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Fantasy Premier League: GameWeek26 overview from @RotoZdroik

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.

WEEKLY TIP

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

 

  1. Luis Suarez, Liverpool
  2. Steven Gerrard, Liverpool
  3. Robin van Persie, Man United
  4. Juan Mata, Chelsea
  5. Gareth Bale, Tottenham
  6. 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

@RotoZdroik

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

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GW24/GW25 Wrapped up and Delivered: Guest Post from @RotoZdroik

Guest Post from www.RotoExperts.com

Don’t forget to check out the official FantasyYIRMA preview also available now “GW25 Gareth Bale to sting the Hawthorns”

GW24/GW25 Wrapped up and Delivered

We’re in super speed this week as there are only two days between Gameweek 24 and Gameweek 25. Here is a very quick 10-game review from the midweek matches.

Villa headed toward relegation. Newcastle is alive. QPR playing tough. Man City lackluster. Stoke City lost its defense. Wigan still fighting. Sunderland needs another scorer. Swansea is better than you think. Arsenal comeback. Liverpool lose two points. Everton led by Baines. West Brom still struggling. Norwich shows some life. Tottenham saved by Bale. Fulham better at home. West Ham terrible on road. Man United likes playing from behind. Southampton not an easy win. Reading has another ridiculous come back. Chelsea has another late draw.

See? Now you know everything that happened on Tuesday and Wednesday and it only took a minute.

FORM AND FIXTURES

Here are seven clubs that I would like to highlight because you need to pay attention to them for Fantasy purposes.

The first four are known commodities and are at the top of the table for a reason. The bottom three are not talked about enough and deserve some mentioning.

Club

Last 6 Matches

Random Stat Fixtures
Manchester United

16

Last loss: Nov. 17 at FUL, vs. EVE, at QPR
Manchester City

13

4 wins last 5 matches vs. LIV, at SOT, vs. CHE
Tottenham

12

3 straight draws at WBA, vs. NEW, at WH
Everton

11

1 loss in last 12 vs. AVL, at MUN, at NOR
Reading

11

1 loss in last 6 vs. SUN, at STK, vs. WIG
Swansea

10

9 goals allowed on road at WH, vs. QPR/at LIV
QPR

6

Unbeaten in 4 straight vs. NOR, at SWA, vs. MUN

 

I’m starting with QPR first because no one is talking about them. No one gave QPR a chance against Manchester City and yet they stopped the giants from scoring. Of course if you listened to Premier League Plus last Friday, you wouldn’t have been high as on City as we predicted a draw.

 

I’ll start with their defense. Julio Cesar may be old, but he’s still a great keeper. Why else is Real Madrid trying to pick him up? QPR now has three clean sheets in their last four matches. More importantly, those three clean sheets have come against Chelsea, Tottenham and Man City. No one else in the league has had a similar stretch.

 

On the other end of that, their offense has been struggling, but still gets some looks. Adel Taarabt is their best attacker and had a few chances against City. At 5.7m he is still a great value. Loic Remy scored in his debut and also deserves a look.

 

Get a Swansea defender on your squad. In 12 road matches, they have allowed just nine goals, best in the Premier League. It wouldn’t hurt to add one of their defenders who are all under 5.0m. Ben Davies is the most desirable as he gets forward a lot. One thing to keep an eye on is Michel Vorm and his transfer status. There are reports that Man United and Barcelona are fighting for the keeper. That would mean that Gerhard Tremmel would get the permanent job in net at 4.1m. Also, they have a double in Gameweek 26 so that’s something to prepare for.

 

One of the bigger surprises in the above table is that Everton and Reading have the same amount of points in their last six matches. The overall difference is that Everton has a 12-spot lead in the main table.

 

Reading has a favorable upcoming schedule, which only helps. They have two home matches against Sunderland and Wigan and then go on the road to a struggling Stoke. Adam Le Fondre has not started in a while, but he has five goals in the last three matches. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see him get the start against Sunderland. Jimmy Kebe and Pavel Pogrebnyak also deserve a look. If you need a fifth defender, there’s no reason not to go for someone on their back line as they are all 4.0m or less.

 

Tottenham still needs to be looked at even though they are coming off three straight draws. Their next three opponents (WBA, Newcastle, West Ham) have been struggling and that should open for at least one or two wins in the upcoming stretch. Michael Dawson is a great value at 4.5m and should be looked at no matter what your situation.

 

Looking at the two Manchester’s, the safe route will be to go for United players. They get Everton, Fulham and QPR while City has to face Liverpool, Chelsea and then Southampton on the road.

 

The conversation between Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie has never been stronger after Rooney nabbed a brace against Southampton. As he is a little cheaper, there is a good reason for people to get Rooney over RVP. Here’s some more reasoning behind that decision.

