Monday, September 24, 2012

Lineup Lessons: Gameweek 5

Mannone, Jenkinson, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Gibbs, Ramsey, Diaby, Arteta, Cazorla, Gervinho, Podolski
Subs: Martinez, Andre Santos, Giroud, Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Djourou, Coquelin.

Ramsey took an unexpected role on the right of the midfield five, presumably with the intention of getting a bit more defensive responsibility against the Champions. I don't see this as a sustainable trend though with so many other options lurking on the bench so there isn't much fantasy impact to report. I do believe Diaby is going to get a lot of minutes here and thus makes an interesting possibility to get access to this talented team if Cazorla and Podolski are out of your price range.

Gervinho is a tough man to forecast as while his price tag is low, he still looks a touch erratic and you have to think Giroud gets numerous chances to impress here. If you've made a bit of cash already and can afford to bench him, I'd guess he will represent good bang for your buck, but you need to accept that he will (a) be rotated more than others in his price bracket and (b) might be liable to more 1 pointers.

Aston Villa
Guzan, Lowton, Vlaar, Clark, Lichaj, Holman, Ireland, El Ahmadi, Bannan, Bent, Benteke
Subs: Given, N'Zogbia, Agbonlahor, Westwood, Bowery, Weimann, Bennett.

Benteke in for Weimann was the only real change here, but it could be significant in that it gives us another possible option in the emerging 6.0-8.0m group of forwards. He's looked decent in his two appearances this season, getting a debut goal and following it up with a decent effort here. This Villa side is very much a work in progress and I'm not crazy about the way Benteke and Bent fit together but it seemed to work for spells of the game and between them they enough quality to contribute this season. Villa ceded 61% possession against Southampton and have up 17 shots so my restrained optimism for Guzan, Lowton and Clark suffered a blow. Getting turned over by Southampton probably sounds worse than it is and I believe the Saints might surprise a few this year, particularly at home. The Villa defense, indeed the whole team may just be fantasy squad fillers who can be wheeled out at home if the fixture is right but haven't really shown enough to warrant every week consideration.

Cech, Ivanovic, Luiz, Cahill, Cole, Mikel, Oscar, Ramires, Mata, Hazard, Torres
Subs: Turnbull, Romeu, Lampard, Moses, Terry, Azpilicueta, Bertrand

This game will likely be pegged as a 'big team struggles to break down a small team' but in reality Stoke gave Chelsea a good game and were their equals for large stretches of the game. Chelsea probably had the better - and slightly more numerous - chances but managed to hit the target just four times all day. Widely held options Hazard and Torres managed just one and two shots each with neither player able to work Begovic throughout the game.

If I owned him, I would have captained Hazard this week as the fixture was just too good on paper, but I still believe he is overvalued and would place him below Cazorla and Bale and I'm still willing to see what happens with Silva in the next few weeks before I bail on him too. As for Torres, I just don't see enough on the field or on the stat sheet to suggest he should be owned over the likes of Tevez or Podolski and I can't justify the extra cost to get him over the Berbatov/Fletcher/Ba group. Oscar impressed on the day, looking lively and threatening the Stoke goal five times thus he could represent a useful option if he continues to get minutes in the future. With Lampard and Moses lurking on the bench I'm not convinced that will be the case but his 7.8m price tag means he's one to monitor. A quick look at the average positions of Hazard (#17), Torres (#9) and Oscar (#11) should concern anyone backing Chelsea assets as such narrow play rarely results in much joy.

Terry was surprisingly rested for this one and that the move really underlines my previous contention that Ashley Cole is the only man to target in this back line. His well taken goal will confirm that point for many managers but I would suggest you don't follow the inevitable stampede to pick him up, with Arsenal (A), Tottenham (A) and Man Utd (H) coming up in the next four.

Howard, Neville, Heitinga, Jagielka, Baines, Osman, Pienaar, Coleman, Fellaini, Mirallas, Anichebe. 
Subs: Mucha, Oviedo, Naismith, Distin, Gueye, Vellios, Duffy.

Everton have quietly become one of the best sources of fantasy assets in the league and deserve much more attention than they've been given (including in these very electronic pages). We've got nice consistency in the lineup here, with the only emerging question being how Anichebe is dealt with when Jelavic returns.

