I had a dream last night. Against my better judgement, with Cahill still ill, I moved the Fantasy captaincy from Rooney to Cahill. Fast forward to Saturday, and Cahill had scored all of Everton’s four goals in their demolishing of Blackburn. Likely? No. So, better use the recommendations and game previews to help pick your team and captain. I’ll spare you my dreams for now on.
Remember that the game previews are in many 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. With that said, let’s plow ahead.
- Regurgitated recommendation 1: Captain one of your best attacking players. Initial analysis of the new bonus point system points to it favoring goalscorers.
- Regurgitated recommendation 2: Play the fixtures. The PL Fantasy blog offers helpful analysis.
- Regurgitated recommendation 3: Avoid silly mistakes in picking injured players. Use the information in “Injuries and suspensions” for each team below.
- Wayne Rooney
- Darrent Bent
- Chris Brunt
- Others: Sergio Aguero and Luis Suarez if you think they will start. Both are doubtful, following Tevez’ cameo last game and Suarez’ Carling Cup adventures.
Aston Villa v Wolves
- Darren Bent: He isn’t always involved but he consistently scores, which is what the game is all about. Had an excellent goal and assist last gameweek at home and is likely to score again.
- Shay Given: Aston Villa are likely to keep a clean sheet.
- The Wolves’ midfield trio of Jarvis, Hunt, and O’Hara. Jarvis had a massive 14 point Gameweek 2 and seems the obvious pick. But Hunt is on set pieces and has already registered 6 shots, created 4 chances, and whipped in 17 crosses in two games. O’Hara has likewise been involved , with 8 shots and 6 attempted crosses. Jarvis has risen in price, and in is now priced at 6.1.
- I’m sticking with Stephen Fletcher, both in this blog and in my team. He has 6 shots on goal and is looking lively up front. He has scored 1, attempted 6 shots inside the box, and created 4 chances. I would consider benching him this week though.
- Roger Johnson is the most expensive defender in the Wolves team and I’m not sure he is worth it, in Fantasy terms. Stephen Ward is 0.5 cheaper and could chip in with the odd goal or assist as shown last season.
- Gabriel Agbonlahor: Excellent last gameweek, but is injured. Could play. The official game gives a 75% chance.
- Aston Villa: All players healthy.
- Wolves: Guedioura (ankle), Edwards (back), Mouyokolo (knee).
Wigan v QPR
- Al-Habsi and the Wigan defence: On home soil against a newly promoted side with a total of 21 shots in two games, thereof 10 blocked. Will not get better with a Wigan defender.
- The QPR defence: The looked mean under Neil Warnock last year and could yet keep clean sheets this year. Please note that this is a risky punt in away games.
- Adel Taarabt: The attacking pick of the bunch from QPR with bonus points last week. He is likely to provide goals and assist in QPR victories; however, wins will probably be few and far between this season. I’m guessing there are better value mid-range priced midfielders in the game.
- Moses and McCarthy, previous punts, are both injured and are estimated at 50% chance of playing.
- Wigan: Gohouri (calf), Alcaraz (thigh).
- QPR: Dyer (ankle), Hill (suspended), Hulse (knee), Mackie (leg)
Blackburn v Everton
- Tim Cahill: Missed two sitters last game but continued to get himself in threatening areas.
- Paul Robinson: If you are ever going to play a Blackburn defender or goalkeeper, this is the game. A likely low scoring game.
- Morten Gamst Pedersen: Set piece taker and consistent fantasy performer throughout the years.
- Leighton Baines: Although probably relatively high scoring this season, he will have to have amazing return to justify hi price tag of 8.0.
- Blackburn: Samba (groin).
- Everton: Coleman (ankle).
Chelsea v Norwich
- Jose Bosingwa: Likely to get a clean sheet bonus as well as be heavily involved in Chelsea’s attacks.
- Fernando Torres: If you own him you should probably captain him, but I’m hesitant in gambling on him.
- Richie De Laet: Has reveived back-to-back bonus points and could nap them again in a low scoring game. A high risk punt.
- Wes Hoolahan was on the bench against Stoke because of tactical shuffling.
- Chelsea: Cech (knee), Luiz (thigh), Essien (knee).
- Norwich: Ayala (knee), Ward (knee), Vaughan (knee).
Swansea v Sunderland
- Michel Vorm: After a spectacular first two games, Vorm’s name is all over the papers. Even if he doesn’t keep a clean sheet he is likely to score points on the back of his saves.
- Steven Caulker: Priced at 4.0, he could be one of your rotation defenders. If he is, this is the game to play him.
- Stephane Sessegnon: Has looked lively in both of Sunderland games. A midfielder playing right behind Asamoah Gyan in a 4-4-1-1.
- Danny Graham: Beware of his Championship scoring record. The Premier League has a history of great Championship strikers not making the cut.
- Swansea: Monk (doubtful).
- Sunderland: Gordon (knee), Campell (knee), Meyler (knee), O’Shea (doubtful).
