We’ve invited another trio of Fantasy Football Scout users to share their thoughts on the most-discussed issues of Gameweek 12.
On Tuesday we asked you to submit your questions to the FPL Question Time panel and we have focused on some of the recurring themes for our Fantasy Premier League veterans to address in the article below.
Among the topics covered are Leicester City assets, Manchester City’s fixture run, Norwich City’s misfiring attackers and a certain ‘out of position’ Sheffield United defender.
WHO’S ON THE PANEL THIS WEEK?
FlapjackFPL: A Pukki pioneer who was the first to the party by captaining him in Gameweek 2, Flapjack has been having success in FPL for years. Four top 10k finishes in his last seven seasons is an impressive feat, and he could well be on to another this season.
How Now Brown Cow: A long-time FFS poster, HNBC boasts an impressive record that includes all top 100k finishes in the last six seasons, with the latest two in the top 5,000. Patience has clearly paid off for this “no risk no hits” manager!
Darth_Krid: A past community tournament organiser, Krid has the FPL credentials to boot. Just before finishing 1,165th, he achieved his best finish of 805th in 2015/16 despite going completely Vardy-less during Leicester’s title triumph – but his current plan of repeating the trick is not quite going to plan!
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Manoj: Is Jamie Vardy the stand-out captaincy choice for Gameweek 12?
FlapjackFPL: I won’t get into the Vardy ‘stat-buster’ side of things as it’s almost become irrelevant. It’s become quite apparent (albeit a couple of Gameweeks too late for my own team) that if you don’t own Jamie Vardy, he can do disgusting things to your rank – and that is only going to get worse as his ownership continues to soar.
Strong cases can be put together for many options due to how the fixtures have fallen and so I can’t go as far to say as Vardy is a stand-out captain. He is, however, one of the top options for the upcoming Gameweek.
The two options behind Vardy in this week’s FFS captain poll are Tammy Abraham and Raul Jimenez. These two also have attractive-looking home fixtures against Crystal Palace and Aston Villa respectively.
Arsenal’s xG conceded when playing away from home suggests that statistically, Vardy actually has the hardest fixture of the trio, followed by Abraham and then Jimenez.
Of course, using expected data in a Vardy discussion can be a touchy subject, so this simplistic conclusion could also be drawn by looking at good old fashioned goals conceded away from home, as well: Arsenal seven, Palace nine, Villa 11 (from five games each).
For me, it comes down to the oldest debate of them all – fixtures versus form. In my eyes, Jimenez has the fixture and Vardy has the form.
The tiebreaker for me this week will probably be that Leicester do not have the distraction of European football to contend with. So for that reason, I might just give Vardy a shot with the armband. I’ve turned up late to the party, so maybe I should play catch-up by starting on the doubles!
Il Pistolero: Can James Maddison and Youri Tielemans double-up to outscore Jamie Vardy? This way I can have Raul Jiménez up front, so I am wondering if that is a viable strategy to go with?
How Now Brown Cow: Not for me. Vardy’s record against the “non-big six” sides this season has seen him score against all bar Wolves, with three double-digit hauls among his returns.
With a leaky Arsenal defence followed by five good-looking fixtures, that consistency makes him a great captaincy option.
While the two Leicester midfielders and Jimenez are great picks, none are regular captain material for me.
Toblerone52: Is it time to ditch Manchester City’s attacking assets? They have tough upcoming games and rotation fears every week….
Darth_Krid: Firstly, I think ‘tough upcoming games’ doesn’t exist when talking about City’s attacking prospects. Yes, Liverpool away is their toughest fixture, but they’re perfectly capable of scoring in that game and will be coming up against Dejan Lovren. After that they have Chelsea at home who can’t keep a clean sheet for toffee, then they’re up against a temperamental Newcastle and a leaky Burnley.
I think ‘attacking assets’ is too broad a term when you’re talking about ditching, so we have to look at this on a player-by-player basis which links to the ‘rotation fears’.
Riyad Mahrez and Bernardo Silva are easy: get rid. You can’t rely on them at all and the Algerian, in particular, is not in Pep’s first XI if he had a fully fit squad available to him.
