Friday, 28 February 2014

Gameweek 28 Preview & Tips

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

Let's start from the top:

Emmanuel Adebayor- Adebayor continued his good run of form mid-week, as he notched a brace to lead Spurs to the quarter-finals of the Europa League. This means Adebayor has his shooting boots on going into this weekend's league match vs a struggling Cardiff City. Cardiff have allowed the 2nd most goals against this season, allowing an average of 1.78 goals per match. With a resurgence of form under Tim Sherwood, Adebayor is a good bet for captaincy this weekend. Adebayor has scored 8 goals and assisted 4 times in his last 11 league starts, which is very impressive. With Soldado accompanying Adebayor up front in Europa league on Thursday, I see Sherwood reverting to a 1-striker formation for the weekend, with the Togolese man up top. This means Adebayor will also be on penalty duties. Up against one of the worst defences in the league, he is a solid captaincy option this gameweek.

Daniel SturridgeSturridge is a scoring machine at the moment. Having scored 9 goals in his past 7, Sturridge has demolished pretty much every defence he has come up against in the last two months. For now, the Sturridge vs Suarez debate can be put on hold, with the Englishman having outscored his teammate 75-45 since returning from injury. This is largely due to a combination of things. Firstly, Suarez has been rather unlucky, and has not put away his chances of late. Secondly, due to Suarez's adaptability as a player, Sturridge's return has seen Brendan Rodgers push the Uruguayan out wide, limiting his clear cut opportunities at goal. This leaves Sturridge playing down the middle, as the spearhead of the Liverpool attack. This has benefited him immensely, as he is able to use his pace to run behind defenders, and he has taken his chances well. Up against Southampton this weekend Sturridge will surely be involved in the scoring once again, as I see a high scoring game at St. Mary's.

Luis Suarez- Suarez has disappointed many fantasy managers as of late, as they still keep faith in the explosive Uruguayan. As I explained above, Suarez has been rather unlucky to not get on the score sheet the past 4 weeks, but it has to be of concern to us. It seems that it has come to a point in the season that Sturridge looks like outscoring his counterpart on a regular basis, but many managers have failed to adapt to that. This is largely due to our fear of Suarez's explosiveness, which is understandable. From a logical point of view, we have to take into consideration that Suarez is in a slump, and Sturridge is red hot. This means that Sturridge is more likely to score than Suarez at this point in time, dismissing any claims that people are making stating that "Suarez is due". As long as Sturridge is playing down the middle, I fancy him to outscore Suarez. This weekend away to Southampton will be no easy task for Liverpool, but I still fancy them to notch a couple. If you're on of those managers clinging onto Suarez(c), he is still a decent option, but I recommend one of the above 2 players over him this week.

Eden Hazard- We all know how explosive Hazard can be as a fantasy asset, as we all patiently wait through a series of blanks for that imminent explosion. This weekend against the league's worst defence may just be the game for him. Fulham are rock bottom of the table, and have conceded a league worst 59 goals in 27 games, which is over 2 goals a game. Hazard has been known to be a "flat track bully", meaning he gets most of his hauls against teams lower down on the table. I recommend Hazard to those playing catchup in their minileagues, but be warned: Hazard can either get 2-3pts as well as 21pts. This means the ceiling is high for him, but he can also assist the assister and end up with a big fat goose egg.

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

Chelsea away to Fulham

Hull City at home to Newcastle

Tottenham at home to Cardiff

THE GW28+29 CONUNDRUM- With GW28 and GW29 blanks on the horizon, here are the short term punts I recommend to fill the gaping holes in your squads:

Friday, 21 February 2014

Gameweek 27 Preview & Tips

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

Let's start from the top:

Daniel Sturridge & Luis Suarez- Sturridge and Suarez, also known as SAS, are Liverpool's dynamic duo up front. Scoring 38 of Liverpool's 66 goals this season, they have the Reds in contention for a Champion's League spot and dare I say it, even a Premier League title. This weekend they are at home to Swansea, who are just coming off a 0-0 draw with Italian club Napoli. This gameweek I just can't seem to separate the two for captaincy. Recently Sturridge has outscored Suarez 50-27 over the last 5 gameweeks, but it isn't that simple when it comes to captaincy. Suarez's stats tell a completely different story, having more opportunities at goal, as well as a higher assist potential. Although Sturridge is on fire at the moment, we can't dismiss Suarez's explosiveness. Captaincy between the two is a complete toss up this gameweek, but I reckon both will do well at the weekend.