Liverpool v Bolton
- Luis Suarez: If he plays, he is captain material. The only doubt is because of his inclusion in Liverpool’s midweek Carling Cup game.
- Jose Enrique: Everybody knows about him now. A cheap defender in a probable elite Fantasy defensive team. Get him now, before his price goes up.
- Charlie Adam: Has been at the center of Liverpool’s play and takes set pieces. I’m hesitant because of the price, but if keeps getting bonus points he’ll be worth it.
- Ivan Klasnic: The Croation attacker has two goals in two games and seems likely to score against anyone. I wouldn’t bet on him scoring, but I wouldn’t bet against it either.
- Dirk Kuyt: A stable of the Liverpool team last season, he has found himself on the bench for the start of this season. Also, Suarez has probably stolen his penalty duties.
- Raul Meireles: Got injured in the midweek game against Exeter.
- Liverpool: Meireles (neck), Johnson (doubtful), Gerrard (groin).
- Bolton: Mears (leg), Lee (leg), Holden (knee), Davis (knee), Ricketts (calf).
Newcastle v Fulham
- Stephen Taylor: Received full bonus points for both games this season. Unlikely to last, but the new bonus point system is an enigma. If you think you’ve cracked it, captain him. But really, don’t.
- Ryan Taylor: Scored another free kick in Newcastle’s Carling Cup game. Reasonably price too. But beware that Pardew is actively seeking a replacement left back.
- Philippe Senderos: The cheapest Fulham defender. Priced at 4.5, 2.0 lower than Hangeland, he could provide clean sheet points if Fulham keep their shape under Martin Jol.
- Danny Simpson: Cheap rotation defender. Simpsons a starter priced at 4.0 priced.
- Clint Dempsey: Being played deeper this year, moving from his position last season behind the striker. Also priced higher at 8.5.
- Beware playing Newcastle forwards until anyone shows good form.
- Newcastle: Williamson (ankle), Harper (knee), Ben Arfa (ankle).
- Fulham: Zamora (ankle), B.H. Riise (hamstring), Davies (knee), Kamara (back).
Tottenham v Manchester City
- David Silva: A must pick this Fantasy season. Captain material.
- Edin Dzeko: Largely forgotten because of Aguero, he has three goals in three (counting the Charity Shield). If he cements his place he could be one of few elite strikers priced under 10.0.
- Sergio Aguero: If you think he is starting, he looks immense.
- Rafael Van der Vaart: City look easier to breach this season, based on the Bolton game. VdV did not look to score against United but he gets a free pass based on his history.
- Gareth Bale: In spite of his woeful passing, he looked strong against United. Up against another physical specimen in Micah Richards this week.
- Gael Clichy/Aleksandr Kolarov: Rotation has already started in the left back spot. I wouldn’t be comfortable with either.
- Tottenham: Crouch (ankle), Modric (groin), Sandro (knee), Palacios (knee), Pienaar (groin), King (knee), Gallas (calf), Ranieri (knee).
- Manchester City: Jong (doubtful).
West Brom v Stoke City
- Chris Brunt: Everything went through Chris Brunt last year at West Brom. Add in set piece duties and he looks an exciting Fantasy prospect.
- Shane Long: Scored against both Manchester United and Chelsea. Looks a bargain buy from Roy Hodgson.
- Kenwyne Jones: Scored in the midweek games and is looking to better his goal scoring from last season.
- Peter Odemwingie: Probably not fit enough yet, but worth a gamble if you think he could start.
- Somen Tchoyi: Will probably be moved from behind the striker to the wing with the integration of Odemwingie in to the team. This lessens his Fantasy impact.
- West Brom: Nilch.
- Stoke City: Delap (hamstring), Fuller (achilles), Higginbotham (knee).
Manchester United v Arsenal
- Wayne Rooney: The most obvious captain material this week. United look impenetrable at home and should put Arsenal to the test.
- Ashley Young: United’s play has been flowing through Young.
- Oliveira Anderson: Has showed improvement from last year and already has a goal to his name. A risky punt.
- Danny Welbeck: Ferguson has shown in the past that he rewards performances with games, so expect Welbeck to start.
- Jonathan Evans: A cheap defender in an elite team. Faces a real test against Arsenal.
- Luis Nani: I haven’t given up on Nani yet, although the signs are that United will distribute goals and assists more this season.
- Robin Van Persie: Looked lively against Udinese. Has a goal in him.
- Dimitar Berbatov and Michael Carrick: Bench warmers this week.
- Manchester United: Fletcher (virus), Valencia (ankle), Hernandez (concussion), Owen (back), Rafael (shoulder), Vidic (calf), Ferdinand (hamstring), Evra (doubtful), Bebe (knee).
- Arsenal: Gervinho (suspended), Song (suspended), Gibbs (hamstring), Wilshere (ankle), Diaby (ankle), Eastmond (ankle), Koscielny (back).