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The Week Ahead - Crazy Week Edition

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Valencia has been very good as well as being the best value in the United midfield this weekend.  (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
Valencia has been very good as well as being the best value in the United midfield this weekend. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
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I won't bore you with the details of how my work life is spinning out of control this week. We'll just say that there have been a confluence of events (and who doesn't enjoy the chance to use the word "confluence" in a sentence) that have led to this week being pretty crazy. Some of those things are good (family in town for a distant relative's hockey tournament that is going well) and some of those things aren't so good (crazy, out of control fires in Colorado).

I bring this up because it has been a bit of a crazy week for those of you who play the Yahoo fantasy game as well. With Newcastle running riot over West Brom last weekend and the implication from Yahoo that Newcastle and Swansea's Friday match next week would be counted in the upcoming match week fantasy managers had some really difficult decisions to make, especially with Papiss Cisse who had a huge match and wasn't so cheap that he could easily be moved in and out of your line-up. HBA wasn't as big a concern because he was cheap before last weekend's outburst and much easier to move in to your line-up with a minimum of disruption.

With the confirmation (after the fact) that the Newcastle/Swansea match scheduled for Friday, April 6 will actually be counted as part of the NEXT match week, many fantasy managers are likely a bit pissed off looking at their post-BD line-up from last weekend. I know I am not happy for having dropped Wayne Rooney (at a 4ish discount) to get to Cisse but given the apparent circumstances, there really wasn't much of a choice. I'll admit that Cisse is on a strong run since his arrival but Rooney is Rooney and Manchester United are in the middle of a run of opposition where you REALLY want to have as many of their key players as possible. So, what to do now?

I haven't entirely decided but I'm more likely to try to make due with other United players (Chicharito, BFAY, Valencia, Evans, DDG, etc) and hope Rooney doesn't go TOO crazy. In the meantime, the question is "what will I do with Cisse?" There is certainly a reasonable argument for him even as a one-gamer at home against a slumping Liverpool team. That said, with Arsenal and Manchester United having very attractive match-ups and Manchester City playing at home, it is hard to advocate a strategy that DOESN'T involve spending most of your resources on players from those three teams.

I guess my piece of advice going into my player picks is to try to reset your thinking entirely and forget that Cisse was ever going to be a two-gamer. If you think that having him at his BD price (13 or so) is good value for the one match then by all means keep him. That said, take a long look at other uses for that money and try to forget the dreams you had of an in-form forward playing two matches while everyone else had only one.

Forwards

  • Manchester United Forwards - I'm all in on Manchester United until they get to the match with City. As a result, I'm recommending going as high quality as you can with Rooney > Chicharito > Welbeck. Welbeck falls back because with United's midfield returning to health Rooney may more forward and send Welbeck to the bench.
  • Juan Mata - Call this my "funny feeling" pick of the week - he has quieted down a bit but it feels like he's due for a breakout against a Villa side that seemed more than accommodating against Arsenal last weekend.
  • City Forwards - There has been a deafening silence from the City camp since Kun Aguero was a late scratch from the line-up last week. PhysioRoom.com has him returning to the line-up (or at least being healthy enough to do so) this week. Balotelli/Dzeko has not worked as a combination for them so given the critical nature of all matches in the run-in, you have to figure that it will be one of Aguero/Tevez partnered with one of Balo/Dzeko with an outside shot of Aguero/Tevez partnering. The big question (especially for those who still have Kun at a huge discount) is whether he will indeed be back.
  • Nikica Jelavic - He's in form and at home to a West Brom side that has slid back after a nice run in February and early March. His price has risen but he's still very much affordable.
  • Pavel Pogrebnyak - I know friend of the blog Chris Jones has declared that Pog's run of goals was a fluke but I'm not quite so ready to dismiss him in specific circumstances. At home against Norwich (without Grant Holt) is one of those situations. The price is a little high but if you can't get to the United forwards or RvP he's an affordable alternative.
Midfielders
  • Antonio Valencia - If you're buying at retail then he's the value play among the United wingers. He's been playing very well but had a slight dip last weekend which makes his price more attractive.
  • Ryo Miyaichi - His name is Ryo and we really really like him. He's not quite a "Blog Favorite" yet (like Siggy or Ashley Young) but if he keeps getting playing time and producing he will be. The match-up with Wolves makes him attractive even as his price has risen.
  • Nathen Dyer - His price fell on the back of his suspension but that slot has produced reasonably well in his absence and he wouldn't be a bad bet even if Swansea isn't playing two this week.
  • Alex Song - He has been on an assist-getting tear of late and his price is still low. He doesn't tend to get the other phantom points associated with midfielders who get a lot of assists but if you're looking for productive filler, he's not a bad bet.
  • Tomas Rosicky - Another one who has been playing well in Arsenal's midfield but is still affordable as an enabler under 7.00.
Defenders
The defenders you want this week are likely to be pretty expensive. Keiron Gibbs (at just under 10) is likely the best value from among the Arsenal, Manchester United, and Manchester City group and that's still a lot to pay for a guy who didn't get far into double digit fantasy points even with a goal and a clean sheet last weekend. My first recommendation is to stick with the guys you have at discounts (Evans, Gibbs, Taiwo, etc.). My second recommendation is to watch Rio Ferdinand (who went off early last weekend) to see if he's going to feature because Chris Smalling is very affordable and could deputize and represent great value.

Elsewhere enablers on both sides of the Wolves vs. Bolton relegation struggle could be valuable with Tim Ream and SeaBass offering potential if you get the outcome of the match right. Davide Santon is also a solid option since it looks like Coloccini will be out for a few weeks at Newcastle.

Goalkeeper
Of the teams with the best match-ups Szczesny is the best value since his cost is significantly lower than Joe Hart and David De Gea. If you're looking for an enabler then Wayne Hennessey is likely your man. Wolves NEED this match and with Bolton visiting it certainly isn't out of reach. Honestly, I'm not wild about any of the options in the "middle" price range but if that's where you are, I guess Adam Bogdan is the best bet. On the other hand, I think Hennessey is both the better keeper and he's playing at home so Bogdan would probably represent a waste of money.