This regular prelude to the Scout Picks is back ahead of Gameweek 30.
In this feature, our four returning panellists each submit a squad of Fantasy assets, with the focus exclusively on the coming Gameweek.
The 72 nominations listed below will be narrowed down to a squad of 14 (with the starting XI not exceeding a total cost of £83.5m) ahead of the forthcoming deadline at 11:30 GMT on Saturday morning.
Paul, Peter, Joe and Neale (in for the unavailable Az) expand on their notable selections and omissions in the article below.
|Martin Dubravka||Lukasz Fabianski|
|Lukasz Fabianski||Ederson||Lukasz Fabianski||Artur Boruc|
|DF||Andrew Robertson||Andrew Robertson||Andrew Robertson||Trent
|Cesar Azpilicueta||David Luiz||Andrew Robertson|
|Harry Maguire||Jeffrey Schlupp||Jeffrey Schlupp||Patrick van Aanholt|
|Jeffrey Schlupp||Declan Rice||Ben Chilwell||Fabian Schar|
|Fabian Schar||Ricardo Pereira||Lucas Digne||Ben Chilwell|
|MF||Raheem Sterling||Mohamed Salah||Mohamed Salah||Raheem Sterling|
|Mohamed Salah||Sadio Mane||Raheem Sterling||Mohamed Salah|
|Ryan Fraser||Eden Hazard||Sadio Mane||Miguel Almiron|
|Manuel Lanzini||Raheem Sterling||David Brooks||James Maddison|
|Harvey Barnes||David Brooks||Manuel Lanzini||Manuel Lanzini|
|FW||Sergio Aguero||Sergio Aguero||Sergio Aguero||Sergio Aguero|
|Harry Kane||Gonzalo Higuain||Wilfried Zaha||Jamie Vardy|
|Jamie Vardy||Jamie Vardy||Jamie Vardy||Wilfried Zaha|
|Gonzalo Higuain||Wilfried Zaha||Gonzalo Higuain||Gonzalo Higuain|
|Salomon Rondon||Joshua King||Harry Kane||Joshua King|
Most popular picks: Ederson, Andrew Robertson, Raheem Sterling, Mohamed Salah, Sergio Aguero, Gonzalo Higuain, Jamie Vardy (four), Lukasz Fabianski, Jeffrey Schlupp, Manuel Lanzini, Wilfried Zaha (three)
I’m tipping a double-up on Liverpool’s defence at home to Burnley, with both their full-backs more than capable of hefty hauls in Sunday’s early kick-off.
A number of pricey strikers have obliging opponents this weekend and in order to balance the Scout Picks budget, I’ve gone with three midfielders under £6.5m.
As usual, I’ve included some overlooked options in my squad, with Harry Maguire and Manuel Lanzini among my favoured differentials.
Both impressed last weekend and, with strong fixtures in Gameweek 31, now could be the time to get on board.
Maguire was afforded license to roam forward as Leicester switched to a back-three in their first match under Brendan Rodgers, firing three attempts on goal against Watford.
It’s his aerial threat, however, that could prove the undoing of Fulham.
Maguire has recorded 16 headed attempts – placing him fourth among defenders – and sits third for efforts on target, with 11.
The Cottagers, meanwhile, have conceded 84 aerial efforts, which is the fourth-worst record in the Premier League.
Lanzini set the tempo in his first start of the season as West Ham breezed past Newcastle.
Not only was he ranked first for successful passes in the opposition half, the Argentine also received more passes in this area of the pitch than any other West Ham player.
Essentially, that suggests Lanzini is the go-to player for his team-mates when the Hammers have possession in attack. Having played a part in 40% of their goals when selected last term, his influence will surely grow over the run-in.
Jeffrey Schlupp also deserves a mention, with one goal and three assists in the last five Gameweeks since moving into central midfield for Palace.
The Ghana international recorded eight key passes, seven shots and five efforts in the box over that run – all totals that place in the top five defenders.
On this week’s Scoutcast, we discussed the notion that a successful FPL team needs a good combination of well-owned ‘shields’ to protect rank and differential ‘swords’ to steal a march on opponents.
With that in mind, I’d like to see this week’s Scoutcast packed with ‘shields’ from Manchester City or Liverpool, who both have favourable home ties and will be desperate to maintain momentum in their league title chase.
I favour a double-up on Reds attackers for Burnley’s visit, given the strong home form of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane. Between then they have scored 21 goals at Anfield.
The only player to surpass their respective home tallies of ten and 11 is Sergio Aguero. His 15 Etihad goals and more than 40% ownership make him another essential rank protector to include this week.
Eden Hazard’s seven home goals ahead of Wolverhampton’s visit sees him added to my list of ‘shields’.
Meanwhile, his team-mate Gonzalo Higuain looks a perfect ‘sword’. The Argentine is owned by a mere 4% of FPL managers and has already amassed three goals across his five league run-outs.
Cesar Azpilicueta is another low-owned Chelsea gem for the Scout Picks committee to consider, with three assists in his last four matches.
Crystal Palace assets offer FPL managers a further opportunity to climb the rankings, with Wilfried Zaha’s five successful strikes in as many league starts a key asset when rivals Brighton drop by Selhurst Park. The Ivory Coast international has scored an impressive four goals in his last quartet of appearances in all competitions against the Seagulls.