As I mentioned in this week's reader questions, I am now willing to consider Baines as a legit option, even if his 7.1m likely means he'll never match cheaper options in terms of value delivered. What he does bring, with Everton's impressive defensive numbers, is an ability to lead all defenders in total points and thus we can put value aside a bit given his overall upside. The next eight games look great and with City and United continuing to look comparably vulnerable, you can make the argument that he's the best defender by a small distance right now (Kompany would be close but he costs even more).  I'm far from willing to bail on United, and particularly City, defenders but I wouldn't blame anyone for cutting lose from that group to snag Baines for now.

Fellaini has been incredibly good so far and he deserves all the attention directed his way. He leads all midfielders in total shots and while his accuracy hasn't been as good as one would hope, the fact he's getting into such dangerous positions with consistency suggests future success is all but assured. I'm not ready to label him or Pienaar as 'must own' but with Everton's promising looking fixtures along with the fact that both look likely to play almost every minute of every game, it's going to be tough to not get some Everton coverage for the coming weeks.

Schwarzer, Riether, Hughes, Hangeland, Riise, Duff, Baird, Sidwell, Kacaniklic, Berbatov, Rodallega. 
Subs: Stockdale, Kelly, Kasami, Petric, Ruiz, Karagounis, Briggs.

Jol named an unchanged side this week which is most notable because it meant Petric (9% owned) remained out of the first team. Rodallega scored Fulham's first and thus Petric's absence may be longer than expected. With players like Lambert, Crouch and Kone available for a similar price it seems necessary to ditch Petric who might struggle to win his place back anytime soon.

This side continues to offer good fantasy options with a solid back line supported by some good budget options in midfield and up top. The fact they scored twice and won on the road should be real encouragement to anyone debating whether or not Berbatov is good enough to start every week.

Reina, Kelly, Skrtel, Agger, Johnson, Gerrard, Allen, Shelvey, Borini, Suarez, Sterling. 
Subs: Jones, Jose Enrique, Sahin, Assaidi, Henderson, Carragher, Fernandez Saez.

No real lineup notes here going into the game, though a couple of story lines emerged during the 90 minutes, all with a similar theme. Agger, Kelly and Borini all picked up injuries with Agger's looking particularly bad (possibly medial ligaments). Kelly was the cheapest way to access this unit, and as the under player under 6.0m, the only realistic option. Carragher and Jose Enrique look like ready made replacements but I have concerns about the lack of pace in a Skrtel-Carragher combination and so I'm hesitant to buy into anyone here despite the upcoming games offering some promise.

The injury to Borini, not to mention his general ineffectiveness, lends further weight to Sterling's cause and it looks like he could be sticking around in this side for a while. The returns have been modest to date but he has solid underlying stats and remains a very good squad player at just 4.5m (I do still have some concerns about Assaidi getting increased minutes in the future though).

Man City
Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany, Lescott, Clichy, Javi Garcia, Toure, Silva, Sinclair, Aguero, Dzeko
Subs: Pantilimon, Kolarov, Rodwell, Barry, Nastasic, Tevez, Balotelli

The return to Aguero along with the benching of Tevez essentially ends Tevez's reign atop the safety-upside matrix as he now faces a scrap alongside everyone else to even stay on the field. At 9.9m, his rotation is easier to swallow than van Persie's was, but it still begs the question as to who Mancini believes is his first eleven. Over the course of the season I've not seen anything to suggest that his best front six isn't Garcia, Yaya, Silva, Aguero and Tevez plus one other (Nasri, Balotelli or Dzeko) but Mancini doesn't appear to be as convinced. Tevez remains very ownable and Aguero should now be in our thoughts again but more analysis on this will be required in the near future.

On the defensive side of the ball, I'd say this lineup plays more often than any other but I'm still scared to recommend anyone other than Kompany, who appears overpriced. Ditching this unit for the short term appears more tempting by the week.

Man Utd
Lindegaard, Da Silva, Ferdinand, Evans, Evra, Carrick, Giggs, Valencia, Kagawa, Nani, van Persie.
Subs: De Gea, Anderson, Hernandez, Welbeck, Scholes, Cleverley, Buttner

In case you aren't there yet, I think we need to conclude that De Gea is done for the foreseeable future: this is not just a 'kick up the ass' message. The good news is that in Howard and Vorm you have a couple of mid-range replacements for less money, while there are also a number of good rotation pairs, which is the strategy I would personally follow. We should also note that Buttner made way for Evra as expected so I hope you weren't one of the ~30k managers who transferred him in. He'll likely get some minutes as the season progresses but that spot is very much Evra's to lose.

