Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Week 4 - Player Picks

Woohoo! The international break is over, fantasy football is back, we have a full programme of Premier League fixtures and it's also the 1st Round of The 2011/12 YFF Blog Cup. That's a big weekend in anyone's book!

I've had not time to write a proper intro to this post as I've been busy getting things in place for the start of the competition (organising 1400 teams across 14 blog leagues is a chore) and I had to speed through my analysis, but hopefully you'll let me off.

Let's get things going with a look at the Week 4 Fixtures where we have another single week for all teams:

MAN CITY v Wigan
ARSENAL v Swansea

The Man City game needs no explanation given their start to the season, they could easily hammer Wigan, and I see Arsenal bouncing back in a big way against Swansea, who are yet to score a league goal.

Should Win
MAN UTD @ Bolton
CHELSEA @ Sunderland

FULHAM v Blackburn

Man United, Chelsea & Liverpool take up 3 of the top 4 league positions at the moment and I expect them all to have too much quality for their opponents this weekend, despite the fact they're all playing away from home. Blackburn have been the worst team I've watched so far this season and Fulham's home advantage should be enough to see them collect an important 3 points.

QPR v Newcastle
Wolves v Spurs
Everton v Aston Villa
Norwich v West Brom

I wouldn't say any of these games look dull - there's a decent chance of goals in all of them (QPR v Newcastle in particular could be very open) - but I can't pick a winner, so they'll all go down as draws on my accumulator this week. I am a bit worried about Spurs at in-form Wolves but reckon they'll have just enough to get a point. If not it's 0 points from 3 games, which is serious trouble.

On to the players (* denotes injury doubt)...

De Gea

If you have money to burn then Joe Hart is obviously the pick of the keepers; I'd be very surprised if he doesn't return win & clean sheet points at home to Wigan.

If you're on a budget like most of us then I think it's quite simple - you stick with De Gea for the long haul (hopefully at a discount). If you don't fancy that idea then Szczesny is the only real alternative given his price and home game against Swansea, despite Vermaelen's absence I think he has a good chance of a clean sheet against goal-shy Swansea.



Micah Richards would be expected to come back in to replace Zabaleta (who replaced him to combat Bale in Week 3) at right-back but he has to be seen as a doubt given he missed both England internationals through injury. Richards think he'll be ready to return according to reports today, but whichever man is set to play is a fantastic option; we'll have more news on Friday.

Arsenal's new defensive signings Mertesacker and Santos have been added to the game at the reasonable price of 6.11 and you can really toss a coin to decide who to go with. With Santos you have the advantage that he's an attacking full-back, but Mertz will be a massive danger (pun intended) at set pieces, so it's personal preference.

Mr Riise has made a remarkable recovery from the leg injury suffered 2 weeks ago, appearing for Norway last night, so I expect him to return at left-back in place of Matty Briggs for Fulham's winnable game at home to Blackburn. Smalling will continue at right-back and is still fantastic value for a United defender, priced around the same as Riise @ 6ish.

Jose Bosingwa appears back to his best but probably won't be picked up by too many people for Chelsea's game at Sunderland, so he could be a great gamble if you have the money. Traore completed his switch from Arsenal to QPR last week and provides another attacking defensive option below 6, while Wes Brown remains the best budget choice at just 3.49 despite his difficult match-up.



David Silva is currently my favourite player to watch in the Premier League. He's very much like Modric in style but far more of a threat in the final third and I'm planning to keep him in my team for the long-haul. Walcott is a top pick this weekend provided he recovers from the hamstring problem that kept him out against Wales and Ashley Young is the pick of the premium midfielders, currently in the form of his life for club and country.

There's some confusion around Samir Nasri at the moment, with reports in France claiming he broke a bone in his hand while playing for France in midweek. City have yet to confirm this, but he'd be a major doubt if this is the case. Arteta could be a good choice on his Arsenal debut, but I'll probably only be looking at him if Walcott is out as they are priced similarly - we'll know more about both situations on Friday.

Clint Dempsey has already opened his account for the season and he'll be Fulham's danger-man once again against Blackburn, and I'm tipping Stewart Downing to have a strong week for Liverpool, especially if Charlie Adam fails to recover from his hip-injury as he'll take over a lot of set pieces. I'm also likely to hang on to Newcastle's set piece taker Cabaye, who has impressed so far and faces QPR.

