Belts, pants buttons and zippers were the big casualties here in the US yesterday as we all stuffed our faces silly. Apparently dignity was also greatly at risk as retail stores decided that it was a good idea to crush the idea of family time together even further by opening their doors on Thanksgiving for the beginning of the Christmas sales. I heard someone describe these "doorbuster" sales as having become something of a sport for a segment of the population. If ever I felt at all self-consciousness about enjoying and spending a bunch of time writing about fake (fantasy) sports, the news stories about yesterday's shopping activities made me feel much better about my choices in life. I may have spent a little of my holiday writing The Week Ahead yesterday and occasionally checked my mobile device to see how my fantasy (NFL) football teams were doing but at no point did I desert my family and venture out into the cold to wait in line for hours to save an extra few percent on Christmas gifts that we probably didn't really need anyway. I vaguely remember waiting in such lines for concert tickets when I was in high school (before the internet and secondary markets made this a big waste of time) but I can't imagine how people justify the time spent to themselves.
Turning from my social commentary on people who have injured their pride to Premier League footballers who have sustained actual injuries (or suspensions), here's all the news that's fit to impact your fantasy team (and the source material if you want more info and less analysis):
Walcott Out: There are other injuries at Arsenal as there always are but this is the big one. TW14 has been in great form but he won't recover in time for the trip to Villa Park. It seems likely that The Ox will get the start and be a strong potential value play but remember that Gervinho made it back to the bench in mid-week and could get the start ahead of Mr. Oxlade-Chamberlain. You'd have to feel pretty solid about who will get the start to invest here. I'd go Giroud, Podolski, Cazorla, and then Wilshere if you're looking for value in Arsenal's attack.
Fellaini Suspended: As was discussed in great detail during the chat last weekend, Marouane Fellaini will be suspended for this weekend's match for accumulation of yellow cards. This will lead to lots of consternation for managers (like me) who have him at a big discount. I honestly haven't decided what to do with him yet but I'm certainly leaning towards selling him and replacing him with Der Hammer (Thomas Hitzlsperger) for this weekend.
Newcastle Injury-riddled: We already knew that Fabricio Coloccini was going to be suspended this weekend as he completes his ban. During the week we heard about the injury to Yohan Cabaye that will keep him out for a while. On the heels of that comes news that Hatem Ben Arfa is definitely out as well and Papiss Cisse is also a doubt. That certainly doesn't make one feel good about the Magpies putting up a lot of points on the road. Southampton aren't exactly the cream of the league but with Demba Ba the only established threat the injuries have to devalue all Newcastle attackers (to the point I'd not select any) and increases the value of Saints defenders (I'd consider Nathaniel Clyne if you have a slot and the appropriate amount of money).
Fulham Likewise: Like the Magpies, Fulham are both on the road (never a good thing for them) and suffering from a lot of absences. Here's the list: Brede Hangelaand (suspended), Alex Kacaniklic (hamstring), Bryan Ruiz (hamstring), and Keiron Richardson (also hamstring). For a team that isn't THAT deep and struggles on the road regardless this isn't good news. It is potentially good news for Peter Crouch and Jonathan Walters though. Maybe Stoke will score multiple goals in a match for the third time overall this season and in a winning effort for the first time.
Bad Kompany: Couldn't resist the cheap pun after hearing that Kompany is a doubt for the match against Chelsea. He wasn't a great investment to start with but if he doesn't play he also devalues the rest of City's defense and improves the value of Chelsea's attack. I'm not moving off of my Maicon pick because I expect any points he gets will be from attacking but I'd be more willing to consider Hazard, Mata and even a punt on Torres under the "Rafa can get the best out of him again" theory.
Dembele Unlikely: The team news from White Hart Lane is very negative-sounding on the prospects of Moussa Dembele returning despite him having seen some time in Spurs' Europa League match in mid-week. Sounds like the cameo appearance must not have ended too well health-wise which makes Dembele a tough one to take a risk on.
Mirallas Maybe Back: The "maybe" part there means that I won't be picking him but I have enjoyed watching him play (as many have noted in chats and comments, I have a bit of a soccer crush on him) and so I'm happy that there's some possibility that he'll be playing again this weekend.