With Gameweeks coming thick and fast, it has become easier and easier to focus only on the next Gameweek. However, with the closeness of deadlines, it’s more important than ever to take a longer view on transfers.
With four Gameweeks in the next fortnight, the final free transfers need to work if you are going to secure a mini-league win or boost your overall rank.
This season I am winning the majority of my mini-leagues and so, for the most part, my transfers need to be safe and steady to maintain where I am. However, in terms of overall rank, this has the potential to be my best ever Fantasy season and as a result, there is a need to pick out some slightly differential picks in order to grow it further.
In Gameweek 34+ the effective ownership for my captain, Bruno Fernandes (£9.0m), was 112.69% with Kevin De Bruyne (£10.8m) higher still at 161.59%, meaning that if i want my overall rank to improve rather than maintain I need to look for relatively risk-free differentials.
One of those for me bagged a hat-trick of assists and all three bonus points in Gameweek 32+: Allan Saint-Maximin (£5.4m) is exactly the sort of ‘safe’ differential pick I need to continue to make over the final four Gameweeks.
Here’s my view of some differentials who I am looking at as a good alternative to their more highly owned and often more expensive counterparts. For the purpose of this piece, differentials are players with under 5% ownership stats:
At 4.2% ownership, David Silva (£7.3m) is the most heavily owned of the differential options. At a time when Manchester City are scoring for fun – 18 goals since the restart – their options look near-essential moving into the final weeks.
However, with the cost of the likes of De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling (£11.7m), it is likely that owning both of them is going to require surgery to your team, probably resulting in a points hit.
However, at £7.3m Silva offers a reasonably priced route into a second or indeed third Man City attacking asset. As with all City players the risk of rotation with Silva is great but he has played at least some part in every game so far since the restart, with the exception of the win over Liverpool.
As we head into the final four Premier League games for Silva I expect him to feature in each of them, especially on the back of his 17-point haul in Gameweek 34+.
Silva will want to end his Premier League career on a high and therefore the motivation alongside four great fixtures (Brighton, Bournemouth, Watford and Norwich) mean that he could be the perfect differential to grow your Man City investment.
Manchester United are the talk of FPL right now. It doesn’t seem like that long ago where people questioned you for owning just one United player; now FPL managers are questioned if they don’t own the full allocation of three.
There are so many players to choose from – Fernandes, Mason Greenwood (£4.8m), Marcus Rashford (£9.0m), Anthony Martial (£8.3m) and Aaron Wan-Bissaka (£5.5m) the five most popular – that it means that there are a couple who remain differential picks.
Of these alternatives, Paul Pogba (£8.3m) looks the best and potentially most explosive option. Pogba has returned in two of his four games since returning to fitness, with an assist against Spurs in Gameweek 30+ and another in Gameweek 32+ versus Brighton.
Whilst we are yet to see Pogba fully back to his best, we have seen huge improvements in Manchester United since the restart and their ability to make the Champions League next season now looks all the more likely.
As a result, if you are looking for a United player who can boost your mini-league or overall rank, Pogba is the most likely to do this should the returns start coming, as I expect they might in these final weeks of the season.
Leicester City haven’t exactly begun the restart with the bang that we were expecting.
However, with things so close at the top now, Leicester really need to start performing and winning games if they are to keep their spot in next season’s Champions League.
With goals in both Gameweek 33+ and 34+, Jamie Vardy (£9.8m) will be the obvious choice for Fantasy managers. However, Harvey Barnes (£6.0m) does offer a nice, much cheaper midfield option from the Foxes.
Barnes has had eight returns of six points or more over the course of the season. With Vardy returning to form and Leicester looking to push on from now until the end of the season, he may be an option.
However, of all of the differential picks here, he is the riskiest in terms of minutes. Barnes has yet to play more than 64 minutes since the restart and in Gameweeks 33+ and 34+ combined he managed just 46 minutes – although he did still register an assist and a bonus point in that time.
Troy Deeney and Ismaila Sarr
Since the restart, Watford, much like Bournemouth and Norwich around them, have yet to show much in the way of performances.
However, they still sit precariously in 17th just above the relegation zone and thus they need to build on their Gameweek 34+ win over Norwich if they are to maintain their Premier League status next season.
With Gerard Deulofeu (£6.1m) still out injured it will fall to the likes of Troy Deeney (£6.2m) and Ismaila Sarr (£6.1m) to up their performances and keep Watford out of the relegation zone.
The Hornets have two really tough fixtures in Gameweek 37+ (Man City) and 38+ (Arsenal) and thus it seems likely that if they are going to avoid relegation, they will need to secure points in the next two Gameweeks versus Newcastle and West Ham.
If Watford are to stay up, Deeney and Sarr seem likely to be involved in this through goals/assists and therefore if you are looking for a mid-priced striker or midfielder, these two may offer some good value for the next two Gameweeks.
Finally, with Southampton comfortably mid-table, their assets don’t have a huge amount of appeal when looking for players with motivation.
However, James Ward-Prowse (£5.7m) has recently been handed the captain’s armband and as a result, this adds an element of appeal.
His role at set plays also adds to his allure, as does his cheap price tag. At a time when, with the exception of Bukayo Saka (£4.7m) and Phil Foden (£5.5m), the cheaper midfield assets aren’t offering a huge amount of form, maybe Ward-Prowse might be able to fill that gap and with the aforementioned set-piece potential, be a gem of a differential.
Differentials are always important, but in these final few weeks picking the right ones alongside the big hitters who are performing consistently (Willian (£7.3m), Pulisic (£7.3m), De Bruyne etc) will be the difference between growing overall ranks and maintaining them. Now’s the time for educated gambles on the cheap differentials who can propel your season onwards.
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 3k in the world.
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