Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Lineup Lessons: Gameweek 31

Arsenal
Fabianski, Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Arteta, Rosicky, Ramsey, Gervinho, Cazorla, Giroud
Subs: Szczesny, Vermaelen, Podolski, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Coquelin, Jenkinson, Gibbs

Fabianski got the start between the sticks and despite conceding in what looked like a very promising defensive fixture, he'll represent tremendous value at the GK position if he can keep that job. I wouldn't bet on that for the long term but if your holding someone who looks playable in virtually every game remaining (like Begovic, for example) I'd be okay taking that risk as, if nothing else, it'll free some cash up rather than holding two 5.0m options, one of whom will possibly never play. I'm amazed how Podolski has been marginalised in the second half of the season but needless to say he, along with the other midfield/forward hybrid options don't look very ownable right now. Cazorla was a great play this week due to the fixture but I wouldn't get too carried away with his success as the underlying stats are still only so-so and he doesn't carry the kind of upside you get with Bale or possibly Mata. That said, the fixtures continue to look promising and in Walcott's absence he's the safest way to tap into this Arsenal side.

Aston Villa
Guzan, Lowton, Vlaar, Baker, Bennett, Sylla, Westwood, Bannan, Weimann, Benteke, Agbonlahor
Subs: Given, El Ahmadi, N'Zogbia, Delph, Bowery, Dawkins, Lichaj

Not too much excitement here and N'Zogbia's place on the bench confirms his brief flash of fantasy relevance was merely a mirage. Somehow Benetke continues to put up excellent stats in this side and remains very ownable despite his lack of surrounding talent (though to be fair Weimann and Agbonlahor are a decent duo).

Chelsea
Cech, Azpilicueta, Ivanovic, Terry, Bertrand, Mikel, Lampard, Moses, Oscar, Marin, Torres
Subs: Turnbull, Cole, Luiz, Ramires, Hazard, Benayoun, Ba

Benitez was up to his old tricks, rotating Hazard, Mata, Ba and Cole with one eye on the upcoming FA Cup fixture and his team was duly punished by a Southampton side who are continuing to impress after a shaky run of form threatened to drag them into the relegation fight. Given the fact they won the game, the future headaches are likely to continue (especially as they are also still in Europe), starting with the loss of their double gameweek in GW33. This may however provide an opportunity to mix and match assets to take advantage of more doubles, so long as sufficient planning is undertaken. They do play in Europe this week but the game is at Stamford Bridge, and after this week's loss at Southampton, one would imagine the majority of the fantasy stars will be restored this week. Despite his couple of goals of late, the uncertainty surrounding Ba's playing time prevents me from throwing him into that category I'm afraid.

Everton
Howard, Jagielka, Heitinga, Distin, Baines, Coleman, Gibson, Osman, Mirallas, Jelavic, Anichebe
Subs: Mucha, Oviedo, Naismith, Hitzlsperger, Barkley, Stones, Duffy

Without seeing the game it's hard to tell from average position charts, but I believe Everton spent at least part of this game with a back three, which fits their personnel quite nicely, allowing Heitinga and Distin to play, while avoiding the awkward shoe-horning of someone into that right back spot who doesn't really fit. The key for fantasy purposes would be Baines' potentially advanced role, though the data from this one game doesn't suggest a radical change. Everton's fixtures make me really question whether this move would be enough to compensate for a presumed reduction in defensive point potential.

Fulham
Schwarzer, Riether, Senderos, Hangeland, Riise, Duff, Karagounis, Sidwell, Dejagah, Ruiz, Berbatov
Subs: Etheridge, Frimpong, Richardson, Hughes, Rodallega, Frei, Emanuelson

Nothing really to note here with little interest in this team other than the usual suspects in defense and Dimitar continuing to Dimitar. Be careful with those fixtures though before penciling the Bulgarian in for the remainder of the year.

Liverpool
Reina, Johnson, Agger, Carragher, Jose Enrique, Lucas, Gerrard, Henderson, Coutinho, Downing, Suarez
Subs: Jones, Sturridge, Coates, Suso, Sterling, Shelvey, Skrtel

Sturridge starting on the bench was a real blow as he was forecast for a big game by the model but one certainly wouldn't expect that to be a trend and the former Chelsea man looks set to be a good play again this week. With other double gameweek options developing, it's possible that Sturridge is the better Liverpool front man to keep here, freeing up the Suarez-level money to use on the van Persie's of the world when playing twice in a week. Not too much else to note in this side, and while I've been impressed with Coutinho's on the field work, his underlying stats are underwhelming thus he remains a very speculative 7.0m flyer rather than a logical investment of mid level cash.

