With the time to take stock over the international break, we’ve updated our Watchlist rankings to aid those mulling over their Wildcard options ahead of Gameweek 8.
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These rankings give an indication of our current thinking on player selection for each position, listing the factors that are contributing to the given rank.
Swansea City custodian Lukasz Fabianski is our favoured keeper over the mid-term.
Paul Clement’s men play four times at home in the next six, as Huddersfield, Leicester City, Brighton and Bournemouth make their way to the Liberty Stadium. With a visit to Burnley also looming, only a Gameweek 10 trip looks seriously problematic, with save points likely to be on offer against Fabianski’s former club.
The Pole ticks a number of boxes for those shopping for a new keeper.
At least four FPL points clear of any defensive team-mate, his price of 4.5 offers the joint-cheapest route into the Swans’ rearguard.
He also leads the way for total saves (30) over the first seven Gameweeks and has returned seven save points already, more than any other stopper.
Yet there are alternatives in defence in the sub-5.0 bracket among the Swans ranks. Kyle Naughton’s raids down the right have already delivered an assist, while Federico Fernandez is the bonus point leader, with five to his name already.
Newcastle’s Rob Elliot remains the cheapest starting keeper in FPL and arguably remains the current low-cost “fire-and-forget” option to rival Fabianski.
After seven Gameweeks, the Magpies have only conceded more than one goal on one occasion – against Spurs in the season opener after going down to 10 men.
Having blunted Liverpool’s attack in Gameweek 7, Rafa Benitez’s men can look to the upcoming schedule with a greater degree of confidence, with five very decent match-ups (sot CRY bur BOU WAT) over the next six.
Elliot’s value remains exceptional as a route into a defence that has conceded just six times and claimed two clean sheets.
In addition, while defender Chancel Mbemba has previously offered a 4.0 alternative in Benitez’s rearguard, he was omitted from the squad against Liverpool. The DR Congo international would seem unlikely to oust Javier Manquillo at Southampton in Gameweek 8 following long-haul flights over the international break.
The only caveat with Elliot is perhaps a lack of saves and therefore the opportunity to return additional points, including bonus. He has earned just one save point in his last three outings, with his Magpies’ defence restricting opponents’ efforts on goal.
Joe Hart’s budget-friendly price tag is also key to his lofty position in our current listing.
Still valued at just 4.5, he offers the least expensive route into a West Ham defence that has chalked up three clean sheets in the last four Gameweeks.
Clashes against Burnley, Brighton, Crystal Palace and Watford over the next five offer Slaven Bilic’s side the opportunity to maintain that recent upturn in defensive form.
Yet, like Elliot, Hart has been struggling for save points – he’s supplied just one of the first seven matches.
If you have funds to spend, though, Aaron Cresswell represents a more appealing option at 5.0 – he’s ranked top among defenders for crosses and successful crosses and is placed second only to Spurs’ Ben Davies for chances created.
Just two points off the top of the keeper standings, Southampton’s Fraser Forster still has the schedule to build momentum before the fixtures turn in Gameweek 12.
Compelling home encounters with Newcastle, West Brom and Burnley in the next four, allied with a trip to Brighton, suggests he can add to his three clean sheets.
Having racked up seven save points in as many fixtures, Forster’s appeal is also strengthened by the uncertainty surrounding the likely starters in central defence at Southampton.
Along with Cedric Soares, he’s the cheapest of the definite starters under Mauricio Pellegrino, but has so far chalked up 15 points more than the Portuguese right-back.
Stoke City’s Jack Butland is likely to climb in our estimations once his daunting trip to Man City has passed.
The Potters have mustered just a single clean sheet and shipped 11 goals thus far, but that’s partly down to an evil opening schedule. After the Etihad visit has passed, they will have played six of last season’s top eight in the first eight matches.
From Gameweek 9, though, Mark Hughes side have six strong fixtures (BOU wat LEI bha cry SWA) in the subsequent seven to improve that record.
At a cost of 5.0, Butland’s prospects may be dented if Kevin Wimmer or Geoff Cameron – both at 4.4 – can claim a regular spot at the back over that run.
Much could depend on the return of Ryan Shawcross. Stoke conceded just two goals in the first three Gameweeks, but have since shipped nine in the subsequent four with their skipper sidelined with another back injury.
With Burnley skipper Tom Heaton nursing a dislocated shoulder, Nick Pope looks set to benefit from the Clarets’ kind upcoming schedule.
Since replacing the stricken Heaton in Gameweek 4, Pope has registered four save points and three bonus points in four appearances, with Sean Dyche’s defence conceding just twice during that spell.
Pope hosts West Ham, Newcastle and Swansea and travels to Southampton in the next five, fixtures that suggest he will continue offering value at 4.5. Burnley also work very efficiently with Swansea as a rotation pairing up to Gameweek 20, providing a convincing combination for those favouring Fabianski.
Impressively, Pope has saved 94.4% of shots faced this season (17/18), a higher percentage than any keeper, with Heaton back on 66.6%.
Yet the likes of Stephen Ward and Ben Mee offer greater attacking upside at 4.6 and 4.5 in the Burnley defence, while the similarly-priced James Tarkowski is the number one player for clearances, blocks and interceptions (CBI) so far.
Leicester City’s Kasper Schmeichel (5.0) also has some kind fixtures and faces just two of last season’s top six in the next 11 Gameweeks.
Like Pope, though, there are more attractive options in his back four, with the 5.1-priced Harry Maguire already providing a goal and two assists this season.
Yet Schmeichel has matched Maguire for points (33) so far, having produced six bonus and six save points.
Manchester City’s Ederson (5.5) clearly has the form to warrant attention, with just two goals against in the opening seven Gameweeks.
Back-to-back home matches with Stoke and Burnley, allied with trips to West Brom and Leicester in the next five, affords him the platform to record further defensive returns.
Team-mate Nicolas Otamendi (5.7) is a more appealing option at minimal extra outlay. The Argentine has already found the net, while only two defenders have managed more efforts in the box than his six.
However, while Otamendi has so far been immune to Pep Guardiola’s rotation, this will always be a threat hanging over the Man City defence. Otamendi also sits on three bookings – pick up another yellow card, and he will surely be more vulnerable should Guardiola’ attempt to manage a potential suspension.
Ederson, along with Chelsea’s Thibaut Courtois (5.5), arguably has the strongest fixtures of any premium-priced keeper, right up to the first Wildcard curfew after Gameweek 21.
Courtois’ stock, while strong heading into a lengthy favourable schedule, is dented by the appeal of attacking options in the Chelsea defence – namely Marcos Alonso and Cesar Azpilicueta.
Elsewhere, Brighton’s Mat Ryan (4.5) is braced for four solid home fixtures (EVE SOT STK CPL) in the next seven, with trips to West Ham and Swansea also on his agenda.
Those Amex Stadium matches could be key, given that the Seagulls chalked up 12 shut-outs and conceded just 14 goals in 23 home fixtures last season.
After losing 2-0 against City in their first home match, Chris Hughton’s men have conceded just once in the subsequent two, with Ryan earning a save point in two of his three home appearances.
However, his appeal hampered by the identically-priced Shane Duffy, who usurps Lewis Dunk as our preferred Brighton defender. Duffy is joint-top defenders for shots in the box (seven) and ranks second for CBI.