Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Week 8 - Player Picks

It's great to be back! After the stupid international break we're now just a few days away from another glorious weekend of fantasy football.

Firstly just a note that the 4th & Final Blog League is now full with 100 people filling it in just 72 hours - pretty impressive!

Now, there are plenty of choices again this week, though of course we still have the midweek international fixtures which could leave us with any number of injuries.

However, ignoring that for the moment, here are 45(ish) players that have entered my thoughts for Week 8.

Mannone - would be very unlucky to lose his place to the returning Almunia, and the 2 goals conceded in Week 7 have dropped his price a touch. Birmingham can't seem to score so I expect a clean sheet here, but there may be cheaper options you prefer.
Howard - Similar to Mannone, he should get a clean sheet vs Wolves but you'll pay for that privilege.
Schwarzer - Could be a nice outside pick with Fulham facing Hull at home in a game they really must win to get their season going. Schwarzer tends to make a lot of saves so £8m could be a bargain.
Given - Despite Wigan beating Chelsea I expect City to go to the JJB & win comfortably. Given will always make saves so is never a bad choice.
Robinson - Bargain price with a home game vs Burnley but I'm not so certain this is a banker win for Blackburn. These teams hate each other & it'll be a fiery derby game which could swing either way. Robbo doesn't make too many saves so whilst he's cheap, there is an element of risk.
Sorenson - Like Schwarzer another outside pick that may separate you from the crowd against a struggling West Ham.
Foster - I've seriously gone off him after he ruined Week 7 with his "performance" vs Sunderland, but if he's likely to start ahead of Van Der Sar then he's a viable option at home to Bolton. Not for me though.

Vermaelen - Has there ever been a defender with better finishing? Scores headers, 20-yarders, tap ins, gets assists & weighs in with plenty of last ditch tackles. A fantasy manager's dream.
Evra - Despite United being less than impressive, Evra continues to look dangerous flying down the left wing, getting crosses in & shots on target. If you're set on picking an expensive defender for Week 8 then I'd put him ahead of both Baines & Glen Johnson.
Samba - Only if you have lots of spare cash, but the giant defender has been scoring well & is almost impossible to stop at set pieces. Chance of a clean sheet & goal is tempting.
Distin - Settled in quickly & a great chance of a clean sheet
Givet - Back from injury & represents one of the best value defensive picks at just over £6m
Heitinga - I actually think he's looked pretty shaky BUT he's starting games & being given a few free kicks. The chance of a clean sheet makes him a good pick whether you have him at discount or not
Bassong - Very cheap & has a decent fixture at Portsmouth but hasn't been scoring amazingly well since his goal on the opening day of the season.
O'Shea - Seems to have grabbed his right back spot back & seems to have learnt how to cross a ball. Looking quite dangerous & scoring well with a nice fixture.
Finnan - Proper outside bet but anyone playing the game a few years ago will remember Steve Finnan used to score points for fun as an attacking fullback. Started with 7.5 points on his debut  & isn't too pricey.
Bridge - Richards seems to have lost his place making Bridge the only affordable City defender. Decent fixture.
R Johnson - Plenty of chance for him to increase his impressive points haul with tackles, interceptions & blocks vs Arsenal.
Sonko - Bargain filler who actually plays.

Fabregas - The chances of him getting close to what he did in Week 7 are very slim, but his performance was so exceptional that he'll probably be in most people's teams for Week 8. However, if you missed him on the barndoor then don't pay full price now.
Giggs - At the moment When Giggs plays well, United play well, and after he missed the Sunderland game he'll be back in the starting line-up vs Bolton. His crossing & set pieces have been 2nd to none making him a really tempting pick.
Arshavin - For people who don't have Fabregas or who are just greedy for Arsenal players, Arshavin should be involved enough to return his value.
Walcott - With Fabregas, Arshavin, Diaby, Song, Rosicky, Eduardo & Bendtner (with Nasri & Denilson still to return) all vying to support Van Persie, it's very difficult to know who'll be left out of Arsenal's midfield. If Walcott was certain to start he'd be one of the first players in my team. If news on friday suggests this is the case then i'll find a space for him.
Kranjcar - Starting to find his feet, taking set pieces, popped up with a goal+assist vs Bolton, facing his old club Portsmouth & under £11m. Nice.
Cahill - Always a danger man, facing a Wolves team who seem to be falling apart, with the likes of Billy, Baines & Pienaar providing crosses for him. Only problem is he always gets booked when ever I pick him!
Dunn - Playing just behind the striker for Blackburn at home to Burnley, he looks in good form & is very affordable
Billy - I'm still unsure whether he'll keep his place with Pienaar back, but seeing as I have him at £4m i'll hang on to him for now anyway. Fingers crossed Pienaar remains injured!
Lennon - Been a bit quiet in recent weeks but should enjoy running at a leaky Pompey defence. I'd probably go with Kranjcar ahead of him due to the (small) price difference.
Boateng - Another player facing his old club, another midfielder playing just behind a striker, KPB is playing well & would love to score against Spurs.
Dempsey - I'm not 100% certain whether he'll recover from his shoulder injury in time, but if he does he'll love getting forward vs Hull. Much like Cahill he always has a chance of popping up with a goal.
Diouf - A despicable man on occasions, but at just £6m he's got a real chance of a goal vs Burnley. Very few managers will pick him up so he's another one to seperate you from the crowd.
Duff - Another injury worry for Fulham but should be in people's thoughts if news shows he'll return vs Hull

