By AVI CREDITOR
Familiarize yourself with Aston Villa's roster if you haven't already. Martin O'Neill's men will play a huge role in bringing you Fantasy Premier League success.
With two matches this week, two more next week and at least two on the final week of the season, Aston Villa's players will be hot commodities on the transfer market. Unfortunately, you can only have a maximum of three Villans on your squad, so you'll have to choose wisely.
Do you go for the more popular, but more reliable trio of Richard Dunne, James Milner and Gabriel Agbonlahor? Do you use one of your Villa spots on the steady Brad Friedel in goal? Or do you go a little bit off track with a James Collins-Ashley Young-Emile Heskey grouping? No matter what you choose, you should be rewarded in some way over the next two weeks for linking up with a team fighting for England's final Champions League spot.
This week's picks are sponsored by the colors claret and sky blue:
CAPTAIN OF THE WEEK
James Milner, Aston Villa, £8.1
A steady producer all season, Milner should be a popular pick as captain. The midfielder has been more of a creator than a scorer, with 11 assists and just four goals. But having a hand in all the action instead of just finishing is a strong way to earn bonus points, of which he has the sixth most among all players.
With matches at Stoke City and at Wigan Athletic, Milner will have loads of opportunities to rack up fantasy points. Stoke will still be without suspended defender Ryan Shawcross, which is an invitation for Villa to attack.
Looking even further ahead, Aston Villa's Week 31 slate pits them at home against Wolves and Sunderland. It's time to jump aboard the Villa Train and have Milner be your conductor.
Other candidates: Aston Villa's Agbonlahor and Young, Wigan's Hugo Rodallega and Charles N'Zogbia (at Bolton, vs. Aston Villa), Chelsea's Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba (vs. West Ham), Manchester United's Wayne Rooney (vs. Fulham).
For the final nine weeks of the season, we're going to change up the criteria for Best Transfer Buys and Sleepers. Having the high-scoring players that other teams don't is a surefire way of climbing the table. Transfer Buys will be owned by less than 10 percent of fantasy managers. Sleepers will be owned by less than 5 percent. And like that whole rectangle/square thing, a "sleeper" can qualify as a "transfer buy," but not all "transfer buys" can be "sleepers."
BEST TRANSFER BUYS
Huerelho Gomes, Tottenham, £4.9 (2.7 percent owned)
With eight clean sheets in his last 12 matches, Gomes has been steady between the pipes for Spurs. A home fixture with Blackburn combined with Tottenham's stingy defense could pay dividends for fantasy owners.
Nemanja Vidic, Manchester United, £7.8 (5 percent owned)
Fulham hasn't scored in its last four games away from Craven Cottage, and Old Trafford is hardly the place to snap such a streak, especially considering that United's back line is regaining health. Vidic, though extremely expensive, has been in the lineup the last two league games – both shutouts – and could finish the season with a flourish.
Jamie Carragher, Liverpool, £6.4 (7.3 percent owned)
It's tough to vouch for anyone on Liverpool after their performance at Wigan, but you've got to think that the Reds would have some pride and put the clamps on at home against Portsmouth.
Carlos Cuellar, Aston Villa, £5.9 (8.1 percent owned)
Richard Dunne's high-scoring sidekick is surprisingly missing from most rosters while Dunne occupies a spot on 40 percent of them. The money you can save by "downgrading" from Dunne to Cuellar could help you elsewhere on your roster.
James Collins, Aston Villa, £4.5 (7.2 percent owned)
Ditto for Collins, who would likely be more popular if he hadn't missed eight games during the middle of the season. His overall point total suffers because of that, but don't let it mislead you.
Ashley Young, Aston Villa, £8.2 (8 percent owned)
Quietly turning in a steady season, Young is coming off one of his better games (goal and assist against Burnley). Expect him to add to his four-goal, seven-assist campaign with the Villans' two matches this week.
Mikel Arteta, Everton, £8.2 (1.8 percent owned)
Did you see how vibrant, involved and lethal the Spaniard looked against Hull City? Finally healthy, Arteta has returned to form with two goals and two assists in his last three games while playing the full 90 each time. The Toffees must play at Birmingham in a crucial game with Europa League implications, but there's no reason to be afraid to have Arteta in your lineup.
Florent Malouda, Chelsea, £7.8 (3.1 percent owned)
The price tag is a bit high, but Malouda has settled in nicely on the wing in Carlo Ancelotti's starting XI, and he has a great matchup with West Ham. Looking ahead, Chelsea's Week 31 contains games at Blackburn and Portsmouth, where prime scoring chances are aplenty.
