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AM's Week 20 Player Picks

It's All About Spurs - 2 home games in our first DG of the season
It's All About Spurs - 2 home games in our first DG of the season

Firstly, HAPPY NEW YEAR to all our readers - I wish you a prosperous 2012! I've had a pretty lame New Year's Eve as you can probably tell by the fact this is being posted at 3am UK time on 01/01/12. "Man-flu" took over yesterday so I stayed in with Sarah for a Thai takeaway, watched the countdown and fireworks on TV and then decided it was better to write this post tonight before bed than try to write tomorrow morning, as I feel I'm going to get worse.

Now, I totally accept I've been rubbish with my NMA posts recently, but Xmas Eve + Xmas Day + Boxing Day, + Best Mates Birthday + Cousin's Wedding + Sickness had left me with no option. I got one particularly unpleasant Facebook message regarding my slackness which I did not appreciate, but I know 99.99% of readers are the same as the rest of us and know that at this time of year you have to remember this is a hobby and family and friends come before Fantasy Football. I'm very lucky that I have 2 great co-writers in Neal & Jeremy who have covered everything in my absence and I hope you're starting to realise why other commitments (for all 3 of us) meant switching to this partnership and platform made 100% sense.

As for the YFF game itself, I have to mention that Week 18 was my worst for 3 seasons (37 points) and Week 19 is looking just as bad (currently on 20 points with Brown, Silva & Aguero to go). DDG, Rooney & Woodgate combined for -10.5 and I gained minimum points from my other 5 players (Nani, Ramsey, Ade, Verm, Ramires) dropping from 480th to 1,111st in 5 days. To be honest my pre-Christmas confidence has been shot to pieces by the past 2 weeks as everything has gone wrong, but you have to keep going at this time of the year and stick to your strategy - you must remember- as I'm sure many of you are having a tough time too - that we all have bad spells.

Anyway, Week 20 is another budget post as I'm still hammered with illness and commitments (I have a family meal on New Years Day and the next deadline is in 36 hours!) but I needed to write out my opinions for the upcoming round. Why? Because this is OFFICIALLY our first double week of the season for TWO teams. No mistakes this time, my contact at Yahoo has confirmed it will be 2 games for Tottenham and Everton. It is also the 5th Round of The Blog Cup - how quickly has that come round?

The DGers:

EVERTON v Bolton

Now immediately you see that it's time to grab Tottenham players. They were held to a well fought draw at Swansea today but at home they are very dangerous and I can't see either opponent dealing with them at the Lane. Meanwhile, Everton have a very tasty home games against Bolton before that 2nd match so there is nothing wrong with sticking in a few of their options with an eye on the home fixture and bonus points in "Game 2".

Those of you who have followed me from my previous blog will know I advocate picking as many double-gamers as you can without dropping big discounts as it has consistently worked out in the past. This is highly recommended this week as I don't think there are many stand-out single gamers.

Fulham v Arsenal
Aston Villa v Swansea
Blackburn v Stoke
QPR v Norwich
Wolves v Chelsea
Man City v Liverpool
Wigan v Sunderland
Newcastle v Man Utd

In fact, are there any? Maybe Arsenal at Fulham but that could be tough. Chelsea at Wolves? Well the Blues aren't playing great and McCarthy will have his men well up for it. Man Utd at Newcastle? I wouldn't bank on an away win there with the crowd behind the barcodes. Man City at home to Liverpool? Maybe, but it won't be easy if Suarez and Gerrard are both available (which they should be).

So in my opinion, unless you are holding some huge discounts (e.g. RvP, Wes Brown, David Silva, Aguero, Sorenson, Clark) it's time to let go of the rest and get involved in this double week. I even dumped De Gea tonight - I was a long time advocate of hanging on for the season but I accept I was wrong ... 2 zeros (where Lindegaard kept clean sheets) followed by -10.5 in a home defeat with a major error means I'm certain he's going to lose his #1 place as Ferguson hunts the title. Mistake? Possibly, but I felt it was the right thing to do at this stage.

Here are the DGers I like:

Howard - Value @ 6, risky, but could get a CS at home and should have plenty of saves to make at Spurs.
Friedel- Pricey, but two very possible clean sheets so can't be completely ignored.

Baines - Set pieces and penalties, top dollar but tempting,
Walker - Attacking fullback with 2 CS chances
Kaboul - Seems certain to start with Gallas/King rotating alongside, 2 CS chances
Heitinga - Most affordable Everton defender this week

Bale - Very expensive but at his best in home games. Not sure about full price, but at a discount you're laughing.
Van Der Vaart - Don't expect the full 180 minutes from him, but deadly in front goal and on set pieces / pens. Must have if you can't afford Bale.
Osman - Everton's best player this season, doing what Tim Cahill used to do
Modric - Should score more goals but again, at his best in front of his home crowd
Drenthe - The wildcard, a real talent, could score or get sent off but probably the best value Everton pick at around 10
Lennon* - Could be back to add much needed pace to the right hand side and allow VDV to go central, but check injury news
Sandro - Parker went off injured today so he should play twice, under 7.00 and despite the fact he's defensive, he's Brazilian, so expect the unexpected.

Adebayor - No brainer
Saha - 1 goal all season but faces Bolton and has a great record against Spurs
Donovan - Might not be added in time, but if he is he could get minutes from the bench for Bolton a possible start at Spurs.

That's the DGers - I'll be back tomorrow with my assessment of the single game players, but there won't be many recommendations outside of the obvious discounts.

My team is:

Bunn, Brown, Heitinga, Kaboul, Modric, Drenthe, Silva, Van Der Vaart, Saha, Aguero, Adebayor

7 DGers ... DDG gone, Verm gone (out for 3 weeks due to an injury today) and I'm waiting to see what happens to Man City tomorrow before deciding on what to do with Silva and Aguero. The chances are I keep them both but I haven't ruled out bringing Osman or Walker in. I definitely can't afford Gareth Bale at 22+, and haven't definitely settled on Bunn in goal, it could be Robinson (for the zero @ 1), to free up cash, Krul (risky at home to Man U) or Kenny (at home to Norwich if back from illness).

That's it for now! How was your Xmas / New Year? How many Dgers for you in Week 20? Are you still in The Blog Cup

Time for bed - sorry for any typos.

Cheers, Nik