Szczesny, Jenkinson, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Gibbs, Song, Arteta, Rosicky, Walcott, van Persie, Gervinho
Subs: Fabianski, Park, Andre Santos, Djourou, Arshavin, Frimpong, Benayoun.
I'm not sure of the value of this team yet, but at least we have a good handle on who will play each week. The only tricky positions appear to be left back and the rotation of Rosicky/Walcott/Arshavin and hence this group should be avoided. Everyone else looks fairly settled in the side and Van Persie gave us a nice reminder this week of how high his ceiling is. He shouldn't be ignored in the Rooney/Aguero sweepstakes (even if a certain blogger did caution against captaining him this week . . . oops).
Given, Hutton, Dunne, Clark, Warnock, Delph, Petrov, Ireland, Heskey, Agbonlahor, Bent
Subs: Guzan, N'Zogbia, Albrighton, Cuellar, Bannan, Weimann, Herd.
Heskey returns to the side at the expense of Bannan, who had shown some promising form during his spell in the side. His value is of course quickly diminished and he drops out of the player pool. A quiet day for Agbonlahor and Bent though this might be the toughest fixture in the league right now. Better days will come for that pair.
Robinson, Salgado, Samba, Dann, Givet, Lowe, Petrovic, Nzonzi, Olsson, Hoilett, Roberts
Subs: Bunn, Formica, Rochina, Yakubu, Goodwillie, Vukcevic, Hanley
Rovers have good depth up front, though that might speak to a lack of quality options more than anything. Hoilett remains the lone bright spot in the side and the only player in the current player pool.
Jaaskelainen, Boyata, Cahill, Wheater, Robinson, Eagles, Reo-Coker, Pratley, Petrov, K Davies, Ngog
Subs: Bogdan, Sanli, Gardner, Knight, M Davies, Klasnic, Kakuta
The back line looks a bit messy with Boyata stealing minutes at two positions and Knight now looking to be out of favour. The good news is that none of them justify ownership so you don't need to worry about it. K Davies was better here and should be back in the side to stay. That said, the fixtures ahead aren't great and so he is borderline at best.
Cech, Bosingwa, Ivanovic, Terry, Cole, Mikel, Lampard, Ramires, Sturridge, Drogba, Mata
Subs: Turnbull, Romeu, Malouda, Meireles, Lukaku, Alex, Anelka
The papers reported Luiz as being 'rested' here though it isn't fully clear if he is indeed first choice over Ivanovic. With Bosingwa being cheaper, more reliable and more attacking, there seems little reason to own anyone else in this back line for the foreseeable future. I struggled with whether to put Ramires in the player pool but decided that the underlying stats weren't quite good enough and too many of his points had come in a single game. With another strong performance this week and signs that Chelsea have righted their ship, I think he now deserves more attention, even if I remain skeptical as to how attacking he will be. Meireles had looked good over the past few weeks but his benching here confirms that he remains risky at over 7m. Sturridge is a risk too but when he plays, he scores and he makes a nice short term option in Torres' absence. However, Torres will only miss one more league game and so Sturridge owners must be aware that any guarantee of minutes will be short lived.
Howard, Hibbert, Jagielka, Distin, Baines, Coleman, Fellaini, Rodwell, Osman, Cahill, Saha
Subs: Mucha, Heitinga, Bilyaletdinov, Drenthe, Stracqualursi, Neville, Vellios
With the odd exception this team picks itself, though where the value lies is not so clear. There just don't seem to be too many goals in this side and hence value for our teams. Time to look elsewhere.
Schwarzer, Baird, Hughes, Hangeland, Riise, Dembele, Murphy, Sidwell, Dempsey, Johnson, Zamora.
Subs: Etheridge, Kelly, Orlando Sa, Kasami, Duff, Etuhu, Briggs
As expected, Aaron Hughes slotted straight back into the side and looks like the best priced defender on this team. So far Fulham have been inconsistent but they still hold some value defensively going forward.
