Is your season slipping falling away like a North London club with all the promise seemingly doomed to result in nothing? Are your loyal fans starting to turn on you after you once again handed to the armband to the slumping Drogba over the red-hot Van Persie? Is your loyalty to the increasingly leaky Sunderland defense causing murmurs in the stands that you’ve lost the confidence of the board? Well, unlike our real manager counterparts, fantasy managers have a golden opportunity this week to turn things round with three double gameweeks and 5 teams out of action.
Hopefully you made some preparations for this week and so you’re not sat holding Tevez, Davies and Jones as your talented but absent front line. Even the best planning though may have left you needing a quick fix so I urge you to take a peak here for some ideas of some one week mercenaries to fill out your match day lineup. Before settling on transfers though, we of course need to know who are the best plays of the week so without further delay here are this week’s captain and clean sheet rankings:
Clean Sheet Rankings
(clean sheets kept – opponents failed to score in parenthesis)
1. Chelsea (4 – 2) and (10 – 4)
2. Arsenal (8 – 4) and (4 – 4)
3. Birmingham (5 – 7) and (3 – 2)
4. Blackpool (0 – 8)
5. Sunderland (7 – 5)
6. West Ham (4 – 5)
7. Tottenham (5 – 2)
8. Everton (4 – 4)
9. Wigan (3 – 0)
10. Newcastle (3 – 3)
11. West Brom (1 – 6)
12. Liverpool (5 – 4)
13. Aston Villa (0 – 3)
14. Man Utd (4 – 2)
15. Blackburn (1 – 2)
Interestingly, the three DGW teams would rank as the top three even ignoring their second fixture (Arsenal would be first though) and only Chelsea really look to gain a great deal with their second game (Arsenal and Birmingham’s trips to Spurs and Chelsea are unlikely to yield clean sheets). Many readers will be shocked to see Man Utd so far down the ranks but ask yourself this: where would you rank Newcastle going to Old Trafford? The situation is actually very similar with Newcastle being almost as potent at home as the Champions-elect (2.25 GPG versus 2.63 GPG) and Man Utd being similarly leaky on the road (1.44 GPG versus 1.50 GPG). Granted they should get their first choice players back soon but they still look a little risky on the road right now. With Arsenal and Chelsea still to come, I would be selling any United defenders to target David Luiz for the week (Smalling’s value now looks gone too as the first teamers return to action).
4. Man Utd
6. West Ham
7. Aston Villa
10. West Brom
Not too much controversy here – Chelsea and Arsenal are the best plays on paper and should each manage 3 or 4 goals based on the stats. Be careful not to overvalue Birmingham who really don’t have too many weapons up top and face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge as part of their DGW. Their remaining fixtures are also tricky and so I would write this side off from an attacking standpoint for the remainder of the year. Also feel free to sell your Wigan, Sunderland and Fulham players who offer little from here on in.
Double Gameweek Player Rankings
Most of you will already own a number of these players but based on the past stats and form, I would recommend targeting (and captaining) the below players based on projected points, position scarcity and player value:
1. Robin van Persie – he gets the nod here as a transfer target largely because of position scarcity (which other big name strikers would you be happy with this week? Rooney, and . . .?). As a captain though it really is neck and neck though I might lean to Lampard as West Brom/Birmingham have a bigger chance of collapsing and shipping 4 or 5 goals than Liverpool/Spurs.
2. Frank Lampard – great fixtures, set piece duties and high upside makes Lampard close to must own this week. Qualifies as a differentiator with an 8.5% ownership. I will probably give him the nod as captain.
3. David Luiz – for me Luiz is the best defensive prospect we’ve had for some time with a rejuvenated Chelsea defense coupled with outstanding offensive upside
4. Cesc Fabregas – another frustrating stop/start season for Fabregas, but he remains a top option and has 4 quality starts in his last 5.
5. Theo Walcott – we’re into the risky pile now but I love Walcott’s upside and he’s delievered (174 aPoints) every time he’s been in the first team
6. Samir Nasri – his second half has been slow and as with Walcott the presence of Arshavin makes him a rotation risk but he has the talent to contribute in any given week.
7. Didier Drogba – only 3 goals in 2011 makes it hard to back Drogba and his 22% ownership turns me off even more. Always worth a mention though due to his immense talents.
8. Laurent Koscielny – the pick of the Arsenal defenders at 5.9m but still not a steal.