Gameweek 26 Starting XI

productNotAvailableAh, the double gameweek, is there anything more thrilling in Fantasy EPL?  Obviously, the answer is “Yes!” (ask anyone who captained Theo Walcott against Newcastle)  Nevertheless, the double gameweek represents an enormous opportunity to gain or lose a bunch of points in a very short amount of time.  It is crucial that fantasy managers take advantage of these limited chances of scoring big; lord knows your opponents will!

This week, we have two very popular teams involved in our DGW.  Liverpool have been a solid source for fantasy assets this season, obviously starting with the vexatious Luis Suarez.  The Urugayian has been brilliant all season and has been entrenched in my squad since gameweek six.  Joining #7 up top has been Chelsea castoff Daniel Sturridge who has been scintillating in his short time at Anfield.  Elsewhere up front, Steven Gerrard has been on fire of late, scoring an absurd 75 points in his last nine games with five goals and seven assists in that time.In the backline, Johnson, Enrique and Agger all represent pricey, yet reliable options for a solid defensive club.  For the Swans, Michu has slowed of late but still sets in the top 5 in scoring among all midfielders.  Other options up front aren’t quite as clear.  Jonathan De Guzman has been streaky and prone to rotation.  Pablo has yet to really deliver on his potential and doesn’t look to be among the goals any time soon.  Both Dyer and Routledge have been solid when played, but have suffered through rotation as well.  In the backline, Ben Davies has been a popular budget option for a solid, if underwhelming, defense.  As his price has risen, his value over the likes of Chico and Ashley Williams has diminished.  The fixtures for both of these teams are solid as well, especially Liverpool.  The Reds face both West Brom and Swansea at home, while the Swans get bottom-dwelling QPR before heading to Merseyside.  Should be a good opportunity for both to rack up a bit of points.

So, it’s clear there is potential here, but we also need to understand the cost.  Specifically, we have an issue immediately after GW 26 as both teams have blanks in GW27.  Thus, picking more than four players for the double will require a hit in order to field a full squad the subsequent week.  This puts a bit of a damper on the excitement to push the envelope with both clubs.

Taking this into account, I had been planning on moving to four DGW players, two from each team.  I had picked up Davies at 4.3 a couple weeks back and was already sitting with Suarez.  My original plan had been to bring in Enrique and Pablo, dropping Wilkinson and Fellaini in their place.  All of that changed last week.

The return of Darren Gibson pushed the big-haired Belgian back up front and his underlying numbers fully supported his two goal output.  Given his cost (7.4 on my squad), I couldn’t justify dropping him at least for someone as dull as Pablo.  Thus, the Fellaini plan was scrapped.

Unfortunately, that left me with only two DGW players and not enough money for Enrique.  I considered a Bale or Mata for Pablo swap until I saw the schedule; the Spurs and Chelsea both have scrumptuous fixtures this week.  So, that left me with only one option; Sturridge in for Aguero.  Now, I am a huge Aguero fan and think he will be the highest scoring forward the remainder of the season. However, after seeing Sturridge backup his recent play at City I decided to not only bring him in this week, but keep him in place of Suarez going forward.  It’s a big risk considering I have Suarez at just 9.4, but I feel his numbers fully justify the move.

So then my transfers this week are (both FTs, btw):

Aguero > Sturridge

Wilkinson > Enrique

The rest of the lineup basically selects itself.  I am staying away from both Clyne and Puncheon with City in town.  Demel didn’t start last game so I am pretty much stuck with Sagna at Sunderland.  In goal, Bunn’s recent form and Fulham’s recent struggles on the road suggest he is the proper selection.  The captain choice came down to Suarez and Sturridge, but the slight risk of Sturridge missing out Monday made that an easy selection.

So there you have my team for the gameweek.  It’s a solid team and I am confident I will be in a good position to hold my lead in my league.  Neither of my closest rivals have any Liverpool players and the third place team has no Swansea cover either.  Thus, I should stand to be in a good position to maximize this DGW and hopefully extend my lead in my league.

Beyond my team I will be focusing on performances by Sissoko, Aguero, Boruc, Taarabt, Onuoha and the City defense as all these represent potential transfer targets for me.  I will also be keeping an eye out for Marc WIlson’s return as well as the playing time for Guy Demel.  Finally, I will be keenly watching the positioning and performance of Wayne Rooney and RVP to determine if Mr. Shrek represents a better value at 2 million cheaper than his teammate.

Good luck to everyone this week, especially me!

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