Watchlist

The Watchlist Updated – Midfielders

After our analysis of the latest goalkeeper and defender rankings, our series of Watchlist articles continues with a review of the recent changes in midfield.

Our current reckoning can be found in your sidebar on desktop, or via your slide-in menu on mobile or tablet.

They give an indication of our thinking on player selection for each position, listing the factors that are contributing to the given rank.

It’s no surprise to find Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah (9.4) at the very top.

His stock continues to soar after chalking up a season-high 15-point haul in the 4-1 victory at West Ham United.

The Egyptian was fielded alongside Roberto Firmino up front in a 4-2-2-2 formation by Jurgen Klopp, although the likely return to fitness of Philippe Coutinho (8.8) could find the Reds revert to a more familiar 4-3-3 setup. Coutinho was in training with Brazil but did not feature from the bench against Japan on Friday; he could make an appearance against England on Tuesday.

But even Coutinho is unlikely to dent Salah’s stock. He remains top for shots in the box from midfield, with 32, while a total 24 efforts on target is more than any player across the positions.

Having already been well clear as the most owned midfielder in FPL, he is the most bought asset since Saturday’s deadline, attracting over 143,000 new owners.

Sadio Mane (9.3) returned from injury to provide both assists for Salah at the London Stadium. He will also be expected to profit from Liverpool’s kind forthcoming fixtures (SOT CHE stk bha EVE WBA bou).

Salah’s average of 6.5 points per match, compared to 5.3 for Mane, ensures that he remains our favoured Reds’ attacker. Nonetheless, Mane – sitting in under 8% of squads – could prove a powerful differential for those looking to double up on Jurgen Klopp’s midfield.

After Salah, the Manchester City midfield has to be the main consideration.

Pep Guardiola’s attack is showing no signs of reaching for the handbrake as yet, with three goals against Arsenal in Gameweek 11 taking them to a staggering 38 for the season.

With rotation perhaps a bigger concern when considering the huge outlay on either Sergio Aguero or Gabriel Jesus – midfielders Raheem Sterling (8.2) and Leroy Sane (8.9) take up the next two positions on our ladder. Doubling up on the duo, who are currently being deployed either side of one of Aguero or Jesus, is clearly a viable strategy.

Sterling – who withdrew from England duties with a minor back complaint – holds a slight edge in terms of goals (seven to six), and is averaging a shot every 25.4 minutes, slightly superior to the German (33.8). Crucially, his points per match (6.9) is also superior to any midfield team-mate, with Sane next best on 6.6.

The pair remain compelling options for the forthcoming period, with the league leaders avoiding the current top nine over the next four Gameweeks (lei hud SOT WHU).

With just a single assist over the last three Gameweeks, and one goal all season, David Silva (8.5) sinks down slightly in our estimations. Yet the Spaniard perhaps remains a more secure pick, having been named on Guardiola’s teamsheet in all 11 Gameweeks.

With the scramble for Salah and the City options intensifying, Spurs’ midfield candidates have almost been drowned out.

Admittedly, with Harry Kane the favoured option in Mauricio Pochettino’s attack, both Dele Alli (9.3) and Christian Eriksen (9.7) face a challenge to reverse the current trend of sales.

They are the two most sold midfielders in Gameweek 12 after supplying just a single goal apiece in the last five Gameweeks.

Yet, having both scored in the recent win over Real Madrid, the pair could still plunder the points from a favourable schedule (ars WBA le wat STK BHA) over the next six Gameweeks.

Given that Spurs have already qualified for the Champions League knockout stages, Pochettino could rest Alli and Eriksen (and Kane) from European duties as they give pursuit of City at the summit.

Like Sterling, we’re also expecting Alli to recover from injury in time for Gameweek 12.

Chelsea’s Eden Hazard (10.6) is poised to emerge as the main challenger to the top three.

The Belgian may have blanked in the 1-0 win over Manchester United, but the return of N’Golo Kante from injury allowed him to take up a No 10 role up in support of Alvaro Morata.

Hazard hit the target with all three of his goal attempts against United and has chipped in with a goal and assist over the last three.

With the upcoming fixtures (wba liv SWA NEW whu hud) just the start of an extended obliging run, Hazard – as one of the few premium midfielders to also boast spot-kick duties – could soon see his 5.1% ownership rise as a route into Chelsea’s attack.

In terms of our preferred mid-price and budget midfield options, Watford’s Richarlison (6.4) continues to lead the pack.