Abou Diaby, Arsenal, £5.6 (8 percent owned)
Returned from injury in a part-time role in league play against Burnley and still managed to pick up a bonus point. Followed that by playing the full 90 against Porto on Tuesday. Diaby looks healthy and should contribute in the Gunners' match against Hull, especially with maestro Cesc Fabregas expected to be out of action.
Gabriel Agbonlahor, Aston Villa, £8.2 (8.5 percent owned)
Agbonlahor has the chance to turn a somewhat under-the-radar season into something special over the next couple of weeks. His 11 goals are 10th-most among all players, but he can shoot up that list considering the amount of games that Villa has in hand.
Hugo Rodallega, Wigan, £6.5 (8.4 percent owned)
The Colombian broke a nine-game goal drought by scoring the winner for the Latics against Liverpool on Monday, and he's sure to be a popular add considering his two-game week. Grab him now, while he's still relatively absent from most rosters.
Chris Kirkland, Wigan, £4.4 (1.7 percent owned)
The hope here is that Wigan blanks Bolton in its first game of the week, and then Kirkland can weather the storm against Villa. It's not too far-fetched – the English keeper already owns clean sheets against both teams this season.
Sotirios Kyrgiakos, Liverpool, £5.8 (0.6 percent owned)
Granted, Liverpool looked horrific against Wigan, but the Greek centerback played well individually and gets a shot against last-place Portsmouth at Anfield. Considering how few teams own Kyrgiakos, he makes for a great play if you're looking to make up some ground in the table.
Gareth Bale, Tottenham, £5.3 (1.2 percent owned)
If you like trends, then you'll love the fact that Tottenham has produced a clean sheet in every other match over their last eight league games. Spurs yielded a goal to Everton last time out, and a home fixture with Blackburn provides the opportunity for the trend to continue. Bale comes slightly more expensive than teammate Michael Dawson (£5.1, 3.8 percent owned), who also makes for a sneaky play.
Stephen Warnock, Aston Villa, £4.8 (3.5 percent owned)
The World Cup hopeful plays fourth fiddle to Dunne, Cuellar and Collins, but he's just as adept at keeping the opposition off the scoreboard.
Paul Scharner, Wigan, £4.6 (4.3 percent owned)
Like Kirkland, Scharner has the chance to secure clean-sheet points with the match against Bolton and then add to that total, at the very least, with minutes played against Villa. He's involved in creating offense too, with four goals and three assists on the season.
Stewart Downing, Aston Villa, £7.4 (0.6 percent owned)
Not the cheapest option, but Downing is coming off his best Premier League match of the season, a two-goal, three-bonus-point performance against Burnley.
Luka Modric, Tottenham, £7.2 (4.3 percent owned)
Modric has drawn recent praise from manager Harry Redknapp and for good reason. He's playing well and has a favorable matchup in which he can continue to thrive.
Adam Johnson, Manchester City, £6.0 (0.6 percent owned)
The midseason acquisition has fit in well with the Citizens and has a solid matchup with Sunderland. His ability to create for others is an asset that attracts bonus points to him.
Jack Rodwell, Everton, £4.3 (3.1 percent owned)
A risky move because of inconsistent playing time, but the Toffees' star-in-the-making has scored at least five fantasy points in three consecutive games.
Craig Bellamy, Manchester City, £7.6 (2.6 percent owned)
With Emmanuel Adebayor still shelved because of a red card suspension, Bellamy, fresh off his brace against Chelsea, should get the chance to start up top aside Carlos Tevez against Sunderland.
Kevin Doyle, Wolves, £5.4 (2.5 percent owned)
While he hasn't necessarily been scoring goals, Doyle has managed to pick up bonus points in four of his last five games. That, coupled with a match against Burnley, provides decent odds at a good game from an unheralded source.
LAST WEEK'S PICKS
Fabregas (6×2=12 points)
KEEP IN MIND: Last-minute decisions can make or break your team. If you have any pressing questions, feel free to post them in the comments section below. I'll keep checking until the roster deadline to help you out. If you want to offer your opinion on anybody else's questions, don't hold back.
Soccer By Ives standings (Top 10)
1. AC Vols……………………….1730 pts
2. the unholy passion……..1721
3. The Jackson 4……………1714
4. AdiosAde, HolaSlvrwr….1712
5. Maple Gooners…………..1709
7. Big Apple FC………………1692
8. Grassington AFC……….1677
9. Sporting Club Delica….1674
10. aston villains……………1669
Who is your captain this week? How will your team line up?
Share your thoughts below.