The Week Ahead

Happy Thanksgiving to all of our readers everywhere around the world. For those of you not familiar with the US Thanksgiving holiday, I started writing an explanation of the "whys" and "wherefores" of it but it wasn't very good so I'm linking you to the Wikipedia entry.  The quick answer is that it is the day that we give thanks for all of the good in our lives and celebrate with a harvest feast consisting of somewhat ridiculous quantities of turkey, stuffing, corn, cranberry sauce, potatoes, and a lot of other stuff.  Many families have added drinking way too much to the mix because, well, if they're going to have to see each other then they should probably be drunk.  The final innovation that has been added to the holiday weekend in recent years is "Black Friday" or the orgy of shopping and deep retail discounts that marks the beginning of the Christmas shopping season.  Stores have taken to opening in the wee hours of the morning (we're talking 2 AM, 3 AM, etc) and for some reason people have decided it is worth getting up at that time to get in on the "exceptional deals" that the merchants have put on offer.

In the spirit of the holiday, here are a few things vaguely related to fantasy footie and the blog that I'm thankful for...

  1. the pending emergence of Gabriel Obertan - there just haven't been enough decent fantasy midfielders on Big Four teams this season and Obertan has the chance to stake a claim in among a fairly useless set of ManYoo wingers - he certainly can't be worse than Nani/Valencia/Park for fantasy purposes.
  2. the opening of January Silly Season - I know most people tire of the rumors but I love it all - the baseless speculation, the tabloid-driven rumors, and the occasional actual deal that might give us fantasy owners something new to throw into the mix
  3. the fact that our move is done and we should be relatively settled for the next six to eight months until we move again
  4. the fact that FiOs (our new TV/Internet service provider) includes Fox Soccer Channel, GolTV, and NFL Red Zone in their basic package (nice not to have to pay a premium for them anymore)
  5. Tim Howard getting shelled over his two matches this past week and one of the guys near me in the standings in our private league having him  (that was a big -12.00 for T-Ho and Jon)...
OK, on to the players...

Before the matches started last weekend, I was thinking that ManYoo and Man Citeh were the far-and-away leaders in terms of the attractiveness of their match-ups this weekend.  Fast forward one ugly ManYoo Champions League performance and one mediocre effort from Citeh against a weakened Liverpool team last weekend later PLUS a strong showing by Hull and I have to say I'm less convinced.  Still, if you shade your squad choices towards teams that have favorable match-ups then ManYoo, Citeh, Fulham, and WHU are the odds-on choices as I see it.  I'd add Liverpool to the list based on Everton's capitulation yesterday against Hull but this is a derby and you just never know what's going to happen.  If you're looking for players to avoid then the obvious answer is Chelsea and Arsenal as the two giants (or one REALLY giant and one sort-of giant) face off on Sunday.

So, what to make of Robinho?  The news today is that he's stopped agitating for a move to the Nou Camp and will be ready to face off against Hull.  This leads me to a few questions...1) can this report be believed? 2) if so, will he start? 3) if he starts, will he actually play well? and 4) if he plays well, does he become a pretty strong bargain at 11.00?  Lots of questions there but Citeh's issues seem to be at the back rather than going forward so I'm leaning towards Robinho as a pretty solid bargain if it looks like he's going to start.

Where there is downside will be with whichever of Bellamy or Tevez will (presumably) make way for Robinho.  I'd assume it will be Tevez because he hasn't found consistent form and because Bellamy has been in the excellent form we all know he possesses when he's neither injured nor assaulting a teammate.

Others that are attractive here are Frazier Campbell (for the money he's been great and DBent is likely out along with KJones' suspension), CCole, Rooney, Nevland, and Altidore (Hull are hot and I like his chances).  We'll have to wait on the Berbs fitness report before we decide what to do with him.  I also like Yayga despite Wigan being crushed last weekend.  Wigan really are unpredictable but he's been pretty strong for the money.

Oh yeah, there's that Drogba guy as well - with Arsenal's defence riddled with injuries he's probably going to have a big day as much as it pains me to say it.  If you kept him on the cheap then you definitely want to follow-through and keep him this weekend.  That aside, you may still want to buy at a premium despite the match-up.

