Tuesday, 29 January 2013

FPL Hints - Gameweek 24

FPLH's GW 24 Team*

Activated Wildcard - Transfers in (8/15 changes):

Federici, Clichy, O'Brien, Martin, Gerrard, Fellaini, Lampard, Pogrebnyak

*FPLH reserves the right to change this team at any time. Any changes made will be confirmed on FPLH's Twitter and Facebook accounts.
Team Reasoning

Following last Gameweek's bumper points haul you would think that I would keep most of the same team despite the wildcard?  Wrong.  Whilst Davies, J. Cole, Cazorla and Podolski did me proud they won't score that heavily week in week out.  The new bunch are a varied mix of semi-differentials, bargains and obvious picks.  My individual player reasoning for those transferred in is as follows:

Federici (4.7% ownership):

The reason I bought him was partly based on his price (£4.4M), but also due to the fact that he alternates so well with Begovic for almost the next 10 Gameweeks. Thus it made sense to bring him in as a backup, with the intention to utilise him in some upcoming matches too, i.e. GWs 25, 27, 29, 32.

Clichy (6.2% ownership):

I have lacked City defensive coverage for a large part of this season.  This was initially due to their leaky defensive record which has now improved.  With some decent upcoming fixtures for the next two months it made sense to draft someone in who didn't cost over the odds.  Clichy fitted the bill due to his price and limited rotation risk.

O'Brien (13.3% ownership):

I didn't purchase him during West Ham's DGW as I knew it would be difficult for them to keep clean sheets in those matches.  However, I think West Ham will improve their defensive record and he is a key pick, especially due to his attacking prowess and OOP potential (can operate in midfield).

Martin (4.2% ownership):

Norwich have had a shoddy time keeping goals out of late, but Martin has been doing the opposite at the other end.  At £4.1M he is cheap and can act as a good backup defender.  I intend to play him in the odd home match due to their good record at Carrow Road.

Gerrard (7.0% ownership):

He has been in fantastic form of late.  I intended to buy him weeks earlier, but was unable to afford him.  The return of Lucas has allowed Gerrard to attack more and has led to him bagging 4 goals/8 assists in his last 10 PL matches!  With Liverpool challenging for a European spot, expect him to carry on shining.

Fellaini (34.5% ownership):

Despite Everton purchasing Fer, Fellaini will continue to be their most integral player until the end of the season.  I had him earlier in the season and thought it best to re-sign him now due to Everton's good upcoming fixtures.  He scores and assists.  At sub £8.0M he is a bargain!

Lampard (3.6%)

I actually re-signed Mata again, but felt I needed more low-ownership players.  That's when I decided to reconsider Lampard.  He may not be the "Fat Frank" of old, but has had a good run of form of late.  And would you blame him?  His Chelsea contract is due to finish in the summer and he is also aiming to become the club's all-time record goalscorer!  As a result he will be looking to finish off with a bang.  Interestingly he has scored as many goals as Mata in the PL this season, despite his low ownership and cheaper value.

Pogrebnyak (8.0%)

Some players think football is a game of one half.  If that is the case, The Pog had a cracking season from January to May last year.  Funnily enough he could be repeating that pattern with 3 goals in his last 4 PL matches.  The reason I bought him was not mainly due to this.  It was more due to the fact that I wanted to utilise a 3-5-2 formation, without having to worry about an expensive striker on the bench. Of course I intend to use him in some matches (see Federici above), but he is the perfect sub1 candidate otherwise.

For this GW I have captained RVP and have assigned Fellaini as vice-captain.

Recommended Player for Gameweek 24
  
Robin Van Persie


FPLH's Hot Picks XI for GW 24

Begovic

Rafael
Clichy
Evra
 
Walcott
Lampard
Fellaini-vc
Gerrard
Michu

Van Persie-cpt
Suarez

Subs:
Howard
Shawcross
Baines
Fletcher

10/15 Hot Picks' feature in FPLH's GW Team

Thursday, 17 January 2013

FPL Hints - Gameweek 23

FPLH's GW 23 Team*

Transfers: Mata & Sidwell (OUT) / Cazorla & J.Cole (IN): -4 hit

*FPLH reserves the right to change this team at any time. Any changes made will be confirmed on FPLH's Twitter and Facebook accounts.

 
Team Reasoning

I had to hit the drawing board following my DGW 22 screw up.  A column of red arrows followed by a below average GW score (after -4 hit) sucks!  I didn't expect Southampton to play so well, hence no Saints coverage.  Aside from Mata, who scored 32/53 points for me, everyone else failed and my overall ranking tumbled dramatically.  I was tempted to use the wild card this GW but have opted to wait.

