Fantasy Football: Forward Buying Guide Part 2
Many thanks to @soccersaber for this great Guest Post. New on the twitter scene, take a second to follow @soccersaber and check out his #FPL site at www.soccersaber.wordpress.com well worth a visit!
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GUEST POST: Fantasy Football: Forward Buying Guide PART 2
to read part 1 click here!
Rickie Lambert – I love Rickie Lambert. I have owned him longer than any forward besides Luis Suarez this year. I enjoy watching him play and am happy to finally see him at the highest level of English football. Lambert is a safe option, with solid but unspectacular shot numbers coupled with strong assist potential. He’s a great budget buy and a good fit for those who can’t stomach the risk of other options such as Lukaku and Giroud. Keep in mind though he is owned by a good amount of FPL teams and is most likely not a differential for those needing to gain. Rating: BUY for risk averse and those in solid league positions
Olivier Giroud – The potential here is through the roof based upon shot numbers. Giroud gets a ton of chances from close range and one would expect better goal numbers from the Frenchmen (check out that conversion percentage). Watching him play, it’s clear to see that he misses a bunch of clear-cut chances which must make owning him absolutely infuriating. Still though I’d much prefer the guy who gets chances versus the one who doesn’t, especially with such low ownership. Rating: SPECULATIVE BUY for those needing upside
Christian Benteke – That Belgian national team has some potential, eh? Benteke is an extremely gifted athlete and should be an exceptional player in time. However, he is very young and struggles with the nuances of the game from time-to-time (e.g., he is very prone to offsides). More importantly though are Benteke’s teammates. Aston Villa is not good. I have their attack rated above only Reading and Stoke. To put it bluntly, Villa do not generate chances and Benteke’s production is limited because of it. Rating: HOLD although I would much prefer Lukaku and Sturridge.
Arouna Kone – A bit surprising to some I suspect, but Kone is owned by no one and represents value and upside over the remaining options. He’s not as physically overpowering as Benteke, but he plays for a substantially more potent attack. You could make up substantial ground with Kone especially after GW29 when the fixture list improves. Rating: SPECULATIVE BUY if chasing
Steven Fletcher – Fletcher can score without a doubt and Sunderland’s attack has been much improved over the past ten weeks or so. However, they are still somewhat toothless and Fletcher’s relatively high ownership numbers limit his upside. Don’t see the logic in choosing Fletcher over Lambert as they are similar in scope but Lambert is better and cheaper. Rating: SELL
Papiss Cisse – I have included Cisse here as he has been a popular potential speculative buy on many message boards, especially since the transfers of Sissoko and Gouffran. As you can see, the table above should put that speculation to rest. Cisse simply doesn’t get on the end of enough attacks, even since the transfer window. While I think he has more upside than the numbers above suggest, his price and low assist potential make him a non-option for me. Rating: SELL
Dmitiar Berbatov – I was infatuated with Berbatov early in the season. However, Fulham’s attack has been impotent since the holidays and shows little signs of reviving. The numbers above, while poor, tell only half the tale; Berbatov has just four shots on target in his last six matches. Rating: SELL
Get yourself a Liverpool man (or two). If you are chasing the leaders grab yourself Mr. Lukaku and Mr. Giroud, or, if desperate, Mr. Kone. Don’t expect RVP to lead the world in fantasy points the remainder of the year, but keep your eye out for alternatives elsewhere in Manchester. If you are leading you could do a lot worse than bringing in Rickie Lambert. Whatever you do, don’t purchase Berbatov, Cisse, or Fletcher.
Hope you enjoyed this. I plan on providing similar evaluations periodically, although I hope most are much more succinct! As always, comments and criticisms are very welcomed.
Gameweek 28 preview: Rickie Lambert, acQuiring Points Regularly
As we enter the final 10 Gameweeks of the season, form is becoming more and more important.
That old cliché about form being temporary and class being permanent is of course a correct one, but in these closing weeks it will surely pay to trust in those players who are doing well week after week.
Rickie Lambert (£7.0m) is currently one of those players, and fantasy bosses have definitely noticed.
Almost a quarter of Fantasy Premier League teams now feature Southampton’s Scouse striker, a forward who has racked up eight, nine and 11 points respectively over the last three Gameweeks as he’s scored twice and picked up three assists.
Lambert and the Saints welcome rock bottom Queens Park Rangers to St Mary’s on Saturday, and the forward will be eyeing even more goals there.
It’s an important game for the hosts, who have impressed in patches under new boss Mauricio Pochettino before suffering a 4-2 loss after making the long trip to Newcastle last time out.
Lambert scored his 100th goal for the Saints and his 12th in the Premier League this season in that game, and with the arrival of ex-Saints boss Harry Redknapp and his struggling side on Saturday, Lambert will be confident of finding the net again.
He scored against Rangers in a 3-1 win at Loftus Road in November, and with talk of an England call-up swirling around him then the forward can deliver and help move Southampton away from the relegation zone by beating a team who are firmly stuck in it.
