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Pro Pundits - Az

Juggling FPL forwards to make up lost ground

“It isn’t enough to think outside the box. Thinking is passive. Get used to acting outside the box.” – Timothy Ferriss

The quote above quite accurately sums up how I like to approach Fantasy Football. However, this season is making it harder to act outside the box and be successful.

It’s been a decent couple of weeks for me, as I moved off of bottom place in Greyhead’s “The Great and The Good” series – and moved up around 200,000 places to join some better company in most of my mini-leagues. David and Andy are both in my sights and, thankfully, I’ve overtaken my fellow TopGuns presenter, Luke. Hoorah!

My resurgence has however come at a time where I’ve played quite “dullard”. I haven’t taken any real risks. I dropped Tammy Abraham (£7.9m) for Danny Ings (£6.3m) when his injury was announced.

I’ve brought in John Lundstram (£5.1m) (finally!). I’ve been a bit jammy in getting Martin Kelly (£4.3m) (hardly the sexiest option) and his points off my bench… and bar this week, where I indulged in a bit of a punt on Dele Alli (£8.7m), I’ve been a regular captainer of Jamie Vardy (£10.1m).

In fact, with Vardy continuing his monstrous run of form, decisions of captaincy are made easy, and this has been an area that I have been pretty woeful in this season. When you try and do something different, it seems as though you get punished.

Last week, Luke took a punt on giving the armband to Lundstram, and was rewarded with a one-point captain. This week, I decided to back myself and go for Alli in the hope that he could outscore his English compatriot; I was wrong, and the decision cost me four points. Not a major problem, but they all count at the end of the season.

In fact, Gameweek 15 saw Vardy attract 58% of the captain poll vote on Fantasy Football Scout. Wilfred Zaha (£6.8m), Sadio Mané (£12.3m), Kevin De Bruyne (£10.2m), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£10.9m), Raheem Sterling (£11.8m), Mohamed Salah (£12.2m) and Christian Pulisic (£7.5m) were the only players to get over 2% of the vote. Out of all of these options, all but Mané blanked. Ouch for anyone who took a punt.

In Gameweek 16, Vardy was actually only second in the poll. However, out of the top ten “best” options, only Harry Kane (£10.9m) outscored him. Again, people were punished for acting outside of the box.

At the moment, moving the captaincy away from Vardy means you are banking on two things – one, your player actually delivering points (which is proving a lottery), and two, Vardy blanking so you actually get some benefit from it. For those betting against Vardy each week, those four, five, six points that you are missing out on each week are likely mounting up.

The trouble is, when you take the captaincy out of the equation, people in my position have to find other ways of making up ground. However, the rest of our squads are so damn settled, with players such as Lundstram, Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.3m), Mané, De Bruyne, Çaglar Söyüncü (£5.1m) etc. all featuring heavily in almost every team I see bandied around on the boards and on Twitter – and rightly so. These players are delivering returns when there appears to be only a small pool of players who are regularly doing so. The question then becomes: where and how can we start thinking a bit differently?

The biggest differentiator I’m seeing in people’s teams at the moment comes in the shape of which strikers are being paired with Vardy. In fact, I’ll go as far as to say that the biggest decision going into the Christmas period is which three strikers do we get into our team.

There are a number of forwards in form at the moment, which is making this decision an important – and tricky – one.

Abraham came straight back into the Chelsea team at the first opportunity and delivered a mighty 13-point haul for those that kept patience with him. A blank then followed against a resurgent Everton, but the Golden Boot contender will hope that was just a blip – as will his loyal army of managers.

Those, like me, who made the switch to Ings, must be feeling pretty smug despite Tammy’s quick return from injury. A frankly incredible run of five goals in five games, coupled with bonus points in all but one of these, is making a mockery of his price tag. Managers are flocking to the Saints man and, with West Ham and Villa to come, it’s hard to argue. But after that, could his time be over? Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Tottenham and Leicester are next up. Nasty.

