With reports that Danny Ward (4.5m) has impressed Klopp, I thought I’d take a look at the viability of rotating him with a 4.5 counterpart.
[Of course, it is far from certain that Ward will play. However, I think it would be fun to envision a world in which Ward were nailed, so I’ve carved out a niche in Community Articles: to present a fantasy that could become utterly meaningless within weeks, or even days, dressed up as essential reading]
I shall present a list of 4.5 keepers who could be considered for “rotation” with Ward along with their positive points and caveats. I present each pairing with their fixtures up to Gameweek 12 because it’s my favourite number. First, though, here is the conclusion so you don’t have to actually read it all:
- Guaita – Best rotation option if nailed. Best option if Ward not nailed.
- Patrício – Second best rotation option. Second best option if Ward not nailed.
- Begovic – Rotation not great. Third best option if Ward not nailed.
- Fabianski – Average rotation option, but expect points when he plays. Suboptimal with an early wildcard.
- Lössl – Joint third best rotation option. Suboptimal with an early wildcard.
- Ryan – Joint third best rotation option. Essential that Ward starts first 2 games.
- McCarthy – Great option if sold by Gameweek 8.
- Foster – Great option Gameweek 8 onwards.
Ward’s potential aside, Fabianski looks the best value 4.5 keeper across the whole season at the moment. So how do the 2 rotate?
*WHU/liv | *cry/BOU | *BHA/ars | lei/WLV* | tot/eve | *SOU/CHE | che/MUN | MCI/bha* | *hud/TOT | *CDF/lei | ars/BUR* | *FUL/hud
Fabianski would mostly be your back-up, autosub option. If you put your faith in the Liverpool defence, Fabianski may only feature in your starting XI a few times in the first 12 GWs. This is perfectly agreeable, since you are allocating a precious Liverpool slot to a goalkeeper, so you would want to be playing him most weeks. Unfortunately, however, this rotation only satisfactorily covers 2 of Liverpool’s 4 fixtures against top-6 clubs.
Looking at the broader picture, after starting with two 4.5 keepers, you could consider downgrading one a bit later in the season. If you still haven’t used your wildcard by this point, Gameweek 10 looks a good time to start playing Fabianski week-in, week-out and selling Ward. You might also want to give Ward’s Liverpool slot to any outfield player who is proving himself worthy.
Conclusion: Fabianski could act as back-up for Ward. However, the fixtures are not optimal for rotation.
Ryan is currently projected to be great value to start the season in the members area. Could Ryan, then, be the reliable support artist we need?
*WHU/wat | *cry/MUN | *BHA/liv | lei/FUL | tot/sou* | *SOU/TOT | *che/mci | MCI/WHU* | *hud/new | *CDF/WLV | ars/eve | *FUL/cdf
Nope. Similar to Fabianski, Ryan would have 2 good chances to save Ward from top-6 opponents. However, Ryan has less potential to achieve superman-status, which means we are likely to give the nod to Ward against Chelsea, Leicester (not so bad), and Arsenal rather than taking the chance on a super save-merchant, as we could with Fabianski. I personally think that Ryan would only be better value than Fabianski if Ward were dropped, since Ryan has the better average fixtures over the opening 10 Gameweeks.
Conclusion: Ryan is a viable option, especially if you believe Ward’s position to be insecure. However, with little room for rotation, it makes sense to buy the more coveted keeper, Fabianski, who will do roughly the same job for your team, but perhaps with a few more save points.
Begovic is an option that really underwhelms me. However, Bournemouth only face 1 top-6 team in the first 10 Gameweeks, so at least his odds of a clean sheet will be higher (than his previous average) from the start of the season.
*WHU/CDF | *cry/whu | *BHA/EVE | *lei/che | *tot/LEI | *SOU/bur | che/CRY* | MCI/wat* | *hud/SOU | *CDF/ful | *ars/MUN | *FUL/new
Despite Bournemouth’s wider spread of tasty fixtures, Begovic still leaves Ward to fend for himself against Leicester, Spurs and Arsenal (if he survives that long in your team), assuming you don’t want Begovic against Vardy in Gameweek 5. Importantly, however, you could bench Ward against Chelsea and Manchester City – teams which are not avoided sufficiently by rotation with Fabianski or Ryan.
For this reason, Begovic would be more suitable for a manager who is planning to use the wildcard either in the first few weeks or, to take advantage of rotation, between Gameweeks 8 and 11 (or 13), after which Begovic’s fixtures decline. You could also downgrade Begovic after Gameweek 8 without the use of the wildcard. However, unlike Fabianski, it would be unwise to downgrade Ward at that time, since Begovic’s fixtures drop off a cliff-like hill, rather than improve as Fabianski’s fixtures do.
Conclusion: Begovic is a good pairing for Ward if you are likely to wildcard before Gameweek 13. Whether Ward becomes nailed or not, you have a good early back-up in Begovic, but he would not make a good long-term replacement should Ward be be dropped or should you wish to downgrade Ward for the additional 0.5.
If Guaita is nailed to start, I believe he could be as underpriced as Fabianski, and despite being only the 31st most owned keeper at the time of writing, could be the best value stand-alone budget keeper for the start of the season. Almost shockingly, the largest issue could be taking up a valuable Crystal Palace slot in our 15-man teams.
