Sunday, November 20, 2011

Lineup Lessons: Gameweek 12

Szczesny, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Andre Santos, Ramsey, Arteta, Song, Walcott, van Persie, Gervinho
Subs: Fabianski, Rosicky, Djourou, Arshavin, Chamakh, Benayoun, Coquelin.

Koscileny got a start at right back here in Sagna and Jenkinson's absence, though you have to expect he will drop out of the side when either recognised right back returns. Aside from that it's as expected with Van Persie underlying his claims of being the top fantasy option around. There is value to be had in this side with Ramsey, Arteta, Walcott and possibly Gervinho looking they need to be in at least included in the player pool.

Robinson, Salgado, Hanley, Dann, Givet, Rochina, Nzonzi, Dunn, Pedersen, Hoilett, Yakubu.
Subs: Formica, Petrovic, Blackman, Roberts, Goodwillie, Henley, Bunn.

The goals are a promising sign but it's still hard to know when and where the production is going to come from for this team and thus it's all but impossible to include anyone in your team. Yakubu is possibly worth thinking about as a poor man's Darren Bent but his production is going to be up and down as he gets rested and contributes little outside of goals. A lot of people have been high on Formica in the last couple of weeks but he continues to be rotated and deployed in varying positions. Until we see more consistency in both areas he remains out of the player pool.

Jaaskelainen, Riley, Wheater, Cahill, Robinson, Eagles, Reo-Coker, Muamba, M Davies, K Davies, Klasnic
Subs: Bogdan, Tuncay, Petrov, Knight, Pratley, Ngog, Kakuta.

Riley got another start this week, though he remains a squad player when everyone is fit, so I wouldn't get cute and try and save 0.5m there (not that you really want a Bolton defender anyway). Petrov's continuing decline confirms that he is unownable at the moment and Eagles is the only midfield option to consider here. Klasnic's penalty duties were a surprise here and, for me, they push him over the edge and make him an ownable player going forward. On the flip side, K Davies continues to struggle and will no longer be bailed out with set pieces. He is very close to dropping out of the player pool.

Cech, Ivanovic, Luiz, Terry, Cole, Ramires, Mikel, Lampard, Mata, Drogba, Malouda
Subs: Turnbull, Romeu, Torres, Meireles, Bosingwa, Sturridge, Anelka

I don't know what to make of this defense anymore. I thought they had settled on Bosingwa, then in came Ivanovic. I thought they had settled on Luiz and then Alex slotted in. Now Luiz is back (though that could have been an enforced move). The same confusion exists up top with Drogba, Torres, Sturridge and Malouda rotating apparently at random for two spots alongside the (apparently) safe Mata. We find ourselves in a situation where only Mata, Lampard, and, I suppose, Ramires are fantasy options in this side, and all of them look overpriced given the alternatives available in their price brackets. I'm not willing to wait for Villas-Boas' side to 'come good' and will wait for them to prove they are an elite offensive/defensive force before investing anywhere in this team.

Howard, Hibbert, Heitinga, Jagielka, Baines, Coleman, Fellaini, Osman, Drenthe, Cahill, Saha
Subs: Mucha, Bilyaletdinov, Stracqualursi, Gueye, Barkley, Vellios, Mustafi.

It would be unfair to not mention Baines' goal here after all the criticism I have thrown at his price tag (not his ability). I would however add that this week's game was one of the best chances at a clean sheet you're going to get and Everton once again came up empty. Therefore, despite the goals, I'm not willing to include either Baines or Jagielka in the player pool. The highest ranked midfielder in Fantasy Football Scout's ICT index is Fellaini, who is 58th. Man City have 6 (six!) players ranked higher than Fellaini, and newly promoted QPR and Swansea each have 4.

Schwarzer, Hughes, Hangeland, Baird, Senderos, Dempsey, Murphy, Etuhu, Duff, Zamora, Dembele
Subs: Etheridge, Johnson, Kasami, Ruiz, Gecov, Briggs, Kacaniklic.

