The Week Ahead

Welcome home, Neal.  What did you miss?  Well, read the posts below of course.  What about the week ahead?   Well, let's see if we can get you up to speed on that too.

First, go and read the Yahoo! Assistant Manager's Week 15 Player Picks. The Y!AM was kind enough to write last week's TWA and he has a really good look at this week's double-game schedule and a nice list of the relevant-for-fantasy players.

Got it?  Okay, now on with the show.

Kirkland is an injury doubt and Wigan have two road matches @Stoke and @Liverpool.  Even for 1-something he's not likely to return you points - were he to play.  Yes, I understand that "he only has to score 1pt per game to return his value" but is that the standard you want from your players this week?  His replacement, Pollitt, is terrible so please don't look there even if Wigan were hosting West Ham and Burnley.

Hart and Fulop look the best value this week, but one could also think about Cech this week.  Yes, he costs north of 13 but save for his wobble against Manchester City, he's been returning that many points a week for the last six weeks.  Chelsea haven't conceeded a goal at Stamford Bridge since Hunt scored in the opening match of the season.  So strugglers Everton and Portsmouth aren't too likely to trouble him in net.  I'm not sure you would want to put all that money at keeper, but I do think it would be money well spent.

Birmingham's back four of Carr, Johnson, Dann and Ridgewell are good picks this week with Carr being the cheapest at 7.25 and also the player with the lowest points per match.  I think Ridgewell is a nice compromise - a bit more expensive than Carr but with a higher upside as well.

I don't know how much mojo Burnley still have at home, but with matches against Fulham and then Arsenal they'll hope they haven't lost it.  Jordan is an interesting option by virtue of his price - 5.52 - and that home record.  With Rooney taking a big chunk of your money this week, and quality midfielders being hard to find for less than double-digits and economy defender could really come in handy.  And that value category - for me, under 6 - is a small pool.  Jordan, Samuel and Bassong are the best bets with Stearman and Spector less so with four tough road matches between them. Sylvinho could be a great pick at just above 6, but I do have my doubts that he'll play.

As mentioned above, a good midfielder is going to cost you these days.  Bowyer, Reid, Lennon, Krancjar, Giggs, Matty Taylor, Valencia, Arshavin... we're talking 10 to 16, minimum.  But they're definitely your premium picks this weekend - though I have reservations about Giggs, who isn't likely to get the majority of both matches and Krancjar who will have Modric and Keane fighting him for that spot

Under 10, there is defintiley a gulf in class, but some interesting options.   Benayoun with two home matches and he scored against Fiorentina, but I wouldn't want to be betting on Rafa's team selection.  THud will get two nice games, though he may play a more defensive role with Palacios likely sidelined with broken/bruised ribs.  That could open the door for Jenas, but at 7.15 he's a bit of a gamble.  Etherington, Cahill, Bily, Hunt and Geovanni (for the Bullard-less Hull City) are all one-gamers, while Prince-Boateng, O'Hara, Jarvis and Milijas all play two on the road, and one of those at Chelsea.  Eagles, Malbranque and Deco are maybe the best of this bunch with Stanislas and Elliot interesting, if not stellar, options.

Here's the problem - Rooney is too expensive, but too hard to leave out of your team.  ManU host Villa and Wolves this week and then don't face another top side until they meet Arsenal the last match week in January.   When he was doubtful for the Villa match it was easy to put together a strong side, but now... there are challenges.  I think he'll be worth the investment, but it does make for some tough decisions elsewhere.

Another striker with huge potential this week, but with a price tag that reflects that is Defoe.

Beyond those two no-brainers, you have DBent and KJones, Drogba and Anelka, Robbie Blake with two home matches.  Manchester City are on the road twice, but Tevez and Adebayor might be worth your investment.  McFadden, Jerome and Benitez have nice fixtures and there is a lot of buzz around the latter as Chucho was only 6.25 on the barn door and scored against Wigan.  I admit that I have him in my team, but I don't like it.  Yes, he has good match-ups but his tendency to disappear for an entire match - no goals, no shots, maybe a phantom point or two - has me very nervous about him as a viable fantasy player.

Do you want to know which relative cheap forward I do like?  Even though he plays on a lousy team and has a lousy schedule.... it's Guillermo Franco for West Ham.  He's been doing the business week in and out for the Hammers - okay, not last week against ManU - and he's their only fit striker.  Unfortunately for me, he's just out of my price range.  I have a bit of money sunk in the keeper spot with Reina, but I don't know if I'm willing to gut him.  But that's the grist for a Late Fitness Test post, not a TWA.


  1. Anonymous7:48 AM

    aaaa..i have krancjar in my team at the moment..
    but now im in dilemma..for now i have

    what should i do?

  2. back to the drawing board for me

  3. Do people think Kranjaer wont play two then?

  4. With Palacios likely to be missing I think Kranjcar will play both games (either on the left or in the middle with Hudd). He's been one of our best players for the past month so I'd be shocked to see him dropped.

    Modric will be eased in slowly, I don't see him starting till the Xmas schedule & I reckon Keane will replace Crouch for one of the games.

  5. Anonymous8:37 AM

    Why not recommend Nasri? He's at 9mil, and gets forward a lot.


  6. Donovan to the Toffee Men....about time he stepped up and showed the world if he can finally cut it in a good league or not....,19528,11095_5762273,00.html

  7. Anonymous9:47 AM

    What do you reckon:
    Vermaelen Bassong Traore
    Mikel Lampard Valencia Mokoena
    Drogba Rooney Defoe

    I just have a feeling Lampard will have a big one. The Mok is obviously a filler... but even 2 points would justify it. Big question is will Green be + or -?

