With high profile fantasy studs like Sergio Aguero, Daniel Sturridge and Cesc Fabregas missing through either injury or suspension, chosing the right replacement can be exceedingly difficult given the options at hand. Couple that with the fact many of us are fighting to stay top or striving to take top spot in our private leagues, player slection can easily become a nightmare week in week out. Choosing which player to draft in often leads down one of two roads:
1.) Play if safe - We know we can always rely on those consistent, if not overly spectacular fantasy players that will return at least some minimum of points per week. This is good in one way as we all hate to see either a blank or negative score. But often the play it safe route hardly dents the lead or extends the lead over our rivals. Basically, you stay competitive, while not really falling behind and not really challenging for the top.
2.) Pick the Dark Horse - The much more interesting, if not highly risky route with a potential for a huge differential point swing. This pick tends to be hit and miss, but when it hits, your fantasy squad can be vaulted up the ranks. There is never a truly better feeling than getting this pick right and seeing your rivals fail with the play it safe option.
This section is designed to highlight those differential players that might give you the edge in your private and overall leagues. Whether you choose to follow is up to your willingness to accept the inherent risks and undoubted frustration that goes along with these picks!
Here is the break down of my Differentials Column:
We will take a look at one player from each position and determine why that player deserves a place amongst the differential picks. I will use a break down of many factors including point production, price, percentage of ownership and relative risk involved in the pick, etc.
With out further adu, let's get started!
Goal Keeper: Tim Howard
Everton just haven't been able to get their defensive mojo working this season and the once reliable Howard has falling sharply off the fantasy radar. In the past 4 game weeks, Howard has produced 5pts, 0pts, 0pts, and -1pts to bring him to a shockingly low 11pts overall this season. This certainly does not instill much confidence in potential suitors looking for solid GK coverage. However, Everton's lack of defensive clean sheets has lowered the American shot stopper's price to an absurd 6.86mil, almost a direct replacement for those wanting to try something different to T. Courtois. With ownership at just 4.04%, Tim Howard is squarely placed in the differential zone. Everton's fortunes may be ready to change with a QPR side visiting Goodison Park minus their star forward, Charlie Austin. If you feel gutsy and ready to make a climb up the table, a win and clean sheet from Timmy in Week 16 is your dark horse ticket.
Defender: F. Fazio
The newly acquired Spurs CB has been quietly racking up the defensive points in recent game weeks. Just take a look at his previous 4 week point totals: 6pts, 8pts, 10pts, and 16pts, with the majority stemming from Passes Intercepted, Tackles Won, and Blocked Shots. That production is certainly nothing to scoff at. Add in the fact that Fazio only committed two fouls in that 4 week stretch, you have the potential for a very solid defensive pick. The downside? Unless you picked him up when his price was still low, you will have to shell out 8.27mil at market value, which in itself isn't breaking the bank. I was happy to have Fazio during Week 15, but due to Fab4 getting suspended, I had to sacrifice the Spurs man to free up funds. However, if he can keep up his defensive productions, an away trip to Swansea doesn't seem so daunting. At just 2.23% ownership, another double digit haul will surely give you the edge in your week to week match ups with rivals.
Midfielder: Yannick Bolasie
Highlighted by Stall.Express in the Player Picks post, the Crystal Palace winger has been very consistent this season, but still hasn't garnered the investment of many fantasy managers. With a four week run of 13pts, 9pts, 10pts, and 9pts, Bolasie has been an offensive phantom point machine. With at least one Shot on Target registered in each of his last 4 game weeks, Bolasie has also been an attacking menace, putting up strong numbers in the Corners Won and Successful Crosses category. Still a very affordable 9.88mil and facing an up and down Stoke City at home, those 1.64% owners will be laughing up the table when Bolasie adds some Goals to his attacking threat.
Forward: D. Sahko
Big Sam certainly did his homework when buying the services of Sahko in the summer transfer market. What most might have considered a risky buy, has turned into one of the best pieces of business so far this season. Having missed a decent stretch of games due to injury, the West Ham forward returned to action against Swansea with a well taken goal returning 16pts in the process. With 6 goals already and 109pts overall, Sahko has been performing with excellence right in front of our faces. The interesting bit is that fantasy managers still don't want to take a shot on Sahko with a startling low ownership of just 1.51%. Still a quite affordable 11.34mil, Sahko looks primed to continue his impressive start to the season against Sunderland.
That completes my breakdown of my Differential Picks for Week 16. Have I convinced you to take some risks? Which players are you looking at for Week 16 that also represent good value at low % ownership?