With West Ham’s first-choice goalkeeper out for ‘a couple of weeks’, Let’s Talk FPL’s Andy looks at the leading candidates to replace him.
The magic of the Double Gameweek: that’s how I justified bringing in Lukasz Fabianski (£4.9m) in Gameweek 22. It couldn’t have gotten much worse than an injury within 13 minutes.
Given I’d spent so many Gameweeks thinking about removing Nick Pope (£4.6m) only to make this decision just makes the whole thing worse.
Reports from West Ham state that Fabianski will only be out of action for a “couple of weeks” but that doesn’t help me when that likely means he misses at least one (if not both) the games in Double Gameweek 24. Brighton (at home) in Gameweek 25 isn’t bad, but given the following fixtures are pretty awful, I don’t think I’ll be looking to hold him.
So once again, I’m back to checking out goalkeeper replacements.
I’m ruling out any goalkeeper that costs more than £5.0m. It’s just not a position I want to spend too much money on, and so far the premium goalkeepers haven’t really backed up their price points with a huge amount of points versus the value options.
Kasper Schmeichel (£5.4m) is top of the points, but only by one, and with three Leicester players already in my team, along with Wilfred Ndidi (£5,0m) missing, I’m not sure how confident I am with upcoming clean sheets.
Let’s take a look at my top candidates.
Alex McCarthy (£4.3m)
A few weeks ago I didn’t think I’d be looking at a Southampton defensive player. The big draw is price but I still want points at the end of the day, and I wasn’t sure I’d be getting them from St Mary’s.
McCarthy is certainly primed for points, even if there hasn’t been a huge amount recently. They’ve conceded just four goals in the last six matches, keeping clean sheets against Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur. They also stopped Jamie Vardy (£10m) from registering a single shot in the box in Gameweek 22.
The upcoming matches are also promising with a sea of green fixture difficulty rating matches to come, right up until Gameweek 32 when we may be looking to use the second Wildcard anyway. That being said, the very short-term fixtures aren’t fantastic with Wolves (home), Crystal Palace (away) and Liverpool (away) to come in the next three Gameweeks.
You don’t need me to tell you about Liverpool’s attacking prowess, and Wolves sit joint fifth for shots in the box over the last six matches. That being said, McCarthy sits fifth himself for saves in the last six, so even if clean sheets aren’t forthcoming there is the opportunity for save points.
Dean Henderson (£4.9m)
I’ve underestimated Sheffield United defence for around 22 Gameweeks so far. I haven’t owned John Lundstram (£5.1m) for long enough this season, and I’ve ignored a very profitable double up in defence.
The next two fixtures aren’t great. Henderson goes to the Emirates in Gameweek 23, followed by hosting an in-form Manchester side in Gameweek 24. After that, though, the fixtures look great for a double-up:
In the last six matches, Henderson has only had to make 12 saves, which is far less than McCarthy even though both sides have conceded a similar number of shots in the box.
I don’t think that’s something I’d be too concerned about, though. Given the potential for clean sheets over Gameweek 25 to 29, there are plenty of points to be had.
There are a couple of things to note for longer-term planning, however. If Aston Villa were to beat Leicester in the Carabao Cup replay, it means Sheffield United would have a blank in Gameweek 28. Henderson will also be ineligible to face Manchester United in Gameweek 31 due to loan restrictions.
It’s not a big deal if you have a second playing goalkeeper but it’s worth mentioning.
Mathew Ryan (£4.9m)
Out of everyone on this list, Ryan has the best fixtures from the off – on paper at least.
It may not be as easy as it looks for Brighton to keep clean sheets in those games, especially when those same last four matches see Brighton sit as the sixth-worst team for the number of shots they’re conceding.
Given that Ryan also finds himself quite far down the list of goalkeepers for number of saves made, he probably comes under both McCarthy and Henderson in terms of my favourite options to bring in. That being said, this could be a case of overthinking.
As above, on paper the fixtures look good and sometimes that’s enough. You also have to take into account that Brighton have played Spurs, Chelsea and Everton in the last four matches so a turnaround in fixture difficulty, could also see a turnaround in clean sheet potential.
Ben Foster (£4.9m)
It would probably be wrong for me to not mention Foster. Since Nigel Pearson took charge of Watford they have kept four clean sheets in seven games against Crystal Palace, Manchester United, Aston Villa and Bournemouth.
That’s one more clean sheet than they kept in the previous 15 games.
Looking at the defensive stats for the seven fixtures Pearson has been in charge makes for interesting reading.
We could see some regression and with Spurs, Everton, Manchester United and Liverpool to come in the next six matches I’m not feeling confident that the save points will be enough to make up for the lack of clean sheets that I foresee in these matches.
Right now my favoured option is McCarthy. That move saves me at least £0.5m versus the other options mentioned above and the Southampton defensive statistics are looking promising.
If Henderson had better fixtures from the off I would look closer at the double up. McCarthy doesn’t have it easy over the next two either, but they’re more favourable than what Sheffield United will face, and I don’t want to risk two potential blanks by Gameweek 31. I may rue that decision.
I don’t think there’s enough upside in bringing Ryan in and there’s always Lewis Dunk (£4.8m) if I feel I need Brighton defensive coverage. And Foster just doesn’t have the fixtures I’d want to see before bringing in a new player.
There’s plenty of other options that could be considered, including Bernd Leno (£5.0m) with Arsenal showing some defensive improvements. It’s just not enough time for me to consider them a changed team though, I need someone right now.
Martin Dubravka (£5.0m) is another consideration with a fairly good run of fixtures right up until Gameweek 33, but again the short-term fixtures don’t look great and I’m not sure he’s worth the extra outlay.
The four main targets for me are listed above. The problem is that three of them were on my list for replacements last week and Fabianski wasn’t. Look who ended up coming in…
Andy is the face of Let’s Talk FPL, one of the leading Fantasy YouTube channels and has been a big part of the Scoutcast over a number of years. He has two top 10k finishes and an additional three inside the top 20k over nine years.
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