and contribute in both the Champions League and Premier League then you can probably stick with the United talisman. If you want to sell, do so immediately as it would be foolish to bench him this week, suffer a price decrease, then sell anyway.

Didier Drogba (24 - 10 - 26 - 7.6 - 8.3) £11.9m
Drogba is matching Rooney in production this year, with double Rooney's assists and more points per game. His downfall is the bonus column where he has pundit-favourite Lampard stealing points while Rooney is free to pickup 3 whenever he takes the field.
Since returning from the African Cup of Nations he has been even better than the above suggests with 10 goals, 2 assists and 7 bonus points in just 8 games (8.5 PPG). Like Rooney, the fixture don't look great with Ast, @MNU, @Tot and @Liv all wielding less than one GPG. The lack of Champions League presence is a bonus as is the lack of real alternatives for Ancelotti to use in Drogba's place against weaker opponents.
His ownership is 36% compared with Rooney's 45% which gives him more differentiation potential though I would suspect that the majority of those 36% are the very teams you are competing with as Rooney's ownership is skewed by a higher starting position with all the amateur's who stick with a team from the start.
Gun to my head, I probably take Rooney over Drogba purely based on the team's they are on and the faith I have in them delivering in the crunch. That said, Chelsea looked alot better against (an admittedly poor) Portsmouth with Drogba once again in the thick of the action. The easiest solution is to keep both these stars on your books, but that prevents you from getting in on the Torres action.

Fernando Torres (16 - 3 - 20 - 6.3 - 7.5) £11.3m
On pure ability and potential I would still take Torres over Rooney if I were starting a new team. However, that doesn't get you fantasy points and there is little doubt that Torres' production - while stellar - has been a step below the level of Rooney and Drogba. This is in large part to the continued struggles of Liverpool, a lack of form from Steven Gerrard and negative tactics from Benitez. However, since returning from injury Torres has looked very sharp averaging 8.5 PPG in his four starts including 4 goals and 2 man of the match displays.
Also in Torres' favour are the fixtures, with only two opponents conceding less than one GPG (@Bir and Che). Home games against Sunderland and West Ham also have a feel of games where you can foresee a couple of goals being rattled in by the Spanish hero.
Like Rooney, Torres has the distraction of European football but having missed a portion of the season, fatigue should not be a factor for the 26 year old. The fact he will save you £0.6-0.7m over the other two options is also something not to be ignored.
Call it bias, call it over-reliance on fixture strength, but I think I am going to bring in Torres this week for Rooney given the potential for Torres to star (vs Sunderland) while Rooney warms a million fantasy benches. It then seems unlikely I would bring him back for the Chelsea game, which means I either buy him back in week 34 of risk not having him for the remainder of the season. This is the kind of decision on which mini leagues are won, I hope the above has given you some help in deciding which way you will fall.

Gameweek 32 Preview
Okay with the week's preview which I will condense a bit so as to not make this into a Bill Simmons style 5,000 epic post. No double gameweeks, no byes, just 20 teams squaring off in what will seems like a quiet week after last week's festivities. Here we go:

Clean Sheet Rankings
  1. Tottenham
  2. Burnley
  3. Liverpool
  4. Chelsea
  5. Everton
  6. Man City
  7. West Ham
  8. Hull
  9. Arsenal
  10. Birmingham
  11. Man Utd
  12. Wolves
  13. Stoke
  14. Fulham
  15. Aston Villa
  16. Bolton
  17. Blackburn
  18. Portsmouth
  19. Sunderland
  20. Wigan
Burnley make a surprise appearance in the top 2 due to their solid home record (17 conceded in 15 games) and Blackburn's horrific away scoring rate (10 goals in 15 games). I always find it hard to trust teams in the relegation battle but if you have a Burnley defender stashed on your bench it should make benching someone else that bit easier or give you auto-sub flexibility if someone like Rooney fails to make it. Liverpool's next 4 opponents average less than a goal a game and so Insua and Agger look like solid buys.

