Hey guys, I hope everyone had a great Christmas. I would have been bummin' if it weren't for James Milner and his spectacular two-game performance. As with last week, I'll be writing this week's column before the injury reports come out. The format is the same as last time since everyone is playing two games (weather permitting). Have a Happy and Safe New Year's Eve and we hope you keep reading in the New Year.
Chelsea - You have to like the match-ups and the form that Joe Cole is in - the advice may be coming a little late but he seems like he's going to get the PT and continue to produce. You have to assume Lamps will be back so he'll be worth it. Robben should be in your consideration set as well.
Manchester United - Tough matchups against Bolton and Arsenal. Ruud, Rooney and Giggs are probably good bets, but that's probably about it.
Arsenal - A mixed bag of matches with Villa and the Red Devils. If you've got Henry, keep him. If not, probably not a good bet to go with any Gooners.
Liverpool - Stick with the Liverpool guys you already have and think about adding Harry Kewell, he seems ready for a break out match in the next month or so. With Morientes out, Crouch and Cisse seem to be sure bets for a starting spot and both have some momentum coming off goals in their last match. Oh yeah, they're both priced under $9 as well.
Spurs - The match-ups aren't great and last week wasn't kind to Spurs. Mido is still a decent bet as is Carrick but neither are quite as attractive as they were last week. Despite some mediocre performances, Michael Dawson brought in a nice haul of fantasy points last week, in case you were wondering.
Bolton - So, that whole Stelios recommendation didn't work out too well for me or anyone else that followed it, now come matches with Man United and Liverpool - probably best to stay away from the entire group this time.
Wigan - Camara's hot streak continued and Jason Roberts has joined Marlon Harewood as another reasonably reliable striker from a newly promoted team - Roberts is good for a a 10+ point match about every other time out and even after his recent outburst, he's still relatively cheap at $8.50. Pascal Chimbonda is still pricey but worth a look if you have the $$. Throw in a good fixture list - @BRM and BLA - and there's some reason to think about these guys.
Citeh - Can anyone figure this group out? Joey Barton looked in both of Citeh's Christmastime fixtures but the rest of the squad is hard to figure. Sibierski is on a bit of a hot streak but I'd guess that's more a red herring than anything else. Sun is still a good bet as he continues to get time in midfield while Yahoo lists him as a defender (making him eligible for clean sheet points). Matches with Boro and Spurs aren't particularly attractive but neither are they particularly daunting.
West Ham - Tough choice, one match with miserable Charlton and then a match with Chelsea. My inclination is to stay away from the Hammers but Harewood is a decent bet based on the Charlton game alone.
Newcastle - Matches with Spurs and Boro aren't particularly attractive, I'd stay away from this crew. Owen isn't due to go off for another three matches or so and Emre is headed back to Turkey to get his hamstring in order.
Charlton - Murphy suspended for the first match of the double but matches with West Ham and even-more-horrible-than-the-Addicks Everton makes Darren Bent a reasonable bet but I'd be more inclined towards other options at striker (Roberts, Crouch)
Blackburn - Matches with Wigan and Pompey mean there may be some goals forthcoming from Rovers this week but I'll be damned if I know where they're coming from if MGP is still out.
Boro - Matches against Citeh who have been giving up goals and Newcastle who just aren't very good in defense may mean it's time to get back on the Yakubu bandwagon. That's about it for Boro though.
Fulham - Nice to see an American in the Top 15 in fantasy points/match among strikers. Even nicer seeing him score past Peter Cech before we have to face him in the group stage of the World Cup. McBride is hot and Fulham has about as soft a schedule this week as you could ask for with matches with Pompey and Sunderland. You almost have to consider McBride and if you can find any information about Collins John's status in the Starting XI you should go with him if he's going to start.
Villa - Baros and Milner are still good bets against a moderate schedule @WBA and home to Arsenal who aren't very good defensively on their travels.
Pompey - 'arry has already indicated that he, their manager, thinks the players stink - I can't think of one reason to contradict that statement. (yeah, I'm cheatin' by re-using last week's comment but it still applies + Robert is out on red card suspension).
Birmingham - Showed signs of life but now get hot Wigan who crush bottom of the table opponents and Chelsea. Um, stay away.
Sunderland - They stink, take them at your own peril.