The front five looks like the first choice lineup though this could all change when Rooney returns. The whole team played fairly deep this week and there really wasn't much to pick between Nani, Valencia or Kagawa, none of whom really did much in the game. We need a separate post on this but we are approaching a situation where no one from either Manchester team can be relied upon every single week to even play, never mind deliver.

Harper, Perch, Williamson, S Taylor, Santon, Ben Arfa, Anita, Cabaye, Gutierrez, Cisse, Ba
Subs: Elliot, Bigirimana, Shola Ameobi, Tiote, Obertan, Sammy Ameobi, Tavernier

Perch came in for the injured Simpson here, but that was the only change for Pardew's men. Both Simpson and Coloccini are said to be close to making their returns so this defensive unit should be even stronger in coming weeks. They remain one of the better budget options around.

I have some concern that long term the small size of this squad will catch up with them, but for now, just enjoy the fact that Newcastle offer some legitimately good options who don't come with a huge risk of rotation, which is becoming harder and harder to find this year.

Ruddy, R Martin, Barnett, Bassong, Garrido, Snodgrass, Howson, Johnson, Surman, Hoolahan, Morison
Subs: Bunn, Turner, Holt, Jackson, Pilkington, R Bennett, Tettey

Holt and Jackson were both replaced here for Hoolahan and Morison, throwing doubt over yet another solid option from last season. Hoolahan had a pretty solid game and would be a really nice option if he was deployed this far upfield regularly, but we don't have enough to go on to suggest this is the case.

Norwich have obviously struggled for goals so far this year and it therefore seems somewhat strange to rotate your 15 goal striker, even if he is scoreless this term. The team's stats suggest they should be in the middle of the pack in terms of goals thanks to solid shot numbers, though you might like to see a bit more possession, particularly when they go away from home (perhaps that was the thinking this week in going with an extra midfielder). This team has fantasy potential but it's tough to single anyone out to target when few of the attacking options look guaranteed their place in the lineup. Snodgrass remains a solid pickup but other than him it's tough to recommend anyone else.

Julio Cesar, Onuoha, Nelsen, Hill, Bosingwa, Wright-Phillips, Faurlin, Granero, Park, Hoilett, Zamora
Subs: Green, Diakite, Derry, Cisse, Mackie, Dyer, Ehmer

We continue to see fluidity in this team, though this week that was largely due to injuries. Ferdinand, Fabio and Johnson all sat this one out meaning Onuoha, Hill and Hoilett got rare starts. We talked in the reader questions about M'Bia edging Nelsen out when he's fit but given that he's not yet fit enough for the bench, plus the injury to Ferdinand, Nelsen owners are likely safe for now.

In the front six my position is unchanged from past weeks: I see some talent here but not much of a gameplan or solidified lineup and thus a distinct lack of fantasy value.

McCarthy, Gunter, Gorkss, Pearce, Shorey, McCleary, Guthrie, Leigertwood, McAnuff, Pogrebnyak, Le Fondre
Subs: Taylor, Karacan, Mariappa, Hunt, Church, Robson-Kanu, Cummings.

I didn't see this one but the fact that Reading managed just one shot on target all day is a worrying sign for a team whose budget options (Guthrie and Pogrebnyak) I liked as decent 3rd sub bench fillers. They probably remain just that, as they provide consistent minutes with some upside for the minimum and a lack of other minimum price players emerging means they are still viable. That said, if I was wildcarding or had a transfer to burn I would prefer Kacaniklic, Puncheon and Sterling over Guthrie for the short-medium term.

Gazzaniga, Clyne, Yoshida, Fonte, Fox, Puncheon, Schneiderlin, S Davis, Lallana, Lambert, Ramirez
Subs: K Davis, Rodriguez, Ward-Prowse, Do Prado, Richardson, Mayuka, Seaborne.

A couple of interesting developments here though I might suggest that both could feature in the upcoming 'dousing the fire' post. Gazzaniga taking over between the sticks gives us our second 4.0m 'keeper option, joining Reading's McCarthy as viable minimum price option. That's great news for those who like their 'keepers cheap, but even if you subscribe to the rotation policy, I'm not sure Gazzaniga is going to give you sufficient value for money and the extra 0.5m is really worth trying to scrape together to upgrade to a Jaaskelainen or Begovic (or even Mannone if you believe that move is permanent).