  8. Anonymous10:39 AM

    my team
    brown bassong givet
    lennon milner lampard valencia
    drogba chucho franco

    please give some advice.. dont no want to do with kirk, dont have enough money to replace him

  9. MasterP12:20 PM

    @ anon 9:37 AM

    i really don't recommend Lampard. remember its a double everyone will be trying to get players who would at least double their values..and i don't think lamPy will be able to do so....and yeah..why dont u take fulop instead of green???

    @anon 10:39 AM

    same advice....choose fulop and remove lamPy .. so you can upgrade your midfield with other players.. like reid and cohen..

    its all up to you guys!!

  10. Really leaning on Robinson with Blackboard for my keeper. They may not win but should get good saves and he has been putting up good points so far this year.

  11. - Assistant Manager: you a Spurs supporter???? the use of the word "our" best players...
    Though I think Jenas will supplant Palacios in mid.
    - Think I'm sticking with EdS this week also. WIll check Benchner's status and I suppose EdS but at 7.15 or something. Got burned last week. Which means we will probably be high scorer this week.
    - I had set a team perfectly to replace Rooney's doubt. Now I'm angry I gotta keep him?! back to square one.

  12. @Owen - The football media seems to be full of Spurs supporters - our editor at Yahoo UK is/was a Spurs supporter; now that NUFC is out of the Prem Jeremy is more a Spurs supporter than anything else; the Assistant Manager is definitely a Spurs supporter; and the first guy who published me (an editor at Football365) is also a Spurs supporter.

    No wonder the media is always so grumpy :-)

  13. Let the record state that I am not a Spurs fan. Don't dislike them, but they're certainly not "my team".

  14. Anonymous2:53 PM

    Any reason not to have have both Anelka and Drogba for this week ?

  15. Anonymous8:02 PM

    essien out, mikel should play right??

  16. Anonymous8:31 PM

    Lampard seems an obvious choice but recent returns would suggest different, feels like a given to have him in your team this week.

  17. Lampard would be a good pick, but for that price there's a lot more buzz - for better or worse - around Arshavin, Defoe or Rooney. Not a good or bad thing, just saying.

  18. guys,

    shud i drop dempsey?he's one gamer.

  19. Lamps has been a major disappointment for me this year. With CRon in Spain, I thought he would dominate the Midfielders. I would choose Stevie G over him.
    - One man's opinion: I would drop Dempsey, depending on discount, but it can't be significant.
    - Good tidbits! Thanks guys!

  20. Any thoughts on Obertan or Aquilani? I'm thinking about dropping O'Hara who doesn't have favourable matchups but he's producing under-10 pts which isn't bad.

    But Obertan and Aquilani might finally get their starts. Obertan against Wolves, very tempting especially with Utd playing with middies in defence. They have Anderson, Carrick, Fletcher, Scholes, Gibson, Valencia, Nani, Park, Giggs, Welbeck and Obertan.

  21. Anonymous2:45 AM

    I love the anti-Lampard love.... I am keeping him! If he had made the penalty, he would have scored 15 or so. Fact is he did not, and netted total 13 against Arsenal and City (away)combined .... he will continue to take corners, penalties, and intercept passes. Do not choose him at your peril.

  22. Will A.Traore be back? Apparently he sustained a knock against Stoke and was taken off.

  23. Sauce6:08 AM

    Ok chaps. All sorted apart from the midfield quandary affecting many of us. Essien's injury changes things and I have a straight choice now between using Mikel as a filler and going with a premium or going with 2 decent middies as follows:

    Mikel & Lennon
    THud & Bowyer

    Any thoughts?

  24. Anonymous9:07 AM

    Well, I thought I was going to keep Wes Brown for this week, but then I saw that he's injured for another week. It is still a rumor, but if it turns out true throughout the afternoon I'll replace him.
    In his price range there aren't many good options besides of Carr, and I already have RJohnson from Brum. I'll probably go with Bassong, though as I have Gomes in goal I'm pretty afraid.
    So with Bassong I have 2 choices:

    Hart+Nasri (discount)

    Another choice which I consider is Jaaskalainen+Kranjcar, but I'm not very sure about that.


  25. I couldn't paste the link but there is a nice article on chelsea's website in which Ancelotti named 8 of his 11 players for this weekend. Makes things easier.

  26. Mikel is a must now right!?

  27. Which means Drogba isn't a sure starter, and it makes Defoe a better pick?

  28. I don't think that Chelsea story means Drogba isn't going to play. Wouldn't Ancelotti max Drogs out before he loses him?

    I was going with Ivanovic until I read that he likes to rotate his right backs. Anyone say otherwise?

  29. Anonymous11:50 AM

    Any thoughts on valencia being rotated out a game?

    I have 1.(arshavin/taylor)& (alexander/givet) or 2. valencia & a. cole?

    Also... whats up with dunn? I have him at 7ish so probably not worth messing with, right?

  30. Jeremy, I REALLY need some help with this one>>>

    Which combo should I go with:

    Lennon/Jordan or

    Thnx in advance...!!!

  31. Man, this is tough. I am now down to Fab4 vs. Arsh vs Lennon vs MTay!

    Anyone have any good feelings?

    Can Arsh. haul 20 plus again against pool and Burnley or am I better sticking with the home boys (albeit each has a game against Man City)!?

  32. Haluna6:42 PM

    need an opinion;
    valencia + c.benitez OR
    bowyer + s.fletcher ?

  33. No body talking about aquilani as well..
    doesnt he worth it