Clean Sheet Rankings
It's always tricky at this point in the season to determine how much attention to pay to prior year and how much to focus on the current season. I have avoided the tough decision by simply adding/averaging the data to give hybrid values. The GPG conceded will therefore be over the 19 home/away games from last year plus this year's single game while clean sheets/ failed to score numbers are simply added together:
[Defensive Pick vs Opponent - goals per game conceded (clean sheets kept - opponent failed to score)]
- Liverpool vs Bolton - 0.93 GP (9 - 7)
- Aston Villa vs Wolves - 0.95 (7 - 7)
- Chelsea vs Noriwch - 0.97 (11 - n/a)
- Blackburn vs Everton - 0.98 (7 - 7)
- Swansea vs Sunderland - 1.00 (n/a - 8)
- Newcastle vs Fulham - 1.15 (5 - 7)
- Everton @ Blackburn - 1.15 (3 - 1)
- QPR @ Wigan Athletic - 1.20 (n/a - 2)
- West Brom vs Stoke - 1.20 (2 - 10)
- Tottenham vs Man City - 1.23 (5 - 6)
- Man Utd vs Arsenal - 1.28 (11 - 3)
- Wigan vs QPR - 1.36 (3 - n/a)
- Man City @ Tottenham - 1.39 (6 - 4)
- Sunderland @ Swansea - 1.44 (6 - n/a)
- Stoke @ West Brom - 1.55 (3 - 4)
- Fulham @ Newcastle - 1.58 (5 - 4)
- Wolves @ Aston Villa - 1.65 (2 - 4)
- Bolton @ Liverpool - 1.75 (1 - 2)
- Arsenal @ Man Utd - 2.00 (5 - 0)
- Norwich @ Chelsea - 2.10 (n/a - 2)
Chelsea (2.10 GPG) - having once given us two of the most reliable players of the past few years in Drogba and Lampard, this team is suddenly devoid of guaranteed fantasy talent. If you own Lampard or Torres then I guess if you don't captain them this week you never will but both have a huge risk of coming in with a two pointer, not really felt in prior years. Norwich have done okay against two weaker sides this year but this will be a good game for both teams to see where they are. I'd prefer not to be starting players in a game we are designating a test but the appeal is there and I'd certainly be tempted by Torres, Lampard or even Malouda this week.
Man Utd (2.00 GPG) - it's surprising to see United this high given their strong opponent, considering that this data is based largely on prior year. But the reality is that Arsenal did not travel too well last year (1.47 GPG, 8th) while United were simply sensational at home (2.58 GPG, 1st). With Koscielny a doubt for this one, the defense looks as thin as the midfield unit and you would imagine United will be able to breach the back line a couple of times. It's really tough to look past Rooney here (indeed I'm fairly sure that's the direction I will go in) but I think Young has just about shown enough to play his way into contention though I would suggest than Sagna is a step or two above either of the full backs he has faced so far this year.
Liverpool (1.75 GPG) - the biggest question is whether Suarez plays, a question not helped by his surprising inclusion in tonight's Carling Cup game. With his rest at the weekend, one assumed he was still a little fatigued from the Copa America, so quite why he was needed against Exeter is beyond me. The risk of Suarez sitting again would not deter me from ownership but it might from handing him the armband. The concern I have is that if he sits, he still probably comes on for 20 minutes or so at the end, thus preventing your VC from stepping up. If we get confirmation that he will play (or is nearly certain to) by Friday then he jumps up the rankings and could be argued to be alongside anyone this week.
Elsewhere, your options are probably limited to Suarez's up front partner, who also scored in the Cup midweek. I've been a little higher on how Carroll has played so far this year than most and if I owned neither Liverpool strikers but wanted Suarez long term, I might well buy Carroll for this week, moving to Suarez a bit later when his place in the side in safer. If Suarez plays, the previous paragraph looks foolish but fantasy is about taking calculated risks so be sure you like your odds before giving Suarez the 'C' this week.
Man City (1.39 GPG) - not the best fixture for the league's hot team and if you held off buying Aguero last week, I'd probably do so again this week, with Rooney, Carroll and Bent all enjoying better fixtures and apparent guaranteed minutes. On the off chance you don't own any other good options this week, I'd take Silva as the man to back from this unit given his ability to contribute fantasy points from a number of categories but I'm lower on him than I was in the previous couple of GWs.
Elsewhere, Darren Bent (Villa 1.65 GPG) has a great fixture once again and looks to be the best pick from a non big-five team. Bent scored just 2 of his 7 goals for Villa last season at home but he was able to add to that last week. Wolves haven't been great away from home but they did win the corresponding fixture 1-0 last season and have looked solid at the back so far this year.
Alex - Wanted your opinion on who's a better buy at this point: Klasnic, Fletcher, or Long.
On pure ability I would probably take Fletcher but his fixtures look pretty tough in the medium term which is a big factor for a mid-range forward. Klasnic's fixtures are better than they look on paper as they get the majority of the tough teams at home, but the upside is still significantly below West Brom's. If you are looking for an every week starter, it's tough to pick between any of this trio, but if you would consider rotating them, then Long has the most upside fixtures in which you would definitely start him.