 

Take a look at my rankings below and some of the points I just made are reflected into them. Cesar and Tremmel are at the top of the goalkeepers list for a reason. Those are just two examples, but there are plenty more players to get on clubs you normally don’t think about.

 

WEEKLY RANKINGS

Goalkeepers

  1. Julio Cesar, QPR, 4.9m, vs. Norwich
  2. Gerhard Tremmel, Swansea, 4.1m, at West Ham
  3. Tim Howard, Everton, 5.5m, vs. Aston Villa
  4. Joe Hart, Man City, 6.9m, vs. Liverpool
  5. David de Gea, Man United, 5.5m, at Fulham


Defenders

  1. Leighton Baines, Everton, 7.5m, vs. Aston Villa
  2. Patrice Evra, Man United, 7.1m, at Fulham
  3. Ben Davies, Swansea, 4.3m, at West Ham
  4. Gael Clichy, Man City, 5.6m, vs. Liverpool
  5. Branislav Ivanovic, Chelsea, 7.1m, at Newcastle
  6. Fabio, QPR, 4.2m, vs. Norwich
  7. Bacary Sagna, Arsenal, 5.2m, vs. Stoke City
  8. Phil Jagielka, Everton, 6.0m, vs. Aston Villa
  9. Phil Jones, Man United, 5.6m, at Fulham
  10. Kyle Walker, Tottenham, 6.1m, at West Brom


Midfielders

  1. Juan Mata, Chelsea, 10.1m, at Newcastle
  2. Theo Walcott, Arsenal, 9.4m, vs. Stoke City
  3. Gareth Bale, Tottenham, 9.8m, at West Brom
  4. Marouane Fellaini, Everton, 7.6m, vs. Aston Villa
  5. Adel Taarabt, QPR, 5.7m, vs. Norwich
  6. David Silva, Man City, 9.4m, vs. Liverpool
  7. Steven Gerrard, Liverpool, 9.4m, at Man City
  8. Michu, Swansea, 8.3m, at West Ham
  9. Frank Lampard, Chelsea, 8.5m, at Newcastle
  10. Yohan Cabaye, Newcastle, 6.6m, vs. Chelsea


Forwards

  1. Robin van Persie, Man United, 14.1m, at Fulham
  2. Luis Suarez, Liverpool, 10.5m, at Man City
  3. Demba Ba, Chelsea, 8.9m, at Newcastle
  4. Wayne Rooney, Man United, 11.8m, at Fulham
  5. Carlos Tevez, Man City, 8.9m, vs. Liverpool
  6. Sergio Aguero, Man City, 10.9m, vs. Liverpool
  7. Lukas Podolski, Arsenal, 8.3m, vs. Stoke City
  8. Jermaine Defoe, Tottenham, 8.2m, at West Brom
  9. Christian Benteke, Aston Villa, 6.5m, at Everton
  10. Adam Le Fondre, Reading, 4.7m, vs. Sunderland
  11. Rickie Lambert, Southampton, 6.4m, at Wigan
  12. Steven Fletcher, Sunderland, 7.1m, at Reading

 

YOU’RE THE CAPTAIN

  1. Robin van Persie, Man United
  2. Juan Mata, Chelsea
  3. Theo Walcott, Arsenal
  4. Gareth Bale, Tottenham
  5. Luis Suarez, Liverpool

 

My captain rankings look very similar to last week’s. This is mainly because we are more than halfway through the campaign and we know who the best players are. In addition to that, the big name players are all performing up to their potential ,which never seems to happen. Of course after saying this, one of these guys will get hurt or go on a cold streak.

 

Surprisingly, the only player that didn’t back up my rankings last week was RVP. He had a few chances, but was denied by keeper Artur Boruc. While his 10-game scoring streak was snapped, you don’t have to worry about him because of that. No one else in the league has had a 10-game scoring stretch. Van Persie had to be stopped at some point. Fulham plays solid defense at home, but that shouldn’t matter against the Red Devils.

 

Mata had a slow start to the season, which saw his value dip as low as 8.9m. Hopefully, you picked him up then because his value has only gone up since. The Spaniard now costs 10.1m and for good reason. He has at least two bonus points in six of his last nine matches. That usually means good things. Chelsea is on the road, but I wouldn’t put money on Newcastle holding them to a clean sheet.

 

Walcott deserves the next spot in my rankings for two reasons: He’s on fire and Stoke’s defense has been non-existent as of late. Walcott has now scored in three straight matches and has seven goals and five assists in the past eight games. Once a solid defense, Stoke City has allowed 15 goals in their last five matches.

