Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Gameweek 18 Preview & Tips

CAPTAINCY CONTENDERS- In my opinion, there are 4 solid captaincy options this week, with all of them able to obtain a huge haul midweek. In the picture above, I have displayed my top 4 captain options this week.

Let's start from the top:

Luis Suarez- Who else to start with other than captain consistent himself; Luis Suarez. Time and time again he has proved he can score against anyone, and this week he will face the ultimate test. The Etihad is known to be a fortress for Manchester City on the attacking front, but they still aren't rock solid at the back. Liverpool should go in full of confidence, sitting atop the Premier League, and Suarez will undoubtedly lead the line while wearing the captain's armband for the third consecutive game. With his current form, Suarez is the "safe" pick this week.

Wayne Rooney- Those of you who listened to my advice last article were paid back in style, with Rooney notching 11 points after shaking off an injury. He is away to Hull city, who are never easy competition. In the three games Rooney has played against Hull, he has 5 goals and 3 assists (take into consideration 4 goals came in 1 match). He is a great captaincy differential if you own him this week, but I'd be a bit worried of his positioning.  In away games, Rooney tends to drop a bit deeper in order to support his midfield.

Romelu Lukaku- Lukaku has been streaky of late, only assisting 3 times in his last 4. I expect him to break his 4 game goalless drought this weekend against Sunderland. The struggling Black Cats with be without centre back Wes Brown, as he received a red card in the dying embers of their stalemate last week against Norwich. I expect Everton to win this one quite comfortably, with Lukaku being involved.

Yaya Toure- The jig is up. Those who have overlooked Yaya Toure find themselves in a deep deep hole. What has happened with Toure is very similar to what happened to Ramsey. People (including myself) overlooked them due to the fact that we thought they were over-performing. I have bad news: Yaya is the real deal. Despite the naysayers and fantasy doubters, Yaya has been racking in the points quite consistently. Yaya has accumulated 5 goals and 3 assists in 8 games at the Etihad, and has gotten attacking returns in every game in front of his home fans. If you feel this is the week to take a punt with your captain, Yaya could flourish once again. With his deadly set pieces as well as spot kick duties in replacement for the injured Aguero, Yaya Toure could be a great differential this week. 

CLEAN SHEET POTENTIAL- This week, I fancy four clean sheets:

Chelsea at home to Swansea

Everton at home to Sunderland

Tottenham at home to WBA

Arsenal away to West Ham

THE TIDES HAVE TURNEDDespite the early season tactics of 2 rotating cheap midfielders, many are trying to shift funds back into midfield. 

Many sub 5m midfielders are failing to fill their role, as the points have dried up for many of them. With a new plan in place, the suggested "template" that fantasy managers are going for includes a cheaper back line (for the time being) in order to fit 3 heavy hitters in midfield; along with Aaron Ramsey.

If you are planning to do so until January Wildcard, your midfield should look something like this:

Hazard - Yaya/Silva - Walcott/Ozil - Ramsey - (bench fodder)

This template midfield should do well going into January, as most of these players are essential to their clubs and should produce attacking returns.

Friday, 20 December 2013

Gameweek 17 Preview & Tips


Luis Suarez- Suarez has now played 11 games, and is averaging 12.4 points per game. That is absolutely mental considering if you captained him all 11 times he's played, he would be earning you around 25 points each week. With a home game to Cardiff at the weekend and with Suarez likely wearing the armband once again, no fantasy manager should or dare to look elsewhere for captaincy. It's plain and simple this week: captain Luis Suarez.

CLEAN SHEET POTENTIAL- This week, I  fancy three teams for a clean sheet.

Liverpool at home to Cardiff

Manchester United at home to West Ham

Sunderland at home to Norwich

WAYNE ROONEY DILEMMAThis week many did early transfers, replacing the injured Sergio Aguero with Wayne Rooney. Unfortunately, we found out later in the week that Rooney had also picked up an injury, and is doubtful for Manchester United's encounter with West Ham on Saturday.

My advice to those who are contemplating a hit to remove Rooney and have a healthy bench would be to hold off, as he should be back in time for United's mid-week clash with Hull City.

Usually in fantasy football "less is more", and it's always tempting to chase points from the week before. So strap down those knees and secure those trigger fingers, because it's never comforting going into a week already at (-4).