Incredibly, the Brazilian is ranked top among midfielders for total shots (39) and is second only to Salah (30 to 32) for efforts in the opposition box.

Richarlison has bagged all four of his goals (and two of his four assists) on the road, which may be a concern given that Hornets play three of their next four (WHU new MUN TOT) at Vicarage Road.

Yet having picked up points against the likes of Liverpool and Arsenal at Vicarage Road, owners look set to hold, with the schedule looking very favourable from Gameweek 17 onwards.

Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha (6.8), Stoke City’s Eric Choupo-Moting (5.7) and Brighton & Hove Albion’s Pascal Gross (5.9) can continue providing value for money.

Fielded up front following a recent switch of tactics, Zaha could yet usurp Richarlison in our pecking order – he sits joint-third among FPL midfielders for shots in the box (10) over the last four Gameweeks.

But with Christian Benteke back in training, it remains to be seen whether Zaha will be switched back to a role on the wing. That shift could slow his recent output, having scored goals in each of his last two at Selhurst Park as a central striker. However, manager Roy Hodgson may even retain Zaha alongside Benteke, having shown a preference for a 4-4-2 formation.

Sitting in just 4% of squads, the fixtures (EVE STK bha wba BOU WAT) could barely be kinder as the Eagles look to clamber away from the drop zone.

Choupo-Moting continues to deliver a steady stream of points, and still largely playing as a central striker, offers convincing value.

He travels to Brighton and Palace in the next two before hosting Liverpool, Swansea and West Ham’s dodgy defences in the subsequent five.

Those home matches could be particularly profitable – the Cameroon international has delivered 32 points in his last five at the bet365, blanking on just one of those occasions, which includes two goals against Man United.

Shaqiri is an alternative in the Potters ranks. He sits one point ahead of Choupo-Moting and has attracted far more acquisitions ahead of Gameweek 12; some 36,000 have moved for the Swiss international.

However, we currently prefer Choupo-Moting’s goal threat, while Shaqiri’s propensity to pick up injuries remains a concern.

As for Gross, his long-term prospects suggest he is worth retaining. Brighton’s boast five encouraging home fixtures (STK CRY LIV BUR WAT) in the next eight Gameweeks and also travel to Huddersfield over that spell.

Similar to Choupo-Moting, it’s the upcoming home schedule that boosts the German’s potential – he has scored or assisted 83% of his side’s goals at the Amex, averaging an impressive 7.2 points per appearance in front of his own fans.

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1,214 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Bleach †
    8 days, 18 hours ago

    Jesus → Lukaku (-4) daft move?

    1. TimothyJS
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      8 days, 18 hours ago

      I wouldn't!

      1. CFM
        8 days, 18 hours ago

        And captain?

        1. TimothyJS
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          8 days, 18 hours ago

          It's not like Lukaku is the only decent captain option this week

        2. Bleach †
          8 days, 18 hours ago

          Kane/Lukaku or Salah

    2. Ode
      8 days, 18 hours ago

      I would, Lukaku will play every game and easily outscores Jesus in the next 3. Also a captain option

      1. FPLFreddo
        8 days, 17 hours ago

        I would, Lukaku and Kane are going to be key until Jan as they'll more than likely play every game over the busy period.

        1. Ospina Colada
          8 days, 17 hours ago

          Morata seems equally nailed as well

          1. Maximus Bonimus Pointimus
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            8 days, 17 hours ago

            Is he worth the extra 1.0 over Mané or 1.5 or Coutinho though? I think a 9.5 mid (or Sterling/Sané/Silva) better than Morata or Jesus

            1. Ospina Colada
              8 days, 17 hours ago

              Have you seen Chelsea's fixtures over the Xmas period?

        2. Bleach †
          8 days, 17 hours ago

          But would you do if for a hit this week, or free next week? 🙂 That is the question

  2. 824545201
    8 days, 18 hours ago

    Gomes
    Azpi Stones Ward Francis
    Hazard Sterling Richa
    Kane Aguero Vardy

    Elliott RLC Fernandez Cork

    1 FT, 0.4 ITB

    What to do with Vardy? Do i downgrade? Or upgrade for a hit? I'd like to replace Stones with Jones for the United almost guaranteed CS's as well as freeing up one City slot to maybe get Sane.

    A) Save a FT
    B) Downgrade Vardy to Rashford/Tammy/Murray
    C) Upgrade Vardy to Morata for a hit
    D) Something else?

    Also, if iu sa ve a FT, do i even play Vardy over RLC?