I’ve tentatively handed a selection to Leicester’s Ricardo Pereira, who has delivered me just two points since drafting him in three Gameweeks ago. With a mere nine goals on the road, I think his opponents Fulham will at last hand him clean sheet returns.
I won’t rehash the case for Wilfried Zaha as I covered the Palace winger fairly comprehensively in this week’s Digest, but Jeffrey Schlupp has finally made it into my selections after weeks of clamouring for a call-up.
A defender in Fantasy Premier League, Schlupp was deployed “out of position” in central midfield in Gameweeks 26-28 but – even better – was pushed further forward into the front three in Gameweeks 25 and 29.
Schlupp was covering for the suspended Zaha on the left flank against Fulham but played in the same team as the Ivory Coast international at Burnley on Saturday, with Zaha moved over to the right wing.
A benching is always a possibility with Schlupp but even if Andros Townsend is recalled against Brighton, the Ghanaian utility player could move back into the midfield three and still pose plenty of threat against a Seagulls side that has conceded two or more goals in each of their last five Premier League away games – and be eligible for clean sheet points, of course.
I’m rooting for a low-scoring affair at St. James’ Park on Saturday, with Martin Dubravka and Lucas Digne both making my selections.
The Magpies have kept clean sheets in three of their last four home fixtures but if Everton are to breach Rafael Benitez’s mean backline, it could well be from a set-piece situation – as happened at the London Stadium last Saturday.
Newcastle have consistently conceded chances from set plays all season (more than any other side) and Digne has taken more successful corners than any other defender in 2018/19.
The Toffees also come into this match off the back of two clean sheets plus decent underlying stats (fourth for fewest shots in the box and big chances conceded, joint-first for fewest shots on target conceded) in their last six away matches.
With premium buys Raheem Sterling, Sergio Aguero, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah all shamelessly nominated, I’ve also sought to include some budget players should we require them in the Scout Picks.
David Brooks is fit again after a month on the sidelines, with his price having dropped to an inviting £5.0m during his absence.
Bournemouth are next up against Huddersfield, who have conceded more chances from their left flank over the last six Gameweeks than any other side – something Brooks could exploit if deployed on the right wing.
Based on points per million, Brooks is the best-value FPL midfielder under £6.0m this season.
Manuel Lanzini is purely an “eye test” punt, following his display against Newcastle last weekend.
While the Argentinean midfielder blanked and didn’t set the world alight from an underlying stats point of view (other than a 97% pass success rate), he looked sharp in a 90-minute showing and was lauded by his manager after the game.
The wealth of options that Manuel Pellegrini has at his disposal is a worry from a rotation perspective but West Ham representation against a free-falling Cardiff side, devoid of the services of Sol Bamba and with their fans starting to revolt, seems a necessity.
With just four points from their last six outings, it’s fixtures over form for Leicester City with the condemned Lilywhites in town. That said, with three goals in his last four matches, Jamie Vardy has been consistent, though not explosive.
During that time, Leicester’s defensive assets have frustrated but I’m sticking with Ben Chilwell. The England youngster and Ricardo Pereira have each created six chances in that period; the Portuguese leads 2-0 for big chances created, but Chilwell carries a slightly bigger goal threat with two shots on target.
With 21 chances created in his last four matches (just one big chance), I’m also tipping James Maddison to supply the bullets for Vardy.
Speaking of goal threat, the two main title rivals are tied on 13 goals each in their last four home matches, with opponents Burnley and Watford each averaging just under two goals conceded per game recently.
The Reds and the Sky Blues are likely to feature heavily in our selections then and – with only Vardy and Harry Kane posing anything close to their threat according to the bookies – Mohamed Salah, Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero form a formidable, if costly trio. Salah, of course, is in lamentable form but having removed him before his hat-trick at Bournemouth, I’m turning a deaf ear to the doubters for a player who has averaged an attacking return in each of his 14 appearances at Anfield (ten goals and four assists).
Brighton have shipped ten goals in their last four away days, including four against Fulham. Only Trent Alexander-Arnold (also selected) has created more big chances than Patrick van Aanholt’s three recently and the Dutchman has notched at least five goals of his own in each of the last three seasons, albeit that he is languishing on one strike so far this campaign.
Meanwhile, Wilfried Zaha leads Michy Batshuayi in recent games for goals, shots on target, chances created and big chances created so I’ve favoured the Ivorian over his team-mate.
Budgetary restraints lead me away from some tempting attacking options from both teams at the Emirates as Arsenal entertain Manchester United in the weekend’s final action. Instead, an outlay of a mere £12.4m secures me the services of Miguel Almiron and Manuel Lanzini.
Almiron has nothing to show for his four shots on goal and nine chances created since joining the Magpies but the potential is there.
Lanzini, like most of the Hammers’ attacking players, is a gamble given rotation but I desperately want representation against a Cardiff defence that will be missing Sol Bamba and for whom Sean Morrison is yet to regain his stride following injury. Obviously, some reliable pre-deadline team news regarding Marko Arnautovic’s position may alter this train of thought, but Lanzini sneaks into
The Community Champion
The Community Champion who has the best lead over the Scouts during 2018/19 will win a £100 Amazon voucher (currently we can only offer Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com vouchers).
fclackless’s Gameweek 10 victory over the Scout Squad crew by a score of 77-44 remains the deficit to beat.
The Community Champion for Gameweek 30 will be announced in our Scout Picks on Friday.