With another DGW ahead I have decided to take no chances this time around.  I purchased Joe Cole as I believe he will play a key part to boosting West Ham's attack.  His two assists v Man United on his return debut in the FA Cup is testament to his pedigree.  He is also a differential due to his low ownership.

My other transfer is a -4 hit and may come as a shock.  I have sold Mata, who I only bought last GW, despite his heroics.  The reason being that I think Cazorla is due a big haul and Mata was the only player I could sell.  Of course they will face each other this weekend, but with Chelsea's poor home form and with their other midfield options I am taking a risk at the fact that Mata will have a quiet game.  I can obviously bring him back if I wish to once I activate my wild card.

The other reason I brought in Cazorla was to complement Podolski and Walcott in their DGW.  I believe their match v West Ham will be a goals-fest, when taking into account the Hammers injuries and their lack of clean sheets of late.  Moreover I have decided to captain Walcott due to his "OOP" role as a striker.

Recommended Player for Gameweek 23
  
Santi Cazorla

Can score and assist goals from across the park
Is a game changer and can instill creativity
At sub £10M, he is value for money
Is definitely due a hatful of points


FPLH's Hot Picks XI for GW 23

Reina

G. Johnson
Kompany
B. Davies
 
Walcott-c
Cazorla-vc
Michu
J. Cole

Van Persie
Podolski
Suarez

Subs:
Jaaskelainen
Cabaye
Debuchy
Shaw

9/15 Hot Picks' feature in FPLH's GW Team

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

FPL Hints - Gameweek 22

FPLH's GW 22 Team*

Transfers: Valencia & Riise (OUT) / Mata & Harte (IN): -4 hit

*FPLH reserves the right to change this team at any time. Any changes made will be confirmed on FPLH's Twitter and Facebook accounts.

Team Reasoning

If you don't already know, GW22 is in fact a Double Gameweek (DGW)!  Chelsea's re-arranged fixture with Southampton is due to be played on 16th January at the back end of GW22.  Naturally you would think that I would take a transfer hit to buy an array of DGW players?  Yes and No.

I decided to take a -4 hit to only bring in Mata (9.9) from Chelsea.  He has shined this season and it makes perfect sense to captain him in GW22, as he is an on form first team regular player.  Of course he didn't start v QPR, but naturally he was due a rest as a result of the busy festive period.  I decided to buy him as this season he has performed well against both big and small teams.

Following Chelsea's shock loss to QPR, I doubt they will be resting their big guns.  I was close to signing Ba, but ultimately decided against it as I wasn't convinced he would get 160-180mins during their DGW, due to competition with Torres.  I was also put off by purchasing Turnbull as he is a short-term solution, prone to conceding goals.  In addition Azpilicueta may seem a bargain, but with the imminent return of John Terry their defence could be reshuffled.  Luiz, who is already in my team, seems safe in his new midfield role especially with Mikel's departure to the African Cup of Nations.

My other purchase will be a surprise for some.  I bought Ian Harte.  At £3.8M he is ridiculously cheap and allows me to free up funds.  Sure Reading concede goals, but he has the capability to score them!  His career strike rate in league football is 18%, which is fantastic for a defender.  He has a history of taking penalties and free kicks, and in fact hit the woodwork against Tottenham in Reading's last PL match.

Since his return to the first team, Harte has scored 21 points, which can't be ignored either.  He may not have scored a goal, but I think he is certainly due one soon.  I could potentially keep him till the end of the season.  Call me crazy, but he might bag a few goals from now till May!  The extra benefit with him is that he is a safe bench option.  However, I would also play him in certain home matches, as follows:

GW 22 - West Brom (H)
GW 25 - Sunderland (H)
GW 27 - Wigan (H)
GW 29 - Aston Villa (H)
GW 32 - Southampton (H)
GW 35 - QPR (H)

I have captained Mata for this GW, which is a no brainer due to the DGW, with Luiz as the vice-captain.

Recommended Player for Gameweek 22
  
Juan Mata

Usually plays behind the striker in a support role.
So far scored 7 and assisted 8 goals in the PL. 
Has scored in both home and away matches.
At sub £9.9M, he is value for money.


FPLH's Hot Picks XI for GW 22

Howard

Luiz-vc
Jagielka
Harte
 
Snodgrass
Hazard
Mata-c
Fellaini

Van Persie
Berbatov
Defoe

Subs:
Lloris
Pilkington
Cuellar
Martin


4/15 Hot Picks' feature in FPLH's GW Team

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Guest Post: Do you really need to be reliant on Robin?

