We’ve assembled another panel of Fantasy managers to address the main topics of discussion ahead of Gameweek 17.
Earlier in the week, we asked you for your Fantasy Premier League-related posers and conundrums.
We’ve selected six questions that covered many of the recurring themes – from strategy over the festive season to Manchester City assets – and put them to our panel.
WHO’S ON THE PANEL THIS WEEK?
G-Whizz – A valued member of our moderator team and currently in his fifth FPL season, G-Whizz managed a personal best finish of 4,404th in 2018/19.
Andy – Pro Pundit, Let’s Talk FPL host and occasional Scoutcaster, Andy has come aboard to Fantasy Football Scout full-time recently. He has two top 10k finishes and an additional three inside the top 20k over the last nine years.
Lateriser – Another one of our Pro Pundits, Lateriser has registered two finishes in the top 200 (one of them equating to number one in India) and four in the top 10,000 in the last six seasons.
Jay Arell: Is Christian Pulisic’s time over for now? It’s now four blanks in a row despite his promising stats.
Andy: It certainly feels like Christian Pulisic’s time is up… nearly. I’m currently an owner and four back-to-back blanks has been frustrating, to say the least.
I’m loathe to transfer him out before a home game against Bournemouth though. I made the mistake of selling Mason Mount before the clash with Aston Villa and he went and got himself a goal.
As mentioned in the question, the underlying stats are still looking fairly good. Over the last four Gameweeks, he’s eighth for xG from open play and only Diogo Jota, Gabriel Jesus, Raúl Jiménez and of course Jamie Vardy have had more shots inside the box over the same time.
Bournemouth will potentially be without Nathan Aké, Steve Cook and Adam Smith for Gameweek 17, too.
Disappointment is the only thing I can foresee if I take Pulisic out, before giving him the chance to redeem himself. If he blanks again though there’s a certain well-rested Dele Alli and Son Heung-min that are on my Christmas list.
KHAAAN!!!: What do you believe would be a good differential strategy to adopt for any managers outside of the top 100k with a “template” team, who might be struggling to catch up?
Lateriser: If you don’t already know my playing style, I am someone who doesn’t believe in paying too much attention to the ownership of players. If you are outside the top 100k, it doesn’t really matter at this stage of the season. I strongly believe that if you’re in the top 500k at this point, you have a really good shot of making the top 10k this season.
You need to nail your chips to perfection and need to get the majority of the captaincy calls correctly in your favour. That said, it really isn’t as simple as it sounds.
A couple of opportunities open up in the short term for you. After this Gameweek, Jamie Vardy plays Manchester City and Liverpool. Most managers will not captain Vardy during this period so the captaincy percentages will be split. A good differential captain in such a period will help make ground quickly.
Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford, Diogo Jota or Raul Jimenez in Gameweek 18 and one of the Spurs/United options in Gameweek 19 look like good bets. If you think you can deal with the heavy effective ownership, you can even give a Liverpool midfielder the armband this week instead of going with Vardy. I don’t think of this as particularly brave because for me Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Vardy are all equally good options. Roll the dice, I say. Listen to your instinct.
When it comes to playing the game and looking for differentials, my advice to you would be to not go for a differential just for the sake of a differential. Go ahead and pick who you genuinely think is the best option for your squad, trust your instinct and ignore the ownership. This is the most fun way to play the game.
Blaine Mcculla: Who are the best defenders to bring in over the festive period?
G-Whizz: I suppose it depends on how much you want to splash out and spend? Crystal Palace’s fixtures look golden for quite a while and I needed a cheap one so went for Martin Kelly. I was also looking more short term so went for Sheffield United and doubled up with Dean Henderson (in place of Nick Pope) in goal for the next three (AVL, bha and WAT).
Clearly my crystal ball is a bit cloudy at the moment and I should have gone with George Baldock and/or Enda Stevens!
Over the next eight Gameweeks, the Season Ticker puts Crystal Palace at the top of the pile overall and third when looking at the fixtures from a defensive point of view.
Aston Villa’s fixtures also look great, and Matt Targett could be a decent asset at such a low price. I can easily see managers who are looking to utilise their Wildcard considering him and/or Tom Heaton as an option.
