Deadline days, both at the end of January and August, are among my favorite days of the year. As an Arsenal supporter this is perhaps a little on the masochistic side in recent years but as a fantasy manager and a writer it brings possibilities and players that are likely to be under-priced. These are the days that make fantasy fun. Will Lewis Holtby be a starter? Will he be productive? How about Philippe Coutinho or Urby Emanuelson? And who can't wait to get Chris Samba back in the fantasy mix at a low price? It wasn't long ago that he was a premium-priced defender in the Premier League.
Here at Never Manage Alone we will do our best to give you insight into all of the new players as the news arrives but we know that we're also on a tight week with mid-week matches turning over almost immediately into a full slate of matches over the weekend. As has been my habit recently when a week presents unusual circumstances (double matches, etc.), I'm going to divert from my traditional TWA format and dive right in:
Everton (vs. Aston Villa) and Manchester United (@Fulham) with a sprinkle of QPR (vs. now-struggling Norwich) and maybe some of Arsenal's attack (vs. Stoke) seem like the places to invest in. I'm trying to figure out how I feel about Spurs' attack at West Brom in the wake of their recent mini-slump (D, D, L, D in their last 4 across all competitions with Manchester United the only exceptional competition in the bunch).
Things to Watch For
There are some players who we probably need to be a bit wary of based on their levels of fitness so if you're buying/keeping them do so with eyes wide open:
- Adam Lallana - His price is back under 10 and he's back from injury - both great pieces of news. The worry for this week is the quick turnaround between matches and that he was only fit for the sub's bench yesterday. My inclination is to put him on BD alert in hopes that he's more fully fit for the next match week.
- Joe Cole - He was rested for one of the Hammer's two matches last week and the worry would be that the same would be true this week with the quick turnaround. He was subbed out after 75 minutes yesterday so there is some hope that he'll start again but it is worth thinking about for those with Cole at a big discount.
- Kevin Mirallas - Frequent readers of the blog are well-aware of my early-season crush on Mirallas before he missed a big chunk of time injured. Mirallas made his first Premier League start in some time in mid-week to modest success (5 points). I would be very wary of the likelihood of him starting two matches in 4 days after coming back from a leg injury. Just a guess but picking him, even at his relatively modest price, seems like a big risk.
- Jussi - WHU have been struggling mightily and we know Swansea could make this ugly for him/them
- Al-Habsi - Cheap to be sure but buying Wigan's keeper makes me nervous just typing it let alone actually doing it. Even against Southampton at home.
- Turnbull - There are multiple issues with this one - 1) he's been poor; 2) Cech was already back in light training in mid-week; and 3) the Newcastle momentum thing mentioned above. Yuck
- Lloris - Moderately priced but Spurs haven't been playing particularly well. To further complicate matters, Spurs are traveling to West Brom who have only been shut out twice at home all season and only 5 times overall. Lloris isn't enough of a save machine to justify an unlikely CS at this price. Doesn't seem like great value to me.
- Bunn - This is where I am right now because I've spent a bunch of money elsewhere (Baines, Rooney, Mata, etc). I don't love it and it will likely come down to a last minute decision between Al-Habsi (vs. So'ton) and Bunn (@QPR).