The Bargain Bin was ready to open up shop this week until the news came that Christian Benteke will miss the next six months due to a torn Achilles. It comes at an unfortunate time, as not only will he miss Aston Villaís push to avoid relegation; he will be out for the World Cup, and the beginning of the 2014-15 season.
While the news is huge for Aston Villa and Belgium, it also has plenty of fantasy implications. This is especially true for the Bargain Bin. Sure, plenty of injuries have happened to big names this season. Aaron Ramsey, Mesut Ozil, and Sergio Aguero have all missed significant chunks of the season, but the players getting increased value from their absences are typically too expensive to be considered here. The same is not true for the Benteke injury. In ESPNís Premier Fantasy, Benteke is the only Aston Villa player with a value over 7.0. In fact, the rest of the team is Bargain Bin-eligible. That is what makes the Benteke injury so large in terms of fantasy. Well, that, and the fact that Aston Villa will be facing the worst defense in the league this weekend (Fulham).
Aston Villaís match against Fulham isnít the only place to look when searching for bargain buys for Gameweek 33. A relegation battle between Cardiff City and Crystal Palace could prove fruitful. So too should Norwich City when they host West Bromwich Albion. For some low cost options to fill in the rest of your lineup, here are the Bargain Bin options for Gameweek 33.
John Ruddy and Norwich City have allowed just one goal in their last six home matches, as the Canaries have turned up the pressure defensively at Carrow Road in their fight to avoid relegation. West Bromwich Albion come to town with injuries to two of their more potent scorers, Victor Anichebe and Chris Brunt. The Baggies also allegedly appear to be more interested in fighting with each other rather than fighting to remain in the Premier League. True or not, it will be a long trip for West Brom to get to Norwich in order to face a top-five defensive unit at home.
Sebastien Bassong is expected to continue wearing the captainís armband Saturday for Norwich Cityís match against visiting West Brom. He has been a crucial part for Norwich Cityís stellar defense at Carrow Road and will look to provide more of the same as the Canaries look for their sixth clean sheet in their last seven home matches.
Steven Caulker has been making headlines more for his offense than his defense lately. That could all change after Saturdayís match against Crystal Palace. Cardiff will host an Eagles squad that has scored the fewest away goals in the Premier League by a wide margin. In 15 away ties, Crystal Palace have scored just six goals and have been blanked nine times. If there was ever a chance for Cardiff City to keep a clean sheet, it is not going to get any better than Saturday. Now that the clean sheet chances have been discussed, we can return to admiring Caulkerís fine offensive form in recent matches. Since March 1, no defender in the Premier League has scored more than Caulkerís three goals. He has scored on his last three attempts that have been on target and Crystal Palace allow almost five attempts to be on target per away match. Caulkerís fantasy potential may not get any higher than Saturdayís match against Crystal Palace.
Wesley Hoolahan has quietly led Norwich City in shots and shots on target since returning to the starting XI at the beginning of March. He was able to tally a goal during the run and will look to add to his totals Saturday against West Brom. We already discussed the Canariesí clean sheet chances, but Hoolahan has the potential to add even more. The Baggies rank 15th in the Premier League in goals allowed per away match and are allowing over five of their opponents' shots to be on target. Hoolahan has the ability to score and seems to be finding a place in the Norwich City attack in time to exploit a struggling West Brom defense that have allowed two goals per match over their last 10.
Jordon Mutch has scored three goals and assisted on two more since returning to the Cardiff City starting XI four matches ago. Mutch has been a pleasant surprise for fantasy owners when healthy this season, and he now appears to be fully fit. Cardiff City will certainly be looking to score Saturday as they attempt to fight off relegation. With seven goals and five assists on the season, Mutch is a prime candidate to be involved and will look to add to his fine totals this season.
Fabian Delph has a goal and an assist in his last two home matches and will look to extend his streak when Fulham come to town Saturday. The Cottagers have allowed the most road goals of any Premier League team this season, as opponents average 2.47 goals per match. With the absence of Benteke, it is shaping up to be a fantastic matchup for him, as well as his teammateÖ
...Andreas Weimann, who looks to be the logical choice to fill Bentekeís role, especially with Gabriel Agbonlahor dealing with an illness. When Benteke missed three matches at the end of 2013, it was Weimann that led the team in shots and shots on target. Although he was unable to find the back of the net, he was able to add an assist. The ability to pick up points multiple ways make him a great play against a Fulham squad that cannot seem to stop leaking goals.