In her latest column, FPL Family’s Sam Bonfield urges caution on West Ham United assets and focuses on those teams with one fixture in Double Gameweek 24.
The focus of the Fantasy Premier League community at large right now is understandably on the Double Gameweek, in particular on Liverpool assets and how to crowbar three of them into our sides.
However, as is always the case when the Double Gameweeks roll around, there is an element of risk in placing so much emphasis on the teams wth two fixtures and neglecting the ‘single Gameweek’ teams.
There are two reasons why the single Gameweek clubs are so important right now. Firstly, they can be enablers for us affording the expensive Liverpool players we all covet for Gameweeks 24. Secondly and, in many ways perhaps more importantly, there are many players outside of the Reds and West Ham United who we shouldn’t be overlooking due to their excellent fixures.
There has been a lot of chatter in the community about which three players to own from Liverpool and then who are you buying from West Ham. While I think three assets from Jurgen Klopp’s side is a wise and sensible strategy given the form and fixtures for the Double Gameweek (Wolves away, West Ham away) and beyond, I’m wary of owning West Ham assets.
David Moyes’ arrival back at West Ham, followed by two consecutive victories against Bournemouth and Gillingham, has helped put the Hammers back on the radar.
However, it needs to be stressed that Bournemouth are in terrible shape (they are bottom of the form guide for the last ten Premier League matches) and Gillingham are 14th in League One.
Let’s face it, West Ham assets are mostly under consideration because of the Double Gameweek rather than because we actually want to own their assets.
West Ham play Leicester City and Liverpool in Gameweek 24, two very difficult fixtures, and could potentially now be without their first-choice goalkeeper.
These fixtures, the form and the injury issues do not make me want to own one West Ham asset, especially as I think there are a number of single Gameweek players with nicer fixtures who could easily outperform the Hammers’ options across their two fixtures that week.
It is important with Double Gameweeks to bring in players who we want to keep for beyond that one week, otherwise they are moves waiting to happen and those transfers could potentially be better spent elsewhere.
In the week of the Double Gameweek, there a number of fixtures which look good for FPL returns from single Gameweek clubs:
- Tottenham Hotspur v Norwich City
- Mancheser United v Burnley
- Everton v Newcastle United
- Aston Villa v Watford
- Leicester City v West Ham United
So which single Gameweek players should we consider?
The new manager bounce appears to very much be real at Watford. In fact, it seems that winning has grown into a habit.
Watford look like a totally different side under Nigel Pearson. The return of Troy Deeney (£6.2m) has bolstered the side and there is suddenly a wealth of Fantasy options at Vicarage Road.
Ben Foster (£4.9m) is the second-highest-scoring goalkeeper in the game, with Kasper Schmeichel (£5.4m) only one point ahead but costing half a million more. Foster is also the goalkeeper with the highest number of bonus points this season and, with a nice run of fixtures between now and Gameweek 26, there is definitely huge potential for FPL points, and for him to become the highest-scoring goalkeeper in the game – especially as Leicester’s fixtures are more challenging.
In the outfield positions, Deeney, Ismaila Sarr (£6.2m), Abdoulaye Doucoure (£5.6m) and Gerard Deulofeu (£6.1m) are all starting to raise their hands for selection.
Deeney now has two attacking returns in his last three matches, Doucoure and Sarr have returns in each of the last three Gameweeks, and Deulofeu has managed two returns in the last five Gameweeks.
In Gameweek 24, Watford play Aston Villa, who have only won twice in their last nine games. In the reverse fixture, Watford won 3-0.
The Lilywhites have been very difficult to select for our FPL teams of late.
With the injury to Harry Kane (£10.9m) and the recent poor results against Norwich, Southampton and Liverpool, Spurs really need a positive run of form to make them feel like better FPL picks.
In Gameweek 24, Spurs play Norwich at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, having only managed a draw against the Canaries in the reverse of this fixture in Gameweek 20.