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Gameweek 16 Preview & Tips

CAPTAINCY CONTENDERS- In my opinion, there are 4 solid captaincy options this week, with all of them able to obtain a huge haul at the weekend. In the table above, I have listed my top 4 captain options this week.

Let's start from the top:

Luis Suarez- Suarez is FPL Gold at the moment, and giving him the armband with confidence should not be a problem. He has showed time after time that he is capable of delivering the points. This weekend he is up against Tottenham, who have recently suffered a defensive blow with Jan Vertonghen set for a spell on the sidelines. With the Big Belgian out, I can see Suarez causing havoc for the Spurs' backline. Another positive is that with Gerrard out, Suarez is likely to hog all the direct set pieces as well as penalty duty, increasing his appeal even more.

Sergio Aguero- Although Aguero hasn't gotten monster scores the last couple of weeks, he still was able to find the net in both matches. With the opportunities Aguero is getting, it's only a matter of time before the Argentine once again is among the top scorers for the week. This weekend he will be involved in an important clash of the titans, which involves both City and Arsenal. Aguero has done well versus all the top clubs this season, and playing at home gives him that cutting edge to perform in front of the City fans. He is my number two pick for captain this weekend.

Romelu Lukaku- Lukaku has only achieved double figures twice this season, but has steadily delivered fantasy points most weeks. He is very capable of delivering a double digit haul, he just needs the right fixture. This weekend he is at home to a struggling Fulham side, who have found it both tough to score as well as keep out their opponents. I see Lukaku among the goals this weekend for Everton, and could be a great differential captain if you're willing to take the risk.

Wayne Rooney- Rooney is back from suspension this weekend, and will be away to a makeshift Aston Villa defence, who is conceding loads of opportunities each game. With Rooney having served his suspension last week and United losing yet again, I expect Rooney to come back with a bang, lifting United to victory. Once again, Rooney is a decent captain differential this week as I expect most managers to go with Suarez, who seems to be the safest choice despite his tricky fixture.

CLEAN SHEET POTENTIAL- This week, I fancy three clean sheets:

Chelsea at home to Palace

Everton at home to Fulham

Hull at home to Stoke

RETURNING FROM INJURYManchester City David Silva and Swansea's Michu have both returned form injury. 

David SilvaSilva played a key part in City's 3-2 comeback win vs. Bayern Munich mid-week, scoring the first of City's 3 goals. He should feature again this weekend against Arsenal, and could be a great differential going into the December break if he can retain his fitness and stay injury-free.

Michu- Michu was involved in Swansea's 1-1 draw with Hull last weekend. Although he has a tricky schedule, if fit he will partake in all of Swansea's matches as their lone striker until Bony is back. When the Ivorian returns, Michu should drop back into his preferred center forward role, giving him the freedom to roam 'in the hole'.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Gameweek 15 Preview & Tips

CAPTAINCY CONTENDERS- In tribute to Luis Suarez's dazzling 24pt performance last week, I don't see a need to look anywhere else for this week's captaincy.

Luis Suarez- Suarez exploded as predicted last gameweek, notching 4 goals and 1 assist. He now leads the league in goals, as well as outscoring 8 other Premier League teams all by himself. This weekend he is up against a dodgy West Ham defence, who has struggled lately without CB Winston Reid. It's pretty simple from an FPL perspective: if you own Suarez, captain him. If you don't own him, do everything in your power to get him and captain him. At the moment Suarez is absolutely on top of his game, and will clearly stop at nothing. He has the killer instinct that many strikers lack, and shows no mercy to weak defenses. At this point in time, Suarez is averaging a ridiculous 11 points per game, and has played 90 minutes is every game bar 1. With such short rest between gameweeks, Suarez is the best choice for the armband, as his energy rarely runs out, and he will be raring to go at the weekend.

CLEAN SHEET POTENTIAL- This week, I  fancy three teams for a clean sheet.

Crystal Palace at home to Cardiff

Liverpool at home to West Ham

Swansea at home to Hull City

SUSPENSION TIGHTROPEThis week, Wayne Rooney, Ravel Morrison and Jonas Olsson all fell victim to their 5th yellow cards respectively, earning each of them a 1 match ban. Here are some viable replacements for each:

Romelu Lukaku (8.2)- Everton's talisman on-loan striker has been bringing home the goods as of late, and his fixtures are set to turn for the best. Starting GW16, Everton have one of the best schedules leading up until Christmas, and if Rooney is too much of a burden to carry this week, Lukaku is a great replacement. Although this transfer may be a week early, Lukaku is rising in price and may do some damage at the Emirates as well.