With the second half of the season upon us, our blog will host a series of ad hoc guest articles.  The first one is about FPL's talisman Robin Van Persie (RVP) and whether he is a must or not.  It is written by a person who has not had him in his team all season!

RVP-Free FPL Team & Its Exploits

A tweet related to FPL certainly got my attention this week. Surely no manager can be top of their super league, having not had Robin Van Persie at all this season. Can they? 16 league goals, numerous assists, and bonus points galore. To have the new Man United hit man in your Premier League Fantasy squad is a no brainer isn’t it? Surely? Well not for me.

I’ve been top of my super league since the very beginning of the season (currently by 54 points), and whilst the 5 people below me all have RVP (usually as Captain), I’ve held firm with my strategy of differentiators.

With 1195 points and ranked 7339, I thought it worth reflecting on some of those tough and instinctive decisions that as Fantasy Football managers we all sometimes make.

Robin Van Persie, is now at the £14m mark, and part of 40.9% of teams, having racked up 149 points. Compelling figures for sure. But he hasn’t been a part of my squad at all this season, and as his price continues to soar, it’s unlikely that he will be. Some will see this as a huge error, and suggest that a player of this calibre is an absolute must for any manager looking for success. But the one thing I have tried to remember over the years of playing this ridiculously addictive and frustrating game, is that a squad is there for a reason. For me, it’s as much about finding the hidden and unsuspecting gems, as picking the top goal scorer.

Spending £14m on one player probably means that you’ll be rooting around in the basement for a couple of bargains, or that you may not have many star players elsewhere. A sacrifice that I wasn’t willing to make.

There is an enormous amount of luck involved in the game we love, we know this. Despite all of the hours of research, and fretting over pressing the submit button, it’s so often about that instinctive timing.

At the start of the season, I made a conscious decision to stay clear of RVP, his future still uncertain and other strikers guaranteed games. My first picks were Aguero, Tevez and Defoe. City I thought would get off to a flyer, and with Spurs set to play 1 up front, and Defoe the only recognised striker at the time, my front 3 was set.

I then filled my squad with what I hoped would be goal scorers. Michu is one player I take the most satisfaction from this summer. In from the start, having read rave reviews about him in June and July, he’s been a roaring success. Alongside Bale, Walters and Hazard I was pretty confident that I had enough fire power to get me off to a good start. Aren’t strikers that are listed as midfielders just the greatest thing?!

As always, injuries, suspensions, fixtures and form dictate a certain amount of jiggling about with the squad, but in the main, my squad remains. The one constant, Aguero as captain and no RVP.

As his price began to rise once he joined United, and the goals began to flow, of course I began to wonder, should I put him in? Is it now or never? Will that change the make-up of my squad? Replacing Aguero with RVP would be a significant price jump, and sacrifices elsewhere would have to be made. I continued to hold off, my strikers and midfielders were still banging in goals, so I wasn’t worried at all.

Personally, I’d rather have 4 or 5 players capable of scoring double figures in any given week, then just be praying for a brace by RVP, with nothing else to back me up. You can see it on twitter, the relief of managers that captain RVP every week, when he gets an assist or a goal. Surely spreading your risk across your squad, gives you more opportunity for a decent return each week?

Tevez has been and gone, replaced by Hernandez in recent weeks, who even by coming off the bench for 20 minutes and getting a goal, (which is what United do best to kill teams off) has gained me some decent points. The introduction of Walcott has also paid off, whilst Fellaini, Mata and Toure have all played their part as well. All of which helping to maintain my healthy super league lead, with me still not having RVP within my squad.

I think we all assume that in the form RVP is in, he’ll probably bag 30 goals plus this season, which is an incredible achievement. And quite clearly, with nearly half of the season remaining, my strategy could all too easily come back to bite me. But for now, I’m happy with my choices. Aguero’s injury may further complicate things if it’s any more serious than first thought. That’s a bridge to cross when it comes to it.

The January wildcard poses an interesting dilemma for most of us. My last probable chance of getting RVP in, I’m pretty confident that I won’t cave. Will I regret that? Well we’ll have to wait and see.  For now, I’ll continue to search out the next burst of form, and have a squad that I think capable of scoring decent points each week. For what it’s worth, Papiss Cisse is high on my agenda.

RVP, undeniably a top goal scorer, and for most, a fantasy football dream. But at £14m, and whilst there are 15 players to pick, he’s not the man for me.