Thanks to @RotoZdroik for his guest post looking at Gameweek26.
When playing Fantasy Soccer (ed. Football!?!?!), there are two things you have to focus on when building your team: Form and Value. If you’re grabbing players because they have a lot of total points, it doesn’t really work out most of the time.
The first example is Michu, who hasn’t scored since December, a stretch of seven games. Even with that stat, there was close to 100,000 people that added him in the month of January because he’s still near the top of the charts in total points.
Another player is Carlos Tevez, who’s owned by 23 percent of people at premierleague.com. Tevez has zero goals and three assists since Dec. 9. In Man City’s last six matches, he only has three starts. That’s telling you something right there, and even his starts have a lot to do with Sergio Aguero’s injury.
Branislav Ivanovic is one of the most expensive defenders in the game and is owned by 24 percent of players. He has a lot of points because of his four goals and one assist on the year. Can you really count on that for a defender, though? Two of those goals came in the first two games of the year. He has had more than two Fantasy points just once since Dec. 23. Chelsea’s defense has been a question mark of late, giving up eight goals in their last four matches. Why is he still owned by so many people? He’s a waste of money.
Cases like these can be found across all positions and owners aren’t doing anything about it. They just assume a player is good because of his name or that he has a lot of points and that sooner or later, he’ll come around again. You can’t play Fantasy with that kind of mentality. You need the best possible team every week, not one scattered with underperforming, expensive players.
Here are some guys that are in form and deserve your attention.
Julio Cesar, QPR, GK, 5.0m, 3.8% owned
He has four clean sheets in his last five matches which says everything you need to know. Is there a reason Ben Foster is on more teams that Cesar, yet costs the same? Foster hasn’t had a clean sheet since returning from injury, that’s eight straight games.
How about Stoke City’s Asmir Begovic, who’s owned by over 25 percent of players? A lot of people probably got him when he was cheaper, but he’s 5.8m right now and not everyone got him at the beginning of the year at 4.5m. Stoke’s defense has disappeared in the new year, giving up goals in seven straight games including a stretch of 15 goals in five games. He’s not close to being a good option even with their upcoming schedule.
Ben Davies, Swansea, DEF, 4.6m, 12.9% owned
His ownership rate has picked up a lot lately which is good to see. I say this stat often, the Swans have allowed fewer goals on the road than any other club. They were very close to another clean sheet this past weekend, but Andy Carroll finally stepped up.
Michael Dawson, Tottenham, DEF, 4.5m, 2.3% owned
Why is a starting Spurs defender only on two percent of teams? He’s been injured a lot this year, but he’s probably going to be the starter for the rest of the year as long as he stays healthy. Dawson is by far the cheapest of the bunch on the Spurs backline.
These two players lead to question why Ryan Shawcross is the most owned defender. He falls in line with Begovic. The Stoke defense is in a slump. People have been dropping Shawcross for the past month, but he’s still on close to 29 percent of squads.
Much like Ivanovic, teammate Ashley Cole is also hugely overrated. Chelsea’s defense is in a funk and Cole costs 6.5m, which no one can really justify. He’s on 15.1% of teams.
Frank Lampard, Chelsea, MID, 8.5m, 4.5% owned
Midfielders are a little harder to look at because most of them are living up to their pricing, but one of them that isn’t getting enough attention is Lampard. He is somehow being underrated right now. He and Steven Gerrard have taken a drink from the fountain of youth and are two of the hottest players in the game. Lamps has seven goals in his last eight starts.
On the other end of that is Yaya Toure, who is still on 15 percent of squads even though he’s been away in Africa for the past few weeks. Even so, he’s played in 800 more minutes than Lampard and has less Fantasy Points. Toure is a great player, but not overwhelming in Fantasy. He costs the same as Marouane Fellaini (last week’s Fantasy leader) and is only 0.8m cheaper than Lampard. Why spend good money on a player that isn’t worth it?
Another midfielder that can be looked at is recent transfer Moussa Sissoko, who is very close to being a forward for Newcastle. While he’s only played in two Premier League matches, he’s already shown what he can do with two goals and an assist. At only 6.0m, a lot of people will be looking to add him to their squads.
