Our Watchlist rankings have had their regular weekly refresh and can be found in their usual location – in the lower right sidebar. Once again, we’re seeing City’s assets slip with form, fixtures and injuries working against them. Budget defenders continue to offer exceptional value, and while there looks to be just a single slot up for grabs in our attacks, the midfields are seeing plenty of movement, with strong mid-price and budget options pushing for selection.
Adam Bogdan remains at the top of the goalkeeper rankings – partly due to the wealth of defensive alternatives available to cover returns from other teams. The likes of Steven Caulker, Stephen Kelly, Andy Wilkinson, Gareth McAuley and Benoit Assou-Ekotto all offer cheaper or more favourable routes to their respective defences.
Bogdan’s clean sheet potential may be limited but, at 4.0 in the FPL and with exceptionally strong fixtures, the Hungarian offers the cheapest option in Bolton’s defence, allowing us to cover other teams with the aforementioned defenders – all of whom look more favorable than their respective goalkeepers. It should also be noted that Bogdan has returned nine points from saves in his last nine games, including four points in the last three matches – for a miserly 4.0, that’s not a bad solution. He also works well in tandem with both of the top owned keepers – Michel Vorm and Tim Krul, over their run of tough fixtures in the next month.
David De Gea is your heavyweight option with exceptional form and fixtures in his favour. Anders Lindegaard’s imminent return to fitness is a mild concern but, right now, you can be confident in De Gea’s starts for another three to four Gameweeks, with strong clean sheet potential available.
In the mid-price bracket, Fulham’s Mark Schwarzer and Tottenham’s Brad Friedel both offer assured quality acquisitions with decent fixtures ahead. Again though, Kelly for Fulham and Assou-Ekotto for Spurs look stronger routes to the defensive returns on offer. Likewise, while West Brom’s Ben Foster looks to have potential, his appeal is reduced by the availability of Gareth McAuley as an outstanding budget prospect.
In terms of goalkeeping rotation, we like Bogdan with Schwarzer until Gameweek 34, with Sunderland’s Simon Mignolet then replacing Bogdan and rotating nicely with the Fulham stopper until the penultimate Gameweek. The final day lottery is the issue there, with Schwarzer facing Spurs away and Mignolet up against United. Friedel and Mignolet is another pairing worth investigating – they swap home and away up until Gameweek 35 but have favourable fixtures between them right until the season end.
Jonny Evans continues to look an essential bargain purchase who just can’t be ignored for United’s run-in. He’s being chased by Liverpool’s Martin Skrtel, who for us just has the edge on Jose Enrique with greater goal threat. The Glen Johnson/Martin Kelly situation is worth monitoring here though – should Johnson’s injury see him sidelined for a number of weeks, Kelly’s potential, at 5.2 in the FPL, could rival Skrtel on our Watchlists.
Benoit Assou-Ekotto is back on the radar ahead of a run of favourable opponents which should see him supplement assist potential with a clean sheet or two. Steven Caulker, Stephen Kelly and Gareth McAuley then rank next – all offering outstanding value coverage for the Swansea, Fulham and West Brom defences.
City’s defence has seen a decline over the past week or so, hindered by injuries to both Vincent Kompany and Joleon Lescott. That leaves Micah Richards as the most likely name right now – even he could be under threat once again once Pablo Zabaleta returns to fitness. Suddenly, from being prime stock, the City defence is now in flux with a rough run of fixtures and insecurity playing their part. There looks to be better value elsewhere.
Gareth Bale holds the top spot – but only on the promise of delivering returns over a favourable run of opponents. He’s now under severe threat from both United’s Ashley Young and Arsenal’s Theo Walcott.
Both have very strong form going forward, with the fixtues to translate that into returns. The pair also play second fiddle to heavy-hitting strikers and are therefore “double-up” options respectively. Few Fantasy managers will be concerned by that – both Arsenal and United look good for goals and we could see many squads adopt the duo in the coming weeks. While Young has the edge with a better short-term fixture, Walcott offers greater security and is also cheaper at 8.9. Long-term, then, the Arsenal man could be set for a jump above Young, particularly once the tricky trip to Everton is out of the way.
Clint Dempsey is clinging to a top five ranking – based mainly on favourable home fixtures. He’ll likely need to deliver against Swansea to stave off FPL sales, although with Norwich and Bolton also in the frame in the next four Gameweeks, patience appears to be the best policy.
West Brom’s James Morrison and Bolton’s Ryo Miyaichi – both with fixtures and form in their favour, are your budget option differentials available to shake things up. Newcastle’s Hatem Ben Arfa is also an intriguing option. He could be set for a run of starts following his goal at the Emirates – particularly if Ryan Taylor’s calf injury keeps him out for a number of weeks.
Both Robin Van Persie and Wayne Rooney look rock solid at the top of the rankings – positions that they could well hold from now until the end of the season. Their form and fixtures could potentially mean that most Fantasy managers are looking to fill just one slot in their forward line – with budget likely to be the deciding factor.
Tottenham’s Emmanuel Adebayor looks to have fixtures on his side and could be the on the cusp of another spurt of profit. West Brom’s Peter Odemwingie is our favoured option further down the price brackets, with City’s Mario Balotelli, stepping over team-mate Sergio Aguero to offer a cheaper route into City’s attacking potential.
Down in the budget market, Norwich City’s Grant Holt and the Blackburn pairing of Yakubu and Junior Hoilett remain decent options. Although with a tag of 6.4, Fulham’s Pavel Pogrebnyak looks to offer the stronger value and will likely be the option of choice, with tempting Craven Cottage fixtures ahead.