We prepare for Gameweek 13 in this edition of the Friday Foreplay by producing captain picks, investigating the heavy hitters, predicting clean sheets, and speculating on possible punts.
Basing the captain picks on the analysis below we arrive at:
- Robin van Persie: Fantasy’s current “numero uno”.
- Lampard: Second highest scoring Fantasy midfielder at home vs. Wolves.
- Differentials: Wayne Rooney (my captain choice, based on intuition), Adebayor (based on this season’s away form), and Walters (with a home game against Blackburn).
Despite Fulham’s decent road form this season, with 3 clean sheets and just 6 goals conceded, Robin van Persie has to be the biggest hitter again. He is nearing Ronaldo Fantasy form and should only be ignored if you are willing to take big risks (as I’m doing). He has 13 goals from 43 shots this season, in addition to 3 assists.
Wolves are in relegation form at the moment and Chelsea have the attacking power to capitalize. Lampard is as consistent as ever this season will be looking for a late run or two in Wolves’ penalty box. He has 72 Fantasy points, with two Gameweeks in the last three in the double digits.
The last big hitter is a controversial one. Wayne Rooney was declared fit by Alex Ferguson and will be fully rested after missing out on the midweek game. With a history of goal streaks, apart from his amazing 08/09 season, he has the fixtures to be starting his next run. This prediction is based mostly on feeling, although Manchester United normally are beasts at Old Trafford. To back up my funny feeling, I will be captaining him this Gameweek. Join me if you dare.
Adebayor has been an excellent purchase for Tottenham and should trouble West Brom’s defence. With the news that VdV and Defoe are doubtful, he is guaranteed a starting place and could be Tottenham’s focal point. An outside pick, since Tottenham is away from home, despite having failed to register a goal or assist in only one away game this season.
Walters has hit form despite Stoke City’s slump. He has scored 2 goals and registered 1 assist in his last four games and is likely to cause a leaky Blackburn defence problems in Saturday’s early kick-off game.
With the relative lack of clean sheets I’m only predicting them at home. Manchester United have shut up shop for three consecutive games and Swansea have been solid at back, even away from home. This Gameweek has, unexpectedly, several possible clean sheets:
- Manchester United are most likely, based on their defensive form since the return of Vidic. Despite facing a Newcastle team high on life, Manchester United will feel confident after three consecutive shut-outs. Phil Jones is a popular choice, although he is more susceptible to rotation than Vidic or Evra.
- Swansea is full of lean and mean passing devils. The Wales based team has been praised for both keeping the ball on the ground and being a defensive fortress at home. Vorm is topping the goalie charts with 58 points and is an attractive option in a rotation-based goalkeeper strategy.
- Sunderland have kept x clean sheets in the last x games. Steve Bruce seems to have gone back to basics and drilled Sunderland to be sturdier defensively, since the goals are not flowing freely. Wes Brown hasn’t missed a minute for Sunderland this season and is a budget player at £4.5 in the Fantasy game.
- Stoke are getting one last chance. The Stoke of last year would have kept Blackburn out at the Brittania. I’m betting on that the old Stoke shows up on Saturday. Wilkinson is priced at only £4.0 so he wouldn’t cause you too much grief, should he fail to register the clean sheet.
Taking a Punt
- Walcott has scored or assisted in three games in a row, and could finally be showing some consistency. His potential has never been in question, but his Fantasy production has been streaky at best.
- Norwich v QPR is a likely goal-scoring fest and Morison has scored in three consecutive games. A brace wouldn’t surprise me.
- Klasnic was a punt in last Gameweeks Foreplay, and came through with a goal from a penalty. Everton have kept only one clean sheet, in Gameweek 3, and Klasnic is third in the Fantasy form chart, behind only RvP and Ba.
- Is anyone still willing to bet on Torres? Yup, this silly blogger. Wolves at home is as good as it gets.
Remember that the game previews are in most cases short-term recommendations based on the next Gameweek. You should pick most of your squad for the long-term results, with a few players up for rotation since you only get one free substitution each week. The following recommendations should always be in consideration when picking your team for the Gameweek:
- Regurgitated recommendation 1: Captain one of your best attacking players because the bonus point system favors goal scorers.
- Regurgitated recommendation 2: Play the fixtures. The PL Fantasy blog offers helpful analysis. But don’t forget players in form.
- Regurgitated recommendation 3: Avoid silly mistakes in picking injured players by using injury information from the Physio Room and the suspension list from the official FA site.