Slight reprieve. That’s how I’d describe my Fantasy Premier League performance in Gameweek 12.
After several poor scores and a big rank drop it was refreshing to finally post a good score.
I went through with my plan to “reset” my team, and brought in Raúl Jiménez (£7.3m) and Jamie Vardy (£9.6m). With a score of 78, minus eight points for the hit, it was a solid overall score of 70 that saw me climb from 993,288 to 655,444.
Another week, another benching of Çaglar Söyüncü (£4.9m). I’ve given up worrying about benching points. With so many cheap defenders offering great value it’s inevitable, and with the busy Christmas period coming up having options is not a bad thing.
It is worth noting, however, that Harry Maguire (£5.3m) once again blocked the points without earning his own, and after losing £0.1m on him already, it won’t be long until he leaves my team.
Maguire isn’t the front runner for a change this week though. I’ve spoken before about prioritising my transfers, and looking at my squad for Gameweek 13 it’s Andriy Yarmolenko (£6.0m) who is likely to be the first out the door.
I do have some concerns over Mohamed Salah (£12.3m) and the ankle that is troubling him. That said, I am hopeful due to his exclusion from the Egypt squad and the fact that he’s still managed to start each of the last three Premier League matches.
There are media reports out there he may miss out this weekend but it seems much more sensible to wait and see what Jurgen Klopp has to say on Friday.
I’ll have a very close eye on the Crystal Palace game though. With Brighton, Everton, Bournemouth and Watford to come in the following four Gameweeks, I am keen to have a fit and firing Liverpool player for captaincy, and that may well have to be Sadio Mané (£12.1m), even if it does feel like a sideways move.
If Salah is out this week he’ll come in as part of a hit with another transfer that I will explain in just a moment. Like last week, I’ll be looking to not fall behind in future transfers and will take hits where necessary.
As a Vardy owner, it makes for great viewing to see Leicester top of the pile. It’s difficult to add more Liverpool players in with the prices I’d have to pay, and there’s no way I can trust any of the Arsenal midfielders.
That leaves me with Leicester midfielders, with James Maddison (£7.5m) and Youri Tielemans (£6.7m) the two men I’m currently looking at bringing in. I’ve discounted Ayoze Pérez (£6.1m) and Harvey Barnes (£5.9m) because I want players that are absolutely nailed on ahead of the busy Christmas period and would be worried about a lack of minutes for these two.
Choosing to go for Maddison and Tielemans is a very good example of underlying statistics versus the eye test.
When you watch Leicester play they are great form. They have the ability to control games, are quick to win the ball back, and you can see Maddison and Tielemans looking for the ball in behind to Vardy any time they have it. When you go to the Members Area however they haven’t been performing as well as you might think. Below is the last 4 Gameweeks…
If it wasn’t for the eye test I’d probably be slightly put off by these numbers. Given how well they and Leicester, in general, are playing I’m going to rely on the fact the fixtures may well provide better opportunities to increase their output.
With the price difference being £0.8m I’m actually siding slightly towards Tielemans at this point. He’s shooting inside the box slightly more and is keeping up his creativity without relying on set pieces.
That’s not something to turn your nose up to, however, paying the extra cash for Maddison knowing he has free-kicks and corners to fall back on is nice, but when you’re looking to conserve money wherever possible, the Belgian is probably the man for me.
With nine Gameweeks coming between now and January 1, we are in for a rollercoaster ride.
I look at my team and feel like I spent eight points last week to get closer to the so called ‘template’. Bringing in a Leicester midfielder this week isn’t exactly revolutionary either.
With a 300,000 rank boost last week though, it feels pointless looking to break the template for the sake of it.
My strategy at the moment is to make more medium to long-term moves, with absolutely nailed on players. This will let me focus on making moves with higher priority, and being able to react to anything that FPL might throw at us in the coming weeks.
There’s lots of Gameweeks to manage, there will be lots of twists and turns in a short space of time. I’m looking forward to the ride.
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