Bobby Reds - I still cant decide between Brunt & Jarvis for the long term though
Another close call and again I would defer to the disparity in strength of schedules to make my decision. With Odemwingie ready to return to the West Brom lineup, their team looks fairly good and Brunt should once again be at the heart of a lot of their success. That 6.0m range is starting to look fairly attractive in midfield.
JS Shadow - are you going to post when would be the appropriate time to use the wild-card and how I should use it.
I will probably look at this in and around GW8. Normally teams may wish to use their WC earlier but the free transfers in GW2 allowed a lot to get rid of all their preseason mistakes. In the meantime, some thoughts on the issue from last season can be found here.
Shedboy - which is better? Torres/Aguero and Odemwingie - Rooney and Klasnic
Rooney is the safest elite player right now, though Aguero is probably right on his shoulder when the fixtures are equal. For this week Aguero doesn't look like a great play and Odemwingie may not be fully fit so the latter pairing looks to be preferable. Long term, you might think about moving Rooney to Aguero to free up some cash which brings Zamora, K Davies, Rodallega and Saha, among others into play. If you can spare an extra 1.0m, you could also try a combo of Suarez/Bent/Hernandez/Carroll which would be very interesting.
Amtosh - Would you turf Torres for Aguero, considering Torres has Norwich at home and aguero has spurs away?
I wouldn't be buying Torres at this point but if you own him you presumably did so with the intention of holding him for at least GW2 and GW3 and that still appears to be the logical move here. Aguero has the talent to score against any opponent but Chelsea are usually very good at home and the Norwich fixture is just too good to pass on. Using another transfer only locks in Torres' lack of production so far.
Ryan - I've just been looking at my attacking options for my team and realised i have no attacking contributions from liverpool, arsenal, chelsea or tottenham. Do you think this is a wise choice?
It's hard to say in a vacuum but I wouldn't say it's necessarily an issue. I personally don't hold anyone from these teams either due to a combination of tough fixtures and, honestly, a lack of fantasy options from the London clubs. Chelsea's team is totally up in the air with the arrival of Lukaku and Mata and the ongoing Drogba/Torres dilemma while Arsenal would appear to have taken several steps back from last year. I like Bale for Spurs but I'd like to see Spurs show a bit more before I invest there.
D - I have Zamora, Alex, Moses, and O'Hara and I want to trade them all. What do you prefer between Boswinga/Cole and Odem/Long?
I would probably bail on Alex at this point as you would imagine that Luiz retakes that starting spot this week. Zamora, Moses and O'Hara all have value so while you might consider looking elsewhere, you're in a good position in that with all three starting you have the ability to change your team over time. I'm still a bit uneasy about Bosingwa and you have to accept the risk of him being benched sometimes but he seems to have won favor over Ivanovic, and at worst it would seem to he will play against the weaker sides. For safety I'd take Luiz (provided he starts this week) but Bosingwa's upside is unparalleled. Right now I'd take Long as he's shown enough in his positioning and finishing ability to suggest he can succeed in the Premier League while Odemwingie is still not fit and struggled to get in the game last week when coming on. Perhaps do Alex to Bosingwa now and then wait to see if Odemwingie can show some form before choosing your West Brom forward.
@fplsavant - Seeing as Richards just got an assist for Silva's goal, do you think its time I consider him, or is Zabaleta a threat?
He seems to have moved into the safe category now, and while he may suffer the odd rest now again for Zabaleta you'd guess that (a) this happens less than with Clichy and Kolarov and (b) occurs when City face tougher sides (given Zabaleta's more conservative approach). He still isn't as safe as Kompany but his upside could very well push him into position as the best City defender.
@thatbensonguy - Can I why has Arsene Wenger waited til now to make enquiries? He was always losing Nas and Fab! He could have checked the market!
Not fantasy related but I'm a sucker for all things Wenger. I always defend Arsene and the criticism he receives is ridiculous but I agree with you on this one. I will never go along with the notion that he should be chasing Downing for 20m but he needs to at least be looking at someone. It will be a huge shame if Arsenal fail to strengthen in this window, and it would be indefensible for Wenger. I still trust he knows what he's doing but he's currently looking as unprepared as he ever has.
@JennineBorrow93 and @RonnieLeclere790 - as they're the same price, over the next few weeks do you go for Nani or Young?
Right now it has to be Young. I'm not ready to give up on Nani for the season yet and I'd like to see how the side gels with Hernandez set to return but the team is clearly focusing play down Young's side of the field and his set piece duties put him over the edge.
@JamesGall93 - I don't know who to pick in goal this week, Vorm or Al-Habsi?
It's a close call and the stats suggest Al-Habsi has the edge. Swansea look like they may have a better defensive unit than Wigan but QPR appear to be a weaker side than Sunderland. The stats suggest Al-Habsi has the better shot at a clean sheet and both keepers bring good save totals to help give some value if they do concede. If you're playing the rotation strategy you need to trust the system so I'd take Al-Habsi.
@NikosEllinas - Think Odemwingie will start? Is it time for K. Davies to Odem, have 1 min in the bank.
I wouldn't be thrilled about bringing Odemwingie in until he proves his fitness but with Davies facing such a tough fixture your hand is forced a bit. If we can get any kind of assurance he will start this week I would probably role the dice with the West Brom forward but without further notice take the points with Davies.