December
31

As Fantasy Premier League managers prime their Winter Wildcards, those plying their trade in the Sun Dream Team have another 20 days to wait until Transfer Window 3 swings open. Before that, the New Year’s Day fixtures present the opening to another monthly game with yet another £10,000 on offer.

There’s a £5000 top prize open for January’s top Dream Team and, while all teams are entered automatically, there’s nothing like building a starting XI designed to take on the monthly fixtures. What’s more, the Dream Team Premium-In-Play package allows us to build and enter two teams for just a fiver.

When constructing a monthly squad, you need to study the fixture list and earmark those teams guaranteed extra matches – handing their squad members those further opportunities to gain you points.

With January’s game getting underway in less than 24 hours, we take time out to examine the fixtures for the month ahead and assess those Dream Team assets who come onto the radar as a result.

The Fixtures

While there’s no international break to interrupt the Premier League programme and no European fixtures to distract us, the domestic cups play a major part in the monthly make-up with the FA Cup third and fourth round, plus the semi-finals of the Capital One Cup providing plenty for us to consider.

Every side faces four Premier League fixtures in January, plus at least one FA Cup tie – the Capital One Cup makes the difference, however, handing Manchester City, Manchester United, Sunderland and West Ham an extra two fixtures which guarantee them seven in total for the month.

This makes these four teams the obvious sources of January assets, then, although with rotation likely to be a factor within City and United’s squads, assessing the likely targets is far from straightforward.

The intriguing twist on all this is that Transfer Window 3 opens on January 21 – this enables us to make three changes to our teams ahead of the FA Cup fourth round and the second leg of the Capital One Cup. That’s worth bearing in mind when planning our strategy for the month.

The Player Picks

While City are perhaps the most trusted and obvious source of talent amongst the Capital One quartet, it’s worth noting that only two of their seven January fixtures are at the Etihad – the first leg of their semi-final with West Ham and a league encounter with Cardiff. City’s form away from home has been far less consistent and, when you add in the prospect of rotation, suddenly there’s reason to court caution before raiding Manuel Pellegrini’s squad.

With David Silva missing tomorrow’s visit to Swansea, his appeal is somewhat lessened – particularly if you see him being rested for domestic cup duty. The strikers – Alvaro Negredo and Edin Dzeko – are perhaps the stronger options for one of the three slots in a 4-3-3. Dzeko, while perhaps reduced to cameo roles in the league, should get action in all three of City’s Cup ties, including the trip to Championship Blackburn in the FA Cup on Saturday.

Defensively, with rest and rotation a major factor, Vincent Kompany looks the prize asset, with Joe Hart perhaps likely to make way in the cups and the remainder of the back four all far from certain of their starts.

Rivals United are equally unpredictable in terms of personnel but have shown great consistency with their results of late, having notched five successive victories in all competitions. What’s more, unlike City, United have five of their seven assured fixtures at Old Trafford in January. With that in mind, there’s every reason to stock up on David Moyes’ assets – particularly the reliable sources of points.

Phil Jones has been one of the figures that has scored well amongst the United backline, however his recent injury robs us of a potential £4.0m bargain. That leaves us assessing the remainder of Moyes’ defence, with Patrice Evra perhaps the player most assured starts alongside keeper David de Gea. The Spaniard looks to be the stopper of choice for the January game, having claimed four clean sheets in December.

In attacking areas, Wayne Rooney continues to dominate and, despite his recent injury scare, he’ll be expected to top the January points tally for United. Robin van Persie should make his return this coming month but would represent a gamble, while Danny Welbeck is a cheaper alternative but remains inconsistent when it comes to performance and returns. The midfield, as ever, is a minefield of uncertainty, though Adnan Januzaj is a temptation as a potential punt.

That leaves both Sunderland and West Ham – two sides that we’re largely unacquainted with when it comes to Dream Team consideration. Nonetheless, with the Capital One Cup their best opportunity for silverware, it seems likely that both teams will temporarily shelve their relegation concerns and field strong sides in both legs.

