With the Bolton/Chelsea match to be played starting in a couple hours and some random mid-week matches as well, the week isn't exactly over but Monday is traditionally the day we look back at the weekend's action and who am I to get in the way of these sorts of traditions? Especially when I had a 144 point weekend from my fantasy team with a bunch of guys (Walker hopefully, Nani, Adam, Meireles, Rooney, and DBent) still to play again in midweek. Imagine if I'd had THIS idea before the weekend.
What idea am I talking about? We need to create a Berb-o-meter. With Berbs the leading goal-scorer in the league but hopelessly inconsistent, fantasy managers need a way to determine whether he will score on any given weekend. Here's a quick formula that starts with a value of zero. Did Berbs score in the previous match? If so, subtract 5 (he's only scored in consecutive appearances twice this season). Are ManYoo playing at home? If yes, add 5 (he's only score on the road twice all season). What is the position in the table of ManYoo's opponent? Add one point for every position worse than 10th and subtract one point for every position better than 10th (ex. for Arsenal who are in 2nd position subtract 8 points, for Blackpool who are 12th add 2 points). We do this because his goals inevitably come against poor opposition. You could theoretically counter this by saying he scored 5 against Rovers who currently sit 7th but they were bottom half when Berbs did his damage. His brace against Sunderland on Boxing Day was his only goal-scoring effort against a team that was clearly in the top half at the time of the match.
Those are the criteria for our Berb-o-meter. For values over 0, you should consider him and as the value approaches 20 (a home match with the bottom team when he didn't score the match previous) you should consider him TH14-like in his potential. If the Berb-o-meter reads negative (away matches against good teams) then you should stay far, far away. Just a few thoughts after having had the money to buy him and trying to figure out why I didn't do it when all the signs clearly pointed to him scoring at least a brace this past weekend. And yes, these are the sorts of things that I spend time thinking about. Good thing I'm married or making this public might guarantee I never went on another date again.
- ManYoo - When Berbs is rolling against a bad team, there's no stopping them. Don't think we learned too much about them from that performance though.
- Arsenal - See ManYoo but substitute RvP for Berbs. The only thing we learned was that this wasn't the weekend they'd drop critical points against inferior opposition. They look pretty good with Cesc, Nasri, Wilshere, Theo, and RvP as the attacking group.
- 3-5 - With Chelsea left to play, Spurs and Citeh didn't help themselves at all by losing to teams they should have beaten. Spurs had the advantage in every category and needed a late goal to salvage one point. I think we can safely eliminate them as title contenders. The big question for them is whether they can keep pace with Chelsea and stay in the Champions League mix for next season. Citeh just couldn't quite put it all together. The pieces are clearly talented but they really look like they could use about a month of pre-season together to figure out how best to play as a unit.
- Rovers - Please spend a little of that chicken money on Larsson and/or Gabby (likely to see reduced playing time with DBent in town). The addition of a "small" to compliment RSC and someone to compliment MGP in crossing the ball into the handsome target striker would make for some fun football. As it stands, they're quietly playing very well.
- Villa - If this represented Villa "turning the corner" then ManYoo will feel unlucky to draw them in two weeks with momentum on their side and Spurs will feel good about having had their second meeting of the season with Villa on Boxing Day while Villa were still out of sorts. Arsenal's mid-May encounter is too far off to have much of an opinion about but all of this illustrates that when it comes to playing mid-table opposition, it is highly important when you match up with them. Even teams not good enough to win the league generally go through stretches when they look like they are. Best not to catch them then.
- NUFC and WHU - Not close in the standings but both showing why they are where they are by giving up two points late in the going. NUFC can at least blame the fact that they were second best all match and were probably lucky that their lead lasted as long as it did. West Ham on the other hand just can't afford to give away any points and to have someone sent off when three road points were readily available is unforgivable. Dumb play like that from a key player gives you an idea of why they are where they are.
- Meireles - That was a heck of a game he had. The measure of King Kenny will be whether he can get that kind of performance while Gerrard is also on the pitch and playing effectively. It has yet to happen this season. If it does, Pool may be on to something. If not, right back where they were.
- Rooney - I remember an email discussion (OK, argument) about the fact that ManYoo shouldn't acquire Ballack (back when Chelsea bought him) because he and Rooney essentially operate in the same space and buying Ballack would make both less effective. It appears that Rooney is making my argument (which was OK but not 100% accurate at the time) more and more right with each passing day. He was very effective against out-manned opposition but still needs to score some goal.
- Adam - Nice fantasy match that continues his fantasy renaissance after a long lull. I held on to him a little too long earlier in the season but I timed his return to effectiveness just about right which makes me happy.
- Hoilett - Jeremy has been touting Junior for a while now and yesterday he showed why. Belying his appearance as someone who is likely to play more like Theo Walcott or Aaron Lennon, he bombed a strike from outside the box for his initial Premier League goal. If Rovers have found an emerging player of quality then maybe my plea for Larsson (see above) won't be so necessary.
- Dzeko - I didn't get to see Citeh play last weekend so this was my first time watching him live and I liked what I saw from him as an individual. For a tall player he isn't lumbering and is "quite good with his feet for a big man". As I mentioned above, it looks like it will take a while for all of the parts - Tevez, Dzeko, Silva, etc - to fit together and probably even more so since I'm sure there will be rotation once Balotelli is healthy (would you want that guy sulking on your bench/locker room?). I'd expect things will start to click in mid-February but that he won't really be a major fantasy option until next season. His game just looks too dependent on being on the same page with your teammates and he just isn't yet. That said, he could easily have had a set piece goal yesterday that went just wide so there will likely be a few of those during the remainder of 2010-11.
- DBent - The focal point that Villa have been lacking. Gives the other attackers license NOT to be the focal point which is good for them (I'm looking at you Ashley Young and Gabby Agbonlahor). It'll be interesting to see what happens once Heskey comes back. Does Emile become a change of pace sub? Or is there yet another alignment that we'll see.
- O'Hara - A favorite of ours here at the blog and back from his injuries in the first half of the season. Any chance of him heading to Blackpool to replace Adam who will presumably be headed to Liverpool? Not exactly getting a like-for-like replacement or equal value but this is Blackpool we're talking about. Really good players aren't exactly knocking down the door to play there. I think it would be a nice move if Adam leaves in January. If he doesn't, still not a bad move to prepare for when he leaves over the Summer.