    1. Heels_Over_Head
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      8 days, 17 hours ago

      Just do what step 1 of C is... and wait for next week for Morata

  3. CFM
    8 days, 18 hours ago

    Starting to consider it again.
    Jesus + Vardy + Ryan to Lukaku + Vardy + DDG(-4)

    No other problems other than double brighton defence which I'm not confident at all about.

    Do it?

    1. Holmes
      8 days, 17 hours ago

      Why not confident?

      1. CFM
        8 days, 17 hours ago

        Stoke have scored nearly every game and Brighton have only kept 4 clean sheets. would be fine with one of their defenders but not a double up.

    2. Heels_Over_Head
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      8 days, 17 hours ago

      you have two Vardys

      see no reason to take a hit for a GK change

      1. CFM
        8 days, 17 hours ago

        Sorry is meant to be abraham
        I just don't see brighton keeping a clean sheet and already have Dunk.

  4. Heels_Over_Head
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    8 days, 17 hours ago

    Join the 5th season of Knocks & Niggles draft league! All welcome!

    The Knocks & Niggles Mayhem draft league is recruiting new members for a December 2nd draft as posted in community articles.

    52 out of 60 managers returned for year 5 of this Fantrax-based league.

    http://www.fantasyfootballscout.co.uk/2017/10/26/knocks-niggles-and-mayhem-draft-game/

    1. Heels_Over_Head
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      8 days, 17 hours ago

      Normally there's a queue and wait list.

      Not this time.

      Curious what's changed here.

  5. Corgzzzz
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    8 days, 17 hours ago

    Lukaku a 100% must. Great fixtures and he is angry and back in form............

    1. Holmes
      8 days, 17 hours ago

      What form? 😮

      Anger mostly leads to penalty miss and red card 😉

      1. Corgzzzz
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        8 days, 17 hours ago

        I would happily wager you a small bet that Lukaku will score at least 2 goals this saturday

        1. Holmes
          8 days, 17 hours ago

          Considering how many chances they have been creating recently, would be surprised if Man Utd score 2 goals 😮

          1. Corgzzzz
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            8 days, 17 hours ago

            Be ready to be surprised...........

      2. Ode
        8 days, 17 hours ago

        Scored twice against the Mexicans

    2. Maximus Bonimus Pointimus
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      8 days, 17 hours ago

      This. He will be 12.0 & on around 100 points by GW15... 13-13-9 in next 3 games

    3. PumpkinHead
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      8 days, 17 hours ago

      Back in form? Lol. He scores 2 for Belgium vs the mighty Costa Rica with kdb and hazard supplying the creativity. Fair enough if you want him go for it but too early to shout back in form

      1. PumpkinHead
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        8 days, 17 hours ago

        Sorry Mexico. But even so playing for Belgium is a completely different ball game

        1. Corgzzzz
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          8 days, 17 hours ago

          yes and Mexico a far better team than Newcastle and Brighton and Watford next 3 GW

  6. Smurf
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    8 days, 17 hours ago

    Is Alonso a better prospect with Hazard back and playing well?

    I don’t watch all Chelsea’s games but the ones I do, Hazard loves to come inside into the middle of the park from the left hand side. This then drags the opposition more central leaving space out wide for Alonso.

    Yes Hazard has played a few games now and Alonso hasn’t returned in those but it’s only a small number of games up to now.

    Now I’m not saying that Alonso is suddenly a great option and it could be the opposite that Alonso is worse with Hazard but I’m not great with stats to back this up either way. It was just more of a thought from an observation.

    1. Heels_Over_Head
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      8 days, 17 hours ago

      Alonso's stats are good. I'm losing patience but trying to hang in a little longer...

      1. Smurf
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        8 days, 17 hours ago

        Better with Hazard or just good progressively all season?

        1. Heels_Over_Head
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          8 days, 17 hours ago

          just good; and cheaper than Hazard; and more CS points than Hazard

          Hazard too pricey for my setup

  7. Corgzzzz
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    8 days, 17 hours ago

    I think there is a chance that Alonso may get dropped........Only the David Luiz spat has avoided it so far.........

    1. Smurf
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      8 days, 17 hours ago

      Dropped for who?

      1. Corgzzzz
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        8 days, 17 hours ago

        The current thinking is that Moses comes back, Azpi moves back to the left and Luiz will return in the middle......

        1. Smurf
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          8 days, 17 hours ago

          I suppose there is the potential there for sure, but it seems a lot of reshuffling. Is Alonso really playing that poorly to justify that?

