The Week Ahead: Part 2 - Player Recommendations

As we get a few weeks into the season, you may have noticed a few changes to the Yahoo game upon which this blog was founded.  The most obvious are the visual and usability tweaks that have improved the experience of searching for players and changing your team around.  I applaud Yahoo for the changes they made but don't want to leave it at that.  There are also additional, behind-the-scenes, changes that it would probably be good for you to know about.  Since we know some people at Yahoo, we're here to help.

#1 - Points Up Faster: At the beginning of each new season it has been my impression that the Yahoo game got points up (and prices adjusted) pretty fast for the first few weeks. However, like buying a new computer, the improved performance was generally a temporary thing that eroded over the course of the season.  A person who knows about these things tells me that the change is the real thing this time around.  Why do you care? It will mean that you know how you did faster which is always nice.  It will also mean that the Barn Door will close faster all season.  For those of you unable to sit in front of a computer during matches and make changes as you find out the results, you'll be well served to at least take some pre-Barn Door risks on players you think you may want for the next week before heading off to whatever other obligations come before your fantasy team (as hard as it is to imagine that such things exist).

#2 - Players In Faster: Another by-product of the improved performance of the database/fantasy game interaction is an improvement in the speed of players being added to the system.  As of this writing on Thursday, Mata is not yet in (he signed officially late yesterday/early today) but Nasri is officially listed as a City player.  For those of us who have suffered through silly circumstances like Sessegnon not ever being listed last season or missing out on players like Kolarov for the first match of last season because they weren't added in a timely fashion.  This will answer a long-standing gripe.  For those new to the game, it will function as you'd probably expect and you'll be spared this particularly painful form of digital torture.

#3 - Pricing Changes - I'm not sure whether to be impressed (by the insight) or depressed (by the amount of time spent thinking about it when the world has real problems to solve) but fantasy players have gotten pretty smart about figuring out how prices will adjust, especially for players new to the league/game. The key finding in this was the "7 match rule" that saw new players increase dramatically in price after their 7th match played.  Before the 7th match, their prices tended to stay inappropriately low and afterward, it tended to go overly high if the player had had even a few solid performances.  In recognition of this and a general trend toward wild swings in pricing, Yahoo has adjusted the way prices are calculated. According to our sources, the "7 match rule" no longer exists and price changes should be a little less extreme for all players than in years past.

We tend to be harsh on Yahoo when we feel they aren't getting things right so we want to make sure that we're equally quick to praise them when they get things right and the changes made over this past summer fall firmly into the latter category.  Thanks to all involved in making that happen at Yahoo and also for listening when we have suggestions for improvements.

