Steve Rothgeb

The Free Kick

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The Free Kick - Week 16

Wednesday, December 11, 2013


Gameweek 16

 

Welcome to The Free Kick! Last week this column took a hiatus as the midweek fixtures came fast and furious but brace yourselves for another edition. Speaking of brace, perhaps you were fortunate enough to take my advice last time out and took a chance on Samir Nasri, who managed to score two goals and have a splendid fantasy day. This week promises more bang for your fantasy buck, as I offer four names that may raise an eyebrow now, but will also raise your score this weekend. 

 

Follow the RotoWorld_PL team on Twitter: Galin | Jeremy | Neal | Nik | Steve


Goalkeeper


The Standard


Petr Cech (Chelsea)  As a rule of thumb, it is generally a good idea to shy away from a player who is sporting a negative score in the "form" category and Cech is currently saddled with a -5 in that department.  With that kind of performance, his price tag should be in Paulo Gazzaniga territory but seeing as how the Czech international plays for a Champions League side, apparently one is given the benefit of the doubt. Even though the matchup looks good on paper, home to Crystal Palace, the fact is Chelsea have only kept two clean sheets in their past ten games and haven't earned one at Stamford Bridge in three months. You have probably noticed the dangers of selecting a bad keeper for a gameweek - they are cruelly punished with massive negative scores on a bad day, much more so than at any other position. Cech should be a more productive keeper for fantasy going forward but it is amazing so many have stuck with him through a five game stretch of averaging negative points. 

 

The Free Kick

 

David Marshall (Cardiff City) Of all current #1 keepers in the league, no one has a lower ownership than Marshall (1.0%) and this is the week to use him as a budget friendly option who can return a nice haul for you---and more importantly, hardly anyone else. Despite featuring in one less match, Marshall has edged out the aforementioned Cech in points at this stage of the season. A big reason for this is that Marshall leads the league in saves at the moment.  Enough games have been played where we have a significant sample size in which to surmise that this is no fluke. Cardiff's opponents get their shots in volume but they aren't necessarily great chances. Cardiff host a West Brom side who could not score last week at home to Norwich, a feat that is difficult to accomplish.

 


 


Defender


The Standard


Kyle Walker (Tottenham)  Oh! You better watch out. You better not cry. You better not pout, I'm telling you why......Suarez is coming to town. (and there begins and ends my attempt at humorous holiday references)  It may be thought obvious not to consider a defender who has to contend with Luis Suarez but Walker is the current leader in the defender clubhouse and you don't ascend to that position by gathering clean sheets alone. He has contributed in every relevant category and is cultivating himself as an essential asset when Spurs are not facing such a daunting opponent. Coupled with the unattractive fixture, Spurs will be without Jan Vertonghen and Vlad Chiriches will be a doubt for this match which makes the prospect of keeping Liverpool down all the more difficult to imagine. In my imagination, I picture Walker picking up his 4th yellow card of the season and a points haul that will not live up to the 17.52m price tag.

 

The Free Kick


Billy Jones (West Brom)  Now that you know The Free Kick is backing Jones along with David Marshall, you then know yours truly is anticipating a 0-0 affair at Cardiff City Stadium.  Let it be known that this is my most anticipated outcome. My 2nd most would be 0-1, with an attacking contribution from Mr. Jones. Despite the Baggies inability to score against Norwich last week, Jones offered managers food for thought with his performance. Jones had 43 touches in the final third and 7 within the penalty box, leading all defenders last week. He also whipped in 7 successful crosses, which tied him for the top spot. Jones is on the attack right now and this could be the gameweek the steam is released from the teapot. Between clean sheet potential and attacking potential, I think Jones will pay off for you one way or another this weekend.

 

Follow the RotoWorld_PL team on Twitter: Galin | Jeremy | Neal | Nik | Steve 


 

Midfielder


The Standard


Jonjo Shelvey (Swansea City) The Swans were in desperate need for someone to step up offensively in the absence of Michu and Wilfried Bony and it was Shelvey who stood and delivered. His potential becomes cloudy now that Michu is officially back and Bony could be available this weekend. I would expect Shelvey to play in a deeper position with Michu's return and that is never a good thing in fantasy. The combination of Shelvey's recent success and Michu's injury has caused the two midfielder's price tags to nearly match each other's. Color me sentimental, but I want the player who is more established in Michu. It is time to shelve Shelvey.

 

The Free Kick

 

Ravel Morrison (West Ham United) I am thrilled about this pick so cue the disappointment. Morrison is just an exciting young player who has been on the cusp of fantasy brilliance but hasn't quite hit the mark just yet. What is important about him now is that he has a chance to run with the central attacking midfielder role because of the suspension of veteran Kevin Nolan. Morrison looks to eventually unseat Nolan in that spot permanently, but Hammer supporters have vocalized they would like to see it occur sooner rather than later. Morrison knows he has three chances to prove the changing of the guard is ready to happen now, and I think he is going to make good. When deployed just behind the striker in previous appearances, Morrison has shown to be his most dangerous. Of course, to use the phrase "behind the striker" when talking about West Ham is a bit of a misnomer, but even if its just Carlton Cole doing his best to hold the ball up for his teammates, so be it. Morrison can create his own chances and for the price of 7.05m, he is worth a 5th midfield spot as your ace in the hole.

  


 

Forward


The Standard


Robin van Persie (Manchester United) Ahhh, yes.....the always dangerous practice of advising to avoid a popular striker.  When you get it wrong, there is nowhere to hide.  There have been other times in the past couple of seasons where van Persie played and Rooney did not and I can't recall RVP looking as poorly as he did in that scenario than he did last weekend against Newcastle.  Rooney will be back for the trip to Villa Park this coming weekend, so that should help RVP's prospects but here is what I have learned after last week's showing: Rooney can get it done with or without RVP, RVP cannot get it done without Rooney, ergo, the Red Devils attack revolves more around Rooney. You can't conceivably own them both, so RVP is the odd man out.

 

The Free Kick


Loic Remy (Newcastle) I have made mention on a few occasions about how precious the three forward slots are in the game. Now they have to be considered even more precious because in reality, there are only two slots.  Luis Suarez has a permanent parking spot, and anyone else caught there will be towed at their expense.  For the remaining two slots, it seems difficult to look past a pair from the shortlist of Wayne Rooney, Sergio Aguero and Romelu Lukaku. If for some reason the budget isn't there or you have a personal vendetta against these players, then Loic Remy becomes the choice.  He's gone quiet the past few weeks but a home matchup against a Southampton defense that is starting to shake may be the perfect environment for the Frenchman to begin another run of form.

 

*Keep in mind at the forward position, there are only a handful of relevant players for three forward spots. You really have to have a need for a cheap third striker or a desire to go off the beaten path to opt for Remy over alternatives such as Suarez, Rooney, Aguero, and Lukaku. Proceed with caution.



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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