Raùl Jiménez (£7.5m) is actually falling in price, despite only one blank in his last six appearances. He has struggled for any real explosive returns this season though, with only one double-digit score back in Gameweek 8. However, this consistency is hard to find; are managers simply thinking the grass is greener even though he is a nice safe pick to hold on to?

Marcus Rashford (£8.9m) is another name on everyone’s lips. He may be playing out of position, with Anthony Martial (£7.6m) the preferred man up top, but having just broken 100 points – and with returns in seven of the last eight games – it’s hard to begrudge those who are going for him.

I have to admit, I’ve not considered Rashford for my own team, and constantly find myself looking the way of Martial. The fixtures look great right up until Gameweek 23 and, really, an attacker from the in-form Red Devils looks a shrewd investment. I think one of these two players is a good idea for anyone over the festive schedule.

And then there are the options for the braver managers amongst us. Kane showed what he can do with a 16-point haul, making a mockery of my criticism of him on the latest Scoutcasts. Aubameyang – shunned from my own team – still has ten goals this season, and his strike partner Alexandre Lacazette (£9.3m) has five goals despite playing only 661 minutes at the time of writing, and looks to be the focal point of the Arsenal attack. If Arsenal can get their act together, you have to assume the goals will start flowing.

Finally, it might also be wise to consider the budget strikers, such as Lys Mousset (£5.1m), Neil Maupay (£5.8m), Diogo Jota (£6.1m) and Jordan Ayew (£5.1m). These players have all put themselves in real contention for our teams too, and seeing these names in people’s teams are unlikely to raise many eyebrows, given the form and/or fixtures of these players. There truly is a plethora of talent for us to consider. I honestly cannot remember a time when so many strikers were vying for our attention.

It seems to me that juggling in-form strikers will be key to making progress over Christmas, and not being afraid to weave in and out of the aforementioned options may prove fruitful as we look to take advantage of congested fixtures and swings during a busy period.

Personally, I am rocking my trio of Abraham, Vardy and Ings. But as soon as the fixtures turn for Ings, I’ll be moving him on. I don’t like to sell an in-form player, but in a season where there are a few ways to really stamp your mark on the team – and with so many strikers scoring goals – I’m hoping that the loyalists are punished, and my shiny new forward, whoever it may be, will be a nice gift just in time for Christmas.


Az has been a contributor to the site and Scoutcast guest for many years. The Brighton and Hove Albion supporter has three top 10k finishes to his name in a long Fantasy career, the best of which was a rank of 817 in the 2017/18 season.

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761 Comments Post a Comment
  1. BigDaveSaves
    • 5 Years
    1 month, 7 days ago

    As a United supporter I'm really not sure on Rashford for the easier games. We play really well against the top teams as we can counter and that looks like what we've been focusing on - but against the lesser teams that sit back and make it more a struggle to break down we are absolutely useless. I hope I'm wrong but I'm waiting a little while longer to think about getting him in.

    1. Bobby e Tony (Kanchelskis)
      • 2 Years
      1 month, 7 days ago

      Probably wise, I wouldn't get him this week.

    2. Don Kloppeone
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      1 month, 7 days ago

      This is exactly the reason and uncertainty that led me to get in Tammy now and wait to get Rashford for GW19 (Ings out). Yes, his form has been electric but this is vs teams that either go all out attack or at least rely on the counter.

      We will probably be proved wrong but I'm willing to take the risk to have more info

      1. BigDaveSaves
        • 5 Years
        1 month, 7 days ago

        Ha as a fan I'm hoping we're proved wrong! But if we are looking good after a couple of games can easily bring him in.

    3. mynameisq
      • 6 Years
      1 month, 7 days ago

      But they've matched plenty of weaker teams recently and he's done well, martial back is the biggest thing. I wouldn't think they're gonna be guaranteed wins, but I don't need man utd to win I just need rashford to get points. He'll be fine

      1. Bobby e Tony (Kanchelskis)
        • 2 Years
        1 month, 7 days ago

        So get Martial instead?

