How have you started off your season? Languishing in the bottom few of your league? Reaching for that wildcard already? This weekly hints and tips column can turn it all around for you! (Disclaimer: the author is currently heading for mid-table mediocrity in all his leagues, success not guaranteed). Whilst a lot of this column will be based around the official Premier League Fantasy Football game, there should be plenty of information that will affect your team regardless of which league you’re signed up to.
Fixture’s Analysis: First up a quick look at which teams have the easiest looking fixtures this weekend. With Super Sunday pitting four of the league’s best teams against each other, you’ll need to look further afield to get those player’s with point-friendly home games into your side. Newcastle and Tottenham’s home games, against Norwich and QPR respectively, look like opportunities for points, as does Chelsea‘s home match with Stoke. In the midlands, West Brom host Reading, who are yet to spark into life this season. Finally it may be worth taking a look at Wigan and Fulham players. With the normally travel-shy Cottagers heading to slow starters Wigan, there could be goals for both teams given the array of attacking talent each side has.
Transfers In: With those fixtures in mind it’s probably not a good idea to bring out the wildcard this week unless you’re really stricken with injuries. Looking at Spurs, Defoe (7.6) and Bale (9.3) look like the best bet for goals, with Ben Arfa (7.7) and Ba (7.7) the biggest threats for Newcastle. From Chelsea, Torres (10.1) has netted in his first two home games this season, and if you’re planning on bringing in Hazard (10.3) at any point, this might be a good time, before his price rise gets even further out of hand.
For the bargain hunter, Dembele (6.1) and Bertrand (4.6) could be cheap ways into the Spurs and Chelsea midfields. Though the latter is always a rotation risk, if he does start there's a good chance of a clean sheet to go with any attacking returns. Fulham and Wigan provide more chances for cheap points, with Berbatov (7.1) and Kacaniklic (4.6) worthy of the high demand they’re in at Fulham, and Maloney (5.0) on penaltiess for the home team. For West Brom cover, McAuley (5.2) has picked up points at both ends of the pitch this season, and Steve Clarke has hinted that Lukaku (6.5) will feature against Reading.
As always, if you've already planned your transfer, get it done now and avoid any price rises before the weekend. Berbatov, Kacaniklic and Ben Arfa are all likely to rise in price again before Saturday morning.
Selection Doubts: Coloccini continues to look a doubt for the weekend, and Carlos Cuellar has been ruled out. Alex Ferguson has said he is happy rotating his keepers all season, making Lindegaard and De Gea both risky picks. Sergio Aguero should return to action this weekend, though it will probably be from the bench if he does.
Captain Choice: Tricky one this week, but if you have him, stick the armband on Eden Hazard.
image: © Ben Sutherland