Three differentials for Gameweek 16
Differentials were among the key performers yet again midweek – and they can be in Gameweek 16.
This column backed Dele Alli (£8.6m) for a second week running and further attacking returns have now seen his ownership levels soaring high and out of our bracket.
But fear not, there is still plenty of value to be found elsewhere while still staying below the 5% line.
Here are three lesser-owned players to consider for Gameweek 16…
GW16 Opponent: Newcastle United (away)
Having repaid our trust on Wednesday night by delivering a third fantasy return in a row it makes sense to back James Ward-Prowse (£6.3m) again for the weekend.
As mentioned previously, if it isn’t Danny Ings (£6.2m) being involved with Southampton’s goals it’s almost certainly their midfield creator.
Over the past four Gameweeks, among midfielders priced at £6.0m or below, Ward-Prowse ranks joint-third for goal attempts and is averaging a fantasy return for every 90 minutes played since Gameweek 11.
In terms of FPL points, he has scored 24 more than the next highest placed Southampton midfielder, Pierre-Emile Højbjerg (34). He has without a doubt been the Saints’ midfield talisman for the season to date.
In the case of Ward-Prowse, his performances are inextricably linked with how his team is doing as a whole.
It’s no coincidence that his form has stood out over the past three games as Southampton have picked up seven points from a possible nine, and in doing so, lifting themselves out of the relegation zone.
It remains to be seen if the Saints can keep this up but they’re only one point above 18th place at present.
Up next for Ralph Hasenhüttl’s men is a Newcastle United team that has only kept one clean sheet since Gameweek 8 and has had problems defending set-pieces in recent years.
GW16 Opponent: Manchester United (home)
Gabriel Jesus (£9.6m) finally delivered on his promise with a brace against Burnley on Tuesday night.
Since Sergio Aguero’s (£11.8m) injury, he is already proving his worth and has even outscored Raheem Sterling (£11.9m) and Kevin de Bruyne (£10.3m).
Over the last two Gameweeks, Jesus has ranked third among forwards for penalty area touches (17) and is joint-top for shots on goal (eight).
Some might be asking whether the 2-0 win at Turf Moor was a one-off in terms for Jesus or whether he can carry on his form.
The fact of the matter is that with Manchester City 11 points behind league leaders Liverpool every match is now a must-win for them.
Up next for Pep Guardiola’s men are a Manchester United team that defeated Jose Mourinho on his return to Old Trafford. That result arguably masked their recent woeful form and their backline remains weak, having conceded in every match since Gameweek 6.
GW16 Opponent: West Ham United (away)
Arsenal are on their worst ever winless run in four decades so, in some ways, it would make sense to completely avoid all of their assets until they can stem the wave of decline.
However, I’m willing to make an exception in highlighting the merits of Alexandre Lacazette (£9.3m).
It’s sometimes hard to forget that he registered 25 attacking Fantasy returns last season at an average of one per 100 minutes played.
That’s no mean feat and had he been fully fit since August we may have seen Unai Emery still in a job and Arsenal higher up the table.
Lacazette has now scored three goals in his last three games. No other player has scored more than that during the same timeframe, Jamie Vardy (£10.0m) and Marcus Rashford (£8.8m) and Ings have all matched, not beaten his tally.
If Arsenal are to jumpstart their season then Lacazette seems the most likely candidate to play a leading role.
Their next match takes them to the London Stadium where West Ham have the fourth-worst home record in the league this season having conceded 14 goals in seven games.
Even if Arsenal fail to win again they shouldn’t struggle to score against the Hammers, which leaves plenty of scope for Lacazette to be involved.
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