Nik Argiropoulos

Weekly Picks

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AM's Week 29 Player Picks

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Firstly, apologies that the 3rd round results for the Rotoworld PL Cup (from Week 28) are yet to be posted up. There were still some small fluctuations in the point allocations on Monday so rather than risk having to re-do the calculations I've decided to let things settle. Keep checking back as they should be up over the weekend or early next week.


Check out Steve's Free Kick | Jeremy's First XI


Week 28 was another tough one for AM FC, so I'm slighly concerned that I could be heading out of the Cup at the third hurdle. Luis Suarez was once again the saviour, bringing in almost half my team's total as I finished on 109 points. Zeros from Daniel Sturridge, Christian Eriksen and Ross Barkley were big disappointments, with another zero from the only active player on my bench, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. I did jump 100 spots in the overall standings, up to 1400th, so perhaps that total will be just about enough to sneak through to the fourth round.


Now as we've mentioned numerous times over the past 10 days, Week 29 is heavily reduced due to the FA Cup Sixth Round this weekend. It is a blank week for recent Capital One Cup winners Manchester City (again), runners-up Sunderland (again), Liverpool, Arsenal, Everton, Newcastle, Swansea, Aston Villa, Hull and West Ham. This means we have just five matches to focus on.


Many of us are going to be holding a bunch of players at large discounts, knowing these players are not going to feature this weekend. You have the option to keep hold of these discounts by moving them to the bench, preparing yourself to take a hit this week by buying a less expensive starting XI - while perhaps taking a zero or two - hoping to make up the difference when the likes of Liverpool and Arsenal have a double-week later in the season.


You also have the alternative option of dumping your discounts to free up a load of cash to allow you to target as many points as possible in Week 29, before attempting to shoehorn these dumped players back in to your team at inflated prices when the double-week rolls around.


The second option presented above is the riskier, but it is the option I'm taking. Aside from placing Luis Suarez (owned at £19million) on the bench, I'm going to be selling Daniel Sturridge, Steven Gerrard and one of my cheap defenders in an attempt to go for maximum points this week. I have never finished outside the overall Top 500 in my 10 season of playing Yahoo Fantasy Premier League, so this is a roll of the dice in an effort to make up some ground on those above. It could quite easily backfire but it's a risk I'm willing to take. The way you approach the week will depend on your situation and Galin has written an excellent column analysing the dilemma in detail.

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Week 29 Fixtures
Cardiff v Fulham
Chelsea v Tottenham
Crystal Palace v Southampton
Norwich v Stoke
West Brom v Manchester United

Not a great selection to be honest. Cardiff v Fulham brings the team occupying 19th position in the Premier League up against with the team occupying 20th, with neither side showing any sign of getting out of their current predicament. If you wanted to back one team in particular my gut tells me it should be Fulham, despite the fact they play away from home. Felix Magath has a proven pedigree of organising struggling teams quickly and getting them out of difficult situations, whereas Ole Gunnar Solksjaer still has the air of a novice about him. I think Fulham will be better prepared and could well sneak the points, but at the same time a low scoring draw wouldn't surprise me.


Chelsea's match-up with Tottenham is by far and away the most interesting fixture of the reduced weekend schedule, as the side currently top of the Premier League hosts the team chasing the final Champions League place. It also matches the team with the best home record against the team with the joint best away record. An often heated London derby, it should be entertaining but the edge has to go to Chelsea in front of their own fans, with their attacking players of particular interest. However, Spurs know they have a six point gap to make up on Liverpool and they really need to go for the win, so it could be an open game.

Remaining in London, Crystal Palace host Southampton in a match that is very difficult to call either way. The Eagles' improvement under Tony Pulis has been astonishing and they will be motivated to continue moving ever closer to securing another season in the Premier League. Southampton will be hurting after Liverpool schooled them in Week 28, and they have the greater attacking quality, but they don't really have much to play for, with a place in the top 10 more-or-less guaranteed and no chance of making the European spots. Based on that it feels like another draw to me, with 2-2 the scoreline going down on my predictions.


Norwich were flying high after beating Tottenham in Week 27 but they were brought crashing back to earth by Aston Villa last Saturday, getting a 4-1 hammering despite taking an early lead. Stoke visit Carrow Road hot on the heels of a fine home win over Arsenal, but Mark Hughes' men are not the same side on the road as they are at the Britannia, losing nine of their last 12 away league games. With Charlie Adam suspended I'm leaning towards a narrow Norwich win.


Finally we get to West Brom against Manchester United. The first thing to note here is that it's the early Saturday kick-off, which means we'll get the starting line-ups before the Yahoo deadline. I'll ensure these line-ups are tweeted out, so follow me on Twitter if you'll be needing this information.

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


As for the match itself, David Moyes remains under huge pressure following United's awful Champions League performance at Olympiakos last week, but they showed signs of improvement against Crystal Palace in the league in Week 27, and they are capable of putting in a similar display to win this one. It's impossible to get excited about the creaking defence, but the likes of Adnan Januzaj, Juan Mata, Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie should be on your radar against a West Brom side struggling just outside the relegation zone. For the home side, an midfielder or attacker could be of interest with a clean sheet for either side extremely unlikely, but it's an away win for me.


With that in mind, click over to the next page to view the Week 29 player recommendations.

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Nik Argiropoulos is a London-based soccer writer for Rotoworld and co-founder of Never Manage Alone. You can find him on Twitter @nikarg.
Email :Nik Argiropoulos

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