        1. mynameisq
          • 6 Years
          1 month, 7 days ago

          No, get rashford

        2. BigDaveSaves
          • 5 Years
          1 month, 7 days ago

          Would get Rashford if you're deciding between the two as he's on pens atm.

  2. camarozz
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 5 Years
    1 month, 7 days ago

    Kind of regret selling Tammy but honestly thought he would be out for a while longer. Got Mousset instead and now he's possibly injured.

    So...

    TAA ➡️ Aurier
    Mousset ➡️Tammy - 4
    (with Vardy/Rash)

    Have Pulisic and Tieleman and one of them is gonna be Grealish nxt wk.

    1. Tshelby
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      1 month, 7 days ago

      Have the same regret! Move looks nice but don't know if I would want to drop TAA

    2. TaiwanHC
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      1 month, 7 days ago

      Why is everyone so eager to get Aurier? Tottenham can't defend and he's a yellow card magnet.

      1. camarozz
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 5 Years
        1 month, 7 days ago

        Some attacking potential I guess?

        Any better suggestion at that price? Have Lund/Soy/Mings/Rico

    3. g40steve
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 1 Year
      1 month, 7 days ago

      VAR fwds, excellent front line

  3. Tshelby
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 5 Years
    1 month, 7 days ago

    What would you do? Think I'm going to burn a FT as I want two FT's next week.

    Pope
    Lundstram, TAA, Robbo
    Pulisic, Alli, Mane, KdB
    Jimenez, Ings, Vardy

    Button,- Soyuncu, Hayden Janmaat

    2FT/0.0 ITB

    1. Bobby e Tony (Kanchelskis)
      • 2 Years
      1 month, 7 days ago

      Button to Martin?

      1. Tshelby
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 5 Years
        1 month, 7 days ago

        Yeah probably. How long is Fabianski out for?

        1. Bobby e Tony (Kanchelskis)
          • 2 Years
          1 month, 7 days ago

          Think he said he'll be able to kick a ball again in a couple of weeks. Obviously keepers don't have to be as fit as outfield players, but why would they rush him back if Martin continues to do a decent job.

          1. Tshelby
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 5 Years
            1 month, 7 days ago

            Yeah true will probably make that move

    2. Don Kloppeone
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      1 month, 7 days ago

      You know if you use 1 out of 2 you will still have 2 next week?

      Trouble is the only valuable move I can see is a GK switch which seems a waste!

      1. Tshelby
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 5 Years
        1 month, 7 days ago

        Yeah I know ha! Just can't really upgrade or downgrade any players with one FT imo

        1. Don Kloppeone
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 2 Years
          1 month, 7 days ago

          Button to Martin is reasonable I guess

          1. Tshelby
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 5 Years
            1 month, 7 days ago

            Cheers Kloppeone

    3. Hotdogs for Tea
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      1 month, 7 days ago

      I would take out one of your Liverpool defenders in preparation for the Blank in 18.

      1. Tshelby
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 5 Years
        1 month, 7 days ago

        Think I will do that next week. Double pool defence against Watford could be nice

    4. antis0cial
      • 3 Years
      1 month, 7 days ago

      How long is Janmaat out for? Maybe Janmaat to Kiko just to have another playing bench player to avoid wasting transfer?

  4. migas2k7
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 6 Years
    1 month, 7 days ago

    Abraham or Rashford longterm? If you can reason why better =)

    1. HarryB29
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 1 Year
      1 month, 7 days ago

      Rashford for next 5 games as fixtures are better

    2. Bobby e Tony (Kanchelskis)
      • 2 Years
      1 month, 7 days ago

      Utd train might come screeching to a halt against deeper defences. Tammy for now.