One of the teams currently desperate to stay out of the bottom three are Wigan, and they face a tough task on Saturday evening when they welcome Liverpool to the DW Stadium.
The impact of Daniel Sturridge (£7.5m) at the Reds has been easy to see, and with the forward currently having only 7.4% ownership he could prove a strong differential choice in the closing weeks.
Liverpool’s fixture list isn’t as demanding as the one faced by several of the teams around them, and after scoring in all but one of his five Premier League appearances for the Reds so far – picking up 31 Fantasy points in the process – Sturridge could shine in those games, starting with this trip to Wigan.
Elsewhere, Sunday sees Arsenal try to become the latest team to stop the juggernaut that is Gareth Bale (£10.3m).
The Tottenham man continues to rip through the Premier League, with his latest demolition job on West Ham on Monday night seeing his ownership increase even more.
Against Arsenal he’ll of course come face-to-face with his former Southampton team-mate Theo Walcott (£9.6m), and with the frequent madcap nature of these North London derbies meaning that clean sheets are unlikely to be on the agenda, both could find themselves in the points come the end of the afternoon.
Elsewhere, both Chelsea and Manchester United face winnable looking home matches against West Brom and Norwich respectively, but both sides go into the contest with forward issues. Rafael Benitez is again faced with the dilemma over whether to choose Demba Ba (£8.0) or Fernando Torres (£9.3m), whilst there is an injury doubt over Robin van Persie (£14.0m) for United. None of the trio can be trusted confidently.
Monday night sees Manchester City travel to Aston Villa, and whilst Yaya Toure (£7.7m) and Carlos Tevez (£8.7m) regained some lost friends with goals in the 2-0 win over Chelsea last time out, it is the fact that City kept a clean sheet in that game which should perhaps be of greater importance.
Defender Pablo Zabaleta (£6.2m) was a key element of that shutout, and given that he has now started City’s last 15 Premier League games the Argentinean is again likely to be an important part of the visiting back line.
Against a Villa side who have often struggled for goals this season, Zabaleta can keep things tight at the back whilst impressing further forward too.
Southampton: A not-so scary story
There aren’t any monsters living under your bed, Friday the 13th is just a date like any other and The Exorcist was just a movie. Heads don’t really spin around like that.
In short, you don’t have to be scared. What initially seems unfamiliar and daunting can be overcome and eventually enjoyed if you just allow yourself to be a little braver and take control of the situation.
Southampton are proving that at the moment.
Following early run-ins with the big beasts of the Premier League, the Saints have slowly begun to acclimatise to their surroundings and are now even starting to look comfortable.
Brave losses to both Manchester clubs and a 6-1 hammering at Arsenal was a tough beginning to life at the top level for boss Nigel Adkins, but he and his side have recovered and come up with some eye-catching football in recent weeks. They’ve only lost one of their last six games.
That defeat came at Anfield at the beginning of the month when some Saints followers felt that their Merseysider boss Adkins showed Liverpool a little too much respect on the way to a 1-0 reverse. And so just when they were in danger of looking intimated by the division again they came up with last weekend’s 1-0 home victory over Reading, possibly their most important result of the season.
It was a win which lifted Saints out of the bottom three and into 15th, a highest position of the season so far.
Of course it is far too early to suggest that this is form that will see them pull away from the relegation zone and enjoy safety in their first top flight season since relegation from the Premier League in 2005 – they subsequently had a spell in the third tier of course – but what it does show is that Adkins and his side aren’t in danger of being completely overwhelmed by the top division, and nor should they be.
There were a few weeks back in August and September when that looked to be the case though, but crucially Southampton have been beating the teams around them this season.
Aston Villa, QPR, Newcastle and Reading are the four sides who Adkins’s men have seen off to pick up 12 points which were as crucial for Saints to claim for themselves as it was to prevent their opponents from taking them.
Given that their weekend fixture with Chelsea has had to be moved into the New Year due to the Blues’ Club World Cup involvement this seems like the perfect time for Southampton to take stock of their campaign and look to move forward again.
A home fixture against Sunderland when they return to action on December 22nd is another opportunity to beat one of those other teams around them, and Adkins will doubtless be looking to prolong the good feeling amongst his players during this gap without a match, a gap which he says will help them given that it provides the chance for captain Adam Lallana to recover from a knee injury without missing a match.
Others such as Rickie Lambert, Jason Puncheon and Nathaniel Clyne – all impressive in recent weeks – won’t be given time off during Southampton’s break but will instead be encouraged to keep working hard and keep proving that they, Adkins and the club have nothing to be scared of as they continue to go through life in the Premier League.
They are still likely to be involved near the foot of the table come May – even the most optimistic of Saints fans would probably agree to that – but any extra confidence they pick up along the way is sure to stand them in good stead when the wins suddenly get more vital and three points can feel like six.
That’s not a situation to be scared of though, and luckily Southampton know that now.