Our final glance at Gameweek 5 focuses on the ascent of Everton’s key Fantasy asset, looks at Tottenham’s all-round potential and draws a line under a weekend that saw injury hit Fantasy managers hard, as three of the heavyweights fell by the wayside.
After five weeks of the season, a familiar face stands at the top of the Fantasy Premier League (FPL) defender rankings. Leighton Baines’ brace against West Ham was the first time he had produced any attacking returns this season yet the Everton left-back is already seven points ahead of his nearest backline rival and, more significantly, four points head of any other player in the game, with Baines’ 42 point-haul enough to edge Arsenal’s Olivier Giroud into second spot.
With back-to-back clean sheets in the previous three games, Everton’s defence has been instantly kind to Fantasy managers under new manager Roberto Martinez, with Seamus Coleman, in particular, proving popular. The right-back has risen 0.6 thus far and, while his raids down the flank have offered greater value from a starting price of 5.0, Coleman is struggling to keep up with Baines’ consistency.
Pre-season, much of the talk was based around a potential move to 3-4-3 under Martinez, allowing Baines and Coleman the wing-back roles and handing Fantasy managers couple of out of position prospects. Although this has failed to materialise and the Merseysiders have retained a back-four, Baines’ FPL prospects have never been more enticing following the change in the Bonus Points System (BPS) this season.
Every time the Merseysiders have registered a clean sheet, Baines has collected a minimum of two bonus points. Essentially, then, if the same scenario continues, we’re earning eight points per clean sheet for a player who has already topped 175 points in two of the previous three seasons – with his set-pieces coming to the fore against the Hammers and spot-kicks also part of his repertoire, Baines, at 7.5, may be the costliest defender in the game right now but he still looks to offer value at his current scoring rate.
With Newcastle, Hull and Villa in the next four, the bandwagon is picking up speed – indeed, there’s even a valid argument for snapping up both the Toffees’ full-backs with Baines apparently flourishing under the guidance of the former Wigan manager.
A late, late winner at the Cardiff City Stadium broke the home side’s hearts and guided Tottenham to joint-top of the table alongside neighbours Arsenal yesterday afternoon. The victory over Malky Mackay’s side continued a run of superb defensive displays that have seen Andre Villas-Boas’ side concede just one goal in the league so far this term, with Hugo Lloris sitting second in the FPL keeper standings, while Jan Vertonghen and Kyle Walker have earned six and four bonus points respectively as a result of the new BPS scoring matrix.
Three 1-0 wins out of five would suggest Spurs are grinding their way to wins but that’s far from the case. Villas-Boas’ side had 29 attempts on goal against the Bluebirds, with only the heroics of David Marshall between the sticks preventing a rout. As pointed out in our members Big Numbers article earlier today, Spurs have registered more attempts on goal than any side over the course of the campaign so far – despite converting just five of their shots, the north London outfit are offering plenty to suggest that goals, and plentiful attacking returns, could be on the cards.
With four home games in six to follow, investment in Spurs looks a potentially profitable tactic and while those at the back have rewarded their owners, Roberto Soldado has proven a frustrating acquisition thus far. The former Valencia man continues to offer a real threat, however, and with the likes of Christian Eriksen, Paulinho and Erik Lamela supplying the creativity behind him, Villas-Boas’ side look likely to offer us plenty of options for the weeks ahead once their raft of summer signings finally gel.
The Talking Point
In a season that seems to defy Fantasy wisdom time and again, last weekend’s turn of events was perhaps symptomatic of just how miserable the start has been for even the most experienced Fantasy campaigners. Having seen Christian Benteke – the second most popular player in the FPL game – limp out of Saturday’s lunchtime encounter with Norwich after less than half an hour, Sunday served up disappointment on a scale we could never have imagined or prepared for.
First there was Theo Walcott’s last-minute withdrawal from Arsenal’s home clash with Stoke, as Arsene Wenger was forced to field young Serge Gnabry on the Gunners right. Then came the shock of Robin Van Persie’s omission from the Manchester derby as the Dutchman called in sick as a result of a groin strain – their omission tested the strength of many benches as we relied upon our cheap squad fillers to bolster our weekly scores.
Walcott and Van Persie owners are anticipating quick returns – indeed, we may even know in midweek how their fitness is holding up, with Capital One Cup games on the horizon. In Mesut Ozil and Wayne Rooney, though, Fantasy managers have ready-made in-form replacements primed to benefit from kind upcoming schedules for both Arsenal and United, while Aaron Ramsey’s irresistible form continues to drive one of the biggest bandwagons in memory, with the Welshman looking set to rise 0.3 in back-to-back Gameweeks.
Benteke owners, meanwhile, are selling up quickly after the forward was ruled out of Villa’s cup clash against Spurs tomorrow. While Paul Lambert awaits results of his star man’s scan, the exodus is already on the way – a schedule that pits the midlands outfit against City, Spurs and Everton in the next four has proven reason enough for many. An ownership of 35% has already dropped to 32% since the weekend and with options such as Luis Suarez (2%) now back on the radar and Sergio Aguero (10%) flourishing under Manuel Pellegrini’s guidance at the Etihad, there are some viable differentials already picking up significant investment as the Belgian’s owners show little patience and look to restructure their three-man frontlines.
How's this for a wildcard team?
coleman vidic lovren (chester) (collins)
michu eriksen ozil moses (barkley)
giroud lukaku rooney
zabaleta coleman turner (baker) (brayford)
eriksen walcott ben arfa michu (morrison)
sturridge rooney giroud
- 2 months, 17 days ago
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Next Six Ticker
|Up||Howard||EVE||A, Vs, Sus|
|Down||De Gea||MUN||C, Vs|
|Up||McGregor||HUL||C, Vs, £|
|No Change||Speroni||CPL||A, VsX|
|Up||Pantilimon||MCI||B, Rest, £|
|Up||Williamson||NEW||B, Vs, £|
|Up||Olsson||NOR||B, Vs, £|
|Up||Turner||CAR||C, Vs, £|
|No Change||McAuley||WBA||C, Vs|
|Up||Ward||CPL||A, VsX, £|
|Up||Walcott||ARS||B, VsX, Inj|
|Up||Bannan||CPL||B, VsX, £|
|Up||Whittingham||CAR||C, Vs, £|
|Up||Michu||SWA||C, Inj, OoP|
|No Change||Lallana||SOT||C, VsX|
|Up||Morrison||WHM||B, Rest, £|
|Up||Brady||HUL||C, £, Sus|
|Up||Barkley||EVE||C, Vs, Rest, Sus|
|No Change||Suárez||LIV||A, VsX|
|No Change||Lukaku||EVE||A, Vs|
|No Change||Rooney||MUN||A, Vs|
|No Change||Giroud||ARS||B, VsX|
|No Change||Rodriguez||SOT||A, £|
|Up||Deulofeu||EVE||A, Vs, Rest, £|
|Up||Hooper||NOR||A, Vs, £|
|A, B, C||Current Form|
|Inj||Injured/Returning from Injury|
|OoP||Out of Position|
“I'm delighted, having time to re-evaluate his future, Christian has decided to commit to the Club. It's a huge bonus and I'm sure the supporters are every bit as delighted as me to have him on board and raring to go.”Paul Lambert revels in convincing Christian Benteke to revoke his transfer request