Rooney - He was my 'Top Pick' when I wrote my Week 8 Preview (10 days ago) but since then he has dissapointed vs Sunderland & picked up a calf injury on England duty. Despite this, if news suggests he'll recover then he's still someone i'll want to keep in my team.
Van Persie - Should enjoy another productive week vs Birmingham but his price is now very high.
Berbatov - Great alternative to Rooney this week & certainly seems to be getting back to something like his best form. Bolton could find him hard to handle.
Saha - Saha is on fire & is another with a great fixture vs Wolves. Should get some great supply (see Cahill) and at just £11m he's the best value striker of the week.
Adebayor - His current form has him right up there with the best strikers around & a fixture at Wigan shouldn't stop him.
Drogba - As I say every week, unplayable & undroppable until the African Nations.
Defoe - Has gone a few games without a goal but he'll be wanting to get back on the trail vs Portsmouth to continue his unbelievable record of scoring aganist his previous clubs.
Torres - The Stadium of Light is a tough place to go but Torres has a habit of performing well in games like this (e.g. West Ham). Possibly carrying a slight knock but seeing as Liverpool's can't afford to drop more points & their other options are Ngog & Voronin, I expect he'll play.
A Johnson - May seem a strange choice seeing as he's scored zero goals this season, but I have a hunch he'll open his account vs Hull.
Crouch - Old club syndrome (how many of those are there this week?!)
Diamanti - Cheap, has started well & will always pick up points from free kicks & corners
Rodallega - Will want to prove the Chelsea game wasn't a one off.
A Stoke Striker - Kitson, Fuller or Beattie but at this early stage I'm not sure who''ll be fit to start.

Ouch, that took ages to write, but hope it helps you all with some of your dilemmas...anyone I've missed?

Remember, if you're on facebook we have the Blog Facebook Group which is continuing to grow in numbers & helps me put faces to names...



Anonymous said...

I believe Richards will play because of Zabaleta's injury (or is that just a wishfull thinking?). I also think Walcott will start because Rosicky played in the international matches, and Moyes has already said Billy will be more involved.
It's a great relief that Fab will be back.
And what about Geovanni? He has performed well recently, and Fulham don't have a quite solid defence...


Dare to Devil said...

Another good post AM, cheers! Thank goodness the international week is over ^~^

Now, all that is left for me to do is deciding between Saha/Defoe.

Leaning towards Defoe...after you mentioning his scoring streak vs former club

bean said...

i know where everyone is coming from, but what's with all the international hate? shouldn't everyone's philosophy be country before club? : )

i'm interested in looking at what champions league matches are important for certain teams next week and which teams can get away with 2nd string lineups for those matches? i'm worried that some key players could get a rest with these in mind..

Assistant Manager said...

SF - Interesting news about Zabeleta, makes Richards a good choice.

D2D - Thanks mate...I'd actually go with Saha ahead of Defoe.

bean - I love Internationals really, it's just the lack of Fantasy Football that annoys me! Good point on the Champions League.


Mike B said...

i'm thinking that Arsenal have maybe the only easy match against Az Almaar.

Liverpool v Lyon
CSKA Moscow v Man U
and Chelsea v Athletico Madrid

These seem like relatively tougher games, so might see a few players rested this weekend from those teams?

What do people think about this? What with Gerard, Rooney and Torres already doubts through little niggling injuries.

chris m said...

@ bean. Definitely country before club and EPL before CL, but none before fantasy football. Got to get our priorities right here : )

This coming week is going to drive me crazy. I haven't changed my line up except for my midfield which I am switching every week and getting screwed. Didn't get lucky and catch Cesc so I am out of the cup. But, I think that was a one off, like Benayoun with his hat trick a couple of weeks ago.

