The Force Awakens...
When it comes to nostalgia, there might never have been a more heartstring-tugging week for movies than this one. The world has Star Wars fever yet again, as we put our hopes back into the hands of J.J. Abrams in seeing the film's latest trailer. Yesterday marked the precise date that Marty McFly traveled into the future from the ever-beloved Back to the Future franchise that began thirty years ago, and, while perhaps not nearly as important on other people's list, an announcement that there would be a sequel to The Big Lebowski came across the news wire, and I for one am ready to get some ten pin practice in soon.
How fitting is it then, as we remember some of the things we enjoy so much from the past, that the Weekly Player Picks column has returned to Rotoworld?
Nik Argiropoulos was at the helm of this very popular featured article in season's past, and it is with much honor and excitement that I have been given the opportunity to step into his Shaquille O'Neal sized-shoes and continue the tradition of presenting the best opitons fantasy Premier League has to offer on a weekly basis. In my view, Nik is the legend that is Obi-Wan Kenobi, and I am just a Jedi apprentice named Luke Skywalker, learning how to wield a light saber for the first time, though unlike Luke, I have opted against sporting a mullet while in training.
Had enough Star Wars references yet? I hope so, because we have business to attend to. First, let's take a glimpse at this week's fixture list:
Week 10 Fixtures
Aston Villa v Swansea City
Leicester City v Crystal Palace
Norwich City v West Bromwich Albion
Stoke City v Watford
West Ham United v Chelsea
Arsenal v Everton
Sunderland v Newcastle
AFC Bournemouth v Tottenham
Manchester United v Manchester City
Liverpool v Southampton
Upon inspection, one really has to like attacking returns from the Leicester match, because they keep scoring and they keep conceding. If you like a good derby you are in luck this weekend. There are two on hand, one in Tyneside, the other in Manchester, where surprises always seem to occur with every meeting of local rivals. Jurgen Klopp makes his league debut at Anfield while Arsenal, who are in fine form, will enjoy some home cooking against Everton.
What follows are my top picks at each position. It doesn't matter what format you play, these rankings will help you figure out how players at each position compare with one another, and can help you on transfer decisions in the FPL.com game, who to start or bench in draft leagues, and who is worth putting up the cash for in salary-based leagues. So without further ado, let's get cracking.....
Petr Cech - Level with Spurs on least goals conceded this season, the Arsenal shot-stopper gets the edge with the home game versus the next best option.
Jack Butland - Stoke are in form, as is Butland. As long as they keep Igahlo in check, good shot at a 3rd straight clean sheet.
Simon Mignolet - I see Klopp in his Anfield debut keeping a tight defense to account for questionable firepower in the attack. Mignolet had a very nice performance last time out at White Hart Lane.
Boaz Myhill - West Brom are always in the mood for a clean sheet. Myhill is tied for the lead in that department and should have a fair shot, even on the road, against the Canaries.
Brad Guzan - Villa’s best chance at a positive result is to take advantage of a Swansea attack that is not right at the moment. A significant gap between he and Myhill in the rankings, but he seems likeliest of the forgotten keepers to get something this weekend.
Hector Bellerin - Whether it comes from attacking or defending, Bellerin is a fantasy beast these days and a date at the Emirates should provide something for the youngster in fantasy.
Daryl Janmaat - With an assist for the Magpies last weekend, we are reminded of how much fantasy appeal this attack-minded fullback has to offer. Look for more on derby day.
Alberto Moreno - Getting forward a ton and delivering a few key passes on average per match since taking over at LB, Moreno has clean sheet potential and a fair amount of attacking potential as well.
Toby Alderweireld - Spurs defense is strong right now and a clean sheet could be on offer again this week. Toby will be in the box on corners looking to head one in as well.
Virgil van Dijk - Goals scored aside, VVD is killing it in fantasy formats that award clearances and intercepted passes. Have a hunch he is going to get something from either end in the trip to Anfield.
Michael Dawson - WBA’s best defensive option in fantasy and a BP magnet in FPL, its always nice to have a Baggie in one’s fantasy backline when playing lower-tiered opponents.
Vincent Kompany - Its simple really: 5 PL starts. five clean sheets for Kompany. Despite a seemingly unattractive fixture, his return cannot be ignored here. Kolarov may not start, or else he would be included as well.
Nacho Monreal/ Laurent Koscielny - If you don’t have or cannot get Bellerin into your side, one of these two options is still nice to have this week and most weeks.
Nathaniel Clyne - Not nearly as attractive as Moreno is at the moment, but Clyne still carries good value this week at Anfield.
Glen Johnson - Would you believe he is the top form player in FPL at the moment. If Butland isn't in your side, GJ seems to have regained a spark that has been missing for quite some time.
Mesut Ozil - Of all the quality midfield options from Arsenal in fantasy, Ozil has to lead the list this week. He is enjoying his best stretch as a Gunner since his arrival and his goal involvement is strong. A good bet to come away with something at home.