As for Ramirez, he's going to look great on occasion and might well provide value in the future, but he faces a huge culture shock in the coming weeks and it's rare - though not unheard of - for comparable players to have immediate success. I don't personally know much about Ramirez so this is no slight on his individual abilities, just a warning to be careful about overreacting to certain traits a player can exhibit which don't always correlate to success. At 6.0m he's definitely worth adding to your shortlist, I just don't see the argument for acting now and grabbing him over the likes of Nolan, Snodgrass et al.

Begovic, Huth, Shawcross, Cameron, Wilson, Kightly, Adam, Whelan, Nzonzi, Walters, Crouch. 
Subs: Sorensen, Jones, Owen, Whitehead, Upson, Etherington, Shotton

Geoff Cameron came into the side at right back and Walters was pushed out side rather than occupying his favoured position just off the front man, but otherwise this side remains pretty settled. Stoke gave Chelsea a good game without really creating too many clear cut chances and thus it's tough to really pass any further judgement on their attacking options.

Mignolet, Gardner, O'Shea, Bramble, Rose, Larsson, Colback, Cattermole, McClean, Sessegnon, Fletcher
Subs: Westwood, Kilgallon, Vaughan, Meyler, Campbell, Wickham, Saha

Bramble came in for the injured Cuellar, though that's not expected to be a long term ailment so it's not worth making a move there, unless you want more certainty for the promising game against Wigan this week, in which case O'Shea is your only option.

The rest of the side remains unchanged, and like local rivals Newcastle, the squad depth may concern fans and management but for fantasy purposes it is a real boost as players like McClean, Sessegnon and Fletcher look virtually undroppable.

Vorm, Rangel, Tate, Williams, Davies, Ki, de Guzman, Michu, Hernandez, Routledge, Graham
Subs: Tremmel, Britton, Dyer, Monk, Shechter, Moore, Tiendalli

Tiendalli was fit enough to make the bench here so it seems that Davies will be the starter at left back until further notice. Needless to say that at 4.0m he makes a very solid 4th or 5th defender, even if Swansea have struggled a bit in the last couple of weeks. Chico should return this week which gives them an upgrade over Tate and with Wigan and Reading both to come at home in the next three gameweeks, it would be premature to give up on the likes of Vorm and Rangel just yet.

Hernandez got the start as expected, though I was really surprised to see that move being at the expense of Dyer rather than Routledge. Dyer won't have done himself any favours with his red card, though at least he won't miss any Premier League time directly, as his suspension will be served in the midweek League Cup fixture. With increased competition and a slight decline in Swansea's fortunes, Dyer's owners may well want to start looking elsewhere, and they should probably start with Everton's talented duo of Fellaini and Pienaar, or perhaps Nolan if money is really tight.

Friedel, Walker, Gallas, Vertonghen, Bale, Lennon, Sandro, Dembele, Sigurdsson, Dempsey, Defoe
Subs: Lloris, Huddlestone, Dawson, Falque, Townsend, Caulker, Mason

Sigh. Bale was one of the last elite options without any significant question marks, and then he had to ruin everything by lining up at left back. Granted, it turned out well in the end but a spell in the back line for any kind of prolonged period will seriously damage Bale's fantasy value. I wouldn't be worried yet as Naughton should be fit for next week and thus Bale can push forward again, but it is something to monitor. That move would leave either Dempsey, Sigurdsson or Lennon out in the cold, thus making it hard to get behind any of that talented trio for now. The same goes for Defoe, who continues to score, but has the proverbial sword of Damocles hanging over his head in the form of Adebayor, who too should be fit again by next week. Throw in Villas-Boas' questionable tactics and this team is looking harder to get behind by the week.

West Brom
Foster, Jones, McAuley, Olsson, Ridgewell, Morrison, Mulumbu, Yacob, Brunt, Gera, Lukaku
Subs: Myhill, Rosenberg, Long, Dorrans, Jara, Dawson, Fortune

We had a whole new look to the front end of this team with Lukaku, Gera and Brunt all coming in to join Morrison in a good looking quartet. Lukaku was the subject of this week's Moneyball piece over at Fantasy Football Scout, and without rehashing that post, his underlying stats really are something. Competition from Long, Rosenberg and, to a lesser extent, Odemwingie (who has generally been deployed in a wider position) remains a concern but you have to think that Lukaku is the most talented of the group and Clarke clearly has ambitions to push this team on, and faith in Lukaku to help them do it. There's a lot of good mid-level forwards at the moment but Lukaku should be right in that group if you're looking to zig while others zag.

