Football is back and all is good with the world! Okay, it wasn’t the most edge-of- your-seat week that we’ve ever seen to start off a season but there was plenty of drama, with Swansea knocking off Man United at home and Southampton and Burnley giving Liverpool and Chelsea scares (albeit an extremely brief one for Chelsea). The other great thing is now we have some stats and information to work with which allows me to provide better rankings for you guys!
I will hold my hands up as I made some pretty spectacular flame outs last week, but the theory behind some of them was solid – I just got the wrong player. This is highlighted by the choices of Vertonghen and Davies in my top 20 because Tottenham performed how I expected in terms of a clean sheet but they just didn’t play the people I expected! Luis was a punt and maybe I shouldn’t have rated him so high, but I was pretty confident in Chelsea’s defence (and here’s a hint: I will be for most of the season) but Mourinho went for the man who did so well last year in Azpilicueta.
The reason I highlighted the defensive players there is because defence is a minefield to predict and I will go as far as to say it’s the hardest position to get right when selecting a team. When I am ranking defenders I am torn between ranking higher the guys who I feel will get a clean sheet, or the guys who have a better chance to score goals and get assists. In the end I tend to go with a hybrid where I rank defenders firstly on clean sheet potential (based on opposition and strength of their defensive unit) and then adjust for the guys I feel are threats for goals and assists (full backs tend to get a boost here).
One quick note, please try not to sucked in by the good feeling around the defenders that did score goals this week. James Chester may only score one goal all season (as he did last year) and you have already missed it, so don’t add him in a panic now expecting more goals to follow. There are better more consistent options out there on a week to week basis (although I really like their match up against Stoke this week, so if you do need to fill a spot he’s worth an add on a match up basis).
I should have said last week that the injury advice in this article is aimed at draft leagues mainly, but for salary cap the general rule of thumb is own them the week they come back and not before and only take risks on starting 50/75% players who are absolute studs!
As with last week injured guys are listed below with a snippet of fantasy analysis to follow.
|2||De Gea||Man Utd||Sunderland||1|
|9||Speroni||Crystal Palace||West Ham||2|
|15||Adrian||West Ham||Crystal Palace||3|
|32||Hangeland||Crystal Palace||West Ham||7|
|34||van Aanholt||Sunderland||Man Utd||4|
|47||O’Brien||West Ham||Crystal Palace||8|
|48||Reid||West Ham||Crystal Palace||2|
- Gibbs (Arsenal) Hamstring Injury (13th September): Not a long layoff and he is a hot property in fantasy defenders, so it’s worth holding onto him unless the news gets worse.
- Mertesacker (Arsenal) Lacking Match Fitness (75% chance of playing): Chamber’s played so well last week that Wenger may rest him one more week but it is a tough match up this week and he is a World Cup-winning defender.
- Sagna (Man City) Lacking Match Fitness (75% chance of playing): I am expecting Zabaleta back this week so doubt we see much of Sagna in general. Leave him on the wire until we see he has a role when he’s fit.
- Zabaleta (Man City) Lacking Match Fitness (75% chance of playing): I would expect him back this week and he is always a must start when healthy.
- Mangala (Man City) Lacking Match Fitness (This Weekend): Wouldn’t surprise me if he returned but it isn’t a great match up so it isn’t worth risking.
- Shaw (Man United) Hamstring Injury (13th September): Identical to Gibbs
- Evans (Man United) Knock (This weekend): He is expected to return and after Blackett’s couple of mistakes last week I expect to see him jump right back in to a good match up hence the high ranking.
- Dann (Crystal Palace) Thigh Injury (75% chance of playing): You’re not going to be rushing to have him your team and nor is anyone else so safer to leave him out
- Bruce (Hull) Back Injury (75% chance of playing): As above
- Ryan Taylor (Newcastle) Lacking Match Fitness (20th September): Leave him on the wire.
- Santon (Newcastle) Knee Injury (13th September): Not sure of his role so I wouldn’t own him especially as he isn’t returning for a week or two.
- Yanga-Mbiwa (Newcastle) Knock (75% chance of playing): Not sure where he fits in so don’t pick him up this week.
- Flanagan (Liverpool) Knee Injury (This Weekend): Another one who I am not sure where he fits in so I wouldn’t commit to him this week.
- Agger (Liverpool) Knee Injury (This Weekend): Can’t see him replacing Lovren or Skrtel so leave him off your team.
- Walker (Tottenham) Pelvic Injury (50% chance of playing): He makes me so nervous with these injuries. I’m not dropping him yet but I am not starting him either.
- Vertonghen (Tottenham) Lacking Match Fitness (75% chance of playing): I think he returns this week but it bit me last week. Does explain why Dier and Kaboul are so low for me in the rankings, though!