There's fantastic variety towards the lower end of the midfielder price range; Kasami has looked bright for Fulham, Wright Phillips will be making his QPR debut having moved from Man City and is an absolute steal at just 4.39, Everton's new man Royston Drenthe is below 6, while Yossi Benayoun costs under 4 and has a chance of starting against Swansea... fill your boots!

Van Persie

With Nasri & Fabregas gone, Robin Van Persie is 100% the main man at Arsenal; he's the captain, he needs to lift the team, and - fresh from 4 goals for Holland during the break - I'm feeling a really big week from him against Swansea, so he's my number one pick this week, making him worth his current price imho.

You'll want a Man City striker against Wigan and the preference is Dzeko given his form, but I wouldn't be paying full price if you (like I did) missed him on the barndoor.  Aguero is available at 8ish and I expect we'll see the best of him when City play at home, but a word of warning - given his attacking options (Tevez/Balotelli) there's a chance Mancini rotates things with the Champions League next week. We'll need to keep a very close eye on team news this Friday.

Rooney is now very expensive but he's also back to his absolute best and there's no reason to believe that won't continue at Bolton, while Luis Suarez did everything but score in Week 3 and he'll be involved in everything good Liverpool do at Stoke, available at a decent price still.

If you're looking for cheaper options upfront then you have 3 pretty decent players to pick from; Mata should start for Chelsea at Sunderland after scoring on his debut from the bench, Fulham's new signing Ruiz is set to make his debut against Blackburn and Adebayor will also start for Spurs at Wolves. They all cost 7ish or less.

That's it for the players! My current team looks like this:

De Gea, Brown, Richards, Riise, Cabaye, Silva, Walcott, Nasri, Mata, Aguero, Van Persie

Obviously there are still doubts over Richards, Walcott & Nasri so Mertesacker, Santos, Smalling, SWP, Arteta & Young are on my radar as possible replacements. I expect the rest of my team to stay as it is barring any further injuries.

I'll leave it there but I'll be back on Friday with all the team news. Please let me know how your team is shaping up for Week 4! Have you got any hunches? Are you ready for The Blog Cup?



David S said...

Dzeko seems nailed-on but Aguero seems like a bit of a risk to me. Had an international game this week so could be rested, and Tevez is due a start, right?

gaius marius said...

any thoughts on palacios for stoke, AM?

Scott said...

No Taarabt? No Chicharito?

Raconteur said...

AM, do you have any temptations do drop DDG given Manure's next 6 fixtures and pick up Szczczczsney Hawkes given there better fixtures?

I have Aguero, Dzeko & Rooney up front at the moment, but can't decide who to drop. I really want RVP given the match-up and future games, but have Rooney at discount and worried about City rotation (especially Kun).

Raconteur said...

Gaius, Palacios has a knee injury, so doubtful for the weekend. Also, I imagine he'll be given somewhat of a defensive role at Stoke, so not a lot of opportunity for points. Stoke tend to play both Centre Mids quite deep to allow the wingers to push on.

Assistant Manager said...

I personally wouldn't touch Palacios with a barge-pole, he might not play due to injury, but he's also a walking yellow card and offers almost nothing in attack.

I think Taarabt's returns may be affected by Barton and Wright-Phillips taking some attacking/shooting/set piece opportunities away from him. I'm also not sure how well he and Barton will integrate!

Hernandez could be a fine pick if United stick with 4-4-2, but he's not in my top 8 forwards this week.

Definitely not dropping DDG @ 6 for Szczczczsney :)

Assistant Manager said...

(feel free to ignore my advice, I am down in 20,000th place remember!)

gaius marius said...

LOL brilliant comments, rac & AM -- much thanks and my moment of insanity has now passed.

Ken M. said...

Players like Aguero/Nasri/Riise are on the "watch and see" list.

That said:

De Gea

If Aguero is rested, I am looking at Cabaye as a replacement. If Nasri is out then it will open things up some and I would be looking to Suarez.
Arsenal.....well I know I will regret it but I will stand on the "wait & see" platform. Win..yes Swansea may not score but so far they have put up a pretty good wall keeping others from doing the same. Without key Arsenal players on my team I am hoping for a 0-0 or at best 1-0 "ugly" afair.