Like United, Sunderland already have five home fixtures scheduled for the month, including a potentially profitable FA Cup tie with Carlisle United. Their league schedule is also amongst the most obliging of any team on offer (AVL ful SOT STK).

With five clean sheets in their last ten matches, Gus Poyet’s back four and keeper deserve some attention and Phil Bardsley, at just £1.0m, looks the pick of the bunch. The full-back has already notched three goals so far this term and has a hammer of shot from range which could yet reap further rewards next month. Vito Mannone, at just £1.5m, also has to be considered if you’re unsure of investing in United’s De Gea as the Italian has been in inspired form of late.

I’d be more hesitant when it comes to Poyet’s attacking charges, although Steven Fletcher appears to be edging his way back to fitness and form – at £3.0m, he’s the kind of gamble that could make the difference come the shake-up for prize money.

West Ham have far less appeal than the Black Cats. The January fixtures have them playing in front of their own fans just twice, one occasion being the second leg of the Capital One Cup with City. With defensive injuries biting hard, Sam Allardcye’s backline is best avoided, although that will likely mean that the Hammers will be forced to go on the offensive, bringing Kevin Nolan onto the radar as a midfield option.

Nolan has suffered an indifferent season to this point, with just a couple of goals from 18 appearances. Big Sam’s skipper will be responsible for providing a goal threat in January, however, at least while the manager conducts some business in an effort to bolster the club’s assets up front.

Elsewhere, you have to keep Luis Suarez and a number of Liverpool targets in mind – particularly considering the Anfield FA Cup tie with Oldham. Suarez remains essential for our forward lines given his scoring rate, while Arsenal’s Theo Walcott’s 36 points with four goals in December offers a reminder of the damage he can cause and his 21 Dream Team strikes last term.

The Gunners have no Capital One Cup tie to add to their appeal, while the FA Cup tie at Spurs is tough and offers little assurance of a follow-up fourth round tie in the month. Even so, the Premier League fixture list favours Arsene Wenger’s side (CAR avl FUL sot) and they have assets from back to front that warrant Dream Team attention – certainly Walcott and Per Mertesacker look key targets.

You can enter teams for The Sun Dream Team monthly prize via the Premium-In-Play package which gets you two teams for just £5.

To score maximum points from January’s fixtures, enter your teams by 12.45pm Wednesday January 1.

The Sun Dream Team Scout League

A reminder that we also have our own Fantasy Football Scout League with a £1,000 top prize on offer to the winner.

Simply use the following PIN and password to enter your teams into the running:

League Name: Fantasy Football Scout
Password: ReWOZhn1T1
PIN: 8061654

About The Author

“Mark created the beast. He's now looking to tame it.”

Mark

> See all posts by this author

  1. Reckon Rooney will be play? If he trained yesterday then surely he's not regressed THAT much? Got him at 10.7m so will be keeping either way.

    1. JKi
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member

      I think he will, it was clear how much we missed him v Norwich. Obviously Welbz made a difference but he doesn't drive the team on the way Rooney does and he's certainly not on Rooney's ability level.

      The worry I have is, if you listen to Moyes' quotes, he says he'd like to give him a few weeks to recover. He's taking massive chances, he did that with RvP and look what happened.

      1. Yeah Moyes said if he had two weeks until the next game he'd be fine but the games are coming thick and fast so we don't, he should be okay for the Spurs game or something to the effect. Left me confused as if he needed two weeks why should he be okay for the Spurs game? Maybe he meant he is well enough to play but perhaps not 100%.

    2. Is there any easy way to find out what price you bought a player for? I've had Rooney for ages too and I'm keeping hold too!

      1. Data view on the transfers page

  2. Does anyone use PhysioRoom.com for injury updates? Are they pretty reliable/ITK? Only just came across them on Twitter!