David Silva is now injured so it would be a good time to jump off, particularly when there are so many good options in that £6.5m-£7.5m bracket such as James Maddison, Christian Pulisic and Anthony Martial.
Sergio Aguero is arguably the trickiest one. I’ve personally stayed away all season because of the rotation aspect and the value there is elsewhere up front. When you have the likes of Tammy Abraham, Jamie Vardy, Raul Jimenez and previously Teemu Pukki and Callum Wilson, £12m is too much of a stretch for a player prone to being rotated when that money can be used for a plethora of options elsewhere.
That leaves the two players which I personally believe should remain permanent residents in any team: Raheem Sterling and Kevin De Bruyne. It’s true that the former has flattered to deceive a little at times, frustrating captainers on numerous occasions while smashing hat-tricks for England and in Europe, but he remains the player with arguably the highest ceiling in the game and is undoubtedly the most nailed-on in that City team. He’s only been rested once in the league all season and played 90 minutes on eight out of 11 occasions.
With Mendy (hopefully) being a more regular fixture, he has the license to play more centrally and will be up against the defensively-lacking Trent Alexander-Arnold this weekend.
De Bruyne, meanwhile, is an absolute gift for us early adopters at £9.5m. It doesn’t matter where he plays, whether as a central midfield or in a more attacking role, his marauding runs into the box and his long-range shooting will always bring goals, whilst his pinpoint crossing and eye-of-a-needle through balls will always bring assists. There’s no one better for that money.
Ultimately, since City are defensively a no-go area at the moment due to frailty and rotation, advocating ditching attacking assets is essentially suggesting going City-less. They’re still miles ahead of 18 other teams in the league and will score bags of goals. With excellent budget options this year which allow for stronger benches to cover the odd rotation, I think you’d have to be extremely brave or a maniac to follow that strategy!
tom12gooner: Is Christian Pulisic too much of a rotation risk or has he earned a place in Lampard’s starting XI?
FlapjackFPL: I wouldn’t feel safe enough yet after just two consecutive league starts.
£7.3m seems a big price to pay for someone who we just cannot feel confident is nailed in Lampard’s starting XI, with talents like Callum Hudson-Odoi riding the pine. Chelsea fought hard to get Hudson-Odoi to sign a new deal and that alone would make me nervous every time you wait for the Chelsea teamsheet.
There are so many other options in or around that price point and the majority of managers already have Chelsea cover. For those reasons, it’s just not a gamble I think we need to take just yet. There are so many good assets in midfield at present, so I’d really recommend looking elsewhere for now.
OleGGMU: With Todd Cantwell declining in game-time and price, where should we be looking for replacements?
How Now Brown Cow: It really depends on your budget – under £5.5m, it’s slim pickings.
Adama Traore or Joao Moutinho could be worth a punt given Wolves’ fixtures.
Robert Snodgrass has back-to-back goals but his minutes and fixtures look iffy.
I think you have to stretch to Jack Grealish to find something worth having, otherwise, go with a two-point hero like Leander Dendoncker and spend the extra cash elsewhere.
Glennloite: Should we start John Lundstram this weekend (against Spurs)?
Darth_Krid: Absolutely. Whilst this may seem like an overenthusiastic response to everyone’s favourite FPL legend’s 21-point haul last weekend, the truth is that the stats at both ends of the pitch underline his outstanding form.
Firstly, let’s look at the defending. Lundstram won more tackles and made more interceptions against Burnley than any other player, heightening his bonus potential. Sheffield United as a whole are proving themselves to be a solid unit, with the joint-most clean sheets this term.
Never mind that though, we’re all here for his attacking potential, aren’t we? Then how does most shots in the box, most big chances, most attempts overall and second-most penalty area touches sound?
Of course, expecting double-digit hauls every week is unrealistic, but he’s statistically the best-attacking player in a team that’s arguably the most defensively solid in the league. All while being a £4.0m defender. Do FPL dreams ever come truer than this?