  8. Heels_Over_Head
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    8 days, 17 hours ago

    Chelsea assets seem good for December due to small squad size. Agree? Disagree?

    1. Smurf
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      8 days, 17 hours ago

      Agree. Their fixture list is a little more kind than some of the other big teams too.

    2. Ode
      8 days, 17 hours ago

      Yep

    3. Holmes
      8 days, 17 hours ago

      Tired legs might not be effective I guess?

  9. Ode
    8 days, 17 hours ago

    1FT, 0.4itb

    Foster (Elliot)
    Naughton Jones Ward (Cedric, Tuanzebe)
    Eriksen Salah Ramsey Silva (Cork)
    Abraham Kane Aguero (c)

    What is the best move here:

    A) Cedric -> Daniels
    B) Foster -> Pope
    C) Silva/Eriksen -> Sane
    D) Save

    Other suggestions?

    1. Heels_Over_Head
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      8 days, 17 hours ago

      d

    2. mynameisq
      8 days, 17 hours ago

      D for sure

      and then do a mini wildcard and get rid of cedric foster etc

  10. nicecat
    8 days, 17 hours ago

    Ok you guys reassured me to get Morata for Jesus, thanks for making it easy.
    Now is Ota > Jones for free a good move? That would leave me with only DSilva from MCI.

    1. mynameisq
      8 days, 17 hours ago

      I don't see why you'd take Ota out, most likely the title winning side, swatting almost everyone out their way, improved defence and Ota seems to have got some serious goal threat

      Remove Ota only if he loses his place to Kompany

      Get Jones another way imo

  11. MunsterRugby1
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    8 days, 17 hours ago

    I have Morata Kane Jesus up front was contemplating Jesus to Aguero/Lukaku but struggling to decide who will do better over the next 3 or 4 matches... all advise very welcome!

    1. mynameisq
      8 days, 17 hours ago

      Aguero or Lukaku is fine imo, both should do well. But Aguero is probably the best striker in the league and even when missing games is killing it in terms of points

      I'd go Aguero but either is fine

      1. MunsterRugby1
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        8 days, 17 hours ago

        Solid

        1. Jay Arell
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          8 days, 15 hours ago

          Struggling with the same! Currently on Aguero as I don't like having players that clearly are out of form. Just worried about the minutes.

  12. mynameisq
    8 days, 17 hours ago

    Did a whole text post but managed to make the decision myself, now to get some confirmation that my choice is correct!

    A) Hazard RLC and Crouch

    Vs

    B) Sane Richarlison Niasse

    B easily right?

    1. MunsterRugby1
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      8 days, 17 hours ago

      Ya B all the way

      1. mynameisq
        8 days, 17 hours ago

        Cheers mate

    2. jdogg
      8 days, 17 hours ago

      Yeh by a mile.x

      1. mynameisq
        8 days, 17 hours ago

        Nice one

    3. Ospina Colada
      8 days, 17 hours ago

      Yeah B no question. Hazard worth looking into for Chelsea's easy run over Xmas from a couple weeks time

  13. PumpkinHead
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    8 days, 17 hours ago

    Can't decide which move to make first so eager to get opinions

    A Davies Vardy -- morata 4.9 def -4
    B Ritchie --》 richarlison ( before his rise)

    I'm making both moves over the next 2 week so which first?

    1. mynameisq
      8 days, 17 hours ago

      Tough one, who's the def you'd get with the -4

      1. PumpkinHead
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        8 days, 17 hours ago

        Cheers for the reply mate

        Probably ward ( double up with mee) or Daniels

        1. mynameisq
          8 days, 17 hours ago

          All three are solid moves, i'd probably ship Davies alone first as Rose is first choice for sure

          Vardy and Ritchie can get points at least, whereas Davies might not even play

          1. PumpkinHead
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            8 days, 16 hours ago

            That makes sence and could be the sensible option. Although I do feel Davies starts vs Arsenal he is a fire that I need to put out so may as well do it now . Thanks very much 🙂

  14. troller
    8 days, 14 hours ago

    lacazette or lukaku long term?

    1. CFM
      8 days, 14 hours ago

      Lukaku

  15. troller
    8 days, 14 hours ago

    better combo
    rambo/kaku or pogba/laca

  16. diesel001
    8 days, 13 hours ago

    Simple tactics.

    1) Play your free hit in the blank GW (i.e. when only 4 - 6 teams are playing)
    2) Play your WC before the big double GW
    3) Play your bench boost during the big double GW
    4) Play your TC when one of your fancied players has a good fixture (ideally in a double GW, but not the big double GW)