Dublin: 1°C Monday 17 January 2022

Fantasy Football: there's not too many Christmas gifts ahead of a busy football schedule

The two wise men arrive just in time to give their advice.

IT’S BEEN A week all the way around for fans of the Premier League (unless you pull for Everton or Sunderland).

Between the postponements and the poor quality of the matches that were played last weekend it felt like we had an international weekend on our hands.  It meant we got to read more about the ever-tedious Tevez drama that appears to be much sound and fury signifying nothing.

The global financial crisis has robbed us of the usual insanity related to transfer rumors.  Usually we can count on at least one or two mid-table clubs with excessive money to spend and a wishlist of players who have no interest in playing for them.

In years past we could also generally count on ManYoo and Liverpool along with Chelsea and Spurs to have shopping lists that would keep us knee-deep in interesting rumors on days without matches.

This year, ManYoo and Liverpool seem to have next to no money to spend while Chelsea seem to have scaled way back on the crazy spending and Spurs seem to have one or two modest targets but not too much to write home about.

Heck, there aren’t even international matches to keep us vaguely interested while we’re waiting.  After all that, we STILL have to wait until Sunday for the matches.  It’s been tough but we’re close to making it through.  It will be a merry day-after-Christmas once the matches start up again on St Stephen’s Day.


Where we make the distinction between the matches that will yield real value for fantasy managers and the ones that just LOOK like they’ll yield value.

Real Value

  • Fulham vs Wesy Ham – Fulham aren’t that great but West Ham are just dire, especially on the road.
  • Wolves vs Wigan – See above

Don’t Be Fooled

  • ManYoo vs Sunderland – I’m not saying that ManYoo will lose but what I do know is that Sunderland play up to the level of their competition.
  • Citeh @ NUFC – Because you just can’t predict what Newcastle will do from week-to-week with enough fidelity to go too heavily against them at home.


  • Doyle/SEB – Ebanks-Blake is in better form but Doyle is the better player.  I certainly wouldn’t go with two Wolves forwards but one isn’t a bad low-cost part of your fantasy portfolio this weekend.
  • Agbonlahor – I’m a much bigger fan of midfielders this weekend so he’s another excellent low-cost, high upside option.
  • Rooney – Pretty crazy that you can even get him for less than Odemwingie this weekend.  In a week that doesn’t offer much of interest in terms of forwards, I’d put him highest on the list of expensive options.


  • Milijas – I know our regular readers who are Wolves fans aren’t nearly as excited about Milijas as we are – textbook fantasy player.  That said, he’s at home with a good match-up so this is a solid time to pick him up.
  • Rodwell – Another cheap option that will help you get to more premium players in your line-up.
  • Nani – He’s been exceptional since the third weekend of the season and I’d look for it to continue – even at his current price.
  • Dempsey – Deuce is expensive, especially given his production this season, but he’ll be playing at home, as a forward, against the bottom team in the league.  If you’re ever going to splurge on him, this is the weekend to do it.
  • Cahill – I really don’t like recommending Cahill because his value is so tied up in him scoring but with the match-up being solid and him playing at home, I like him more this weekend than most.


  • Salcido – He hasn’t been everything we’d hoped he’d be (we were hoping for Bale-light) but he’s been among the best scoring defenders this season and his price is reasonable and his match-up is great.
  • Salgado -Rovers have been playing tight defense (a disappointing equalizer last weekend aside) and Salgado is the cheapest way in.
  • Coleman – His value is generally coming from his attacking statistics but he has a reasonable chance at points from both attacking and defending this weekend.
  • Kompany - His price has dipped and he represents solid value even though I don’t love him or Citeh this weekend.


  • Hennessey – Another really interesting value play from Wolves.  One word of caution, they’re still the 19th team in the table so I’d refrain from going overboard.
  • Hart – His price may have fallen on the heels of the loss to Everton, if so, he’s nice value for the upcoming weekend where the match-up is OK.
  • Howard – Yeah, I know I’ve been killing him both in my posts and on chats but both he and Everton have done what I asked and played well for a couple of weeks in a row including a big match against Citeh.  Hard not to like the idea of getting on board with a home match against a poor road team.

Top Captain Choices

  • Nani – He’s been the most consistently excellent player for fantasy managers for the last three months or so and in the absence of a compelling alternative, he’s probably your best choice.
  • Dempsey – Great match-up at home against the worst team in the league.  Hard to argue with this one.
  • Cahill – Everton is playing better and he’s their best bet to score with their strikers being nothing short of abysmal this season.

I have to say, I’m not particularly thrilled about the match-ups this weekend.  When you’re making predictions there are some weekends you feel great about the team and/or recommendations you come up with and there are weekends that you don’t get too many strong feelings at all.  This is the latter.

That said, we all still have to come up with the best selections we can and that’s what I’ve tried to bring you.  So, I wish all of our readers a fantastic Christmas (or, if you don’t celebrate it, I hope you have a great weekend) and the gift of strong convictions in your picks this weekend.

Oh yeah, please wish me a great Monday with Arsenal playing Chelsea.

Neal Thurman and Jeremy Spitzberg  write what they believe to be the oldest-runningblog focused on English Premier League. They also believe they were the first two people ever paid real money to blog exclusively about the same.

They may be entirely wrong on both counts but that doesn’t stop them from writing or telling people that they were first.

About the author:

Neal Thurman and Jeremy Spitzberg

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