They certainly aren't performing like they have nothing to play for as the season winds down. How do they fit this week? (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
How odd is it that we're at the end of the season and there are almost ZERO injuries of any interest, at least none that are really surprises. Sure, there are guys like Mikael Arteta or Stuart Holden or Jack Wilshere who we KNOW will be out and could prove critical to the various races for specific spots. What there is a marked lack of is important players with the sort of niggling injuries that cause them to show up with the dreaded "late fitness check" and cause us, as fantasy managers, to pull out our hair as we try to decide whether we want to take the risk.
I honestly can't remember a season where you could look down the consolidated list of team news and react with such ambivalence to it. There just isn't much there worth reading. What is of mild interest is purely speculation about rotation (Micah Richards? which two Manchester United wingers will play? etc.).
Since there isn't much to write about on the injury and suspension front, I'll add a few thoughts to Jeremy's excellent turn as the author of The Week Ahead so I don't feel entirely negligent as a fantasy blogger this week. Click past the jump for that:
Arsenal, Manchester United, Everton, and Wigan with a dash of Spurs and QPR. That, in some combination, is my recipe for success this weekend. Everton doesn't really fit the mold because they don't have anything other than the pride of finishing ahead of Liverpool to play for and in my mind that stuff means far more to the fans than the players (not that the players would ever say so but regardless of what they say in the press, they don't dislike Liverpool nearly as much as the supporters wish they would).
For the most part, I'm trying to focus my investment dollars on teams that are playing for something and doing so against opponents that are not. In the case of Wigan, I'm betting that it doesn't matter that Rovers have something to play for because they just aren't very good while Wigan are playing out of their minds right now.
Rather than doing my usual rundown by position, I'm going to offer up two alternative teams - one for players who are trying to make up ground and one for players who are trying to defend a lead. The former will be riskier but with more upside whereas the latter will more solid.
- High Risk - Dedrick Boyata, Thomas Vermaelen, Sebastien Bassong
- Low Risk - Keiron Gibbs, William Gallas, Chris Smalling
- High Risk - Jonjo Shelvey, Danny Rose, Alex Song, Adel Taarabt, Antonio Valencia
- Low Risk - Steven Pienaar, Victor Moses, Gylfi Sigurdsson (at BD price), Yossi Benayoun
- High Risk - Some combination of Papiss Cisse, Sergio Aguero, Wayne Rooney, and Robin van Persie (it isn't the quality of the player that is high risk but the risk that you'll have so much budget tied up in a couple players)
- Low Risk - Nikica Jelavic (BD Price), Carlos Tevez (BD Price), Fernando Torres (BD Price)