Without even skipping a beat we find ourselves thrust directly into the waiting jaws of Week 14, which will feature as a set of mid-week fixtures. In seasons past, the YFF format has opted to squeeze these kinds of weeks into one titanic double week. Certainly never lacking in excitement, the double weeks always proved a double edge sword with no back up plan to players falling to injury or rotation. I for one, will always miss the old YFF double week format (and even a triple week with regards to Stoke City a number of seasons back) but I will not miss the inevitable, burning frustration that always seemed to coinside with the mid-week clashes.
Recently, however, YFF has decided to split these two game weeks apart, offering a much needed reprieve from the weekend fixtures and provide the ability to re-organize our squads. The biggest question facing any fantasy manager in a mid-week fixture is which players are likely to drop and who will be rotated? With Week 15 looming just 2 days after the Wednesday matches and critical Champions League matches on the horizon for many Premier League teams, an educated mind and a bit of luck are needed to field a starting 11. Certainly we will see our bench options coming much more into play for Week 14, so I would advise finding a bit of room for some more reliable players in reserve.
Okay let's take quick look at Week 14's fixtures:
West Brom v West Ham
Leicester City v Liverpool
Manchester United v Stoke City
Swansea City v QPR
Chelsea v Tottenham
Everton v Hull City
Looking at the fixtures, Liverpool, Everton, United, Man City and Arsenal immediately stand out. Although there is much to ponder given the generally sub par performances from Liverpool without their prolific England striker, Man City facing Sunderland who are undoubtably their bogey team (just look at the head to head stats from the past few seasons), United just starting to find some sort of form but facing a difficult Stoke side, and Arsenal failing to click on a consistent basis playing a very organized (despite the Man City loss) Southampton. Therefore I wouldn't go all out to bust the bank where these teams are concerned but focus to support your big names with some supporting players from the likes of Swansea City, Everton, Crystal Palace and West Ham. As stated above, a strong bench is highly advisable for this mid-week set of fixtures. Okay let's jump into the player picks!
Courtois - Still very nicely priced at 9.34mil and in a Chelsea side capable of producing more clean sheets like last game week. Tottenham have been the come back kings recently and this is a London Derby, however, I have faith the Belgian will produce a positive week even with a goal conceeded. If Tottenham have their shooting boots on, could we see a 20+ performance from the young Chelsea talent?
Martinez - With a clean sheet and win to boost his price up to 5mil, the Arsenal 3rd choice keeper looks set for another round between the sticks as Szczesny is still listed as a doubt for the home clash with Southampton. Even better news for would-be suitors is that Saints forward Pelle has seemingly wandered into the desert after his blistering start to the campaign. Chances look good for an Arsenal win and the price is right for a gamble on the clean sheet.
Tim Howard - After being one of the higher priced GK's last season and coming off the back of a very successful World Cup campaign with the USA, it is shocking to see Howard sitting on just 12pts for the season. This however has meant his price has dropped to an enticing 8mil. With a home match against a Hull City squad likely to stop playing football after the first half, signs look good for an Everton home win. A perfect way to banish the loss against Spurs just days ago. Get in now before his price begins to climb again.
Callum Chambers - The former Saints fullback had a few quiet matches since his Week 10 exploits, but a clean sheet coupled with solid defensive stats provided a very nice return of 14pts in Week 13. Still the most affordable Arsenal defender at 9.46mil, as stated above, will offer the chance of a clean sheet and potential solid returns for Week 14.
Marcos Rojo - Returned from injury to solidify the backline in United's 3-0 win over Hull City and will look to build upon his return with another clean sheet against Stoke City. Luckily, Rojo found himself the subject of a YC and commited a few fouls to keep his price low at just 6.42mil. You just hope last week won't be an indication of his production being cut down by negative scores as only 2pts with a clean sheet is quite poor.
Leighton Baines - Back from injury against Spurs in their 2-1 loss, I expect the Everton fullback to set up against Hull City at Goodison Park. My premium defender pick of the week and a heavy price tag of 16.34mil, Baines will set you back a decent sum, but with set pieces and penalties in the locker, you wouldn't bet against the England man adding to his already impressive haul of 130pts for the season.
Martin Kelly - The ever present bench option at 1mil, Kelly has been producing solid returns for much of the season. After being dropped for a few game weeks, Kelly seems to have been reinstated into the starting line up and has a great chance to build on his 72pts season total home to a goal shy Aston Villa. Still very affordable at 4.87mil, it is time to give Kelly the call and promote him from your bench.
Kolo Toure - An unexpected start and even more unexpected return for the Ivorian who produced an outstanding 16pts in the narrow win over Stoke City at Anfield. Liverpool's defense has been suspect all season, and one of the major failings for not getting their hands on the title last season. But maybe this was the shake up needed to re-ignite Liverpool's defensive solidarity. Still very affordable at 7.92mil, after keeping a first clean sheet in what seems like a life time, I hardly doubt Brendan Rodgers will tinker too much with the backline for the away trip to Leicester City.
Trippier - His price has been falling for two game weeks, a worrying sing for those who invested early. But the Burnley fullback is capable of producing a solid phantom point return with his set piece duty. A home clash against a Newcastle team coming back down to Earth may just be the boost Trippier needs to get back amongst the points. At an affordable 8.60mil, Trippier looks a solid differential pick for this week.