I want to like this defense but there are just too many changes every week to rely on anyone but Hangeland, who looks well overpriced at 6.2m compared to the likes of Richards, Jose Enrique or P Jones. Somewhat to my surprise, Baird looks like him is locked into a starting spot at the moment, though whether he will hold off Hughes once Riise returns still concerns me a bit. Given how the fixtures gel with Swansea, I think the best strategy here is to grab Schwarzer in a rotation strategy and save yourself a big headache. Offensively, Murphy has great underlying stats but only solid production while Dempsey (who has looked good) remains just a touch too pricey for my taste. The front line looks much too crowded to justify investment.

Reina, Johnson, Skrtel, Agger, Jose Enrique, Kuyt, Lucas, Adam, Maxi, Bellamy, Suarez
Subs: Doni, Carroll, Henderson, Downing, Spearing, Carragher, Kelly.

I seem to have cursed Downing by suggesting he was possibly the only Liverpool midfielder locked into the starting lineup, and Maxi's goal won't help his cause in that area. As I alluded to earlier in the week though, I like Adam here now Gerrard is gone for a few weeks and it's these consistent 5 pointers which help him to be a useful starter in most weeks. He lacks the upside of a A Young / Van der Vaart / Nani but if you can't quite afford that group or are looking to capitalise on Liverpool's good fixture list, Adam is the best option. Suarez has now gone 5 games without scoring and, more worryingly, has just 16 points to his name over that time. He does however lead the league in attempts and his 20 shots on target are behind just Van Persie (26) and Rooney (23). Based on statistical history his goalscoring record should improve if he continues to shoot at such a rate, though it's impossible to claim he is in the same fantasy class as that pair (or the City duo of Dzeko and Aguero) at the moment. Defensively, many will be tempted to pile on G Johnson after his goal this week; please don't be one of them.

Man City
Hart, Richards, Kompany, Lescott, Clichy, Nasri, De Jong, Toure Yaya, Milner, Balotelli, Aguero.
Subs: Pantilimon, Dzeko, Kolarov, Johnson, Barry, Silva, Toure.

I said this week that I've given up trying to guess what Mancini will do, and once again he shocked me, choosing to bench Silva who has been in irrepressible form and who played the least time on international duty of all the big names. I thought Nasri was pretty quiet throughout with Yaya, Milner and Balotelli all catching the eye above the former Arsenal man. Many will argue the prospects of Milner and Balotelli, and on other teams I would agree, but I still find it hard to waste a spot on this potent City team on a player who will not feature every week (though perhaps Milner is starting to play his way into being an every week starter). I rate Richards as the best defender to own in the league in terms of points (Jose Enrique in terms of value) and his goal and assist was a nice bonus this week to cover for the late blown clean sheet.

Man Utd
De Gea, Jones, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra, Nani, Park, Carrick, Giggs, Rooney, Hernandez
Subs: Lindegaard, Evans, Berbatov, Young, Fabio Da Silva, Fletcher, Valencia.

It took a couple of weeks to play out but P Jones is rewarding our faith now, taking up a spot as the 2nd highest scoring defender around. If your budget can stretch to it, owning him alongside the aforementioned pair of Richards and Jose Enrique gives you access to the league's best defenses along with attacking potential and consistency: a very solid strategy. One would imagine A Young will be back next week and once he proves he is back to full fitness (and form) he might be a nice buy opportunity given the way his price has fallen. Nani has been quiet of late though Ferguson hasn't been overly quick to bench him or Young for Valencia so I'd feel fairly good owning either of these players over the next 6-8 gameweeks. Rooney was back up top, alongside Hernandez, which should give him the best chance to have success. Despite not getting among the points, he ranked as the 3rd best forward in FFS's ICT Index, posting his best total since GW7. It seems like a question of when, rather than if, Rooney returns to form and puts himself back among fantasy consideration for us all.

Krul, Simpson, S Taylor, Coloccini, R Taylor, Ben Arfa, Guthrie, Cabaye, Gutierrez, Ba, Sammy Ameobi
Subs: Elliot, Santon, Lovenkrands, Perch, Gosling, Smith, Shola Ameobi.

