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Dublin: 2 °C Sunday 24 March, 2019
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Fantasy Football Friday: give Drogba the armband

There’s plenty points up for grabs as usual. Here’s how to claim them.

LAST FRIDAY, FOR the first time they gave you the best tips ahead of another Premier League weekend.

Yesterday they drew back the curtain to reveal the magic.

Today, Jeremy and Neal preview another busy schedule where there’s table-changing points on offer.

Schedule
The schedule this week presents a couple matches that really should be interesting to fantasy managers and a few that you shouldn’t be fooled by:

Real Value

  • ManU vs. Rovers – United just keep grinding out wins and points.  It ain’t pretty but it is effective.
  • Chelsea @ Newcastle – They didn’t put the ball in against Birmingham but their attack seemed back in form and with Krul not exactly being Foster and Colocinni and Williamson both missing due to suspension, I’d expect a bit more effectiveness this weekend from the Champions.
  • Bolton vs. Blackpool – Bolton are hot, playing at home, and facing opposition that is fading – seems pretty straight forward.

Don’t be Fooled

  • Sunderland @ Wolves – A large distance in the standings but Sunderland have some injuries and a strong tendency to play to the quality of their opposition.  I’m not saying Wolves will win but it won’t be a match-up you should double down on in fantasy.
  • Everton vs. West Brom – The popular perception of Everton is that they are consistently a top half team that should win fairly handily against newly promoted opponents at Goodison.  This year’s Everton squad haven’t lived up to that billing and have been leaky at the back in the most important moments.  Not a “stay away” match but, again, not one I’d load up on.

Forwards

  • Elmander – It’s hard to imagine a Bolton forward topping the list of fantasy options but it’s also hard to deny that it’s the right thing to do given his form, the match-up, and the home game.
  • Drogba – He looked great against Birmingham but Foster kept him out – Krul seems unlikely to be as lucky.
  • Rooney/Defoe/RvP/Gabby – Depending on how your league adjusts prices, any or all of these newly-returned-from-injury gentlemen may represent some solid value.  If you’re buying for just this week, I’d value them in the order listed.  If you’re buying long term then Rooney/RvP/Gabby/Defoe is the order of preference.
  • Odemwingie – @EVE doesn’t seem like a great match-up but they’ve been letting in goals and Odemwingie was strong last weekend even if there wasn’t an end product to prove it.
  • Piquionne – At home against Wigan seems as good a time as any to pick a WHU attacker.  Honestly, Piquionne has looked the better in recent weeks and he’s cheaper – if I didn’t just like the idea of a no-conscience gunner like Obinna, this recommendation would just be Piquionne.
  • Di Santo – Rodallega is out suspended leaving the Argentine as a solid value play against WHUs pretty poor defence.

Midfielders

  • Meireles – He was excellent in the absence of Gerrard last weekend and his price is still pretty reasonable.  The match-up is much tougher but Spurs aren’t exactly water-tight at the back so even if Spurs win, there’s a good chance that there will be points there.
  • Nani – It didn’t show up on the score sheet but he was extremely active last weekend and the match-up is even better this weekend.
  • VDV – Even if he lost his streak of scoring at home, he’s still been amazing at the Lane which, as it turns out, is where he’ll be playing this weekend.
  • Wilshere – If you’re looking for an inexpensive midfielder who might return some points while (not so) Fab4 (recently) is on the shelf, then Jack is your man – if you want a more expensive but surer thing then go with Nasri.
  • N’Zogbia – He is Wigan’s best attacking option against WHU which seems like a good thing to be.
  • Holden – Lee got the points (as predicted) last weekend but Holden should be the guy in Bolton’s midfield again this weekend.

Defenders

  • Coleman – He hasn’t been exceptional but he’s been pretty solid, he’s a defender playing in midfield (see The Rules), and he’s playing at home all of which are good things for someone who shouldn’t be TOO expensive.
  • Hutton – One of the few defenders who is reasonably priced, playing for a top side, and at home.  The only concern is Spurs lack of clean sheets.
  • Kolarov – He pushes forward a lot and the assists should start coming.
  • Rafael – Depending on how much he costs in your league, he could be strong value as a recently promoted starter playing at home for a big team against mediocre opposition.  The only downside is that there’s always some chance of rotation.
  • Vidic – Hard to see ManYoo giving up a goal to Rovers which makes Vidic the pick of the premium priced defenders in my book.

Goalkeepers

  • Jussi – Best combination of price, match-up and team form.
  • Green – The price is right and the match-up is good by WHU standards – the only question is whether you can survive the weekend worrying about the possibility that the bottom could always fall out for the Hammers
  • Fabianski – With Cech/Hart/EvdS too expensive for me this weekend and Gomes having kept all of one clean sheet, Fabianski is an interesting play at about 7.5 and playing on the road where Arsenal have been very good this season in the league.  Not a pick that fills me with confidence but the numbers certainly push you in that direction.
  • EvdS – Depending on how your league does its pricing, he’s the most solid bet to get a clean sheet.

Captains

  • Drogba – You just sort of felt the return to the score sheet coming last weekend and this weekend seems like the time it will happen.
  • Elmander – If you don’t believe Drogba is ready – or he’s too expensive for your budget – then Elmander is the next best bet to score big.
  • VDV – His record at WHL is too good to ignore when it comes to picking a captain to double down on.

So, for a second week in a row, there you have it.  Please note that with the Thanksgiving holiday upon us here in the States, this column was written before the Champions League matches on Wednesday (Spurs and Man United) and the Europa Cup matches on Thursday.  Please be sure to check back for injury news following those matches.

If you’d like to check in with us, please do so at http://fantasyepl.blogspot.com.

Finally, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, we would like to thank the team at The Score for featuring our work and to you, the readers, for taking time out of your busy days to read what we write.

Whether you are reading in a place that celebrates Thanksgiving or not, we hope you take this occasion to give thanks to whomever you give thanks to that you have the time and luxury to spend time reading about trivial things like fantasy sports and all of the other blessings you have in your lives.

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About the author:

Neal Thurman and Jeremy Spitzberg

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