Friday will clear most of my questions up..hopefully.

@David S.
Took your advice and had a pint..or two.

Not seeing those price changes anymore, I am however...

In trouble with the wife, got a ticket for this petting zoo thing I just don't want to talk about anymore,and I am still trying to figure out what to do about those pictures on the Internet.

Thanks again for looking out for me....

Good luck and hopefully see ya in "round 2" of the Blog cup!

Saul said...

VDV being out = Huge YFF week for...wait for it...Krancjar!

Anonymous said...

I'm plumping for Drenthe over Wright-Phillips. More of a chance for Drenthe to shine during this game whereas Wright-Phillips will be competing with Taarabt, Barton etc. fantasy wise. Never know how its going to go though.

Ken M. said...


Tempted to follow that logic and I also know QPR are not City or Pool...

But a very "active" midfield can only be considered a good thing and if Taarabt & Barton are on their games and you throw in SWP there will be enough "fantasy" for everyone.

And the price is right and so is the fixture.

Razesh said...

when we will see caicedo,santa cruz,jo removed from city's forward line

Anonymous said...

Current team:

DeGea (I still think he is a season keeper unless ManU start losing)
Brown (Tough fixture but has played well thus far)
Briggs (May go if Riise is back but who his replacement will be ????)

Silva (best form in the league, especially at MF)
Nasri (looks like he has always played for city; great partner for Silva in MF)
BFAY (I dropped him for VDV in week 3; Added him at full price because of form but do not know at $$$)
Benayoun (Cheap option from Arsenal MF)

Aguero (Have to wait for news but never thought of dropping him)
Dzeko (In form and BD so I think he will perform well at home)
Rooney (I have been thinking a lot about Chicharito and upgrade fourth MF)

Has anyone considered the possible return of Stevie G for this week or is that a no go. How about Gibbs? said...

Any thought about Santon NewCas LB from Inter ?

Geoff said...

Riise recovered enough to play for Norway, but does that mean Hodgson will rest him, since he played so soon after his injury?

Anonymous said...

Looking at possibly going like this...


Still undecided. I guess I will wait until we get info on Friday from each team.

Kay said...

How about Meireles and Torres? If Mata & Meireles played, Torres will have a scoring chances (hopefully).

AM, how sure of you that Adebayor will play. He's a great option.

McCoy said...

will davide santon and m.formica play?

Anonymous said...

Am not enjoying ff this season, currently ranked 49,814 and can't seem to pick a team i'm satisfied with.Dropped Silva on discount and now Nasri seems to be out.Also dropped Aguero and Suarez, really don't expecct Aguero to see any match time.Considering Bendtner or K2 in place of Mata. Team atm

Santos Richards Riise/Smalling
Nasri SWP Arteta Hoolahlan
Mata Dzeko RVP

Tarantula4Sale said...

bosingwa, arteta, anderson, aguero


meetesacker, delph(filler), kasami, RVP??

got a feeling Tevez will play and aguero get rested as Dzeko is in top form.

Gingerman said...

Why wouldn't you pay full price for Dzeko AM? I also missed him at the BD, but when you look at his match up and the form he is in, I would say he is a no-brainer @ 13.60.

Anonymous said...

Santon is nothing special and is playing away. away.

Assistant Manager said...

Gingerman - I'm seeing Dzeko at 16.56; something strange is going on at Yahoo... caching issues again? We've seen them in previous seasons.

joo said...

AM, what do you think of Boyata's chances of replacing Zat Knight? priced at 2.

Anonymous said...


I have noticed the pricing issue and last night when playing around with my team I dropped rooney at 21.09 with 1.42 in the bank and the back showed 20.19. My heart dropped as I was hitting the back button to undo my change. Eventually everything worked out but that is a scary YFF feeling.

Google Beta User said...

Careful with Arsenal players. With new signings it's hard to know who will start. You could get burned if none of the guys start.

Anonymous said...

Which side would you all prefer:






Need some help and analysis...

kwyjibo said...

Well, I just checked, and Dzeko is listed @13.60 now! Get him while you can, before his price goes back up!

kwyjibo said...

