The Week Ahead, Part Two - Player Picks

Sometimes we, and by we I mean the blog, pay the price for this not being a full time job.  There are times when the job that pays the bills takes precedence over the enjoyment of bringing you blog posts so long that your bosses, significant others, non-fantasy-playing friends, and children complain about the time spent on them on occasion.  I enjoy writing them as much as (I hope) you enjoy reading them.  Unfortunately, Wednesday and yesterday found me focused from dawn until dusk on my day job and with only enough energy to write part 1 of The Week Ahead.  Because I'm guessing you'd rather have the player picks as soon as I can get them to you versus waiting until I come up with a good-sized rant to open the column, I'll dispense with the usual prelude and get right to the picks.


Rooney - But for a little bad luck last week, he'd be on three straight hat tricks.  He's expensive but he's actually been justifying his 23+ price point thus far.  What there is no doubt about is that those who have him already should keep him.

Kun - His price still isn't that crazy given what he's done when he's played.  Too easy to include in this list but what list of forward recommendations would be complete without him this season.

K2 - With Dzeko coming back down to earth, Adebayor has been the "big" (and inexpensive) forward to have over the last few weeks.  The match-ups seem to favor that roll continuing.

Gervinho - Hard to know exactly what we have here.  After two matches in the Premier League he has one RC + negative fantasy performance and one goal + 15 point fantasy performance.  His price crept up on the back of his strong weekend in Arsenal's embarrassing defeat but he's still inexpensive enough that you'd be willing to live with his ups and downs.

Torres - I'm sure people will be tempted to go back to that man who is dead to us but he's pretty expensive and we've seen that he can turn just about anything sour on his current form, even THAT opportunity.  For that reason, and the possibility that AVB might rotate some players against sub-standard opposition, I'm looking more at the affordable Mata than his mis-firing and expensive countryman.

N'gog/Davies - If you're buying a relatively inexpensive Bolton forward on the bet that Arsenal will make a hideous mistake and allow one (or both) to score then here's how you choose.  If you think Arsenal will be burned by shoddy defending on the counter-attack (similar to their loss to WBA last season) then N'gog and his speed is your guy.  If you think they'll concede from a set piece (and apparently half of their last 56 goals conceded have come from that route - hat tip then Davies is probably your guy.  I'm not sure there's a right answer so you have to decide how you feel about the chances of either scenario playing out.


Silva - Because he's STILL not THAT expensive and he's been the best player in the league so far.

SWP - Price is climbing but he's been extremely effective now that he's playing regularly again and he's playing at home to mediocre opposition.

Taarabt - Slightly more expensive than SWP and still accompanied by the frustration that you feel like he should be doing more in this fantasy system but he's still be very solid since the second week of the season.

Henderson - A shout out to Jeremy and his soccer crush Jordan Henderson.  With Adam suspended, Meireles gone, and Gerrard still on the way back there is every chance that he'll be a bigger part of the midfield equation than he has been and he's produced pretty solid fantasy numbers at a much lower price than his Liverpool midfield colleagues.

Arteta - I'm actually still trying to figure out what I think of Arteta at Arsenal for fantasy purposes.  His results last weekend looked good because he scored the goal but honestly, for most of the match he was lying back a bit deeper than we're used to seeing at Everton and not showing the propensity to get phantom points from that spot that Cesc did when he was manning it.  I'm going to give him one more shot because I like the match-up but I'm officially concerned about this pick.

Ramires - I know what you're thinking "what the hell is he talking about?"  With Chelsea playing Swansea, I needed a recommendation in the CHE midfield and look at the alternatives: Lampard and FloMal are WAY too expensive (and may not start); Meireles hasn't come close to justifying is more modest price this season and that's too much money to spend on someone who hasn't shown much this season.  That leaves the inexpensive Ramires who could be justified as a low-cost enabler of other things and might luck into a goal.


Boyata - I do love me a good enabling defender and Boyata will have to do little more than show up and start to get the two to three fantasy points that would justify his place.  Obviously you only want to do this if you need the money elsewhere, but you don't get many starters for that price.

Bosingwa - Sort of a no-brainer since he's at home, has a great match-up and a reasonable price.  His negative fantasy performance against United certainly helped pave the way for many a manager to pick him up this weekend.

Richards - Like Bosingwa, he's very likely to start at home in a solid match-up for a reasonable price.  As I mentioned yesterday in Part 1, I'm not 100% convinced of City's ability to keep a clean sheet without de Jong at full health but Richards does get some points going forward which could balance out his price even if the CS doesn't come through.

