Fantasy Files – Gameweek 37

by Chris Glover

There are always new lessons to be learned when it comes to fantasy football, even when you get into the last gasps of a fading season. Last week, a fantasy rambler not too far from here noted:

“Mario Balotelli . . . might be worth a punt but it really would be a risk at this point. Only those needing to gain ground on opponents should apply.”

A couple of Friday night beers and YouTube videos can do funny things to a fantasy team though and come Saturday morning, Balotelli was lacing up his boots for my team, despite the fact I had everything to lose and nothing to gain in my main mini league. We’ve no more double gameweeks to get carried away with but the lesson stands – don’t overpay for upside unless you’re totally desperate. With two weeks to go a majority of people probably are desperate but 4 point hits rarely work out and I would almost never recommend using them in a non double gameweek.

Observant readers might expect to see last week’s Fulham clean sheet ranking (2nd) flagged as an error but at least that pick was grounded in fact. It clearly didn’t work out but if you follow the same logic for a full season you should generally be ahead of the pack. So assuming you are comfortable with the logic of these picks (and to be fair that may be stretch) let’s go ahead and check out this week’s rankings:

Clean Sheet Rankings
(clean sheets kept – opponents failed to score in parenthesis)

  1. Chelsea (11 – 7)
  2. Man City (11 – 9)
  3. Arsenal (9 – 5)
  4. Liverpool (9 – 4)
  5. Sunderland (7 – 7)
  6. Birmingham (6 – 6)
  7. Fulham (9 – 5)
  8. Blackburn (7 – 5)
  9. Man Utd (5 – 5)
  10. Blackpool (1 – 7)
  11. Wigan (3 – 9)
  12. West Brom (1 – 5)
  13. Everton (3 – 2)
  14. West Ham (1 – 5)
  15. Bolton (0 – 1)
  16. Stoke (3 – 3)
  17. Wolves (2 – 4)
  18. Tottenham (2 – 1)
  19. Newcastle (5 – 2)
  20. Aston Villa (0 – 4)

The rankings are fairly top heavy this week with the top six team having good fixtures and defensive records while the majority of teams after that all have their question marks. Of course, some weight must be placed on the fact that some teams have more to play for that others but I would not use that as a reason to boost a team’s chances at a clean sheet (surely they try hard every week!) though there is an argument to demote a team like Everton who can practically not move off their current 7th place in the table. Given the subjectivity of those musings, I have left the rankings untouched.

Attacking Rankings
(predicted goals in parenthesis)

  1. Arsenal (3.10)
  2. Liverpool (2.18)
  3. Chelsea (2.11)
  4. Everton (1.60)
  5. Sunderland (1.59)
  6. Wigan (1.55)
  7. West Brom (1.46)
  8. Man City (1.42)
  9. Blackpool (1.41)
  10. Bolton (1.24)
  11. West Ham (1.17)
  12. Tottenham (1.12)
  13. Blackburn (1.10)
  14. Man Utd (1.08)
  15. Fulham (1.07)
  16. Birmingham (0.94)
  17. Wolves (0.85)
  18. Aston Villa (0.82)
  19. Stoke (0.78)
  20. Newcastle (0.45)

Captain Picks
What do we make of this Liverpool team? Since Dalglish took over they have scored an impressive 35 goals in 16 games, which places them first in the league over that period. They suddenly look flush with fantasy options with Kuyt (an astonishing 84 points in the last 8 GWs), Suarez (26 points in the last 3 GWs) and Rodriguez (50 (fifty!) points in the last 3 GWs) all looking like elite prospects right now. Of that trio I would lean towards Kuyt thanks to his consistency and penalty duties. With the league all but wrapped up, Nani looks like a rotation risk (at least in GW38 if not this week) and so Kuyt may be answer for owners looking to gain some last minute ground in their league.

With the best fixture again, Arsenal players continue to be elite fantasy players and it’s almost impossible to look beyond Van Persie. The Dutchman is averaging an incredible 9 points per game in 2011 and has 16 goals in just 15 games. Villa look like an ideal opponent having all but secured their safety for the year despite holding the worst road defense in the league. Now, Arsenal have little to play for either so be your own judge of how this plays out but either way Van Persie looks well placed to enjoy more success this week.

After a fairly poor showing last week Chelsea could well fade into the distance to end the year but Newcastle are average at best on the road and Drogba, Lampard, Malouda et al always have the chance to go crazy on someone. All three players come into the game in good fantasy form and I reiterate my support for Lampard (9 goals in 16 games in 2011 including 4 in the last 5) given his ability to score when Chelsea aren’t playing well and his penalty duties. Drogba on the other hand tends to excel when Chelsea play well as a whole (or is that vice versa) and so with some doubt in mind as to how they bounce back this week, I favor the more reliable Lampard.

Outside of that top trio of teams it’s hard to find too many options with the likes of Rooney, Nani and Van der Vaart facing tricky road trips. City’s hosting of Stoke looks more favorable than it is and with the Cup final a couple of days before and Champions League football secured, it’s hard to predict what Mancini will do in this one. Perhaps that Balotelli pick will work out after all.

4 Responses

  1. deals says:

    Kuyt has been my saviour these last few weeks put me back on track to win in our fantasy league!! go on Kuyt!!!

  2. Chris Glover says:

    I was sleeping on Kuyt until recently; always assuming his goalscoring form had to slow down. He is in the running for the best second half player though, great effort.

  3. Kuyt is must have! I’ve had him for a few months now, hasn’t let me down!

  4. Some time up and some times down, But god will always let you to up.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>