Friday, May 6, 2011

Gameweek 36 Preview

The league title might be decided this weekend but the fantasy season keeps going and with three gameweeks left there is still plenty to play for. On a personal level I set the bar for a successful season at 2,000 points so anyone flirting with that still has something to aim for. Add in countless mini leagues that remain unsettled and the importance of these games becomes clear. The key to the week is undoubtedly the DGWs for City and Spurs though be careful about over doing it here as the matchup between the two doesn't play out as a great fixture for either. Also consider that Spurs have to go to Anfield next week before loading up on too many of Redknapp's boys.

Clean Sheet Rankings
  1. Man City (5 - 2) and (10 - 3)
  2. Fulham (9 - 4)
  3. Man Utd (10 - 6)
  4. Tottenham (5 - 7) and (2 - 3)
  5. Aston Villa (6 - 8)
  6. Bolton (5 - 8)
  7. Newcastle (4 - 5)
  8. Everton (5 - 6)
  9. West Ham (4 - 5)
  10. Wolves (3 - 7)
  11. Stoke (6 - 2)
  12. Chelsea (4 - 0)
  13. Wigan (3 - 4)
  14. Arsenal (4 - 3)
  15. Liverpool (5 - 3)
  16. West Brom (0 - 3)
  17. Blackburn (1 - 3)
  18. Sunderland (5 - 3)
  19. Blackpool (5 - 4)
  20. Birmingham (3 - 3)
The DGW pair are obviously good options this week as if nothing else they should avoiding conceding more than the odd goal and hence lock in 4 points for your defenders. Do I see big scores though? Not from Spurs but maybe from City. I try not to bring too many judgmental factors into these rankings but a glance at the table shows us that Spurs have to win every game from now on while City have to not lose. A quality team intent on not losing a game can be a recipe for success when it comes to clean sheets and hence they get a bump in the rankings despite the tough fixture on paper (the same can be said for Man Utd).

Of the cheaper non-DGW teams Fulham have the best remaining games while Bolton also look like a decent investment. Aaron Hughes and Gary Cahill make good mid-range options for the final 3 games of the year.

Attacking Rankings
  1. Tottenham (3.41)
  2. Man City (3.28)
  3. West Brom (1.81)
  4. Arsenal (1.62)
  5. West Ham (1.56)
  6. Aston Villa (1.45)
  7. Liverpool (1.41)
  8. Fulham (1.40)
  9. Everton (1.25)
  10. Blackburn (1.22)
  11. Man Utd (1.21)
  12. Chelsea (1.17)
  13. Birmingham (1.14)
  14. Bolton (1.13)
  15. Newcastle (1.12)
  16. Wolves (1.03)
  17. Sunderland (1.00)
  18. Stoke (0.99)
  19. Wigan (0.98)
  20. Blackpool (0.95) 
Captain Picks
Despite my reservations, the captaincy is really going to boil down to the DGW pair as the majority of the other top options square off at Old Trafford:
  • Rafael Van der Vaart - he seems to tick all the boxes - guaranteed minutes, set piece duties and three category potential. Spurs rank as the best attacking team of the week and the Dutchman is their best option. The clear pick of the week and possibly worth paying 4 points for. The downside is that everyone else will be doing the same thing. 
  • Luka Modric - he's in good form but he can't compete with VdV on a fantasy basis and is a fringe fantasy player at best.
  • Gareth Bale - at times he has been close to a must own player but he's been quiet of late and like Modric he is barely fantasy relevant these days. Better value can again be found but hold him if you already have him.
  • Luka Modric - he's in good form but he can't compete with VdV on a fantasy basis and is a fringe fantasy player at best. 
  • Jermaine Defoe - see Bale, Gareth
  • Michael Dawson - with Assou Ekotto out, Dawson looks like the best bet at the back though he doesn't deliver anything outside of clean sheets. With one game against City (in which Spurs need to win and hence attack) Dawson's success comes down to the game against Blackpool and on a single game basis the stats suggest Fulham, United and even Villa are better options this week. Worth a look as your third or fourth DGW option if you already hold a few but not a priority pickup.
  • David Silva - In terms of talent he would be close to a no-brainer but with the FA Cup final coming up next week it's pretty likely than Silva is (a) dropped for the Everton game to save him for Spurs or (b) having won this week (and secured a Champions League spot) he is rested against Spurs. Either way he looks like a huge risk to get 180 minutes such is the availability of players like Adam Johnson and Shaun Wright Phillips.
  • Carlos Tevez - it looks to be too soon for Tevez who may return for the cup final but likely not before then.
  • Mario Balotelli - again, the safe minutes are just not there. Of those with  high ceiling he might be worth a punt but it really would be a risk at this point. Only those needing to gain ground on opponents should apply.
  • Yaya Toure - probably the safest option attacking option for City. Toure has played a lot of minutes this year (2606) and is rarely substituted when he plays. With 5 goals, 6 assists and 14 bonus points he's shown he can contributed in every category. His upside is probably fairly low but he does have seven games with six points or more and two in double digits. Not sure I'd pay to get him but he's a good use of your free transfer.
  • Aleksandar Kolarov - probably not guaranteed to play twice but his chances are pretty good. Throw in his versatility which sometimes allows him to play further upfield and you have a solid fantasy option. With one defensive spot occupied by a midfielder (Kompany) and Toure out indefinitely it has become harder to pick City defenders but I still like Kolarov for the remainder of the year.
  • Joe Hart - the only sure fire to get two defensive games this week. I don't generally advocate paying for expensive 'keepers but if you have money lying around or that is easily accessible then Hart may just be worth the investment. He has a decent chance at 3 clean sheets for the remainder of the year.
As has been the case for a couple of weeks now, your strategy is really dictated by whether you are leading or chasing the pack in your league. If chasing you may need to pay for a couple of the above players as this is the last chance to really differentiate your team.


    Chris Oien said...

    Is Fulham really such a CS good play against a team that hasn't been shut out in 2011? I have Hughes but was thinking of benching him.

    Chris Glover said...

    Chris - it's a fair point. Liverpool are clearly a better team under Dalglish but they still only have 6 goals in the last 5 road games. Fulham at home meanwhile are a top 8 fantasy defense.
    My rankings take form into account a bit but I agree there is room for improvement with regards to teams 'turning it around'. However, I try to avoid making too much pure judgement calls and so I've been finding it hard to factor this in.
    Perhaps downgrade them a touch but I still like them this week

    Arizona6 said...

    Chris, first year player here, wanted to thank you for your blog, especially during the first ten weeks when I was trying to learn the game. I do drop bye almost every week.

    My team is Bama15 and I have been fortunate with patient use of the WC and the DGW's. Think I have peaked now, but only two weeks to go. (27th at the moment- will drop back by Tuesday I guess)

    Any recommendations on Rooney and Sturridge, for GW37/8 who have slowed in fantasy points but are in reality doing well. Thanks

    Chris Oien said...

    Well, I guess the good news is that there ARE no clean sheets to be had this week. Still, ouch for Fulham at halftime.

    NotoriousDre said...

    Chris G,

    its been a long while since i posted. Loving how the site growing. Been having a cacking season.

    What is your take on Zog for the second to last game?