Carew made fantasy managers so happy last week that they could just... oh, you get the idea.
It isn't too often that you put up something in the neighborhood of 150 points in a week and still consider that week to be a disaster but that's what I'm coming off of. It really came down to two decisions - Friedel over Howard and MGP over Carew. That's a difference of about 60 points right there. And that's the worst part about writing this column...it's right there in black and white on last week's TWA. I knew those guys were both excellent picks, you guys all know that I knew that they were excellent picks, and when it came time to choose my eleven - they didn't make it. Finally, I had to suffer through the Live Chat where everyone else had done a better job with my advice (and their own insight) than I did with it. Would I trade that occasional downer for not doing the blog and sucking in anonymity when I have bad weeks? Of course not but it is definitely a downside.
A few other random notes before we get to the meat of the feature here:
- Well done to Major League Soccer and its Players Union for averting a strike - now about the fact that there isn't a decent MLS Fantasy game to be had - what the hell is up with that? At the very least, MLS needs to take the "Fantasy" link off their web site;
- I was very happy to hear that Ful/Wig (which had been schedule for this coming Friday) has been moved to a week from Sunday. Not so much for the fantasy implications as for the fact that I have tickets for the match and was worried that they'd reschedule for after my trip to London ended (as an FYI, I'll also be at Arsenal/Wolves on Saturday and Palace/PNE on Monday) - if you're going to be at any of them, drop me a note on Facebook and I'll be happy to meet up;
- Another MLS-related note (I'm sure most of you don't really care but it's my column...) - tonight marks the debut of the Philadelphia Union in MLS. As I have noted many times in the blog, I grew up in Philadelphia and while I haven't lived there full time in 22 years continue to support my old home teams in every sport where they have a team (Baseball, American Football, Basketball, Hockey, etc). In the absence of a Philly soccer team, I have been a supporter of DC United in MLS since the inception of the team and league 15 years ago (I have lived in DC for most of my adult life). Now that there's a team in Philly (whose stadium is mere minutes from my parents' house) who will no doubt attempt to market themselves as a major rival to DC United - I have no idea how my passions will evolve. Do I stick with DC? Do I adopt Philly? Can I in good conscience support both? Who do I root for when they play each other? The funny thing is, I'm not sure I can make the decision intellectually. I think I'm going to have to watch and see how I react to the new team. The first test will be on Saturday, April 10th when the Union host DC United for their first home match ever. I'll be there but the question is - who will I find myself supporting?
Finally, we're back to everyone having one match and one match only. Spurs (vs. POR); Citeh (vs. WIG); Everton (@Wolves); Fulham (@Hull); and ManYoo (@Bolton) have the most attractive match-ups with Spurs and Citeh my two favorites from the bunch because they're home matches against bottom-half teams.
- Pav - because he's absolutely on fire (and should return to the line-up after a mild hamstring issue last weekend)
- Eidur - two-in-two and he's one of the few cheap ways to get in on Spurs this weekend - he's not guaranteed a starting spot but worth a look if you need a cheap striker;
- Tevez - he's cooled significantly and it's hard to say what you'll get from Citeh on any given weekend but they've been excellent at home (Everton match excepted)
- Saha - first a late sub last weekend, then a starter for 60 minutes or so in midweek, sounds like he's on a path to start and play the full match this weekend and he isn't that expensive at just over 10;
- Drogba - does it matter who the opposition is?
- Zamora - nice match-up and his price is low at under 10;
- Berbs - with Rooney an injury doubt Berbs could be the focal point of the attack for ManYoo;
- K2 - hard to be too enthusiastic based on recent results but he's back from suspension and theoretically should be looking to make up for lost time;
- Modric - Seems to be 'arry's favorite when he is choosing between Kranj and Modric for one spot and with Bentley and THud back, that would seem to be the case;
- Bentley - he's expensive but he's been nearly as hot as Pav so might be worth dropping the cash;
- Arteta - he's REALLY expensive coming off two goals but seems to be back to his best so definitely worth keeping at a discount and at least worth thinking about for retail in a week when many of the other premium midfielders have more difficult match-ups;
- Jummy - he's going to break out one of these weeks;
- Fletcher/Valencia - they seem like the value in ManYoo's midfield and someone will step up in Rooney's absence (assuming he is rested or only comes in as a substitute);
- AJ/SWP - both good value in Citeh's midfield but check in on Ireland's injury before going final on SWP;
- Still on Verm/Bale/Hutton despite a mediocre weekend last weekend but here are the options if you're buying new:
- SeaBass - cheap and should be starting with a great match-up - hard to argue;
- Zabaleta - see SeaBass above;
- Garrido - ibid;
- Vidic - if you're thinking about spending on a defender, he wouldn't be bad value for the money this weekend at under 9.00;
- Campbell - Birmingham have been fading but they're at home and Arsenal are without my Premier League Player of the Season (apologies to Rooney and Drogs but Verm has made the biggest impact on the title race by being the rock of an unexpected title contender) - if you think the Campbell/Song pairing can keep Birmingham out, the price isn't bad;
- Gomes - can you tell I'm loading up on Spurs? (please don't tell the Arsenal supporters groups, I'll be banned for life);
- Given - his price is down and so is his best central defender so he could be this week's T-Ho or Citeh could let in two bad goals - hard to tell but definitely worth the pick if you don't have the money for Gomes;
- Jensen/Brown - depends on how you feel about this match-up as to which way you go but if you're going cheap at the back then one of these two is your best bet - my gut tells me Rovers & Brown but there was a lot of support on the Live Chat last weekend for Jensen. Just one stat to completely bias your thinking...Burnley's last 3 home matches against non-elite opponents the results were L D L. Jensen wasn't negative in any of those matches (he gets a lot of saves to make up for the goals allowed) but just because a bad team is visiting doesn't mean you should expect the CS. Just saying...
Cheers - Neal