 

Gareth Bale is fast and he has a great left foot. That was all on display in his equalizer scored at Norwich on Wednesday. Spurs are on the road again and against a very questionable defense in West Brom. While the Baggies are in the top half of the table, they have allowed more goals than any other club also in that position.

 

I pondered leaving Suarez off this list mainly because Man City has four straight clean sheets. The problem with that is they haven’t played Luis Suarez in those games. Suarez is on fire with six goals in his last five matches. City has to give up a goal at some point.

*Stats up-to-date as of Jan. 30

(ed. Since time of article, it now looks as if Mata may miss the GW25 fixture)

By @RotoZdroik

About the Author

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.

Gameweek 25 preview: Gareth Bale to sting The Hawthorns?

Image

 

 

The closure of the January transfer window may excite manic Sky Sports News presenters, the Twitter rumour-mongers and Harry Redknapp, but Fantasy bosses are often better off just sticking to what they know.

At this point of the season – pretty much exactly two-thirds of the way through – you’ll know who you can rely on in your team, who you’ll be keeping an eye on bringing in and who you desperately need to get rid of. New arrivals into the division shouldn’t alter that.

Of course there are those new players who can arrive into the Premier League and immediately take it by storm – Papiss Cisse last season anyone? – but the bedding in period often needed by foreign imports makes adding any deadline day signing to your team a risk. At least this weekend anyway.

No, it would be better to go with the tried and tested ahead of an intriguing set of games, and there aren’t many players in the division this season who have proved their worth more than Tottenham’s Gareth Bale (£9.8m).

The Welshman’s fine solo goal at Carrow Road on Wednesday night was a 10th Premier League strike of the season, and with eight of those 10 coming in matches away from White Hart Lane – in which he can make more use of the space afforded to him – then the winger will be the man to watch when Spurs visit West Brom on Sunday afternoon.

The Baggies have only won two of their last 11 in the league, and so whilst you don’t want Bale running at you at the best of times it is likely to be especially tough for Steve Clarke’s men to cope with the confidence of the winger here. Bale could score big.

Elsewhere, the headline match of the weekend is probably the last one, as Manchester City welcome Liverpool in a contest which the hosts will need to win after dropping points at QPR last time out.

Sergio Aguero (£10.9m) returned to the team there and should definitely be considered here, but even though Liverpool are facing a tough game the eagle-eyed Fantasy bosses will have noted that they have a Double Gameweek coming up next time around which brings home matches against West Brom and Swansea. Luis Suarez (£10.5m) is only going to see his price go up. More on him next week…

Reading’s Adam Le Fondre (£4.7m) might be a slightly less talked about forward than Suarez, but he proved more than his worth with the two late goals which earned a point against Chelsea in midweek, and at home to Sunderland he’ll be backed by many to find the net again. If you need a cheap forward to supplement your big boys then there are few better options at the moment.

Defensively, the scope for clean sheets doesn’t look all too great this weekend, but although QPR’s match at home to fellow strugglers Norwich will be full of new Rangers players introducing themselves to one another, it might just see the home side keep it tight at the back.

After the 3-0 loss at home to Liverpool before the turn of the year, Redknapp’s boys have kept back-to-back clean sheets at Loftus Road against opposition of the calibre of Tottenham and Manchester City, as well as shutting out Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

The Canaries should offer little to be worried about then, and after playing 90 minutes in each of QPR’s last four games the on-loan Manchester United defender Fabio da Silva (£4.2m) could just be worth considering if you need to add a cheap defender to make room elsewhere.

At the other end of the scale Leighton Baines (£7.5m) is the game’s most expensive defender and he’ll be looking to follow-up his brace against West Brom when Everton entertain Aston Villa, but the Blues have only kept two clean sheets at home all season and so Christian Benteke (£6.5m) shouldn’t be discounted for the visitors.

Finally and not too far away at Wigan, the hosts will hope that the increasingly effective Franco di Santo (£5.3m) impresses as they host Southampton on Saturday.

That’s if no-one else has signed him by then of course…

@Mark_Jones86

Fantasy Premier League: GW24 Insight from @RotoZdroik

The guest posts have been coming through thick and fast of late and here at FantasyYIRMA we always welcome good content!

Adam is a staff writer from www.RotoExperts.com – an extremely well respected Fantasy sports site based in the USA. Delighted to feature his thoughts on the upcoming fixtures in GW24.

As always if you have an article you would like to feature on FantasyYIRMA email Ryan at FantasyYIRMA@hotmail.com or contact us via twitter @FantasyYIRMA to discuss.

The Return of Steven Gerrard

FIVE FOR FIGHTING

Maybe Demba Ba isn’t worth it.

Wait, what?! Am I saying that the 500,000 people that grabbed Ba last week made a mistake? Yes, sort of.

