Monday Morning Manager

What a weekend of football! Derbies, nail-biters, blow-outs, sure-things, surprises and more. The Manager looks back to help you look ahead. Part the first after the jump. The rest soon.

Chelsea 3 - 0 Tottenham Hotspur
This one had it all, almost. In the end Chelsea were the dominant team, but that's not to say that Spurs didn't give them a scare or two along the way. Some great work in the midfield by Palacios - who is one of my favorite "real world" players - opened up the Blues on more than one occasion and Defoe perhaps, but surely Jenas, should have put Spurs up early. But in the end, class told. A great cross from Drogs was put away by ACole, who is finally adding goals to his game. A cheeky save off the endline from Lamps was put in by Ballack before ACole returned the favor for Drogs.

But for all this, the talking points coming out of the match are injury related with King, SeaBass and Drogba going down with injuries of varying severity. Drogba could be the least impacted if it was just a strain or a cramp, but 50% of the game's managers will be holding their breath. Bassong and King look to be out for a while, the former with a concussion/possible broken cheekbone and the latter with a hamstring injury. Surely we'll see Corluka at center back now with either THuddlestone or Dawson, if he's healthy enough. That would see Hutton keep the right back spot and possibly open a midfield spot for Kranjcar. Spurs' schedule opens up now that they've faced two of the big four on the bounce. Burnley, @Bolton, @Portsmouth, Stoke to come before the north London derby. Regardless of their last two results, I expect Defoe and Lennon to be VERY popular pick ups with some combination of other players a decent idea depending on health and price.

Everton 3 - 0 Blackburn Rovers
The talk will be of Everton getting themselves back on track - one win and they're all of a sudden midtable - but I'm not sure this match is a true test. But then again, neither will next week's trip to Pompey be a real struggle for them either. We've talked about Everton's early season run before, and they still have @Pompey, Stoke, Wolves, @Bolton before we're out of October. So if they are getting it together... Saha is getting the goals; Baines is taking all the kicks(though Bily Bilyatdinov is waiting in the wings); Rodwell is returning his value in points; and Heitinga could be a bargain in the defence.

Rovers continue to struggle and find themselves in the bottom three. Dunn continued in an advanced role, but couldn't create anything this week. Givet, another popular fantasy player this season was taken off at half time. We'll be watching that to see what happenend and whether or not it will affect his selection (injury or form) going forward. Rovers' schedule gets really tough now too with Villa, @Arsenal, Burnley, @Chelsea and @ManU. Come back in November - Pompey, @Bolton, Stoke - if you're interested in Blackburn players.

Wolverhampton Wanderers 2 - 1 Fulham
Fulham are a bit of a fantasy black hole this season. Not doing too well, but too expensive based on their performance last season. So let's look at Wolves shall we...

Milijas didn't make the field this week after increasingly peripheral performances. Kightly and Ebanks-Blake were on the bench as well but they got run outs late. Doyle got the opening goal. Wolves are at Sunderland next week, which is an interesting bell-weather game for both teams. It may go a long way towards letting us know where the two teams really stand. After that Wolves get what is shaping up to be this season's gimme when Pompey visit. It will also be interesting to see how the returning players fare (if they play) against Sunderland so we can gauge how they'll do in that Portsmouth match.

Manchester United 4 - 3 Manchester City
I've only seen the highlights, and the goals are spectacular. Hopefully I'll get a chance to see the full match later in the week. Tevez worked his socks off but as usual was the guy behind the guy, if not the guy behind the guy behind the guy. Bellamy and Giggs were the stars of the show with Fletcher's headed double making him look like K2 (while looking nothing like K2). Rooney was Rooney getting his sixth goal in as many matches. Incredible, really. Nani was on the bench again, but didn't even make a cameo this week.

For fantasy purposes I still don't know if you can pick Giggs. Seemingly the ManU midfield is as much in the air as Chelsea's. And surely Owen won't get the playing time to make him worth an investment.

Citeh go back facing their (former?) midtable opponents now. Given is cheap again and I would expect fantasy managers to pile on. He had some great saves, but couldn't withstand the loss and giving up the four goals. However, Citeh should return to winning ways and Given will return to stopping more than he lets in. It will be worth watching to see if Bellamy becomes the lates Citeh player to get into trouble if his punching a fan draws the FA's interest. He isn't too expensive if he gets to keep playing.


  1. Anonymous5:37 AM

    dont you guys think that yahoo must have an option of head to head leagues I think it will be a lot of fun (not that its not fun already). Shud I keep rosicky or shud I sell for someone guarenteed to start.