Reina, Kelly, Carragher, Skrtel, Jose Enrique, Kuyt, Lucas, Adam, Downing, Gerrard, Suarez
Subs: Doni, Agger, Carroll, Henderson, Spearing, Bellamy, Robinson
Most media outlets seemed to suggest Adam would miss out here on Gerrard's return but it always seemed clear to me that it would be Henderson. I am however surprised that Liverpool went to a 4-5-1 with Carroll dropping to the bench, though that could be a symptom of the opponent rather than a long term shift in strategy. If Gerrard is deployed in that role just off a front man, he could quickly return to the kind of fantasy form which made him so valuable when he held a similar role alongside Torres. At 11.0m you're going to have to be certain he's returned to an elite level (which we aren't yet) but he's well and truly back on the radar.
Hart, Richards, Lescott, Kompany, Clichy, De Jong, Barry, Milner, Johnson, Toure Yaya, Balotelli.
Subs: Pantilimon, Dzeko, Kolarov, Nasri, Hargreaves, Silva, Toure
We all suffered this week with Dzeko, Nasri and Silva joining Aguero on the sidelines, but on the bright side, they should all play going forward now they've gotten their rest out of the way. I am bit concerned that City coped so well in their absence, which might suggest more rotation is due in the future, but you can't really afford to be without at least one attacking player from this talented side, so you just need to ensure your bench can cope when they are rotated. On a positive note, there is no sign that Kolo Toure's return from suspension will cause a rotation mess along the back line.
De Gea, Smalling, Ferdinand, Evans, Evra, Young, Jones, Fletcher, Park, Giggs, Welbeck
Subs: Lindegaard, Anderson, Rooney, Hernandez, Carrick, Nani, Valencia
More surprises here as Rooney, Hernandez and Nani were all pencilled in to start this one. I wasn't blown away to see Nani dropped (given his lack of defensive discipline) but I would have predicted Valencia would take his place rather than Park or Giggs. It looks like this was simply an attempt to get players in the side who have experience playing in the often-rough derby and I would expect normal service to be resumed for the fantasy stars next week. It was pleasing to see Jones get some minutes in the centre of midfield: another string to his bow, thus guaranteeing him minutes this year. The lack of rotation for Young would appear to give him a couple of notches up on Nani which is something to consider if you're deciding between that pair.
Krul, Simpson, S Taylor, Coloccini, R Taylor, Obertan, Cabaye, Tiote, Gutierrez, Best, Ba.
Subs: Elliot, Santon, Ben Arfa, Lovenkrands, Gosling, Marveaux, Shola Ameobi
The biggest stories here are the players lurking on the bench with Santon, Ben Arfa and Ameobi all threatening to force their way into the team in the near future. R Taylor and Best are my biggest concerns and I would be hesitant to sign either of these players at the moment (though I wouldn't be selling just yet either). Watch this space closely as Newcastle provide a number of good budget options but they will won't do you any good riding their, and your, bench.
Ruddy, Naughton, R Martin, Barnett, Tierney, Bennett, Pilkington, Fox, Johnson, Hoolahan, Morison
Subs: Rudd, Crofts, Holt, Jackson, Surman, Wilbraham, De Laet
We're starting to see some stability here and thus some fantasy value. Pilkington had his second big game in 4 weeks, while Johnson and Fox have each enjoyed a couple of 5 point games in the past few gameweeks. With good fixtures on the horizon, I like this group to provide good bench options and I propose a separate post on the promoted teams to take stock of where they are after 8 weeks of the new season.
Kenny, Young, Ferdinand, Hall, Traore, Derry, Faurlin, Wright-Phillips, Barton, Mackie, Helguson.
Subs: Murphy, Orr, Taarabt, Bothroyd, Buzsaky, Smith, Puncheon
Taarabt sitting this one out was a big surprise and gives us cause for concern. His underlying stats have been excellent all year but these haven't translated into fantasy success yet and his benching here will only serve to further frustrate his owners. I'm not ready to take him out of the player pool but I am starting to consider looking elsewhere, especially given QPR's tricky run of games over the next month or so.