The back line looks nice and settled and continues to represent good value for their managers. Foster was highlighted in the aforementioned rotation piece, given the way his fixtures gel with Begovic: for me the best combo around right now.

West Ham
Jaaskelainen, Demel, Collins, Reid, O'Brien, Diame, Noble, Nolan, Vaz Te, Cole, Taylor. 
Subs: Henderson, McCartney, Tomkins, Benayoun, O'Neil, Jarvis, Maiga

There were a few questions this week about McCartney's status, and while it's premature to say he is done for good, this lineup should serve as a decisive factor in your decision to ditch him if you own him. Demel is now widely owned but still represents outstanding value at 4.1m and is the natural replacement for McCartney (I would avoid O'Brien as I'm not sure we've seen the end to that battle just yet).

This front six still isn't quite settled as Jarvis looks likely to get more minutes going forward while a couple of the regular starters continue to somewhat struggle. I wouldn't be surprised to see Taylor make way for Jarvis or even Benayoun in the coming weeks while Maiga could also cause some confusion in the future. Nolan remains the main man here (another 7 shots this week) with Vaz Te hanging on if you're looking to do something different.

Al Habsi, Boyce, Caldwell, Ramis, Figueroa, Beausejour, McCarthy, Watson, Gomez, Maloney, Kone
Subs: Pollitt, Jones, Crusat, McManaman, McArthur, Boselli, Miyaichi

Di Santo missed out this week after picking up a calf injury in training so Gomez came and played alongside Maloney just behind Kone as a lone striker. Wigan enjoyed 65% possession and managed 19 shots but still came away empty handed which has to be a concern for Martinez, and to a degree fantasy managers. Given the upheaval we've seen in so many teams though, the stability offered by Maloney, Kone and (when healthy) Di Santo shouldn't be ignored and thus they very much remain decent fantasy options.

Despite the advanced positions taken up by Boyce, I still don't see enough from this side defensively to warrant spending the required 5.0m to get him. 


Mark Jones said...

nice one Chris.
I have jumped early and done the Kompany / Baines transfer. Baines up 0.1 since i made transfer so not alone in this one.
Cheers Mark @JOnespipe

Mitchell Stirling said...

I can vouch, having see him play a handful of times for Gillingham, that Gazzaniga is quite the shot-stopper.

Gummi said...

No love for Zamora. Granted, he only has 7 shots and 3 chances created, but he still has 3 goals in four games.

With all the attention on Defoe, Berbatov, and Ba I forgot about Zamora.

stooshermadness said...

Chris - good post as usual. I am going to suggest that despite Tevez's rotation this week, it's still well worth owning at least 1 of Aguero, Tevez or RvP, depending on your budget and preference. At the end of the day, MNC and MUN will likely be top scorers and even if those 3 each only get 22-28 starts, they should all finish near the top of the goalscorers table. And with so many forwards in that 6.0-8.0 price range who have hit the ground running or promising future returns (great call on Lukaku and Gummi points out an unsung Zamora), it should be easy to keep one of the MUN/MNC men despite the occasional rotation frustration.
One other point, I always thought the Hazard price rises were insane vis-a-vis Mata or Lampard, but now Lampard has missed 2 EPL starts. I sold him on in the blank week with the idea of bringing Lampard back in, but 2 of 5 games on the bench suggests he won't always be in RDM's plans. Your take on Lampard, whose FF history is amazing.

Chris Glover said...

Mark - looks like Baines is going to jump at least 0.2m I don't object to the move and indeed would probably make it myself if I had scope to.

Mitchell - shots are a nice equaliser for keepers from weaker teams but the Saints have barely even sniffed a clean sheet so far, so I'm struggling to see where his points will come from, unless he racks up seriously monster save totals plus pen saves (like Al Habsi last year).

Gummi - I'm trying to move away from player analysis here, to put that in the 'fanning the flames' piece. I'm trying to cut this one down to just team news so I can get it posted soon after the final game of the week. Zamora will definitely need to feature in that coming post. To be honest I didn't even notice had 3 goals. Interesting pickup for sure.

Stoosher - I agree we're realistically going to have to own at least one of those elite options, but picking which is going to be extremely frustrating. Right now I'm happy to stick with Tevez.

