Steve Rothgeb

The Danger Zone

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Fantasy PL Danger Zone - GW9

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


Gameweek 9

 

Gameweek 8 brought a mixed bag of results in fantasy but some remarkable goals were scored, so no matter how you came out with your gameweek, hopefully you weren't too disappointed witnessing some impressive athleticism in the top flight. This week looks to be a high scoring one for fantasy managers, with goal and clean sheet opportunities abound.  The purpose of this article is to take a look at some popular prospects you may want to avoid this week for one reason or another, along with some viable and usually cheaper alternatives: 

 

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Goalkeeper

Wojciech Szczesny (Arsenal) - It is not so much that Szczesny's matchup isn't attractive. Arsenal going to Selhurst Park to take on Crystal Palace shouldn't present too much of a challenge to take the three points and based on the Eagles current attacking form, there is a fair chance at a clean sheet. The issue comes down to price and alternative options. At 13.7m, Szczesny is currently the third most expensive keeper in the game, and if you do fancy a cleanie for the Gunners, all of their options in defense are cheaper. Simple economics. Of course, should Szczesny go on to make a penalty save in this one and have a huge haul in comparison to the alternatives in defense.....

Alternative:  This week, there are several options. There are many fixtures where the home team is much stronger than their visitors and clean sheets could be common this weekend. Until further notice, it would be hard to ignore Artur Boruc in this spot.  Southampton have shown their resilience in defense has been no fluke. Though they did concede last week, coughing up only one goal at Old Trafford is hardly anything to be ashamed of, even this season. At home, taking on a Fulham side that was averaging under one goal per game before their most recent match against pushovers Crystal Palace, I don't anticipate the Cottagers will be able to crack the fortress of the Saints defense. Currently priced a shade under 10m, go ahead and grab him.


 

Defender

Leighton Baines (Everton) - Perhaps it is because Baines disappointed last week by putting up a one point dud in a cupcake matchup, home to Hull City Tigers. Perhaps yours truly decided to give Baines the armband and was left raging at the 2 point disaster, thereby taking a massive dip in the rankings. Yes these things are true, but I ensure you it does not cloud my judgment. I offer two reasons to avoid: 1.) with Tottenham, Arsenal, Manchester United and Liverpool all involved in very favorable matchups, funds will be needed to purchase the heavy hitting attacking players. 2.) the Benteke factor. The Belgian Beast is back, and counting on a clean sheet against any side with Christian Benteke involved is the very definition of fantasy land mine. 

Alternative: When I saw the Yahoo game updated Sunday morning, one thing immediately jumped out at me when looking at the home page. Under the Negative Movers list, Swasnsea's Neil Taylor was listed, with a rock bottom price of 3.45m. Knowing Ben Davies is on the shelf, I couldn't get Taylor in my squad fast enough. Swansea should feel comfortable in their environs, as this will mark their 2nd consecutive home match and 3rd overall, as they had a home game in the Europa League as well. Despite half of their preferred backline missing, the Swans are well organized and should have a good shot at a clean sheet against West Ham. Even if you don't fancy him to start for you, at least consider as the perfect bench option.

 

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Midfielder

Oscar (Chelsea) - Naturally, I felt miserable when Chelsea team news came out for last week's match and Oscar was not in the XI, having recommended him in this column. Luckily, Mourinho brought the nimble-footed Brazilian on in the 2nd half, and Oscar bagged a goal anyway. Going forward, I still believe he is the safest choice in the Blues' midfield, and that bit of rest may be all that is required to have him stay fresh and starting for the foreseeable future. However, he can be avoided this week for your team as Chelsea host Manchester City. I do not necessarily think this game will be played tight, there will be goals I believe as City's defense is shaky even with the return of Vincent Kompany. I just think fantasy managers need the occasional rest too, from figuring out which Chelsea player will actually start.

Alternative: I am going to go away from any obvious choices here, and advise to take a punt on Yohan Cabaye. The Tyne-Wear derby is at the Stadium of Light this weekend, and while Sunderland are amidst chaos in personnel and performance at the moment, Newcastle is always up for this event. This fixture is always a physical one and fouls mean free kicks, and Cabaye is lethal on set pieces. He should have plenty of space to operate in a leaky Black Cats' midfield, setting up his teammates for scoring chances. Normally I recommend an option that is budget friendly, or at least cheaper than the land mine. That is not the case with Cabaye. He is going to cost you some cash. On a good day though, he is a stat stuffer, and this has the makings of a good day for the Frenchman.


 

Forward

Ricky Lambert (Southampton) - Lambert hasn't played a full 90 minutes in his past four appearances and did not get the start from boss Mauricio Pochettino last time out against Manchester United. Perhaps Lambert's fitness is in question, but regardless of reason, despite the attractive matchup, this is a situation to avoid. Even though there is every chance Lambert could start for the Saints against Fulham, in which case he has a good chance to score, I hesitate to bring in a player who is clearly showing they can't put in a full shift.

Alternative: There should be plenty of cash to spend in this area if you find the right bargains elsewhere, and you are going to need it. With three spots to fill, this is no place to get tricky. For that reason, I am going to recommend Robin van Persie. As nifty of a through ball that phenom Adnan Januzaj provided for the Red Devils only goal against Southampton, on the heels of his brace in his first start for United, I am not completely buying it just yet. For United coverage, I am sticking with someone with a slightly more established track record. And by slightly, I mean the the most prolific Dutch striker in Premier League history. I know it seems odd to recommend such a popular player in this area, but I think many are currently timid about investing given his lofty price tag and United's stuttering form. Well, I am here to reassure you to never mind all that. Make some space, and bring him in.



Steve Rothgeb is a contributor for Rotoworld.com and WorldSoccerTalk.com, a self-proclaimed fantasy sports oracle, and Tottenham Hotspur fanatic. He can be found on Twitter @FuzzyWarbles.
Email :Steve Rothgeb



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