Man City
Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany, Lescott, Clichy, Nasri, Barry, Yaya Toure, Silva, Dzeko, Tevez
Subs: Pantilimon, Kolarov, K Toure, Milner, Sinclair, Garcia, Aguero

I've long given up speculating on this lineup and the thought of Aguero finishing the season with less playing time than Andreas Weimann and Jamie Mackie is enough to bring one to tears, but alas, Mancini has shown distain for winning games all year so let's move on. The team fared just fine without the Argentinian this week and have created a decent haul of chances of late, suggesting there's hope that some value can be squeezed from this team for the remainder of the season. You wouldn't want to invest this week of course with a trip to Old Trafford on deck but after that they face a fairly favourable schedule and if the team suggests they're ready to show their true talent they could represent some useful high end differentiation, particularly in Silva and Aguero (if he's played).

Man Utd
De Gea, Rafael, Smalling, Vidic, Buttner, Valencia, Anderson, Carrick, Young, Kagawa, Rooney
Subs: Lindegaard, Evra, Evans, Nani, Cleverley, Powell, Welbeck

Widespread changes here, as expected, with the Chelsea game just two days later, so we shouldn't read much into any of these decisions. With United no longer competing on any other fronts, we will hopefully see the starters returned to the first team for the remainder of the year, though the fact that the title is also virtually over does increase the risk of players being given the odd game off to give youngsters their games or give players with single digit appearances enough games to earn a winners medal. The loss to Chelsea also guaranteed the double gameweeks for GW33, and the likes of van Persie will become hot topics in the next week or so.

Newcastle
Elliot, Simpson, Yanga-M'Biwa, S Taylor, Anita, Cabaye, Sissoko, Gutierrez, Obertan, Gouffran, Cisse
Subs: Harper, Perch, Good, Gosling, Birigimana, Marveaux, Campbell

At this point in the year, we would normally be concerned that a team like Newcastle might take their proverbial foot off the pedal with nothing left to play for, but after some poor results and form, they find themselves in a position where they're not technically safe from relegation. For fantasy purposes that is arguably a good thing as it ensures the team will continue to play hard, though that still doesn't answer the question of who one would want to target here. The starting lineup is pretty settled other than Obertan and Marveaux but finding value is still somewhat tricky.

Norwich
Camp, Martin, Turner, Bassong, Garrido, Howson, Johnson, Snodgrass, E Bennett, Hoolahan, Kamara
Subs: Steer, Whittaker, Holt, Fox, Becchio, Tierney, Tettey

We're seeing rotation up front between Holt, Kamara and Becchio, though with three starts in a row and some solid underlying stats, I would probably lean towards Kamara if pressed. Given his price (5.0m) and the arguable position that van Persie is a must own player for United' double, it's possible that he might have a place in our thoughts given a lack of too many other 5.0m options, especially given the home fixtures against Swansea and Reading in the next three weeks. The rest of this side is fairly predictable, though unfortunately so are the mediocre returns.

QPR
Julio Cesar, Bosingwa, Samba, Hill, Traore, Townsend, Mbia, Jenas, Taarabt, Zamora, Remy 
Subs: Green, Park, Mackie, Granero, Onuoha, Ben Haim, Hoilett

Can we stop talking about this team yet? In reality their season is over, though Remy at least gives us fantasy fans something to talk about. 11 SiB in the last five games is a decent haul and offers promise for the final weeks of the season, starting this week with a home game against Wigan. If you're sat on a ~7.0m player and could use the extra million to significantly improve elsewhere I'd be interested in Remy, but considering the weakness of his team, I'd be hesitant to put too much faith in him continuing to score goals at his current rate.

Reading
Taylor, Kelly, Pearce, Mariappa, Shorey, Leigertwood, Karacan, Guthrie, McAnuff, Robson-Kanu, Pogrebnyak
Subs: McCarthy, Gunter, Le Fondre, Hunt, McCleary, Morrison, Akpan

Remy stops us ignoring QPR altogether, while Reading's version of that player can't get in the first team. Bad news for them but good news for me as I don't need to waste any more precious kilobytes talking about this awful side.