Manchester City show up in second place but for me, at those prices, I’m sure value and “nailed-ness” could be found in abundance elsewhere and they haven’t looked solid since Aymeric Laporte’s injury. I’d honestly rather pick a Tottenham Hotspur defender over a Manchester City one right now, and their run over the next eight isn’t too bad really considering they only have to face Chelsea and Liverpool over that period of time.
Abinash Parajuli: Who is your must-have Christmas asset?
Andy: The one thing I’m asking for this year is a green arrow. To get one of those I suppose I’m going to need a must-have player or two.
I’ve kind of given the game away with my Pulisic answer but I can’t look past the Spurs midfielders right now in Dele Alli and Son Heung-min. Looking at the Fantasy Football Scout Season Ticker, Spurs have the second-best fixtures for attacking returns from now until Gameweek 21.
With a rank of sub-500,000, I’m looking for some differentials to give me some Christmas cheer. While Son may be owned by 19.8% and Alli 11.8% they are still different enough in my book, with Brighton (h), Norwich (a) and Southampton (a) to come over Christmas. They’re potentially even captaincy options.
Sometimes the best way to get a differential is to own two attackers from the same team. Plenty will own one of these two, but not many will own both – not yet at least. It’s cheating a little bit in terms of the question asked, but I think it’s one of my best chances of beating the competition at the moment. They have the form, the fixtures, and are posting some good underlying statistics.
There’s not much to dislike, and while I’d love my must-have player to be Harry Maguire, it may be time to be a bit more realistic.
Eirik Borander: I’m considering Anthony Martial versus Marcus Rashford. What are your thoughts on the Manchester United offensive assets?
Lateriser: I am a Manchester United fan and I feel like we are turning a corner. We are playing some pretty good football right now and I think it is a good time to invest in Manchester United assets.
I currently own Anthony Martial and I am looking at getting Marcus Rashford into my side as he looks like one of the best attackers in the league on current form. I wouldn’t buy into the whole ‘we don’t do well against deep block’ theory too much while picking the players. I had a look at the stats and found that Rashford actually has a higher rate of shots in the box, big chances and big chances created versus the weaker opposition.
If you are picking just one of them at the moment, it is a no-contest in my opinion: Rashford is quite comfortably the better pick at this stage. He is matching Vardy and Mane’s output on current form for much less cash. He passes the eye-test and is statistically outperforming Martial as well. This is simply the best I’ve seen him play. He looks incredibly hungry.
On top of that, he plays 90 minutes more often than not and also has penalties on his side. Another thing I’d like to add here is that Martial is also seemingly more injury-prone. That said, I do like both picks and I’m currently contemplating doubling up on the United attack. But I’m firmly on Team Rashford if you are looking to pick one.
Hutch: Is it time to drop one or both of Raheem Sterling and Kevin De Bruyne?
G-Whizz: It depends on your team set-up but for me personally, I had both in a 3-4-3 and decided to drop Sterling for James Maddison for Gameweek 13.
Since that move, Maddison has scored 3, 2, 10, 9 and Sterling 2, 7, 3 and 2 respectively. Don’t get me wrong, there may well be Gameweeks where the reverse will happen, but in the main, I feel with the way Leicester and Manchester City are playing at the moment you’re likely to get more out of ditching one or the other. Clearly, who you bring in to replace Sterling or De Bruyne is also going to be a factor.
De Bruyne had to stay for me at the time and through that same period outscored Sterling by seven points (21 to 14), so at least that has worked out and most of their attacking play goes through him somewhere along the line.
I had bought De Bruyne at £9.5m so the recent price drop meant I can no longer do a straight swap to Son Heung-min but I’m more than willing to still find a way to go through with that move and have no City players at all for the foreseeable future – maybe even right up until Gameweek 33.
Gameweek 16 – FPL Match Reports
- Everton 3-1 Chelsea
- Bournemouth 0-3 Liverpool
- Spurs 5-0 Burnley
- Watford 0-0 Crystal Palace
- Man City 1-2 Man Utd
- Aston Villa 1-4 Leicester
- Newcastle 2-1 Southampton
- Norwich 1-2 Sheffield Utd
- Brighton 2-2 Wolves
- West Ham 1-3 Arsenal
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