First and foremost it feels most amazing to finally be back with the NMA community after a long 73 days out in the frigid waters of the Bering Sea, AK. It is always a struggle leaving behind the action, especially knowing most internet opportunities are far and few between! But I am thankfully back safe and ready to dive in once again.
Week 31 offers up an opportunity for those, like myself, to gain some much needed ground in our private and overall leagues with a double game week on offer. For those joining us late, Aston Villa and QPR, while not being the most attractive teams for fantasy points, will have the opportunity to play twice. I am going to tailor this week's Injury and Suspensions a bit more onto the Midlands' and London club respectively, as many of us will undoubtabely be looking to take advantage with a decent number of players from each squad.
Here is a quick breakdown of the double game fixtures:
Manchester United v Aston Villa
West Bromwich Albion v QPR
Aston Villa v QPR
Out: Nathan Baker, Aly Cissokho, Gardner, Helenius, Herd, Kinsella, Kozak, Luna, Richardson, Tom Cleverley (uneligible to play parent club)
Doubt: Ron Vlaar, Joe Cole, Matt Lowton (knock), Philippe Senderos, Jores Okore
In: Westwood, Alan Hutton, Leandro Bacuna, C. Clark
Win: Christian Benteke
Tim Sherwood has indicated he is still unsure over the match fitness for the likes of Vlaar, Cole and Senderos. Ron Vlaar has a better chance for an appearance against QPR given the lack of match fitness. While Jores Okore picked up a knock midweek, he is expected to return to the heart of the Villians' defense. This is particularly important news for those of us who still hold him at 1mil. Clark will likely deputized centrally and hope to avoid a booking in the United match, which would be his 10th and subsequently rule him out for the visit of QPR. Matt Lowton is expected to be available after sustaining a knock, but no indication over whether or not he will be in Sherwood's plans. Ashley Westwood could be afforded the chance to partner Fabian Delph in central midfield with Tom Cleverley unable to play against his parent club. Christian Benteke and Gabby Agbonlahor will likely form the apex of the attack over both matches.
Queens Park Rangers
Out: Richard Dunne, Leroy Fer, Faurlin, Robinson, Zarate
Doubt: Darnell Furlong, Suk-Young Yun (late return from mid week duty)
In: Joey Barton, Adel Taarabt (maybe: 4-5-1 formation) Hoilett (maybe: 4-4-2 formation)
Win: Charlie Austin
QPR only have doubts over Darnell Furlong suffering from a calf injury. Should the right back be unavailable, Mauricio Isla will likely deputize once again. Suk-Young Yun isn't an injury doubt, but manager Chris Ramsey admitted that the South Korean international has yet to return from duty and has yet to assess his match readiness. Given he has started the last 6 matches in the left back birth, Yun probably isn't too much of a risk at missing out. Joey Barton, Sandro, and Phillips look the most likely assurance for starts in the QPR midfield with Junior Hoilett or Taarabt pushing for inclusion based on the formation tactics from the manager. On loan striker Mauro Zarate has returned to West Ham to recover from his current injury. Charlie Austin will be leading the line over both matches after a fantastic 2014-2015 season thus far.
With many fantasy managers taking advantage of the double week, there is likely only a few slots open for a decent single game selection in your squad. Here is a quick breakdown of the more important injury news from the rest of the league.
Arsenal - Danny Welbeck has a low chance to feature which could allow a chance for Theo Walcott to start on the flank. Sanchez and Giroud are set for starts in a crucial match with Liverpool. while Aaron Ramsey may displace one of Santi Cazorla or Mesut Ozil.
Burnley - No major changes
Crystal Palace - Joel Ledley is back and available from a knock midweek. Alan Pardew could name an unchanged squad for the match against Manchester City with Mile Jedinak serving the last match of his suspension.
Everton - Arouna Kone has recovered from his knock against QPR, while Lukaku, Mirallas, Pienaar, and Gibson will be assessed prior to the home clash with Southmapton. Leighton Baines should be available after pulling put of England's friendly with Italy.
Hull City - Tom Huddlestone is still serving his suspension and Steve Bruce could name an unchanged line up.
Leicester City - No major changes however Upson has been ruled out and Schlupp will be assessed after returning from a long flight from international duty with Ghana.
Liverpool - Adam Lallana remains a doubt but Daniel Sturridge "should be okay" according to Brendan Rodgers. Steven Gerrard and Martin Skrtel start their first match of their suspensions.
Manchester City - Yaya Toure has recovered from the knock suffered against West Brom while Manuel Pellegrini must decide whether or not Edin Dzeko's midweek hat-trick will oust Wilfred Bony as Sergio Aguero's strike partner for the match against Crystal Palace.
Manchester United - No major changes with Van Gaal possibly ready to name an unchanged side for the visit of Aston Villa.
Newcastle United - No major changes.
Southampton - Fraiser Forster will be the only forced change to Southampton's starting 11, as the shot stopper will sit out the rest of the season with a fractured kneecap. Kelvin Davis should deputize.
Stoke City - Victor Moses will be forced to miss out against Chelsea, with the on loan midfielder unable to face his parent club. But no major changes likely.
Sunderland - Wes Brown will be a long term absentee after picking up a knee injury last game week with Santiago Vergini likely to replace the former United defender. Adam Johnson will be hoping for inclusion.
Swansea City - No major changes, however Tom Carrol has been ruled out for up to six weeks with an ankle injury.
Tottenham Hotspur - Hugo Lloris will be the only forced change for Mauricio Pochettino as the French international has failed to recover from the injury sustained against Leicester City. Michel Vorm will deputize in his absence. No other major changes.
West Brom - Tony Pulis will lose C. Dawson to a one match ban but will welcome back Chris Brunt from his previous ban. Jonas Olsson should make way after a brief time filling in at defense.
West Ham - Enner Valencia is still considered an injury doubt with the player only just returning to light training.
My current squad looks set to start Week 31 with likely no more changes to be made:
Courtois, Caulker, Yun, Okore, Barton, Phillips, N'Zogbia, Sinclair, Austin, Aguero, Benteke
Bench: Fabregas, Bertrand, Kelly, Howard
Good luck for Week 31 and may the fantasy God's be kind to us all!