After a tough day on Saturday, I think we would all agree that a couple of easy decisions for our Sunday line ups would have been extremely nice. Unfortunately, even with the small volume of teams in action, not one of them has done enough thus far to make us believe in their ability to get a result come Sunday.
A few weeks ago we may have been talking about this early game as a cake walk for Southampton playing host to Norwich City. However, after opening the year without recording a win it’s hard to believe in anything from the Saints on Sunday. Even still, Southampton remain an unbelievably talented side and it would be foolish for us to think a big result wasn’t possible against overachieving Norwich.
If that dilemma weren’t tough enough, things only get worse for you at 11AM when United travel to the Liberty Stadium to meet up with an up and down Swansea side. Although United have played consistently mediocre, scoring just two goals through three in the league, it’s possible that the United who whooped Brugge 7-1 on aggregate is the squad that shows up vs. The Swans on Sunday. The kicker in all of this is really what Swansea side shows up? On their day they can play with anyone; I think we all ssaw that week 1 vs. Chelsea. However, off their day they can also draw Sunderland…Determining what kind of game this will be is probably going to be the most important factor in determining whether or not you’ll win Sunday.
Remember to hit me up on twitter with any questions you have @onthelaces.
Lock of the Day
Sadio Mane (Southampton) Forward – Salary: $8,800
Southampton have not done anyone much good to this point, however; we have to make some decisions with so few teams in action. Sadio Mane is on this list of players I’ve chosen and wound up getting nothing out of, but someone’s got to get them out of this funk at some point. Although I think Pelle is a decent play as well, something about Mane’s pace intrigues me in a matchup vs. one of the weaker talent pools in the league. I’m envisioning a complete performance full of fouls drawn, crosses into the area, shots on target and hopefully some contribution in the Saints finding the back of the net. Norwich has been pretty solid acorss the board, but I’ll take the lesser of two evils and stay away from the more complex matchup of the two with my LOTD.
Nathan Redmond (Norwich City) Midfielder – Salary: $6,000:
I’m a huge fan of what this kid has been able to produce since returning to the EPL this season and you should be too. Sit back and enjoy this kids skill set as he fearlessly does everything he can to will goals for his far less talented side. Norwich’s offense goes, as Redmond goes and against a slightly leaky Southampton back line, I think he’s got a shot to good shot to produce.
Worth Your Buck
Memphis Depay (Manchester United) Forward – Salary: $9,500:
The young dutch winger hasn’t really made the noise we had hoped for since making his EPL debut a few weeks back, however then again no Red Devil really has. The week has to be approaching where some of these droughts come to an end, so maybe this week is Depay’s. Swansea have been far from spectacular at the back and were lit up on the wings vs. Chelsea in week one. If Depay can get some room for a few one v. one opportunities then maybe will get to see that moment of brilliance we’ve been waiting for from the starlet. While some people will point to the strength of Swansea’s possession as a reason to avoid the Dutch International. I foresee Swansea’s possession allowing United to launch attacks from the counter, where Depay will thrive in the extra space.
Wayne Rooney (Manchester United) Forward – Salary: $10,700
I got to be honest and let you know that this might be a week where you don’t spend a couple thousand dollars. I mean we can force our lineup to include Mane, Rooney and Depay, but do any of us really think all the big names are going to do all the scoring? While it’s always easier to go for the big names if you have the cash, just because I’m recommending Rooney and Depay as worth their value, doesn’t necessarily mean they will be the tandem you are looking for. While I love Rooney in this matchup, especially coming off a huge game mid-week, we have to be cautious when approaching the England star whose struggle to adapt to life back at striker. He’s worth the money considering the budget for this week and definitely has the highest ceiling if you’re looking for upside. If you have the cash and are deciding between him and Depay…I’d probably take Wazza (he’s the proven option after all).
Cedric (Swansea City) Defender – Salary: $4,600
Whether he is playing midfield or defense doesn’t really matter because either way we know what we’re getting. The Portuguese wingback is only thinking about getting down the wing and finding Pelle’s head. Maybe things haven’t connected the way he would have liked to this point, but the guys still creating danger and proving to be a more then worthy fantasy play each week.
Adnan Januzaj (Manchester United) Midfielder – Salary: $4,000:
Finally, some consistency from the young Belgian. Since he burst on to the scene with a few breath taking preformances as a teenager, Adnan Januzaj has done nothing but disappoint until now. Over the past few matches, Januzaj seems to have found his legs, creating danger and playing with confidence. Although he still turns the ball over far too often, his willingness to grab hold of a match and make the difference is something we can’t ignore from one of the cheaper options available this week. Without a single 90 performance to his name, Januzaj has still managed some solid point totals in fewer minutes then most. If you got room for a United player and our running low on dollars, you have to be looking at Januzaj.
Wes Hoolahan (Norwich City) Midfielder – Salary: $4,200:
Every single newly promoted side has a Wes Hoolahan. The 33 year old, diminutive, Irish midfielder has been the heart and sould of Norwich since 2007. Nearing the end of a very solid career, Hoolahan is doing everything in his power to add to his legend with the Green and Yellow. With three assists already, and a skill set that’s likely going to add some points in a few other ways, he’s a great option at $4,200. Similar to Rooney this is a bizarre week and I’d advise looking at your options. Personally, I think taking more of the middle road guys is the best choice, but given the format of my segment and the difficulties people have choosing cheaper options I still want to make the best recommendations if you’re presented with these dollar amounts. With that in mind, Hoolahan is going to be a very viable option this weekend against attack minded Southampton.
Steven Caulker (Southampton) Defender – Salary: $2,800:
In his first start of the season, Southampton finally sorted out their defensive woes in a nill-nill draw with Watford. Caulker was once a young budding star who after a few seasons of growing pains will be looking to make this season the one we’ve been waiting for. He’s got a ton of raw tools and a good bit of experience for his age, so if he can put it together he will likely play a huge role in any success Southampton enjoy.
Traps to Avoid
Juan Mata (Manchester United) Midfielder – Salary: $8,400:
Juan Mata’s value is going to go down every week from here on out in my opinion. While his slow and methodical approach may seem perfect for Van Gaal’s system, sometimes too much of something is a bad thing and in the case of Mata this seems to be the case. Although he remains one of United’s most creative options and essentially runs the entire offense; that recipe hasn’t proven to be a successful formula for scoring goals to this point. Although some may argue with me, for me Van Gaal’s system requires more doers and less thinkers to be successful. While it certainly requires players who can pick out smart choices, the field needs to have guys willing to act and that’s just not something Mata does enough for me. I think Mata’s play will continue to diminish in the coming weeks and Van Gaal will be forced to relegate Juan to the bench once more.
Andre Ayew (Swansea City) Forward – Salary: $6,700:
Is Andre Ayew going to have a bad game? Truthfully…he’ll probably be fine. With so few options, this selection has more to do with the fact that, I just don’t think he’s going to find the net. United have a history of bad performances vs. The Swans and it’s usually in the center of the park where they make their mark. Look for Shelvey, Ki, Sigurdsson and Gomis to be involved in the goals should they come as a result. Personally there are just going o be better options to spend your money at Forward this week then on a winger facing off against the most talented side appearing on the day.
Kyle Naughton (Swansea City) Defender – Salary: $3,900:
He’s the 6th most expensive defender and the 5th highest scoring option I think a lot of people will look at Naughton to fill their lineup. However, I’d encourage you to stay away as Swansea’s backs will be dealing with more than they normally have to deal with on most evenings. With this in mind, expect him to stay home more in a contest where I think both sides will score, making it highly unlikely that we see productive scores from the backs on Swansea.