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Weekly Picks

The Bargain Hunter - Week 22

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

You know, a little bit of luck sure can go a long way.


This was all I could think after looking back on my selections last week where I backed Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Bafetimbi Gomis at midfield and forward respectively. Anyone who watched Arsenal dump Stoke last weekend would have seen how involved the Ox was and how close he came to scoring a goal or two. He even drew the foul at the top of the box that led to Alexis Sanchez's free kick goal, a contribution that awards you an assist in the FPL game, but not true in Yahoo. He ended with only five points while Alexis hogged the rest.


Then there is Gomis. Swansea leveled the match against the Hammers when Gomis headed a corner kick toward the far post where it squirted its way between the woodwork and Mark Noble. Just the slightest bit of spin between the post and Noble's leg was enough to call it an own goal. So not only does Gomis have a potential goal wiped away, he doesn't get an assist or even so much as a shot on target. All I know is, SOMEONE headed the ball in a position for it to get in, and his name is Bafetimbi. He ended the day with just four points and left this writer extremely irate. I mean, shouldn't Gomis get credit for doing something there?


I had plenty of reason to be annoyed beyond that. As a Spurs fan, I am getting a bit tired of taking the first goal against Alan Pardew-managed sides and eventually losing. It is becoming old hat, fast. But I was also annoyed by my fantasy Yahoo side despite putting up a seemingly respectable 126 points. Reason being, I felt I was a victim of having TOO MUCH cash at my disposal which led to options like Jores Okore sitting on my bench with 14 points while I splashed over 16m for the services of Santi Cazorla, because I felt Arsenal were going to put up a crooked number on the Potters, which they did, but the second highest scoring midfielder on the season, with a tantalizing >3% ownership, gave me a measly five points. Thanks again Alexis.


At keeper and defender, it was a piece of cake. West Brom did what you can expect from them in most home fixtures against clubs in the bottom half of the table going forward -- they kept things clean. Ben Foster and Andre Wisdom will continue to provide value more often than not until their prices reflect the impact of Tony Pulis. In all, I think my picks were sound. Let's hope a bit of good fortune can turn some of these good performances into fantasy points as we look ahead to Week 22:




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Joel Robles (Everton) Let me go ahead and lay it all out on the line right from the jump. Suggesting budget keepers sometimes feels like suggesting the best timeshare in Antarctica. Even the best of the cheap in a given week can return very little, while the worst...well, they just bring your whole squad down. Make no mistake, Everton have been woeful. Since Tim Howard went down, I haven't suggested Robles and it must have been for good reason because his cost remains at the bare minimum 1m in the Yahoo game. Had he given us one good performance, his price would be elevated drastically. Think of Ben Hamer. He cost just the 1m minimum when Kasper Schmeichel went down injured, has had two decent games out of six, and now costs 6.39m, less than a million than Thibaut Courtois. I cannot see a home match against West Brom going in favor of the Baggies. If WBA do win, it will be of the 0-1 variety and while that does not translate to a great day for Robles, it doesn't kill you either. For 1m, the idea is that any points at the position will be gravy and additional points will be made up at other positions with the extra cash. If he is too risky for you as a starter, he is the best backup option available now and may figure in your thinking at some point in the next month until Tim Howard returns. Otherwise you are going to have to spend at least an extra 5m at this position if you want to pay for a little more security with the next best cheapest option below.


Other Option for Goalkeeper 

Tom Heaton (6.19m, home to Crystal Palace)   






Florin Gardos (Southampton) If you happen to follow me on Twitter, you may have noticed a tweet the moment Toby Alderweireld hobbled off the pitch in the Saints win at Old Trafford on Sunday. It said something along the lines of "Florin Gardos, the cheapest defender in the Yahoo game, is on to replace an injured Alderweireld. The time to barndoor him in your squad is NOW!" Well, Gardos stepped up big, making some crucial tackles to help the Saints keep a cleanie against a Red Devils side who've been red hot at home all season. He was 1.75m when I sent out that tweet. A couple of hours later, the price spiked to 2.98m. I am sure I can find a way to utilize the extra 1.23m somewhere, but even if you missed the discount, a Saints defender for under 3m is what fantasy dreams are made of. Alderweireld looks to be out for a month according to early reports and Maya Yoshida is off at the Asia Cup. The job is Gardos' and with his display on Sunday, there is no reason for Ronald Koeman to doubt him. The Saints head north to an always tricky fixture at St. James' Park this weekend but in case you haven't noticed, Newcastle United have about 2/3rds of their squad in the physio room, off on an international tournament or serving a suspension. Meanwhile, Southie continue to rack up clean sheets when they aren't "supposed" to, so there is no reason to doubt their road form unless perhaps a trip to Stamford Bridge or the Etihad. His ownership percentage is under 4% as of this writing. Buy him.


Other Options for Defense 

John Stones (5.34m, home to West Brom)        Luke Shaw (6.39m, away to QPR)




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Samir Nasri (Manchester City) I will get to the feature pick in a moment but it is worth breaking format for a second to sound the alarm and inform managers that the time to buy Theo Walcott is NOW. I cannot recommend him as a starting option for this week. He travels to Manchester City and he may make one more bench appearance before getting regular starts, but the value that he brings when fit...it is worth stashing him as your fifth midfielder immediately and let him sit there. As long as you have one decent bench option ahead of him, then the odds he will factor into your score this week are slim to none. Still, buy him now at 4.30m. You will be glad you did down the road. Now, to the actual feature pick. I had Nasri as a secondary option in this column last week at which point he only cost 7.11m. Now, at 7.94m, he only barely qualifies as a bargain, but he is a nailed on attacking City player for under 8m which to me is as good a value as anything. He outscored David Silva in Yahoo last week and costs several million less. Is Silva a better overall fantasy producer than Nasri? Of course. But remember, the idea is to look for production that validates price. With Sergio Aguero looking set to start, the City attack will be looking to score goals at home and I think they will without much problem against an Arsenal side that will probably be sticking with David Ospina in goal, who was not tested AT ALL in the Gunners win over the Potters last weekend. That lack of test may prove fatal for Arsenal. Nasri is unlikely to be City's top fantasy producer this weekend, but he should get enough to warrant selection.


Other Options for Midfield 


Eljero Elia (4.64m, away to Newcastle)  Kevin Nolan (7.65m, home to Hull City)



Enner Valencia (West Ham United) I would have liked to suggest a bargain Hammer from their defense as they get set to host a Hull City side who are in complete disarray, especially in attack where they cannot seem to find the net when their best players are fit. Now Nikica Jelavic and Abel Hernandez are sidelined, it would seem a Hammer clean sheet is a solid a bet as one can make this week in the PL. That does not mean West Ham won't look to score themselves. The Tigers defense hasn't been impressive either and you have to like the Hammers when they are at home. Coming off an emotional FA Cup victory last night, the only thing to fear is that they mentally check out against a side that they feel they should beat easily. That is always a danger in these kind of matchups. For only 5.64m, you can own the services of Enner Valencia. With Diafra Sakho injured, Valencia's spot in the XI is safe and if you caught him in action in Brazil over the summer, you know this kid has the potential to score multiple goals. With his pace, Andy Carroll's height and Stewart Downing's excellent crossing skills, the trio make for a dangerous combination on any counter-attack. It isn't a question of whether the opportunity will be there for Valencia, it is only a matter of whether he executes them.


Other Option for Forward 


Graziano Pelle (5.92m, away to Newcastle)





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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.