OK, on to the player recommendations...
  • Suarez - Liverpool is playing at home and I've not recommended any of their midfielders but even with the possibility of only playing 60 to 70 minutes, my soccer crush on Suarez looks likely to pay off at home against Bolton.
  • Rooney - He's tormented Arsenal since his Everton debut. He's started the season off in form.  He's playing at home.  Arsenal's spine is significantly weakened without Song, Frimpong, Koscielny, and Wilshere.  Sometimes it doesn't take very much to see production coming. 
  • Aguero - Until I see him turn in a performance where he doesn't look incredibly dangerous or his price goes through the roof, I'm going to recommend him.  Road? Yup.  Solid opposition? Yup. 
  • Torres - On one hand, I can easily see Nando using this match as the springboard back to being his old confident and dangerous self.  On the other hand, I can see AVB thinking that maybe its time to give Drogs a start since he's the better player on recent form (dating back to last season).  That is my only hesitation with Torres, he might not start and that's a solid amount of money to spend on someone who comes with a bit of risk.  I'm not telling you to avoid him and I'm not saying he won't pay off big.  I'm just warning you that the payoff comes with at least a little risk of huge disappointment when line-ups are released. 
  • DBent - If you're not so sure about Torres then DBent is a strong option playing his second straight match at home against surprising Wolves.  I wouldn't be shocked to see Wolves get a point on the road but I would be surprised if they got a clean sheet. 
  • Danny Graham - If you're looking for a non-Kun enabler then I have to say that I've liked what I've seen of Graham.  The fact that he'll be at home against a team that hasn't shown a ton in Sunderland leads me to believe that this might be a time to take a look his way.  With the formidable set of options that I've already mentioned, I'm guessing not too many of you are going to go in this direction but I felt I'd be cheating a bit if I just gave you the obvious (and expensive) ones. 
  • Silva - Even on the road and even if you (for some reason) don't have him at a discount Silva is returning well above his price.  I consider City's attack to be better than that of United and United had their way with Spurs in the end so unless WHL becomes a big barrier to success for City, Silva should be #1 on your line-up card. 
  • Yaya Toure - A crappy weekend last weekend but he's still a threat to score big and his price is really reasonable (8.64).
  • Ben Watson - Yes, he had his (not great but also not terrible) PK saved by the emerging superhero Vorm last weekend.  That just means that his price is pretty reasonable going into another big point-getting opportunity at home against QPR.  The fact that he was a +4 despite the deduction for a missed PK means even without the points for a goal he is producing in a pretty big way for a price under 10. 
  • Ryan Taylor - With Barton likely on his way RTay should get an even bigger percentage of the set pieces for NUFC.  He's cheap (6.40) even after scoring last weekend and playing at home.  Sounds like a recipe for value. 
  • Cabaye - Another who could pick up some of Barton's kicks and attacking responsibility as well as being another one who has scored well on nothing but phantom points.  Good value at 6.86.
  • Benayoun - Call it one of those funny feelings (not that I'm as practiced at it as Ibracadabra over at NCNB) but with new players arriving you can see Chelsea showcasing Yossi for a late-in-the-going sale and who better to do that against than a newly promoted side? That he's priced under 4 means that even if he only comes in for 20 or 30 productive minutes in a blowout he could return some value and be a decent enabler.  Honestly, I wish I could recommend a premium Chelsea midfielder but the prices are just too high for Lamps (who hasn't done much) and FloMal (who didn't even start last weekend).
  • Ashley Young - The thought of Young flying past Carl Jenkinson (who looks good but is hardly fleet of foot) has to be keeping the lad awake at nights, I know it is doing so for me.  If you're looking for a premium midfielder, he might be the one. 
  • Smalling - Don't LOVE the match-up but I do like it enough to buy into a reasonably priced defender who is starting for the defending champs. 
  • Warnock - Another good-but-not-great combination of match-up and player at a reasonable price. If Warnock can avoid a yellow card then he should be strong value.
  • Rangel - Has done a little bit of everything to get his points thus far this season.  Phantom points, defending points, and a clean sheet.  Not a bad basis since what we've seen of Vorm puts a clean sheet on the table almost any weekend.
  • Boyce - Purely a buy based on the match-up and a potential need for a relatively cheap defender who could very reasonably get you a clean sheet. Probably not a ton of upside but for this price, that's probably OK.
  • Senderos - It surprises me (and probably every other Arsenal supporter on Earth) that he's starting over Chris Baird but he's dirt cheap and NUFC could easily both get and give a clean sheet this weekend. The only downside is that he isn't at home.  Definitely one to look at once he returns to the Cottage against Rovers in the next matchweek (yes, you can consider this a Barn Door Alert).
  • Krul - Elvis puns aside, he's been having a strong start to the season and if you didn't get DDG or Vorm on the BD then Krul at home against road-shy Fulham for 6.16 is a really good deal.
  • Hilario - Even typing it makes my hands as shaky as his tend to be.  The match-up is a great one for Chelsea but I can't fight the feeling that he'll let in a bad goal and crush the spirits of fantasy managers everywhere, its what he does.  
  • Given/Al-Habsi/Vorm/DDG - At current retail price, between 8 and 10.5 depending, you get an array of keepers playing at home to competition that they COULD easily shut out with a few (or many) saves. However, for the price, I'm not sure that you should be too excited to dive in.  If you have one of them at the BD price then by all means carry on.


  1. Anonymous9:01 PM

    Who is this Roger Taylor and what's he done with Ryan?

  2. Anonymous9:23 PM

    i guess you are writing a preview based on everyone knowledge.. nothing suprise in your preview.. and you named 6 GK in your list..not really helpful at all

  3. Damn you for recommending Danny Graham....he was my under the radar pick for this weekend. Most managers looking for a Swansea offensive player will undoubtedly opt for Scott Sinclair but look no further than Mr. Graham for the person that scored more goals than anyone else in the Championship last season (that includes Sinclair, Holt, Long and Taarabt).


  4. something happening to agbonlahor? or he is just not good at fantasy. i got him at 7.77

  5. Stephen ward or tarrabt?

  6. Le Pantouflard1:34 AM

    I'm missing the games this week because I'm running Hood to Coast. I'm really disappointed to miss the Spurs Citeh game (COYS). Having said that, I'm not too confident with my team. I feel lucky to return on Sunday and deal with my points after the fact when I can't plead for my overpriced strike force (Rooney, Suarez, Aguero) to SHOOT! Good luck all.

  7. Akshay1:40 AM

    neal dont u think on anelka's performance he may get a start too.. and by the looks of it.. he is makeing good runs.. crossing well.. looks to shot at every opportunity.. he must be starting next week too.. so worth the gambl with him??

    i have a feeling he is going to do well against a norwich side..

  8. Mata's in but listed as a forward

  9. Scud : it will make us difficult to choose..

    neal or jeremy : what is the condition of j.riise.? he was subs early during Europa match last night..

  10. Anonymous7:50 AM

    Mata is in the game now as a forward- i think fair based on Chelsea's 4-3-3 setup

  11. Anonymous11:19 AM

    darn - was hoping to BD Mata and drop Tarabt . . .

  12. Not very impressive that Mata is listed as a forward particularly as competition for those 3 places is already competitive. Mata will surely replace Lamps eventually in the mid 3 rather than play left wing due to his lack of out and out speed but eye for a killer pass.

    Top work by Yahoo on all the improvements, it's been some time coming but nonetheless the game remains excellent considering it's free.

  13. Aaron4:50 PM

    Why recommend Boyce over Caldwell, the cheaper wigan D option?

  14. Anonymous4:56 PM

    What are the chances Phil Jones starts for ManU?

  15. very good chance MU's starting back four are smaling, jones, evans, evra. .