- McAuley (West Brom) Calf Injury (50% chance of playing): Not worth owning right now in my opinion
- Lescott (West Brom) Knee Injury (Return Unknown): I wouldn’t be owning him right now
- Collins (West Ham) SUSPENDED (30th August): I won’t be owning him even when he isn’t suspended
- Naughton (Tottenham) SUSPENDED (31st August): An interesting one of Walker is injured so if you own him hold onto him but if you don’t then don’t rush to get him this week.
|22||Nolan||West Ham||Crystal Palace||2|
|47||Noble||West Ham||Crystal Palace||0|
- Arteta (Arsenal) Ankle Injury (75% chance of playing): Potentially opens the door for Özil and Cazorla in the same team this weekend but I am not counting on it. As for him I can see him being a regular so hold onto him and monitor the injury next week.
- Özil (Arsenal) Lacking Match Fitness (75% chance of playing): I think he returns for some time late in the game but I am not expecting much more. However, the potential he could play is what holds Cazorla down in the 20’s for me this week.
- Walcott (Arsenal) Knee Injury (13th September): Just bench him and grin and bear it because it will be worth it.
- Puncheon (Crystal Palace) SUSPENDED (30th August): Worth keeping hold of as he is a decent bet for a few goals and assists.
- Dembele, Paulinho and Chadli (Tottenham) Lacking Match Fitness (75% chance of playing): There are too many options in Tottenham’s midfield for me to want to own them right now.
- Lallana (Liverpool) Knee Injury (20th September): You have no choice but to hold onto him because if you don’t he won’t be there next week for you to pick up.
- Lingard (Man United) Ankle Injury (75% chance of playing): Had his debut cut short and I cannot see him being risked with Valencia and Rafael returning to fitness this week.
- Fellaini (Man United) Foot Injury (50% chance of playing): Uninspiring option off the bench for United. Yeah, I don’t want that on my roster.
- Drinkwater (Leicester) Hamstring Injury (31st August): Keep a hold for this week and see how he progresses for next week.
- Snodgrass (Hull) Knee Injury (Return Unknown): This hurts me because I love Snodgrass, but you have to drop him until he is back because he could be done for the year.
- De Jong (Newcastle) Knee Injury (50% chance of playing): Keep hold of him if you own him but isn’t worth risking starting.
- Taarabt (QPR) Lacking Match Fitness (23rd August): A massive flyer but if he is on your roster this week then bench him for a week or two and see if he can be the spark QPR need to stay up this year.
- Giaccherini (Sunderland) Groin Injury (Return Unknown): Not worth owning right now
- Barkley (Everton) Knee Injury (Return Unknown): As my colleague Ryan Rabiego reported earlier there is some good news and his injury may only be eight weeks and not five months as previously thought. Definitely worth holding onto if it is only eight weeks because someone will take that risk.
- Lampard (Man City) Lacking Match Fitness (75% chance of playing): Only worth a mention because of the name, but you cannot really consider owning him.
- Gnabry (Arsenal) Knock (Return Unknown): Just an interesting under the radar guy especially if he gets healthy and goes out on loan, but do not own yet.
|23||Campbell||Crystal Palace||West Ham||2|
|31||Cole||West Ham||Crystal Palace||2|
|34||Gayle||Crystal Palace||West Ham||1|
- Sanogo (Arsenal) Hamstring Injury (75% chance of playing): Even if he is fit for selection, the niggle means I expect to see Giroud start upfront hence Giroud’s ranking this week.
- Rodriguez (Southampton) Knee Injury (Return Unknown): Hold and wait is all I can say because he is someone that other people will be willing to hold.
- Vokes (Burnley) Knee Injury (Return Unknown): Not sure I could evidence owning him right now.
- Vardy (Leicester) Thigh Injury (75% chance of playing): I am scared he doesn’t get picked in front of Nugent but he is worth owning for me just to see his role. Although don’t expect much this week against Chelsea even if he plays.
- Podolski (Arsenal) Lacking Match Fitness (75% chance of playing): His role scares me but in a deep league its worth seeing if he has one. In shallow leagues I wouldn’t own him, honestly.
- Negredo (Man City) Foot Injury (27th September): Similar to Rodriguez, you have to keep hold because if you drop him someone else will pick him up.
- Benteke (Aston Villa) Achilles Injury (Return Unknown): As with Negredo and Rodriguez
- Carroll (Newcastle) Ankle Injury (Return Unknown): Don’t own yet as he could be out a while.
- Welbeck (Man United) Knee Injury (This Weekend): Worth owning just to see his role.
- Cisse (Newcastle) Knee Injury (Return Unknown): Not worth owning because they have a number of options.
So, on the whole, while the rankings got easier with more information, they were also made a little trickier with a few injuries taking out top 20-30 players at their positions in week one. Unfortunately, all you can do with injuries is stay up to date and react accordingly while trying to balance a competitive fantasy squad at the same time.
As always any questions you have can be directed my way over Follow