Given my recent performance, you’d be forgiven for suggesting that I should be the last person to offer any kind of advice on fantasy footy. All I can say in response is, I do actually talk a good game. I just never seem to be shrewd enough to heed my own advice! Anyway, as Billy Davies used to say, we don’t pay attention to the league table until January or February. So here are my thoughts for this week…
Teams with good upcoming fixtures: Arsenal, Manchester City, Aston Villa, West Bromwich Albion
Most of you will have realised by this stage of the season that if you don’t have Wayne Rooney (£12.4m), you’re doing it wrong. He is expensive though and if you are unable to afford the Roon, Javier Hernandez (£10m) is a cheaper option. Chicharito has a habit of popping up in the right place at the right time and I’d back him to net against Chelsea. United’s wingers Ashley Young (£10.3m) and Luis Nani (£9.9m) are also going to be popular choices, but consider that Alex Ferguson’s men have tough fixtures against Chelsea at Old Trafford and Stoke at the Britannia next up before loading your side with Red Devils.
As well as jumping on the bandwagon as soon as players hit form, another good tactic this season is to select three players from whatever team is playing Blackburn Rovers. This week it’s Arsenal. Robin Van Persie (£11.9m) is a goal machine and will be money well spent. It could also be worth considering Arsenal midfielders Theo Walcott (£9m) and Mikel Arteta (£8.2m) who have goals and assists in them. Three players from the Gunners is a good idea, bearing in mind their next fixtures are Blackburn away and Bolton at home.
It also seems that you can’t go far wrong picking Manchester City players this season, particularly David Silva (£9.8m) and Sergio Aguero (£11m). City play Fulham this weekend before hosting Everton and then it’s a welcom trip to Ewood so get these boys in if you can afford it. Defensive players from Roberto Mancini’s side are always a good bet as well and with Kolo Toure returning from his ban, Vincent Kompany (£6m) or Gael Clichy (£5.9m) are probably the most likely to be guaranteed a starting role. Joe Hart (£7m) as well, although expensive, will rack up the points.
If only you were given £200m to spend, then you could afford all of these lads! So, if you’re unwilling or unable to spunk most of your budget on having Aguero, RVP and the Roon up front, you may consider the likes of Emmanuel Adebayor (£8m), Gabriel Agbonlahor (£6.6m) or Shane Long (£6.1m). Agbnolahor is doing well this season with Ashley Young and Stewart Downing out of the picture and is well worth considering at £6.6m. Villa have a home game against Newcastle (when is their bubble going to burst?!) and travel to QPR next week. Adebayor meanwhile will still be keen to ingratiate himself to the Tottenham fans, and is well capable of scoring against Liverpool and Wigan. Shane Long has started the season well at West Brom and with the Baggies playing Swansea and Fulham in their next two games, he has to be considered a bargain at £6.1m.
Others to consider
Defensive options from Newcastle – Tim Krul (£4.5m, 24 points), Danny Simpson (£4m, 21 points), Fabricio Coloccini (£5m, 19 points).
Defensive options from Stoke – Asmir Begovic (£5m, 30 points), Ryan Shawcross (£5.1m, 23 points), Robert Huth (£6m, 20 points).
I’m surprised Newcastle have started the season so well and am just waiting for the bubble to burst. But, you have to buy form in this game and their back line is looking good so far, and cheap. Stoke defenders are always going to be popular choices. Mean bastards the Potters are and the chaos they create from lumping balls into the opposition penalty area means anything can happen and anyone can score.
Also worth a mention is Swansea stopper Michel Vorm (£4.1m). He’ll make plenty of saves and even if you only want to select him as a sub keeper, at £4.1m, you could do a lot worse.