Yeah, something is up with yahoo pricing. Added Dzeko @13.60, and he shows up on my team as: Sell at 13.60 (market price 16.56).

Hmm...and Yahoo had been doing so well thus far in the season. Something is going on.

Anyway, I now have:

Waiting on team news before deciding what to do with Aguero, and will likely switch Richards for Mertz or Santos, not sure which one just yet.

JCapaldi86 said...
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JCapaldi86 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
FinnSam said...

This is what I have right now:


I have a feeling I'm being stupid for picking too many studs at once but lately Rooney has been solid gold, Suarez is just waiting to score big and RvP has a great matchup and just scored four for Holland. And Silva is my season keeper. I have all the big teams represented in offence except for Chelsea but cant pick Mata for fourth forward. Just wished I had a better filler than Delph, although they are playing against a very short handed Everton.

I know I´m rambling. Any thoughts, anybody? Any opinions are welcome.

FinnSam said...

Is Gibbs healthy?

jimmy said...

hey guys. here is a nice link to check injuries, u all prob use it

Anonymous said...

Is anyone considering Walcott? Hopefully there'll be reliable team news tomorrow.

Rugby World Cup, Yahoo Assistant Manager Blog Cup - exciting 'cup' weekend in store!

Anonymous said...

Also I'm torn between.

Young, Drenthe and Ruiz


Murphy (HUGE hunch), Wright Phillips and Van Persie

Which would you choose?

alfred said...

AM, how about gareth bale...

Ken M. said...


I try and look at your choice as only...

Young or RVP

I think this week it would be a good idea to have a striker from all of United/City/Arsenal

I have Rooney at discount but may drop him and hold Young so I can fit in Hernandez/RVP/Aguero.

For United I would have Hernandez/Young/DDG
For City Aguero/Silva
For Arsenal RVP plus possible two defenders.

To me, this looks like a nice "slice" of these fixtures.

3 fixtures that appear to be (possible) good fantasy point games.

Not knowing who you have to balance out those choices I can only say I am not concerned with either Young/RVP returning their value with the nod going to RVP as the player with the possible bigger game.

Good luck

Rick said...

Aguero or Suarez that is the question? Will Aguero play or will rotation kick in?

Mell 10-11 said...

Suarez will definitely play no question but Aguero is a bit tricky, with 4 strikers and Champions League looming, nobody knows what Mancini is thinking. I reckon Dzeko will be a bit quiet this weekend...Arsenal to pounce

Ian Sanderson said...

My dilemma for this week is Nasri, Arteta or Walcott.
Currently have Nasri, but also have Silva and Aguero so will prob look to the Arsenal duo, especially as RVP is not in my strikeforce. Walcott a slight doubt but is in fine form and should cause havoc against Swansea. Arteta is a bit of an unknown quantity in the Arsenal team, a poor man's Fabregas - which aint a bad thing; he'll be in the middle of things, but how deep? taking set pieces?

McCoy said...

santos not fit? izit worth taking him?

Rick said...

Thanks Mell you made my mind up Suarez it is.

David S said...


How confident are you that Aguero will start? Tevez needs to play sooner or later, and many are tipping him for this weekend. Aguero would seem the likely man to make way.

Because of that, I would think about dropping him and taking both Arteta and Walcott.

kwyjibo said...

@David S - I tend to agree.

The Daily Mail is tipping Tevez to start, but I don't know how much you can trust the Daily Mail! Although, they do make a good point that "Aguero has been to India and Bangladesh with Argentina over the last week while Tevez stayed in England."

Add to that the fact that there is a CL game which Aguero will almost certainly start, it is looking like a good possibility that he will be on the bench.

I tried to watch the Man City press conference, but they only have the first 10 minutes online, and Mancini mentioned that Tevez is fit and ready, but before he could elaborate, the reporter said, 'No, I said Kolo, not Carlos', so he switched to talking about Kolo Toure...

The only news that I did get was that he said Nasri is fine. He has a broken bone in his hand, but Mancini said "It is only a problem if he is a goalkeeper". So, it sounds like he will play.

kendo said...

Gibbs anyone?

JCapaldi86 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alex said...

two final decisions to make:

arteta or walcott

ruiz, mata, or dzeko (due to rotation risk for the latter)?

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