Southampton
Boruc, Clyne, Yoshida, Hooiveld, Shaw, Schneiderlin, Cork, S Davis, Puncheon, Lambert, Rodriguez
Subs: K Davis, Fonte, Ramirez, Fox, Forren, Ward-Prowse, Do Prado

Clyne and Puncheon appear to have been reinstated after brief absences and can probably both be owned again with confidence (though you'd be wanting to rely on them as good bench options rather than true every starters). Rodriguez has been putting up some very useful numbers of late and will be touched on in this week's fanning the flames while the rest of the team remains largely unchanged.

Stoke
Begovic, Cameron, Shawcross, Huth, Wilson, Shotton, Whelan, Nzonzi, Walters, Crouch, Jerome
Subs: Sorensen, Jones, Owen, Adam, Whitehead, Kightly, Wilkinson

Wilson is possibly the best value defender in the game right now and his 1% ownership really just speaks to managers not reviewing all their options at the end of a long season. The 1.9m saving from Shawcross or 1.6m from Huth should be no brainers for the numerous managers who hold that useful pair. Not much to interest us on the attacking side of the pitch though, though at the least the main options are fairly entrenched in Pulis' weekly lineup.

Sunderland
Mignolet, Bardsley, O'Shea, Bramble, Rose, N'Diaye, Gardner, Johnson, McClean, Sessegnon, Graham
Subs: Westwood, Kilgallon, Larsson, Colback, Mangane, Wickham, Mandron

With a new manager coming in it's tough to make any assumptions about long term playing time, but looking at the bench suggests that there aren't a great deal of options for Di Canio to opt for.

Swansea
Vorm, Tiendalli, Chico, Williams, Davies, Britton, de Guzman, Routledge, Dyer, Hernandez, Michu
Subs: Tremmel, Bartley, Monk, Ki, Lamah, Moore, Shechter

Nothing happening here and despite the double in GW36, the upcoming fixtures for Swansea paired with a lack of need to win games makes me nervous about grabbing anyone from this side.

Tottenham
Friedel, Walker, Dawson, Vertonghen, Naughton, Parker, Dembele, Bale, Sigurdsson, Lennon, Adebayor
Subs: Archer, Assou-Ekotto, Caulker, Livermore, Holtby, Huddlestone, Defoe

We'll keep an eye on that Assou Ekotto situation but I would expect him to be restored this week and wouldn't suggest Naughton will be a long term option. Regardless, Dawson is the pick here given his combination of security and price tag. The front options all look pretty safe in this side though with Defoe lurking it's always tough to categorically state that Sigurdsson or even Adebayor won't be rotated every now and then. The other wordly Bale however looks undroppable and the bye in GW33 may warrant suffering through given his form and the promising remaining fixtures after the off week.

West Ham
Jaaskelainen, Reid, O'Brien, Collins, Demel, Nolan, Jarvis, Diame, O'Neil, Carroll, Vaz Te
Subs: Henderson, McCartney, Tomkins, Collison, Taylor, C Cole, Chamakh

No lineup notes here, though we do need to talk about Carroll in more depth, who has put up some very solid numbers since returning from injury six weeks ago. He'll miss this week's trip to Anfield due to the terms of his loan deal but might represent a sneaky option (though still overpriced) for the final stages of the season.

West Brom
Foster, Olsson, Ridgewell, McAuley, Jones, Yacob, Brunt, Dorrans, Mulumbu, Long, Lukaku
Subs: Myhill, Popov, Tamas, Thomas, Rosenberg, Odemwingie, Fortune

No real issues here either and it's good to once again see Long and Lukaku deployed together. With little left to play for there is a twinge of doubt in my mind that Clarke may start leaning towards playing Long over Lukaku given the fact that the Chelsea man will not be returning next season, but for now that point seems moot.

Wigan
Robles, Scharner, Alcaraz, Figueroa, Boyce, McCarthy, Gomez, Beausejour, Maloney, McManaman, Kone
Subs: Al Habsi, Caldwell, Di Santo, Henriquez, McArthur, Espinoza, Stam

I am personally amazed that Robles is holding off Al Habsi in goal, as I consider the latter to be one the better 'keepers in the league. Robles' 4.0m price tag makes him viable as a rotation/bench option, though I'd have serious concerns about assuming that number one shirt is his to keep. Though we are seeing some decent reliability in this lineup, it's still hard to see value outside of the much fancied pair of Kone and Maloney.

1 comment:

CDI said...

Love the write up. Are we to expect a dousing post this week also? My team is so broken right now I can't even come up with a reasonable GW33 plan that doesn't involve 5 hits.