Our quartet of seasoned Fantasy managers are back to offer their long-list of candidates to be considered for our regular Scout Picks selection on Friday afternoon.
The nominations below will now be narrowed down to a squad of 15 (with the starting XI not exceeding £83m and no club represented by more than three players) ahead of the Gameweek 12 deadline at 11:30 GMT on Saturday.
Our three in-house regulars – Az, Joe and Paul – are joined again this week by Peter Kouwenberg, who has three top 500 finishes to his name.
As well as listing their initial 18-man squads, our panellists expand on their notable selections and omissions in the article below.
Four players have received widespread backing, with Paul, Joe, Az and Peter unanimous in their advocacy of a double-up on Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane.
Az reckons there could be rotation at the back for the Reds, so has defied the others with his nomination of Joe Gomez as a route into the Liverpool backline.
With the aforementioned £83m budget in mind, Peter has overlooked Marcos Alonso and Eden Hazard in favour of Willian ahead of Chelsea’s encounter with Everton.
This could be the last hurrah for James Maddison and Jamie Vardy, meanwhile, if the pair fail to deliver at home to Burnley.
|GK||Lukasz Fabianski||Lukasz Fabianski||Mathew Ryan||Hugo Lloris|
|Mathew Ryan||Neil Etheridge||Ben Foster||Lukasz Fabianski|
|Ben Foster||Mathew Ryan||Martin Dubravka||Ben Foster|
|DF||Andrew Robertson||Andrew Robertson||Joe Gomez||Andrew Robertson|
|Marcos Alonso||Marcos Alonso||Marcos Alonso||Kieran Trippier|
|Kieran Trippier||Kieran Trippier||Benjamin Mendy||Shane Duffy|
|Jose Holebas||Hector Bellerin||Kieran Trippier||Ben Chilwell|
|Fabian Balbuena||Ben Chilwell||Shane Duffy||Jose Holebas|
|MF||Mohamed Salah||Mohamed Salah||Mohamed Salah||Mohamed Salah|
|Eden Hazard||Eden Hazard||Sadio Mane||Sadio Mane|
|Sadio Mane||Sadio Mane||Eden Hazard||Raheem Sterling|
|James Maddison||Christian Eriksen||Mesut Ozil||Willian|
|JB Gudmundsson||Roberto Pereyra||James Maddison||Roberto Pereyra|
|FW||Alexandre Lacazette||Marko Arnautovic||Sergio Aguero||Sergio Aguero|
|Marko Arnautovic||Sergio Aguero||Marko Arnautovic||Jamie Vardy|
|Jamie Vardy||Harry Kane||Jamie Vardy||Alvaro Morata|
|Callum Wilson||Alexandre Lacazette||Alexandre Lacazette||Marko Arnautovic|
|Isaac Success||Danny Ings||Isaac Success||Callum Wilson|
Most popular picks: Kieran Trippier, Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, Marko Arnautovic (four), Lukasz Fabianski, Ben Foster, Mathew Ryan, Marcos Alonso, Andrew Robertson, Eden Hazard, Sergio Aguero, Alexandre Lacazette, Jamie Vardy (three)
Liverpool’s home clash with Fulham is one of those fixtures where a double-up on Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane looks a no-brainer.
I was tempted to opt for Xherdan Shaqiri over Mane as I reckon he will start in a 4-2-3-1 on Sunday lunchtime. Yet after picking Kevin De Bruyne over Raheem Sterling in last week’s squad, I’ll play this one safe.
Nonetheless, Shaqiri has been involved in 62% of Liverpool’s goals when selected and should merit some consideration.
Fabian Balbuena also deserves a mention.
The West Ham centre-back’s nine efforts in the box over the last four Gameweeks are more than any other defender.
Although clean sheets have been hard to come by for the Hammers, a trip to Huddersfield – who have one home goal this season – boosts Balbuena’s chances of a big return.
I’m backing goals at both ends of the pitch at the King Power this weekend.
On the back of two goals and four assists in his last six outings, Johann Berg Gudmundsson looks the likeliest to deny the Foxes a clean sheet.
Leicester’s recent weakness from set-pieces can be exploited by the Clarets’ dead-ball specialist.
Claude Puel’s men have conceded 24 attempts from set-pieces in the last four Gameweeks, more than any other side.
Prior to that, they allowed their opponents 14 such opportunities in the opening seven.
Gameweek 11 was disastrous for backline options, with none of the top 34 owned defenders achieving a clean sheet.
I’m banking on a rearguard bounceback this time around and would be keen to see a four-man defence rolled out.
This sees me opt for Liverpool’s Andrew Robertson against a Fulham side that has only found the net four times in their last six run-outs. It is worth noting that the only time the Reds have conceded at home in the league was against Cardiff City, when Robertson was rested. I can’t see the Scotsman being left out again.
Tottenham’s Kieran Trippier visits a Crystal Palace side that has scored just twice at Selhurst Park.