I was pleased to see Ben Arfa get a start as you have to feel he has the potential to be an impact player in this league. He looked busy early on and hit the woodwork in the second half, though better things should be still to come this year. Without proven starting minutes or production he isn't a genuine option just yet, but he definitely justifies our peripheral attention. I wouldn't read too much into this stingy defense surrendering three goals to City, many a good team will suffer the same fate (see United, Manchester).

Ruddy, Naughton, R Martin, Barnett, Tierney, Crofts, Johnson, Fox, Pilkington, Hoolahan, Morison
Subs: Rudd, Drury, Holt, Jackson, Surman, Bennett, Wilbraham.

This lineup has settled down and Morison has really emerged as a good option over the past few weeks. His 22 shots ranked 8th among forwards though Norwich's style and his deployment are going to limit his assists somewhat. With a number of elite 10m+ forwards this year, it's good to have the likes of Morison, Graham and Klasnic as your pool of options for your 3rd forward.

Kenny, Traore, Hill, Gabbidon, Ferdinand, L Young, Faurlin, Mackie, Barton, Wright-Phillips, Helguson
Subs: Murphy, Orr, Derry, Buzsaky, Smith, Hewitt.

Needless to say, Taarabt is finished as a fantasy asset, and serves only as a warning against believing hype and translating Championship stats into Premier League success. Helguson has been superb since securing a first team spot here and Warnock faces a tough choice as to who to start when everyone is fit. Helguson will feature in the upcoming review of budget forwards, and should find himself towards the top of that list. It's now 8 goals conceded in 3 games for QPR and if this form continues next week at Norwich, it will be time to move on (before they face MnU and Liv in GW15 and 16).

Stoke City
Sorensen, Wilkinson, Shawcross, Huth, Higginbotham; Pennant, Whitehead, Delap, Etherington; Walters, Crouch
Subs: Begovic, Whelan, Jones, Fuller, Wilson, Upson, Palacios.

No Woodgate here again despite most sources suggesting he would play, and it's finally time for me to admit that he was always going to be too risky to own and move on. Shawcross' goal makes him look attractive and given the upheaval at the other positions he is probably the best pick on this back line, but note that this is not last year's unit so far in 2011/12. They've shipped 14 goals in the last 4 games after a promising start to the season and the whole defense looks overpriced on this form. Failure in this week's visit of Blackburn will surely end any hope for this unit for the foreseeable future. Going forward it's all about Walters who is living up to his billing as a midfielder deployed up front. I would temper expectations that he will continue this kind of goal scoring pace all year (3 in the last 5) but 8 goals for the year doesn't seem like a stretch, which would represent good value for the required outlay.

Westwood, O'Shea, Turner, Brown, Bardsley, Elmohamady, Colback, Cattermole, Richardson, Bendtner, Sessegnon
Subs: Carson, Gardner, Vaughan, Ji, Meyler, Noble, Egan.

While not an exciting unit, this defense has 4 clean sheets for the season and has generally excelled when facing weak attacking opposition (Swa, Sto, Bol, Ful). The back line is settled and reliable and deserves some attention if you are looking for short term options based on matchups (Wigan at home this week). I'm not all that sold on Bendtner and three back-to-back 2-pointers evidences why. He ranks 15th in FFS's ICT index behind the likes of Hoilett and Klasnic and only just ahead of Morison and Graham. I don't feel that he deserves to be played every week but at 6.4m he looks just a bit too pricey to regularly bench.

Vorm, Rangel, Williams, Monk, Taylor, Sinclair, Routledge, Gower, Britton, Dyer, Graham
Subs: Tremmel, Dobbie, Lita, Moore, Allen, Richards, Moras.

Made a good account of themselves against the Champions with 49% possession and 9 attempts on goal (vs 13 for MnU) and only lost on a mistake from Rangel who tried to play his way out of defense once too often. After a worrying spell of conceding goals (GW6-9) Swansea have conceded just two goals in the last three games, despite facing MnU and Liverpool over that period. They have some decent games coming up and this settled unit looks worthy of continued investment.

