Is this significant? I'll let you be the judge. I am about to turn 40 years old (in January). I have been a rabid fan of the Phillies (and all other Philadelphia sports teams) since I realized what sports were (I'd estimate that was somewhere around age 5). In the 35 years or so that I've been following them they've won 2 championships (one when I was 10 years old in 1980 and the other last year). They have gotten to the World Series and lost on two other occasions (once in the early 80s and once in the early 90s where they lost in heartbreaking fashion). The rest of my life, they've been bad far more often than they've been good. The chance to win back-to-back championships is unprecedented in my lifetime. In fact, the only team that I support that has won back-to-back championships at any point is DC United (Major League Soccer). Technically the Philadelphia Flyers (National Hockey League) did it when I was barely aware of what sports were but I'm not going to count that. So, like I said, this is an opportunity for my sports fandom to navigate into uncharted waters.
So, if you aren't a Dodgers or Yankees fan, and you happen to see a baseball game on wherever you are then think fondly of your favorite fantasy footie blogger and pull for the Phightin' Phillies.
OK, I'll try to put the baseball aside and concentrate on this post for a bit...
Chelsea are the clear front-runner here as they host Rovers. Citeh (undefeated at home) are probably the next most attractive as they host Fulham (mediocre on the road). After those two, there is likely some advantage to Villa (@Wolves). The rest of the match-ups are fairly even with the headline being that both Pompey and Hull have match-ups (each other) that at least might favor them which is better than they'll get most weeks. Arsenal's match-up may look somewhat favorable but I have to say that I'm not convinced that they'll have a great day on the road at Upton Park. Finally, as is almost always true of Big Four match-ups, I have no idea what to make of the ManYoo/Liv match-up and I know even less with all of the important injuries (Gerrard? Nando? Rooney?). So, if in doubt, go with guys from Chelsea, Citeh, and Villa with a possible nod to Hull and/or Pompey.
[UPDATE: Phillies up 6-3 in the middle of the 6th inning]
Best Value - Honestly, there isn't a ton of value out there at forward this weekend. If I had to pick one, I'd go with Gabby Agbonlahor to use the match-up with Wolves to get back on track after a couple of poor weekends in a row. Not my favorite pick ever but the best of a weak group.
Best Premium - I've been going with Drogba since the first week of the season and no reason to think that he won't continue to be the best value in premium strikers out there. If you're like me and holding on to Drogs at just over 10 and are looking for a second best premium forward then DBent is my second favorite choice of the weekend. He's been consistently productive and Sunderland's match-up, while not extremely favorable, certainly isn't the worst ever.
Best of the Rest - RvP, Anelka, [2 RUN HOME RUN FROM VICTORINO TO PUT THE PHILLIES UP 8-3 IN THE 6TH INNING!!!], Crouch, Carew, and Yayga (for those who forgot, that's Hugo Rodallega)
Best Value - Last weekend was a great weekend for low-cost midfielders between Bily, KPB, and Eagles at the very low end and Dunn, Kranjcar, and Duffman slightly more expensive but still very affordable. Of that group, Eagles is the only one who is still really inexpensive but he didn't start that match so he is hardly a great candidate in this category. Hopefully, you have one or more of the guys above and will be sticking with them. If you're buying new, I'd go with O'Hara returning from an off week (he couldn't feature against his parent club Spurs last weekend). O'Hara has lost some of his points to KPB but my guess is that there will be plenty to go around with O'Hara, KPB, Hunt, Jummy, and Geovanni all attacking with no thought of playing defence in that match-up.
[Baseball Update: Through the Top Half of the 7th Inning and the Phillies still lead 8-3 - feeling pretty good]
Best Premium - Can Ryan Giggs really be among the 5 best fantasy midfielders in the Prem at age 96? The answer thus far is "yes" and you have to think that things will continue to go well for him as one of the few available focal points of the ManYoo attack. With Gerrard likely out and Lamps not really showing himself to be worth the money this season, it really comes down to Fab4 and Giggs and if Rooney is indeed injured, I'd give it to Giggs as the best bet. If it becomes clear that MPet is going to start, I reserve the right to add him to this conversation above Giggs (tough match-up and a small chance he will be rotated) and Fab4 (just sense Arsenal not having a great match at Upton Park).
Best of the Rest - Jummy, Hunt, Geovanni, KPB, Bily, FloMal, Milner, Cohen, SPet (that's the one from Villa)
[ANOTHER PHILLIES HOME RUN FROM JASON WERTH PUTTING THEM UP 9-3 - I SMELL ANOTHER WORLD SERIES APPEARANCE]
Best Value - Rumor (and the Champions League roster) has Bosingwa injured which puts Ivanovic firmly back in the mix for Chelsea. Sure he tends to get too many cards and he probably isn't the greatest defender ever but he's good in the air (read, he'll likely get a SOT or two from set pieces) and the price is right given the match-up.
Best Premium - James Collins and Richard Dunne as a potent fantasy central pairing? Who would have guessed? Not me. With this week's match-up it's hard to look anywhere else if you're spending money. Collins has scored better but for a significantly lower price, Dunne is the best bet this weekend.
Best of the Rest - Cuellar, Bardsley, Bridge, Scharner, Heitinga, and SeaBass
[Dodgers pick up a run and still have the bases loaded with no one out in the Top of the 8th inning - I believe this is what you would call squeaky bum time...]
Best Value - Could it be that my perception of Petr Cech is still colored by his dominance back in the Mourinho days? Could be but Cech...at home...against a Rovers team who are winless and pointless on the road...for under 11...seems like a strong bet to me.
Best Premium - Friedel seems like the obvious choice here given his performances thus far this year and Villa's match-up.
Best of the Rest - Mannone, Given, Gordon, and Jensen.
Best of luck sorting out your thoughts. We'll be back on Friday with injuries and suspensions.
[For those of you who care where we are in the baseball game, the Phillies managed to escape further damage in the 8th inning so we only need to record 3 more outs to make it to the World Series! And with that I'll leave you so I can concentrate on the end of the game]