Opinion

Should FPL managers play their Wildcard and ditch two Liverpool defenders?

FPL Question Time is back ahead of Gameweek 3 and our five panellists have been answering some of the questions that you have submitted over the last 24 hours.

The fragility of Liverpool’s defence is still causing debate, while plenty of Fantasy managers are pondering whether to deploy their first Wildcard.

Chelsea assets, Son Heung-min, price rises and the in-form Teemu Pukki are also discussed by our panel of Fantasy pundits.

Who’s on the panel this week?

Simon March – Former FPL champion who won the title in 2014/15 and who has provided excellent advice ever since.

Always Cheating – The USA’s number one FPL podcast duo comprising of Josh and Brandon. Josh recorded his third top 5k finish last season, while Brandon ended up narrowly outside of the top 10k.

Gregor – Long-time Fantasy Football Scout moderator, Gregor has three top 1k finishes – one of which was an enviable overall rank of 29 in 2016/17 – and a further three top 10k finishes to his name.

Doosra – Fantasy Football Scout user who is the originator of some very useful and popular custom stats tables on the site.

Questions

Aapoman: Is it time to drop the double Liverpool defence? Which ‘Pool defender is the best if you plan to stick to one?

Gregor: Given the injury to Alisson and the Liverpool defence’s shaky start to the season, I can see why people are losing faith in the double-up at the back. If you’re on a Wildcard and need to generate some funds to invest in the likes of Kevin De Bruyne and Harry Kane further up the pitch then fair enough, but otherwise I wouldn’t be so quick to lose those assets.

As referred to in The Fantasy Freak’s excellent Gameweek 2 review Hot Topic, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson are still posting excellent attacking numbers and Virgil van Dijk has already shown his worth with an assist in the Community Shield and a goal on the opening day against Norwich.

I would definitely want at least one of those players in my squad and, if funds allowed, my preferred choice would be Alexander-Arnold; I don’t think he’ll miss as many games as he did last season and given his excellent chance creation numbers and set-piece taking abilities, I have a strong feeling that a 15-pointer might be just around the corner!

Doosra: Yes. It is clear to me, that without Jordan Henderson, there is a Dani Ceballos-sized gap in midfield. So, when James Milner plays with Trent Alexander-Arnold, Liverpool’s right flank will remain vulnerable.

Secondly, although I rate Adrián, unlike many others on this site, he is operating with painkillers and it is painful to watch!

If you were to have only one, I would advise Virgil van Dijk. As we saw in Gameweek 1, a goal can cover up a multitude of sins. An assist, not so much. Moreover, van Dijk is adept at hoovering up bonus points.

Furthermore he is £0.5m less, and finally, nearly everybody has him, so you are covered if he hits a 15-pointer, as will happen, sometime this season. Andrew Robertson will score points undoubtedly, but not £7.0m-worth!

Simon March: Though I’m not personally the biggest fan of doubling up in defence due to the concentration of risk it creates, I do think it’s a bit early to write off double Liverpool defence as a strategy.

First off, we’re looking at a very small sample size which came either side of a marathon Super Cup match in the midweek. True, we have also seen an injury to Alisson which, inevitably, weakens Liverpool’s defence but they are, still, arguably the best defence in the country and, in all likelihood, will end up in the top two when it comes to clean sheets kept this season.

That’s without even factoring in the substantial attacking threat that comes from the likes of Trent Alexander-Arnold, Andrew Robertson and Virgil van Dijk. If you are going to pursue this strategy, I think you have to dig in and be willing to stick with it long term if you want it to truly pay off. Come May, I’m sure all three of the aforementioned players will have delivered good value.

That said, if you did want to go back to the drawing board and pick just one Liverpool defender, that player is, for me, Alexander-Arnold by virtue of his attacking threat in open play and from set-pieces. He is probably slightly less nailed-on than Robertson and van Dijk and will, inevitably, be outscored by either or both on occasion, but he does offer the highest number of routes to scoring among the Liverpool defence and, on that basis, seems the stand-out option for me if selecting just one.


