The Fantasy Football Watchlist Updated – The Heavyweights Return

The weekly Watchlist refresh has taken place and you can now get mid-term player recommendations via your sidebar on the frontpage.

Notable movement this week includes improved prospects for the likes of Man City, Liverpool and Blackburn assets, as Chelsea’s big names continue to slide.

There’s also some big heavyweight names returning on the fringes, with Wayne Rooney, Robin Van Persie, Jermain Defoe and Darren Bent back and in contention for our Fantasy thinking in the coming weeks…

Defensively times are tough for us Fantasy Managers. With Chelsea faltering and United’s rearguard proving inconsistent, there’s value at looking at second tier defences, with Man City and Liverpool worthy of attention. Fixtures also fall in their favour so it’s no surprise to see Joe Hart and Pepe Reina climbing in the Goalkeeper rankings, while Glen Johnson is a new entry in the Defenders table – a luxury item perhaps, but potentially profitable over the next six Gameweeks if you can afford to splash out. Paul Konchesky and City’s Aleksandar Kolarov are more likely to be within reach and both look strong bets for this fishing in the mid-price Defender pool. Both enjoy Watchlist climbs this week.

Blackburn were revealed as Fixture friendly material in this week’s “Frisking” article, and that’s mirrored in the Watchlist, with Paul Robinson in goal and Chris Samba in defence both enjoying significant climbs in our rankings.

Overall our current top 5 Defenders – Vidic, Johnson, Baines, Kolarov and Bolton’s Gary Cahill – look a solid outfit to take forward for the next few Gameweeks and beyond.

Our top 5 in midfield has also proved pretty solid. Cesc Fabregas has of course dropped out of that following last night’s injury, so Samir Nasri has crashed in to replace him. Arsenal’s fixtures aren’t in his favour and form is certainly in question, but we currently prefer Nasri over the budget options provided by Matt Jarvis of Wolves and Chung-Yong Lee of Bolton who are both kept just outside the top 5.

Liverpool’s Dirk Kuyt is the dark horse; he experienced a climb having been handed spot-kick duties in the absence of Steven Gerrard and benefiting with a strike against West Ham. While Liverpool are far from their best right now, they do have opponents that should afford them a few goals to go with clean sheet prospects at the back.

Further down in the Midfield rankings we have climbs for both Morten Gamst-Pedersen and Bolton’s Matt Taylor. The latter suffers from the value offered by team-mate Lee, but Pedersen is a clear prospect, particularly once Rovers get this week’s trip to Old Trafford out of the way. Expect another climb for the Norwegian next week, with much more on him to come in a full blown Watchlist article.

Up front there’s another change at the top. Despite his points haul against Newcastle and his forthcoming fixture with Blackpool this Gameweek, the much-wanted Johan Elmander falls from grace to be replaced by Carlos Tevez. Bolton’s fixtures remain strong but Elmander will come up against City, Sunderland and Chelsea defences in the next six – opponents that will certainly test the Swede’s new goal-getting abilities. Tevez, in contrast, appears to have stronger prospects against kinder defences and is of course, on spot-kicks and tends to dominate City’s Bonus awards.

Fernando Torres is perhaps the main prospect here. Following the trip to White Hart Lane, Torres has home fixtures against Villa, Fulham and Wolves which will surely give the Spaniard the opportunity to boost his incredible home scoring record. He just has to stay fit to repay his Fantasy investors. If Torres comes through the Spurs game and looks sharp, he’s highly likely to threaten Tevez for the top spot next week.

Lower down there are notable new entries for the fit-again due of Darren Bent and Wayne Rooney. It’s hard to make a call on Rooney’s prospects right now; he certainly has the fixtures to help him make up ground and start justifying his Fantasy price tag but, prior to injury, he looked to be a shadow of last season’s player. Fantasy investors are likely to need more time before a move can be made with any degree of confidence. He’s another who could enjoy a climb next week if he impresses in Gameweek 15.

The same applies to Robin Van Persie who makes a welcome return to our thinking following a series of substitute appearances. With Fabregas out, you would imagine that Van Persie will take up the mantle of chief creator (along with Nasri) to help steer the Gunners through choppy waters. The Dutchman could be prominent in our thinking if he can prove a decent level of fitness and form at Villa this weekend.

As for Jermain Defoe – he gets little help from the fixture list over the coming weeks and, like Van Persie and Rooney, we will need to see evidence of his sharpness before investment can be considered. A goal-sniffer by trade, Defoe often lacks the potential of Bonus Points and assists offered by the other pair, and that may well count against him with plenty of temptations around amongst the Forwards. His price tag of 8.6, falling from an initial 9.0, will make him worthy of consideration once Tottenham’s fixtures pick up.

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