West Brom
Foster, Reid, Olsson, McAuley, Shorey, Morrison, Mulumbu, Brunt, Thomas, Gera, Long
Subs: Fulop, Dorrans, Fortune, Tchoyi, Dawson, Jones, Cox

Long marked his return to the side with a goal, and is another player to throw his name into the hat as an ownable #3 forward. Until this defense can show improvement or someone can emerge in the middle of the park, Long may be the only ownable option here. McAuley is an option if you're desperate for a 4.0m player, though you should really try and grab 0.2m and get Simpson instead.

Al Habsi, Stam, Gohouri, Caldwell, Figueroa, Moses, McCarthy, Gomez, Jones, Diame, Sammon.
Subs: Pollitt, Crusat, Watson, Maloney, McArthur, Rodallega, Lopez.

Di Santo has fallen off the face of the earth after a hot start, while Watson found himself benched after looking like a promising option himself. It's unclear where this Wigan side is going and despite their recent form, it's tough to understand the rationale behind leaving out your most talented players on a regular basis. Moses has some good underlying stats but his assist potential is always going to be limited and he hasn't shown an ability to find the back of the net. Al Habsi remains a rotatable option as his save totals can bail him out but outside of that, this team looks fairly useless.

Hennessey, Stearman, Johnson, Berra, Ward, Edwards, Henry, Milijas, Hunt, O'Hara, Doyle
Subs: De Vries, Elokobi, Craddock, Ebanks-Blake, Fletcher, Jarvis, Guedioura.

I'm pretty much out on this team given the manager's puzzling team choices (what does Fletcher have to do to get a game) along with the upcoming fixtures. O'Hara and Hunt are both suspended for next week and I would advise their owners moving on, and reconsidering this team in the new year when the fixtures are better.


vanilla said...

In light of your assesment of Balotelli/Milner "I still find it hard to waste a spot on this potent City team on a player who will not feature every week" ... could this not be said for any midfielder or striker in this side? I traded Aguero in for Dzeko, and promptly received what I expected; more Mancini roster shenanigans.
My first questions is this: since even Aguero must be considered only 2/3 of a striker, is it worth owning two players at the same position? Dzeko + Aguero, in particular. Autosubs on the site would direct us to the points.

vanilla said...

My other question: you seem to contradict your "don't pay for offense when shopping for defenders" advice when it comes to naming Micah Richards the best defender to own in the league. Phil Jones costs the same and has twice the number of clean sheets. Your thoughts?

vanilla said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mister Sardine said...

You are doing great this season! Great FPL score! I am in the top 10K and I am nowhere close to you at the moment!

WS said...


Thanks for the analysis. I have a couple of questions:

1) Between Nani and Mata, who is a better player to keep for December and January? I need to drop one of them for a mid-priced midfielder to improve other areas.

2) Is it a good strategy to triple up on Spurs (VDV, Bale, Adebayor) becuase they have an extra game in January? (great form/fixtures in Dec-Jan and a guarateed 6 pts before goal/assist when they play Everton in Jan).

doka93 said...

No mention of Begovic here, I'm fairly certain that he's owned by a lot of Fantasy players. Do you reckon he's out of the team for the long haul now? Personally I'll give him another week versus Blackburn and if he doesn't play then is it worth a straight swap for Sorensen (given that Stoke's defence isn't exactly defending anymore..) or bringing in Schwarzer?

vanilla said...

@Doka93: Schwarzer has been playing well, but his schedule over the next 6 is fearsome (Arsenal, Liverpool, ManUtd, Chelsea). I'm in the same boat as you are, and I'd take Keiran Westwood if I knew he were staying around at Sunderland. he impressed me away at United.

Chris Glover said...

Vanilla - a couple of good points raised:
On City - my view all year has been that you need to own either two defenders or one defender, Silva and either Aguero or Dzeko. That leaves zero room for the likes of Milner, who may well deliver better value for money, but can't match the sheer production of those aforementioned players. However, there is an argument that if Mancini messes around too much, Aguero and Dzeko become more trouble than they're worth and the best combo may well be Rooney and RvP. If you believe in that theory then Milner and Yaya are worth looking at. While the rotation is frustrating I don't think it really damages their value as much as we'd think as very few elite players manage to play 30 games a season as it is. Nani almost reached 200 points last season despite playing just 2600 minutes so let's not get carried away with minutes. I like Richards and Silva too much to go with Dzeko and Aguero but there is certainly merit in that system.