Jones 12: I am not happy with five players in my squad. Should I Wildcard?

Simon March: I think five players is probably enough, from a quantitative perspective, to justify a Wildcard but the more important question is qualitative in nature; are the players you’re looking to bring in really better options than the ones you want to get rid of? This is a tough question to answer if you’re basing it on just two Gameweeks because the simple truth is that it isn’t a big enough sample size to really tell us anything conclusive.

While it’s possible that the likes of Teemu Pukki and Dani Ceballos might emerge as this season’s breakout, fixture-proof stars, it’s just as possible that they won’t, we just don’t know yet. What I would be slightly more confident of is that proven FPL assets with largely good fixtures, such as Gylfi Sigurdsson and Ryan Fraser who have blanked thus far and are therefore being somewhat written off, won’t continue to blank for long.

So, while I wouldn’t want to dissuade anyone from Wildcarding if they feel it’s right looking at their team, I would encourage them to think carefully about whether the players they’re bringing in are genuinely better prospects than the ones outgoing. By now, I’ve had enough Wildcard players underperform their predecessors to convince myself that, painful as it might feel at the time, there can be an advantage to be gained from simply doing nothing.

Josh: Does “not happy” mean something minor like “I have Josh King but I really want Teemu Pukki”? Or is it a more pressing matter of a few non-player starters and some disappointing, Ryan Fraser types? If it’s the latter I think an early Wildcard is fine – you capitalise on the early-season price rises and you take rapid advantage of things we didn’t know at the start of the season (namely, that Manchester United would be much more solid than expected).

Doosra: Hi, Jones 12. If you have scored well but now see that your five players are hitting a fixture shift, or are failing to show the form that you hoped for, then I would advise a multiple hit so that you may replace them over two weeks.

My personal rules are thus: anything up to a 12-point hit is fine at crucial times during the season – and this is certainly a crucial time.

But if you have not scored well, or have, or are likely to have, suffered a drop in team value, then you should play your Wildcard. If you would like to improve your team value, however, I’m afraid that you have now left it too late for this week. You really should start work on a potential Wildcard as soon as FPL reopens.

If you are a member, you may find these tables of use:
https://members.fantasyfootballscout.co.uk/my-stats-tables/view/12222/
https://members.fantasyfootballscout.co.uk/my-stats-tables/view/12506/
https://members.fantasyfootballscout.co.uk/my-stats-tables/view/13487/


roronoa: Mason Mount or Christian Pulisic – or neither one. I feel like it’s time to get one of Chelsea’s offensive assets but can not decide between two of them.

Josh: Neither one for me. I haven’t seen enough of Frank Lampard’s Chelsea to even know what their best XI is. Or even who their striker will be. Michy Batshuayi just got a run-out for the under-23s and it’s not clear exactly who they’re going to use in the forward spot long-term – Batshuayi/Olivier Giroud/Tammy Abraham are all so different and require different players for balance. It’s a wait-and-see for now.

Brandon: Myself an American, I’m really hoping that Pulisic will prove himself at Chelsea. But, while he’s shown great moments in the pre-season and Super Cup, it’s still remarkably unclear how much faith Frank Lampard has in the Pennsylvania native.

Lampard, more generally, still seems to be searching for his best starting XI and I expect more rotation amongst his attacking midfielders during the next few matches. With that said, it seems the Chelsea manager has a lot of faith in Mason Mount, making a protege of his former Derby County player.

Mount could be one of the more stable FPL options and is made more appealing by his comparatively cheap £6.1m value. On the whole, though, in Mount’s price bracket, I find myself gravitating toward midfielders like John McGinn and Johann Berg Gudmundsson who are more embedded within their team’s attack.


Man Getting Hit by Football: At £1.5m cheaper then Harry Kane, does Son Heung-min require serious consideration against a lacklustre Newcastle? Thoughts on Son as captain?

Doosra: Well… perhaps. Here are some thoughts for you to consider.

