Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Gameweek 27 Lineup Lessons

Szczesny, Sagna, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Gibbs, Arteta, Song, Walcott, Rosicky, Benayoun, van Persie
Subs: Fabianski, Diaby, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jenkinson, Gervinho, Chamakh, Miquel.

This should be a team on your radar given that they are in the enviable position (for non-Arsenal fans anyway) of still having something to play for, favorable fixtures and no other cup distractions. Gibbs has returned to give a cheaper option at the back, and while this is far from an elite defense, there may be some value to be squeezed out of these fixtures for the young left back.

In midfield I like Walcott as a differential semi-elite midfield for the remainder of the year, and he could be one of a handful of top players likely to play all the available minutes from here on in. The price is a bit higher than you'd like but with remainder of the group seemingly unable to stay on the field with any consistency, I'd suggest he may be worth the premium. There are no more superlatives to describe Van Persie's season and despite his wide ownership, it looks all but impossible to drop him for the rest of the season, barring injury.

Aston Villa
Given, Hutton, Collins, Cuellar, Warnock, Petrov, Herd, Albrighton, Ireland, N'Zogbia, Agbonlahor. 
Subs: Guzan, Heskey, Bannan, Weimann, Lichaj, Baker, Gardner.

Villa aren't a great defensive side but they do bring one element that is very useful in fantasy circles: predictability. Their clean sheets have come against Fulham, Wolves, Wigan (x2), Swansea and Stoke, with only Fulham being a great achievement there. The good news is that this suggests they can get the job done when expected to, which will be the case in upcoming fixtures against Fulham (H), Bolton (H) and Stoke (H) in the next 6 gameweeks. The unit still needs to be rotated rather than started every week but at ~5.0m the likes of Warnock and Hutton should deliver nice squad value if you can afford it.

With Bent out, there is essentially nothing to like going forward, as Agbonlahor has been comatose since the Halloween decorations came down and N'Zogbia seems to switch between promising asset and bench fodder on a weekly basis. Pass.

Robinson, Orr, Dann, Hanley, Martin Olsson, Petrovic, Nzonzi, Pedersen, Formica, Hoilett, Yakubu. 
Subs: Bunn, Dunn, Modeste, Marcus Olsson, Goodwillie, Vukcevic, Henley.

Can I just pass on this whole team? It seems that Yakubu's goal every shot wasn't all that sustainable after all . . who knew. Oh right, we all did. As if this team wasn't bad enough, they now have added a third Olsson which means I needed to redo my spreadsheet for all Martin Olsson's previous gameweeks. Just give it up already, Kean.

Bogdan, Steinsson, Knight, Wheater, Ricketts, M Davies, Reo-Coker, Ream, Pratley, Miyaichi, Ngog
Subs: Jaaskelainen, Robinson, Muamba, Eagles, Petrov, Klasnic, Sordell

I hate to throw the Wanderers under the bus too, but there's not much to like here either. If this was September I'd be tracking Miyaichi very carefully but despite his promising start, I'm not sure he's going to have enough time to settle in the team and contribute sufficient points to warrant anything more than a spot starter. On the bright side, the next three home games are somewhat promising (QPR, Blackburn and Fulham) so I guess he makes more sense than some budget mids but there's a distinct Championship feel to this side's current composition, and that's not something you want to bring into your fantasy team.

Cech, Ivanovic, Luiz, Cahill, Cole, Ramires, Essien, Lampard, Sturridge, Drogba, Mata
Subs: Turnbull, Romeu, Torres, Mikel, Malouda, Meireles, Hutchinson

I don't put too much stock into the sudden reversal of form we see just because a new manager arrives, especially when that new manager was sacked by West Brom a year ago. Still, with such an abundance of talent, we need to at least monitor this side, especially given that Terry's injury now makes the back line look more settled. Bosingwa's return could muddy those waters again, but you'd be surprised if Cahill isn't around for good, thus representing good - but by no means outstanding - value. With City, Arsenal and Liverpool to come on the road as well as Spurs at home, Cahill is probably only a rotation option at this point and should be viewed alongside the Gibbs and Warnocks of the world, rather than as an alternative to the elite group of defenders.

Going forward the talent still stands out here, though I'd need to see more before I'm willing to invest, despite the obvious differential opportunities. Despite the aforementioned fixture list, only GW29 looks like a no-go for the mids and forwards so the likes of Mata and Sturridge will still be in play, with the latter looking particularly attractive given his price tag, and thus the ability to spot start him in Chelsea's favorable games which include Stoke, Wigan, Newcastle, QPR and Blackburn at home.

Howard, Hibbert, Heitinga, Distin, Baines, Drenthe, Fellaini, Neville, Pienaar, Cahill, Stracqualursi. 
Subs: Mucha, Jagielka, Jelavic, Gueye, Barkley, Osman, Coleman.