Emmanuel Adebayor- The Togolese striker made a strong claim to be transferred in this week, scoring a brace and notching an assist in his last game against Newcastle. He goes into this weekend's tie with Norwich having scored 5 goals in his last 5, showing some great form. With Soldado missing a shocking sitter in Tottenham's 1-0 defeat to Dnipro in the Europa League on Thursday, I highly doubt he will see the field this weekend. This means that Adebayor will likely be on penalties, which is beneficial for his owners. He's a decent shout for the armband if you feel like going a different route than one of the obvious SAS picks.

Edin Dzeko- Manchester City is coming off a dismal 2-0 defeat to Barcelona in the Champions League, which saw CB Martin Demichelis sent off for a sliding tackle on Leonel Messi. Dzeko played a brief part in that match and looked lively, but could not trouble keeper Victor Valdes. This weekend they look to rebound at home to Stoke City. I back city to rediscover their scoring form, making Dzeko a good captaincy pick. Again, he is not one of my top picks for the armband, but is very capable of obtaining a nice haul at the Etihad this weekend.

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

Chelsea at home to Everton

Arsenal at home to Sunderland

MANAGING THE BLANKS- As there are plenty of blank gameweeks coming up in GW28 and GW29, here are some differentials without blanks you may want to consider as short term punts.

Robert Snodgrass(5.9)- Despite Norwich's scoring woes this season, Robert Snodgrass is always one to look out for. When fit, Snodgrass is on almost all set pieces for Norwich, and has a huge assist potential. He's a decent short term punt with a home fixture against Stoke in GW29, but I wouldn't want him as a long-term option. Although Snodgrass always has great attacking stats they can sometimes be fool's gold. That's because like I said, Norwich aren't the most free-flowing attacking side.

Thomas Ince(5.5)- Ince had an instant impact after joining Palace on loan from Blackpool, scoring and assisting in his first start. For those looking for a budget option in order to free up funds for Aguero in GW31, Ince could be a great option, as he will also have a DGW in the future. I know it's a very small sample size to judge him on, but it's a risk worth taking, as there aren't many budget options with no blanks to get excited about.

Craig Noone(4.3)- Another budget option without blanks is Cardiff winger Craig Noone, who holds an ownership of under 1%. With a GW29 game at home to Fulham, he is an appealing budget 5th midfielder to own. Noone gives you a decent fixture in GW29 and allows you to bench your players with blanks. Also, fantasy managers will have no benching headaches in the future, as Noone makes it very simple.

Martin Olsson(4.3)- With lots of highly owned players such as Coleman and Mertesacker having blanks in GW29, many will look to replacements. With only 1.8% ownership, Norwich's Martin Olsson looks a steal costing only 4.3. With Norwich having kept 3 home clean sheets in their last 3, their defense looks like a good investment, with some favorable fixtures coming up.

Monday, 10 February 2014

Gameweek 26 Preview & Tips

CAPTAINCY CONTENDERS- This week, there is a potential cancellation of the Fulham vs. Liverpool game on Wednesday, so I have listed my top 4 picks contingent on whether the strike is confirmed or not. 

Let's start from the top:

Luis Suarez- Despite not finding the back of the net in his last 2 games, I am backing Luis Suarez to break his scoring drought midweek against Fulham. Although Fulham made it tough for Manchester United at the weekend, I don't see the same happening against a free flowing Liverpool attack. The Reds are coming off a huge victory, blowing out Arsenal 5-1. Liverpool seems to be scoring at will with SAS leading the attack, and I see them ripping the Fulham defence to shreds this game. So as per usual, Suarez is my #1 captaincy option this gameweek.

