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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!

If you would like to submit a guestpost contact Ryan at FantasyYIRMA@hotmail.com

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

Too much of this Olivier

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

No wonder he is so lazy

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

CONCLUSION

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.

Sunderland: Consistently inconsistent

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What to make of Sunderland’s season? It depends what mood you and they are in.

There probably isn’t a more suitable nickname in the Premier League than the one adopted by the men from the Stadium of Light. Black cats are either considered lucky or unlucky depending on what culture you adopt, and the Black Cats from the north-east are either good or bad too.

Mackems supporters are likely to opt for the latter description for the majority of their club’s season though, even if Sunderland’s struggles haven’t been easily apparent to the rest of us.

Bar a six-game winless streak which took in all of October and much of November, Sunderland and boss Martin O’Neill have always just done enough to maintain an air of control. Wins like the Boxing Day success over Manchester City – a now customary victory following on from last season’s – gave the impression that everything was serene on the surface, but below deck those black cats’ legs were whirring wildly.

Now, Sunderland sit just five points and three places above the relegation zone. They have lost all three of their games in February and now face what has suddenly become a huge home match against Fulham, another of the division’s great inconsistencies, on Saturday afternoon.

There are clearly talented performers in O’Neill’s team.

Steven Fletcher has proven himself to be a genuine Premier League forward, Stephane Sessegnon is capable of fantastic performances when he’s in the mood, and Simon Mignolet looks to be a goalkeeper who is destined to play for one of the big boys one day.

The individual talents are certainly there for O’Neill, but as can be true with every individual, the team has far too many bad days to compensate for the good.

Only seven of Sunderland’s 27 Premier League games this season have ended in wins, and whilst that is more than the five clubs who currently sit below them it is clearly not enough given the talents they have at their disposal.

Last season, when O’Neill entered the club in December and steered them away from the relegation zone and eventually to within two points of a top half finish, the likes of Sessegnon, Seb Larsson and James McClean all starred.

The arrivals of Adam Johnson and Fletcher saw new, potentially exciting elements added to that trio, and whilst the Scot has been an undoubted success given his 10 goals over the campaign, Johnson’s inconsistencies have mirrored those of his team.

The sometime England winger is capable of some fine performances on his day, but his day doesn’t come around often enough – a fact borne out by his struggles to break into the Manchester City team and his eventual sale by Roberto Mancini.

O’Neill has recently added Danny Graham to the mix, although the forward’s similarity to Fletcher does leave concerns that the pair won’t be able to form a potent partnership. The French midfielder Alfred N’Diaye looks to be an energetic enough arrival, but there remains a belief that Sunderland failed to strengthen in key areas during January. They are still playing midfielders at full-back regularly.

All of that adds to the often makeshift nature of a team and club who look as though they are not sure where to be. They need to be out of relegation trouble obviously, but that isn’t enough for a club of Sunderland’s stature.

Their inconsistent nature simply can’t be allowed to go on, especially if they want to avoid getting sucked in to the battle at the bottom.

Sunderland need to find themselves, and find a few more wins in the process.

@Mark_Jones86

Gameweek 16 preview: Will Black Cats bring good luck?

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If a team is playing badly then can Fantasy bosses trust their players on a double Gameweek? We’re about to find out.

Sunderland have won just one of their last nine games, a run which has seen them slide down the table and now sit just one point and one place above the relegation zone.

It is hardly stellar form and they are results which have cast serious doubt of the future of boss Martin O’Neill, who will be desperate to pick up at least one positive result in the days ahead as his team face two very different challenges.

First up is Chelsea on Saturday, and with Rafael Benitez struggling to adapt to the very peculiar demands of the Stamford Bridge hotseat – in the Premier League at least – then the Black Cats are likely to fancy their chances ahead of that and their second game of the week against Reading on Tuesday.

Fantasy bosses who are playing the long game will have had Steven Fletcher (£7.2m) in mind for this Gameweek for as long as Sunderland’s game against the Royals was called off due to excessive rain in the north east in August – a common occurrence there – but with the Scot struggling with an ankle injury then it might pay to switch those sights to Stephane Sessegnon (£7.4m) now.

This season the Benin international might not have hit the heights that he regularly found during his last campaign when he registered seven goals and 12 assists, but there have been signs that he’s returning to form recently and whatever Sunderland do over their next 180 minutes is likely to heavily involve him.

Fletcher, Adam Johnson (£6.8m), Craig Gardner (£4.9m), Carlos Cuellar (£4.6m) and goalkeeper Simon Mignolet (£5.1m) are others to keep an eye during Sunderland’s heavy workload, but it is next Tuesday’s opponents Reading who might offer the greater value for your Fantasy cash.

A Saturday match at fellow strugglers Southampton is followed by that Sunderland meeting next week for Brian McDermott’s men, and with forward Adam Le Fondre (£4.9m) forcing himself to the front of Reading’s queue of forwards in recent weeks the 26-year-old could be seen as an inexpensive gamble.