    1. Yeah I use it a lot generally pretty good imo

    2. They update their predictions in line with news from managers etc, so you can get similar info on here, but I've found them to be generally quite reliable

    3. They cover injuries a lot and seem to generally be OK, barring one infamous GW1 fail on Coleman.

  3. Hmm,
    A) terry to mert
    B) vlaar to kosc?

    1. b

      what would do if you could afford vlaar to mert, do that or kos and save £1m?

      1. If i could afford vlaar to mert I'd do that, but think kos is a good option too

    2. Thanks all!

  4. JKi
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member

    @Matt (Palace fan)

    Talk to me about Puncheon, I'm debating whether to get him or Sterling in this week for JWP

    1. Gotta be sterling surely

    2. Sterling no brainer.

      1. JKi
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member

        issue for me is next week

        Ki plays Fulham, Srerling plays Stoke

        Suppose you bench Sterling, you'd expect that to be a tougher game

        1. Big pitch at Stoke, away from home = Sterling on the counter.

          1. JKi
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member

            Ki = on set-pieces and in the hole

            Fulham = crap

        2. How stoke are rubbish just got lucky against Chelsea and the swans battered them and they got beat to spurs and Newcastle

        3. Stoke is not a tough game. They have shipped goals for fun over recent GWs. The bigger concern in that game would be Sturrdige's return, although I expect Sterling to start that one with Sturridge coming on as a sub.

        4. I would play sterling in that one if sturridge isn't fit. Suarez is putting chances on a plate for him.

  5. The timing of this Rooney injury couldnt be worse in FPL terms. It is probably wise to hold even knowing he's a major doubt if you stand to lose a ton of cash, but if he doesn't play, there's ten days until the next deadline and more transfers than normal with the Jan WC in play, he's almost guaranteed to drop another .3

    This sucks.

    1. If you don't sell, a fall in price is irrelevant. A long gap to the next league fixture is in your favour if he's injured.

      1. But if the wildcard approaches and RVP returns and Rooney is no longer so essential?

        With wildcards wielded Rooney could be expendable once Aguero's back

    2. Don't sell, don't buy, don't bench, don't captain.

    3. Even worse - I brought him in for a hit for Lukaku last game week

      It could turn out to be one of my worst transfers, even including Royston Drenthe

      1. Even including Drenthe? 8O

        1. JKi
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member

          shirley not 8O

          1. Worst. Captain. Ever.

            I didn't play the game when Zigic happened

        2. I think Drenthe got me maybe 2 points overall over a period of about 6 weeks

          Perhaps this won't be Drenthe level, but if I hold him and hold him expecting him to come back each GW it could be, if every week its another "late fitness test" and I keep hopefully and he doesn't return
          At least Drenthe was only a ~6m mid rather than a 12m forward

          1. Yeah. I'm in a similar boat too, I got Rooney for Negredo for a hit and he didn't play. FML.

  6. Remember pre west ham game after rooney missed stoke cup game thee was big panic and he played.

    I predict the same thing tomorrow he will start v spurs after missing the last game.

    1. JKi
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member

      IMO, the Spurs game ranks higher in the stakes than Swansea, Rooney is more likely to play that one if fit.

  7. Ozil to Walcott for a hit??

    1. Yes I would, although Walcott is still doubtful. I did same transfer but for free, as Ozil has gone off the boil lately and Walcott has been good since he came back.

  8. Happy new year from India folks

    May Rooney & Waly play tomorrow!!!

    1. May retired a long time ago..have you still got him in your team ?

      1. I thought he is due ;)

    2. happy new year man. this would make my year start off on a high.

  9. Percentage-wise what are Rooney's and Walcott's Chance of playing?

    1. 60% and 95%

    2. 75% & 90% - tbh I expect both to play.

    3. 50/50

      They either start or they don't.