Ba basically started in every match at Newcastle because he was their best chance at scoring. Chelsea plays more games (FA Cup, Capital One Cup, Europa League) and has a deeper roster. Ba will not be starting every match, which is what we saw this past weekend. Fernando Torres was rested for a few games, but got the start against Arsenal. Ba will definitely get his chances to score, but at 8.9m do 37 percent of owners need him on their roster? No. Forwards like Rickie Lambert, Christian Benteke and Dimitar Berbatov will get more playing time and score plenty at a cheaper value.

Don’t spend on defence.

This wasn’t really something we just found out, but it’s still important and something you need to know. Look at these numbers at each position.

No. 5 Goalkeeper: Jussi Jaaskelainen, 83 Fantasy Points
No. 15 Goalkeeper: Ben Foster, 54 FP (29-point difference)

No. 5 Defender: Daniel Agger, 84 FP
No. 30 Defender: Ashley Williams, 62 FP (22-point difference)

No. 5 Midfielder: Eden Hazard, 122 FP
No. 30 Midfielder: Damien Duff, 72 FP (50-point difference)

No. 5 Forward: Steven Fletcher, 112 FP
No. 20 Forward: Peter Crouch, 74 FP (38-point difference)

I used different numbers at GK and FOR because obviously, there are fewer players at those positions. It’s pretty evident where you want to spend your money and it’s not either defensive position. Going even further for goalkeepers, Joe Hart costs between 1-2m more than every other GK in the game and he’s still only the third best.

Why is Leighton Baines the third most owned defender when he’s also the most expensive? He’s not RVP. Everton actually had a streak of 16 straight games without a clean sheet which makes that even more questionable. Save a couple million and buy someone like Joey O’Brien who only has 16 less FP. That price is the difference between having Suarez or Nikica Jelavic on your squad. That’s a big difference.

 steven_Gerrard

Steven Gerrard looks to be back to his golden days. Photo Credit: Ruaraidh Gillies

Midfield is the way to go.
Van Persie and Luis Suarez are the top strikers in the Fantasy game, far and away. Those two have a chance at scoring in every single match no matter where or who they play.

I mentioned Ba earlier, who’s the second most owned forward. Carlos Tevez, Jermaine Defoe and Fernando Torres are next in line in ownership percentages. Tevez has fallen off lately and is getting outscored by Edin Dzeko as of late, not to mention Sergio Aguero just returned from injury. Defoe has one goal in his last eight starts, which isn’t going to cut it. Torres is Torres.

Why not focus on the top echelon of midfielders who have been dominant this season? Mata leads the way along with teammate Eden Hazard. Gareth Bale is always a threat and Theo Walcott is playing in a new role and is scoring for fun. The latest Spaniards to have taken the Premier League by storm are Michu and Santi Cazorla.

I can keep going with this list too. David Silva. Marouane Fellaini has been great this year. Aaron Lennon is having one of his best years in the BPL. Adel Taarabt has bonus points in five of his last seven matches.

The return of Leiva Lucas has given Steven Gerrard a more attacking role and he’s relishing it, looking like the Gerrard from his 2008-09 days. This current scoring version of Gerrard, we have not seen in a long, long time. All of a sudden, Stevie G has four goals and eight assists in his last 10 games. He had just two goals and three assists in the first 13 games. In the two previous campaigns, he had combined for only nine goals and seven assists. We are now in the days of Gerrard.

There are so many midfielder options right now that you should be starting four or five every week and if you aren’t, you’ll be left in the dust.

WEEKLY RANKINGS

Goalkeepers

  1. David de Gea, Man United, 5.5m, vs. Southampton
  2. Joe Hart, Man City, 6.9m, at QPR
  3. Asmir Begovic, Stoke City, 5.8m, vs. Wigan
  4. Hugo Lloris, Tottenham, 5.9m, at Norwich
  5. Petr Cech, Chelsea, 6.4m, at Reading

Defenders

  1. Patrice Evra, Man United, 7.1m, vs. Southampton
  2. Gael Clichy, Man City, 5.6m, at QPR
  3. Branislav Ivanovic, Chelsea, 7.1m, at Reading
  4. Phil Jones, Man United, 5.6m, vs. Southampton
  5. Leighton Baines, Everton, 7.5m, vs. West Brom
  6. Kyle Walker, Tottenham, 6.1m, at Norwich
  7. Glen Johnson, Liverpool, 6.4m, at Arsenal
  8. Bacary Sagna, Arsenal, 5.2m, vs. Liverpool
  9. Sascha Riether, Fulham, 5.0m, vs. West Ham
  10. Ben Davies, Swansea, 4.3m, at Sunderland

