Steve Rothgeb

The Free Kick

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The Free Kick - Week 27

Wednesday, February 19, 2014


Gameweek 27

 

I have come to the conclusion that I cannot get enough sports in my life, so whenever the Olympics roll around, I tend to bask in the enjoyment of having an excuse to watch sports all day long. Should anyone question my sanity when I am watching my eighth hour of curling on a Tuesday, I just point a finger at them and exclaim "Because I am a PATRIOT! That's why!" Suddenly, I am able to turn the tables and show that I am not the degenerate that I appear to be, but instead just a man expressing his unwavering nationalism and pride for his country. That sentiment is indeed true....but it does help cover up the fact that I am also feverishly tracking my progress in an underground fantasy Olympic curling league that I am desperately trying to win. 

OK. So I am a degenerate. But what is truly scary is that I have realized during this small break from the Premier League that things are about to get really out of hand. Spring Training has arrived, and I am about to embark on my 20th year of playing fantasy baseball. The time has come to begin doing the research for a game that requires daily management. Then there is the MLS season starting in a few weeks, another growing fantasy game that I want to dedicate time to. Then there is the World Cup coming up, which is the granddaddy of them all, and of course, a fantasy game to enjoy along with it. Somehow though, I must remain focused on the task at hand, finishing out a successful Premier League season, which is now entering its final third. The game gets so much more intense at this stage, where every right or wrong choice in your XI can make the difference in winning your mini-league or finishing with a great overall rank. There are also blank gameweeks for some clubs on the horizon, which or course means double gameweeks to come, putting even more importance on fielding the right players to maximize potential.

Right.  Let's take a look at this week's standard and Free Kick representatives. Remember the goal of this column is to find that player or two to fill out your squad when the money gets tight, or you want to find a player with high potential and low ownership to try and close the gap on the rivals above you.

 

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




Goalkeeper



The Standard


Simon Mignolet - (Liverpool) I think this will be the last time this season that I pick on Mignolet as the keeper to avoid. It should be established by now that of all the big clubs, Liverpool are by the far the least reliable defensively, and other than a very strong start to the campaign, Mignolet has been a mediocre keeper in fantasy with a high end keeper price tag. Still, he continues to attract investment. The Reds host a Swansea side that are getting healthier. Though their best play Michu is likely not ready to return to the starting XI, he could make an appearance off of the bench and should they have enough in their attack to find the net at least once...especially if Kolo Toure is anywhere near the pitch.

 

The Free Kick

 

David Marshall - (Cardiff City) Marshall turned in a brilliant performance last time out with a clean sheet earned against Aston Villa, and made for a superb bargain play at the position. Even if you were not lucky enough to use him then, or barn door him in before his price rose, he is still among the cheapest options to choose from with his tag currently at under 8m, as the Bluebirds have a lovely matchup in which to try him this week...a typically non-threatening Hull City attack. Even if the Tigers find the net somehow, there is still upside - Marshall, with his top drawer effort last week, is now the league leader in saves.  

 


 


Defender



The Standard


David Luiz (Chelsea) Even though Everton are a strong club with top 4 aspirations, I am not advising against Luiz because I think Chelsea are incapable of a clean sheet, far from it. Actually, it is more of a selection danger as he is nowhere certain to start. John Terry is currently rated at 50/50 to be available, and should he start, Luiz would likely need to oust Gary Cahill in central defense, or one of Ramires or Nemanja Matic in central midfield. Even with an out of position possibility and coming off an assist from the last league game, his uncertainty is enough to keep him off limits. Those who refuse to go without a Chelsea defender in a home game should think about the redhot Branislav Ivanovic or Cahill.

 

The Free Kick


Martin Demichelis (Manchester City) Yes, he was just sent off yesterday in City's marquee matchup with Barcelona, but remember, the resulting suspension does not prevent Demichelis from selection this weekend when the Sky Blues host Stoke City. Manuel Pellegrini has been rather faithful to him this season, and with the attack hitting a bit of a rough patch recently, a clean sheet may be the focus of the manager's attention. One could worry that his tackle which got him sent off would put him in the doghouse, but let's be fair, it was Lionel Messi he brought down, there aren't many defenders on the planet who can consistently stop him. Demichelis is the least owned and least expensive option, not only for City, but for just about any defender from a big club this week, priced below 10m.

 

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



 

Midfielder



The Standard


Adam Lallana (Southampton) Lallana is solid, and if you stand to lose a ton of cash in selling him, I can understand holding on, but I personally had to cut bait for this week as I see a very strong West Ham defense standing in the way, along with an attack missing their best striker, and a 0-0 result is looking quite possible. The theory is that he will be quiet in this one, which will spark a drop in price, then he can be bought again at a fair price, as the Saints have a nice blank free run of fixtures upcoming. 

 

The Free Kick

 

Raheem Sterling (Liverpool) Suarez. Sturridge. Gerrard. Coutinho......You are probably thinking, "You want me to get another Liverpool player?" Short answer" Yes. In case you haven't noticed, there are enough points to spread around at Anfield, and Sterling may be the best option of them all. He is part of the trident at the top of the attack along with Suarez and Sturridge, meaning you are getting somewhat of an out-of-position deal on Sterling with his midfield classification. His ownership is only a fraction of what the aforementioned Reds are as well, making him ideal for a difference maker in your XI. Use this week to prove once and for all that you cannot have too many Reds in Anfield games.

  


 

Forward


 

The Standard


Olivier Giroud (Arsenal) I have advised against Giroud in this spot before and he has proven me wrong, so I will not be surprised if he continues to punish me for it, but I cannot help myself here. Giroud has had a bit of an unwanted spike in popularity with some off-the-pitch activities the British press are known for uncovering, and since then the Frenchman was reduced to a substitute appearance in the FA Cup match with Liverpool, and left out of Arsene Wenger's plans entirely for the Gunners loss to Bayern Munich in Champion's League play. Arsenal don't really have a legit threat to his job at the striker position, but that did not stop Wenger from giving Yaya Sanogo an extended look in favor or Giroud. It is not likely for Giroud to stay benched for too long, but just the threat that this could continue on Saturday is enough to raise the red flag and avoid despite a decent matchup, home to Sunderland.

 

The Free Kick


Emmanuel Adebayor (Tottenham) At this stage of the season, one cannot afford to get it wrong at the forward position. You have to roll the dice on players in form, and if they are indeed in form, they are not going to be had for cheap. That being said, Adebayor is as hot as anyone at the forward position not playing for Liverpool, and his ownership remains low compared to the options who cost more, so in a way, he actually is a bargain for his price. I am going to ignore the fact that their opponent, Norwich City, were able to shut Manchester City down in their last home match, and focus more on how much better Spurs have been on the road than they have been at the Lane.

 



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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