I'm trying to stay loyal to my Northern roots, but there sure are some uninspiring fantasy squads in the North West this season. That said, I do like defense a lot for pretty much the remainder of the season and Hibbert represents outstanding value at just 4.6m. Good luck to anyone who thinks Baines can generate enough points to justify the extra 3.2m over his teammate (he currently averages 0.4 points per 90 minutes more). I want to put Drenthe on here but until he starts a couple of games back-to-back he's too pricey to have pickup 16 minutes of action.

Schwarzer, Hughes, Senderos, Hangeland, JA Riise, Duff, Murphy, Dembele, Dempsey, Johnson, Pogrebnyak
Subs: Stockdale, Orlando Sa, Diarra, Etuhu, Frei, Davies, Halliche.

If they'd had Pogrebnyak all season and if one of their cheaper defenders had held down a place in the team all year, Fulham would probably be my fantasy team of the year. As it is, you're still stuck with the choice between cheap and unpredictable (Senderos / Hughes / Kelly) or expensive but solid (Riise / Hangeland) at the back. My default position is to lean towards Hughes who is generally first choice at one position, though even he has seen some rotation this year. The fixtures are a touch up and down to justify investment in the pricier players for me, but I would take a long look at the cut price Schwarzer and Hughes, especially if you need to make a move this week or next.

Dempsey is chewing through his 5th straight 100 point season and is well on pace to smash last year's impressive 168 point mark. Still one of the more underrated players in the league, he has genuinely improved some part of his game every season, carving out a niche in the league as a truly talented finisher playing in midfield. Now his value has been bid up to the mid-nines he is less appealing of course and his owners should maybe start thinking about their next move, after the Swansea and Norwich home fixtures are in the rear view mirror. Murphy just continues to tick along with another 100 point season and great reliability for a strong fourth midfielder.

Pogrebnyak probably deserves a post of his own given how quickly he's produced since arriving in the transfer window, though a huge word of caution needs to be issued in that he has hit the target 5 times so far for Fulham, scoring all five times. However accomplished his is, I can guarantee he will not continue that rate in the future so if he doesn't start getting more chances, expect the production to dramatically slow down very soon.

Reina, Kelly, Skrtel, Carragher, Jose Enrique, Spearing, Kuyt, Henderson, Adam, Downing, Suarez. 
Subs: Doni, Carroll, Maxi, Coates, Shelvey, Flanagan, Bellamy.

Starting with this week's double gameweek I love this defense and Jose Enrique once again looks like he might be worth holding despite his swelled ownership numbers. The forecast data has Liverpool's worst defensive display as a 1.35 GPG with no game standing out as one where the Reds don't at least have a chance at a clean sheet. Yes, you'd like their form to be more consistent but given the fixtures and the settled nature of the his back line, you can't ask for much more at this stage of the season.

Luis Suarez has played four less games than Aguero, but yet has still registered three more shots than the Argentinian. He has however been outscored 16 to 6. It seems Suarez is destined to be an outlier in the 'goals per shots' rankings, likely attributable as much to the nature of the shots he takes as to luck.With the double gameweek he makes the most sense of any Liverpool player this week though I can't say I'm overly enthusiastic about his prospects. If you were thinking of ditching an Aguero or Adebayor anyway, it makes sense to make Suarez your stop gab, but their upcoming opponents are fairly tough defensively and I wouldn't necessarily want to bet on Suarez for the remainder of the year. The rest of the side looks fairly settled but still uninspiring.

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

An incredibly frustrating week on a personal level, as I own six City players in one league or another but only Yaya got to play in this one. Going forward I guess the silver lining is that Aguero and Silva now have had their rest and should slot back into the side sooner rather than later. Richards' continued struggles makes this back line somewhat hard to pick from, as Clichy and Kolarov are also subject to rotation themselves. Lescott looks fairly secure though and is probably safe enough to warrant saving the 0.4m over Kompany.

Man Utd
De Gea, Jones, Evans, Ferdinand, Evra, Nani, Carrick, Scholes, Young, Rooney, Welbeck. 
Subs: Amos, Anderson, Giggs, Park, Hernandez, Fabio Da Silva, Rafael Da Silva.

With the exception of Giggs dropping in and out of the side, this looks like a fairly settled first team squad. Evans remains an outstanding purchase at the back and I cannot understand why his ownership is so low. Smalling is on his way back to fitness but I can't remember the last time he was chosen ahead of Evans, who is a reliable and experienced head in this back line. More likely would be Smalling slotting in at right back with Jones moving into midfield once again. Either way I love Evans for the remainder of the season.

Offensively, Young will be back on many managers' radar after his big game but he has been incredibly inconsistent, generating over half his points from two fixtures (GW3 and 27). Given that he is owned by 10% of managers and Nani is now down to 17%, I'd take Nani until Young can string a couple of decent performances together.

