Fantasy Premier League Minute: The Chelsea Rubbish Heap & Man City's Hidden Gems

Ben WilliamsContributor IFebruary 2, 2009

I have searched this site continuously for good fantasy league debate, but so far, I have not found it. So I've decided to create my first article on this and give my picks for my fantasy league team. This will be based on the fantasy league on

I'll start in no particular order, and then continue in this fashion.

I would start by looking at Manchester City. Though their defense hasn't been the best this season, they have added Bridge to shore up the left side, an experienced goalkeeper in Shay Given, and De Jong will give them help from the midfield; so look for some more clean sheets. Also, Zabaleta has been in good form lately with a goal, an assist, and three bonus points over the last three games.

Bellamy is another player to look at. He got a goal on his debut, and with the amount of creativity in the team (Robinho, Ireland, Elano, Wright-Phillips), he should be provided with plenty of opportunities and is a bargain at 6.7.

Of course, there are also those I just mentioned (minus Elano): Robinho, Ireland, Wright-Phillips. These are all quality players who have earned a lot of points so far and are always worthy of a place in your team.

As a final note, City are playing twice in this next game week, so it is a good time to bring some of these players in.

Another team playing twice in Game Week 25 is the other side of Manchester. United have been in amazing form and any of their defensive players are sure to get you points. Vidic has been drawing the most attention lately and is top of the form charts with a 9.4, but Ferdinand is back and should start racking up the points.

Another player to look at in the short term is John O'Shea. He has been filling in for Evra and is a real bargain at 5.6 and almost guaranteed to get you at least six points a game.

One word of advice for those looking at Van Der Sar: Yes he is a great keeper. Yes, he has set the record for minutes without conceding. And yes, he is top of the form chart for goalkeepers, but he is also the most expensive keeper. He is two points more expensive than the No. 2 form keeper and only earning .9 points more per game. I would save those two budget points and spend them elsewhere in your team and go for a budget keeper that will make lots of saves and perhaps get you some bonus points. My suggestion would be to get two cheap keepers (those around four points) and play whoever looks like they'll have an easier game each week.

I've digressed slightly, my final advice for those looking for United players is just to look at Ronaldo and Berbatov. (I know, groundbreaking advice. Who would've thought?) Berbatov is on good form and is an automatic pick especially with Rooney out, and Ronaldo is Ronaldo...and back on form.

Wigan have done a few interesting bits of business. It will be interesting to see how they deal with losing some of their best players and how the new players fit in. Mido and Zaki could be a good partnership. Both have played together with the Egyptian national team (I assume. I don't actually keep up with the Egyptian national team as much as I, and I'm sure everyone else, would like to), and they have both been good goal scorers before and are looking to get back in form. N'Zogbia is a quality player and should get a bigger role than he had at Newcastle; he is capable of doing big things under Steve Bruce so it might be a good time to snap him up while he is cheap.

Now for a look at Everton. Theres always the obvious choices: Lescott, Arteta, and Cahill; and I'm going to throw Howard into that mix because he had a great game against ManU and I think he often gets overlooked in terms of bonus points because whoever gives them out always seems to give them to one of the three players I mentioned before.

Until today, I would have said that Cahill is one of my top picks because he was playing as a forward rather than in the midfield, and doing it really well. Cahill is a quality player and always picks up a lot of points through the season, but when he is playing so close to goal and getting those extra two points for a goal over what forwards get, he should be an automatic pick. Everton picked up Jo on deadline day to add to the front line, so I would assume Cahill will now drop back into midfield and we will see Jo and Fallaini up front, but I guess we will see. Whether he is in midfield or up front, Cahill is still a good pick.

Portsmouth are in a worrying slide down the table right now, but there are a couple of players I would keep an eye on. I think Pennant was a really good pick up for Pompey, he'll get lots of points, and he's cheap right now. Before he moved to Liverpool, Pennant had the most crosses out of any Premier League player. He now has something to prove after failing to make the grade at Liverpool, and I think Pennant and another ex-Liverpool player, Crouch, will make a good duo.