Chelsea’s Marcos Alonso and Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin face more attacking sides in Everton and Wolves respectively, but have enough offensive threat to ensure they justify their selection should they concede.
The Chelsea man has a record 11 shots at home among all defenders and has registered three assists and a goal at Stamford Bridge.
Over his last four, Arsenal’s full-back has fired off six shots, four of which were from close range.
A money-saving back four formation may be needed if my suggestion of doubling up on Liverpool’s attack with Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane is endorsed in midfield. Opting for both for favourable home clashes has proved highly profitable so far this season.
If only one premium priced attacker is affordable then Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero has the slight edge over Tottenham’s resurgent frontman Harry Kane, who has three goals in his last two in all competitions. I’m particularly impressed with the Argentinean marksman’s lower price tag and Etihad form, with a record six goals and 35 shots at home.
Oh, Fulham. This week it’s all about just how many goals Liverpool will score at Anfield when the Cottagers roll up. It is a shame we are only allowed three players from one team otherwise I’d be loading up.
I’ve gone for Joe Gomez over Andrew Robertson here as I think there is likely to be rotation after a humiliating defeat in the Champions League but let’s be honest, it doesn’t matter what team Liverpool put out, they will win this comfortably.
Mohamed Salah looks a great shout for anyone not looking to use their triple captain chip on a double game-weeker.
I think there are going to be plenty of goals in some of the other games too. Manchester City v Manchester United is tough to call, but I find it hard to believe that Chris Smalling and Victor Lindelof can keep Sergio Aguero and co. out.
Arsenal v Wolves and Leicester v Burnley also look like two games that will be high scoring and Mesut Ozil looks a good differential pick at only £8.4m for now and the weeks ahead.
For many, I think this is James Maddison‘s last chance to deliver. He’s looked good but this hasn’t translated into FPL points. If he can’t get returns against Burnley, then I think it’s time to show him the door.
I’m also backing Watford to beat Southampton after they were frustrated by Newcastle. I’m hoping to get another start out of Isaac Success this week and I still think for £4.5m he is a good option.
The current Premier League’s top five sides all have fairly decent fixtures this week, with a quartet of winnable home fixtures and Spurs – top of the “away form” table, albeit having hit the road seven times already – visiting an Eagles’ team rock bottom of the “home form” table.
Excluding their stalemate against City, the Reds have averaged three goals a game at Anfield this season and Fulham’s woeful form at both ends of the pitch hardly needs highlighting. I’m keeping it simple with the trio of Andrew Robertson, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah, which I anticipate many of us will field.
If United are as open as they were in the first half against Bournemouth in Sunday’s Manchester derby then the most free-scoring attack in the league (19 goals) will surely fill their collective boots against a defence which is on course to just about scrape four clean sheets by the end of the season.
Sergio Aguero and Raheem Sterling have gained attacking returns in every fixture they have played at the Etihad this season. Granted, the England man has been left out twice by Pep Guardiola, yet it still makes my own decision to get rid of him two weeks ago all the more abysmal.
Behind City (33) for goals scored this season, we find Chelsea (27). Eden Hazard will surely be back starting and as influential for the Blues as ever, but it would be disingenuous to simply pack these picks with the most expensive options in every position (particularly having chosen heavy hitters from Manchester City and Liverpool). I’ve instead turned to Alvaro Morata, with more big chances (nine) than any other player over his last six matches and Willian (21 chances created including six big chances in his last six).
I still wanted to include attacking threat from Watford and Bournemouth, which boiled down to a combination of Roberto Pereyra and Callum Wilson (£13.1m) or the budget duo of David Brooks and Isaac Success (£9.7m). I liked the cut of Brooks’ jib last Saturday, with no midfielder having more attempts than his five (two on target) but favour Pereyra over Success, so have gone with the more pricey pairing this time.
Similarly, I couldn’t argue if Felipe Anderson gets the nod for West Ham, though I’ve backed Marko Arnautovic for the John Smith’s Stadium clash with the Austrian perhaps unlucky to “only” emerge with a goal and assist last time out against Burnley.
The Community Champion
Every week we invite a member of the FFS community to take on the Scout Picks with their own 11-man team.
Gameweek 12’s champion is Sam Goddard aka Boleyn Boy, who is nicely poised in 11,665th place in FPL this year. Sam has one top 1,000 finish and four other top 5k overall ranks to his name in nine seasons of playing.
Last week’s champion, Mince n Tatties, lost out 50-37 to our Scout Picks with a line-up of Kepa (2), Alonso (6), Rudiger (2), Mendy (2), Laporte (2), Walker (2), Salah (2), Mane (2), Maddison (3), Vardy (2), Arnautovic (12).
fclackless‘s winning margin of 33 points (77-44) in Gameweek 10 is the target to beat.
The community champion who has the best lead over the Scouts during 2018/19 will win a £100 Amazon voucher.
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