Nik Argiropoulos

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AM's Week 3 Player Picks

Thursday, August 29, 2013


If Week 1 was rough then Week 2 was even rougher, as my Yahoo Fantasy Premier League managed a paltry 78 points to leave me floundering down in 26,000th overall.

 

There weren't many goals in the Premier League last weekend which meant there weren't many big fantasy scores from players. Combine that with Manchester City's shock defeat at Cardiff and we were left with a low scoring fantasy week in general, so unsurprisingly it was those who picked the right captain who did better than others.

 

For the second week running I picked the incorrect captain, Robin van Persie, who returned surely his lowest ever Yahoo fantasy score with just 1 lonely point to his name. I need to get it right for Week 3 in an effort to start climbing the rankings, so let's get straight in to the fixtures.

 

Game Week 3 Fixtures
Arsenal v Tottenham
Cardiff v Everton
Crystal Palace v Sunderland
Liverpool v Man Utd
Man City v Hull
Newcastle v Fulham
Norwich v Southampton
West Brom v Swansea
West Ham v Stoke

 

Firstly, it must be noted that Chelsea and Aston Villa do not play a league fixture in Week 3. Chelsea are competing in the Super Cup against Bayern Munich on Friday night - which is why their match with Villa was moved in to Week 1 (to create a double week) - so I would recommend dropping all your players from both teams unless you've built up a large discount (in which case, bench them).

 

Now stay with me here - I'm recommending Manchester City as the stand-out fixture once again for Week 3. Yes they let us down last weekend, but I see it as a blip (not helped by a make-shift defence) and Hull at home is a far easier proposition than Cardiff away. If you analyse the rest of the fixtures you will notice there are numerous games which are evenly matched, so you must take advantage of City's fantastic chance of a big home win. And do you know the really great thing? This match is the early Saturday kick-off, so we should get confirmation of starting line-ups on Twitter before the deadline.

 

The first of two fixtures that leap off the page is Arsenal v Tottenham. The past two season have seen this game end up 5-2 to Arsenal so it's probably a good idea to avoid defensive players, but there should be plenty of goals and fantasy points on offer for the attacking players, as both teams slug it out for North London bragging rights. Liverpool v Manchester United is the second fixture that all football fans should be looking forward to and it should fascinating, but these games are notoriously cagey affairs in comparison to Arsenal v Tottenham, so I'm less interested from a fantasy point of view.

 

Elsewhere, Sunderland should have too much for a Crystal Palace side still lacking the quality to really compete at this level, and I also fancy West Ham to beat Stoke City at Upton Park - the home fans always whip up a fantastic atmosphere to lift the Hammers. It remains to be seen if Cardiff's fans can help raise their team to the same level as last weekend against Manchester City, but if they can then Everton could be in a bit of bother as they adjust to life under Roberto Martinez.

 

Norwich v Southampton looks like a score-draw to me, as does West Brom against Swansea, but I have sneaky feeling Fulham might grind out a win at Newcastle. Times are tough for Alan Pardew's men, who have failed to score in their last four home games, and Fulham have made some astute signings that could give them the edge.

 

Check out The Danger Zone - Players to avoid | First XI: Week Two

 

With all that in mind, here are my player recommendations:

 

KEEPERS
Joe Hart - The jury is definitely out on Hart after yet another high-profile error at Cardiff, but City still have the best opportunity of a clean sheet at home to Hull and the keeper's price dropped after the -5 points received last week. I'm picking him.
Jussi Jaaskelainen - He was one of the stars of the 2012/13 Yahoo fantasy season and Jussi has made a decent start again this year. Stoke at home is hardly the most frightening of matches for West Ham so the Finish stopper is a good choice for Week 3.
Maarten Stekelenburg - You'll only want to pick the new Fulham goalkeeper if you agree with my prediction that they will keep out Newcastle. Many people will find this hard to go with given Fulham's away record over the years, but I think Stekelenburg will do well. I'm not picking him though as I prefer Joe Hart.

 

DEFENDERS
Leighton Baines - I don't know why. He's expensive, has probably been unsettled by the Manchester United speculation and of course, he has a difficult away game, but I just have a hunch that Baines is going to get massive points this week.
Pablo Zabaleta - One of City's most consistent performers over years, he had a pretty poor game at Cardiff but I expect him to perform better in Week 3 as he's afforded more opportunities to get forward at the Etihad.
Joleon Lescott - Guaranteed a start in the centre of City's defence and this should be alongside Nastasic, which makes things look instantly more solid than when Javier Garcia plays there.
Winston Reid - Every time I see highlights of a West Ham game it appears Winston Reid gets himself in to great goal-scoring positions, so add to that the chance of a clean sheet against Stoke and he becomes a fine option.
Brede Hangeland - The giant Fulham defender is another who is a massive threat in the opposition's box and he could come up with the goods at a shaky St James' Park. If not, he still has a chance of a clean sheet.
Ondrej Celustka - The on-loan attacking fullback has looked fairly good for Sunderland so far and is my pick of their defenders for the winnable trip to Crystal Palace.
Mathieu Debuchy - A cheap option who has been scoring decent fantasy points despite Newcastle's poor start.