Midfielders

  1. Juan Mata, Chelsea, 10.0m, at Reading
  2. Theo Walcott, Arsenal, 9.4m, vs. Liverpool
  3. David Silva, Man City, 9.4m, at QPR
  4. Gareth Bale, Tottenham, 9.8m, at Norwich
  5. Steven Gerrard, Liverpool, 9.4m, at Arsenal
  6. Michu, Swansea, 8.3m, at Sunderland
  7. Marouane Fellaini, Everton, 7.6m, vs. West Brom
  8. Frank Lampard, Chelsea, 8.4m, at Reading
  9. Aaron Lennon, Tottenham, 7.2m, at Norwich
  10. Frank Lampard, Chelsea, 8.4m, at Reading

Forwards

  1. Robin van Persie, Man United, 14.1m, vs. Southampton
  2. Luis Suarez, Liverpool, 10.5m, at Arsenal
  3. Edin Dzeko, Man City, 7.5m, at QPR
  4. Carlos Tevez, Man City, 8.9m, at QPR
  5. Christian Benteke, Aston Villa, 6.5m, vs. Newcastle
  6. Wayne Rooney, Man United, 11.8m, vs. Southampton
  7. Demba Ba, Chelsea, 8.9m, at Reading
  8. Fernando Torres, Chelsea, 9.5m, at Reading
  9. Lukas Podolski, Arsenal, 8.3m, vs. Liverpool
  10. Nikica Jelavic, Everton, 8.0m, vs. West Brom

YOU’RE THE CAPTAIN

  1. Robin van Persie, Man United
  2. Juan Mata, Chelsea
  3. Luis Suarez, Liverpool
  4. Theo Walcott, Arsenal
  5. David Silva, Man City

Robin van Persie will be playing at home against a club that has allowed the second most goals on the road this season. It doesn’t get any better than that. RVP has 10 goals in his last 10 league matches to go with four assists. He leads the Premier League in goals and has the second most assists for a forward.

While there are some nice matchups this week, it might be harder than you’d think for choosing your captain outside of RVP. Man City has a tricky road battle against a QPR side that has been playing well. Arsenal and Liverpool face each other at the Emirates. Tottenham travel to Norwich, a team that’s struggling, but has also only allowed 13 goals in 11 home matches. Chelsea have what looks to be an easy match at Reading, but the Royals have been playing well as of late, winning three straight matches in all competitions.

Reading may be playing better, but I’m still going with Mata as the second best captain this week. He’s been extremely consistent as of late with four goals and five assists in his past nine matches. That includes a goal or assist in five straight road games.

This next choice is the toughest. I’m going with Luis Suarez because I think there will be goals in that game and he and Daniel Sturridge will cause problems all day for the Gunners back line. Not to mention Suarez is on fire with six goals and two assists in his last six games.

Walcott is in that same conversation with Suarez. He’s playing a more central role which has opened up opportunities for him. He’s scored at least six Fantasy Points in six of his last seven matches and one of those was a 26-point outburst. Liverpool has been better defensively in recent weeks, but this road test could bring trouble.

My last choice goes to David Silva. He deserves it after last week’s two-goal performance against Fulham. The absence of Yaya Toure allowed him more range in front of the net. Even though QPR will be a tough task, City should be able to score at least once and Silva will be around it.

*Stats up-to-date as of Jan. 28

By @RotoZdroik

About the Author

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.

 

Gameweek 21 preview: Juan to make Matas worse for QPR?

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Like plenty of Fantasy managers, Queens Park Rangers can only hope that a new year brings a change in fortunes. It doesn’t look like starting off that way.

After three consecutive defeats at the tail end of 2012, QPR begin 2013 with a trip to a resurgent Chelsea on Wednesday night. It may be a short hop across west London, but the gap in quality in huge.

One man who represents that gap is Juan Mata (£9.8m), the Spanish ace who has slowly overtaken Eden Hazard (£9.5m) as Chelsea’s main creative force the longer the season has gone on, scoring seven goals and making eight assists during the campaign to overtake his Belgian teammate following Hazard’s stunning start to life in England.

Against QPR you’ve have to feel that Mata will be able to exploit the shortcomings of Harry Redknapp’s side in much the same way that Luis Suarez did for Liverpool on Sunday, and with Rafael Benitez also surely likely to stick with Frank Lampard (£8.4m) following his brace in the weekend win at Everton, the potential for another big Chelsea home win is there for all to see.

They beat Aston Villa 8-0 in their last game at Stamford Bridge, and if another huge scoreline is to be achieved then Mata is sure to be key to the home side’s efforts. He looks to be a solid captaincy choice.

The festive period was a time to trust ex-Southampton players with your armband, with Gareth Bale (£9.9m) and Theo Walcott (£8.8m) both hitting hat-tricks to thrill the managers who own them.

