Saturday, September 1, 2012

Gameweek 3 reader questions

A couple of general points before we dig into the questions. First, apologies for not getting to one of these last week. I was behind on getting the site to a reasonable place before the season and have been playing catchup since. Regular service should now resume. Second, thanks for all the kind comments on the blog. I'm glad my ramblings help some of you make your weekly decisions and maybe provide a bit of entertainment along the way. Finally, I got a number of responses about my question about naming 'assisting the assist' and I'm ashamed to say I'd never heard the term 'hockey assist' despite living in Canada. Anyway, that's perfect, so from now on all those defense splitting passes which earn Mata zero points will be known as hockey assists, or perhaps hA.

Onto the questions:

Dembele is going to Tottenham afterall. To me that makes him a viable option on a better team at a reduced price. I feel like he will be in the starting line up soon. What is your new opinion of him now that the this trade seems inevitable?

From the several times I have seen Fulham over the past few years, Dembele is generally a player who has impressed and this looks like a good capture for Spurs. I had some concerns about where exactly he will play, but digging a bit deeper into his past performances and talking with smarter people than me, he has been deployed in that central role on numerous occasions for Fulham and brings some defensive ability (though probably not to the level of Modric). Like the linked article suggests, I don't think Dembele can really be played in that midfield-two against the league's best sides but, in the same way that Valencia gets the most minutes at United because of his defensive play, Dembele could steal some minutes on the right wing because of his responsibility at the back.

If he gets minutes though, will he be a fantasy success? I'd say he can be, but more in the vein of Alex Song or vintage Essien than an elite fantasy option. At 6.0m there would be value in those numbers though, particularly if he can also get some minutes further up the field (the chance of that was just reduced by the surprising Dempsey signing though). I was overly excited by the Allen deal then found him simply sat too deep so far to effect the fantasy points column, but Dembele's prospects look slightly rosier. Still, I see him more of an excellent 5th midfielder than a great every week starter.

1. What's your take on West Brom's Morrison? He has 4 goal attempts, 3 chances created and a buttload of crosses, partly because of set pieces, in the two games. I've been impressed by Clarke's West Brom.

2. Even if Ferguson doesn't play Rafael in the big games he's cheap enough (5.5) to comfortably sit on the bench once in a while. It's the home games against lower placed sides that I would rather he not be benched (he's in my team, obviously). I even think he could be afforded a shot at claiming the right-back spot as his own this season.

Agree on Morrison and West Brom - a pretty good looking team which suddenly has some upside offensively. At 6.0m he is good rather than great value but if the fixtures work out well he should make a good investment at some point this year.

I am starting to think the same about Rafael - that he might only be rested against the best teams. My only question is Phil Jones who I like quite a bit. Carrick and Cleverly have both been decent this year and with Scholes and Anderson waiting in the wings, I'm not sure that Jones gets a tonne of minutes in midfield. That means he is likely to vulture minutes at right back and given that he's better defensively than Rafael yet also offers some value going forward I'm not sure how those minutes shake out. This United defense is really hard to predict right now and given that they haven't looked great, it isn't necessary to take too many risks to get a piece of it. He's certainly an option but there's still risk there.

Peter B
What are your thoughts on Nani. Is he on the out? I'm thinking of replacing him with Kagawa, Hazard or Cazorla?

I still believe that Nani has a place in Ferguson's thoughts and remains ahead of Young in the pecking order. However, he is clearly below Valencia at this point and with Welbeck and van Persie also able to shift out wide, minutes are going to be hard to come by. I'm far from ready to write Nani off (many did the same after Young's arrival last year) and with Rooney out I like him to have some success, but long term he is a big risk which might not be worth taking. Those three new arrivals you named have been mighty impressive and should all be strongly considered for fantasy consideration (indeed I am debating whether or not to build my team around all three). Hazard has grabbed the headlines but Cazorla actually has the best underlying stats of any midfielder to date and also probably comes with the lowest risk of rotation. Chelsea have the hardest fixtures of the three so Hazard isn't the automatic pick some are suggesting, but it's tough to bet against him when he has simply been outstanding.

Charl Du Plessis
I've still got Aguero and I'm sitting with 3 Chelsea players (including Mata) and 1 Reading player (Shorey), meaning I've got 5 players who aren't playing. Is it worth using my wildcard, or should I rather just offer 4pts and have a full starting XI for this GW, then re-evaluate my options next week when Chelsea are playing and Aguero is nearing a return?

This is a tough one. I generally caution against the 4 pointers but it's a shame to burn your wildcard if you're generally happy with the rest of your team. Aguero looks like he could return after the international break so isn't a must sell anymore, though it still hurts to have so much cash riding the pine. I think I'd avoid using the wildcard and pay to ditch Mata as (a) assuming the player you target plays you only need a further 2 points to offset your fee and (b) at this point in this season he doesn't look he can match the fantasy output of some of the other elite options. Short term I would target Bale or Kagawa but if you're looking long term Cazorla should also be in your thoughts.