Son may have trained with the team but has not been on the pitch with them this season.

Erik Lamela – although not a favourite of mine – fought a fantastic match against Manchester City and will rightly expect to be rewarded with a starting berth.

Lucas Moura, who appears to be in great form, will also be thrusting his hand up for a place.

Son was the author of his own misfortune [in Gameweek 37] and if I were the manager, I would start him on the bench. But I am not Mauricio Pochettino!

As for captaincy – only if you are a maverick or very lucky!

Brandon: It’s no secret that Son is a sensational attacking FPL asset on his day. But it feels too risky to transfer him in now, given that we haven’t seen him play a single minute (due to suspension) this season.

Between Lucas Moura and Erik Lamela, Pochettino has two proven, fit-and-firing options that he could easily choose to start against Newcastle and then ease Son in for a cameo appearance. And that’s the worst-case scenario for a captain pick, differential though he may be.

Gregor: I love Son, a great player to watch and he has served me well as a Fantasy asset over the years too.

The potential upside for bringing him in this Gameweek is huge. That said, I fear this game might just have come too early for me to invest in his undoubted talents and certainly as a captain choice.

I just feel that with the likes of Erik Lamela, Lucas Moura and Christian Eriksen all competing for those positions supporting Harry Kane and all having played a role in Tottenham’s solid start to the season so far, it might be that Son finds himself eased back into the action with a bench role this weekend and for that reason, I think it will be a watching brief for me on Sunday to see how he’s looking and how Pochettino has them set up when Son’s on the pitch.

Longer-term though I can definitely see the potential benefit of Son over Kane. 


AnasmMadridista: With most in-form assets having mediocre-to-bad fixtures, such as Dani Ceballos and Teemu Pukki, is it a wise move to jump on those players even with their average fixtures to catch price rises? When does a player become “fixture-proof”?

Gregor: I think it depends on the player. With Ceballos, I think we can afford to wait as I can see him being kept relatively quiet in the short-term with three tough games in the next five and we still need to see what sort of an effect the Europa League and the return of Mesut Ozil will have on his game time.

If Ceballos then continues to prove himself then his price tag is so kind that he will still be easy enough to bring in when the fixtures soften.

Pukki I think is different as he is is the Norwich talisman, guaranteed to start every game he is fit for and, by the looks of it, their gameplan and their best chance of success is to go on the attack.

Pukki will obviously regress after such a blistering start but I still expect him to provide good value over the tough fixtures to come. 

Josh: I don’t pay a lot of attention to price rises unless it’s going to directly impact a move I have planned for the current Gameweek or the following. If I can no longer afford the player on my list I just move on to the next player I want who’s more affordable – it’s a good lesson in not getting too locked into any one transfer.

As for “fixture proof” – it really depends on your bench depth. I would never bench anyone for Man City or Liverpool no matter what the fixture, nor would I ever bench a proven striker (Kane/Aubameyang/Vardy, for example).

That said, unless a bench player has an absolutely amazing fixture, I tend to roll the dice with my usual starters no matter who they’re playing. 


oystenik: Would you take a hit for Teemu Pukki?

Brandon: No, I wouldn’t take a hit for Pukki. Pukki is great today. And Pukki will be great tomorrow and next week. By the time you’re reading this, the Finnish striker will have already risen in price twice, so it’s too late to play the market in this transfer window. I’ll be targeting Pukki for the West Ham fixture in Gameweek 4.


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Lessons learned from Gameweek 2

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993 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Brodsterm9
      27 days, 22 hours ago

      Start?
      Lundstarm (lei h)
      Cantwell (Che h)
      Opinions appreciated -thanks!

      1. The Yorkshire Pirlo
        • 3 Years
        27 days, 22 hours ago

        Lundstram. Offers both clean sheet potential and possible attacking returns.