Captain Rankings
  1. Fernando Torres
  2. Carlos Tevez
  3. Didier Drogba
  4. Craig Bellamy
  5. Steve Gerrard
  6. Cesc Fabregas
  7. Mikel Arteta
  8. Dimitar Berbatov
  9. Luke Modric
  10. Antonio Valencia
I don't love many players this week with many top players either injured (Rooney, Defoe) or playing tough opposition (Drogba, Fabregas). I think Torres is the clear favourite this week though City also have a great fixture and so Tevez and co are also good options. I have left Rooney out given the likelihood he will rest, and therefore bumped Berbatov up the list given his position leading the line against an average Bolton side.

As always, thanks for reading and please post your thoughts/comments/questions below or @plfantasy.


Soo Kyo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Soo Kyo said...

your preview is very helpful as usual. thanks
so which 1 should i play out of cort, diaby, rodwell?

hakim said...

no love for pavlyuchenko chris? the uncertainty surrounding bendtner and rooney make me feel uneasy. i'm gonna risk 8 point hit by transferring both players. i had transferred 1 player already. thinking of changing rooney > torres and bendter > pavlyuchenko. any thoughts?

Oz said...

Hey Chris

Been reading your blog all year but only just signed up for an account to comment.

Thanks for all the advice, it has stopped me making silly transfers a couple of times.

Team is:

Sorensen Hart
Alexander Baines Carr Collins Caldwell
Arshavin Malouda A Young Arteta Wilshere
Rooney Bendtner Drogba

Got a couple of differentiators in there as I am 2nd in my league 60 points behind, otherwise I'd be straight on Torres, Tevez and Fabregas.. Gotta take risks at this point

Bendtner will play this week but not sure about Rooney.. thoughts?

Mish said...

Hey Chris,
actually, i can get Torres replacing Tevez, while i still have Drogba and Rooney, and Fabregas.
But City's fixture is good and i want to hold Tevez.
Thinking of following your advice to get Torres replacing Rooney, and get Rooney back in GW34 replacing Tevez.
what is your thought on this?
p.s. I am 2nd in my mini league, but still trailing by 60 points from the leader.

David said...

SAF says Rooney is fit to play Bolton. Rooney now = differential. This really turns around my crappy day!!

Ryan said...


That's encouraging news, coz I burned 3 transfers just to get Rooney. He's all United's got if they want to even sniff the title.

Caveat: being match fit doesn't necessarily mean he'll start. SAF will definitely be more worried about the Bayern Munich & Chelsea matches. Hope Roo actually starts and/or scores points!

David said...

@ chris. in the same position, 3 transfers to get rooney.

we've been in this situation a few times already this season, rooney doubts, speculation of rest and it never materializes. Rooney is a gutsy player and WILL be hungry to play regardless of any niggles. He's not like those other mincy epl strikers. I hope I'm right, otherwise james collins comes off the bench (argh).

Ryan said...

@David - Yeah Roo's quite the foolhardy character who wants to play in every single game even if he's slightly injured. I'm sure as we speak he's persistently bugging/begging SAF to let him start against Bolton lol!

I'm really not sure if he's gonna start due to the unfriendly fixtures so we might be better off captaining someone else.

Similar to your case, if Roo misses the match, my immediate sub is Warnock who faces the firing squad at the Bridge.

@Chris - I know we're asking you the same question but taking into consideration Sir Alex's announcement that Rooney is match fit, what do you think are his chances (on a scale from 1 to 10 perhaps) of playing against Bolton and being worth using in Fantasy this weekend?

Chris Glover said...

Soo kyo - I think I'd go with cort. He is safer pick to start the game and he has a decent shot at a clean sheet. Diaby and rodwell are both huge risks to come as subs and get you 1 point.

Hakim - I almost put pav in my rankings this week but I don't quite trust him yet. My general rule on paying for transfers is not to do it unless your current player is out or the new player has a double. Rooney looks like he might play while bendtner should start. I love torres this week but 8 pts is a big gamble.

Mish said...

what about me, Chris?

Chris Glover said...

It looks like the Rooney situation is going to be the big decision this week. About 3 hrs ago I was ready to rate his chance of playing at 5/10 but now I think it's at 7 or 8. Basically he is ready to go so the question becomes whether he is rested in light of the CL game midweek with Bayern. I'd say he plays. Ferguson won't take Bolton lightly and he knows he'll need some magic to break down what could be 11 men behind the ball.