Bale would have been backed for more points had he not picked up a suspension which keeps him out of Tottenham’s home match with Reading on New Year’s Day, but Arsenal’s Walcott is sure to be raring to go as he heads back to the south coast to take on Southampton fresh from racking up this season’s highest individual points total in one fixture against Newcastle on Saturday.

His three goals and two assists have of course seen plenty of Fantasy bosses draft him into the team in the hope that he can repeat the trick, and whilst he might not manage to pull off that incredible feat again he certainly looks as though he’ll be in the points as he heads back to his old club ― who conceded six to the Gunners, and one to Walcott, back in September.

The Manchester clubs look set to spent 2013 battling with each other in the same way they did in 2012, and both will fancy New Year’s Day wins as champions City host Stoke and leaders United go to Wigan. Sergio Aguero (£11.0m) and Robin van Persie (£14.0m) will again be the main men, whilst City’s Yaya Toure (£8.0) will play his final Premier League match before heading off for the Africa Cup of Nations.

Suarez (£10.2m) and Liverpool will be looking to arrest their schizophrenic form as they welcome Sunderland to Anfield in a match which should see the Uruguayan forward impress, whilst Demba Ba (£8.4m) could be playing his final match for Newcastle as they host Everton. Logic dictates that he’ll be getting less chances to pick up points should he move to Chelsea as expected.

Logic also says that whoever faces Aston Villa should be in the points given recent form, and as Swansea welcome Paul Lambert’s men to South Wales perhaps a move for Nathan Dyer (£5.3m) could pay off.  

Michu (£8.2m) is doubtful for the match, and whilst his fitness should be monitored all the way up to the deadline ― not the most exciting way to spend New Year’s Eve admittedly ― the likes of Dyer and Jonathan de Guzman (£5.7m) could be the men to watch.

@Mark_Jones86

* Remember, the January Wildcard kicks in after Gameweek 21’s fixtures. The earliest your Wildcard can become active is Gameweek 22.

Gameweek 15 preview: The case for the defence – Volume II

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After our Gameweek 8 focus on some of the men who ply their trade at the back, the case for the defence has been reopened ahead of a weekend which is likely to see defenders prove as important as ever.

Scrappy Gameweeks 13 and 14 saw clean sheets and defensive bonus points become vital, and if you can get your hands on a player who will provide both as well as offering an attacking threat then it’s wise to hold onto him. Fortunately there is one currently stationed on Liverpool’s left wing.

Just how long Brendan Rodgers continues with his efforts to transform Jose Enrique (£5.9m) into the new Gareth Bale remains to be seen, but the Liverpool manager’s selection of the Spaniard ahead of converted left-back Stewart Downing in his side’s last two games shows that this is an experiment which is set to last.

Ever since taking up the left midfield role in the second half of Liverpool’s 1-1 draw at Chelsea in Gameweek 11, Enrique has carried a greater goal threat than any other Reds player bar Luis Suarez. He almost scored in that Chelsea game, provided a goal and an assist in the win over Wigan, had an effort controversially disallowed at Swansea and came close numerous times in Wednesday’s loss at Tottenham.

With Southampton visiting Anfield on Saturday the home crowd will be expecting their underachieving team to both create plenty of chances and keep it tight at the back, two elements of their game that could see Enrique pick up plenty of points. He could even be a left-field left-sided captaincy choice for the brave and the bold amongst you.

Whilst the former Newcastle man is a familiar face to Fantasy players thanks to his five-and-a-half years in the English game, there is also a relative newcomer who could also be worth considering this weekend.

Manchester City’s Matija Nastasic (£5.5m) will need no introduction to Joleon Lescott after the young Serbian took the England defender’s place in the City team, and after starting City’s last six league games the 19-year-old looks here to stay.

The champions have kept five clean sheets in those six matches, and whilst Nastasic’s team-mate Pablo Zabaleta (£5.8m) is another name to consider as an alternative to the expensive Vincent Kompany (£7.2m), the Serb’s price only looks like rising throughout the campaign as City’s title challenge seemingly grows stronger. City’s defenders do come with a warning of a fixture list which sees them face Everton and Manchester United in their next two matches, but Nastasic might just be worth the risk.

Elsewhere as we continue our look at the men at the back, perhaps the weekend’s best chance of a stalemate – Gold-dust when we conduct these cases for the defence – comes at Loftus Road where QPR face Aston Villa in a contest which will see Ryan Nelsen (£4.0m) marshal the home defence and Villa’s Matthew Lowton (£4.5m), Ciaran Clark and Eric Lichaj (both £4.4m) all feature for the visitors.