Kevin Mirallas - The first midfielder on my list and for good reason, the Belgian winger returned from injury to look dangerous in Everton's 2-1 loss to Spurs at the weekend. With his pace and trickery now back out on the flanks, Mirallas looks a great pick this week home to Hull City at 9.38mil. With Lukakku lumbering around the box, look for Mirallas to launch a volley of successful crosses to his Belgian compatriot.
Sigurdsson - Producing points an a very consistent basis and acting as the general heart beat of Swans attacking play, has lead the Icelandic midfielder to an outstanding haul of 130pts this season. With a home match against QPR for Week 14, and a target striker in Wilfried Bony ready for service, look for Siggy to produce another solid fantasy week.
Raheem Sterling - What has happened to the young Liverpool winger? Seemingly what ever has affected Liverpool has also found its way to Sterling, who production has dropped off at an alarming rate. But with a vital win secured at home against Stoke City, Liverpool will be looking to build back up their Top 4 aspirations. Facing a Leicester City side always copable of giving up goals, Liverpool will need Sterling's blistering pace and agility in the box to continue their upward momentum. Nicely priced at 10.38mil, Sterling is a bit of a gamble given his recent form, but one that could finally pay off.
Bolasie - Quietly raking up the points in the YFF format with a season total of 93pts already, the Crystal Palace winger looks a solid differential pick for Week 14. Aston Villa haven't been very good on the road and Crystal Palace will be bouyed by recent good results. The obvious choice is Mile Jedinak, but with his price almost breaking the bank, Bolasie makes a great cut-rate option.
Yaya Toure - I am a bit doubtful about City's match with Sunderland, as the last few times these teams have met at the Stadium of Light, it has spelled doom for my fantasy squad and the City players in my line up. However Yaya has finally started to show the form that made him one of the more dominate midfielders last season. The Ivorian's price has sky rocketed thanks to back to back 20+ pt performances (I guess Man City has been feeding him a steady supply of Birthday cakes recently) but in this form, 15.81mil is hard to argue with. I expect City will push on after their win over the Saints and Yaya will be the key man from midfield.
Ander Herrera - With Di Maria facing the home clash with Stoke City from the injury table, Herrera should slot in for the Argentine winger after coming on in the win over Hull City. Although Herrera hasn't set the Premier League alight since his summer transfer, I expect the young midfielder to get plenty forward from central positions. A bit pricey at 12.70mil, a potential differential pick in Di Maria's absence. I would like to grab Juan Mata at a slim 9.41mil, but with too many doubts about his starting status, Herrera looks more of a reliable option.
Sergio Aguero - Sunderland bogey problems aside, Aguero has been in astonishing form this season for City. Topping the points column at 212pts for the season, the Argentine's price has thankfully dropped a bit from 2 weeks without a goal. Just as Bayern Munich found out, Aguero is capable of scoring in any match and represents an outstanding purchase even at 20.43mil. You wouldn't bet against Aguero bagging a brace at the Stadium of Light given his current form.
Ricky Lambert - Slowing starting to show form in front of goal by getting an extended run as the focal point of Liverpool's attack, Lambert was unlucky not to notch a goal against Stoke City to ease the pressure. At 9.17mil, Lambert certainly offers a gamble, but also a clear differential pick. I fancy Liverpool to score on Leicester City and being the furthest man forward gives Lambert every opportunity to continue for Liverpool what he did best for Southampton - score goals.
Robin van Persie - Well that was more like the Arsenal striker of old. RvP returned to his normal productive self with a goal and assist against Hull City, boasting a point return of 23pts for Week 13. Still cheaper than Wayne Rooney at 14.45mil, without the injury doubt hanging over his head, and on penalties, RvP looks the better of the United striker options this week. Given Van Gaal's preference for his Dutch captain to pair up with Rooney, and Falcao still short of completing a return to full fitness, I feel safe in drafting RvP into my side this week.
Wilfried Bony - Another goal at the weekend added to Bony's impressive start to the Premier League campaign for the Swans. With the deliveries of Sigurdsson coming in from corners and set pieces, Bony looks primed to benefit against a QPR side likely to conceed. Although he will set you back a steep 13.24mil.
Romelu Lukakku - With Kevin Mirallas back from injury, it will be interesting to see if Lukaku's value and production increases. Often carrying the label of "Blog Troll" Lukaku seemingly does bad when you pick him and great when you don't. But with a home match against Hull City at a price tag similar to Bony at 13.39mil, you could have a potentially expensive but worth while pick for Week 14.
Charlie Austin - It is hard to ignore the goal scoring form that Austin has found himself in since a slow start to the season. But with 11, 25, 13, and 19pts in this last 4 game weeks, his place picks itself. Swansea City have the quality to grab the win here, but with Barton's dangerous delivery from the wing, you wouldn't bet against Austin to continue his stellar run against the Swans.
Thatś it for me on another Kellz Player Picks! My squad has changed considerably given the news that Di Maria is confirmed out for the Stoke City clash and Diego Costa has picked up a one match suspension for Yellow Card accumulation. I am currently saved on: Courtois, Cresswell, Bertrand, Kelly, Sigurdsson, Sterling, Mirallas, Tadic, Fabregas, RvP, Sanchez with Okore, Moore, Costa, and Gazz on the bench. I am not too happy with how weak my bench is in case we face a dreaded rest and rotation from some of the bigger teams, but I don't have a lot of funds to work with so some changes may happen before the deadline.
I hope this helps you build your team for Week 14!