We're keeping the momentum going by keeping up the focus on the "official game" from PremierLeague.com in addition to our usual focus on the Yahoo game. Surprisingly, things continue to go well in this different format for your favorite blogger (or at least I hope I'm your favorite blogger with apologies to Nik and Jeremy). As we discussed during The Week Ahead, the two Manchester teams, Spurs, Newcastle, and (maybe) Fulham have the strongest match-ups this week with Chelsea and Reading off for the week.
A quick discussion of the wildcard seems like it is merited because I have seen a lot of discussion among players and fantasy pundits indicating that they have played one of their two wildcards this week because of the heavy load of Reading and Chelsea players in their squads combined with some other unexpected issues like the need to move Rooney or Aguero or someone else who has been either injured or transferred. I have to admit that I took the plunge not one week after urging everyone to hold tight but the realities of my team were such that it was going to be an ugly week this week if I didn't play it and it also gave me the opportunity to make a bulk move for some other players that I'm likely to keep long-term (Rangel, Dyer, Fellaini, etc.).
With that intro out of the way, here's my Top 3 recommendations for each position while trying to keep it to one expensive option, one mid-tier option and one cheap option in each position:
- Expensive - Carlos Tevez is the easy answer here with the bonus is that he isn't THAT expensive compared to Rooney or van Persie.
- Mid-Range - Unlike the Yahoo format where I'm favoring Papiss Cisse over Demba Ba, I'm favoring Ba in this format because he's cheaper by a fair margin and has been significantly more productive. Different games, different recommendations.
- Cheap - Lots of options here with Mladen Petric and Bryan Ruiz splitting a Fulham ticket for me. Petric will be the risk/reward pick against West Ham while Ruiz (assuming he's healthy) will be your best bet to definitely get some points over and above starting and playing 60 minutes.
- Expensive - Shinji Kagawa looks like a great pick in this space by a hair over Gareth Bale. My reservation on Bale is that I just don't trust the AVB-Spurs yet while Kagawa has looked good twice and scored well for fantasy once.
- Mid-Range - Michu (until further notice)
- Cheap - Michael Kightly against Wigan looks like a really solid option at a very cheap price. He's been a revelation thus far making Wolves fans wonder where this was for the last few years (the answer being "in the treatment room").
- Expensive - Leighton Baines has been exceptional so far as have Everton and at West Brom isn't something to get too frightened of especially when other expensive options from Manchester City and Manchester United have been struggling mightily and Chelsea's group is off for the week.
- Mid-Range - It's hard to know what to make of Rafael's place in the United starting line-up but if he starts, he showed a TON going forward last weekend and the match-up should be even more favorable this week. The nice thing here is that if he doesn't start, someone will come off of your bench to give you production.
- Cheap - Geoff Cameron had a great opening weekend in the Premier League against Arsenal and unlike the Yahoo format, his price didn't budge here. With @Wigan the match-up, he's definitely worth a shout along with other cheap options like Fabricio Coloccini from Newcastle.
- Expensive - Honestly, unless you have money to burn and think that Manchester City will get their defensive act together then there isn't an expensive option that's worth your time/money/transfer allotment.
- Mid-Range - I'd say Vorm here but if you're playing the match-up then Al-Habsi looks pretty solid as well.
- Cheap - With Wigan/Stoke having a reasonable possibility of becoming a nil-nil draw, Asmir Begovic is a pretty solid potential play for a mere 4.5.
- Eden Hazard - Just kidding but he has been money enough so far that you wouldn't be surprised to see him pick up 10 fantasy points despite Chelsea not playing.
- Shinji Kagawa - Love the match-up and the form he's shown so far.
- Carlos Tevez - The scoring system (more points for goals and the opportunity for a clean sheet point) favors captaining a midfielder but Tevez looks like a strong enough bet that he's worth jumping over your midfielders as Captain this week.