I still like torres more this week but the transfer looks riskier given rooneys form against Bolton in the past (it's good!). I might stay put and shift ivanovic from my team instead. This one will go down to the transfer deadline tomorrow.

Thanks for all the posts - stat tuned as I'll post updates as soon as I see anything.

Chris Glover said...

Mish - I totally agree with keeping tevez this week who could have a nice week against Wigan. Torres for Rooney is of course risky but to gain 60 points you will need to take some risks to win. If you're opponent doesn't have Rooney I'd probably stay put but if he has him and will presumably captain him I think I'd roll with torres and give him or tevez the armband (I'd go torres). Torres is the kind of player that might get 3 goals which is the kind of production you'll need to make up some points.

Chris Glover said...

The more I read how insistent Utd are that nothing is wrong, the more I think he is going to play. If he doesn't then ferguson has a huge distraction ahead of a big game midweek. I think Rooney plays 65 minutes assuming united are up by that point. I'm still not sure if I move him out to make way for torres who has better closing fixtures though. As I said, this decision is going down to the wire.

Mish said...

i pulled the trigger on Rooney and got Torres, and captained him
any news about Milner?

hakim said...

thanks for ur advice chris. but i might go with torres. 4 points hit but i guess he will return value. i just have a feeling that SAF will still play rooney but will not risk playing him over 60 minutes since crucial UCL and chelsea matches on the horizon. bolton's defence has been improved a lot under owen coyle and it will give tough time for rooney's knee. the damage is not as big as torres i guess. so here come torres to save my week. i hope u are in the same boat too =)

Chris Glover said...

I have brought Torres in but for Drogba, based on Chelsea's awful fixtures. All my opponents have Rooney captained and as I am 12 points clear at the top, I cant afford to give up those 8 points for every goal he scores.

Steven said...

Lampard for 28 wow..

Ryan said...

I really hate the new emergency captain ruling. It's really unfair and allows noobs to catch up with the pros. For like the 2nd or 3rd time this season, everyone who captained Rooney/Drogba will get double points from their emergency captain Lampard (highest value by default) who always gets more than 12 points when Rooney/Drogba totally miss their matches! WTF?!

Oz said...

@ Ryan: Who did you captain this week?

I chose Arteta who ended up being a late withdrawal so it defaulted back to Malouda on form, which is great.

However, I know lots of noobs who have it set by value and ended up with Fab's crummy score.

There is still some skill in using the captain rule, but it's a shame you can't nominate a certain player as vice-captain

David said...

@oz completely agree. I had carved out a neat 40 pt lead over my rivals through careful, scientific application to challenge for a top 3 finish. now after this week im stick in the middle of a 5 way fight. not really fair is it.

was just thinking today there should be a v/captain option and all this would have been avoided. maybe a few would pick lamps but then they would deserve respect for at least making the call.

this is a clear flaw in the game. for e.g Ill captain fab for gw33 and if he doesnt play then id like arteta as captain. im just lucky arteta has the best form in my team. i would make him vc and the value/form rule should then kick in if he also doesnt play. how do would one go getting this in next season? it's an excellent idea!

Oz said...

I live in Australia and in the off-season from EPL our footy league is on.

In the fantasy game you can nominate a captain and vice-captain only. There is no reversion based on value/form, but this doesn't really matter since barring some exceptional event, if neither nominated player plays in a given week it would be your own stupid fault for choosing players that were a risk.... now we just need to rally the fantasy EPL guys to change it.... hmmm

Ryan said...

@Oz & David:

I captained Torres, as many other risk-averse people would have done. At least his 13 x 2 = 26 points are almost as much as the additional 28 points awarded to those who automatically got Lamps' captaincy.

Yeah I quite like your proposal of a vice-captain. It at least locks in a specific player to deputize in the absence of our nominated captain. As you say, if the vice-captain also misses the match, then too bad we deserve to get nothing because of our own incompetence/ignorance/noob-ness!

An automatic reversion to an emergency captain based on value is far too kind/cheap as the most expensive player in any team who actually played is of course, very likely to bag many points.

Automatic selection based on form on the other hand exposes us to some random element. If we're lucky, our emergency captain who has the highest form (supposing we chose him based on form) actually lives up to his reputation and performs well.

Rebekah said...

Hi. Love your blog. Quick question. How is form (value) calculated? Thanks!