Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Gameweek 36 Preview

Needless to say, this week is dominated by the double gameweeks, though I don't think they will all produce the bounty of points some expect. I am going to avoid dwelling on the obvious matchups as, for example, if you own Tony Hibbert you are obviously playing him, you won't consider captaining him and few will be considering transferring him in, so there isn't really a decision to be made there. Instead, I will focus on the top end of the market, which is where you will want to direct your transfer attention (captain picks will follow later or tomorrow) and at the bottom end of the market, where I will try and highlight some DGWs which aren't perhaps as good as they seem and aren't worth the cost to get access to them.

Top Shelf matchups (transfer targets)
Chelsea and Tottenham midfielders - these are by far the best fixtures for the week, and probably the only group I would consider paying 4 points for. Chelsea get two home games, though one tough opponent, while Spurs face two easier opponents but have to go on the road for one of the games. Both teams need to win if they hope to nab 4th spot, though some concern must at least be voiced over Chelsea's mental state after their triumph at the Nou Camp and hence the Champions League final lurking in the distance.

The conversation with these two teams needs to start with their elite midfield options with both Gareth Bale and Juan Mata making a lot of sense this week. If you find the Opta data to be persuasive, you're going to want to go with the former, who has inexplicably failed to find the net for 10 gameweeks despite taking 31 shots with 11 of them hitting the target. Over that same period Sigurdsson and Cisse have each hit the target 16 times, scoring 7 and 11 goals in the process. Now, we can talk about the quality of shots being taken, composure in front of goal etc all you want, but those totals for Bale simply aren't sustainable and if he continues to get into good positions, he is more likely than not to find the back of the net.

Mata has had an odd fantasy campaign, quietly racking up an impressive 145 points in his debut season, though never really capturing the imagination of managers with his ownership numbers being depressed all year. The appearances off the bench concern me, as does do his shot totals over the past handful of appearances, though at this stage of the season you're looking for upside and his four double digit gameweeks illustrate his credentials. The only appeal I see with Frank Lampard are his penalty duties and that isn't enough for me to part with 11m.

Van der Vaart is obviously startable this week too, but I have some concerns over his ability to start (and complete) two games in a week, plus of course his production has taken a steep decline in the second half of the year. I'd be willing to own him, but this is one case where I feel the stats overvalue him a touch and you need to exercise some caution before jumping on board.

Newcastle forwards - I've been saying for a few weeks that Cisse will surely be tackled by the regression monster at some point, but he keeps defying the odds and now has 11 goals from just 16 shots on target. As shown above, Newcastle's fixtures are good rather than great this week as they face two sides who have improved over the past month or so and very much have something left to play for. Cisse will figure prominently in this week's captain discussion, but for now we're focused on whether or not to bring him in. If you believe he can continue to score at his current rate, the answer is of course 'yes' as neither opponent this week are stout enough to totally cut off his supply of chances. However, if you factor in some regression along with his exploding ownership numbers, I am less inclined to put a stamp of approval on him. In a vacuum he makes a good transfer target, and a lack of other options might lead you to that conclusion, but again, I'm not sure I'd be paying 4 points for the privilege.

Demba Ba has actually registered just one shot less than Cisse over the last 10 games, but has only a single goal to show for it. Given his lower price tag he remains a budget option, though despite my concerns over Cisse's ability to convert shots at his current clip, he does look like the better option for the next couple of gameweeks given the way Ba has been pushed onto the flanks on occasion of late.

Verdict: Bale and Cisse look like the only elite options to me, though even with them I'm not sure I would be paying 4 points to bring them in, unless of course you're current starter is set to rack up zero points.

Good options, but be careful

Emmanuel Adebayor was all teed up to be my number one pick this week, so much so that I jumped in early last week to also take advantage of the 'easy' trip to QPR. I didn't however account for the apparent dressing room unrest/ 'hamstring' injury which kept Adebayor out and resigned Spurs to another miserable performance. How to treat Adebayor this week now looks tricky and you have to conclude that you can't be in a position to transfer him in with such uncertainty in the air.

Nikica Jelavic has been receiving plenty of attention over the past few weeks, but I fear he may be being overrated a touch coming into the double gameweek. A trip to Stoke is a tricky game at the best of times, and with little to play for, I'm not sure Everton will be ready for a potential battle that awaits them. Jelavic has scored with 5 of his 8 shots on target over his last 6 appearances, form which - like Cisse above - looks a touch unsustainable. He's a good play for the week for sure, and if you're looking for a 3 gameweek option his remaining fixtures are also reasonable, but I don't see him a slam dunk pick and would hesitate before using my valuable transfer on him with the other options available above.

Liverpool and Fulham midfielders / forwards - two games are obviously nice but Fulham don't travel well at all while Liverpool can't be counted on for anything at the moment. Go ahead and start the likes of Dempsey and Suarez but they shouldn't be transfer targets.

All defensive matchups - I wouldn't bet money on any of the double gameweek defensive options to rack up one, never mind a couple of clean sheets, thus they are unlikely to represent good transfer targets. The two exceptions I might make would be if (a) your current starter is injured/suspended and you've no depth to back him up or (b) your only options are from City/United and you are confident that they will accrue, at most, a single point (ie concede 2 or more goals). In that scenario, you only need your replacement to play twice to almost break even with any clean sheets/assists/goals being pure profit.

In that scenario, the choice looks to be between Liverpool, Everton, Chelsea or Spurs, who have varying combinations of good/mediocre fixtures. I might actually lean towards the cheapest of the bunch, with Everton having two promising defensive fixtures including one (FUL H) which is about as good as it gets. I don't personally like any of this group enough to pay for them, but I would understand the move if you need a big finish in your league standings.

Don't force the issue
Bolton and Stoke players, along with Fulham and Newcastle defenders seem to disprove the theory that two heads are better than one. For a double gameweek in the middle of the season there could be some value here as you try and time the pickup with a run of good games, but with so few quality options on these teams it just doesn't make sense to waste a valuable transfer, or worse, 4 points, to bring someone like M Petrov or Etherington in. It's still likely that you play anyone in this group, but don't get carried away with the ceiling for a group of players who are essentially just replacement level. 


5 Times said...

Great post Chris. This has re-assured me. I'm currently top of my league, but only have an 11 point lead. I had one free transfer this week and had to take out Walcott who was injured, so I brought in Pienaar earlier in the week.

I'm now left with the following team and was debating on whether to bring in Bale. To do this, I'd either have to take an 8 point hit, or remove Dempsey for a 4 point hit, which is madness!

I know my rivals all have Bale and Jelavic, so I'll just have to keep my fingers and toes crossed that they have poor returns.

My only other concern is who to captain... I think Tevez will score against United so was either thinking him or Pienaar, but nothing stands out.

Let me know whether you agree - here's my team:

KRUL (NU) - (Vorm (SWA))

LovelyJubblyLions said...

This article hasn’t considered the rotation risks for Chelsea and Liverpool players. Does the author know there is an FA Cup final the following weekend?

amtosh said...

I wildcarded this week and so I have 10 players with DGWs in my 11.

Friedel (Begovic)
S. Kelly Hibbert Enrique Shotton (Evans)
Mata Dempsey Bale (c) VdV (vc) (Moses)
Aguero Jelavic (Rooney)

Any changes you'd make?

Gummi said...

@LovelyJubblyLions: Chris (the author) is only recommending Mata and advising us to be hesitant about Liverpool and other Chelsea players.