*WHU/ful | *cry/LIV | *BHA/wat | lei/SOU* | tot/hud* | *SOU/NEW | che/bou* | MCI/WLV* | *hud/eve | *CDF/ARS | *ars/che | *FUL/TOT
As you can see, the pairing offers fantastic rotation during the first 10 Gameweeks, before Palace’s fixtures take the nosedive to beat all nosedives. Similar to Begovic, Guaita offers protection for the beginning of the season, and can be sold, permanently benched or wildcarded out when his fixtures turn.
The main differences to Begovic are twofold: (i) Ward’s earliest and hardest fixtures are all covered by Guaita, and (ii) Crystal Palace seem to have a more solid defence than Bournemouth, as evidenced by their 3 extra clean sheets last season, despite a terrible start to the campaign and, in my opinion, poor luck even after their form improved.
Conclusion: Guaita is the best pairing for Ward up until Gameweek 11. He may also be the best option to take the flack if Ward is dropped. However, I personally cannot promise that Guaita is nailed, and with a lot of value in the Palace team, you might want to save a the slot in case you need it for a Palace prince.
Huddersfield are a bit of a non-entity to me, which may be the reason Lössl has not entered my thoughts until now. However, with no real interest in any of their other players, it could be shrewd to pick out a goalkeeper to avoid filling too many slots (this is always a genuine concern of mine).
*WHU/CHE | *cry/mci | *BHA/CDF | *lei/eve | tot/CRY* | *SOU/lei | *che/TOT | MCI/bur* | *hud/LIV | *CDF/wat | ars/FUL* | *FUL/WHU
This rotation allows you to cover 3 of Ward’s 4 top-6 fixtures. On the one hand, this makes him a better option than Fabianski, Ryan, and Begovic. On the other hand, this comes at the expense of 2 horrendous opening fixtures, which could be inconvenient at best in the event that Ward does not start as expected (if he actually is expected to start, of course).
Lössl could become your number 1 keeper come Gameweek 10. Perhaps it will then be viable to downgrade Ward with a free transfer for the extra 0.5.
Conclusion: Lössl would make a good pairing with Ward if you intend to wildcard nearer to Christmas, but you would need to be certain that Ward is Klopp’s preferred shot-stopper before the Gameweek 1 deadline.
On the face of it, McCarthy has fairly good fixtures from the start of the season. Here’s how they look in rotation with Liverpool’s fixtures:
*WHU/BUR | *cry/eve | *BHA/LEI | lei/cry | tot/BHA* | *SOU/liv | che/wlv* | *MCI/CHE | *hud/bou | *CDF/NEW | *ars/mci | *FUL/WAT
McCarthy would be a good candidate to replace Ward in Gameweek 4 and 5, but ultimately doesn’t manage to protect your team from fixtures against Manchester City and Arsenal, with City being the killer blow for McCarthy’s selection chances, in my opinion. Still, if you are expecting to wildcard before Gameweek 8, he is arguably the best option.
Conclusion: McCarthy is a great option with an early wildcard, but otherwise there are better options out there. With a lot of potential value in Southampton, too, you may not want to use a Saints slot in goal.
Assuming Foster will be Watford’s main man between the sticks, he offers an interesting differential option, considering how ubiquitous he was in FPL squads a year ago.
*WHU/BHA | *cry/bur/ *BHA/CRY | *lei/TOT | *tot/MUN | *SOU/ful | *che/ars | MCI/BOU* | *hud/wlv | *CDF/HUD | ars/new* | *FUL/sou
However, Foster would only provide relief for Ward’s fixtures against Manchester City and Arsenal. Given that these fixtures comprise the latter half of the 4 most difficult Liverpool fixtures, Foster could be a contender as a replacement for other keepers on this list. For example, you could make the switch from McCarthy to Foster (in Gameweek 8) or from Guita to Foster (at any time before Gameweek 11).
Conclusion: Foster is not suitable for rotation with Ward from the start, but could be considered from Gameweek 8 onwards if he looks nailed and he promises points.
Rui Pedro dos Santos Patrício is an exciting option for many FPL managers as well as Wolves fans. His quality is reason enough to consider him.
*WHU/EVE | *cry/lei | *BHA/MCI | *lei/whu | tot/BUR* | *SOU/mun | che/SOU* | MCI/cry* | *hud/WAT | *CDF/bha | *ars/TOT | *FUL/ars
By my reckoning, Patrício would spring into action 3 or 4 times in the first 12 matches, allowing you to avoid Liverpool’s fixtures against Spurs, Manchester United, Chelsea, and maybe Leicester if you’re feeling frisky in Gameweek 4. Arsenal would be the only top-6 team Ward would have to face in the first twelve, assuming both players are fit and nailed.
Wolves’ fixtures from the start don’t look too punishing. This could be the best opportunity to tap into Wolves’ supposedly solid defence before Gameweek 23, when their fixtures are arguably the smoothest. In general, as well, he could be one of the better back-ups for Ward in case of emergency.
Conclusion: Patrício is a solid option regardless of Ward’s nailedness. He could be a season-keeper keeper if you end up sticking with the 4.5 price point, though you would be equally justified in shipping him out after you’ve made use of him for the first 8 Gameweeks or so.