Black Friday has arrived and the Bargain Bin is ready to cater to the consumers. Whether it is saving money on a television, video game system, or a striker for your Fantasy Premier squad, today is all about saving some money. It is becoming more and more important in Fantasy Premier League to find good bargains as big names like Luiz Suarez, Robin Van Persie, and Sergio Aguero continue to increase in price with their fine play.
One of the big challenges in Fantasy Premier League is not knowing a squad’s Starting XI until it is too late. With fantasy lineups due before kickoff of the first match, the uncertainty of the status of players from the 18 other teams makes it difficult. That will become especially true these next two match weeks. With a full slate of weekend games followed by a midweek full slate, players could be seeing the bench for a game in order to maintain full fitness. Because of this, it will begin to become even more important to have a sufficient bench. With sporadic bits of rest coming for key players, it will become difficult to compete with players on your bench that are at the very lowest cost and not playing.
Now is the time when Bargain Bin players will be at their highest value. Managers will have tough decisions to not overuse their players these next two sets of matches. With squads employing statisticians and technology to track amounts of energy exerted and distance ran by individuals at all times, shorter leashes are being afforded. Last year, only Leighton Baines played all 3,420 minutes of the season. He will not be repeating that feat this season after breaking his toe in last weekend's Merseyside derby. Through 12 weeks, only 26 players have played all 1,080 minutes possible this season. Look for that number to decrease as we get into the winter months and see some short game weeks.
The Bargain Bin appreciates all those that have been lined outside our doors for the past four days. We do not want to keep you waiting any longer, so we will open up and present our Bargain Bin offerings for Match Week 13.
Brad Guzan has been having an up and down season for Aston Villa through 12 matches. He has kept clean sheets in four matches while also allowing two goals in six other matches. However, digging into the numbers reveals a nice trend that fantasy owners can take advantage of: all four of Guzan’s clean sheets have come against teams currently below Aston Villa in the Premier League table. In all of the eight matches against teams currently above them, Guzan has allowed at least one goal. This week, Aston Villa will face bottom-dwelling Sunderland. If the trend holds true, Guzan should be in line to keep his fifth clean sheet of the season.
Ron Vlaar has been a part of all four of Aston Villa’s clean sheets described above. While he is part of the trend discussed with Guzan, he will also benefit from facing a Sunderland squad that has scored the fewest goals in away matches. The Black Cats have not scored a goal in their last four away matches and have averaged just 8.25 shots per game over that span. With Sunderland averaging a goal every 16 shots, odds are in Vlaar’s favor to keep another clean sheet.
Martin Demichelis has earned a spot in Manchester City’s Starting XI in every match since returning from a knee injury that forced him to miss the first eight matches of the season. Manchester City have been much more comfortable at home than on the road and will look to keep their third straight clean sheet at home when they host Swansea City. In fact, City have only allowed two goals in six home matches this season, best in the league. Demichelis has yet to see an opponent score while he is on the pitch for home matches this season and will look to continue the trend against Swansea City.
Nathan Redmond returned from a hip injury at the beginning of November and has been in the lineup for Norwich City’s last two matches. Over that time, he is averaging three shots per game and has picked up an assist. This week he gets to face a Crystal Palace squad that ranks 17th in goals allowed this season. Julian Speroni has been in goal for all 12 of Crystal Palace matches and has struggled with blocking shots to his right. Of the 21 goals Speroni has allowed this season, 18 have been scored to his right. According to stats provided by Squawka, that is the part of the goal where Redmond has the highest accuracy. Redmond has put nine shots on goal to the right of the goalkeeper and has been on target with seven of them. No other Canary has put more shots to that area with the same accuracy. Redmond should be able to get some shots on target against Crystal Palace and exploit Speroni’s weakness in the process.
Kevin Nolan has recently moved to a more forward position in the West Ham lineup, and since taking on the new role, he leads the team in shots with eight (in three matches). This weekend West Ham host a Fulham squad that has allowed their opponents to attempt more shots than any other team in road matches. In addition to allowing a high number of shots, Fulham goalkeepers have only managed to save 65 percent of shots on target, ranking them 16th out of the 20 clubs. All of these stats make Nolan a good play this weekend.
Ross Barkley is more of a gut call than anything else this week. Midfielders can pick up points by helping keep a clean sheet and the Everton – Stoke matches have been short on goals in recent history. During the last five matches between the two sides, only nine total goals have been scored. In addition, Stoke City have managed to attempt an average 10 shots per game in their recent meetings. Stoke City have been impressive on the road the past few weeks, which is why the Bargain Bin chose a midfielder from this match. It is the offensive opportunity that is more of the gut call. Barkley continues to lead Everton in shots but has been held scoreless since the end of September. He has even seen a drop in playing time since his last goal. However, his teammates have been saying things to the local media lately in an attempt to boost Barkley’s confidence. My hunch is that it works. Everton attempt a good number of shots at home, and are typically led in that category by Barkley.
Fernando Torres has recovered from a hip injury that kept him from playing in Chelsea’s last two Premier League matches just in time to regain his position in the Starting XI. Samuel Eto’o was stretchered from the pitch during the midweek Champions League match against FC Basel and Torres came on to replace him. He proved his health by playing 48 minutes without any signs of the injury hindering him. This weekend, Chelsea host the powerful defense of Southampton. However, recently Southampton’s defense has begun to lose some of its luster. Mistakes and lapses in concentration have prevented Southampton from keeping a clean sheet in their last three matches, and they haven’t keep a clean sheet on the road since the end of September. With Eto’o looking like he will be missing some time, Torres will have a great opportunity to prove he is still a top-class player.