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07th Nov 2014

Fantasy Football Cheat Sheet Week One: Up for Downing

Yet to give up on your Fantasy Football team? Sports JOE is your man for tips on who to sign and who to sell this week

Robert Redmond

Made it to November and still have your Fantasy Football team? Sports Joe has scouted three players for you to sign and three players to chop ahead of this weekend’s games.

Three players to sign:

1. Stewart Downing

Club: West Ham

Price: 5.8m

Percentage ownership: 11.4

No, seriously. Stewart Downing was once something of a joke figure after his £20 million move from Aston Villa to Liverpool in 2011 proved disastrous. The midfielder played 65 games, scored just three goals and had a measly five assists in two frustrating years on Merseyside. Brendan Rodgers deemed Downing surplus to requirements and allowed him to join West Ham  for a reduced fee in 2013. The 30 year-old endured another difficult season, with just one goal and two assists in 29 games as the Hammers struggled for form. However, Downing, and West Ham, have experienced something of a renaissance this season.

Sam Allardyce’s side have had more attacking emphasis, with Downing playing at the tip of a midfield diamond behind the in-form duo of Enner Valencia and Diafra Sakho. The midfielder has two goals and four assist in 10 games, creating 28 scoring chances, second only to assist-machine Cesc Fabregas. Downing’s sparkling form has even earned him a place in the upcoming England squad, his first call-up since 2012.With West Ham facing a winnable set of upcoming fixtures, Downing represents excellent value at 5.8m. The return of Andy Carroll seems to be only thing that can halt his assent.

2. Charlie Austin

Club: QPR

Price: 5.7m

Percentage ownership: 5.7

If the forward line of your fantasy football team is stacked with one expensive striker, such as Diego Costa, Sergio Aguero or Robin van Persie, you could do worse than making QPR’s Charlie Austin the Robin to your Batman. The forward has scored five of the Premier League strugglers’ nine goals, including three in his last two appearances and has provided one assist. Harry Redknapp’s side face champions Manchester City tomorrow, but then enter a crucial run of fixtures, including Newcastle away and Burnley and Leicester at home. Despite being only 10 games into the season, Austin already looks key to QPR’s chances of survival and is worth a punt at 5.7m.

3. Alexis Sanchez

Alexis Sanchez Fantasy Football

Club: Arsenal

Price: 10.7m

Percentage ownership: 26.1

Signing Sanchez may seem blindingly obvious, but, if you haven’t already, get him in your team. The Chilean has been in stunning form, scoring seven goals, and providing two assists since signing for £35 million from Barcelona in the summer. Five of those goals have come in his last three Premier League games and Sanchez already looks to have become Arsenal’s talisman. Sanchez, at 10.7m, is expensive but worth the outlay. Although playing as part of Arsenal’s front line, the Premier League’s fantasy football site regard the Chilean as a midfielder. This means you’ll receive an extra point for each of his goals and assists and should Arsenal keep a clean sheet.

Three players to sell:

1. Gylfi Sigurdsson

Club: Swansea City

Price: 6.8m

Percentage ownership: 44.7

Gylfi Sigurdsson started the season superbly, earning 29 points in his first three games, and has registered seven assists and one goal so far. However, despite being selected by a shade under 45 per cent of fantasy football managers, the Swansea City midfielder has faded somewhat in recent weeks. The Icelandic international has received just eight points in his last three games and his side face a set of challenging upcoming fixtures against Arsenal and Manchester City. Sigurdsson may again hit a purple patch of form, but, at the moment, there are other, more valuable purchases.

2.Dejan Lovren

Club: Liverpool

Price: 5.3m

Percentage ownership: 17.1

A penny for Dejan Lovren’s thoughts as watched Kolo Toure frustrate Real Madrid’s galacticos during Liverpool’s mid-week Champions League tie. The Croatian, signed from Southampton for £20m, has yet to prove he can be the defensive lynchpin, and replacement for Jamie Carragher, Liverpool fans hoped he would be. The Merseysiders have kept just two clean sheets in 10 games and Lovren has struggled to steady an already shaky defensive line. Will Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers stick with the defensive partnership of Martin Skrtel and Toure for the visit of Chelsea? Watch out Lovren, Kolo’s coming for your spot!

3. Wayne Rooney

Club: Manchester United

Price: 10.2m

Percentage ownership: 13.5

Wayne Rooney has had a stuttering start to his season. The forward was named club captain by new manager Louis van Gaal and is Manchester United’s first choice for the No.10 role, ahead of Juan Mata and Adnan Januzaj. Rooney returned to the starting line-up, following a three game suspension, last weekend away to Manchester City and at times looked threatening. The forward has three goals and two assists in seven appearances but, due to his withdrawn role, represents a heavy outlay at 10.2m. Rooney has so far averaged 2.7 shots and one key pass per game. Considering the difficulty in fitting two heavyweight strikers in your team, the 13.5 per cent of managers who have selected Rooney would perhaps be better served allocating that money elsewhere.

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