Spurs away is a far more difficult prospect than Burnley at home on paper, but there are many caveats to look at. The Lilywhites are coming off the back of a gruelling trip to Belgrade midweek and have rarely looked anything like the potent attacking force of previous seasons in what has been a troubling campaign so far.
Regardless of clean sheet prospects, there’s always the option of attacking returns for the future Ballon d’Or winner. Spurs have only kept one clean sheet all season and look suspect whenever a team is running at them. I think there are more than enough reasons why he can score points at both ends this week and the potential upside is greater than those of the other budget defender options. He’s nailed on to my starting XI this week and likely will be every week except perhaps Liverpool and Man City away.
11 smelly shirts: Given their favourable fixtures coming up, can Manchester United and Spurs players be trusted?
FlapjackFPL: Spurs have one asset I’m considering on my Wildcard and that’s Paulo Gazzaniga. The £4.5m goalkeeper market is thin following rises to a lot of the original £4.5m keepers and he at least showed in the Liverpool game he is capable of racking up save points under the right conditions.
The rest of Spurs’ assets I feel are just overpriced for the performances and Fantasy points being provided. Something is very wrong with Spurs right now. I’m sure managers will still be tempted by nostalgic picks like Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Son Heung-min, but I’d want a couple of million off the asking price before I consider it myself.
Manchester United have slightly better fixtures than Spurs in my eyes and are right up there with Liverpool for the lowest xG conceded. However, most of our backlines are already flooded with budget gems and my favourite two FPL assets: Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson. The Man Utd defenders command that awkward price point in between budget and premium.
For those price point reasons, I think unless you are going four or five at the back, it’s not the smartest move to bring them in. Although there is one caveat with that: if you have Harry Maguire, I’d possibly hold him for the next three games – as in true Maguire-style, the stats suggest he’s going to score soon. And who doesn’t enjoy a goal from a defender?
Their attack? Well, its only Anthony Martial or Marcus Rashford in that conversation. I’d find it very hard to trust them, despite the excuses being made about the awful weather on the south coast at the weekend.
Martial is also made of glass. My memories of Martial ownership from last season is rumours of him not being in the team hotel before a game because he lives near the ground, only to be sorely disappointed when he missed out through injury once again. I suppose the only bonus with that this season would be maybe some double-figure bench points could emerge?
The_Fish: Is Anthony Martial a trap?
The fixtures look good but there have been some real limp team performances from United, with a real lack of goals.
I’d rather wait to see the team hit form before getting Martial, even if it means being late to the party.
I think there are better Leicester and Chelsea options available at the same price right now.
emal: Is it worth holding Teemu Pukki one more week?
Darth_Krid: Would it be hypocritical of me to answer ‘yes’ to this while sitting here having just sold him as part of a hit?
To be fair, I think the answer is very much ‘it depends on your team’. Pukki’s value is sinking like a stone, so I made the decision to swap him to Raul Jiménez on Sunday night before I was priced out. It’s a move I’d been wanting to do for a couple of weeks but I gave Pukki one last chance against a poor Manchester United side thanks to Norwich’s home form and then I gave him a ‘last last chance’ against a defensively suspect Brighton in Gameweek 11 as other transfers took priority. Having my patience rewarded with four points across the two games, there was to be no ‘last last last chance’ against Watford.
If you have an easy get-out clause, such as the straight move to Jiménez or even to Jamie Vardy by downgrading elsewhere, then take it. Norwich are the worst team in the league, in dreadful form and have mixed fixtures. That ticks all the boxes of getting rid promptly.
However, if you have a more pressing transfer or you want to carry two into the international break and can afford a price drop, then there’s probably just about enough to warrant keeping. Just go in with no expectations and you can’t be disappointed.
Lessons learned from Gameweek 11
- Bournemouth 1-0 Manchester United
- Arsenal 1-1 Wolves
- Aston Villa 1-2 Liverpool
- Brighton 2-0 Norwich
- Manchester City 2-1 Southampton
- Sheffield United 3-0 Burnley
- West Ham United 2-3 Newcastle United
- Watford 1-2 Chelsea
- Crystal Palace 0-2 Leicester City
- Everton 1-1 Tottenham Hotspur
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