Okay, I feel like I'm being called out here.
Neal's Picks are up: The Week Ahead: Fantasy EPL Player Picks for Match Week 8 sbn.to/VbGdxR via @nma_blog fb.me/1PEZupqSt— Nik Argiropoulos (@nikarg) October 18, 2012
Mine were posted yesterday: AM's Week 8 Fantasy Player Picks - sbn.to/V9YWdb via @nma_blog fb.me/1DwwuOtLK— Nik Argiropoulos (@nikarg) October 18, 2012
Player picks are usually Neal and Nik's beat. They do an amazing job, week-in and week-out, of laying out the shape of the gameweek to come and suggesting the right players for your fantasy team.
But seeing those tweets from Nik... well, I feel like I have to get into the game. Somehow.
So without a long (longer?) prologue, and without too much of a shopping list, here are three names that may not be on your radar this week... but should be.
Chris Baird: There is a lot of love for Fulham this week, hosting Aston Villa. I'm not sure I ever want to bet on, or against Villa right now, but if you're so inclined (and let's face it... I'm going to bet against Villa) one name that I haven't seen mentioned yet is Chris Baird. He's listed as a defender, but has been playing in central midfield. He's even gotten the odd free kick - which he's launched into row Zed. He's a bit more expensive than Sascha Riether, who both Neal and Nik mentioned, but Baird has returned more points than the fullback over the last few weeks. If I have the money to spend, Baird is the Fulham defender I'm buying.
Matthew Taylor: Neal and Nik also are both in on Kevin Nolan. And for good reason. But if you are looking for differential, you may want to pick up West Ham's Matt Taylor. With Ricardo Vaz Te out for a few months with a shoulder injury, it's likely going to be Matt Taylor playing in the Hammer's front three (with Andy Carroll and Matt Jarvis). Taylor has been in and out of the lineup, but remember that when West Ham hosted Fulham he scored one (on two shots) and assisted another. He may take set-pieces away from Mark Noble and to me, looks a good bet against a porous Southampton side.
Steven Gerrard: I'm surprised neither of my colleagues recommended Gerrard this week. Both highlighted Liverpool's home match against Reading and brought up Suarez. No doubt the Uruguayan is a great bet, but he's expensive. Sahin and Wisdom, et al, are also worth looking at. But sometimes the obvious name might just be the right one. Gerrard is still on set-piece duty and may take penalties (not that that is a great advantage for Liverpool players recently) and he's still heavily involved in Liverpool's attacking play. He scored against Norwich when Suarez got his hat trick, but unlike Suarez, Gerrard returned points against Stoke the following week. For me, he's the cheaper, steadier pick. Albeit without the upside.