Nik Argiropoulos

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AM's Week 29 Player Picks

Thursday, March 06, 2014


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KEEPERS
Petr Cech - The safest bet but the most expensive bet. Chelsea look solid defensively, especially at Stamford Bridge, and they should win the game. You can more-or-less guarantee a positive score for your keeper by spending the money on Cech, and I'm not sure you can say that about any other keeper this week.
John Ruddy - As my good pal Jeremy noted earlier in the week, Norwich are far better at home than they are away, and Stoke are not good travellers. Ruddy is in good form having kept four clean sheets in a row at Carrow Road, he represents value after shipping four against Villa and in my opinion is the next best option after Cech.
Maarten Stekelenburg - Fulham's goalkeeper? Away from home? Well, yes. As mentioned in my fixture analysis I think Magath will have his side well organised against Cardiff, and in a tight, low scoring game Stekelenburg can return positive points at a cost of just £3million. I trust him more than David Marshall, but that's purely a personal preference. If you can afford Cech or Ruddy then I'd go with them instead.


DEFENDERS
Branislav Ivanovic - Tottenham often look nervy at defensive set pieces so expect Chelsea to get opportunities to profit from this shakiness. Ivanovic is always a threat in the opposition's box and his price has dropped slightly after a disappointing return against Fulham, making him the most affordable Chelsea option.
Joel Ward - Not in his best fantasy form, but the top scoring defender in the Yahoo game cannot be ignored in a week of limited options. A Crystal Palace clean sheet is unlikely, but Southampton take a lot of shots and try plenty of intricate passes in-and-around the area, so blocks, tackles and pass interceptions are sure to come Ward's way.
Stephen Caulker - Another young defender having a terrific fantasy season despite Cardiff's struggles in the lower echelons of the table. Caulker is a goal threat (he should've scored with a header against Spurs, somehow hitting the crossbar from 2-yards out) and has also amassed the most blocks in the league.
Nemanja Vidic - As I write this column it has just been announced that Vidic will be joining Inter Milan in the summer, and you can be sure the defender will want to end his Old Trafford career on a high with some better performances. One can never expect a clean sheet from this Manchester United team but Vidic has been putting up decent fantasy numbers recently. However, if Phil Jones recovers in time then I would marginally prefer him due to price and the possibility he plays in midfield. It's handy we'll get the starting line-ups before the deadline.
Sascha Riether - An attacking full back guaranteed a start, playing a relegation rival and well-priced at around £7million. Don't expect a massive score from Riether, but he can fill a gap if you're following my lead and attempting to field eleven starters.
Fabio - See Riether above, with the caveat that Fabio looked to be nursing an injury as he was substituted against Spurs. We'll ensure the topic is covered in the team and injury news on Friday.
Joseph Yobo - The cheapest way to cover the possible Norwich clean sheet against Stoke. Signed on loan in the January, Yobo found it really tough going against Christian Benteke in Week 28 but Peter Crouch doesn't offer the same physical threat, and alongside Sebastian Bassong he could help keep the Potters out.
Jonas Olsson - I reckon Olsson could pop up with a goal against Manchester United, perhaps heading home an in-swinging Brunt corner. I base this prediction on nothing more than a hunch, but he's well priced below £7million and is currently in my team.
Scott Dann - As far as I can tell Dann is the cheapest defender available in the Yahoo game who is guaranteed a start this weekend. If you need a filler, he'll do.