David Silva- Although Silva has been the creator for City in every game when fit, he has disappointed his fantasy managers in recent weeks. Silva has come close to scoring big points recently, but City haven't scored in their last 2. Back at the Etihad mid-week against Sunderland, I see the Black Cats playing scapegoat to City's frustration and taking a thrashing. City have been the highest scoring team in the league this season, and I see that continuing. With Silva pulling the strings, he is bound to be in the attacking points soon, and has been really unlucky. He's a good captain option for this gameweek, due to the fact I see City having 70-75% possession, and he should be involved in lots of City attacks going forward.

Alvaro Negredo- Negredo has been really hot and cold this season, and is just returning to fitness from an injury. I back City to annihilate Sunderland this week for two reasons: 1) City lost 1-0 to Sunderland earlier this season 2) City haven't scored in their past 2 games. When combining these two fuels into the City fire, I expect at least three goals for City this gameweek. With Negredo leading the line with Aguero out injured, he's a great captaincy option for this week, and should get loads of opportunities to add to his goal tally.  

Daniel Sturridge- Sturridge has been in outstanding form lately, and has not returned a blank since returning from injury, scoring 9, 9, 11, 9, 6 over his past 5 games. Playing in the spearhead role of the Liverpool front 3, Sturridge is a great captaincy option against Fulham. Many will captain Suarez over the Englishman, but if you need to make up ground and believe he will outscore his teammate, it might be worth the risk.

Emmanuel Adebayor- The big man finally scored his first goal in front of his home crowd at White Hart Lane this weekend, leading Tottenham to a 1-0 victory over Everton. Having scored 5 of his 6 goals away from home, he is a decent captaincy option this weekend away to a injured-ridden Newcastle. The Toon are without a number of their key starters, and it will likely benefit Adebayor. Last game the Spurs lineup up with Adebayor as their lone striker, with Soldado on the bench. If they replicate this mid-week against Newcastle, Adebayor will likely be on PK duty, which also increases his appeal for the armband.

Kevin Mirallas- With his fellow countryman Lukaku injured and newcomer Lacina Traore not yet fit, Mirallas has been playing as a the lone striker for Everton as of late. This gameweek he's home to Crystal Palace, which is a favorable fixture for Mirallas. If he once features up top again, he has the explosive potential for a nice haul. As we saw on the weekend, Mirallas can be greedy at times, which can be beneficial from a fantasy point of view. If you're feeling risky Mirallas is a great punt, but be aware that Palace can be stubborn and hard to break down at times.

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

West Ham at home to Norwich

Chelsea away to West Brom

Man City at home to Sunderland

HOT PICKUPS- Here are a couple of players who have performed well the past couple of weeks, and could be worth your investment.

Branislav Ivanovic(6.1)- Big Branislav is starting to show more his attacking side, surging forward for many of Chelsea attacks. Over the last 3 gameweeks, he has tallied scores of 7, 14 and 11, scoring a goal and notching an assist. With Chelsea having only conceded 2 goals in their last 9 fixtures, Ivanovic looks a solid investment. Many will argue that Azpilicueta is better value at 5.4, but he just doesn't offer the same attacking threat as Ivanovic. He proved that over the past 3, outscoring his Spanish teammate by 12pts. If you are looking at investing in the Chelsea back line (which I strongly suggest), Ivanovic is your man. 

Kevin Nolan(6.6)- Nolan has impressed recently with 4 goals in his last 2 appearances. Lots of fantasy managers thought his fantasy output would be hindered by the fact that he would be without striker Andy Carroll for the next 3, but he proved many wrong by banging in his second brace in a row. In his next 4 his fixture schedule reads: NOR(H), SOU(H), EVE(A), HUL(H). Knowing Nolan usually scores the majority of his goals at home, he could be a handy differential over the next 4, with only 7.9% ownership.

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Gameweek 25 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. In the table above, I have listed my top 4 captain options this week.