Krul, Simpson, Williamson, Coloccini, Santon, R Taylor, Cabaye, Tiote, Gutierrez, Ba, Cisse. 
Subs: Elliot, Guthrie, Ben Arfa, Lovenkrands, Shola Ameobi, Obertan, Perch.

This defense is not playing well at the moment, and deserves to be a rotation option at best. Simpson and Williamson are sufficiently cheap that this remains a possibility but I'd be moving R Taylor if you still hold him as even with a midfield role, it looks unlikely he will generate enough points to justify his price tag and high ownership. Ba and Cisse are clearly a promising duo up top but they've registered just 8 shots on target between them in the last four games, compared to, say, Balotelli who registered 7 in his last two games on his own. Only Norwich (H) in GW29 looks like a great fixture in the next 5 so Ba owners might want to consider looking elsewhere, or at least be sure to hold other players to rotate in when Ba's fixtures look the hardest.

Ruddy, Martin, Ward, Whitbread, Naughton, Pilkington, Howson, Johnson, Elliott Bennett, Surman, Holt
Subs: Steer, Morison, Jackson, Hoolahan, Fox, Wilbraham, Ryan Bennett.

Holt has emerged as the better option than Morison over the past month and given that he leads all forwards in shots over the last four games, he should be able to continue to have some joy, particularly given Norwich's promising fixtures for the next five weeks. The same somewhat applies to Pilkington and Surman who continue to produce decent underlying stats, with Pilkington looking the more impressive and probably worth the extra investment at this stage. Still, he is only a decent 4th or good 5th midfielder on a consistent basis.

Kenny, Onuoha, Ferdinand, Hill, Traore, Derry, Barton, Wright-Phillips, Buzsaky, Taarabt, Zamora. 
Subs: Cerny, Gabbidon, Bothroyd, Mackie, Young, Smith, Taiwo

Taarabt is generating excellent underlying stats once again, but we've heard this story before. His high shot totals scream out of someone who should find the back of the net soon, but without watching his games more closely I wouldn't like to say this isn't just a case of shooting on sight. The fixture list doesn't look too promising and this team isn't playing inspired stuff right now, but if you're getting desperate, Taarabt still represents a pretty significant upside given his price tag and low ownership numbers.

Begovic, Wilkinson, Shawcross, Huth, Wilson, Shotton, Whelan, Whitehead, Etherington, Walters, Crouch
Subs: Sorensen, Jones, Fuller, Diao, Pennant, Upson, Jerome.

Excitement about their back to back clean sheets should be extinguished by the next three fixtures (Chelsea (A), Spurs (A) and City (H)) making this unit a sell unless you can stash them as your third sub for the next month. Not much else to like here and this is a stay away team for at least 3 weeks.

Mignolet, Bardsley, O'Shea, Turner, Richardson, Larsson, Cattermole, Gardner, McClean, Sessegnon, Bendtner
Subs: Gordon, Bridge, Campbell, Kilgallon, Colback, Vaughan, Meyler.

Sunderland's rave reviews have been tempered somewhat by the last three fixtures, but in fairness they didn't look overly promising on paper so I'm not ready to write this unit off based on the recent games. The next three fixtures look very promising and with Bardsley fit once again the back line should remain settled. Sessegnon's absence is a huge blow and probably rules out owning any non-defenders from this side, other than the budget McClean who continues to impress on the wings.

Vorm, Taylor, Williams, Caulker, Rangel, Britton, Allen, Sigurdsson, Dyer, Sinclair, Graham
Subs: Tremmel, Tate, Routledge, Monk, McEachran, Moore, Gower.

Swansea continue to represent a consistently cheap source of fantasy points, with Sigurdsson currently the pick of the bunch. His underlying stats and abundant set piece duties speak to someone who should be able to continue his success for the remainder of the season. That said, the next four games look particularly tough so I might suggest some caution before piling on the bandwagon if you haven't already jumped on. Even with tricky fixtures, that front four looks like a decent rotation group but be careful not to expect fireworks against the best sides.

Friedel, Walker, King, Kaboul, Assou-Ekotto, Lennon, Livermore, Sandro, Modric, Adebayor, Saha. 
Subs: Cudicini, Giovani, Defoe, Dawson, Kranjcar, Rose, Nelsen.

Van der Vaart's fitness continues to be unclear with the official site once again suggesting he has a 75% chance this week. He and Bale are both said to be fit for tomorrow's FA cup fixture so if they come through that unscathed, you can probably pencil Bale in for an immediate return and expect Van der Vaart to follow shortly thereafter (on the basis that his absence is less pressing with Saha ready to fill in). You have to like Spurs' fixtures for pretty much the remainder of the season pushing Adebayor and Bale towards the top of the elite pile once again. Aside from the trip to Chelsea, the defensive fixtures also look fairly good making Walker and Assou Ekotto a formidable pair to own. For what it's worth I would lean towards Walker based on his lower ownership though Assou Ekotto does continue to enjoy slightly better offensive stats.