On paper, this is a great match-up for Spurs and could provide FPL returns for owners in Gameweek 24 – that is for those managers brave enough to invest the money on a Spurs player.
The obvious picks at Spurs are Son Heung-min (£9.8m) and Dele Alli (£8.6m) but, in Gameweek 22, Lucas Moura (£7.1m), Giovani Lo Celso (£7.3m) and even the cheap enabler Japhet Tanganga (£4.0m) put their hats in the ring for an FPL pick.
Moura played as the most attacking Spurs player during Gameweek 22 and so looks good for being in the right positions for FPL returns; indeed, he had some good opportunities against Liverpool.
With Christian Eriksen‘s (£8.6m) future in north London uncertain, Lo Celso has looked promising in the minutes that he has played for Spurs of late.
He was sixth for expected goal underachievers in Gameweek 22 and missed a sitter late on, which would have draw Spurs level.
Spurs lack consistency, of course, and that makes them difficult to pick. However, the fixture is one that shouldn’t be overlooked – especially if you are looking at one of the lower-budget options.
Much like Watford, Everton are leading the charge for players who could bolster FPL teams.
The impact of Carlo Ancelotti on the Merseyside club has been significant, with a change in Premier League fortunes signalling increased interest in their FPL assets.
Richarlison (£8.1m) is Everton’s most highly owned FPL asset yet is still only in 13% of squads, making the Toffees nice differential picks for their lovely run of fixtures through to and including Gameweek 26.
In Gameweek 24, Everton have an appealing fixture at home to a Newcastle United side that haven’t won away from home since they beat Sheffield United back in Gameweek 15.
Djibril Sidibe (£5.4m), who is classed as a defender in the game but sometimes plays as a midfielder, has returned at least six points in four of his last six matches.
Alongside him, Lucas Digne’s (£5.7m) attacking potential, as well as the opportunity for a clean sheet v Newcastle in Gameweek 24, could make him a nice pick next Tuesday.
I have already invested in the Everton defence ahead of the Double Gameweek, opting for Mason Holgate (£4.4m).
The budget defender has already returned a clean sheet and a bonus point in Gameweek 22 and I could see further returns in the next four Gameweeks. His price frees up cash to be spent on the expensive Liverpool players that we want for the Double Gameweek, too.
The Red Devils have arguably the nicest fixture of Double Gameweek 24, at home to an out-of-form Burnley team who haven’t won in their last four Premier League matches.
Anthony Martial (£7.9m) is the most in-form player for United statistically at the moment, closely followed by the flagged Marcus Rashford (£9.2m).
Martial has picked up attacking returns in three of the last four Gameweeks, which is especially pleasing for his FPL owners as Martial is listed as a midfielder in the game despite playing as a centre-forward for United – thus giving him the benefit of an extra point for goals scored and a clean sheet point, should United keep one as they did in Gameweek 22.
Rashford is the most highly owned of the United assets and so, whilst he isn’t likely to be as overlooked as many of any of the other players studied here, he could still be an ignored move before Gameweek 24 as managers use their transfers to board the Liverpool treble train.
My view is that the United frontmen could punish non-owners a lot during Gameweek 24 and as such, a transfer strategy which includes bringing one of them in (keeping an eye on Rashford’s potential injury) looks to be very wise.
Double Gameweeks are a gift for us FPL managers but my experience of dealing with them is to not let them blindside you into forgetting about the single Gameweek players.
The two or three free transfers that managers have ahead of Gameweek 24 should of course target Liverpool but my view is that the West Ham assets can be left out in favour of single Gameweekers with good games – as they have strong potential to outscore the Hammers’ assets.
Sam Bonfield is a member of our Pro Pundits initiative, a team of Fantasy managers here to bring you regular advice and updates on their teams. Sam has served up two top 30k finishes in the last two seasons and is currently inside the top 10k in the world.
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