With Lamps out Gerrard is really the man if you want to buy a premium midfielder.  The difficult thing this weekend will be cutting through guys who have traditionally been mid-range when it comes to price who have been hot recently.  I'm talking about your Dempseys, Lennons, and FloMals of the world.  If you've got them, stick with it - if you are buying at current market prices, I'd stay away, there's a reason they haven't traditionally been very expensive.

Other midfielders worth thinking about are Jummy, BFAR, Hunt, Collison, Eth, N'Zog, Bily (should be back from suspension and is obviously needed), Fletch, Eagles, and (only if it looks like he'll get another start) Obertan.  Why am I staying away from ManYoo's more established midfielders? Mostly because I'm not sure which ones will start and other than Giggs (too expensive) they haven't produced to their price when they have.  As for the Citeh group, MPet seems unlikely to start and Ireland and Barry are overpriced.

There was a Yuri Zhirkov sighting yesterday in the Champions League.  Granted it was a match that meant nothing to Chelsea really so its hard to know if he's going to get a little bit of a run in the team but with Cole available you have to think he'll get the start against his old club.  Ivanovic is probably the best bet among CHE defenders for the price. 

Elsewhere Rafael and Wes Brown are decent bargains for ManYoo and Baird is still a nice bargain (6.40something) from FUL coming off an 18 point 2-match effort. 

Burnley doesn't have a terrible match-up so PK hero Alexander is also worth a look but certainly not as much as he was a month ago at a far lower price.

If I had any faith at all in the Citeh defence then Given would be the clear choice but they have been lackluster at best and he hasn't been getting as many saves as he did last year when he consistently made up for letting in one or two goals/match with 5 or 6 saves/match.  In recent weeks it has been 1 to 2 saves/match and 2 to 3 goals along with a draw.  Not exactly what fantasy managers are looking for.  If you have the money then EvdS is the clear bet.  More likely you don't and you're left to choose between Given or Green at an OK price and a favorable match-up, Robbo or Kirkland at home against moderate competition for really cheap, or paying for Schwarzer at a premium over Given but as a much safer bet home to BOL.

If I had the money (and we'll see if I do) I'd go Green as the best bet for the money followed by Schwarzer, Given, Robbo, and Kirkland.

Once again, a Happy Thanksgiving to all of our readers whether you celebrate the holiday or not.  We are thankful everyday to have the opportunity to write this blog and have a dedicated and passionate following all over the world.  Back tomorrow with Injuries and Suspensions.

Cheers - Neal


  1. Anonymous1:20 PM

    Thank you guys for writing this week in week out!! your blog is great!! Not only awesome advice, but an enjoyable read as well! Thanks again from Seattle, Washington!

    (I think we should start a trend to see where everyone reads this from...)

  2. Anonymous1:23 PM

    Happy Thanksgiving to everyone here!

  3. Anonymous1:25 PM

    I will start, I read this from Korea, my temporary military home for a year.

  4. Anonymous2:56 PM

    Happy Thanksgiving to All
    from Escondido, California!
    I am very thankful to have had DeFoe and Dempsey on my team this week.

  5. Anonymous5:28 PM

    Happy thanksgiving everyone!!! Excuse me if I don't follow tradition and eat turkey...I fancy chicken better.

  6. Anonymous5:35 PM

    My team:
    Vermaelen/F. Aurelio/Rafael
    Dunn/Overtan/Ireland/A. Reid

    I'm thinking if Berbatov is not fit enough, I can switch to a 3-5-2 formation and fit in SWP. Also, is Aurelio playing consistently now, takes kicks for Liverpool? I may be crazy for thinking of liverpool players but the league is all they have left and I have a feeling they will trash Everton in the derby. Any opinions?

  7. Anonymous6:13 PM

    @anon, I could easily see a liverpool resurgence/backlash or whatever...that said ive been thinking that everytime they play badly. SWP looks good to me BUT could he make way for Robinho? hate trying to work out which city players to pick.

    Also, Im reading this from Durham (in the uk, a mere 10 or so miles south of sunderland, for those from the USofA) - to continue the 'trend'.


  8. Anonymous6:41 PM

    @Joshtottemham - Thanks for your imput. You're right about Robinho possibly playing but do you think that he's better than SWP? Either way, I will take that into consideration when/if choosing a replacement for Berbatov.

