Monday, January 23, 2012

Pure Juice Wildcard

I played my wildcard this week and a few readers on Twitter asked where I finally landed. Here's the new team and the rough thought process behind each player.

Vorm kept his place and is almost undroppable at this point as (a) he's awesome and is one of the best value players in the game and (b) it'll cost me 0.6m to get him back if I sell him. Barring injury he's on board until at least GW36 (his last two game are tough so if I'm desperate for GK health I could ditch him).

I almost went with Lindegaard, and may well land there long term but decided that at least in the short term, Mignolet was the better pick. Even after this week's clean sheet, Sunderland still get Nor (H), Sto (A) and WB(A) in the next four weeks so Mignolet should prove to be a nice mid-term option.

I stuck with Jose Enrique, Richards and Assou Ekotto as I couldn't find too many premium options to warrant the loss of money I'd suffer ditching any of the above. That said, I don't think either Enrique or Richards are now undroppable and can see the argument behind ditching either. If the fixtures had fallen more favourably for Man Utd, I may well have dropped one of the pair for Evans to free up cash to use elsewhere. Cahill was also a consideration but it seemed premature to grab him before (a) he's played a game and (b) we're sure Chelsea are going to get any better at the back (ironically they went and kept a clean sheet without him).

The new arrivals were Bardsley and Kelly, though the former would have been Brown if I was more certain he would play. I will likely make that move next time I have a spare transfer to use. As mentioned above for Mignolet, Sunderland are a great medium term play and while I'm a bit nervous to double up, I figure I will often be playing Vorm anyway. It's going to be rare that I play five defenders so I wanted a budget option here with Simpson and Evans getting strong consideration. I held off on Evans due to United's tough couple of upcoming fixtures but will probably go there long term. Similarly with Simpson, I didn't see enough value there to warrant grabbing him when the upcoming games were so tough. I'm not crazy about Fulham's defence but Kelly is a decent fifth option who might get the odd game.

Silva was the only holdover here and I envision him holding a first team place all season. He brings an almost unrivaled combination of upside and consistency and I wouldn't consider dropping him, no matter who the opponent.

This was the area I struggled most with as I had two objectives (1) try and avoid chasing points and (2) save enough cash so I can afford whichever two forwards I want. All things considered I decided that Bale was the midfielder I wanted most after Silva, but given his tough fixture this week (there's no way he scores against City, right?) I wanted a different one week option, with the intention of swapping him out for Bale next week. With Van der Vaart and Nani facing relatively tough opponents, the only man I really considered for that role was Dempsey.

[I think there's an important point to emphasize here. Generally people make one of a couple of mistakes when wildcarding. One, they overly gear their team towards the short term, loading up on players with one or two good games or with short term playing opportunities, thus requiring multiple transfers in the near future. Or, two, they setup their team purely looking to the future and then get to next week with no use for their free transfer. The best method for me is to set your overall team, then find someone who has a bad fixture this week and replace him with a one week 'loan' to be dumped next week. Just make sure you have sufficient room in your budget to cover any price rises].

The American obviously proved to be a good pickup and with him getting West Brom at home next week, and Bale getting Wigan, I now have another tough decision to make which I didn't plan for (a good problem to have though). A lot of managers were all over Sessegnon and Walters but for me the decision in that ~6.5m range wasn't close. Sessegnon's underlying stats are much more impressive and I feel he has a much better chance of matching his first half success than Walters does. I like Sinclair too thanks to the set pieces but Swansea's midfield looks crowded and half the teams in the league still haven't yet won 4 pens, so it's tough to see him matching that total again in the second half.

That left me ~10.5m to fill my final two midfield spots so I had to decide whether to go with a couple of 5 million guys or 4.5 - 6 combo. I opted for the latter based on the fact that I knew I'd play my forwards almost every week and was happy with my defence, thus meaning I only needed four reliable mids (and could therefore go super cheap with one of the picks). I struggled with both picks, looking at the likes of Ben Arfa, Pilkington, Henderson, Drenthe, McLean and a host of Swansea players before settling on Murphy and Surman. Murphy was the pick due to his set piece duties and relative consistency (7 games with 5 or more points this year) while I like Surman's recent underlying stats, most notably his key passes. Aside from the aforementioned potential Bale move, this is the area of the team I am least satisfied with and I would imagine I'll use a couple of transfers in this area over the coming weeks.

No need to talk about Van Persie who was always going to hold his place. Long term I will probably target Ba, but in his absence I love Fletcher who is cheap enough to let me grab another elite option. With Chelsea looking fairly average I decided Sturridge wasn't worth the extra outlay so Fletch got the call. That left a final decision of Rooney or Aguero. Again, long term I might go for Ade (so I can keep Bale and Dempsey in midfield) but with him out and for the week I didn't want a ~10m asset sat on the bench as soon as I played the wildcard so he was out of contention. Rooney and Aguero have both gone quiet in the past couple of weeks but I'm sure both will be fine and found it hard to find anything to distinguish them. In the end then, it was simply a case of value for money, and it's tough to argue that Rooney is 1m better. Given my team isn't particularly valuable, I can't afford to waste cash and thus Aguero got the call (I then captained him which was the only real downer on a good first week with the new team).