MIDFIELDERS
Adam Lallana - The top scoring available midfielder in the Yahoo game produced a fine cameo and assist in England's win over Demark in midweek and he should be full of confidence for Southampton's trip to Selhurst Park. Lallana was unlucky not to add to his 7 league goals against Liverpool, hitting the post and having a shot well saved, and is due a big score after back-to-back sub-10-point performances.
Chris Brunt - West Brom's captain has been averaging ten points per game over the past ten weeks and faces a fragile Manchester United side. As mentioned earlier in this column I'm tipping a United win, but there will be chances for the Baggies and Brunt is usually behind his side's best attacking work.
Tom Ince - A quiet weekend for Ince led to his half-time substitution against Swansea in Week 28 but Tony Pulis will surely give the talented youngster another chance to impress at home to Southampton. His price has dropped below £8million and he'll be taking the majority of set pieces.
Willian - Sat on the bench as Andre Schurrle scored a hat-trick against Fulham, but expect to see the Brazilian back in the starting line-up against Spurs. Willian's skill combined with his work-rate means he can now be considered a member of Jose Mourinho's best starting XI, so with Oscar out of form and Eden Hazard listed as a forward, he's is my pick of the Chelsea midfielders.
Lewis Holtby - Jeremy nailed the reasons Holtby should be considered this week, so I'm simply going quote him: "I'm willing to chalk off his benching against Chelsea as a tactical move, and the player who replaced him in the starting line-up, Clint Dempsey, has returned to his parent club, MLS' Seattle Sounders. So I expect Holtby to start, and I expect that he'll be an attacking fulcrum and have set-piece duties."
Adnan Januzaj - As is always the case nowadays, Januzaj is the only Manchester United midfielder worth considering, provided he starts. Again, it's really useful that we'll get the line-up before the Yahoo deadline, because at a price of £8.85 million he could prove a bargain.
Craig Noone - I was pleased to see Noone absent for Cardiff's trip to White Hart Lane in Week 28, because he's currently their most dangerous player and has moved ahead of the likes of Jordon Mutch, Wilfried Zaha and Peter Whittingham in the pecking order. The player himself tweeted that he had a minor knock, but he should be back to face Fulham and is an alternative option for those looking to do something a bit different.
Jason Puncheon - The former Southampton midfielder will be looking to get one over on his old team this weekend, and is a constant threat cutting in from the flank and shooting for distance. However, one thing to note is that Puncheon has lost penalty duties to the returning Glenn Murray.
Nathan Redmond- With Robert Snodgrass listed as a forward, Redmond is by far the most productive Norwich midfield option. The winger scored the winning goal for England's Under-21s in midweek, will be feeling confident and should take the majority of set pieces for his side's home game against Stoke.
Christian Eriksen - An unreported back injury was frustrating for many fantasy managers last weekend but early reports suggest Eriksen will be fit for Tottenham’s crucial game at Stamford Bridge in Week 29. There are better option, but Eriksen was a big-game player during his time with Ajax and could rise to occasion, while adding the benefit of taking set piece duty away from Kyle Naughton.
Nemanja Matic - A cheap way to get in on the Chelsea action if you fancy a home win, the tough tackling and skillful midfielder isn't afraid to take a shot from distance and will pick up his fair share of defensive points.


STRIKERS
Eden Hazard - There is a big possibility that Hazard will be running at Kyle Naughton this weekend, and as a Spurs fan this fills me with dread. The wing-genius blows hot and cold in terms of fantasy points, but in a week of limited options he's at the top of the list and will be in my team despite a price-tag in excess of £20million.
Robin van Persie - Having been affected by injury for the first time since his Arsenal days, van Persie is having a quiet season and hasn't been at his devastating best (as shown by a really bad miss against Olympiakos). However, we all know the quality the Dutchman possesses and United should win at the Hawthorns, so he's my pick of the sub-20million strikers. It's a close one, but I narrowly prefer him to Wayne Rooney this weekend due to penalty duty.
Wayne Rooney - A record of six goals in his last five games against West Brom is enough to tempt any man, and Rooney did look a bit sharper against Crystal Palace back in Week 27. I'm still not convinced he's back to his best but with the lack of options available I wouldn't argue with anyone picking him for Week 29.
Jay Rodriguez - This spot almost went to Ricky Lambert, but something is nagging me that it could be a week for Rodriguez to get back on the score-sheet after four league games without a goal. As mentioned, this could be an entertaining game and there will be chances for attackers on both sides to prosper.
Glenn Murray - This will be a new name for many of our readers. In short, Murray (with Zaha’s assistance) is the reason Crystal Palace are in the Premier League. The striker scored 30 goals in their promotion season, but damaged cruciate ligaments in the play-offs and has only just returned to action. Murray should start alongside Marouane Chamakh and as noted earlier he is the club's designated penalty taker, netting the equaliser against Swansea from the spot.
Emmanuel Adebayor - Seven goals in his last six Premier League appearances away from home. Scored in three of his last four Premier League starts against Chelsea. If Tottenham are going to score, it will be Adebayor.
Robert Snodgrass - It's a shame Snodgrass is listed as a forward, because it will be difficult to fit him in to your two man attack (assuming you all own and will be benching Luis Suarez). The Scotsman has a very attractive fixture at home to Stoke and presents an alternative to the obvious premium choices of Hazard, van Persie and Rooney.
Victor Anichebe - If you want a West Brom striker against Manchester United's shaky defence then Anichibe is your man. With Nicolas Anelka suspended for the foreseeable future and Shane Long gone, it will be down to the Nigerian forward to score the goals which could keep the Baggies in the Premier League.


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

 

So those are the players I'm considering for Week 29. You may feel some of the names suggested above are stretching it a bit, but with a reduced fixture list I've done my best to present as many options as possible. Check back here on Friday for Neal's team and injury news post, which will cover all the fall-out from the midweek international matches.

 

My own team is still a work in progress, but I can confirm I'm very close to fielding XI starters having dropped Steven Gerrard and Daniel Sturridge. Adam Lallana is staying but I've changed ten players from the team I had in Week 28 - keep checking the comments section below and I'll post my latest team once I've spent a bit more time on it.


FRIDAY UPDATE: I'm currently on ...

 

Ruddy, Dann, J.Olsson, Vidic, Ince, Holtby, Willian, Brunt, Lallana, Hazard, van Persie (C)


I think it's a pretty good team all things considered. Potentially XI starters with non-playing Suarez, Bardsley, Bertrand and K.Davis on the bench.

 

What's your strategy for Week 29? Who gets the captaincy?



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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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