Jeremy Spitzberg

Weekly Picks

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Player Picks - Game Week 33

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Having already given you an early look at my week 33 picks, let's now expand our view a bit and look at the pool of players under consideration.

First, let's take a look at the schedule:

Sat, Apr 5

Aston Villa v Fulham
Cardiff City v Crystal Palace
Hull City v Swansea City
Manchester City v Southampton
Norwich City v West Bromwich
Newcastle v Manchester United
Chelsea v Stoke City

Sun, Apr 6

West Ham United v Liverpool
Everton v Arsenal

Mon, Apr 7

Tottenham Hotspur v Sunderland

Of those matchups, Aston Villa, Norwich City, Manchester United, Liverpool, and Tottenham have the most appeal. They're each at home to struggling opposition, save for Liverpool, and the Reds don't seem to mind who or where they play these days.

From those teams, and a few others of course, which players appeal for fantasy this weekend?


Aside from Luis Suarez (who is in these columns by default at this point), the hottest strikers in the Premier League are Jay Rodriguez and Peter Odemwingie. So there you go. An easy, in-form, front three. Well, not so fast.

Unfortunately, JRod is at Manchester City and Peter Snow travels to Chelsea. Two of the worst fixtures the calendar will throw up. So if you can't go with the obvious, who's next?

Wayne Rooney - In great form against the lesser teams in the league, and Newcastle suit that description on form, if not position. Quoting myself, "without Van Persie... Rooney can play as an out-and-out striker [and] also takes penalty kicks and set pieces, further increasing his value." Go read the whole thing. It's very insightful. The one worry is that with the League out of reach, and the Champions League still in play, Moyes puts out a shadow side against Newcastle. I hope we know more on Friday. If you're unwilling to risk it, and I can't really imagine Rooney missing this match, or if you don't have the money available, Juan Mata is your man. He's ineligible for the Champions League, so he's sure to start this weekend, and likely in his favoured number 10 role.

Robert Snodgrass - Yes, I'm backing Norwich. They are pants on the road, but somehow decent at home. Snodgrass, who should be listed as a midfielder, has scored two goals and assisted another in the three matches before losing to Swansea. Now they host West Brom, who just shipped three goals to Cardiff City. On set pieces, Snodgrass is a good bet to return points against this weekend. If you are looking for a cheaper option, Ricky Van Wolfswinkel has at least found a pulse in the last few weeks, if not any goals yet.

Christian Benteke - If Southampton and Stoke City have the worst matchups this week, Aston Villa have perhaps the best, hosting Fulham. Benteke hasn't shone consistently this season, but if not now, when?

Emmanuel Adebayor - No team is playing worse than Sunderland right now, as the Black Cats are without a win in six and seem to be suffering from a post-Carling Cup final hangover. They travel to Spurs this week and that brings Adebayor into our thinking. While Roberto Soldado is a major doubt for the match, K2 should be fit. When he's on, he's a very good player, and a very good fantasy option. And Spurs don't have many other options at the moment.


Jordan Mutch - Three goals and two assists in his last four matches. Cardiff look doomed, but Mutch is starting to show some real quality and putting together a string of fantasy performances, where earlier in the season there were just flashes. He's priced a little high for my tastes, but if you have the money to spare, he's a good option facing Crystal Palace this weekend. Despite their big win against Chelsea, Palace have fared poorly on the road recently.

Christian Eriksen - Probably the best bet from the Spurs side facing Sunderland. On kicks, and while nominally playing on the left, he drifts infield all the time to combine with the striker. Exspensive, but worth it this weekend.

Fabian Delph - Delph is probably too exspensive for what he's worth. Same with Ashley Westwood if you look across the Aston Villa midfield. But Delph especially has upped his game, with a goal and an assist in his last three matches. Westwood is on kicks, but Delph is getting the phantom points. Both can come into your thinking with Fulham the visitors this week.

