Thursday, August 25, 2011

Gameweek 3 Preview

Two weeks is a long time in both fantasy and reality. If it goes well you could being talked about as title contenders with the world at your feet (Mancini) but if things go wrong, even the strongest of resumes will be ignored (Wenger). Hopefully you find yourself in the former camp, but if not, don't panic, decide who needs to go then start trying to rack up some points, starting with this week.

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)]
  1. Liverpool vs Bolton - 0.93 GP (9 - 7)
  2. Aston Villa vs Wolves - 0.95 (7 - 7)
  3. Chelsea vs Noriwch - 0.97 (11 - n/a)
  4. Blackburn vs Everton - 0.98 (7 - 7)
  5. Swansea vs Sunderland - 1.00 (n/a - 8)
  6. Newcastle vs Fulham - 1.15 (5 - 7)
  7. Everton @ Blackburn - 1.15 (3 - 1)
  8. QPR @ Wigan Athletic - 1.20 (n/a - 2)
  9. West Brom vs Stoke - 1.20 (2 - 10)
  10. Tottenham vs Man City - 1.23 (5 - 6)
  11. Man Utd vs Arsenal - 1.28 (11 - 3)
  12. Wigan vs QPR - 1.36 (3 - n/a)
  13. Man City @ Tottenham - 1.39 (6 - 4)
  14. Sunderland @ Swansea - 1.44 (6 - n/a)
  15. Stoke @ West Brom - 1.55 (3 - 4)
  16. Fulham @ Newcastle - 1.58 (5 - 4)
  17. Wolves @ Aston Villa - 1.65 (2 - 4)
  18. Bolton @ Liverpool - 1.75 (1 - 2)
  19. Arsenal @ Man Utd - 2.00 (5 - 0)
  20. Norwich @ Chelsea - 2.10 (n/a - 2)
Attacking Rankings

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.

Reader Questions
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.


TravelingNorth said...

So I've really taken to heart the idea of getting the cheapest defender in a unit. Some of these are fairly obvious - Enrique and Bosingwa are two obvious examples, and I'm very, very loathe to buy expensive defenders because I don't think the likes of Baines and Cole have the upside to warrant the prices they command. This leaves me with the predicament of having 3 mid-priced, mid-table defenders where it's hard to work out a rotation strategy.

Anyway, I'm committed this week to 3 at the back because the money saved at the back allows me to funnel the riches up front where my three strikers are undroppable, so for argument's sake, who would you play out of Brown, Warnock and Distin this week?

I imagine filling the third or fourth defensive slot is going to be a dilemma I face on a regular basis until Bosingwa gets dropped or I get Richards, but any help for the short term is much appreciated. Thanks.

amtosh said...

I was wondering what your opinion is on multiple transfers in a week without the wc? Is it worth giving up 4 points to make a good trade?

My strategy for this week is to trade seb larsson for Ben Watson and free up 1 mil. Then next week trade Torres for Rooney with the money saved. Whaddya reckon?

Thanks for the tips. I'm a first time fantasy player and am currently leading my league by 21 points!

fwst said...

Rooney will be price out of your reach next week. Think he is on the verge of a price rise, compounded by the fact if torres flops people will jump off him extremely quickly!

Neil Hannam said...

Im fairly happy with my defence with the cheap link coverage of most of the top teams and my forward line of Bent Rooney and Long have been doing the job so far with Suarez on the radar to replace Bent when villas fixtures start to become more difficult.

The area im not so sure on is midfield. I have Silva whose been amazing so far but am worried by the impact Nasri might have on his points and I also have Adam who im hoping will pay off on the set pieces and game time until Gerrard is fully fit. That leaves me with three midfield spots to fill between £5m-£6.5m and I was wondering what you thought the best options in this range are. I have Jarvis, Moses and Cabaye currently with £0.5m in the bank. Jarvis has been excellent, Moses is a cheap rotation but Cabaye has yet to fire. most people seem to have Sessegon, Larsson, Etherington or Taarabt but who would you recommend?

Steven said...

Chris - Can you add a print button to your posts? That'd be great. (Put the article in printable format)

amtosh said...

Good point fwst. Hadn't thought of that. Guess it'll be aguero then.

Davefevs said...

My dilemna at the mo', is whether Torres or T.Cahill will play this weekend.

Ideally I'd like them both to play and keep a free transfer up my sleeve. The XI I'd like to select is:

Given; Bosingwa, R.Johnson, W.Brown; Eagles, Nani, Young, Cahill; Graham, Suarez, Torres (Krul, Kompany, Moses (inj), Woodgate)

Although Kompany or Woodgate could easily swap with R.Johnson or W.Brown, or even Eagles.

Could do with Nani coming in my mini-league has him!

Who would you set to (C) and (V)?

Steven said...

@Davefevs Going with Suarez. The guy is a stud and he has a great matchup. The other option I considered was Rooney. I will check in Friday for any indication that Suarez is not starting.. but I'm willing to roll the dice :)

hey_its_chris said...

Do you think Ade on Tottenham warrants a pickup over Zamora, or should I wait it out a couple of weeks?

amtosh said...

The price rises happen in midweek don't they? So I should be able to trade torres for Rooney on Monday without his price rising?

CDI said...

Not 100% on this but I believe 12 mil is the cap on any single player. I prob shouldn't be making snap decisions on proven FF players but 2 weeks of epic fail has me seriously looking to replace nani. Most of man u's plays seem to be flowing through young on the wing so who would you pick for this weekend? I play 4 3 4 with a midfield of silva, jarvis and nani. Apart from young and maybe yaya would you consider slotting anyone else in there?

Can't believe I only just found this site. The info on here coulda helped me avoid silly mistakes even with the 2nd week free transfers so thanks.

Svinky said...

Here is what to do to start a league:

Anonymous said...

Hey Chris,

Who would you recommend as captain and vice this week out of my options: Baines, Nani, Silva, Jarvis, Suarez?

doka93 said...

Hi Chris, great fan of your write-ups and must thank you for helping me with my game over the last few years.

At the moment my team appears to be quite strong in all areas, the problem being I own four defenders from elite clubs, averaging out at 5.5m per defender (the defenders being Kompany, Bosingwa, Smalling and Enrique). I own all four defenders due to their great value for money and the annoying thing is that I can't seem to let one in particular go. With me generally playing an attacking formation (3-4-3 or 3-5-2), it often leaves me choosing one of my elite defenders to sit on the bench (last week I left Enrique on the bench and missed out on 6 points).

As much as he is a quality defender, guaranteed minutes, and likely to pick up several clean sheets this season, do you think it is worth replacing Kompany with somebody like Steven Taylor? This will allow me to play three elite defenders, week in week out, and I can play one of my other two defenders (S. Taylor and Senderos) when the fixtures favour them over a more attacking option. Not to mention the 1.5m I will have extra to spend on a stronger third striker.

Would really appreciate the advice and thanks again for a great read!

baz0819 said...

@ hey its chris - Adebayor can't play against his parent club as part of the loan agreement, wo wait a week to bring him in

Matt said...

Hi Chris

Great blog, learnt a lot from your rotation strategies and "avoiding over-paying for last seasons goal-scoring defenders"

My dilemma is in Midfield, currently have Young, Brunt, Silva, Jarvis and Mikel.

I am undecided between Mikel & Jarvis, as not sure if Mikel will get the minutes this week with the arrival of Mata...on the other hand not sure about Wolves away form.

Upfront I have Suarez/Rooney and Anelka, hoping Anelka will start and nab a goal or assist against Norwich at home....what do you think?

Following week I may swap him back for Dzeko or wait and use 2 transfers to try and transfer in Bent.