West Brom
Foster, Reid, McAuley, Olsson, Ridgewell, Andrews, Mulumbu, Morrison, Odemwingie, Fortune, Thomas
Subs: Fulop, Long, Brunt, Dorrans, Shorey, Tamas, Cox

Odemwingie is obviously the headliner here but I'd exercise some caution before getting too excited as his 5 goals from 8 on target over the past 6 weeks is clearly not sustainable or indicative of a player likely to score at such a great rate going forward. I don't really like the fixtures with four road trips coming up, though he would of course be a great start in the two home games (Newcastle and Blackburn). He's certainly ownable but I wouldn't put him in the same class as Ba/Dzeko/Balotelli and I may still even side with Sturridge ahead of him.

Al Habsi, Alcaraz, Boyce, Caldwell, Figueroa, Gomez, McArthur, McCarthy, Beausejour, Sammon, Di Santo
Subs: Kirkland, Crusat, Ben Watson, Moses, Rodallega, Diame, Stam.

Keep moving folks, nothing to see here. With Moses benched there's a real possibility this team goes the whole season without a single player reaching the 100 point mark.

Hennessey, Zubar, Stearman, Berra, Ward, Kightly, Foley, Henry, O'Hara, Jarvis, Doyle.
Subs: De Vries, Fletcher, Hunt, Johnson, Milijas, Bassong, Jonsson.

I don't see much value here until Fletcher returns as the midfield points tend to split between Jarvis, O'Hara and co while the defense is just a train wreck (19 goals in the last 6). 


Steven said...

Chris, would one be crazy not to have Suarez this weekend as their captain? I honestly think Rooney and RVP have better chances to shine in their single fixtures.

CDI said...

Hey Chris, glad you blogging again. Do you think Morrison from WBA has value as a 4th or 5th MF option? The fixtures are so so but WBA are hitting some form right now.

I didn't ever wanna say this but with Moyes giving Drenthe some props after the weekend an with a DGW coming up is there value is risking him for a 2nd/3rd time? The fixtures are far from great and I might have to drink myself to sleep if it goes wrong but what if...

CDI said...

I decided to W/C this week and would like your opinion on my new team if your not too busy. Thanks.


Enrique, Skrtel, Evans

Bale, Dempsey, Young, Drenthe

Suarez, Rooney, RVP

Mignolet, Sigurdsson, BAE, Caulker

Steven said...

I like it CDI, minus double Liverpool coverage. Don't understand that as they aren't exactly an elite defense. Should try for City cover if you can.

amtosh said...

How are Liverpool not an elite defence?

Their 25 goals conceded is second only to City. At home they've only conceded 10 goals in 13 games.

I think they have 10 clean sheets so far (could be wrong) in 27 games. City have 13, Utd have 11, Spurs have 10.

In my opinion, they're an elite defence. The only question mark now is if Agger's replacement can maintain the defensive solidarity, which I doubt.

Carra's past it and Coates is probe to mistakes. Skrtel is a beast though, Kelly is excellent and Enrique is consistently good.

Steven said...

amtosh: I'll admit, my comment was a bit ridiculous. I was thiking in line that Agger is out and I'm not as confident in their ability for clean sheets without him. Obviously Skyrtel/Enrique/Johnson can hold down the fort, but Agger is a rock. Carra is so damn slow.. Anyway, I'm probably going in without a Liverpool or Everton player.. it's either that or eat points to do it.

chemikills said...

Ireland has done well for Villa in SS striker role which he seems to have nailed down now since the absence of Keane.

Hughes as the best Fulham defender? He's been out of the 1st team for most the season with Senderos and Kelly preferred. Kelly was only out due to his injury imo

Beadling Boy said...

One of my favorite things that Chris does on this blog, top 2 probably, is the "Lineup Lessons".

Simply awesome, Chris. Keep up the great work - I look forward to reading "LL" every week!

Mitchell Stirling said...

I had an interesting week. On the bad side Aguero (c) Silva (vc) and Richards didn't feature nor did Dawson at any stage so I was lumbered with a captain scoring zero this week. Normally the set up for a mare of a week but thankfully I also had Dempsey, Sigurdsson , Vorm, Shotton, RvP and Pogrebnyak (6th hat-trick this season I've had out of 16 in the league!) and ended up with 79 points. Slightly frustrating as were I an owner of Kompany and Balotelli I could have been in with a shout of being in the top 50 or so for the week.

I have a bit of money to dump Mata out for Bale after his expected rest and Dawson needs to go as well and Richards missing clean sheets is starting to annoy me now. Might look to double up on Liverpool at the back potentially.

Mitchell Stirling said...
This comment has been removed by the author.