I am searching for players who are going to start every week and provide a modest return. The problem, and this is not one of those posts where I am seeking advice, I am just venting, is that most of the players that intrigue me, aren't sure of starting each week-Walcott, Giggs, Rosicky, or are too damn injury prone, Modric (out) Dunn, Duff, and Bullard-who is also too expensive.

Right now, because of some BD action last week, I am sitting with:

Bily/Blini Walcott Cahill Rosicky

Of these obviously Walcott or Rosicky or both have to go. With Pienaar back (?) Bily is probably going to sit. But he costs nothing and may be good filler. Only Cahill at Wolves looks like a sure thing and promising. With those guys I have 32 mil/pts to spend.

Doesn't this drive you all crazy.

And then to top it off, I have had Rooney/Torres/Drogba from week one so all at big discounts, the former two are both dinged. So I am going to have to be on top of all the injury news.

I mean, really, there is just too damn much to think about.

So AM, I will be keeping my eye on your blog. (If people could stop getting into pissing contests, beseeching all with questions on who to pick, and stay on topic it would be greatly appreciated). Also scanning probably 20 other web sites, the English newspapers, and consulting my ouija board, I might just be able to figure out who to pick. In the mean time, thank god I don't have to work, don't really have a social life, so I have time for all of this.

cheers to all and good luck

chris m
velvet underground allstars.

Adam from Portland said...

Nothing on holding Darren Bent (at least on discount) huh?

Well... I'm gonna hold on to him. He scored at Old Trafford last match, in 4 straight weeks, as well as 6 weeks out of last 8. Don't forget Bent is so confident right now, he gave away a penalty he earned a couple of weeks ago to Kenwyne Jones. (Sunderland has seen Jones return to form as a result of that Bent gift to Jones).

Liverpool's defense is not up to it's usual standard of excellence right now. Sunderland scores pretty well at home. Torres usually scores pretty well at the SoL, too. I'd guess Liverpool will win a wild one 4-2, 5-3 something like that.

Hinrik said...

My week 8-team:

Heitinga O´Shea Vermaelen
Fabregas Arshavin Rosicky Bily
Drogba Saha Bendtner

Douchebag United said...

@ Chris M, some good news and some bad news for you...

I would say Bily will play because it seems to be a bit unclear whether Felaini will play because of some banning procedures with FIFA. I don't really understand the nuances but there is a chance that Felaini wouldn't play. Not only that but Moyes has been talking up Bily so it will be interesting to see what happens.

Bad news I would caution you on Cahill, I think he might get some rest due to the fact that he will be flying back from Autralia. That's a heck of a trip and he might get some rest coming off of the International duty. Speculation at this point but some rational thinking as well.

I'm holding on to Diamanti a little bit out of stubbornness at this point and his great price and I think he could produce although Stoke is tough at home. Drogba will be held, of course but I'm struggling with three slots.

Saha vs. Defoe vs. Rooney

What to do with this decision? What do people think?

Anonymous said...

mate,i think u should change ur line up alil bit.dont load up full of arsenal player coz birmingham is a quite tough team n have a solid back four..i juz dont expect arsenal to score more than 3..and looking at ur team it must be the team u BD right?huhuhu..hopefully it's not ur final team ^_^

Doctor Teeth said...

Gents - glad to see the return of EPL action on the horizon.

What is with these passing comments re: Fabregas have an aberration of a week last week and not being likely to consistently return his value? He is not a player like Yossi Benayoun who will have a random blow-out game and then be a mediocre producer for several weeks in a row (or be a questionable starter). He is arguably one of the top five center MFs in the world playing on a team with a ridiculous supporting cast...and,on a team that presents perhaps the most line-up headaches to fantasy managers, he is the one Gunner player (outside of their defense which is fairly pre-determined) who you can be assured will play every single week if healthy. Throw out the pencil, use the dark black sharpie pen.

My biggest selection headache right now is up front. I went with a 3-5-2 last week for the first time this season and it actually worked well...but I am thinking of playing three strikers again this week. Really would like to start Berbatov and Defoe...I think Berbs has finally started to click and really looked lethal in the Sunderland game. Rooney's uncertain status only makes picking him seem more enticing. Could not agre more with AM re: Defoe facing former teams....and he is due after no goals for a few games now.

My team right now:

PRoblem (someone else's name - classic)
Verms Heitinga Bassong
Fabregas Billy Dunn Boateng Lennon
Drogs Rooney

I am disgusted by the prospect of having Robinson in goal but he is cheap and I like the fixture...Rovers are damn good at home notwithstanding the fact that the Burnley game is a quasi-derby and could be nasty.

I also don't see Spurs getting a CS for the forseeable future...their defense is so porous and I have little confidence in either of their GKs. So I don't love the Bassong pick.