On Richards - I say dont pay a premium for offensive points but I wouldn't advise ignoring them altogether. If G Cahill costs 1.0m more than Paul Robinson I find it hard to justify the difference, in that he needs to score too many extra points to deliver value on that 1.0m. However, Richards and Jones are the same price. How they derive their points in less important, though I would agree that clean sheets are more predictable going forward than assists and goals. That said, City have 4 clean sheets to Utd's 6, but I just don't believe they finish with 50% less clean sheets come the end of the year. City have thrown a couple of blanks away in the past few weeks and as the season goes on and their squad strength becomes a bigger factor, I would imagine they will close out more of those games out and finish pretty close to Utd in terms of final clean sheet rankings. Richards' additional offensive value (at no extra cost) is therefore what makes him my favourite defender going forward.

Raddz said...

Hey, Thank you Chris for doing this blog it is very helpful as i find your stats and insight about players very helpful.
I have a few questions i was hoping people could help me with
1) Do you think that sinclair at Swansea warrants the 6.2 price tag over other regular midfielders in that unit like dyer (4.8) or allen (4.7)? or do you think players like larsson (6.6) or walters (6.4) are better value for the money?
2) Also i need a replacement for M. Petrov as i was high on him early but recently he has been awful and i need a replacement for him and i was thinking of Pilkington. Is he a good choice? He seems to be getting a lot of chances and pushing forward more than in the early part of the season which i hope will translate into him continuing to score.

stooshermadness said...

Chris - great stuff. 2 questions to consider. Watched man city v napoli today and kolarov is a complete nightmare defensively. Surely mancini recognizes the issue and clichy becomes the preferred option. is this a way into the man city defense at a bit of a discount ? Second, I've got ramsey and despite your earlier thumbs up, I'm not sold. I want another attacking man city player in addition to silva. I'm happy with my front 3, RvP, sturridge, adebayor, so I am not going for aguero or dzeko - why not Milner, Toure,or A.Johnson - the first 2 have more points than ramsey at a 1.0 higher price despite rotation and Milner especially seems to get in attacking positions. Patience with rotation is a must but all 3 seem decent options with a team averaging 3.5 gpg. Thoughts ?

Chris Glover said...

Mister Sardine - thanks. I've been a little lucky this year with injuries but I'm glad the stats approach is working well.

WS - I'm am pretty down on Mata at the moment. I was excited when he came to the Prem but the production hasn't really been there for him or the entire Chelsea team to be honest. Nani has also quietened down, though I still have faith that he will recover in the future.

As for Spurs, it depends on when you plan on using your wildcard. With the freebie becoming available in GW20 you have to think a massive number of managers are going to pile on VdV and co that week. I like Spurs over the next 8 weeks or so and I've already brought in VdV and BAE for the foreseeable future. The fixtures are so good in GW20 that I'd agree that you need 2 or 3 Spurs, though I wouldn't go overboard and start paying for 4 point hits now as you have lots of time before then.

Chris Glover said...

doka - I totally missed that Begovic sat out this week - thanks for pointing that one out. Pulis gave him his backing after his poor game against Bolton but Sorensen is a capable backup and was always a threat if Begovic struggled. You have to think that this is a short term ploy to give Begovic a kick up the ass/let him get his head together but if you are a Begovic owner employing a rotation strategy I would be acting sooner rather than later or else be stuck playing one keeper every week.

Vanilla is dead on re Schwarzer. His fixtures gel well with the awesome Vorm but Fulham's fixtures are simply brutal.

Gummi at said...

Great summary Chris. Thanks again.

Is there any way I can justify not owning RvP anymore?

I have Adebayor, Rooney, Klasnic and (in my oppinion) a great midfield in Bale, Walters, Ramsey, Nani, Silva.

I have 2.7 in the bank so I could go with Rooney > RvP but am hesitant because of United's fixtures.