Steve Rothgeb

The Free Kick

print article archives RSS

The Free Kick - Week 17

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


Gameweek 17

 

Welcome to this week's edition of The Free Kick! Last week's advice offered a mixed bag of results, but still yielded an overall profit in points and at a fraction of the budget.  Of course, one's cause is helped when a certain Dutch striker they recommended to pass on is revealed to be out for a month the day after they published the column.  But that is neither here nor there. What's is important here is to focus on my wisdom in avoiding Petr Cech, despite a home match against Crystal Palace, and opting for David Marshall.  The move worked for my fantasy XI, I hope it did for yours as well.  Now, on to Week 17, as I try to decide which console I want to play FIFA on for the next 7-8 years.

 

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


Goalkeeper


The Standard


Tim Howard (Everton)  The US international has had a strong campaign as he works towards improving his form ahead of World Cup 2014 and it has translated into fantasy success as he currently stands as the highest scoring keeper in the game. While Everton's defensive record this season is strong, they have not been able to keep their opponents out on the road. You have to go back to Week 5 when they kept a clean sheet away from Goodison Park. Were Everton to play the same Swansea side this weekend that was riddled with injuries a couple of weeks ago, I could back Howard and his luxury price tag, but the Swans are getting healthy and I can see them getting on the scoreboard in this one.

 

The Free Kick

 

Julian Speroni (Crystal Palace) Palace are home to Newcastle this weekend and the Pulis System should be in full effect. Though coming off a 2-1 loss to Chelsea, there are not many defenses in better form than Palace's.  Prior to last weekend's loss, the Eagles had kept 4 clean sheets in 5 and with Tony Pulis quickly transforming Selhurst Park into a fortress, visiting clubs have to be firing on all cylinders to find paydirt. Newcastle have not hit a drastic goal drought but they haven't been lighting up the scoreboard either.  For one reason or another, the other budget options at keeper this week have no upside, so if the idea of including Speroni frightens you, this may be a good time to go with a more standard option.

 


 


Defender


The Standard


Dejan Lovren (Southampton)  Southampton's defense may be the biggest positive surprise of the season and now seems as good a time as any to beat up on Tottenham, right? Not in my estimation. While both of these points may be true,  nothing stays true forever in the world of sport. The Saints' ship has sprung a bit of a leak recently and while there should not be reason to panic on a Titanic level, sailing shouldn't be expected to be so smooth. Spurs, on the other hand, will look at any shakeup at White Hart Lane as an excuse to right their own ship. Heck, even Fulham showed some moxy after Martin Jol was sacked.

 

The Free Kick


Glen Johnson (Liverpool)  Johnson will not win the award for "Most Daring Free Kick! Selection" but his ownership level is low enough where he merits mention in this column. The international right back has missed five of Liverpool's 16 league games so far this season and for this reason, Johnson is not among the leaders in the defender clubhouse. But a closer look at the 11 games in which he did feature and broken down to a per game average, one sees that Johnson is in fact right near the top. Normally, I am not one to advise on premium priced players, but with Liverpool home to Cardiff, I see a big haul in store for Johnson, and with Sergio Aguero and Leighton Baines sidelined, a manager's budget should be able to accommodate him.

 

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


 

Midfielder


The Standard


Theo Walcott (Arsenal) Before you grab your torches and pitchforks, hear me out. If you were quick to the trigger and brought Walcott in early, before his price spiked following last week's performance, then by all means roll with him. But I for one have a dilemma, and perhaps you do too.  I have had Mesut Ozil since the day he transferred to Arsenal and I have had Aaron Ramsey most of the season for obvious reasons.  Both have a ton of value that will be lost if sold and both are pleasing me with their current form. The idea of owning three Arsenal midfielders as they face a top side in Chelsea seems madness though. This advice is for those who didn't already purchase Walcott - go another week without him.  If he manages to have another great day, then bring him in pronto before his price rises again.  Otherwise, analyze the performances Ozil and Ramsey. Eventually, one may need to go.

 

The Free Kick

 

Antonio Valencia (Manchester United) Ahhh, remember the days of Sir Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford, where 10 out of eleven players were fantasy relevant in a given week. The 2013/14 version has been a far cry, with some weeks offering no prospects at all. Part of the issue has to be attributed to a new manager who is shuffling lineups until he finds one suitable. While some players with potential remain too risky to select, Antonio Valencia has shaped into a safe midfield option at a budget price and he is coming off a United win where he provided an assist.  Valencia has shown to be an assists machine in the past and with a visit of West Ham and a price under 9m, he looks a great buy this week.

  


 

Forward

 

The Standard


Eden Hazard (Chelsea) Hazard has proven to me that you don't have to be an out-and-out striker to merit space among the three forward positions and he has clearly been Chelsea's offensive player of the season to date, but I cannot bring myself to justify investing 18m this week away to Arsenal.  This week's shortlist at forward would have to feature Luis Suarez, Wayne Rooney, and one of Romelu Lukaku or the option mentioned below.

 

The Free Kick


Alvaro Negredo (Manchester City) Finally, an easy one.  Sergio Aguero will in all likelihood be out for a month, maybe more, meaning Negredo should be assured plenty of minutes for the Sky Blues. He was already a regular in the City XI before the Aguero injury but now he looks like the attacking centerpiece, with Edin Dzeko and Steven Jovetic either partnering him or offering a substitute replacement.  Temper expectations somewhat as City are not the animal on the road that they are at home, but the Fulham defense is extremely vulnerable and you will want to have Negredo already in your squad before another price rise and City DO have a home game.

 



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





Video Center

  •  
    Wednesday

    Wednesday's Fantasy Minute
  •  
    Levitan: Week 16 Waiver Wire

    Levitan: Week 16 Waiver Wire
  •  
    Tuesday

    Tuesday's Fantasy Minute
  •  
    NBA 6-Pack: Monday

    NBA 6-Pack: Monday
  •  
    Bales on Beckham

    Bales on Beckham's Success
  •  
    Monday

    Monday's Fantasy Minute
  •  
    db730

    db730's NFL 6 Pack: WR & TE
  •  
    Friday

    Friday's Fantasy Minute