Welcome to Week Six of the Bargain Bin. Goals have been hard to come by in the Premier League this season, with scoring down so far compared to years past. Heading into last week, the goal average for a game was below two ( 1.95) and last weekís scoring barrage raised it to a mere 2.14. Both numbers are well below the 2.8 average we had seen the past two seasons. The goal drought has affected everyone, including the Bargain Bin. Through five weeks, we are still searching for our first goal of the season. Luckily, we still have some time to go before we catch Hartlepool United and their 11 game drought of futility.
While the goal drought may be bad for strikers, defenders have benefited. Here at the Bargain Bin, midfielders or defensemen have picked up seven clean sheets and their resulting points. Making sure that you have defensemen picking up regular points is important since they are currently pacing all positions in fantasy scoring.
Week Six comes along and offers plenty of questions that will affect they way you set your lineups. For instance, how will the return of Luiz Suarez affect the leagues leading scorer, Daniel Sturridge? Will both be able to share the pitch and generate regular fantasy output? Or, what can you expect from your players on Chelsea and Tottenham this week? In the past two years, four matches have been played between the sides and the range in goals scored varies from zero to six. Can you expect a lot of goals and thus increased value for strikers/midfielders and decreased value for defenders? Or will it be the exact opposite?
All of those questions will have a some sort of impact on your big money players. If you canít rely on them for points this week, you may be forced to turn to your bench. Some of the players you find here may have better chances of producing points and wonít have the big question marks of the players discussed above. Here are the players in the Week Six edition of the Bargain Bin:
Artur Boruc is currently second in the league with three clean sheets this season. In fact, his Southampton squad have only allowed two goals this season, currently ranking them second in the category. Boruc has played well, but the defenders in front of him have done a fine job, too. They are allowing less than 10 shots per game and only around three of those are on target. Numbers like that will translate to clean sheets. This week, Boruc and Southampton host a Crystal Palace squad that ranks 17th in the league, averaging 10 shots per game. Those numbers become even lower when they travel away from Selhurst Park. Between Southamptonís stellar defense and Crystal Palaceís stagnant offense, Boruc has a great opportunity to pick up his fourth clean sheet on the season.
Did you know that Seamus Coleman ranks third for shots taken this season by a defender? And did you know that no defender has more shots on target? Well, now you do. But thatís enough about his offensive potential. We like defenders that pick up clean sheets. Coleman and Everton will have a great opportunity Monday when they host Newcastle United. No team in the league is allowing fewer shots to be on target than Everton. In addition, Newcastle United have struggled to get shots on net. They average only four shots on target per game this season and their 25 percent shot accuracy is below the league average of 32 percent. Newcastle also manage far fewer shots on the road this season than they take at St. Jamesí Park. If Newcastle United doesnít score, Coleman does for your fantasy team.
Fulham have come close to getting clean sheets on more than one occasion this season. This week they host a Cardiff team that struggles to score. Cardiff have been shutout three times this season and average less than a goal per game. While all of Fulhamís defenders could be found in the Bargain Bin this week, Sascha Riether has a little more value than the rest of his teammates. Fulhamís chances of getting a clean sheet are good this week for the reasons described above. In addition, Cardiff currently rank 19th in shots taken this season. The clean sheet would give value to all of the Fulham defenders, but being able to add some offense is what differentiates Riether from his colleagues. Reither currently leads the team in crosses attempted and he now gets to swing them in to both Darren Bent and Dimitar Berbatov. Cardiff have been victimized by headers three times this season, which should set up well for Fulham to do the same. If not, the value from the clean sheet would still be enough for Reither to help your team.
Ross Barkley continues to lead the attack for Everton. Heís taking his fair share of shots while also spreading the wealth with a few crossing attempts. Weíve already discussed Evertonís chances at a clean sheet above, and most likely that alone provides you some value for a midfielder. But Barkleyís offensive prowess should add to that. Barkley currently leads the team in shots this season, and he should possess the ball enough against Newcastle to take his fair share this week. Barkley could get a fair amount of shots off this week and heíll be doing so against a team that ranks 19th in preventing shots on target from becoming goals. Because of this, Newcastle United are giving up lots of goals this season. Their eight goals allowed this season also ranks 19th in the league. Addtionally, Everton is averaging two goals per game against Newcastle the last two seasons. The odds are in favor for Everton to score Monday, and those odds also favor Ross Barkely to be part of it.
Stoke City have not been finding the back of the net with ease this season, but those numbers can be deceiving. When Stoke plays teams in the top half of the table, they struggle, as expected. When they play teams in the bottom half of the table, they are much more successful. In games against the bottom half of the league, the Potters have scored three goals (in two matches) compared to just one goal (in three matches) against teams in the top half. This week, they get to host Norwich City, owners of the 17th line on the table. Norwich allow plenty of shots during their matches and many of those come from midfielders. Charlie Adam is a starting midfielder for Stoke City and currently leads the team in shots. Itís that funny coincidence that lands Adam in the Bargain Bin this week. Bargain Bin players that are successful typically take lots of shots against teams that allow lots of shots. The formula adds up to Adam being a good value play this week. In addition to the offense, Adam could pick up some fantasy scoring by way of a clean sheet. The last two times Stoke City have hosted Norwich at Britannia Stadium, they have won 1-0. Despite the offseason spending, the Canaries have failed to score many goals this season and the matchup this week should provide more of the same. Look for Adam to have multiple opportunities to help your fantasy team this week.
The Bargain Bin is full of Toffees this week, and no, that is not the smell of caramelized sugar you sense. It is the smell of sweaty soccer shoes (and hopefully some goals). Nobody allows forwards to take more shots than Newcastle and newly loaned striker Romelu Lukaku is more than likely salivating at the opportunity to take the field this week. The cost for Lukaku right now is EXTREMELY low. Remember the 17 goals he scored while getting regular playing time on loan with West Brom last season? Well heís found himself on loan again, this season with Everton. He got his feet wet with a goal in his first appearance last week and should look to do more this week against a Newcastle United squad that we already discussed loves to give up goals.
Wilfried Bony has scored in his last two matches while taking 14 shots. Unfortunately, neither of those came during Premier League play. However, his eight-shot, one-goal performance against Valencia in the teamís recent UEFA Europa League match shows how much Swansea use the Ivorian Coast striker. This week, Bony gets to take shots on a visiting Arsenal squad that have been allowing plenty of shots themselves, which gets even worse when they travel away from home. Look for Bony to help lead the team as they look to upset the visiting Gunners.