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Game Week 23: Pre-Deadline Chat

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Welcome to Game Week 23 pre-deadline chat. What a headache most of us have on our hands! As a result, I would like to concentrate more on the strategy to utilize this Game Week since two of the game's best fantasy players will be missing out.

Alex Grimm/Getty Images

Just in case you have not heard:

  • Diego Costa was handed a three-match ban with immediate effect after losing the FA's charge of violent conduct following a stomping incident in the midweek victory over Liverpool; and
  • Arsene Wenger has confirmed that he is "unlikely to risk" Alexis Sanchez who sustained a hamstring injury in training on Thursday.

Below is my purely subjective, long and utterly confusing analysis of what to do with Diego Costa and Alexis Sanchez:

My subjective reasoning when holding on to a star player set for a 3 game ban is simple: if I hold him at more than £4 discount, I will continue to hold depending on the following 3 conditions - upcoming schedule, my overall standing, and how far along in the season the suspension takes place. Hence, presently, if you hold Costa at less than £12, bench him and hold tight. If you also hold Sanchez at less than £14, also bench, switch to a 4/5/1 formation and, if low on funds, consider starting one of Graziano Pelle, Jermain Defoe, or Yaya Sanogo as your lone forward.

The reasoning behind it is this: Costa (currently priced at £16.59), will be gone for 3 games and if enough fantasy managers of the 58.8% who currently own him drop him now, Yahoo may just adjust his price accordingly, where it could fall to around £14-15 when he returns home to Burnley. To really test the Yahoo pricing system, however, the mangers who hold him at £12 and over must drop him before the Game Week 23 deadline.

Sanchez, on the other hand, may even feature off the bench against Aston Villa but should be back next week against Tottenham (not a great match up, hence drop if holding over £14), and has two dream match ups against Leicester City and Crystal Palace in Game Weeks 25 and 26, respectively (if you must pick him up at retail, you should have Cresswell, Okore and Kelly handy to fill in). Hence, a steep price drop is not realistic.

Furthermore, I am almost certain that more managers are holding Costa closer to retail than those holding Sanchez at a high price, as many have the Chilean around £7. As a result, the chance of a Costa price drop is higher due to his lengthier absence, higher held price and (hopefully) more managers letting him go before the deadline, since the majority of the 43.16% who own Sanchez will not drop him go unless he is out for the season.

Also, another reason to drop Costa/Sanchez priced closer to retail is to allocate enough funds to pick up Sergio Aguero home to Hull City next Game Week. Speaking of Aguero, a relatively lengthy absence in conjunction with the drop in the percentage of ownership resulted in a gradual, moderate price drop for him as well as a more substantial price drop for Daniel Sturridge. Since the Yahoo pricing system is computer based, it will recognize a sharp fluctuation in ownership and what may just happen to Costa's price over the next few weeks if a substantial percentage of fantasy managers drop him?

I currently hold Costa at £12.03 and Sanchez at £6.72. As a result, I dropped Costa and benched Sanchez to go with a 3/5/2 formation, although Alexis is my first sub just in case Mr. Wenger is playing mind games. Hence my current team for the weekend is:

Forster, Van Aanholt, Baines, Cresswell, Moses, Fabregas, Ramsey, Eriksen, Di Maria, Pelle, Defoe with Robles, Okore, Kelly, and Sanchez on the bench.

Did I just confuse everyone? What is everyone else doing? How are your teams shaping up?

Sani.