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Weekly Picks

The Bargain Hunter - Week 21

by Steve Rothgeb
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

Good day, fellow bargaineers! It feels great to keep the economy going by shopping and what better time to do it than now, immediately after the holiday season? I have memories of toys I yearned for as a child during the holidays that cost an insane amount of money and as soon as the calendar flipped, I'd see the same toy in the same store now tossed in with a pile of other random toys in a giant box marked "Bargain Bin". It felt, sad. Forgive the following references if you were not a child of the 80's.


As a kid, I couldn't understand how a Gremlins Trapper Keeper could go from being a hot ticket item to yesterday's trash seemingly overnight. It would only be until later in life that I understood the nature of the bargain through sports. One minute you are a hero, the next, you stink. People tend to give up on items the instant the shine wears off and move on to the next thing. But some people recognize the value of an item long term. They can see that while a Teddy Ruxpin may only appeal to the masses during Christmas of 1986, eventually it will become valuable again, as a collectible. 


Christian Benteke is my Teddy Ruxpin. Perhaps the general population have given up on the notion that he has 20 goal seasons in him. Considering Aston Villa have only scored 11 goals AS A TEAM twenty weeks into this season, it would be hard for me to pin the blame for his struggle squarely on his shoulders. He needs help. I am positive if he were playing for Stoke or Newcastle or any club with a halfway decent playmaker, the term "Bentekkers" would be heard throughout the Premier League community on a regular basis. Just hang in there Christian. I have a feeling you won't be left aside like an unwanted toy for too much longer.


I would revisit how things worked out with Week 20 in the Bargain Hunter in some detail, but let's just say I do not want to start off 2015 with a "negative" attitude. Onward and upward, let's take a look at the picks for Week 21:




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Ben Foster (West Bromwich Albion) In a word...Pulis. Yes there is a new boss at The Hawthorns and he is half tactician-half magician in his ability to get results for his club, where defense is paramount. In his days at Stoke City and Crystal Palace, Pulis made a 1-0 home win an art form and there is no reason to think he will change his approach with the Baggies. This weekend, it is a home affair with a Hull side that has struggled to score more often than not. In fact, they have been held without a goal in 8 out of their last 12 league matches, a much more significant sample size than going on recent form in which they did manage to put two past the Toffees. Other than perhaps Aston Villa, there isn't a better opponent you want a fantasy keeper facing right now than Hull. Foster is a solid keeper and with Pulis in tow, it increases his outlook for the season as well as this week. But this week, he will only cost you 3.61m in the Yahoo game, and if you play FPL, he could be the best value at his position for the second half of the season and everyone has a January wildcard to play. 


Other Option for Goalkeeper 

Tom Heaton (3.91m, home to QPR)   






Andre Wisdom (West Bromwich Albion) After coughing up five goals to Spurs on New Year's Day, all Chelsea defensive options have seen their prices plummet into a very affordable range, but not quite Bargain Hunter range. If you like their chances of turning things around at home against Newcastle, I highly recommend you pick one up...you may be holding them at a relative bargain for weeks to come. The true bargain hunter has to find a defender for under 7m though, and this week I like Wisdom. Why, do you ask? In a word...Pulis. If you think I am phoning in my defender selection by drawing him from the same team as my keeper pick, you better get WISE. You better get some Andre Wisdom. It is unprecedented in Bargain Hunter history that I have matched a keeper and defender from the same club in the same week. Do you see the power of the Pulis system? Heck, even one of my secondary options below, shocker, is a Baggie. Wisdom hasn't exactly been rubbish before Pulis' arrival either. He has more points in the Yahoo game this season than names like Pablo Zabaleta or Jan Vertonghen. He is worth the extra 2m over Baird for the job security and potential beyond clean sheet points.


Other Options for Defense 

Steven Reid (4.02m, home to QPR)        Chris Baird (4.69m, home to Hull City)




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Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal) The Gunners are finally at full strength at the back, unless you count a bit of tobacco use by one Wojciech Szczesny, but continue to be riddled with injury at the attacking positions. Oxlade-Chamberlain has been getting plenty of pitch time this season because of it but it has not translated into success for him yet. Just one goal and one assist on the season so far helps explain why his price consistently hovers in the bargain range. This one is a gut call folks...I just think he is due. Arsenal came up without a goal in their last league match so the casual manager probably isn't considering options there this week as much as usual. But a home match with Stoke can cure one's stagnant attack quickly. I see the Gunners putting up a crooked number on the Potters and it is time for the Ox to get a piece of the pie. He managed to put up a respectable nine points at St. Mary's despite the Gunners firing blanks. At 7.61m, he is one more good performance away from graduating from the Bargain Academy.


Other Options for Midfield 


Samir Nasri (7.11m, away to Everton)  James Ward-Prowse (7.11m, away to Manchester United)



Bafetimbi Gomis (Swansea City) The opportunity has arrived for Gomis with Wilfried Bony off to play for his country, and pretty soon, for a different club in all likelihood. Garry Monk signed Nelson Oliveira on loan to back Gomis up and give him a bit of competition but the job is for Gomis to lose. Unfortunately for the Swans, they face a tough January schedule with Gomis' best opportunity to shine perhaps being this week as they host West Ham. They get Chelsea and Southampton immediately thereafter. While that sort of schedule can be intimidating for a newly anointed striker, Gomis picked up some confidence with a goal in the Swans recent FA Cup match. Hailing from Lyon, he has the pedigree. He has plenty of strength to shake off defenders and hold the ball up for his teammates the way Bony does, he just has to learn how to finish smartly...that is where, as the kids say, the points are at. If you have three nailed on forwards at below-market cost ready to go for you, I recommend you stick. This is a pick for those willing to take a risk on a player who could potentially double, if not triple, his current 5.25m Yahoo price tag, which is actually a prise rise following his 12 pointer on New Year's Day.


Other Option for Forward 


Leonardo Ulloa (6.59m, home to Aston Villa)





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Steve Rothgeb
Steve Rothgeb is a contributor for Rotoworld.com and WorldSoccerTalk.com, a self-proclaimed fantasy sports oracle, and Tottenham Hotspur fanatic. He can be found on Twitter @FuzzyWarbles.