Even though things have gone well for my Fantasy Premier League team recently, I still have some issues to solve over the Winter Break.
One of them involves John Lundstram (£5.1m), while I’m still on the look-out for a Jamie Vardy (£9.8m) replacement.
I somehow navigated Double Gameweek 24 with a small green arrow, thanks to captain Mohamed Salah (£12.7m).
I followed that up by once again securing another small green arrow over the weekend due in large part to captaining him again.
Salah has found form just at the right time and such has been his influence that he’s scored 60 of my team’s last 123 points (49%).
In some ways, it shows that I’ve been very lucky with my armband picks of late but it’s also indicative of him papering over the cracks in my team.
Of course, it would have been a different story altogether had I captained Sadio Mané (£12.3m) during the fateful Double Gameweek, but I still feel that I’ve not made enough traction. I’ve had a rank rise of 120,000 places since then.
However, some of my transfers have effectively been wasted, such as the signing of Brandon Williams (£4.1m) when other former stalwarts in my team are no longer starting games, as in the case of Lundstram.
With that said, the Winter Break has come just at the right time to allow me to contemplate and reflect on my next moves.
I was fortunate enough to benefit from four of Lundstram’s double-digit hauls between Gameweek 2 to Gameweek 17. It almost seemed too good to be true that a player listed as a defender (playing as a midfielder) and with a starting price of £4.0m could score so many points.
It was, quite literally, the stuff of fantasy.
But, dare I say it, as with most good things they must come to an end and it looks like he could already be past his best before date.
Since Gameweek 18 Lundstram has scored a paltry 13 points which no longer meets my expectations even if he initially over-delivered.
Sheffield United’s Blank Gameweek 28 is further confirmation of him outstaying his welcome and, of course, there is serious competition for places in their midfield right now.
Put simply, there are cheaper options out on the market that make more sense and maybe it’s time for me to cash in on the profit I’ve made from Lundstram.
Ben Mee (£5.0m) is currently just £0.1m cheaper than the Sheffield United man and has quietly scored 20 points in the last three Gameweeks when facing the likes of Leicester, Man United and Arsenal. That’s no mean feat.
He has also played every minute of Premier League football for Burnley since August, won’t have a blank in Gameweek 28 and has three reasonable upcoming fixtures (Southampton – away, Bournemouth – home and Newcastle United – away).
Mee probably won’t score another 20 points in these games, but I wouldn’t put it past him to potentially keep two clean sheets.
If you’re looking for longer-term options beyond Gameweek 26, Newcastle United’s defenders are also worth adding to the shortlist.
The Magpies have kept two clean sheets in the last three matches and after a visit to the Emirates Stadium in Gameweek 26, they will avoid all of last season’s top six until Gameweek 34.
In my view, that makes club captain Jamaal Lascelles (£4.2m) almost too hard to ignore.
In both cases, Mee and Lascelles’ ownership levels show that they are both differentials.
My previous Pro Pundits article saw me effectively bidding farewell to Vardy – I only wish I followed up on that.
Even though I was happy to replace him with Roberto Firmino (£9.6m), I decided to give Vardy one more chance against Chelsea, which backfired as he blanked once again, whereas the Brazilian registered 11 points.
I’m now tempted to sell Vardy and get Danny Ings (£7.0m) with Southampton’s generous run of upcoming games.
In addition, my bench is extremely light at the moment with Mason Greenwood (£4.4m) and his colleague Williams not giving me enough room to manoeuvre if my starting players get randomly rested.
I’m not inclined to Wildcard at this stage but could consider a hit if I can justify it.
However, one thing is for certain, I can’t see myself captaining anyone other than Salah against a hapless Norwich City team that have conceded far too many goals since August.
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