Ba, ba, ba...ba, ba, ba (to the tune, er Toon, of the SportsCenter theme) (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)
OK, you've already gotten one big rant out of me today so I'm going to go without for this part of the column and get straight to the picks:
- Aguero - His price isn't so unreasonable that you'd ignore him due to his match-up at Manchester United and his leg seemed sufficiently healed to get the winner in mid-week (while also not starting so he won't have to be rested to assure his continued health).
- Sturridge - He just keeps scoring goals and, like Aguero, the price isn't THAT high yet. We don't start off with two away players too often but this week, that's the choice.
- Suarez - He probably should have scored against United last weekend and didn't but the important thing was that even in a week where he didn't score and played tough opposition, he yielded solid phantom points. This week the match-up is a lot easier which should make him more valuable.
- Ba - The price is probably a little too high for my tastes but given the match-up and his recent form you have to at least mention him in any discussion of the players most likely to get you some serious points this weekend.
- Mata - I've generally shied away from picking him due to his modest returns but if you need someone under 10, this might be a weekend where Chelsea score enough to make even the secondary fantasy options fairly profitable.
- K2 - The graph isn't promising but it is typical, he started off with two great weeks and has had declining productivity with each passing week. Is @Rovers enough to rekindle his production? His price is low enough that he's a solid risk assuming his bill of health comes back clean.
- Ngog/Klasnic - If you need someone cheap...
- Silva - Until further notice (or his price goes way up)
- Gerrard - A bummer that his price went so high but he'll be looking to have a dominant performance on the back of a mediocre one boosted by a bit of a freak goal. Home to Norwich could be just the platform for a goal and a raft of phantom points.
- Cabaye - A disappointing outing from the otherwise strong midfielder but the upside for fantasy managers is that his price has dropped back close to the "enabler" level. For me the pick of the NUFC midfielders for this weekend.
- Modric - VDV has been more productive but you'll pay through the nose to get him this weekend and with K2 healthy he might end up shifted back to the right where he's been less productive (still productive but not his best position). The value in Spurs midfield comes from Modric who has been strong vs. his price this season.
- Ramires - I'm getting more and more committed to his bandwagon with each time I see him play this year. The only question is his health going into the weekend so a tentative recommendation with a "wait-and-see" attached.
- Bannan - A bit of a reach and definitely a question mark to start but if it looks like he might start in a less aggressive formation than the one McLeish trotted out against City then he's a great value as an enabler.
- Arsenal Fullbacks - For what it's worth, PhysioRoom.com is reporting Gibbs as "doubtful" for this weekend but doesn't list Jenkinson as a doubt which would make Santos/Jenkinson the likely pairing against Stoke. That's some solid potential potential value from the back if we can get some confirmation.
- Enrique - I'm not completely sold on the Liverpool clean sheet against Norwich but Enrique has potential for points from both halves which makes him attractive despite his price.
- Simpson - If you're looking for the value pick from a probable clean sheet then Simpson at 7.94 is your man. He is scoring almost equal to Coloccini who is priced significantly higher.
- Bosingwa - If you think that Chelsea will finally get their second CS of the season then he's a solid investment at 8.47 but let's just say I have my doubts. Everton was offensively challenged at the Bridge last weekend and they still couldn't pull it off and that was at home. Still, merits a mention because he gets OK points attacking and could get a clean sheet to boot based on QPR's futility at home.
- Boyata - Still a solid enabler who, for the low-low price of 3.77, has a good match-up at home this weekend.
- Stearman - If you believe Wolves still have it in them then home to Swansea is a solid chance for a clean sheet and some solid points. Stearman is the most economical way to get in on that opportunity. Not a strong recommendation but if you're looking a little bit outside the box, it's an option.
- Krul - His price is creeping up slightly but at 6.23 he's a bargain if you're shopping for one week.
- Szczesny - Still makes your heart stop a bit every time you think about picking him as you flash back to United putting goal after goal past him but Stoke aren't exactly United are they?
- Schwarzer - At home against mid-table competition is Fulham's (and Schwarzer's) wheelhouse. Not a bad option if you have the money to spend. Certainly preferable to the expenditures on guys like DDG (match-up), Hart (match-up + price), or Cech (price + lack of CSs).