Having Friedel and Green, I'm risking having no 'keepers from next gameweek, given that Lloris transfers to Spurs. Is it worth using a wildcard simply to change 'keepers? (Would also use it to get rid of Tierney and N'Zogbia, and transfer in Hazard -- but apart from that my team is looking good).

Again, I'd save my wildcard and in this case I'd actually be willing to pay the 4 points too. It's a shame to take points off the table but even the worst keepers have a good shot at 3 points each week with the save points they get and you'll need to make a move soon as Friedel is now benched and Green is a very shaky option. I'm not crazy about the 5.5m options but assuming you don't have any spare cash to nab De Gea at 6.0m, Vorm and his upcoming fixtures looks like a fine investment.

I think if you're wildcarding this early you must find price increases to compensate for the lack of flexibility you'll have later in the season when your opponents can reshuffle.

I've yet to be totally convinced that having a bucketload of cash at the end of the season is necessary, but you're right that making a bit of extra money can help you get a slight edge. That said, I still personally only use potential price rises as a tie breaker, preferring to target players I genuinely believe in (who, if successful will see price rises anyway).

One minor tip for future reference though, if you are playing your wildcard, be sure to make that decision early and as soon as the gameweek begins buy everyone whose price looks set to rise in the week as you might make a couple of hundred grand out of it, selling them for whoever you really want on Friday evening/Saturday morning.

Vertonghen or Vermaelen? Which do you think will score more goals? Keep more clean sheets? Verm is proven in the EPL, will Verts even start every game (he is cheaper though)?

I tend to shy away from predicting defender goals as very few players have shown an ability to generate offensive points with any consistency. Vermaelen and Baines are two players I often cite as exceptions to that general premis, though they are priced so high that any upside in their offensive ability is already paid for. Arsenal have been very good at the back so far this year which leads me to pick him over Vertonghen, whose Spurs side have been only okay and has yet to show much of that offensive ability we've read about. The sticking point though is that price tag. If it was me, I'd just grab Jenkinson or Gallas and use my 1.5m elsewhere but if you're dead set on one of the pair I like Vermaelen more.

I wonder your thoughts on De Gea. I think you touched on it in your lineup lessons, but he's another big-ticket player who hasn't performed to expectations so far this year.

De Gea was an omission from my 'players to stick with' piece as I very much believe United will be fine at the back this year and that, at 6.0m, the premium to grab De Gea over the likes of Vorm and Howard is worth it. I'm playing my wildcard this week but will stick with De Gea who has a decent run of fixtures and will shortly welcome back a wealth of talent in front of him. Vorm has been excellent and Swansea's fixtures are solid but I'll still take De Gea with the 0.5m premium.

So is it a WC for you as I see. I would like to ask you how many hits are too many? I am currently in a position where I would need a 12pt hit to field a starting 11 do you advise this or should I use the WC?

Hmmm, 12 points is alot. I'd say it partly depends on why you are so limited this week. If your players are injured/sold/benched then the 4 pointers hurt less. If it's just a case of owning too many Chelsea players, I'd more more tempted to maybe take a 4 point on someone like Mata but just accept a crappy week to hold onto the likes of Hazard. If you're happy with 11 or 12 of your team's players then the wildcard seems premature but if you have players out this week who you also doubt long term, then fire away.

I'm holding Siggy and Silva (as well as Carzola, Michu, Snodgrass) and based on manager comments both seem risky for minutes at least short term, despite good matchups. Should I ride it out or replace one? Kawaga, Bale, Hazard are some replacements that come to mind, but I'll want to play all 5 this week as I'm holding Torres.

First off, that's a hell of a midfield: great job. I am convinced that Silva will play a substantial amount of minutes over the coming weeks, but I would concede that Mancini has surprised me before. The arrival of Maicon is a further complication as a 5-3-2 / 3-5-2 system now looks more likely which pits Nasri and Silva in direct competition for that one advanced midfield spot (assuming Yaya and a defensive midfielder take the other two). I'm still confident in Silva but if you have your doubts the aforementioned Kagawa, Hazard, Bale and Cazorla are all great options who are tough to pick between. I like Bale and Kagawa for the short term more but over the next 10 weeks or so it's really hard not to say Hazard but I might suggest Cazorla thanks to his underlying stats and security. So close though.

Sigurdsson is a risk with Dempsey and Dembele coming in but with van der Vaart heading the other way I see no reason to panic just yet. Dembele should slot into the centre is most games to replace Modric and I'd venture that when he's pushed forward it will be to replace the defensively-shy Lennon against the league's better teams. Where Dempsey fits in is less clear and so I wouldn't be thrilled about buying either but if you liked Sigurdsson a week ago I'd be okay with holding on to him for now until we at least know what system Villa-Boas will play.

