FPL Question Time is back ahead of Gameweek 2 and our five panellists have been answering some of your questions following the events of the opening weekend of the 2019/20 campaign.
There were plenty of Fantasy managers seeking our panel’s thoughts on Harry Kane (£11.0m) after his 13-point haul against Aston Villa, while Liverpool’s lack of a clean sheet – plus an injury to Alisson (£5.9m) – prompted lots of discussion on the Reds’ backline.
Bournemouth assets, Leicester City attackers, Leandro Trossard (£6.0m) and Anthony Martial (£7.6m) are also all addressed in the responses below.
Who’s on the panel this week?
FPL Hints – One of the biggest names in the FPL community, a seasoned veteran as well as an FFScout writer and Official FPL panellist.
Holly Shand – Founder of Fantasy Football Community, two top 10k finishes in four seasons, regular FPL Show guest – and now a Scoutcaster!
FPL Heisenberg – Influencer within the FPL community with a top 10k finish in 2016/17, followed by top 1k in 2017/18.
TorresMagic – Long-serving moderator at Fantasy Football Scout with two top 1k finishes and a further five top 10k finishes to his name.
TheFantasyFreak – A long-term member of and frequent poster to the Fantasy Football Scout site. Finished an enviable 4th in the world in 2014/15.
Polar_Bear: Should we be downgrading our Liverpool double-up to add more to our attack?
TheFantasyFreak: I think this might be a strategy we have to seriously consider once the likes of Son, Mane, Aguero and Kane are all in play to release some funds. It certainly looks more viable now than it did a week ago with Allison’s injury and because Liverpool in general also looked a bit shaky at the back. For now, with a favourable fixture against Southampton to come, the obvious ploy is to hold. Van Dijk showed his attacking threat, Alexander-Arnold created two big chances (and had the highest xA of all players in the game last week) while Robertson, despite not materialising his potential into points, looked promising. He recorded 41 touches in the final third, which was the second-highest of any defender in the game and only one less than Salah. Any other day and he could have ended up with attacking returns as well. Hence, I think we’d be better off having one more week’s data before we make a decision on Liverpool’s defensive assets.
Holly Shand: I can see the temptation of losing the Liverpool double-up to move funds elsewhere, especially with injury concerns for Alisson. The Liverpool defence are the most attacking in the league though and demonstrated their ability to grab goals and assists despite not keeping a clean sheet last weekend. The fixtures remain good, so patience is key here – I’m predicting that they end the season among the top-scoring players again.
FPL Hints: Having registered 21 clean sheets last season, it almost seemed like a given to have double defensive Liverpool coverage from Gameweek 1. This was despite them showing some inconsistencies during their summer friendlies. However, for those that had the highly owned assets of Alisson and Andrew Robertson, it all came crashing down with an unfortunate injury and then an untimely loss of a clean sheet. With Alisson reported to be out for at least a few weeks, Liverpool’s defence has become far weaker even with van Dijk marshalling it. They were lucky not to concede more goals against Norwich. I now think it’s extremely risky having the Liverpool defensive double-up for the foreseeable future, especially when considering that they face Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in Gameweek 3 and an in-form Ashley Barnes after that. The prospect of selling a surplus Liverpool defender to spread funds up top can’t be ignored. It may be hard selling Robertson or Alexander-Arnold in the upcoming Gameweeks even if you have van Dijk, but if you have Gomez it almost seems like a no-brainer, especially as he seems less nailed-on than his premium-priced teammates. Looking at this weekend (Southampton away), we could probably be safe by retaining the double-up as the Saints failed to score in their last game and are still adapting with the changes to their frontline.
TheFantasyFreak: Harry Kane looked back to being at his lethal best against Aston Villa the other day. While I think the word “essential” is used very loosely nowadays, I think his fixtures after Gameweek 2 are such that owning him after the City game would be highly desirable. Imagine hiding behind a sofa each one of those weeks (NEW ars CRY lei SOU
TorresMagic: Harry Kane had the most goal attempts of any player in Gameweek 1 and scored with his two shots on target. He is quite tricky to fit into the template teams that include Salah and Sterling, which could make his worth even higher if he can continue his scoring. The introduction of VAR is a factor in his favour (he only scored four penalties in 2018/19) so I’d expect that to increase. The return from suspension of Son Heung-min in Gameweek 3 coincides with home fixtures v Newcastle, Crystal Palace, Southampton and Watford between Gameweeks 3 and 9, so this could be the fly in the ointment which could change the volume and quality of chances for Kane. I don’t think he is essential unless you are confident in captaining him. I don’t think I’ll be getting him unless wildcarding or I suffer a major injury elsewhere. Losing Robertson, if he is your only Pool defender, to acquire Kane is risky but the loss of Allison may cancel that.
Holly Shand: Harry Kane left it late in Gameweek 1 and really tested his owners’ patience, so I wouldn’t be too worried to be a non-owner, particularly with Manchester City up next. Perhaps take stock after the next Gameweek and try to stick with the original strategy: having three premium attackers means lots of compromises elsewhere in our squads and they aren’t all going to perform every single Gameweek.