    3. antis0cial
      • 3 Years
      1 month, 7 days ago

      Tammy for me, much better attacking team

  5. fahad_jab
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    1 month, 7 days ago

    My team for GW17....Thoughts??

    Schmeichel
    VanDik Willems Baldock
    Mane Maddison Mount Moutinho
    Vardy Rashford Abraham

    Bench - Button Egan Mcarthy Doherty

    1. Bobby e Tony (Kanchelskis)
      • 2 Years
      1 month, 7 days ago

      Bit different so I like it.

    2. Hot Toddy
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 1 Year
      1 month, 7 days ago

      Unusual, but pretty decent.

    3. ZakyJ
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      1 month, 7 days ago

      Was it a decision to only have Midfielders starting with M? lol

    4. PastaFasul
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 6 Years
      1 month, 5 days ago

      The all "M" midfield...even your bench mid is M. Intentional or coincidence?

  6. Bobby e Tony (Kanchelskis)
    • 2 Years
    1 month, 7 days ago

    A. Red sauce
    B. Brown sauce
    C. No sauce at all

    1. Hot Toddy
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 1 Year
      1 month, 7 days ago

      Limited knowledge of sauces. A and B are equally revolting so C from these weird options 😀

      1. Bobby e Tony (Kanchelskis)
        • 2 Years
        1 month, 7 days ago

        A. Ketchup
        B. HP
        C. Nothing

        help?

    2. ameisin
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      1 month, 7 days ago

      HP for bacun and sosigs.

      Ketchup for chips.

      Anything else is wrong.

  7. No Professionals
    • 2 Years
    1 month, 7 days ago

    GTG

    Pope
    VVD Soyuncu Lundstram Kelly
    Mane Son Alli Maddison
    Vardy Rashford

    Button Jimenez Cantwell Rico

    About as content as I've been with my squad all season.

    1. antis0cial
      • 3 Years
      1 month, 7 days ago

      Looks good but I wouldn't bench Jime, maybe play over Kelly

      1. No Professionals
        • 2 Years
        1 month, 7 days ago

        Kelly has hurt me every time I've benched him

      2. PastaFasul
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 6 Years
        1 month, 5 days ago

        Agreed...or over Lundstram

  8. 4-4-2
    1 month, 7 days ago

    Hi guys, team for this weekend look like this

    Kepa
    Lundstram Kelly Evans TAA
    Ali KDB Salah
    Ings Rashford Vardy

    I’m quite happy with it but have huge concerns about not owning any Chelsea attackers, would you bring Abraham or Pulisic in or just leave it?

    1. Bobby e Tony (Kanchelskis)
      • 2 Years
      1 month, 7 days ago

      Tammy if any

  9. FOO FIGHTER
    1 month, 7 days ago

    Arsenal at home vs City.

    I do not believe we should write Arsenal off. Many will favour City but as it is their form has gone down the drain.

    Pep might have to play Otamendi who is an accident waiting to happen with Stones or he could stick Rodri at CB meaning KDB plays deeper again.

    Just some food for thought.

    1. Bobby e Tony (Kanchelskis)
      • 2 Years
      1 month, 7 days ago

      True, but "Lads, it's Arsenal."

  10. Jimmy Boy
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 3 Years
    1 month, 7 days ago

    A)Aubameyang > Abraham
    A.Traore > Martial

    B)Aubameyang > Rashford
    A.Traore > Pulisic

    Either of these worth a -4?

  11. Pakse
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 2 Years
    1 month, 6 days ago

    Any good ideas to use the FT this week?
    Was wondering about freeing up some funds to do a Jesus & Mount to Rashford/Abraham & Son for next week.
    Or just go for a differential punt as poor rank this year.

    Pope
    TAA, Soy, Lund
    Mane, Alli, Pulisic, Mount
    Jimi, Jesus, Vardy
    (Ryan, Kelly, Cantwell, Rico)
    2FT 0.3ITB