Manchester United left out Rio Ferdinand (£5.9m) for the midweek win over West Ham at Old Trafford, with full-backs Patrice Evra (£6.8m) and Rafael (£6.5m) perhaps the only two certain starters for their Saturday evening trip to Reading, whilst Chelsea seem to have no problem keeping clean sheets under Rafael Benitez, with Ashley Cole (£6.5) certain to be a key part of the attempt to keep a third in a row as they go to West Ham.

If you need a cheaper option though then it might pay to head to North London, where Per Mertesacker (£5.3m) has started Arsenal’s last eight matches and popped up with a goal in the Gameweek 12 win over Tottenham.

The Gunners have only kept two clean sheets in those eight matches, but they’ll expect to be on the front foot as Swansea visit the Emirates Stadium on Saturday, whilst the return from suspension of Fabricio Coloccini (£5.0m) should shore up Newcastle’s back-line for Monday night’s visit of Wigan.

@Mark_Jones86

GW10 – NOTHING BUT BONUS POINTS!!!

Gameweek 10
03 Nov 12:45 Man Utd Man Utd 2 – 1 Arsenal Arsenal
03 Nov 15:00 Fulham Fulham 2 – 2 Everton Everton
Bonus
Riether (2)
Sidwell (2)
Bonus
Fellaini (3)
03 Nov 15:00 Norwich Norwich 1 – 0 Stoke City Stoke City
03 Nov 15:00 Sunderland Sunderland 0 – 1 Aston Villa Aston Vil
03 Nov 15:00 Swansea Swansea 1 – 1 Chelsea Chelsea
Bonus
Hernandez (2)
Bonus
Cahill
Moses (3)
03 Nov 15:00 Tottenham Tottenham 0 – 1 Wigan Wigan
03 Nov 17:30 West Ham West Ham 0 – 0 Man City Man City
Bonus
Collins
Bonus
Clichy (2)
Nasri (3)
04 Nov 13:30 QPR QPR 1 – 1 Reading Reading
04 Nov 16:00 Liverpool Liverpool 1 – 1 Newcastle Newcastle
05 Nov 20:00 West Brom

Bonus
Foster
Mulumbu (2)
Odemwingie (3)

 

West Brom v Southampton Southampton

FPL: Statistical round up – by @shots_on_target

 

 

If you haven’t already check out @shots_on_target on twitter and visit his site www.shotsontarget.co.uk/

 

He is spoiling you with individual team statistics for all Premier League clubs.

You can click the team names below for an in-depth statistical round up by

  • Visual representation of each player’s appearances in the last 6 weeks and their fantasy form (F.SCORE).
  • Key Player Stats: shots, shots in box, shots on target, key passes, assists, minutes and goals
  • Key Player Info:   FPL price, points scored and % ownership
  • Projected Points for the next 6 fixtures(note:  Pts x 10)
  • Star Player indicators – to 15 F.SCORE and top 15 Value players indicated
  • Latest injury news from Physioroom.com

 

Team Pages:

Manchester City: If it ain’t broke don’t fix it

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There is a sense of irony that it took a home match against Sunderland for the Manchester City of late 2012 to finally start looking like the Manchester City of earlier in the year.

The Mackems were the only team to leave the Etihad Stadium with more than a cup of tea and a sense of regret in the Premier League last season, with late March’s 3-3 draw serving as the only home league match of 2011/12 that City didn’t win.

They would have experienced defeat back then had first Mario Balotelli and then Aleksandar Kolarov not struck in the final five minutes to earn a point which ending up proving vital in the title race, but there was only one way that the meeting between the same two clubs a week-and-a-half ago was going to go once Kolarov scored a trademark free-kick just five minutes in.

The Serbian was playing in a City team which was made up entirely of players who picked up league title winners’ medals last season, with first Sergio Aguero and then Gael Clichy emerging from the bench to make it a lucky 13 champions on show for Roberto Mancini.

Only after James Milner had made it 3-0 with his deflected free-kick did the City boss turn to one of his summer recruits, with Jack Rodwell climbing off the bench to enter the contest after the 90 minutes were up, ensuring that he didn’t have time to make the kind of error seen in the matches against Southampton and Borussia Dortmund earlier this season, when stray Rodwell passes led to opposition goals.

This isn’t singling out the former Everton man, but City’s troubles at the start of the campaign seem to have stemmed from their desire to integrate summer signings into their plans.

In a transfer window which saw Chelsea buy Eden Hazard, Arsenal bring in Santi Cazorla and Manchester United acquire Robin van Persie, City – fresh from a first title in 44 years and no doubt determined to build upon it – signed Rodwell, Javi Garcia, Scott Sinclair, Maicon and Matija Nastasic.

