Okay, okay, so maybe I shouldn’t have pumped Costa too emphatically. In my defense, the bold lettering on the one part was Keith’s idea. Costa was always an injury risk. Mourinho said that playing him too much was a bad idea, and he was played too much. My advice was to get Diego Costa, which didn’t turn out well for Week 8, but, remember, you didn’t have to follow it. I give you multiple options. Even if I build up one more than the other, it’s your choice which ones, if any, to follow. I am not a fantasy doctor. I just play one on TV.
Take my advice with a grain of salt. Multiple grains of salt, actually. Enough salt to supply a pretzel factory for long enough so that they could pay off their electricity bill which they couldn’t pay previously because they were spending too much money on salt.
What’s my advice on Costa right now? Keep him. “But wait, Daniel,” you say, shocked at my advice, “he’s listed as 50%!” Yes, but this is Mourinho, vs. Manchester United. He’s saying that he won’t play, but does anyone believe it? It’s mind games. This is what he does. Loic Remy, the backup for Costa, is injured, and Didier Drogba, the backup-backup, is almost old enough to legitimately be a grandfather. So the alternatives aren't great.
I think Costa will play, and even if he doesn’t, his schedule after that game is this: QPR at home, Liverpool away, West Brom at home, Sunderland at home, Spurs at home, Newcastle away, and Hull at home. Outside of Liverpool and Spurs (the latter of whom traditionally loses to Chelsea) that’s entirely from the weaker half of the standings. He should be able to score more in these. If he scores close to his rate at the beginning of the year (9 in 7–more than many teams), he will continue to be fantasy gold.
Considering that you only have one transfer and Costa will automatically be swapped with a bench player if he doesn’t start, I suggest keeping him on your team this week. That’s what I’m doing with the Dukes of Hazard (my team’s name–a play on both Eden Hazard and the TV show), just to show you that I’m not simply talking and actually believe the stuff I'm saying.
Without further ado, let’s see what the fake doctor of Fantasy EPL has prescribed today!
Obvious: Leighton Baines (Everton), £7.1. The Toffees haven’t had the best start to their season, but with the poor attacks of Burnley and Sunderland coming up (both road games, sandwiching a kind of tricky but not too tricky home game vs. Swansea), getting Baines, the second best defender in the game so far this year (Ivanovic is #1), with three assists in his last two games, would be far less than a bad move.
Bargain: Younes Kaboul (Tottenham), £5.0. I like good stretches of matchups. Tottenham’s defense has a great stretch coming up: Newcastle, Aston Villa, and then Stoke. None of those teams average more than a goal per game, so I expect the Spurs defense to get some fantasy points. At least one clean sheet is a good bet (clean sheets get goalkeepers and defenders 4 points). If I did goalkeepers I’d be talking about Hugo Lloris (good pick, by the way), but I don’t, so I’ll talk defenders: Eric Dier leads their defense in points, but it’s mostly from some goals in his first couple games. Those were anomalies. Never bet on anomalies. Ever. Kaboul has less 1 point games than Danny Rose, and is cheaper with more points this year than Jan Vertonghen, so I’m going with Kaboul.
Super-Bargain: Craig Dawson (West Brom), 4.6. I endorsed Andre Wisdom last week, and still think he’s a good idea, but I don't like reposts (avid Reddit user), so I’ll throw my support on his teammate, Craig Dawson. Why am I so high on the Baggies? Because their schedule consists of a home game vs. Crystal Palace (5th to last), an away trip to Leicester (6th to last), and another home match vs. Newcastle (3rd to last). I wouldn’t put too much stock into the team from the Midlands, given that they play Chelsea and Arsenal after that stretch, but considering the price, Dawson and Wisdom would fit nicely onto any fantasy roster.
Obvious: Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal), 10.3. I like Arsenal transfers right about now. They next play Sunderland, who just got smashed 8-0 by Southampton, and then they play Burnley (at home), who are second to last in the league. My kind-of-educated guess is that some Arsenal players will get serious points. Sanchez is Arsenal’s leader in fantasy points this year, with 38, and while he’s not the most consistent player (his totals for his full games in order of points: 13, 10, 6, 5, 2), I would not be shocked at all to see him get big numbers in one of these games.
Bargain: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal), 6.4. Is that too pricey for a bargain? Ah, whatever. The point is, with Arsenal’s schedule and injuries to Özil, Walcott, Giroud, and Sanogo, choosing the Ox would not be a bad decision, in my opinion. Anyways, I like the Gunners as fantasy picks, so choosing one for your weekly transfer would not be a bad idea. That’s the point.
Super-Bargain: Lee Cattermole (Sunderland), 4.6. The combative defensive midfielder won’t get you big points (he scored a goal early this year, but that was an anomaly–never bet on those) however he’s the only player in his price range that has played every single minute. Every single minute! That means that he’ll almost always be available for at least one or two points, and at that price is a great bench option. I’d go for a bigger fish (i.e. swap out a big player for a better big player) for most teams, but if your happy with your starting lineup, swapping that one weak link for a better bench option isn’t a bad move (neither is saving a transfer for next week, however).
Obvious: Sergio Aguero (Manchester City), 12.4. If you really want to get rid of Diego Costa, or you want to add a top forward with money from elsewhere, Kun Aguero is the man to get. Is this chasing last week’s points? No. While he did score 4 vs. Tottenham (by the way, don’t let that scare you away from Spurs, most teams can give up 4 to Man City), he’s been getting points before then. He scored 5 goals in his first 7, and he hasn’t gone consecutive games without scoring this year. By the way, I did mention Aguero last week. In passing, but still a mention. Your welcome for the great advice.
Bargain: Diafra Sakho (West Ham), 5.6. The Hammers striker has 1 goal in each of his four games, and while they play Manchester City (at home, so he can still get points against their not elite defense–that is, if he can get the ball), but the schedule after that (Stoke, Villa, Everton, Newcastle, West Brom) should provide him with a good bit of chances to score. A goalscorer under 6.0 (whose price will rise given that only 3.6% own him right now) is as valuable as a discount coat store in Antarctica.
Super-Bargain: Lukas Jutkiewicz (Burnley), 4.9. The 25-year-old has played more minutes than any other forward under 5.0, and is one of the only two players with more than 10 points this year in that price range (the other, Carlton Cole, got 11 of his 16 points from two games, while Jutkiewicz has been consistent–not a single game with less than 2 points). He hasn’t scored any goals, which means that if he does he could become more than a good bench player, which he is already. If you want to save up for good midfielders and defenders with a cheap bench forward, Jutkiewicz is the player for you.
Summary: Don’t give up on Costa, but if you do, get Aguero; look at Arsenal players, Tottenham defenders/goalkeeper, and Dawson or Wisdom of West Brom.
Master advice: With your transfer, get rid of your starting eleven’s weak link. If you have no weak link and only one transfer left, save the transfer for next week. If you have no weak link and only two transfers left, get a solid bench player, and save the other transfer. If you have lots of weak links, don’t be afraid to use the wildcard, but make sure you have a solid starting eleven and bench, but also include some players to get big points. Look at form, consistency, and their upcoming schedule.
So that’s it! Like Schwarzenegger, I’ll be back next week with more Fantasy EPL wisdom to dispense. Until then, get your MLS fix at Another MLS Blog, and my commentary on MLS & other things on Twitter @DH3soccer. By the way, my Schwarzenegger impression doesn't translate well to text format. Or any format, really...