Barry Bannan (4.4)- Having scored 1 and assisted 1 in his last 4 games, Barry Bannan may turn out to be a bargain at only 4.4. Although he does play for Palace, Bannan frees up a lot of cash in the midfield, which can benefit players planning to rotate their 4th and 5th mids up until Christmas. Also, Palace has a favorable fixture schedule coming up with some very winnable matches. With Palace looking to turn their season around, Bannan's set piece duty may benefit owners, as he looks to pick out target man Chamakh and co. on set plays.

Sylvain Distin (5.1)- Like I said above, Everton's fixtures are great starting GW16, and most fantasy managers will look to Everton defence as a good source for points. Distin, priced at only 5.1 is the cheapest of the Everton back-line, and is nailed on. He could be a great differential to highly owned Seamus Coleman and Phil Jagielka, and allows you to save your cash to upgrade elsewhere in your fantasy squad.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Gameweek 14 Preview & Tips

CAPTAINCY CONTENDERS- In my opinion, there are 2 solid captaincy options this week, with the rest of the "big hitters" having tricky fixtures. In the table above, I have listed my top 2 captain options this week, along with their fixtures.

Let's start from the top:

Luis Suarez- Suarez experienced just his second blank of the season Sunday, as Liverpool dropped points away to Hull City, losing 3-1. On the upside, Suarez plays his favorite team Wednesday. Suarez has scored a hattrick in his past 2 appearances vs. Norwich, and can make history by netting another 3 mid week. As funny as it sounds, it's not unlikely that Suarez runs riot once again vs. the Canaries, as his past performances against them will surely haunt the Norwich defence. If you have him, I suggest you back the Uruguayan and hand him the armband.

Wayne Rooney- If you're looking for that Mr. Differential this week, Rooney has been nothing short of spectacular in recent weeks. In the past 5 gameweeks, Rooney has accumulated scores of: 12, 12, 4, 11, 13. As most of us know, Rooney is a form player. When he's hot, he's on fire; and at the moment he is in the form of his life. Over 80% of United's goals in the past 5 gameweeks have either been scored or assisted by Rooney. That is a ridiculous stat. He's coming up against his former club Everton, who he usually struggles against. Although this time, he has Moyes on his side, and I fancy Moyes to perhaps tell Rooney the weak spots to attack in the Everton back line. If you don't have Suarez, Rooney is surely your man.

If you don't have either of these players, I suggest perhaps punting on an Arsenal mid such as Walcott or Ramsey. Might be worth a shot with the lack of captaincy options this week. I fancy Walcott to be handed his first start since returning from injury, and Ramsey has been in outstanding form this whole season.

CLEAN SHEET POTENTIAL- This week, I once again fancy three of the big clubs for a clean sheet.

Arsenal at home to Hull

Liverpool home to Norwich

Spurs away to Fulham

BORUC REPLACEMENTSWith Boruc out for up to 6 weeks, he is owned by 21.4% of players, and is dropping in price quite rapidly. If you are in need of a Goalkeeper replacement up until the January Wildcard, here are some direct swap options:

Costel Pantillimon (4.9)- Pantillimon replaced Joe Hart in net as City's starting goalkeeper, after they suffered defeat to Chelsea in gameweek 9. Having secured 3 clean sheets in 4 attempts, and only conceding 1 goal, Pantillimon has certainly made a claim to retain the #1 position long-term; or at least until January. With Kompany returning from injury soon, it could be a huge boost for City's back line. At 4.9m and only 1.2% ownership, Panti might be worth grabbing until January.

David Marshall (4.5)- Marshall has certainly been peppered with a lot of shots this season, already accumulating 56 saves. Although Cardiff have only kept 3 clean sheets this season, Marshall maybe worth looking at, with some decent fixtures coming up. Cardiff have 3 home games as well as an away trip to Palace, which may boost the likelihood of Marshall's clean sheet potential.

Julian Speroni (4.5)- Although Palace were terrible early on in the season, they have found a new source of hope in coach Tony Pulis. Pulis is well known for his defensive stronghold at Stoke, obtaining 12 clean sheets last season. With Crystal Palace's favorable fixtures, and Pulis in charge, we may see an increase in defensive returns. If you're willing to bank on a Palace turnaround with Pulis, Speroni looks nailed on as the #1 keeper, and may be worth a look at only 4.5m.