Musings from Gameweek 18
Chelsea’s Goal Gluttony
What the hell am I supposed to deduct from a game like that? After a brilliant performance against Liverpool, Aston Villa capitulated against Chelsea, letting in eight goals.
It is a ridiculous result, made even harder to digest from a Fantasy perspective with seven different scorers and six different assisters. No less than six Chelsea players returned double-digit scores from the game, most notably Luiz playing out of position and Hazard scoring and assisting.
Disappointingly for Mata owners, he “only” returned six points, courtesy of an assist and a clean sheets. Reassuringly, he was subbed at the 73 minute mark, hinting that Benitez wanted to spare him for the 26th of December away game at Norwich.
On a side note, Torres’s Rafalution continued with a goal. Like Mata, he was substituted early, most likely with the Norwich game in mind. Torres has three goals, two assists, and three bonus points in five games under Benitez, hinting at Fantasy promise.
Not to get caught up (too much) in the Chelsea hype, there is the matter of rotation to wrestle with over the festive period. Mata and Torres aside, I would be hesitant of captaining Chelsea players in the Norwich game. Hazard played the full 90 minutes and is particularly vulnerable, give the plethora of midfield options at Chelsea.
Nevertheless, Benitez seems to be on the right track and there are valid Fantasy options to choose from. Mata is the obvious choice, Hazard is erratic but an explosive option, Torres is a promising pick, and Luiz the differential.
The Stoke Defence
Stoke’s impressive defensive run continued against Tottenham. I keep benching Begovic when Jaaskelainen has a home game, costing me points every time I do so.
Stoke have nine clean sheets in 18 games, sporting a League best of 0.72 goals conceded and an incredible 0.38 goals conceded at home.
Let’s just say that I’m a doubter no more and will think long and hard before I bench a Stoke defender or goalie for the remainder of the season.
Top of the Charts
Michu continues to score and now has 13 goals in 46 shots. He has an astounding 75% clear-cut chance conversion rate which is bound to regress to a more realistic number. He should be putting up good Fantasy numbers but not to the amount he currently is.
Still, hold on to him while he’s delivering.
Silva Makes the Difference
Silva had another solid game with 99 touches, 82 passes, 57 final third passes, nine crosses, three chances created, two shots, and of course the winning assist.
He’s similarly priced to the other midfield heavy hitters thanks to a quiet first part of the season and is owned by only 7% of Fantasy managers. He’s a great differential if you are playing catch-up in your mini-league.
Pienaar Leads Resilient Everton
Everton battled admirably in the abscence of Fellaini, with Pienaar grabbing the headlines. A goal, an assist, and maximum bonus delivered 13 points.
He’s a full 1.0 cheaper than Fellaini and a great replacement if you haven’t sold the big Belgian already.
Gerrard of Old Reappears
Lucas’s presence has given Gerrard more space to roam which enabled his attacking returns against Fulham.
It helped that Fulham are dreadful away from home.
It’s back-to-back goals and 26 points in two Gameweek’s for the Liverpool captain. He’s an intriguing option, but a risky one with Mata, Bale, Cazorla, and Silva all available at similar prices.
Sessegnon was sold in droves following Sunderland’s double Gameweek and has now delivered attacking points three Gameweeks in a row. Lucky for me that I had other spots to cover in my squad following injuries to my defenders so I have benefited from his upturn in form.
Despite his returns, I wouldn’t be too keen on hanging on to him. His single shot, three crosses, and one chance created against Southampton are not underlying numbers to base a Fantasy squad on and point to diminishing returns in the coming Gameweeks.
Gameweek 18 Captain Picks
I’m documenting whether I’m passing the test with my captain picks. If a captain pick scores over three points in the Gameweek it is considered a success and I am also noting double-digit Gameweek scores.
In the Friday Foreplay for Gameweek 18 I recommended Silva, Mata, and Van Persie as captain picks. For the first time this season, all my picks delivered. Finally.
Quality of captain picks:
- Good captain picks: 30/54
- Double digit captains: 9/54