“Well that was a dud,” said just about every Fantasy Premier League manager this past weekend. When Yaya Toure is the star of the weekend in his first game back from that awkward agent standoff, you know that something is up (but outside out of Crystal Palace fans, who wasn’t cheering for Yaya on Saturday?).
With all of the excitement around no more international breaks until the spring, there was not much else to celebrate this weekend unless your dream team is full of West Brom and Sunderland players. And if that’s the case then I just feel sorry for you, like how we should feel for West Ham after going from three points to zero in the final five minutes of the match.
So it should come as no surprise that my fantasy picks were all duds as well. Swansea and Mike van der Hoorn were a minute away from a clean sheet, excpet van der Hoorn wasn't even playing, and that’s about as close as I got to any points this weekend. However, I wouldn’t turn my back on Phil Jones and Andre Ayew; their points are still on the way.
We’ve filled up most of our Fantrax draft leagues, but it’s never too late to join. You can find them all here under “Rotoworld Draft League”. If they are all filled up, let us know on Twitter and we’ll add more leagues. For obvious reasons, we’re capping leagues at 10 users in order to encourage a higher level of competition. And if you’re bored of the attacking-based FPL.com or Perfect XI formats, our salary cap league on Fantrax (Rotoworld Salary Cap) mirrors the old Yahoo format that includes advanced statistics and defensive metrics. It’s not for the casual FPL.com player, and that’s why we love it.
Without further delay, here are the bargains for Week 13. I’m welcoming all suggestions and debates on Twitter (@gastelumEPL) and hopefully I can include your thoughts here in this column.
One-week Pick (OWP) - When a regular is suspended for a match, ineligible to face his parent club as a loanee, or his fill-in looks to deputize for only a week while the regular nurses a minor injury, this is where to find some replacements. They should only be looked at when you really need help at a position that week alone, and not looked at as long term plays. Best for salary cap leagues with unlimited transactions.
Short-term Pick (STP) - When a regular faces a multi-game suspension, an injury layoff lasting 2-5 weeks, international commitment, etc., this is where you look for players that can offer more beyond one week but do have a limited shelf life in most cases. Worth using a waiver claim or spending a bit more of your free agent budget (FAAB) than the One Week Buys. Can be useful in salary-cap format as long as you are comfortable with possibly needing to transfer them out in a few weeks.
Long-term Picks (LTP) - When a regular is either facing a month or more out or has lost his spot seemingly to someone better, these are the players that emerge as potential long-term investments and are therefore the most valuable of the group and worth paying up. Great for any format, but especially valuable in the FPL.com game or draft leagues with limited waiver claims.
GK – Wayne Hennessey (Crystal Palace)
Welcome back Mr. Hennessey. The Crystal Palace goalkeeper who put together a handful of shaky performances last season has another chance to show what he can do following an injury to starting keeper Steve Mandanda. Manager Alan Pardew said Mandanda could miss weeks with a knee injury, meaning Hennessey should be the go-to guy for the time being unless Pardew has a change of heart and goes with Julian Speroni. Hennessey’s first game back came against Manchester City this weekend, but if he remains the starter for the next few weeks the schedule becomes much more favorable with Swansea City, Southamtpon and Hull City up next. The Welsh international is available in 92 percent of Fantrax draft leagues if you have a desperate need for a keeper, but he’s hardly even a short-term pick unless Mandanda suffers a setback.
DEF – Sebastian Prodl (Watford)
Prodl has proven to be one of Watford manager Walter Mazzarri’s most trusted defenders this season. He’s started every Premier League match but two this season, which just happened to be the club’s worst defeats of the year (a 4-2 loss to West Ham and a 6-1 thrashing from Liverpool). The Watford defense held strong against the defending Premier League champs in a 2-1 win against Leicester City this past weekend, only conceding a penalty. And now, the Hornets will face Stoke City, West Brom and Everton in the next three weeks before Manchester City, and then Sunderland and Crystal Palace. Because of the schedule, you could even consider Prodl to be a long-term buy, although I prefer Holebas or Janmaat with their attacking roles. But Prodl is available in 90 percent of draft leagues, and that along with the schedule should make you consider him as an extra defender.
DEF – Allan Nyom (West Brom)
Since we’re on the topic of Watford defenders, we might as throw Nyom into the mix, and not just because he, like the rest of the club, had his best match of the season in a 4-0 win against Burnley on Monday. It was only a matter of time before manager Tony Pulis opted to go with the veteran full-back, who arrived this summer from Watford in a £4 million move to shore up the Baggies defense with Chris Brunt injured at the start of this season. But now Nyom is the go-to left-back over both Brunt and Brendan Galloway. And now that West Brom is riding high, Hull City and Watford are both up next on the schedule. A betting man would wager on a clean sheet there, so it would be best to have a West Brom defender in your lineup and Nyom is available in more than 90 percent of Fantrax draft leagues, making him a short-term pick at the very least.
MID – James Morrison (West Brom)
I guess we’re going to follow this trend and now stick with a West Brom midfielder. Morrison was one of the top performers on the pitch in Monday’s 4-0 win against Burnley (in my opinion, the man of the match). On the stat-sheet, he only recorded one goal on the night, but if the man got points for hockey assists, he would’ve been at the top of the points list this week. Pulis has gone with the Scottish international for the club’s last two matches, and Morrison has made him look like a genius with two goals and a handful of chances created. For the time being, there’s no way that Morrison is dropped from the starting lineup, so let’s call him a short-term buy. Taken in just 10.4 percent of draft leagues, Morrison could be a nice alternative coming off your bench with Hull City and Watford up next.
FWD – Victor Anichebe (Sunderland)
Okay, seriously, I didn’t plan this at all. I only just noticed the order as I was writing this, but Anichebe happens to be a former West Brom forward just released by the club last season. Regardless, here’s a forward who has really turned it on since receiving his first Sunderland start in Week 11. In the past two weeks, the Nigerian international has recorded three goals and an assist and now looks to be a fixture in David Moyes’ lineup alongside Jermain Defoe, who has been in excellent form in his own right. I’m still waiting to see if Anichebe can stay healthy and continue this run, but for now he’s easily a short-term buy. With Liverpool, Leicester City and Swansea City in the next three weeks, there will be plenty of chances for him. Still a free agent in 75 percent of Fantrax draft leagues, Anichebe could be that extra forward off the bench that comes through in a pinch.