Dribbles: Gameweek 1 was fairly high-scoring. What should you do if you got off to a bad start? You are already miles behind and it is difficult to chase.
FPL Heisenberg: Firstly, do not panic – there is plenty of time left. Don’t focus on the number of points you have right now, look at your squad and see if you’re in good shape for the next few Gameweeks. If your squad is fine, save your transfer. If you have issues, then sort them. Whatever you do, just remember – do not panic!
Giggs-Tosun Particle: Bournemouth’s attackers were highly underwhelming against Sheffield United. With options at Norwich and Burnley coming through in Gameweek 1, is it worth jumping ship already?
TheFantasyFreak: I think if you’re already looking to offload a Bournemouth attacker then you need to ask yourself as to why you selected them in the first place. You did so because the likes of Wilson, King and Fraser are proven FPL assets and I don’t think one poor game makes them into a bad pick overnight. Aston Villa conceded the highest number of goal attempts and shots inside the box last week so I think it might be slightly premature to bin off your Bournemouth attackers just yet. Fair enough, if they blank again then it would make more sense to get rid as they will have tough fixtures to follow, but for now I would suggest holding. Another reason for that is the lack of long-term, viable alternatives available. Norwich, and in particular Pukki, looked great against Liverpool attacking-wise last week but have Chelsea (with Kante back) and Manchester City in two of the next four. Similarly, Burnley
Greek Flair: Should we jump on the Anthony Martial train after he played ‘out of position’ versus Chelsea? Lots of other options in the same bracket this year.
TorresMagic: Anthony Martial is a very interesting player this season in FPL. He is at a fair price and currently playing as a forward where his xG (expected goals) is much higher than when he plays elsewhere. Very much a confidence player who can go on great runs of scoring: he scored in five successive matches in Gameweeks 8-12 of 2018/2019 when playing as a left-winger. I think he will be a popular transfer in Gameweek 3, even with his price rise. He’s one to watch for me.
daffyp1982: Should those who own Leicester City’s attacking assets be worried?
Holly Shand: Having owned Ayoze Perez in Gameweek 1, I was concerned about his lack of output, especially at home to a tired-legged Wolves side. Jamie Vardy owners should be concerned, especially with other premium options performing around him. Those invested in the midfield should stay patient for the next few weeks as it’s too much to expect attacking returns every week for players at this price point – reviewing after three to four games is far more reasonable.
FPL Heisenberg: Not yet, no. One game is not enough to establish form (or lack thereof). Watch Leicester closely in Gameweek 2 and if they disappoint again, you could think about moving them on to better options if/when they emerge.
josh7185: Is it worth holding on to Leandro Trossard among the cheap midfield options?
FPL Hints: I was pitchside at Vicarage Road last Saturday. Like many other FPL managers, I was surprised that Brighton’s record signing didn’t start the match or even make a cameo appearance. In truth, he wasn’t needed due to Watford’s complacency and Graham Potter’s shrewd tactics on the day, which all contributed to the Seagulls knocking up a comfortable win. They definitely demonstrated an attacking style, but champagne football it was not. In any case, it stood in sheer contrast to their way of playing under Chris Hughton. As for Leandro Trossard, from a positional perspective, his most realistic chance of starting would be the left-flank, which Jürgen Locadia occupied against Watford as well as during large chunks of last season. He was subbed off after the hour-mark on Saturday and made no key attacking contributions but Florin Andone replaced him and scored. What’s worrying is that last season no attacking players started more than 80% of Swansea’s league games under Potter, which shows that he isn’t afraid of rotation – and that could be to the detriment of FPL managers. This is also of worry to Glenn Murray owners, especially with Neal Maupay scoring on his debut and being so prolific in the Championship. If you have a reasonable first substitute it may be worth starting Trossard again, with their first home game ahead. From multiple reviews, he seemed in good nick during pre-season. Planning ahead, a future like-for-like replacement could be Ayoze Perez, but let’s not kneejerk at this stage. All in all, he should fare better than Brighton’s last record signing, Alireza Jahanbakhsh, who has yet to score or assist in the Premier League.
Kane Reserves: Adrián – a wobbly shot-stopper or bargain opportunity?
FPL Heisenberg: Adrian at £4.5m in FPL is undoubtedly an under-priced bargain if Alisson is injured long-term. However, is it worth using up that third Liverpool spot on him? Is it better to have three from Alexander-Arnold, Robertson, van Dijk, Salah, Mane and Firmino? Personally, I think having three outfielders from Liverpool is better but, if you are replacing Alisson, then Adrian, Nick Pope and Mathew Ryan are all good options.
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Lessons learned from Gameweek 1
- Liverpool 4-1 Norwich
- West Ham United 0-5 Manchester City
- Bournemouth 1-1 Sheffield United
- Burnley 3-0 Southampton
- Crystal Palace 0-0 Everton
- Watford 0-3 Brighton and Hove Albion
- Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 Aston Villa
- Leicester City 0-0 Wolverhampton Wanderers
- Newcastle United 0-1 Arsenal
- Manchester United 4-0 Chelsea