It was a good start this week but I'm a bit concerned that I haven't gotten enough differentiation in the team and will probably end up using my other wildcard sooner rather than later (aiming for GW30). With the elite options dominating it's tough to not try and grab as many of them as possible, which then limits what you can do elsewhere. We'll see how things pan out in the coming weeks, but at least so far, I'm ahead of where I was.


amtosh said...

I still haven't used my wildcard, I was going to use it last week and probably should in hindsight since I had probably my worst points week and got caught by a chaser in my minileague. I'm holding the slimmest of 1 point margins over 2nd place with a sizeable gap between us and the rest.

The logic behind it was that there should be a few transfers this week and I wanted to be able to grab the players such as Cahill who transfer to better teams at a reduced price. Do you reckon there's value in that approach? Or are the unknowns (whether they'll start, whether they'll perform) too risky for you?

Bitzoboard said...

My problem of playing fantasy football is to watch the team I support face the players I own. As a result, I transferred Dempsey out from my WC team (in the last few hours), and planned to bring him back in the next 2 weeks. (gutted!)

How many times I will learn that a decision I made in the last minutes is always a bad move.

Ramzy said...

It is true that you should play your wildcard and set up your team for the long term but the points total I got this week has left me scarred & with nightmares! That forced my hand to play the play the wildcard and I was looking for an immediate bounce back thinking there were midweek games this week but it turned out not, too late I guess. Ok enough with my ramblings, what do you think of my team here;
BAE Evans Richards Simpson Kelly
Bale Sess Dempsey Silva Valencia
RVP Aguero Helguson

I know the team looks a little bit generic with Helguson been the only 'clear' differential but there are n't many better options that could fit my budget.

Andy Alcott said...


I used my wildcard this week and I'm surprised how similar our teams have turned out:

Taylor R, Taylor, Brown, Cahill, Evans

I made the decision to swap Enrique and BAE for Brown & Cahill. Your point about Brown being injured has concerned me - BAE worried me with Spurs' next 6 fixtures. I went for the longer term option with Evans. I also brought Cahill in to try and pre-guess the market.

Silva & Bale would have cost me far too much money and are proving such good FF value that I cannot consider replacing them. I thought long and hard about replacing Nani for Dempsey to free up some cash (gutted that i didnt). Dyer & Sessegnon are strong 4th and 5th midfield options.

I swapped Adebayor & Ba for Ageuro and Leon Best who I thought would pick up game time in Ba's absence. I think once Spur's rough fixtures and Ba returns from ACON are out of the way i'll bring them back in. Aguero was choice of captain an that failed.

Gummi at said...

The most interesting choice is Murphy and Surman with perhaps your doubling up on Sunderland also worth noting.

What's your take on Welbeck? Could it be worth the risk to swap him out for Rooney to be able to Swap Fletcher for Aguero (or even Walters for an expensive midfielder)?

mulligan said...

Hi amazing blog which I love reading every week.

My team is becoming very similar to a lot of others out there and since I am 50 points behind in my work league should I look to differentiate?

My team is Lindegard*, Vorm. Brown*, BAE, Enrique, Richards, Simpson. Bale, Silva, Dempsey*, Sessegnon, Dyer. RVP, Ageuro, Helguson*. (*player wildcarded this week)

Offensively it is very similar to the guy in top spot but I feel I have the edge over his weak defense. I have been chipping away 5-10 points into his lead for the last few weeks but he has slowly copied my forwards and worried he will do the same to my defense.

I have no wild cards left and neither does he.

vicky said...

my current team
no wildcards left..have 2 ft in hand and 3.2 in bank..
any changes needed to the starting 11?? and captaincy??
besides,was planning to upgrade moses to someone better based on form and fixtures..and to bench sturridge for next gw....
who to change moses to???or shall i hold with my ft longer...
valuable suggestions from anyone much appreciated...
pls do help...
thanks in advance...

Davefevs said...

Interesting read Chris.

Bitzoboard - I know the rarely pays off does it!

Here's my team following my WC:

GK: Mignolet, Krul ~ nice rotation of home fixtures and Sunderland performing nicely under O'Neill.

DEF: Cahill, Evans, Senderos, Caulker, Shawcross ~ I accept its a little light, but if Cahill comes in he makes a good cheap Chelsea Defender. Ferdinand and Jones's injuries strengthen Evans as a short-term option.

MID: Silva, Bale, Sessegnon, Dyer, Surman ~ whilst comitting to 3 Forwards, I'm happy with the first 3 above, with either Dyer or Surman to make up the 4 if so. Dempsey was an option, but Forward options ruled that out.

FOR: Aguero, Rooney, Dzeko ~ plumped for Man City's good short-term fixture list, but enough money in the bank to upgrade to an Adebayor or Suarez (after ban) if need be. Alternatively a Fletcher or Morison or Graham would give the option to allocate another elite MID...however I can't trust Nani, although Valencia looks a good option. Balotelli 4 game ban (if it happens) will strengthen Dzeko in short-term.

I got 50 points with it this week that saw me progress into mid table in my League.

John said...

My preference is to have a single elite striker that i can reliably captain every week, RvP, + 2 inform cheaper strikers backed up by a solid mid-range midfield; Sess,Bale,Dempsey,Silva,Valencia. Thoughts?

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