Roberts and McCarthy made a good partnership for Blackburn while Santa Cruz was out, but he is back now, and I would expect that partnership to be splitting time over the one spot. Diouf has also been added to the mix, so I would expect Roberts to see a lot less playing time.

Aston Villa have been flying high this term thanks in large part to Ashley Young (who will be back from suspension in Game Week 25, we will see whether he hits the ground running or not. He could be rearing to go after having to sit on the sidelines for so long, or he could be off the boil from missing out for three weeks) and Gabby Agbonlahor, both good picks. I'm skeptical about how well Heskey will do, but he looked good in his first game in the claret and blue and got himself a goal, so he may be one to keep an eye on.

Barry seems to have stepped up in Young's absence and has been quite high on the form charts, but with Young back, I would expect him to hand over the reigns.

Also, Villa have been pretty good defensively, and although Laursen is out until March, Davies has been deputizing quite nicely and even got himself a goal recently. They have some difficult games coming up, though, so it may not be the time to draft in any Villa defenders.

As for West Ham, Carlton Cole has been in unbelievable form, with an average of 9.3 points over his last six games. The sale of Bellamy to Man City may cause his goal scoring to slow, though, as defenders will be able to concentrate more on him. Di Michele is another player to look at if you need a cheap forward (only 5.0 points), as he seems to be Zola's preferred partner for Cole and has two goals, two assists, and three bonus points over the last three games.

Finally, Chelsea. Solid team, will probably get some clean sheets and bonus points, but pretty much all of their players are over-priced. Bosingwa is good going forward, so he's one that can repay his price tag. Lampard is always solid, but we will have to wait and see how his appeal goes on that ridiculous red card against Liverpool. One player to watch out for, though, is Qauresma. Crazy bit of deadline day business! He was a great player at Porto, was terrible at Inter, so we'll see how he does. Players of his sort often have trouble adapting to the EPL, and since he had trouble with the Italian league, it seems likely the Premier League will be no better for him. But you never know. Definitely a player to keep your eye on.

Other than that I wouldn't pick any of the other Chelsea players. Like I said before, yes there are some good players, but I just think they are too expensive and there are better and cheaper options.

Final thoughts:

You can't really go wrong with defenders from the big four as teams will often forgo attacking in order to play for a draw, but I would steer clear of Arsenal players as much as possible, they're just too inconsistent and too bad in the air.

In terms of forwards, right now I'd stick with the cheap options as they are doing the best and when you can spend six points on a forward that grabs the same amount or more points than a forward that costs nine points, why wouldn't you? Cole, Roberts, Beattie, Di Michele are all getting lots of points and will not tie up a lot of the money you could be spending in other areas. That being said, Berbatov is in good form and I think Torres is hitting his stride too, Van Persie is high on the form charts but it just seems like he misses two sitters for every goal he scores, I worry about his consistency.

There are good deals to be found in goalkeepers and defenders (just take a look at the value charts) especially at Fulham where the players are cheap and the team enjoys the 4th best defensive record in the league.

I'd spend most on my money on solid midfielders right now. During the winter months, it is all about the workhorses in the middle slogging it out for 90 minutes, and I don't think the dainty show ponies will be as affective.

Also, watch out for the potential pitfalls of players from small clubs hitting good form, it is usually just a fluke (for lack of a better word). Koren and Brunt from West Brom are high on the form charts, but this is mostly due to their double-digit performances in one game two weeks ago. The best thing to do with players like this is to make them your first choice sub from the bench. Delap, Taylor, Murphy, Davies, Koren, Marney; these are all good subs. Make a solid first team, pick one of these cheaper players that plays all game every game and once in a while grabs a goal, an assist, or some bonus points, put him as your first choice sub and then get the cheapest players you can to fill the other spots. It is rare to need more than one sub in a game week and a waste of money to leave an expensive player on your subs bench.

Well these are my thoughts on Game Week 25 and beyond. Let me know what your picks are.