Victor Anichebe, Everton, FOR, 4.4m, 2.4% owned
The fact that he’s still owned by less than three percent of people is mind boggling. Not only does he have three goals and four assists in his last eight matches, he has sort of taken over Nikica Jelavic’s spot as Everton’s starting striker. The guy is currently at 4.4m. He would be your third forward and he’s doing better than Demba Ba (26.9% owned) at Chelsea. I told everyone Ba was overrated a few weeks ago and he’s only backed up my statement with just one league goal in a Blues uniform.
Christian Benteke, Aston Villa, FOR, 6.6m, 5.1% owned
I already mentioned how there are a lot of overrated forwards in the game. Benteke is probably the most underrated of them all, mainly because no one is paying attention to Villa as they are headed for relegation. Benteke has been a great option almost all season long and he’s only getting better. He has six goals and an assist in his last five matches. Villa has not won any of those games, but he’s still fighting.
It makes you wonder what people are actually looking at when setting their lineups and making transfers. Benteke is on 17 percent less squads than Tevez, it makes absolutely no sense. The season is running to an end, don’t be stuck with overpriced, overrated players at the end of the year.
There are no weekly rankings because you should pick up all of the players I listed above. Also, there’s only one thing you need to know this week, Liverpool and Swansea have a double gameweek.
Liverpool gets two home games against West Brom and Swansea. Luis Suarez and Steven Gerrard will be at the top of a lot of lists this week. At 5.0m, Jamie Carragher is also a good grab as he’s started in three straight matches.
Swansea gets QPR at home and then travels to Liverpool a week later. QPR has had trouble scoring and now there are rumors of Loic Remy being out for up to two months. The Swansea backline already got enough promotion from me, but Gerhard Tremmel could also be a good pick at keeper if Michel Vorm misses more time. I talked badly about Michu earlier, but with two matches this might be time for him to break out of his slump. If you go the cheaper route, the Swans have four other viable midfielders that cost less than 6.0m.
YOU’RE THE CAPTAIN
- Luis Suarez, Liverpool
- Steven Gerrard, Liverpool
- Robin van Persie, Man United
- Juan Mata, Chelsea
- Gareth Bale, Tottenham
- Wayne Rooney, Man United
Suarez didn’t get anything last week at Manchester City, but it’s almost a certainty that he will in these next two home matches. If you have Suarez, you are captaining him even if RVP is in your squad. In his last three home games, Suarez has four goals and two assists.
Gerrard, who is suddenly the No. 2 overall midfielder, is right behind Suarez for the armband. Just take a look at his goal against City and you won’t have any questions about him. Much like Suarez at home, Stevie G has three goals and four assists in his last four home matches.
Once again RVP was held without a goal or assist, however he surprisingly finished with three bonus points against Fulham. Rooney has taken the lead as of late, but it’s unlikely Van Persie will go three straight matches without hitting the score sheet, especially with a home match. Everton just gave up three goals to Aston Villa if that says anything about their defense at the moment.
Any other week, Mata might be the No. 1 captain option with the way he’s playing. He’s the top midfielder by 18 Fantasy Points and isn’t slowing down even after picking up a knock on his ankle last week. The Spaniard has a goal in three straight matches and now gets a weak Wigan defense at Stamford Bridge.
Bale is carrying Spurs on his back with two vital goals in the past two weeks. They return home to face a hot Newcastle club that just took out Chelsea. Bale’s speed is unmatched and this one could turn out to be an up-and-down, higher scoring game. Tottenham’s last four matches have resulted in just five total goals, but Newcastle’s play as of late should provide for more excitement.
Rooney had to make this list because he’s at home and has scored United’s last three goals. Although I still wouldn’t put him over RVP for captaining.
*Stats up-to-date as of Feb. 4
Adam joined RotoExperts in 2008 as a member of the Scout/Player Updates Team. Throughout the years, Adam has written articles encompassing a number of sports. If you like your Fantasy advice full of numbers and straight to the point, look no further. Find him (@RotoZdroik) on Twitter, to get a daily take of what’s happening in the sports world