Garcia, an expensive arrival who lists Real Madrid and Benfica on his CV, is undoubtedly a fine player whilst Nastasic, at just 19, showed immense promise at Fiorentina, but neither were signings to get City fans out of their seats, whilst Maicon’s best days are as far behind him as Gareth Bale was a couple of years ago, and Rodwell and Sinclair are young talents who aren’t likely to get the playing time at City that they would have got elsewhere.

Last season – right to the very last kick of it – was of course one of perfection for Mancini, City and their fans, and in the task of improving upon perfection City might just have come up short. They’re not alone in that though of course, it happened with The Godfather sequels as well.

This particular Italian figurehead has seemed to have complicated things for himself in the early weeks of the season, with the signings of Nastasic and Maicon in particular seeing Mancini switch to using a back three instead of the back four which saw City to success last season.

The result has been uncertainty at the back whatever way City line up, with two goals conceded in both of their first two league games of the season against Southampton and Liverpool, three against Real Madrid in the Champions League and four as they exited the Capital One Cup at home to Aston Villa. Only the heroics of Joe Hart kept Borussia Dortmund down to one in the Champions League two weeks ago, as the defence in front of him resembled an absent Polish roof letting everything through.

Mancini’s mood after that match indicated that he was ready to abandon the back three experiment, and so it proved when City looked back to their old selves against Sunderland as they kept a first clean sheet of the season.

Going back to improve in the future seems to be the way forward for Mancini, and whilst his summer signings can’t be written off as duds just yet, the boss might just have to make them work a bit harder for their places in his plans.

Those who were in them last season deserve that at least.

@Mark_Jones86

Gameweek 4 preview: Tevez to rule Britannia

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Just under half of you reading this can skip the next few paragraphs.

It’s not the traditional approach to the start of a piece that I’m usually hoping that you’ll read all the way through, I’ll give you that, but there isn’t much point in telling a lot of you what you already know.

Carlos Tevez (now £9.8m after a rapid price rise since the start of the season) can currently be seen in 48.9% of Fantasy Premier League teams, a staggering amount and testament to both the Argentinean’s low price at the start of the game and the form which has seen him score a goal in each of Manchester City’s three matches so far whilst racking up three assists too.

These may be famous last words, but Tevez looks focused, fully fit and prepared to stay away from South American golf courses.

His ‘lost’ campaign of last season is now forgotten about, and he now – admittedly aided by the injury to Sergio Aguero – has re-established himself as the focal point of City’s attack at the beginning of his side’s defence of their Premier League crown. He simply cannot be ignored by Fantasy bosses.

He can, however, be overlooked by his national manager Alejandro Sabella, who left Tevez out of his Argentina squad for the World Cup qualifiers at home to Paraguay and in Peru in the past week. Such words should be music to your ears.

Tevez will be fresh for Manchester City’s trip to Stoke on Saturday afternoon, a match that always carries its own levels of difficulty but one that Roberto Mancini’s side should emerge victorious from.

If they take the points from the Britannia, then expect Tevez to be picking up more than a few points of his own.

Elsewhere – 48.9% of you can come back now – it looks to be a big scoring Gameweek for players from Arsenal and Manchester United given their respective fixtures.

Unlike United, Arsenal have been solid at the back in their opening three games and there looks to be nothing to suggest that that solidity will stop when they entertain Southampton at the Emirates. However, before considering bringing in the likes of Thomas Vermaelen (£7.0m) and even cheap option Carl Jenkinson (£4.8m), Fantasy bosses should bear in mind that the Gunners’ next two fixtures after they play the Saints see them head for Manchester City before hosting Chelsea.

Perhaps it will pay to be more forward-thinking then, with the addition of Santi Cazorla (£9.1m) sure to increase the creativity within your team, and Lukas Podolski (£8.4m and still cheaper than Olivier Giroud) no doubt ready to impress after scoring his first goal for the club at Anfield last time out.

At Old Trafford the usual suspects will be eyeing goals with the visit of Wigan Athletic, but with selling the family silver now required if you want to afford Robin van Persie (£13.4m), perhaps a gamble on Danny Welbeck (£8.4m) could prove fruitful. Midfield options are also plentiful, and with Shinji Kagawa (£8.6m) reportedly suffering a knock on international duty with Japan, Tom Cleverley (£6.0m) could be thrust into the more forward role we saw him occupy for England over the past week.

It is a man who left United behind who could prove the most astute addition for this Gameweek though, with Dimitar Berbatov (£6.9m) looking terrific value ahead of what is sure to be his first Fulham start against West Brom at Craven Cottage.

The forward – whose retirement from international duty leaves him fresh for the weekend – will only see his value rise, and so it might pay to get in early.

Just as it did with Tevez a month ago.

@Mark_Jones86

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