Steve Rothgeb

The Free Kick

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The Free Kick - Week 21

Wednesday, January 08, 2014


Gameweek 21

 

After a hiatus resulting from a  jam-packed festive period, The Free Kick is back and ready to examine prospects at each position who can help you gain ground in the rankings. Now that we are entering the second half of the season, it becomes even more crucial to find a spot or two in your XI's in which you take a chance on a player with low ownership should you look to make a dent in the ranks. Otherwise, you will likely find yourself merely keeping pace the rest of the way as you roll with all the standard options. I, for one, do not prefer the "keeping pace" approach. Even if my final rank turns out to be lower than if I had started Suarez, Rooney, Oscar, Coutinho, Yaya Toure, etc., every week, I want to take the chance. Perhaps you were like me and grew up watching a ton of 80's gameshows. If so, then you know where I am coming from. I'm the contestant that risks his winnings to go for the big payday....every time.

Right.  Let's take a look at this weeks' standard and Free Kick representatives.

 

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


Goalkeeper


The Standard


Simon Mignolet - (Liverpool)  Liverpool are coming off a clean sheet against Hull City at Anfield last time out, but their defensive record on the road this season has not been impressive. They have kept their opponent out just once since August when away from home as they are set to face an always tricky Stoke City club at the Britannia Stadium. Stoke meanwhile, have been finding their attacking form when compared to earlier in the campaign. They have averaged two goals a game at home in their last three, including three against an improving Chelsea defense, so there is no reason to feel a big club will come in and shut them down. Mignolet's three highest scoring fantasy weeks all came in the first three weeks of the season, so while he is still 2nd overall in points among keepers, remember that over 40% of that total was reached by September 1st.

 

The Free Kick

 

Kelvin Davis - (Southampton) For those who took a chance on Paulo Gazzaniga when he first stepped in after Artur Boruc went down with a hand injury, it would be understandable for you to have trepidation in investing in the newest rock bottom priced keeper from Southampton. But there are a few reasons to have a bit more confidence this time around.  First, he is the Saint's #2 keeper, Gazzaniga is the #3 choice, so there is a perceived upgrade in talent there. Also, during Gazzaniga's run, Southampton had other injuries to contend with in their defense, lowering their overall performance, not to mention they had a tough schedule in that stretch. Well, they are healthier now. It has been 11 gameweeks since the Saints kept their opponent out, but I think the pieces are in place and the fixture is right (home to WBA) to take a chance on Davis.  At minimum, he is your new backup keeper.

 


 


Defender


The Standard


Patrice Evra (Manchester United) This just in....United are not very good.  United have begun 2014 in a fashion never seen before at Old Trafford - a Boxing Day loss to Tottenham, an FA Cup loss to Swansea over the weekend, and a Capital One Cup loss to Sunderland yesterday.  Now Swansea are visiting again this weekend, and even though Michu remains sidelined, they have shown enough moxie against the Red Devils already, as Wilfried Bony is beginning to show his promise in the Premier League.  This advice could easily backfire as United are almost due to NOT disappoint, but if you are looking for a clean sheet and maybe a bit more, there are a plethora of options to consider instead, all of them less expensive and most with lower ownership.

 

The Free Kick


Antolin Alcaraz (Everton)  Roberto Martinez used to pencil Alcaraz first into his lineup card during the duo's days at Wigan Athletic, but between a step up in surrounding talent and a nagging injury early in the season, Alcaraz hasn't had the opportunity to remind the Everton boss why he brought him along to Goodison Park. Well, with injuries to Phil Jagielka and Sylvain Distin, Alcaraz went from a forgotten man to a much needed one for the Toffees. Alcaraz won't stuff many other categories for you, but he can give you an Everton clean sheet (which looks promising with a home match against Norwich) for a fantastic discount price of 7.92m, and should continue to be an option until the first choice center backs return.

 

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


 

Midfielder


The Standard


Phillippe Coutinho (Liverpool) Apologies to Liverpool fans for including two Reds in this week's standards, but when you travel to Stoke City, you are already immediately up for scrutiny from this writer. I have been generally disappointed with Coutinho's performance this season though he is still an outstanding talent with plenty of room for growth. There are two reasons I feel compelled to look elsewhere.  1.) Steven Gerrard is back. Unless it is a cupcake fixture, I would only want one Pool midfielder to go along with Suarez in my attack. Given the choice, I'd prefer Gerrard. 2.) Coutinho's ownership is over 20% compared to Gerrard's 12.5%. Even though Gerrard costs more, he can be a difference maker for you vs. those who opt Coutinho. 

 

The Free Kick

 

Adam Lallana (Southampton) Forget your Reds and pick up some Saints! That is the order of the week it appears.  It is about time Lallana started to get some serious praise around here as he may be the most exciting young attacking player from England right now. The loss of Theo Walcott for the Three Lions is a major blow for their World Cup aspirations, but if Roy Hodgson is smart, he will see the promise and budding potential of Lallana as he manages England's national squad.  This is not a budget pick, but I am taking into consideration that fantasy managers have lost Walcott as well, and with other expensive players injured right now, we should all have the funds to find room for Lallana, who is owned by only 4% of managers in the game. 

  


 

Forward

 

The Standard


Danny Welbeck (Manchester United) With Robin van Persie sidelined for the better part of the season at this point, Danny Welbeck has enjoyed a great deal of pitch time, and he has had some nice fantasy performances because of it. His price was once below 10m but he will now set you back over 15m, which is getting a bit too expensive for my taste. With question marks surrounding Wayne Rooney's availability for this weekend, it puts me off Welbeck even more. Without the playmaker Rooney there, United are a team with no identity and have shown very little in achieving in the final third. Though the money should be there this week if you wanted Welbeck, I would rather play a 3-5-2 or a 4-4-2 this week instead of having him for a third striker.

 

The Free Kick


Emmanuel Adebayor (Tottenham) The stars are aligned for Adebayor in this spot. He looked to be seriously hurt in the FA Cup match with Arsenal last weekend but Adebayor has been declared fit already for the weekend as a more offensive minded Spurs team get set to host Crystal Palace, a great environment for a striker to grab a double. Tim Sherwood also has Roberto Soldado at his disposal, but the Spaniard is dealing with a knock of his own and Adebayor has been a great symbol of Sherwood's regime, having once been exiled by Andre Villas-Boas. A 12.6m price tag and an ownership below 3% is the perfect recipe for Free Kick success.

 

Finally, as a reminder, don't forget to sign up and join us for our Rotoworld/Yahoo private leagues and battle us here at Rotoworld!  Click on the link for details - http://www.rotoworld.com/articles/bpl/45933/367/rotoworld-pl-yahoo-leagues



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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