      1. 1) I said play not start.
        2) The "chance" of a player playing a game is not dependent on if he plays or not.

        Stop trying to be smart or funny because that was neither. :)

    4. I'd say Rooney 80%, Walcott 70%.
      Moyes said after the Norwich game Rooney would be back for the next one. More of a precaution imo.
      Walcott was training today aswell.
      I'd be fairly sure both will start, I have both and amn't to worried at all

    5. Thanks People, I'm going to go for both so. They will be good long term anyway if they don't start tomorrow.

  10. Scout picks out soon?

  11. Evening lads waiting for the scout picks. Hoping Raheem and Wojiech are in there

    1. Trying to jinx them ? :)

  12. Start Morrison or Ward?

    1. Wardinho

    2. The wardatron

  13. Ok... So I have:

    Rooney
    Walcott
    Collins (wham)
    Flanagan
    Distinct
    Johnson (Aston villa)

    I've already done one transfer (stupidly) ...what's the chances that I'll actually start 11? Question is, do I transfer Collins/Flanagan to ward? Or...do nothing?

    1. I would do Flanagan > Ward

      1. How long's Flanagan out for?

  14. Scout picks out!

  15. I am in US. Can i do a wild card after the clock hits 12:00am eastern standard time. I figured i will be up watching the ball drop in NYC. Technically that's 1/1/14. Red cards and injuries have plagued my team. Any insight would be helpful.

    1. Ur lucky to be in NYC.

      1. JKi
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member

        ^^this^^^

        Ur in NYC for NYE

        Kick back, relax enjoy it and worry about FPL later

  16. Typical Rooney. Without fail, every year he slips off for a break around Christmas. Whether it be injury or suspension. I say he manipulates these situations.

    1. JKi
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member

      Breadbin, you have timed this well

      Went away to watch a film and clear my head

      How does

      Williams and Ward-Prowse to Ward and Sterling (-4) sound?

      1. Sterling could lose his spot in two games if Sturridge is back. Williams to Ward is solid though.

      2. Like it, should pay back quick and helps delay the WC.

        1. JKi
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member

          I see you have Silva, you keeping?

          1. I am. Did Williams -> Kos this week.

            1. JKi
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member

              I'd love Kos, but it creates a benching dilemma. He may be a wc purchase

              1. JK, Ward or Bardsley were my other picks

  17. so I got .2 in the bank and 1 FT.

    I'm fine with my starting lXI but with me holding Rooney there, should he not feature, my current bench is (El Ahmadi, Chester, Burner) A bunch of 1 pointers at best.

    Im thinking I should go for a Palace defender. I have Baker (3.9) starting currently. If I shipped Chester, he's only worth 3.8 to me. Turner is at 4.1

    So Ward would be the preferred transfer but I'd have to drop either Baker, which doesn't help improve my bench, or Burner, who has a nice fixture next GW when the rest of my defenders don't. And that will include whoever from palace I bring in.
    So should I ship Chester? For mariappa? Hull's next 6 are on the road or against CL caliber sides, or both. Can't see him getting used any time soon, and a WC will be played in the coming weeks.

    Cheers

  18. According to the Beeb this morning some of these could become fpl january bargains:

    Berbatov -> Arsenal
    Shaw -> Chelsea
    Bertrand -> Liverpool
    Baines -> ManUtd
    Lallana -> ManUtd
    Barkley -> ManUtd

    1. JKi
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member

      Berba would not suit Arsenal for the same reason he did not suit United, the play is too fast for him

      1. Quite possible, though he got 48 in 108 appearances for UTD, for 7.0 I'd take a 50% strike rate!

    2. Reviewing them quickly.

      Berbatov - could be a complete bargain if he he held down a starting role each week.
      Shaw - Doubt he will play much so would probably stay clear.
      Baines - I don't think he would make much difference to UTD chance of a CS, although he does have set piece threat. Not much if any improvement over Evra
      Lallana - I think he could be a real bargain and may be just what Utd need
      Barkley - Can't see him starting as Moyes didn't play him at Everton and he has a bigger pool of talent to choose from at Utd
      Bertrand - don't know anything about him.