I'm out on Mata because of his deep positioning (which was better this week however) and I'm not sure Lampard is even guaranteed a place in this team with Oscar looking decent too. To lean on some old favourites, I'd suggest Gerrard still has some value to be squeezed but Lampard is likely done as a fantasy star, barring injury to at least one of his teammates. I like Hazard quite a bit, though as I've said before I don't believe he's good enough to suggest he's essentially a must own, as was many manager's assertion during the first couple of weeks.

John Doe, 2008 said...

Quick question for the group -

How much do you value a price drop? Specifically, how much price drop is necessary for you to take a 4 point hit to replace a player?

John Doe, 2008 said...

Great note on Chelsea's positioning in the forward line. It was obvious watching the game and the post-game maps made it even more apparent. The map on Fantasy Scout is an absolute hoot.

Mitchell Stirling said...

Absolutely Chris, I finally ditched De Gea this week and Gazzaniga wasn't a consideration but while he isn't a al-Habsi I'd expect a few points if he gets the minutes. It would be interesting to see which keepers picked up the most points that way actually.

Andrew said...

I just transferred out De Gea for Foster, so I have Foster and Begovic. What's the best way to figure out what matchup is more favorable in any given week?

John Doe, 2008 said...

@Andrew -

Gummi said...

@Chris: Fair enough. I just had the same experience as you, just noticing that he had really scored three goals.

@Mark: I made the move also, swapping Zabaleta for Baines. His stats are just crazy for a defender.

@Stoosher: I think it must only be a matter of time before Man Utd and Man City start picking their game up and pounding some teams. I think it is then that you want your heavy hitters. I'm keeping Tevez myself, unless the rotation hits really hard.

@John Doe, 2008: I've been very patient myself, holding on to Bale, Silva, and Nani for several Gameweeks. I finally ditched Nani for Fellaini and paid my second four points of the season. The reason I do this is because last season I focused so much on maximizing finances to the detriment of points gained (I think). So I'm trying to not get caught up in the "Bandwagon" game.

vanilla said...

"Bramble came in for the injured Cuellar, though that's not expected to be a long term ailment so it's not worth making a move there"

... Martin O'Neil says:
"Carlos Cuéllar has had a hamstring problem so I think he will be very doubtful for not just this game but the next couple of matches. It's a bit disconcerting but you just have to get on with it."

Anonymous said...

Hi Chris,

What do you make of the Tevez situation now. Sub last week, 120 minutes in the League Cup, big rotation threat every week which means difficulty in ever capataining him.

I am tempted to swap him out for Jelavic/Ba/Berbatov/Fletcher (which?), as the headache Tevez will cause me now isn't worth it, I feel.

What are your thoughts?

Thanks as always for the terrific blog,

mulligan said...

I can't decide which two forwards to take between Ba, Fletcher, & Berbatov. My other striker is Podolski. Do you have any opinion to help tip the scales or another option I have overlooked?

dnivy said...

"Quick question for the group -
How much do you value a price drop?"

I usually think -- when I'm considering a price drop-transfer -- whether I would go through with it every 38 gameweeks.
Then I realize that, over 38 gameweeks, such transfers would see me buy a player who then gets unavailable (as you usually would do these price drop-transfers early in the week)for the upcoming match at least a couple of times throughout the season.
Then I say to myself: Chase the points, not the price.
(And then I end up with doing the irrational transfer anyway, as I absolutelly hate my players' price dropping.)

Another question for the group: Fellaini or Pienaar?
It seems everyone is going for the Belgian, so I'm trying to justify to transfer in the South African.

John Doe, 2008 said...

"(And then I end up with doing the irrational transfer anyway, as I absolutelly hate my players' price dropping.)"

LOL. Seems like we are in the same boat!

Piennar vs. Fellaini -

I was huge of Peanut over Sideshow Bob earlier this year, but Fellaini remains in a forward position and continues to wreak havoc in the penalty area. He leads everybody in Penalty touches and is 3rd in shots behind Defoe and Suarez. Statistically, he looks every bit like the ball hawking forward he has been. On a solid squad with absolutely no rotation issues, he is an absolute steal even as he continues rising.

With that said, there is always the threat he could drop back to central mid as needed. however, his upside is such that I would pick him over Pienaar if I were starting over.

FWIW, I am a happy Pienaar owner and expect him to continue to be excellent (and score a few more goals) going forward.