Begovic, Wilkinson, Shawcross, Upson, Wilson, Pennant, Delap, Whelan, Etherington, Walters, Crouch
Subs: Sorensen, Huth, Jones, Diao, Whitehead, Shotton, Jerome
Woodgate missed out and Huth found himself on the bench, suggesting that perhaps Shawcross is worth the extra investment. I still like Woodgate over the season though and his lack of European fixtures makes him more likely to play regularly in the league than Upson.
Mignolet, O'Shea, Turner, Brown, Richardson, Elmohamady, Vaughan, Colback, Cattermole, Larsson, Sessegnon
Subs: Westwood, Gardner, Wickham, Ji, Meyler, McClean, Laing
This teams looks pretty settled, though somewhat short of talent with Bendtner only missing out thanks to his ineligibility against his employers. Sessegnon continues to enjoy the benefit of playing up front despite being classed as a midfielder, though he hasn't been able to convert this into fantasy success yet this year.
Vorm, Rangel, Monk, Williams, Taylor, Dyer, Allen, Routledge, Britton, Sinclair, Graham
Subs: Tremmel, Dobbie, Lita, Moore, Gower, Richards, Moras
Pre season favorites Graham and Sinclair are now showing the kind of form we were excited about and both make solid rotation options at the moment. This side has some rotation each week but the key players look fairly settled so there's nothing to worry about here.
Friedel, Walker, Kaboul, King, Assou-Ekotto, Livermore, Parker, Modric, Bale, Van der Vaart, Adebayor
Subs: Cudicini, Pavlyuchenko, Giovani, Defoe, Bassong, Rose, Townsend
We appear to be ready to conclude that the most used team will feature a 4-4-1-1 making Van der Vaart a valuable differentiator from other premium midfielders. Adebayor also looks like a valuable pickup and remains above Defoe on the depth chart. The back line is also pretty settled, though I'm not sure how valuable the unit is right now.
Foster, Reid, Olsson, McAuley, Jones, Brunt, Mulumbu, Scharner, Thomas, Long, Tchoyi
Subs: Fulop, Morrison, Dorrans, Shorey, Odemwingie, Dawson, Cox
I don't really understand what is happening with this team as, for me, Odemwingie is the best player in the squad, yet he again found himself on the bench. Perhaps his goal will ensure he starts next week, though until we see sustained minutes and production, he is officially out of contention. The previously ever-present Shorey was also benched here, though I am not jumping to conclusions on that move just yet. If he misses out again though, he too will find himself in the fantasy wilderness going forward.
Al Habsi, Gohouri, Boyce, Caldwell, Alcaraz, Watson, McCarthy, Diame, Jones, Di Santo, Moses.
Subs: Pollitt, Crusat, Maloney, McArthur, Sammon, Rodallega, Figueroa
Figueroa found himself on the bench here and given the way Wigan continue to defend, I'm not sure anyone outside of Al-Habsi (who brings good save numbers) should be owned from this back line. The front men continue to show promise but no end product, though Watson did at least contribute an assist. I'm keeping Moses in the pool for now, but he very close to dropping out and needs to turn shots and key passes into points soon.
Hennessey, Stearman, Berra, Johnson, Ward, Jarvis, Milijas, O'Hara, Henry, Hammill, Doyle
Subs: De Vries, Craddock, Ebanks-Blake, Hunt, Vokes, Zubar, Guedioura.
Hunt was benched again here and seems to be the odd man out in a talented midfield unit. Given his solid but limited upside he doesn't warrant consideration at the moment. Fletcher is now set to be out for up to a month and of course needs to be sold.
Player pool movements:
In: K Davies, Ramires, Gerrard
Out: Bannan, Cahill, Osman, Odemwingie, Figueroa, Hunt, Fletcher