Thursday, December 15, 2011

Gameweek 16 Preview

Captain Picks
There was a time when playing Arsenal was a bad thing but, at least defensively, that is no longer the reality. Current and prior year stats suggest City will bag a couple this week, while current year only stats suggest they'll get three. With Santos, Gibbs, Sagna and Jenkinson all missing for Arsenal, you have to wonder how they will cope with the likes of Silva, Nasri, Milner or Johnson attacking them down the flanks. The expected beneficiary of that kind of exploitation is Aguero, who looks like the safest play this week. There's some concern given that he hasn't be rotated for a while now, but he only tends to play ~70 minutes so he shouldn't be too tired. He's scored 7 goals in 7 home games and City have totalled 24 goals over that period. It'll be hard to look elsewhere for anyone who owns the Argentinian genius this week.

The next best bet in the City side is Silva, given Dzeko's rotation and Balotelli's, erm, shall we say temperament (I love him by the way, but Mancini has suggested he will be rotated until he behaves which adds another level of risk I'm not willing to swallow). Silva has still only had four appearances scoring less than 5 points, and one of those came when he was late substitute. He is a great combination of safety and upside, which makes him almost the perfect captain choice. In fact, if there are even whispers that Aguero won't start, I would elevate Silva to number one on this list.

If there was ever a time to not captain Van Persie this is it. Whether or not he has crossed into the hallowed Ronaldo-Zone will be proven this week (where you captain him no matter what). True, City have not been the defensive force we anticipated but their goals conceded have tended to be consolation goals and they haven't conceded more than once at home for almost a year (4-3 against Wolves on Jan 15, 2011). You wouldn't bet against Van Persie on his current form but the upside is certainly limited and Arsenal aren't on the same level as those United teams which created so many chances for Ronaldo. If you don't own the City pair then Van Persie is a good option as always but he's not quite the top pick for me this week.

Arsenal's cross town rivals look like a better bet, putting Van der Vaart, Bale and Adebayor at the front of our minds again. Spurs have scored 15 goals in 6 home games, netting twice against everyone apart from City in GW3. Van der Vaart has suddenly gone cold after a month of hot form and he looked distinctly average against Stoke and was lucky to stay on the field for as long as he did. I need to see a lot more from him before I consider captaining him and as an owner of the Dutchman, I am starting to cast glances to the likes of Mata or old favourite Nani. Bale's top form has been more recent than Van der Vaart though he too looked ineffective against Stoke. With Van der Vaart no longer taking penalties, Bale might now be the better pick in this team though his 8 games scoring 3 points or less prevents me from captaining him unless the fixture is simply irresistible. Penalty duties are a nice bonus for Adebayor and his consistency makes him my favourite pick from this talented Spurs side. Ade has scored or assisted a goal in 9 of his 12 appearances this year and it's this ability to contribute in a number of categories (he also has 13 bonus points) which gives him captain value here. I can't put him in the elite group but if you want to think outside the box a bit, Ade makes a good unique captain option for this week (when I say unique, I mean as a captain, his ownership is relatively high at 20%).

With his recent play and Chelsea's uptick in form, Mata has ventured in captain territory, though I'm always more cautious when giving the arm band to players on the road, where goals are generally harder to come by and bad results more common (see GW9 @ QPR). Mata, and Chelsea, are sill a bit unpredictable for me to captain anyone there but I can now see a case for Mata, who is becoming increasingly intriguing in that ~10m range.

My instinct was that United players would rank as some of the better options this week but the stats suggest that goals will be harder to come by than one may expect. United are a side struggling for goals travelling to a QPR team who are struggling for form of their own. Will the side who thumped Wolves show up or will they return to their one-goal-a-game struggles once again? If it's the former than Rooney and Nani are obviously captainable this week. They have lost value as a defensive unit but QPR remain a useful home side and have only conceded more than once on a single occasion (against the all conquering City). I like this pair and United are always capable of putting a few past anyone but it's hard to take this side on the road when City are at home.

I will get to the weekly reader questions tomorrow so please post them below or @plfantasy.


Ratchet said...

Thanks Chris.

I would like to know which team has the least number of players that can be relied up for goals. Eg. Aresenal = Van Persie only whereas Spurs have 3 main goal threats.