Let's start from the top:

Robin Van Persie- RVP is starting to show signs of his old self, scoring in each of his last 2 matches, despite seeing reduced playing time due to just returning from injury. This weekend he is at home to a struggling Fulham side, who were pushed to their limits and eventually knocked out of the FA Cup courtesy of a late Sheffield United goal in extra time. A tired Fulham side travelling to Old Trafford isn't the best of circumstances, and given RVP's form, I back him to notch a goal or two at the weekend. He's the sensible captaincy option this weekend.

Eden Hazard- Hazard has often been called a "flat track bully". What this means is that he usually accumulates most of his big fantasy hauls against a lesser opposition. Newcastle have beaten Chelsea in 3 of their previous 4 meetings, but it's not looking good this time around. Newcastle will struggle for goals, with leading goalscorer Loic Remy suspended, and playmaker Yohan Cabaye having left for PSG in the January transfer window. Hazard has looked really good these past 2 or 3 games, and is really "due" some points, as the cliche goes. He is a good bet this weekend at home to Newcastle, let's just hope Chelsea find the back of the net this game, rather than out-possess and out-shoot their opponents with no final product.

Wayne Rooney- Due to a series of unfortunate events in his last game, Rooney had to drop deep in order to cope with 2 huge blows for United, which saw Evans and Jones both go off due to injuries. There is often a misconception of Rooney playing as a central midfielder rather than an out and out striker, but that is likely due to the lack of options Moyes has had this season. With Fellaini, Fletcher and Carrick all out for lengthy periods at some point this season, Rooney often had to drop a bit deeper in order to secure United 3 points. Keep in mid though, that he still got plenty of fantasy points while doing so. Rooney is 2nd in the league in assists with 11, and also has 9 goals, which puts him tied in 7th in scoring. With Fletcher and Carrick now fit, I expect Rooney to be back in his advanced role 'in the hole', and it could be very beneficial to him. He is a great shout for the armband this weekend if you can't afford the pricey Dutchman, and will be buzzing to impress the home fans at Old Trafford.

Ricky Lambert- The Englishman returned from injury with a bang, notching a 15 point haul away at Fulham last weekend. Lambert looks a solid pick, as Southampton are showing some great attacking form at the moment. He is home to Stoke City this weekend, and is also on penalties and direct free kick duty, which increases his appeal massively. If you're looking to gain some ground in your mini-leagues, Lambert could be a great shout, as he tries to add to his tally of 7 goals and 7 assists this season.

The reason I didn't select the popular Luis Suarez in my picks this week is due to his poor scoring form against the top 4 (Man. Utd, Man. City, Chelsea, Arsenal). Of his 23 goals this year, 0 have come against these opponents. Arsenal have to win to remain top of the league, so I see a tight game with not many goals in it.

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

Chelsea at home to Newcastle

Crystal Palace at home to West Brom

Man City away to Norwich

Southampton at home to Stoke

Sunderland at home to Hull

MANAGING THE BLANK- In GW28, 4 teams will have blank gameweeks, which include: Manchester City, Manchester United, Sunderland and West Brom.

The Benching Factor- So it's pretty simple; with the above mentioned teams having blanks in GW28, you shouldn't have more than 3 (4 including Mannone) players from those teams going into that gameweek. This is due to the fact that you want to be able to field XI players in GW28, while also keeping your players with blanks who will have a DGWs in GW31. So it's essential to make sure that you have a healthy bench going into GW28, because you'll likely need most of them to feature, if you're planning to keep all your Manchester players.

The Mannone Factor- Some fantasy managers with tight budgets chose to opt for Mannone as their only playing goalkeeper on WC. Although it's worked wonders thus far, he's in dire need of a backup for the next 4 fixtures after HUL(H). After Hull this weekend, Mannone's fixtures read: MCI(A), ARS(A), Blank, LIV(A), which are a nightmare. Not to worry, Adrian is here. The West Ham keeper seems to have ousted Jääskeläinen for the starting spot, and has NOR(H), SOU(H), EVE(A), HUL(H), and seems the ideal backup to Mannone. Usually I would be against goalkeeper transfers but in this case (where you only have Mannone as a starting GK) it's worth a transfer to set you up for the blank GW as well as the rest of the season.