      2. Warby84
        • 4 Years
        27 days, 22 hours ago

        Lund 1 pointer incoming

        1. purple lamborGhini
            27 days, 22 hours ago

            Lund 12 pointer incoming

      3. TorresMagic™ - bcvy39…
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • Has Moderation Rights
        • 10 Years
        27 days, 22 hours ago

        Last Man Standing with close to 4000 qualified for GW3.

        Minimum scores needed after hits are 66 in GW1 and 35 in GW2.

        https://www.fantasyfootballscout.co.uk/2019/07/27/the-last-man-standing-competition-5/ for details.

        1. GreenWindmill
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 8 Years
          27 days, 22 hours ago

          Sheesh, only just scraped through with my GW2 catastroweek.

          1. TorresMagic™ - bcvy39…
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • Has Moderation Rights
            • 10 Years
            27 days, 22 hours ago

            Plenty did.

      4. Twitter: @Ze_Austin
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        27 days, 22 hours ago

        Gregor's favourite word: excellent 🙂

      5. Lucackadoodledoo
        • 2 Years
        27 days, 22 hours ago

        Start King or Lundstram this week?

        1. ^Freedom Fighter^
          • 7 Years
          27 days, 22 hours ago

          Lund

          1. Lucackadoodledoo
            • 2 Years
            27 days, 21 hours ago

            Cheers Freedom Fighter. Thinkin the same

        2. The Yorkshire Pirlo
          • 3 Years
          27 days, 21 hours ago

          I’d go Lundstram

        3. Debauchy
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 6 Years
          27 days, 21 hours ago

          King

        4. Skull And Gnomes 9
          • 2 Years
          27 days, 21 hours ago

          You should be sectioned and scrambled in Broadmoor.

          Jees!

          1. Skull And Gnomes 9
            • 2 Years
            27 days, 21 hours ago

            Shite, it just fell off my tongue_ I want to make it clear that was not a disparaging comment to Prince Andrews charity of helping children with mental health issues.

            1. Skull And Gnomes 9
              • 2 Years
              27 days, 21 hours ago

              You know, these charities really do help us working class orphans to take jolly trips on yachts like the Morning Cloud with Heath and his Epstein friends.

              Where are the bones?

              1. Skull And Gnomes 9
                • 2 Years
                27 days, 21 hours ago

                Feck Off!

                1. Gnu
                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                  • 10 Years
                  27 days, 21 hours ago

                  😆
                  Excellent read.
                  When's the book due out? 🙂

                  1. Skull And Gnomes 9
                    • 2 Years
                    27 days, 20 hours ago

                    When they're Dead.

                    1. Le Nick
                      • 6 Years
                      20 days, 21 hours ago

                      Mint hahaha!

        5. POLSKA GOLA
          • 5 Years
          27 days, 19 hours ago

          King for me

      6. Alberto Tomba
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 6 Years
        27 days, 22 hours ago

        I'm a big reds fan and the answer to the title of this article is yes - which I why I've activated my wildcard. We look very fragile at the back.

        Separately but related, I don't get the whole AWB love in the WC templates on here. I think United don't look any better at the back than say Everton, but with worse fixtures. What does everyone else know/think that I'm not..

        1. Debauchy
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 6 Years
          27 days, 22 hours ago

          Leaning strongly to your view , still a watch an wait and home to Palace next will not be a decider by any means

        2. Doosra - ☭A Noble Grape…
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 9 Years
          27 days, 22 hours ago

          United's fixtures:

          MUN : CRY 182 sou 236 LEI 157

          1. Alberto Tomba
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 6 Years
            27 days, 22 hours ago

            I hear you Doos, but I still fancy all three of those teams to score against Untied.

        3. clodhopper
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 6 Years
          27 days, 22 hours ago

          Awb gets bonus even if they concede and he is always involved goals assists clean sheets had him last year love him

        4. Unliklinho
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 6 Years
          27 days, 22 hours ago

          AWB not doing too badly and with 30% ownership is my concern.

          1. Alberto Tomba
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 6 Years
            27 days, 21 hours ago

            that's 30% of people you may overtake 😉

        5. jtreble
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 2 Years
          27 days, 21 hours ago

          MNU defence seems much improved over last year IMHO.