Gibbs - We'll wait for news of his spot (or lack thereof) in the line-up but given the disaster that was Andre Santos' actual defending - if you didn't see the match there were a long list of mistakes that directly contributed to Rovers goals - you'd have to expect Wenger to lean on Gibbs given how badly the Gunners need a home win.

Smalling - I'm getting a bit repetitive on these defender recommendations at this stage of the season but being able to have some combination of Bosingwa, Richards, and Smalling (three regular starters for the top three teams) for a total of between 21 and 22 is something that can't be ignored. It certainly won't last much longer.

Shorey - If you're looking for something of a random pick, you could go worse than picking up this old fantasy favorite who is cheap and playing at home against a Fulham team that has scored all of 1 goal on the road this season.  Certainly not a no-brainer but if you're looking to do something that will separate your team from others, this is a solid risk.


Cech - The ugly fantasy scoreline from last weekend dropped his price to a very reasonable 10.87.  With a return to the Bridge and a marked drop in the quality of the opposition, he is positioned to be a great fantasy bargain this weekend if you have that amount to spend on a keeper.

Szczesny - It may be hard to remember between the United thrashing and the Rovers debacle but there was a really good fantasy week between those two matches.  I'm sure fantasy managers' stomachs are churning at the mere thought of Szczesny in goal but for 5.69 and Bolton coming to town, you could do worse than take the risk.

Krul - If Szczesny makes you too nervous (and I don't blame you if it does) but you still need a cheap goalkeeper with a solid chance for some upside that belies his price, then Krul is your man.  His colleagues in the NUFC defense are pretty expensive but he has yet to experience the same jump which makes him value where the others are a bit over-priced.  With Rovers as the match-up, I have to say this is a very interesting opportunity for fantasy managers.


  1. Anonymous8:42 AM

    C.Adam served his suspension in mid-week carling cup

  2. Anonymous8:53 AM

    Hi Neal,

    I thought C. Adam served his red card on mid week Carling Cup?


  3. neal, jeremy!!
    cech + van der vaart + gervinho
    krul + cabaye + van persie

  4. Adam and Skrtel served their suspension and are available. The post has been updated.

    @David Peter, I would go with the latter trio.

  5. Smalling is a doubt per SAF and Gibbs played midweek, meaning Santos is likely the starter this weekend.

    Hard to believe Mata wasnt mentioned. He is the best option to get in on Chelsea this weekend, from a price-to-potential standpoint. 5-6 cheaper than Torres, and less likely to get a yellow card than Ramires.

    Gervinho thus far, from a small sample, looks to be a player that only scores well when he scores. Im more inclined to consider him a BD option than a starter, considering the huge amount of striker options AND arsenals general demise. Arsenal is suspect until proven otherwise. RVP hasnt returned his value yet, Sczcesny has negative points so far, Walcott is hit or miss and they are shaky for a CS no matter the opposition.

    Who knows.

  6. "I'm looking more at the affordable Mata than his mis-firing and expensive countryman."

  7. MPFC/KPM10:11 AM

    Nicky Shorey FTW!

  8. Anonymous10:28 AM

  9. A.Young + Cabaye


    Arteta + Nasri

    Any thoughts? I'm leaning towards the first since I already have Silva. Also, ManU may have a big game since fatigue may play a factor with Stoke. Their starting XI played 3 games in 6 days, and now only a 4 day break before going up against ManU. And they did give up 4 to Sunderland...could be a blow out?

  10. Anonymous10:59 AM

    Who is Kun?

  11. Anonymous11:08 AM

    City and Everton teamsheets should be available before the 12 deadline for any last minute Dzeko/Balotelli/Adam Johnson swaps. Also worth picking Cahill maybe he always scores against city.

  12. @Anon 10:59AM - 'Kun' is the nickname for Agüero.

  13. Mata and P. Jones or Hernandez and Richards or Kaboul?

  14. Daniel3:55 PM

    @ kwyjibo

    I would say the former with one exception -- Cabaye looks good now (especially if you have him closer to 6) but long term I'd worry that Ben Arfa would steal some of his value. It might hurt the long-term value of that pick, if you're thinking long-term.

  15. Anonymous4:01 AM

    who is k2????????????????

  16. Anonymous4:29 AM

    guys whose a better pick adam or arteta for this week,,and krul or szczesny??help if u can m sinking at the bottom

  17. Anonymous4:50 AM

    k2 is kk :P

  18. Anonymous6:11 AM

    is rooney injured?

  19. Anonymous6:39 AM

    wat? From wat source u heard Rooney is injured!?