Thursday, 6 March 2014

Bantasy Football: Looking at United

It’s slim pickings this week – but you knew that already. Assuming you’re without your wildcard and you still have designs on being relevant at the end of the season, it’s time to start thinking hard about double gameweeks.

You would be my first choice... if there were no other choices

Manchester United: A rose by any other name?

The name used to be synonymous with success and dynasty. Now it conjures contemplations of underachievement, questionable management and a disaffected dressing room. When Roy Carroll is taking the piss, you know you’re in trouble. But Man U players could be the inspirational picks that let you waltz to the top of your mini-league and stay there until the final whistle blows on 11th May.

United have the best remaining schedule of any team – with no fantasy break. Their only tough fixtures are against Liverpool and City. Both are at Old Trafford. Both are also ritual goal fests in which the formbook is shredded, defenestrated and roundhouse kicked in the balls by Chuck Norris. If you’re still worried about the City game, don’t be – they also face Wham three days earlier as part of a double GW. The Hammers top the clean sheet table but tend to concede heavily at Upton Park for some reason – and lost 3-1 to United in the reverse fixture.

RVP (13.6m)

The Dutchman's return from injury hasn't been spectacular but it’s been crucial in United’s quest to obtain a top four berth. He’s scored four in his first five games back from injury – not bad considering how his teammates were getting all up in his area.

RVP's area - stay out

More consistent than a vegan’s stool, more effortlessly reliable than Tom Selleck and more imposing than a topless Putin; RVP is a great buy if you can bear to part with the newly omnipresent SAS pairing (Suarez and Sturridge).  Maybe your budget isn't big enough. Maybe you’re reluctant to gamble on the most injury-prone player since Jaime Redknapp, but he’s only owned by 16.7% of FPL managers compared to Suarez's ownership of 50.3% – now that's what I call butter. 

When not strutting stuff, Jaime ponders how good he could have been, had he ever played 3 games in a row

Rooney (11.1m)

The £85m man costs a mere £11.1m in the fantasy world. That’s a snip when you consider he’s bagged 8 or more points 11 times this season, making him excellent skipper material. His goal against Palace ended a 9 game baron spell but, much like Leonardo Di Caprio, he will inevitably rise from the ashes of shame and show us what he’s made of. It’s worth remembering that you won’t have to pay him £300,000 a week, and if he’s awful you can just blame Moyes like everyone else does.

Best Before: 2014

Januzaj (4.8m)

It’s staggering how many people neglect the first rule of fantasy football – No Man Utd midfielders. It’s as apt under Moyes as it was in the Fergie era; there’s just no way of knowing who’ll play. If you’d only ever met United fans, you’d think Januzaj had scored 20 goals this season. He's scored 3. He’s still owned by 10% because he’s cheaper than chips and had been playing pretty well for a young’un (even though it wasn’t really translating into consistent points) but his playing time has been slashed dramatically since RVP’s return and, well, see rule 1.

Defenders/De Gea

Vidic is off to Inter in the summer. Rio will probably be hanging up his boots (if not he should be) and United conceded two goals (real life goals, not dodgy penalties or nothin’) at home to Fulham. That’s all you need to know really.

All right so they’ve made back to back clean sheets at Arsenal and Palace but whom are you going to put in? Evra? He costs more than the sun (£6.5m). Vidic (£5.8m)? He’s also spenny, has his mind set on Italy and hasn’t scored once this season.

Smalling (£5.1m) is the only decent option but when Evans and Jones return, Moyes could revert to rotation at the back. Steer well clear. Old Trafford just ain’t the fortress it used to be.

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