Reading will fancy their chances of finding the net against their two red and white striped opponents, with Le Fondre, Jason Roberts (£4.5m), Jobi McAnuff (£5.1m) and Hal Robson-Kanu (£4.3m) all offering the chance of cheap thrills for your side. At the back, defender Sean Morrison (£4.0m) has come into the team in recent weeks and showed an eye for goal.

With neither of the teams involved in the double Gameweek looking particularly convincing, you might be tempted to look at the teams playing in the regulation one, with the biggest one of those coming at the Etihad Stadium.

The Manchester derby is probably even tougher to call than the usual big name Premier League tussles, but with Wayne Rooney (£11.7m) finally finding his goalscoring form at Reading last week then he’ll be one to watch. Sergio Aguero (£11.0m) started Manchester City’s last two games on the bench and so will surely be turned to from the beginning for the hosts.

In Sunday’s other matches it can’t have escaped Fantasy players’ notice that Tottenham are likely to be missing Gareth Bale for their trip to Everton whilst Luis Suarez (£10.5m) is banned for Liverpool’s visit to West Ham, a state of affairs which could see midfielder Jonjo Shelvey (£5.2m) start upfront and Jose Enrique (£6.0m) pushed up to the left wing again.

A day earlier and up in North London, Arsenal will want to emerge from their latest crisis at home to West Brom and can do if forward Olivier Giroud (£8.5m) is handed a start.

The Frenchman had scored three goals in his previous two home games before being left on the bench for last weekend’s loss to Swansea – Michu is now up to £7.8m ahead of their game at home to Norwich by the way – and if Arsene Wenger turns to his summer signing then he could find that his team gain a bit of luck in front of goal.

Luck which should be on everyone’s wish list this weekend and beyond.

@Mark_Jones86

Gameweek 6 preview: Hair today, goals tomorrow?

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The trouble with pesky competitions like the Capital One Cup – which still sounds like an employee of the month award – is that they can easily get in the way of your Fantasy Premier League team’s progress.

They can affect the mood of teams in the real thing too, and as such Everton’s week suddenly doesn’t look as rosy as it did when Marouane Fellaini (£7.2m) headed in the third of their three goals in the convincing win at Swansea last Saturday.

The cup loss to Leeds in midweek saw the chances of David Moyes making this the season that he picks up a first trophy at Everton effectively reduced by 50%, and the question now has to be whether or not that’ll affect the Blues’ fine league form which has taken them to third in the table after five games.

All eyes will be on Goodison Park on Saturday then, as Everton seek to bounce back at the first time of asking by welcoming Southampton.

As fixtures go it is a pretty decent one to make your recovery from midweek misery, and if you can see them getting over the Elland Road loss quickly then expect the Blues to be flying come Saturday afternoon. With fixtures against Wigan and QPR to come in the immediate future too, it could be a good time to put your faith in Moyes’s boys to earn you points, with Fellaini the man most likely.

That said, Nikica Jelavic (£8.4m) is also primed to return here after missing the Swansea game and only appearing as a substitute against Leeds, whilst those who can afford Leighton Baines (£7.2m) will be getting a severely underrated defender who has already contributed a goal, two assists and two clean sheets this season. He could well be set to add to that tally at the weekend.

Across Stanley Park at Liverpool, things could just be about to change for the better.

Last weekend’s unfortunate loss to Manchester United brought an end to a tricky run of fixtures for Brendan Rodgers’ side, and although the midweek Capital One Cup win at West Bromwich Albion was achieved with a smattering of youngsters, it might just have restored somewhat of a feelgood factor amongst those at the club.

Norwich await in the Premier League at Carrow Road on Saturday, and with the Canaries having only found the net twice in their five league games this season – plus with winnable home games against Stoke and Reading on the horizon – it might just be the time to put your faith in Rodgers’ rearguard.

Injury and rotation issues mean that the only two defenders certain to start for Liverpool at the weekend are Glen Johnson (£6.4m) and Martin Skrtel (£6.0m), and with the pair offering the potential for assist and goal points respectively then either could be good additions. It is further forward where Liverpool could make their mark this weekend though, with Raheem Sterling (£4.6m) still an astute cheap choice and Luis Suarez (£9.4m) ready to fire back at a ground where he scored a hat-trick last season. Those now debating whether or not to stick with Carlos Tevez (£9.9m) could decide to switch to the Uruguayan.

Tevez and his Manchester City team-mates go to Fulham on Saturday, and with City far from certain to get a result there and clashes between Arsenal and Chelsea and Manchester United and Tottenham proving somewhat unpredictable, it might pay to look elsewhere for some points.

With apologies to Steven Fletcher (£7.2m) his goalscoring run has become impossible to ignore, and whilst climbing on board the Fletcher bandwagon has to come with the warning that Sunderland face City away next, this weekend’s fixture at home to Wigan could be the perfect one to see the Scot continue his scoring run.

@Mark_Jones86

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