  2. Anonymous5:39 AM

    Oh first comment was by me DMUF I forget to mention.

  3. any idea on how many points Drogs statched this weekend? Not updated yet on Yahoo. Jeremy, thanks for the tip to hold on the Drog express over Bent (although Bent had decent points as well, but I think Drogs shud have got more). Cheers & enjoy Carling cup weekdays.... & how about my Vikings (2-0 !! been awhile since they started 2-0).

  4. I got the same problem. Drogs still with 0 points this week. That's odd.

  5. Drogs came in at 26. Bent only 13. Thanks Jeremy!

  6. Glad to have helped someone, Tom. As for the Vikes.. I've had Percy Harvin on my fantasy NFL bench for two weeks. May be time to give the youngster the start.

  7. Im +6 on Drog's and wont be dropping him whether he starts or not this week. I have a feeling most will not either as they are +4 or better at the very least. Its not worth selling to gain extra points for one week, only to have to buy him or face not affording him at 16.5 or better the next week.

  8. Anonymous12:59 PM

    I have two questions for you for the upcoming week! please help!

    1) Do you think its worth keeping Tuncay at 1.00 after 2 weeks in a row of 0 points?

    2) Currently I have Howard at 7.76 (mkt - 11.66) but I've been looking to switch out to given for a long term option... He is at 6.44...
    Is this a good week to make that switch? (given is cheap after a -6, but everton have a good match up this week)

  9. Igordo,

    Everton don't play a team with a pulse until Oct. 31. I would not drop Howard at +4 with his next 4-5 games being so favorable. Plus, Given's value is so low that you can actually wait for him to have a good game and still get him at the same value you have invested in Howard right now. (BTW, West Ham scored 2 on Pool, they will likely get on the score sheet against City)

    Tuncay is the ultimate enabler. Id hesitate to drop anyone at 1.0, much less a striker who figures to play more as the season progresses.

  10. This was the worst 100 point week ever, mainly because 60 of that came from Verm and Drogs, who everyone own. I keep picking around the points when it comes to premium MF guys. That is sort of making me doubt the Tuncay strategy, because so many of the points are coming from striker this year. But even then, aside from Rooney and Drogba, both of whom I have long term, picking strikers is a crapshoot. You can easily pick Torres, Bent, Defoe, Saha etc, and get 2.5 points for your trouble, and that's usually what happens when I pick them. In the past I've gone midfield-heavy and usually preferred a 3-5-2 because of that. But if Lamps and BFAY and Cesc and Arsh aren't going to be reliable studs, and most of the mid-level MF on ManU, Everton, Chelsea, Arsenal, City, and Liverpool aren't going to be guaranteed starters, the choices start to narrow a lot. You're down to owning Gerrard, plus value guys like Jordi and O'Hara and Hunt who tons of other people also own, and then cycling through the few semi-premium midfielders left who look like they have a good matchup or run of form. It's hard to get much differentiation amongst the serious players, and it starts to come down to just luck at the couple of positions where you're rotating every week. I'm almost tempted to start spending big on defenders or something out of boredom/desperation, but that's kind of against my rules. I thought the game would be more open and interesting w/o C.Ron, but somehow it isn't so far. Maybe a Drogba injury would actually be good, as it would start to shake things up a bit when it comes to selection.

  11. J.Dunn, you could do worse than pick GJohn and Baines or ACole so far this season. Top players for mid-range prices.

  12. Oh, I've thought about it, and I even bought Glen Johnson a week ago, though that of course turned out to be chasing points, and I think the lack of clean sheets for Liverpool are going to make him not worth his inflated price. Baines, maybe, especially if he continues to take penalties and kicks for them, but Arteta and Billy are looming there. A. Cole is likeliest, but he is kinda my Scholes, in that every time I've invested in him, he's screwed me, and so I'm done with him.

    I compromised a bit by BD-ing Bosingwa at 9.14. He looked great against Spurs, and Chelsea seem to have the likeliest defense for clean sheets right now among the top teams.

  13. J. Dunn,

    This game always has and always will be about finding value early. Good players will have 40-50% the same team because they will have gotten on the bright lights early before their value skyrocketed.

    For example, teams that didn't get in on Drogba, Verm are at a severe disadvantage moving forward because they are having to pay 11 more than us just to get on equal footing.

    The first few weeks are more about finding value than jumping on premium players. You end up affording more premium players in the long run by being in on good players, on the cheap.

    At that point its picking the right matchups and more importantly analyzing the schedules to find players who will have a good run of games.

    You're having a bad year? Suck it up. It happens. Keep grinding. Class always comes through in the end. Luck is only a factor in the short term.