In last week’s edition of the Bargain Bin we asked and answered the question, “Is it better to pay for goals or to pay to prevent them?” So as to not exclude anyone’s style for setting up their Premier Fantasy team, the Bargain Bin has made sure the shelves are fully stocked with players that will fit both options.
Last week’s edition featured two players that scored goals, three players that kept clean sheets, and two players that contributed points for seeing enough playing time (although both had very good opportunities to provide more and just narrowly missed out). Yoan Gouffran and Gary Hooper made Bargain Bin buyers look smart by contributing goals at very low costs. Also as predicted, clean sheets were kept by Tom Huddlestone, Mohamed Diame, and Jussi Jaaskelainen. In fact, Jaaskelainen paced all goalkeepers in fantasy points last week thanks to his six saves en route to a clean sheet. Sylvain Distin was robbed of a clean sheet thanks to a penalty that was no fault of his own. Unfortunately, it is a team stat and Distin is held just as accountable in the fantasy world. Finally, Frazier Campbell finished his day with zero shot attempts. The fact that he was fouled four times with the ball in the attacking zone played a major role in him having very little impact against West Brom.
Another thing to be mindful of in the upcoming weeks is the Premier League will be starting their holiday schedule. There will be four matchweeks over the course of the next 12 days. Be sure to set your lineups, and also have an active bench, as players may get some unexpected and unannounced rest due to the short timeframe.
In order to fill out your roster, this week’s best options for low cost-high value players are below in the Matchweek 17 edition of the Bargain Bin:
Simon Mignolet started the 2013-14 Premier League season hotter than any other goalkeeper with clean sheets in his first three matches. He has since cooled down, keeping just two clean sheets in the following 13 match weeks. Mignolet will be at home this week when Liverpool host Cardiff City. His split stats show he is a much better goalkeeper in the friendly confines of Anfield, with a save percentage that is 10 percent better at home, while never giving up more than one goal. If some luck would have gone his way in some of those matches, he could have more clean sheets at this point. This week’s opponent, Cardiff City, should not provide much pressure, as the Bluebirds have struggled on the road this season. They rank second worst in goals scored (0.5 per game), shot accuracy (23 percent), and conversion rate (4.2 percent) while away from home. Mignolet has a great opportunity to keep a second straight clean sheet and regain some of his early season form.
Phil Jones has played the second most minutes of any Manchester United defender and played in every Premier League match he has been healthy for this season. This week, the Red Devils play host to West Ham United, who have failed to score a goal at Old Trafford since 2008 (six matches). This week should be more of the same, as West Ham have managed to score in just three of their eight away fixtures and average just 0.6 goals per match in those away ties. United have done a very nice job of limiting their opponents' shots while at home this season, and barring unlucky bounces, Jones should be in great shape to keep a second straight clean sheet.
Martin Skrtel holds the unfortunate lead of most own goals this season. One of his two own goals prevented a clean sheet for the Reds, so the stats could be better for him and his fellow defenders. He is on the list for all of the reasons stated above for Mignolet, but also on the hunch that he will not contribute an own goal to your negative tally. He has done that once to the Bargain Bin, so shame on him. If he does it again, shame on me.
Emmanuele Giaccherini looked to have returned to the Sunderland attack last match, with four shots in a draw against West Ham. Although none of the shots were able to find the target, it was promising to see his involvement increase after being pretty much a no-show for the past few weeks. Saturday, Giaccherini will get to take shots against a Norwich City defense that is considerably worse than West Ham's. The Canaries allow the most road goals per match this season at 2.6 per game. They also allow a high number of accurate shots each match they play away from Carrow Road. Giaccherini should continue to push for the improving Sunderland attack and participate in some form to a goal for the Black Cats this weekend.
Danny Welbeck was included in the Bargain Bin two weeks ago and did not feature. Last week he was left out and scored two goals. We know Robin van Persie (thigh) will be out yet again, so Welbeck will continue to be a focus for the United attack and offer a good fantasy option against a West Ham United squad that has allowed eight goals in their last three road matches.
Marouane Chamakh is beginning to be recognized as a sniper in the Premier League. It does not take many shots for Chamakh to find the back of the net, as the striker has scored four goals on just seven shots. He clearly is selective and careful with his shot selection, and is able to convert when given the opportunity. Saturday, Chamakh will be facing a traveling Newcastle United squad that allows the highest accuracy rate to their opponents and a high number of shots on target (six) per away fixture. Chamakh has scored his three goals in his last three matches and will look to stay hot this weekend.
Shane Long has resumed his place in the West Brom attack the past two weeks. In the last two matches, the Baggies’ striker has taken seven shots with four of them finding the target. Unfortunately, none have found the back of the net, but his luck should turn against a visiting Hull City squad, should he continue his blistering pace: the Tigers save just 59 percent of the road shots their opponents are able to put on target. Long should benefit from seeing a less-capable goalkeeper attempting to stop his shots this weekend.