Fantasy Football Insider: Gameweek 5
In this weekâ€™s Fantasy Football Insider, JOE advises you to make the most of the in-form Chelsea contingent before they embark on some tricky fixtures.
Somebody at the FA must have a soft spot for Carlo Ancelotti. Four games into the Premier League season and the Blues sit comfortably at the top of the pile with four wins, 17 goals scored and only one conceded, having confronted the might of West Brom, Wigan, Stoke and West Ham so far this campaign.
Just when we were sure the Premier League were about to throw a difficult fixture in Chelseaâ€™s direction, however, we were astounded to see that it is Ian Hollowayâ€™s Blackpool who are likely to become the next lambs for slaughter at the Bluesâ€™ expense.
As well and all as the Tangerines performed in their victory over Newcastle last week, Chelsea are an entirely different proposition altogether and fantasy managers would be well advised to make the most of their Chelsea contingent now before games away to Manchester City and home to Arsenal in the next two weeks.
What to look out for this week
With that in mind, the usual suspects of Didier Drogba (Â£13 million), Florent Malouda (Â£10 million) and Nicolas Anelka (Â£9.1 million) are all worth either holding onto or getting them in if you havenâ€™t already, but if itâ€™s value youâ€™re after, the brilliant Michael Essien (Â£6.9 million) is definitely worth consideration.
Winning the Premier League last season without Essien was some achievement by Chelsea, but Ancelottiâ€™s side are infinitely better with the Ghanaian in their side and he has proved that in their last two outings with three goals in a week against West Ham and MSK Zilina. Even if Essien (below) doesnâ€™t continue his fine goalscoring form, his all-action style means he is also good for assists and in particular, bonus points.
Michael Essien has been in fine form of late
Elsewhere, itâ€™s hard to pick out other fixtures that stand out as potential points goldmines this weekend. Manchester City away to Wigan would be the obvious choice, but given the unpredictable nature of both teams and the fact that City have had to play in Europe this week makes this game far from a foregone conclusion.
Besides, City are hardly in flying form with one point from games against Sunderland and Blackburn and trying to predict what team Mancini will pick is a difficult task at the best of the times. If you are to pick one of the boys in blue, however, Carlos Tevez remains your best bet at a slightly pricey Â£10.4million, although at the back, Micah Richards (Â£5.8 million) and Kolo Toure (Â£6million) have played every minute of the campaign so far.
Despite their respective starts to the season, form is rarely a massive encounter when it comes to clashes between Manchester United and Liverpool, but having been excluded from Unitedâ€™s bore draw with Rangers during the week, the likes of Nani (Â£8.1 million), Dimitar Berbatov (Â£8.8 million) and the magnificent Paul Scholes (Â£6.4 million) might be worth a look.
The stand out performance by an English team, or indeed any team in the Champions League this week came from Arsenal, but the Gunners face a tricky trip to Sunderland on Saturday, where they suffered a 1-0 reverse last season.
Still, it would be hard to ignore the claims of Cesc Fabregas (Â£11.9 million), who was unbelievable on Wednesday night and scored 11 points in his first full Premier League appearance against Bolton at the weekend.
JOEâ€™s Fantasy Football Picks
Top Dollar: Yawn, yawn, yawn. Yet again itâ€™s Didier Drogba (Â£13 million). Didnâ€™t score last weekend, but still managed an assist and is bound to get a host of opportunities at home to Blackpool.
Mid Range: Michael Essien is in a rich vein of form, having scored three times in two games for the champions. With Blackpool coming to Stamford Bridge this weekend, Essien is bound to do even more damage and can be bought for an extremely reasonable Â£6.9 million.
Bargain Basement: Moussa Dembele (Â£5.6 million). The summer signing from AZ Alkmaar has been extremely impressive so far this campaign and has registered 22 points in his last two games thanks to two assists against Blackpool and two goals against Wolves. With Bobby Zamora set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines, Dembele will likely be the focal point of Fulhamâ€™s attack and is a good bet for more points against Blackburn this weekend.
Irish Pick: Stephen Carr (Â£4.4 million). The veteran defender is highly valued by Alex McLeish and has played all 90 minutes in Brumâ€™s last three games. Birminghamâ€™s defence are normally fairly miserly and have a good chance of making it two clean sheets in a row away to West Brom this weekend.
Captainâ€™s pick: There will come a day when we recommend somebody who doesnâ€™t play for Chelsea to pick as captain, but not when theyâ€™re at home to Blackpool. This week, itâ€™s Michael Essien.