  9. Anonymous8:04 PM

    I meant more could he take SWP's place in the city team? I just have no idea how theyll line up at all.

    Another thought I just had is that Capello is virtually sure to be at the villa spurs game....extra incentive for defoe, lennon, crouch et al, although its still an unattractive match up unless anyone foresees a goalfest.


    Ps anyone else thinking its about time to drop fabregas? probably for a man city guy or Roons im thinking.

  10. What about Gera from Fulham..he scored 3 goals in 4 match against Bolton..very good price too..

  11. "Sir Alex Ferguson admits he has been pleased with the form of Reds striker Dimitar Berbatov this season as he looks set to recall the Bulgarian for United's trip to Portsmouth on Saturday."..From ManUtd website..I recon he will start

  12. Anonymous10:27 PM

    this week im thinking about Rooney, Ireland, Nevland..hmm..
    buy or not?


  13. Anonymous10:32 PM you think de jong will play this week?
    he's cheap..and played very well from the last game right?


  14. my current lineup:

    Dunn/Dempsey/DeJong/Arshavin(man of big games..heh)

    but im thinking arshavin/yayga --> k2/valencia..
    any suggestion?

  15. Is DBent out? Fuller/McFadden/CCole are good picks this week.

    I'm not a big fan of Collison but he has been racking consistent points on alternative weeks. Not sure with Collison yet, but I know I will regret not picking him this week.

  16. Vancouver, Canada here!

    Thanksgiving for us was back in October. But I don't mind a day of American football to watch!
    - Josh, I see a goal fest: for Spurs only! (Actually, I think it'll be a tight game. important game for both teams in Standings. I think both would rather tie than lose)
    - Not going to gamble on Robinho. Possible showcase for transfer? Or he could go out and just cash his paycheque. BUt Similar to Man U mid, No idea who's going to play.
    - Going to solidify my team Friday night. latest possible news.

  17. Bullard (whos burned me twice now) at discount or switch to Dempsey or Ireland, that is the question

  18. Hua_Ren7:21 AM

    My team





    Any opinion guys?
    feel weird cause only 3 midfielders xD

  19. Bellingham, WA, top northwest corner of the USA, practically Canada. Love the blog, love the Premier League, love the competition. Good times.

    Not a whole lot about K2? (Adebayor for the newcomers). Am I missing something? Against a porous defense like Hull's, isn't he a given (no pun intended)?

  20. Chris O.10:59 AM

    My question is, why was Jummy not even on the bench in the midweek game? He's just not ready for that much playing time since he had to play through the entire weekend match? If he's back again then he may be worth it, but that makes me nervous.

  21. Anonymous11:09 AM


    jummy was suspended last match

  22. Anonymous11:10 AM

    adebayor or bellamy..which one better guys..?

  23. Adebayor would be a better bet to start the game. I'm with Bellamy at the moment and leaning to Rodallega. Hmmm..

  24. Anonymous1:29 PM


    please rate my team,i got lennon at preupdate price,drog at 10+,yagya at 8+....


  25. Gavin1:30 PM

    Jummy wasn't suspended as far as I know. Phil Brown said he rested him as a precaution since he is just coming back from injury.

  26. I had BD Defoe but I sold him and Rodwell to pick up BFAR. If Defoe goes out and gets another 63 points I will be stunned but I just can't chase the points with an OK matchup.
    Also finally gave up on Heitinga so he should have a great week.
    My final line up (right now) is
    Verm/Baird/W. Brown
    Dunn/Dempsey/Bullard/A. Reid
    Drogs/F. Campbell/C. Cole

  27. Let me know what you think of my team


    dempsey, dunn, obertan

    anelka, rooney, rodallega

  28. whoooops forgot my defenders

    Let me know what you think of my team


    Baird, Stearman, rafael, brown

    dempsey, dunn, obertan

    anelka, rooney, rodallega

  29. Anonymous10:45 PM

    i'm thinking:

    Baird / Brown / Rafael
    Fletcher / Dempsey / Bowyer / Collison
    Campbell / Drogba / Berbatov

    Thoughts please?!

  30. Anonymous11:24 PM

    who is BFAR plz?


  31. Anonymous11:29 PM

    OK got it, Andrew Reid from the Sunderland

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