Obvious switch would be Lennon/Rooney for Berbatov/Defoe which would free up cash for me to upgrade Robinson to Given (whom I still own for a light discount) or Bassong to a defender in the low 9s (Shawcross is an option).

Anonymous said...

hey guys, what about M. Fellaini ? is he a good pick?

Hinrik said...

I´m thinking about dropping Rosicky(because of his injury history and busy international schedule) for a good defender or taking Jarvis instead. I´m counting on that last victory over Blackburn will boost up the team morale and they will get at least a three goal victory over Birmingham.

Assistant Manager said...

@4.49am - Fellaini may be banned...read here

Jeff (Hong Kong) said...

I think Gera @ 9.18 is a good pick this week. Home game against Hull is always tempting...

Ian Sanderson said...

Having decided not to swap Cesc for Giggs, I have now decided to bring in Giggs for Arshavin.
Still got Tuncay....is this the week??

Assistant Manager said...

I laughed out loud then Ian :)...can't believe people still have Tuncay, but when he does start playing I kinda hope he does well - the people who have shown this immense faith deserve it!


Naning said...

I have decided to keep him(Tuncay) for the season, unless he breaks a leg or is still sitting on the bench in april. I still believe he will have returned his value at the end of the season.

greginho said...

that was polite AM about tuncay.

i think it is cool that people have become comfortable with not picking lampard or gerrard. it is a completely different fantasy year, than the last two, where you had to have ronaldo, and if not, gerrard and/ or lampard. this is giving us more choices. unfortunately, the people who follow this blog have the same 5 or 6 players. it is exciting to have so many more options and you can really use the matchups to a greater degree. the midfielders are definitely more exciting.

Assistant Manager said...

Naning - He absolutely will return his value, no dispute there, it's just I didn't realise anyone had bothered holding on to him after all this time with all the excellent striker options around!

Greg - Yeah I would never have thought both Gerrard & Lampard would be missing from my player recommendations this early in the season. I wonder how much longer until Lampard's price starts to fall back towards £15m?


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

WHY NOT BRING KITSON Home game against W.HAM is
always tempting...
p/s . Stoke looks stronger at Home.

Anonymous said...

i need some help guys, i get to choose between T.Walcott and T.Rosicky...who would you choose?

Tommy said...

Hey guys... can anyone tell me what had happened to Wilko? Been missing for the past few games. Is he no longer a sure starter? What about parnaby? Thanks.

L'Orange Noir said...

As much as I wanted to keep Rooney I'm a little worried by his fitness and dropping him for Adebayor has given me some spare funds to rennovate my Midfield.
I've also gone to 4-3-3, which I never thought I would do, to accommodate Givet, who I fancy for a clean sheet this week.
My team;
Given (at Discount)
Verm (D), Bassong (D), Hetinga (D) Givet
Bily (D), Dunn, Boateng,
Drogba (D), Torres (D), Adebayor

@Jeff - I almost went for Gera on the BD, but now his price is too high for me.

L'Orange Noir
4th Blog League

Doctor Teeth said...

Just saw an article speculating that Aquilani could see action for the Reds before the end of the month....what's the word on Zhirkov's return? The amount of talent in Chelsea and Arsenal's midfields is staggering. Wenger and Ancelotti could each field two high quality MFs with their rosters.

GTR 34 said...

I have Rooney in my team at the moment, but it is clear that Berbatov and Giggs are the form players for United at the moment, and both are worth a look ahead of their home fixture against Bolton.

Giggs was rested against Sunderland, so in essence has benefitted from 3 week's rest.

Berbatov has already hit a hat trick in the 38th minute for Bulgaria against Georgia.

Dunn was an option for Blackburn, but I am worried about it being a local Derby with Burnley. I'll sit on the fence for now.

Wishing you all the best with your picks.

GTR 34 said...

Oh, and Martin Petrov has just got his 2nd.

That's 6-1 at Half time. What's the betting on a 10+ goal game.

Funny how Bulgaria are doing this now that they are out of the WC. However, it is Georgia.

However again, England would not score this many against anyone anymore.

A Manc sitting in the ski resort of Bansko.

England match just starting on TV.

Football and Beer - GOD is officially a Genius.

Anonymous said...

@ Tommy
Wilko has lost his place to Huth, German international who can play RB/CB

Anonymous said...

will abou diaby start for arsenal? looks good for the value..

Anonymous said...

I have stuck with Tuncay and am 6th (might be down to 8th now) in the overall standings so he's not causing me too many problems and he will 'go off' soon.

Anonymous said...

need help guys.. who would you choose from drogba, saha and adebayor?

John said...

Would like feedback on my team:

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