 

MIDFIELDERS
David Silva - The little Spanish midfielder looked tired last season after almost 3 years of continuous football, but after a few weeks rest after the Confederations Cup, Silva is looking fresh and sharp. He's currently the top scoring midfielder in the Yahoo game and is a no-brainer at home to Hull.
Theo Walcott - He was excellent at Fulham last weekend and often saves his best performances for matches against Spurs, so it will be a brave fantasy manager who doesn't pick Theo for the North London derby on Sunday.
Emanuele Giaccherini - A new name for many Premier League fans, the attacking midfielder's signing from Juventus went through without much fanfare in July but trust me when I tell you the guy is a quality player and an absolute steal for the money Sunderland paid. He opened his goal account at Southampton and will be a danger to Palace, who are not defending well at all so far this season.
Peter Whittingham - Some of you will remember Whittingham bursting on to the scene at Aston Villa around ten years ago (wow, was it really that long ago? I'm getting old ... ) before drifting down the lower leagues, but he's turned his career around since joining Cardiff in 2008 and remains one of the best dead-ball specialists (free-kick and corner taker) I have ever seen. He's also usually Cardiff's penalty taker, so there's really no reason not to pick him this weekend, is there?
Michu - It's not been an ideal start for Swansea, sitting bottom with zero points after two (admittedly difficult) games, but they will improve and Michu has looked good despite his team's struggles. He's still playing upfront and will pick up solid points once the new players start to gel, so he's not the worst choice away at West Brom.
Kevin Nolan - Only Nolan will know how he missed that header at Newcastle last weekend, which would've made it two goals in two games, but it's unlikely he'll miss a a chance like that if it falls to him at Stoke. The guy personifies "right place at the right time".
James Ward-Prowse - Posh name, fantastic crosser of a ball, well worth a look for Southampton's trip to Norwich.
Jesus Navas - Ok, I'm recommending Navas again this week because City have an easy game, but if he fails to return any sort of points again then he'll be missing from the list for Week 4.
Paulinho - Someone described Paulinho as "a Brazilian Frank Lampard" and I'm starting to see what they mean. The guy is box-to-box, has a cracking shot and is constantly running past the strikers to get on the end of chances, something Spurs have been sorely lacking from a central midfielder for some time. He'll get chances at Arsenal in what is sure to be an open game.
Scott Sinclair - The winger should make his West Brom debut against Swansea and at a price below £2.5million he is a fantastic filler option, even if it's only for your bench for now.

 

STRIKERS
Alvaro Negredo - There is something about watching Negredo; you can just tell he'll be a success in the Premier League, and I didn't feel the same when Edin Dzeko joined City. He's been limited to two sub appearances so far but had goal disallowed against Newcastle before scoring a consolation against Cardiff and has probably done enough for a start against Hull. We'll get the City line-ups before the deadline and he'll be my choice if he's in there, ahead of Dzeko and Sergio Aguero. He may even be my captain.
Olivier Giroud - Three goals in four games so far this season, he's in form, he'll get chances against Spurs and should be on penalties in Mikel Arteta's absence.
Roberto Soldado - Four goals in three games so far this season, he's in form, he'll get chances against Arsenal, and is definitely on penalties.
Daniel Sturridge - Four goals in ... ok, I'll expand on this pick. Sturridge scores goals in spurts and is the focus of everything for Liverpool until Luis Suarez returns. He's looking as sharp as I've ever seen him and at Anfield there will be opportunities to score. Even if he doesn't score he tends to force the keeper to make saves, and that brings with it points for a shot on target (3 to be precise), so I still think he's an excellent pick.
Jozy Altidore - Opened his goal account for Sunderland in the Capital One Cup and Paolo Di Canio will be hoping that will be the trigger to open the floodgates for Altidore. He won't find many teams more willing to oblige than Crystal Palace right now.
Fraizer Campbell - Unlikely to reach the heights of the City brace, but Campbell is still a good pick against Everton if you're looking to pick outside the usual suspects.
Darren Bent - He scores goals, that's what he does. Bent scored vs Arsenal will probably score 12-15 goals this season without ever really playing that well. Another goal could easily come at Newcastle in Week 3.
Robin van Persie - Only because he's RvP. I was going to keep him for the season at his Week 1 price, but his shocking 1 point versus Chelsea caused a big price drop and that means I can add him after a very tough game at Liverpool (for United's Week 4 match against Palace). Undoubtedly capable of scoring at Anfield, but Wayne Rooney will take some opportunities away from him and that will have an impact on his overall points production.

 

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So those are the players I'm considering for my Week 3 Yahoo team. For now I have the following saved on my own team page:

 

Starting XI: Hart, Lescott, Zabaleta, Baines, Whittingham, Giaccherini, Walcott, Silva, Soldado, Sturridge, Negredo (C)
Subs: Elliot, Coates, Spence, Coutinho

 

Extremely City-heavy, but I really like it and it could be my final team if Negredo is in the starting line-up. If it's confirmed then the striker is likely to be my captain, although David Silva is also in the running. Once again I'm mainly focusing on a cheap bench although I am hanging on to a discounted Philippe Coutinho.

 

Check back here on Rotoworld on Friday for all the team and injury news coming out of the manager's press conferences to assist you with your final decisions.

 

How's your Week 3 team looking? Who's your captain choice?



Nik Argiropoulos is a London-based soccer writer for Rotoworld and co-founder of Never Manage Alone. You can find him on Twitter @nikarg.
Email :Nik Argiropoulos



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