      7. The Yorkshire Pirlo
        • 3 Years
        27 days, 22 hours ago

        G2G?

        One more game and Perez becomes Lanzini.

        Heaton
        AWB, VVD, Digne, Montoya
        Salah, Sterling(C), KDB(VC), Perez
        Rashford, Pukki

        McGovern, Lundstram, Dendoncker, Greenwood

      8. Lucackadoodledoo
        • 2 Years
        27 days, 22 hours ago

        Any non Pukki owners like myself startin to feel a bit apprehensive?

        1. Warby84
          • 4 Years
          27 days, 22 hours ago

          No

        2. EMBOLOFAN
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 1 Year
          27 days, 22 hours ago

          i wouldnt be particularly worried, i have him though

        3. POLSKA GOLA
          • 5 Years
          27 days, 20 hours ago

          I prefer Kane tbh

          1. Devo-McDuff
            • 1 Year
            27 days, 17 hours ago

            So do I, but I prefer Pukki and 4.5 million spondulicks more.

      9. Wensink
        • 2 Years
        27 days, 22 hours ago

        Not accustomed to liking my team so much after making two free transfers (King > Pukki, Perez > Trossard) and still having 1.3m ITB.
        Am I drunk?

        GW3
        Heaton
        Wan-Bissaka/TAA/ Lundstram/Montoya
        Martial/Trossard/Sterling (V)/Salah
        Pukki/Kane (C)
        Bench: Pope/Dendoncker/Kelly/Greenwood

        1. scubasmithy
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 3 Years
          27 days, 22 hours ago

          KDB says hi!

          But in all seriousness, looks a good team

          1. In a Rush
            • 2 Years
            27 days, 22 hours ago

            Nice team that, good luck

          2. Warby84
            • 4 Years
            27 days, 22 hours ago

            Sterling Salah Kane say hi!!

        2. DandyDon
            27 days, 21 hours ago

            This is basically my team without city defence and Trossard rather than McGinn. Not sure which I prefer ...Trossard did look good last weekend

        3. Tsssst
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 8 Years
          27 days, 22 hours ago

          How's this WC team?

          Button Heaton
          Digne VVD Soyunco Lundstram 4.0
          Ceballos Sterling KDB Martial 4.5
          Firmino Pukki Kane

        4. Kopkloppers
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 5 Years
          27 days, 22 hours ago

          Thinking of 2 weeks time.
          aKane Martial or
          bFirmino Son

          1. POLSKA GOLA
            • 5 Years
            27 days, 20 hours ago

            A

        5. CrouchDown
          • 7 Years
          27 days, 19 hours ago

          G2G for this week? Bench order okay?

          Heaton

          Coleman Zinchenko Montoya

          Salah Sterling Martial Lanzini McGinn

          Kane(C) Pukki

          Subs: Pope, Lundstram Ayew Taylor

        6. Come on you Kante
            27 days, 18 hours ago

            Who would you triple captain ?
            A: Sterling (vs. Bournemouth)
            B: Kane (vs. Newcastle)

            1. ⚔★Vibudh★⚔
              • 3 Years
              27 days, 11 hours ago

              Triple Captain? No one!
              Captain? Kane probably.

          • tmduc
            • 1 Year
            27 days, 14 hours ago

            When would you be using your 1st WC?
            Now
            Gw5 - 1st Intl Break
            GW9 - 2nd Intl Break
            GW13 - 3rd & final Intl Break of 2019

            1. Crazygopher
                27 days, 14 hours ago

                When my team looks bad.

                1. ⚔★Vibudh★⚔
                  • 3 Years
                  27 days, 11 hours ago

                  This

              • AuFeld
                • 3 Years
                27 days, 14 hours ago

                Aiming for GW9, probably GW5 depending on how the next few weeks go.

            2. ⚔★Vibudh★⚔
              • 3 Years
              27 days, 11 hours ago

              Jota owners, you're sticking right?