Kevin de Bruyne - He’s giving managers something every week and just added to his confidence with a goal in Champions League. Ride the hot hand.
Alexis Sanchez - Should be top of the list, but reports of fatigue have put a damper on his Week 10 outlook. Without the report, he is the #1 midfielder. With the report, you still have to use him and hope for the best.
Riyad Mahrez - Should be next in line behind Sanchez at the top of the pile but his recent usage by Ranieri gives some pause. Still, he was dynamic in the Foxes 2nd half comeback and I have to think he gets back into the XI against Palace.
Dimitri Payet - Has to be in the running for most influential signing of the summer, Payet will not be slowed down by a Chelsea defense that has yet to get going in league play.
Christian Eriksen - The architect for Tottenham’s attack, Eriksen is the best bet for returns from their road clash with Bournemouth,
Georginio Wijnaldum - Perhaps you’ve heard of this guy? While Newcastle still have work to do to be trustworthy, a four goal explosion is too much to ignore as he plays last place Sunderland.
Yohan Cabaye - Plenty of influence every week with Cabaye, who like Payet, has been a brilliant signing. Playing Leicester who concede with regularity, the Frenchman is a good bet for some combination of scoring and assisting.
Eden Hazard - Is he the biggest disappointment in fantasy this season? Hard to argue against when he was the Player of the Year last campaign. He put in a decent shift midweek in CL and still has the ability for a monster haul if he gets his mind right.
Andre Ayew - Part of an attacking drought, Ayew is still worth attention with his consistent involvement and Villa aren’t exactly going to shut him completely down.
Theo Walcott - Would be ranked higher, but his quietness of late combined with Giroud making the most of his minutes gives caution to a possible striker switch this weekend.
Jeremain Lens - Sunderland are bad, but so is the Newcastle defense. Coming back from suspension, Lens could be a sneaky good play this weekend.
Juan Mata - Been quiet of late, but has shown class as United’s most consistent midfield choice. I only see one goal at most for the Red Devils, but I think Mata will score or assist it.
Sadio Mane - I'm not keen on the Saints attack this week, but Mane still deserves a place in the ranks with his trickery and pace that can nick a goal at any time.
Philippe Coutinho - If Liverpool are to score, chances are Coutinho will be involved in some way, shape or form.
Jamie Vardy - Doesn't matter who he plays or where right now, Vardy’s streak certainly cannot be ignored in a home match against Crystal Palace. My © choice at the moment.
Diego Costa - Are Chelsea turning it around? Perhaps. If so, Costa is getting things going with a goal last week and will look to build on it. Brace capability is there now.
Wilfried Bony - Theres a chance of a tightly played derby between the two Manchester sides, but Bony is bursting with confidence after a brace and assist last week and an own goal in City’s favor that he was responsible for creating in Champions League this week.
Saido Berahino - Won't see a WBA attacking player ranked this high often, but Norwich have conceded more than anyone and no one is likelier from the Baggies to score than Berahino.
Aleksandar Mitrovic - After an abysmal start to his NUFC career, Mitrovic looks settled and has scored in successive matches. If he can avoid disciplinary issues in the always-heated Tyneside derby, he will have a good shot at scoring again against a poor Sunderland defense.
Bojan - Stoke are flying high right now and Bojan is so hard to contain over 90 minutes. Watford have a respectable defense, but at the Britannia, I think the Barcelona product will give them problems.
Harry Kane - More fixture than form, Kane is certainly due to find paydirt, playing a Bournemouth defense still missing their captain and coming off a five goal slaughter. Maybe his rest in Europa tonight can motivate him this weekend.
Romelu Lukaku - In his career, the Belgian has shown he can score on any ground against a good defense. It will be tough at the Emirates, but just about any other fixture and Lukaku would be higher on the list.
Bafetimbi Gomis - In a bad run of form, as is the Swans attack in general, but Villa can provide a recipe for a turnaround and the quality of Swansea are due to break this recent stumble.
Graziano Pelle - Was supposed to be money in the bank last week and fell short. With Klopp making his league debut at Anfield and having striker issues for his side, I expect Pool to defend well, giving an otherwise consistent forward option limited appeal this week.
Olivier Giroud - Despite having no guarantee whatsoever of starting, Giroud has been red-hot with goals/minutes played, both in league play, Champions League and international duty recently.
Wayne Rooney/ Anthony Martial - Not a fan of either this week as stated earlier. United’s not a fluid attack and City with Kompany back could result in very little from these two.
So there you have it. The best of the best to consider for Week 10. As I get settled into this column, there may be some tweaks made here and there, in order to provide the best possible information in the best possible way. Perhaps a visit with Yoda will provide some essential advice.
Good luck fellow managers, and may your arrows be green.