Lewis Holtby - Speaking of Fulham and on kicks and phantom points, Holtby returned 18 fantasy points last week, mostly from an incredible eleven tackles won! Now there's a player that Felix Magath can get behind! A solid bet any week, Holtby could shine as Fulham chase points at Villa. Ashkan Dejagah is another one playing well for Fulham. He's a bit more hit and miss, but has put up some big fantasy days recently.

Graham Dorrans - Quoting myself again, "Dorrans has been the beneficiary of Chris Brunt's injury and has returned value for the last three weeks. Now [West Brom] travel to Norwich, who are difficult to beat (or even score against) at Carrow Road. Like Michu, for the price, Dorrans is still worth it. At retail, there may be better options."

Shinji Kagawa - If you believe the hype, Kagawa is finally coming into his own for United. Like Rooney, the Champions League match casts a shadow over the weekend, but if you feel like guessing Moyes' intentions, Kagawa could be a productive fantasy asset in your midfield.

Michu - We're still waiting for last year's Michu to return. But if we can hope for Benteke's form to turn back the clock, why not Michu as well? On the road at Hull City isn't the greatest matchup, but Hull haven't been rock-solid at home recently, and if Michu is playing off the main striker, that's a fantasy win waiting to happen. Jonathan De Guzman is the more in-form option in Swansea's midfield. However, he's priced too high for me to find any value in picking him. Your mileage may vary.


Joseph Yobo - Yobo missed last week through injury, but is expected back for Norwich. He's been a quiet fantasy stud since coming in January, not returning less than five points in any match. There's a bit of a question over who will play center back for Norwich with both Yobo and Michael Turner returning from injury, but my be is Yobo gets the nod. If you want a more nailed-on starter, Russell Martin is the right back. He's not as consistent as Yobo, but does have some upside.

Scott Dann - Another January signing who has quietly done the business, Dann has put together three solid weeks, including the surprise clean sheet against Chelsea. At Cardiff City, I would expect Dann to get fantasy points, even if they don't keep a clean sheet. Which they could.

Johnny Heitinga - Trend warning! Another January signing who has... blah, blah, blah.

Marcos Alonso - This is getting silly! Another January... forget it! Alonso is different from the above as he's a more traditional attacking full back that we love for fantasy. This year's game rewards the center back types, but it's fun to have an old-fashioned player like Alonso to root for.

Phil Jones - Jones could play at full back again as Rafael is injured. Either way, he's likely one of the first names on Moyes' team sheet. United look a good bet against Newcastle, who can't score without Loic Remy. Nemanja Vidic is the least in-form player according to the Yahoo! game, but could be a real value buy against the Magpies. Patrice Evra is more exspensive than either player, but if he's going to be picked over Alex Buttner (and the question is will he?) then he offers an attacking threat as well as the chance at a clean sheet.

Kyle Naughton - Another attacking fullback on the list. Yay! Naughton hasn't been outstanding for Spurs in Kyle Walker's absence, but he's done enough to make the converstation this week, facing Sunderland. Younes Kaboul had a nightmare against Liverpool, but he's super cheap now because of it. Kaboul and Vidic would make a nice pairing at the back for fantasy managers looking to spend big further up the pitch.

John Terry - Speaking of center backs having nightmare weeks. That's a goal and an assist for Terry - each against his own side - this week. The last time a Chelsea defender was priced at 11, I grabbed Ivanovic for a good two month run. Terry could offer that kind of value now.


Speed round: If you don't have a keeper like Joe Hart for the long-term, choose either John Ruddy or Hugo Lloris this week. If you are seriously strapped for cash, Brad Guzan and David Marshall have good home matchups at half the already low-prices of Ruddy and Lloris. Done.

Jeremy Spitzberg writes about fantasy soccer (football) and is a Rotoworld contributor. You can find him on Twitter @JSpitzberg.
Email :Jeremy Spitzberg

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