Your favorite blogger is having a mediocre season in his native Yahoo game so far coming in to Week 6 with a ranking just above 7,200 (out of a likely 250,000 to 300,000 total). Not tragic by any stretch of the imagination but certainly nothing to get excited about either. Equally surprising is my performance in the "official" PremierLeague.com game. I tried to commit myself to playing that game last season but only made it about two months before I stopped paying serious attention. This season, I'm having an unexpectedly strong start for someone who hasn't ever played an entire season with this scoring/transferring format. Heading into Week 6, I'm sitting at 3,338 overall. So yes, not only is my ranking better in PL.com, that's the case despite the fact that about 10x more people play that game vs. the Yahoo game. Needless to say, I'm very pleasantly surprised by my results. I'm sure I've just jinxed myself but if you're wondering why you should be reading PL.com advice from a guy who usually writes about the Yahoo game, now you've got at least a little bit of justification.
Everton and Newcastle are the obvious priorities with your limited transfer activity with Chelsea vs. Arsenal and QPR vs. West Ham being fairly even and unpredictable matches that I'd suggest avoiding if you're looking for players to transfer out or bench. Here's the entire rundown:
Expensive - Demba Ba is reasonably inexpensive for an "expensive" recommendation but I'd take him over Jelavic who hasn't been as productive yet this season.
Moderate - Steven Fletcher has a strong match-up at home against Wigan - maybe he'll even get 2 shots on target to try to convert this time around.
Cheap - If we are made aware that Victor Anichebe is definitely going to start then he's the choice here but my guess is that he will not start making Ricky Lambert the choice in my eyes.
Expensive - I'm not completely bought in on Liverpool despite their strong play against Manchester United before the sending off but Steven Gerrard against Norwich is a strong choice.
Moderate - Tough choice between Marouane Fellaini and Hatem Ben Arfa as the top choice in this category with Steven Pienaar coming in just behind those two. If you're wondering, that's the order of my preference for the three.
Cheap - Not a lot to love in the super-cheap realm but I'd go Michael Kightly at home against struggling-at-the-back Swansea if I were looking on the discount rack.
Expensive - Leighton Baines is something of a no-brainer here against Southampton. He's been piling up points regardless of how many goals Everton have been conceding.
Moderate - Gareth McAuley seems an odd choice since West Brom on the road isn't a usual fantasy hot spot but Aston Villa has been a bit of a mess so far and McAuley has been very good for his fantasy managers.
Cheap - James Perch is a very inexpensive option at the back that has a strong case for a clean sheet against Reading this weekend. Very much worth the 4.5 that he'll cost you if you're so inclined.
Expensive - I can't say I really like any of the expensive keepers with the United situation up in the air between David De Gea and Andres Lindegaard, Joe Hart being away and City's defense struggling so far this season and Petr Cech playing at Arsenal. Not a lot to love there, huh?
Moderate - Tim Howard wins this spot by a little bit over Julio Cesar - Southampton have had spurs of strong offense that could undermine this choice but they also take a lot of shots which, if Howard keeps them out, could boost his score.
Cheap - Steve Harper is a great choice for very little money and may be the best choice overall regardless of price. This format just lends itself to reserves being cheap in the wake of an injury.
- Leighton Baines - Wouldn't be surprising if he got attacking, defending and bonus points as he'll likely be the best player on the field.
- Demba Ba - Hot and with a great match-up.
- Whichever of Fellaini, Ben Arfa, or Pienaar you decided you liked in the moderate midfielder category (and again, that's the order of my preference).