Will he start? I sure hope so - Gary Prior
We start the Premier League weekend with a stinker of a match between Fulham and Stoke City but hopefully it gets better from there with Arsenal and Manchester United playing the 3 PM fixture local time. We'll be here talking about your fantasy team through thick and thin.
As of this writing (Friday late afternoon on the East Coast), I'm at least mildly happy with my (very red) team. As has been well documented in this space, I haven't had a very good first Fantasy EPL season as a father (I'm told this is not an uncommon occurrence) and in an effort to get back into the mix as we come down the home stretch I've started taking some risks a little earlier than I would have otherwise.
My first risk is keeping two players who I know will be getting me zeroes this weekend in Michu and Daniel Sturridge. In both cases it is hard to see a scenario where, by spending the same (or a similar) amount of money, I'm likely to get similar production over the course of the last 12 match weeks of the season even factoring in that the first of those 12 match weeks will definitely result in a zero for both players. The logic goes that most other managers will not be able to afford both of these players (I have them at a combined current discount of more than 21) without making serious alterations while for the next 11 match weeks I'll be able to afford both while still buying players like RvP (who I have this week), Luis Suarez or Gareth Bale based on match-up.
I know there is a current of sentiment that says "don't take guaranteed zeroes, especially this late in the season" but for anyone touting this logic I'd like to see the suggested alternatives for a combined price between 13 and 14 for a forward and midfielder over the next two (let alone the next 12) weeks that might end with equal EXPECTED point production (Sturridge has put up 10 points/match over his last six EPL matches and Michu is at 8.8 for the season even after his big drought so I need 19 points/match to get equal expected value).
The other risks that I'm taking are on players who COULD play this weekend but have at least some chance of being rotated - Robin van Persie (now likely to play due to Rooney's injury), Olivier Giroud (also likely but some risk as he didn't start against Bayern), Shinji Kagawa (I have a feeling he'll play and score well), Lewis Holtby (I'm sticking with him despite his 3 SNOTs last time out), and Nemanja Vidic (who seems likely to get this match as others are rested for more important matches down the road).
It could end up great or it could end up in a wilderness of zeroes but those are the sorts of risks you are forced to take when you've fallen behind.
Here's my full team:
Wojceich Szczesny, Nemanja Vidic, Nacho Monreal, Paul Scharner, Santi Cazorla, Michu, Shinji Kagawa, Lewis Holtby, Daniel Sturridge, Olivier Giroud, Robin van Persie
OK, let's start this chat up and see how it turns out for me (and everyone else, of course).