  19. worth Distin > KOsc for a hit ?

    Current : Mert - Coleman - Chester - Ward

  20. Hoping that Total FPL or Fantasy Scout boys pick Fletcher as a differential (at least). Any gut feeling predictions out there?

    1. Good spot, they do have excellent attacking fixtures don't they!

  21. JKi
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member

    Silva owners, do people want him for the Newcastle game?

    It'll be a tough one, but by the same token, he'll be well rested. Plus he has Cardiff at home the week after

    I'm basically let with JWP to Sterling or Silva to anyone

    1. Silva to Yaya and back to Silva on wildcard in few weeks. Job done.

      1. JKi
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member

        I can get away with benching him this week though

  22. Mingolet

    Terry Burner Baines Debuchy

    Hazard Wallcott Oviedo

    Welbeck Suarez(C) Rooney

    Lewis/Mutch Ravel Davies on bench

    Good to go

  23. Any news on Gerrard looking to bring him back when fit

  24. 2013's best team end the year top of the league ;)

    Happy new year to you all

Scout Picks

For Gameweek 35

  • Adrián
  • Zabaleta
  • Ivanovic
  • Skrtel
  • Salah
  • Gerrard
  • Mata
  • Eriksen
  • Suárez
  • Adebayor
  • Aguero
  • Caulker
  • Ramsey
  • Lambert

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Next Six Ticker

Watchlist

Goalkeepers

Last updated: 15 Apr, 2014 5:24pm
Player Club Factors
No Change Hart MCI B, Vs
Up De Gea MUN C
No Change Cech CHE A, Vs
No Change Szczesny ARS B
No Change Mannone SUN B, £
Up Foster WBA B
No Change Guzan AVL B
Up Stockdale FUL B, £

Defenders

Last updated: 15 Apr, 2014 7:35pm
Player Club Factors
Up Terry CHE A
No Change Zabaleta MCI B, Vs
Up Koscielny ARS B, Vs, Inj
Up Skrtel LIV A
Up Evra MUN B
Up Kaboul TOT B, Vs
No Change Alonso SUN C, OoP, £
Down Coleman EVE B, VsX
No Change Vlaar AVL C, Vs, £
Up Ridgewell WBA C, OoP, £
Up Caulker CAR A
Up Heitinga FUL B, £

Midfielders

Last updated: 19 Apr, 2014 9:44am
Player Club Factors
Up Eriksen TOT A, Vs
Up Mata MUN A
Up Gerrard LIV A
Down Silva MCI B, Vs, Inj
Up Lallana SOT B
Up Sterling LIV A, £
Up Ramsey ARS B, Vs
Down Hazard CHE C, Vs, Inj
No Change Johnson SUN C
Up Amalfitano WBA A, £

Forwards

Last updated: 14 Apr, 2014 1:03pm
Player Club Factors
No Change Suárez LIV A
Up Aguero MCI C, Vs, Inj
Up Adebayor TOT B, Vs
No Change Dzeko MCI B, Vs, Rest, £
Down Lukaku EVE B, VsX
Up Giroud ARS C, Vs
No Change Lambert SOT B
Down Sturridge LIV B, Inj
No Change Rooney MUN A, Inj
Up Rodallega FUL A, £

Selection Factors

A, B, C Current Form
Vs Favourable Fixtures
VsX Unfavourable Fixtures
Rest Rotation Risk
Inj Injured/Returning from Injury
OoP Out of Position
£ Potential Bargain
Sus Suspended/Near Suspension

“A hit a week every week and finish in the top 50k is just fine and dandy for me. I play the game for the fun and how it improves watching Stoke vs Cardiff on a Monday night in November.”

Wakey on his fantasy management style