Good day, readers! After that midweek slate of games, I have given myself an extra day to process everything, and thus am posting on Friday, to equip all of you with the fantasy knowledge to ace the quick turnaround.

Injuries!


First of all, Newcastle’s Tim Krul has missed the last two games, and he will continue to be out until Boxing Day (the day after Christmas for those out of the loop). The Dutchman is the most-owned goalkeeper for a reason, keeping 4 clean sheets in the last 5 games he played. But now it’s time to look elsewhere for a cheap option in net.

Here’s an even bigger player: Angel Di Maria. The Manchester United midfielder had 3 goals and 6 assists in his first 10 games, but he missed their last clash against Stoke. He’s listed at 25%, and leads the league in transfers out this week, so I wouldn’t be against dumping the pricey Argentine. If you don’t have him, but want him, the perfect time to get him is when he’s recovered. His price will go down in the frenzy to drop him, and the rise again when he comes back. This means you can buy low and either sell high, or simply reap the rewards of his points.

Di Maria’s teammate Wayne Rooney is also questionable vs. Southampton, but this time at better odds: 75%. The English forward isn’t in the running for Player of the Year, but a steady 5 goals in 10 games is nothing to sneeze at.

Rooney’s countryman Gary Cahill is also listed at 75%, as the centerback came off at half-time against Tottenham on Wednesday. If he doesn’t start, Chelsea might start Kurt Zouma in that position. Why do I bring up Zouma, you ask? Because his middle name is happy. You can’t make this stuff up!

Manchester City has a good chance to roll, here’s how to profit:


Calculating the values of teams’ schedules by their next 4 or 5 games, using the league positions of their opponents, City objectively has the easiest schedule. Their opponents: a struggling Everton, Leicester, Crystal Palace, West Brom, and Burnley. The latter 4 teams are all among the league’s bottom 6, within a point of the relegation zone. Manchester City is coming off of 3 straight wins, the last 2 by 3 goal-margins. They will probably torch these other teams. How can you, dear readers, use this to your advantage?

The obvious answer is Sergio Aguero. He leads the league in goals, with 14, but he also leads the league in price. I would say that Diego Costa is a better option when considering price (Aguero is at £12.9 while Costa is at £11.0) and consistency (Aguero has scored in 64% of his games, Costa has scored in 73% of his), but the Citizens’ schedule makes the Argentine a very mouth-watering choice. And another note: while you can certainly argue that Costa is an injury risk, calling Aguero a injury-averse is like calling a summit of Everest a morning jog. Both are risks, and I advocate quickly jumping ship for the other as a valid option.

What of Yaya Toure? In case you don’t recall, the narrative on him is that he’s having a terrible year. Oh, and that birthday cake nonsense. But he has a goal or assist in 3 of his last 4 games, and I expect him to get similar numbers in these next 5. At his best, he’s one of the top players in the league, and we might see him return to that, here. It’s a hefty bet at £10.7, but you can do much worse.

Here’s a nifty wild card: Gael Clichy. The Frenchman is on only 6.5% of teams, but is City’s best defender on yearly points with 47. And he’s a relative bargain at £5.4. I’m adding him to my team, if that means anything.

Can Tottenham resurrect their Champions League aspirations–and get vital points along the way?


Based on the same metrics that places City as having the easiest schedule coming up, Tottenham is the second-easiest, at least when considering the next 4 games. They play a Crystal Palace team a point out of the relegation zone, and while the away trip to Swansea looks daunting, the fixtures after that are against Burnley and Leicester, two of the bottom three in the league. Usually, Tottenham should win all 4 of these, but they’ve been a bit shaky, having a goal difference of -3 over the year so far, and they sit just barely in the top half of the table, in 10th.

Mauricio Pochettino is a good manager. He knows what he’s doing. And they have good players. They should be able to pick out some serious points in the next few weeks (points for both their team and fantasy owners), but it’s a bit of a risk, as they could also flounder. If you make the bet on the North London side, here are the players to look at:

Their top points-getter has been Christian Eriksen, as expected. The Dane is priced at £8.0, which isn’t too bad given his ability and the opposition he’ll be facing. The attacking midfielder has 5 goals and 1 assist this year, which is okay, but not spectacular. Getting an attacking midfielder who only has 1 assist after 14 games feels a bit, I don’t know, wrong to me, but he’s a good pick if you believe in the Lilywhites getting points.

The second highest in points this season has been Nacer Chadli, who is a fair bit cheaper than his midfield partner at £6.6. He’s coming off a bit of an injury, but he should be fine. The Belgium seems like a quality pickup at that price, but if you can do better, I would advise to do so.

Coming in third in the points column is Hugo Lloris, the French goalkeeper. Overall he’s 7th among all goalkeepers, which isn’t too bad, but at £5.6 he’s a bit pricier than some of the players above him at his position (Forster, Fabianski, De Gea, and Guzan). Again, he’ll be good if Spurs can concede few goals, which seems like a certainty vs. Burnley and Leicester, and fairly close to the realm of possibility as well against Palace and Swansea.

An intriguing bargain is the 21-year-old forward, Harry Kane. He’s started the last 4 games, and played for a half-hour the one prior. In that time, he’s scored 2 goals and gotten an assist, a respectable number indeed. He could either make a major impact in the coming games…or return to the bench if Emmanuel Adebayor makes a return from his back injury. Kane’s value is a mere £5.0, which is good enough for a bench forward, but do you really want to spend a transfer on someone who won’t be starting?

My team!


Okay, let’s look at the Dukes of Hazard for this weekend:




Fantasy Premier League Soccer


I’m going with the classic, British 4-4-2 this week. Good, right? Costa and Sanchez I expect to get lots of points from, which is why I’ve given the former the armband and the latter the alternate captaincy. As you can see, Fonte is my first-choice substitute. I’ve expressed my love for the Southampton defense, but I’ve also expressed hesitation over their tricky schedule, which they are soon to get a break from, facing three teams outside of the top 10 before hosting the league leaders, Chelsea. But this is after their contest with Manchester United, which I am only trusting one of my defenders with (Bertrand).

As you can see, I played the upside move and went for little Bojan. He’s getting minutes, so he’s pretty good at that price, even if he doesn’t snap into the Messi-like player he was originally intended to be.

Well, that’s it for now. You can wait for my next FPL column right here on We Talk Fantasy Sports, but in the mean time I implore you to get MLS Cup and MLS Expansion Draft coverage on Another MLS Blog, or follow me on Twitter @DH3soccer. Either way, enjoy the weekend!