By AVI CREDITOR
At the end of Matchweek 3 in the Barclays Premier League, Theo Walcott was assuming the best form of his young career, Jermain Defoe looked to have avoided what seemed to be inevitable surgery and Frank Lampard looked doomed to miss at least one match.
My how things have changed.
Walcott and Defoe each suffered ankle injuries during England's Euro 2012 qualifying and will be out for about six weeks, and Lampard might not be at 100 percent for Chelsea, but all indications are he'll play against West Ham.
The lesson, as always, is to wait until the latest possible moment to use your weekly transfers. If you picked up Walcott or Defoe immediately after their last Premier League performances but before the Euro qualifiers, you're left in a rough spot. If you dropped Lampard fearing he'd miss a lot of time, you could regret that down the line.
Here are a few other Fantasy Premier League notes along with our captain pick for the week and an SBI League standings update:
The summer transfer window has closed, and the Premier League is now home to a few more big names than it was prior to the season's opening day.
U.S. men's national team nemesis Asamoah Gyan (£7.5, Sunderland), Alexander Hleb (£5.0, Birmingham), Jean Beausejour (£5.0, Birmingham), Rafael Van der Vaart (£7.5, Tottenham), Eidur Gudjohnsen (£5.5, Stoke City), Raul Meireles (£7.0, Liverpool), Hatem Ben Arfa (£5.0, Newcastle), Carlos Salcido (£5.0, Fulham), Sebastien Squillaci (£6.0, Arsenal) and Victor Obinna (£5.5, West Ham) are among the transfer-deadline newcomers that should have the biggest impact, from a fantasy standpoint. Gyan and Van der Vaart figure to make the biggest splashes out of the bunch.
Brad Freidel proved that the clunker he was saddled with against Newcastle was a one-time offense, coming back strong to post a clean sheet against Tim Howard and Everton in his last match. Friedel is in good shape this week as well, as he matches up with Stoke City.
Howard hasn't played poorly, aside from his error in Matchweek 1, but his fantasy owners have yet to reap any rewards. Perhaps he's saving his signature effort for this week's match at Goodison Park against his former team, Manchester United.
As for the third starting American keeper, Marcus Hahnemann has yielded just one goal in each of his three starts and has a manageable matchup this week at Fulham.
Stuart Holden continues to play well in central midfield for Bolton but has yet to register a blip on the fantasy radar. That will change with time, but he shouldn't be one of your top options at the position. Fulham's Clint Dempsey has yet to play 90 minutes in any of the Cottagers' three matches, making him a bit of a risk to have in your lineup.
Jonathan Spector has seen more playing time for West Ham as of late, but his performance against Manchester United won't endear him any more to manager Avram Grant. Use him only on a rare matchup basis only. Aston Villa defender Eric Lichaj doesn't figure to see to the pitch much in league play unless new manager Gerard Houllier is a fan or unless injuries take their toll on the Villa back line.
INJURY QUICK HITS
As stated above, Walcott and Defoe will each miss about six weeks with ankle injuries…Arsenal's Robin Van Persie added another injury to his resume, and he could miss up to a month. Marouane Chamakh remains a good option up top for Arsenal…Liverpool's Dirk Kuyt has a shoulder injury that will reportedly sideline him for a month…Mario Balotelli won't see the pitch for Manchester City for at least six weeks after undergoing knee surgery…Aston Villa's John Carew was injured on international duty for Norway and doesn't figure to face Stoke this week…Everton's Jack Rodwell is out for a few months with ligament damage in his ankle…Tottenham's Michael Dawson suffered an MCL injury while playing for England and will miss the next 6-to-8 weeks.
MATCHWEEK 3 CAPTAIN PICK
Didier Drogba, Chelsea (9X2=18 points)
WHAT I REALLY MEANT TO SAY WAS…
Nani, Manchester United; Luke Young, Aston Villa (14X2=28 points)
THIS WEEK'S CAPTAIN PICK
Surprise, surprise, it's Drogba again. You can't argue with the numbers (four goals, three assists in four games), and the matchup is yet again in his and Chelsea's favor. The Blues draw point-less West Ham this week, and the three previous teams they've played (Wigan, West Brom, Stoke City) are all currently in the bottom five of the league table. Drogba should pad his stats on Saturday without a problem.
Other options: Chelsea's Florent Malouda; Arsenal's Cesc Fabregas (vs. Bolton); Manchester United's Wayne Rooney (at Everton); Sunderland's Darren Bent (at Wigan); Manchester City's Carlos Tevez (vs. Blackburn); Newcastle's Andy Carroll (vs. Blackpool); Tottenham's Gareth Bale (at West Brom); Liverpool's Fernando Torres (at Birmingham).
Soccer By Ives League Standings (Top 10)
1. Austin KillBotz!!…………………235 points
2. The 14ers FC……………………226
3. Palisades SC……………………218
5. typos by ives……………………..213
6. In Bob We Trust………………..212
7. Sloppy and Careless………..211
9. camp bergkamp……………….208
10. Tottenham Hotspur………..204
LAST WEEK'S SBI LEAGUE TOP SCORERS
1Nil2TheArsnl (84 points)
BertsBoys (84 points)
–L. Young(14)———G. Johnson(6)———Vidic(6)–
Were you the victim of a preemptive transfer move? What's your lineup looking like? Who's your captain pick this week?
Share your thoughts, questions and predictions below.