Looking at Yaya Toure (big fan of Yaya and great FF points/min played), Jarvis (the Carroll move makes Jarvis a lot more attractive and Jarvis has great FF history - past seasons of 142 and 133 points), Pienaar (looks a new player since his return to Everton), Kagawa (the flavor of the day, but good attacking numbers too), Valencia (excellent FF point-getter) or Cazorla (maybe get on the bus before it takes off?). I am leaning to Yaya, both becuase its a good move as a 1-off for this GW only or as a long-term move. Thoughts ?

As I've said above I'm not sure I can pick between Kagawa and Cazorla right now but I'd put them both ahead of Valencia in the short term (let's see if he can avoid right back duty for a sustained period). The difference between that pair and Yaya is close as while I still worry about Yaya being deployed too deep to pickup points, when he's given free reign he delivers with great consistency. Javi Garcia and Rodwell give City good options to play in the defensive roll which means Yaya's positioning should remain fairly comparable to last season. He lacks the upside of a Cazorla or Kagawa but I agree that if you want to grab someone to hold down the fort until the dust settles at Old Trafford, White Hart Lane and the Emirates, Yaya is a reliable pickup to plug a big hole.

Ton the Don
Should I drop Cisse and/or Suarez in favor of Torres and Berbatov? With Berbatov be a good value? And who should I look to upgrade the midfield with? Toure seems dangerous in light of De Jong leaving.

I still have faith in Cisse (assuming you mean Papiss) and Suarez to be solid this year but with their lofty price tags I believe we can do better. Tevez is the obvious pick, though he isn't a total lock to play with Aguero coming back soon and Balotelli/Dzeko waiting in the wings. Torres has been better this year for sure, but be careful as he has only hit the target twice this season with both shots going for goals. You have to like his 8 total shots but he's going to need to be a bit sharper or the regression monster will come a knocking.

Berbatov jumps close to the top of my monitor list but he will remain there until he proves his fitness and we are sure he will leap ahead of Petric on the depth chart. You have to think he was all but promised first team football to facilitate the move but at 6.9m he only represents a slight discount from Ba who brings a tremendous balance of upside and security.

I think Toure should continue to play in the slightly more advanced of the two central midfield roles with Javi Garcia and Rodwell each able to play the more defensive role. As for whether Yaya deserves to be owned over the more attacking options from other teams, see the earlier responses for my (non committal  answer.

Bryan McKenna
Worth taking a hit for Defoe to Ba tonight? My free transfer is tied up with VDV to Bale at the moment.

Defoe probably isn't going to start this week so if you've no subs to come in this becomes a close call. If you have any subs who are likely to play I would avoid taking the hit as you're banking on Ba to score just to break even. If however Defoe's absence would leave you with 10 men, Newcastle's favourable fixture might just make this worth a shot.

Great post as always, thanks for the help! Makes me want a Newcastle defender on my team, but I haven’t watched a lot of their games. Who do you think is guaranteed a spot? S. Taylor? Simpson?

Newcastle have one of the more predictable lineups around with the whole back four looking fairly settled (Santon-Coloccini-S Taylor-Simpson). I have some concerns that R Taylor will get the odd game at full back so given the respective price tags I like S Taylor here, who also brings a nice threat from set pieces.


Gummi said...

Thanks for the post. This was a wonderful one. It's instructive to see how you think about these questions.

In the end I didn't get Morrison (but he's on my Watchlist) and stuck with Rafael. I acknowledge that he is a risk, but think he is worth it.

I especially like the Wildcard ponderings as I went through the exact same thing this week. In the end, I was happy with most of my team and paid 4 points (which I almost never do) to replace Mata and Ramires with Silva and Bale (I had spare cash).

Chris said...

Chris, I have enough money to buy either Cazorla OR Hazard before the break. Cazorla just had a great game against Liverpool and I think he can keep up the production. Hazard's price has already gone up .5m and I'm worried about missing out. Who do I take as my transfer, given that the next game is after the international break?

Chris said...

Also, what's your opinion on Van Persie? Already at 13.3 but with a nice home fixture against Wigan coming up (and with his recent hat trick) it might be worth picking him up, if not just for the week.

Bryan McKenna said...

Cheers for the reply on Friday :-)

highspire said...

I love De Gea but it's simply not practical to own him. He will be rested for league matches for Lindegaard, especially once cup matches start coming. Or he'll be straight benched like today. United's defense doesn't seem ready to not concede yet which doesn't help. And now with Kagawa playing up and more a 4-3-3 look United seem ready to concede goals as long as they score more than they concede.

I just don't see him getting more than 134 points, his total from last season. Most the 5 & 5.5 starting keepers had more points that 134 last season. A Vorm or a Foster is a much better choice as they'll always play unless injured, they'll keep sheets, and cost less.

Gummi said...

@highspire: It's starting to look that way. Although with Ferdinand now back and Vidic should be getting better by the game, we could finally start seeing clean sheets.

Benching after cup games is a risk though.