This will help me decide who I should purchase when looking at favourable fixtures.

Ali Dia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ali Dia said...

I love your blog! Need your input on this. I am undecided on who to captain this week among Mata, RVP, Rooney, Silva, Bale and even maybe Yakubu in a Blackburn side who score goals up against an obliging defence like West Brom..who knows what might happen. I also need to decide on who to start between Simpson or Brunt who has been a massive disappointment this season. Thanks!

Grounderz said...

Hi Chris,

I can't decide who to start between Krul for Newcastle United (home) and Vorm for Swansea City (away) this weekend.

Can you help me? I know Newcastle's first-choice centre backs have suffered injury setbacks and Swansea haven't got a good run of forms when playing away. Who would you choose and why? Thanks.

EB Christen said...

What about Sturridge?

KavetKerek said...

What would you say to Demba Ba this week as a captain? Unless I'm blind I think I missed him and I'm wondering if he would be a better option than Silva. Silva is definitely consistent when it comes to grabbing points but due to the variety of sources that city scores goals he never seems like he can truly be relied on for a score along the lines of a brace. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Yes, I was wondering about Ba too. Top of the FFS captain poll right now. Any thoughts, Chris?

vanilla said...

Ba is my captain this week... Swansea is a goal sieve on the road (when they're not playing away to Liverpool, that is).

Chris: another question for a future post... What do you think of Landon Donovan joining Everton for 2mos in January? He was a firecracker during his last loan spell there.

amtosh said...

Swapped out Kompany for Johnny Evans so that I could upgrade from HBA to Ramires.

Had high hopes for HBA, but he's disappointing me and it looks like they're bringing in Maiga who you'd think would start.

Seems like a round for goals and not for clean sheets with the good defensive sides playing away or against good opposition.

With that in mind, I've gone for 3-4-3 as follows:

Enrique P.Jones Evans
Silva Ramires Walters Bale
Adebayor Aguero Van Persie

Vorm Simpson N.Taylor Moses

I think it's offensively strong, but defensively suspect.

Cantona808 said...

First up, excellent blog Chris. Great to read an intelligent approach to Fantasy Football. Secondly, why don't you just consult the spread betting firms for accurate expectations of each team's goals. I think you'll find they're on the whole accurate or these firms wouldn't be in business. I'm talking about Sporting Index for example.

WS said...


A question for you :)

For captain this week, Sturridge or Adebayor?

Derek said...

I'm surprised given your top attacking team and the form of Ba that you didn't mention him as a potential captain.

I'm contemplating taking out Aguero and replacing with Ba (decent run of games coming) so I can get in a top mid fielder to replace my long standing misfiring Ramsey. for example Nani.

What you think?

Current team:

Enrique, Evans, Jones
Van De Vart, Ramsey, Mata, Eagles
Aguero, Ade, Van Persie

Subs: Taylor(swn), simpson, Tiote

kwandrew said...
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Matt Barker said...

This is my team. Should I captain Ba or Adebyor?

Jose Enrique, Taylor R, Jagielka
Bale, Silva, Nani, Dempsey
Ba, Adebyor, Van Persie

Davefevs said...

Good topics this week Chris....thanks.

Faced a bit of a dilemna this week re taking the 4 point hit to make two transfers....but decided to take the gamble. In middle table in my mini-league and wanted to start some early planning for upcoming fixtures and Spurs DGW20.

Although I expect Man City to beat Arsenal, I don't expect tghem to end their lack of clean-sheet form, especially with Zabaletta taking over at LB. I therefore got rid of Kompany at £6.1m....he's also started to get a few yellows and was lucky to stay on the pitch v Chelsea. Have swapped him with Gallas.

I've also got rid of Walcott, as compared to my other Arsenal player Song, has only scored a few more points for almost £3.0m more. I've replaced Theo with Nani, as I had no Man Utd players in the forward positions (only Jones).

So XI this week is:

Krul | Gallas, P.Jones, Enrique | Song, Adam, Nani, Silva | Adebayor (c), Suarez, Ba (v) | Subs: Ruddy | Brown, R.Johnson | J.Allen

I think the Xmas period will shape a lot of squads as we approach the next Wildcard phase. There are a lot of back-to-back homes and aways, and also potential for a bit of rotation as games come thick and fast.