Pro Pundits - Zophar

Zøphar on £4.5m Brewster, the keep-or-sell De Bruyne dilemma and budget mids

Six-time top 5k finisher Zøphar shares his thoughts on a turbulent Premier League season so far.


The dreaded first international break is finally over and another FPL weekend lays ahead. I had hoped the arrival of FIFA 21 was going to prove a distraction, but art ended up imitating Premier League life far too well, serving up relentless goal-fests and bringing me right back to the chaotic first month of Fantasy Football.

For someone who values a clean sheet and defensive solidity, this has been uncomfortable viewing on both fronts, and I am hoping that a more ‘normal’ order is restored in the coming few weeks, in FIFA via patches and in the Premier League with some good coaching. 

Putting aside the avalanche of attacking hauls in Gameweeks 1-4, I decided to use this article to reflect upon some of the other interesting developments that have transpired thus far and their potential impact on the long road ahead.

Is Brewster worth his £4.5 millions?

Looking back over 10+ seasons of FPL , I can’t remember a single time we’ve had a first-choice striker available at the £4.5m base price. Perhaps Pavel Pogrebnyak back in the day but he was hardly a reliable pick, something I fully expect Brewster to become. A clinical finisher who has no interest in dropping deep and building up play, he is truly a gift from the FPL gods in a season where there are so many big hitters available.

As I mentioned on the FPL Wire pod, I don’t see Brewster purely as an eighth attacker or occasional sub. At a price of £4.5m, even if he only gets a return every third game, he’s more than justified his value.

Yes, Sheffield United do have several options up top, but this was a ‘statement’ signing from an otherwise prudent coach and in terms of goalscoring quality, Brewster promises to be head and shoulders above the others, so it’s hard to see him not cementing a spot in Wilder’s side early on at least.

Naturally, you could argue that it is worth spending a million odd more on another value pick such as the in-form Patrick Bamford (£5.8m) or Ollie Watkins (£5.9m). But I’d counter that you could also use that instead to upgrade the likes of Tyrick Mitchell (£4.1m), Jimmy Dunne (£4.0m) or another cut-price defender to Nelson Semedo (£5.5m) or Ben Chilwell (£5.6m), who are far more explosive picks. This quote from an excellent article by Hedge backs up the point (thanks for the heads-up, TopMarx!):

Overall, 0.5m spent upgrading at the back almost always nets you more points than spending it in midfield or attack. In the last three seasons, the best approach would have been to get the highest-scoring defenders, no matter the cost.

Bring on the budget differentials

Who has the best and worst upcoming FPL fixtures?

Whilst there’s no shortage of premium options in midfield, it’s the budget boys that I find more interesting to consider. Daniel Podence (£5.6m) has proved a popular choice after his performance in the first two Gameweeks, but I am not so optimistic on his prospects going forward. Wolves struggled without Adama Traore (£6.4m) against Fulham and Pedro Neto’s (£5.5m) improving displays cast a shadow on Podence’s security of starts. His xG per 90 of 0.10 is hardly inspiring either. Fortunately, there are several other options in this bracket to pick from.

Ross Barkley (£5.9m)

Whilst the more world-weary FPL managers may already be rolling their eyes at the prospect of another annual Ross Barkley bandwagon, I think this year it really could be different. As my podcast co-host Lateriser mentioned, Barkley thrives on being a big fish in a small pond.

As the shot map from the Liverpool game shows below, he was playing almost as a support striker and actually got in far better positions than Jack Grealish (£7.1m). His xG/90 this season (0.39) is second only to Jorginho (£5.1m) (1.13), and this includes some minutes which he played for Chelsea where he was never going to see as much of the ball.

Conclusion

It has been a frankly maddening start to the season and a true test of mettle for seasoned FPL managers, so it is easy to get carried away with frustration. Despite many of us finding more ‘spare’ time than usual, due to the pandemic and work-from-home scenarios, it remains vital not to overthink and obsess with your squad. FPL is an incredible game, offering much-needed distraction in these difficult times. Of course, selling Son before a 20+ point haul definitely hurts, but it’s not the end of the world – so please do prioritise your mental health over chasing points!

If your squad is struggling, you’re certainly not alone – many of the world’s top players are in the same position. But it really is very early days, the vast majority of the season lies ahead of us, so don’t let one or two decisions that have had unusually high variance outcomes shake your confidence. Forwards will tire, defences will tighten, crowds may even come back at some point and proven quality will out (even without a patch from EA!). So keep faith in the tried-and-tested process that has delivered for you, a top 10k rank is very much achievable even if you are residing at four million in the world now. 

Thanks for reading. 

The arguments for and against using a Wildcard in FPL Gameweek 3 1

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494 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Tonyawesome69
    • 1 Year
    15 days, 7 hours ago

    Podence position in the 11 is uncertain, risk playing Podence or start BIssouma or Ayling?

    0.8itb 0ft
    McCarthy
    Robbo TAA Taylor Justin
    KDB Salah Son Podence
    DCL Jimenez
    (Peacock Bissouma Ayling Vassilev)

  2. down_shift
      15 days, 7 hours ago

      Hi fellas,
      Would you bring Jorginho in for Podence for -4?

      1. Tonyawesome69
        • 1 Year
        15 days, 7 hours ago

        No, do you have any bench players to cover for this GW only?

        1. down_shift
            15 days, 7 hours ago

            Saint-Maximin that I'm playing this week, Ward-Prowse that I'm benching and James(CHE) that I'm also sitting this week.

        2. TheSteel
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 8 Years
          15 days, 7 hours ago

          Is he confirmed out?

          1. Tonyawesome69
            • 1 Year
            15 days, 7 hours ago

            He is not out, might not be in the 11 with Neto and Traore supporting Jimenez

            1. down_shift
                15 days, 7 hours ago

                that's what worries me

        3. Smudger’s Dirty Dozen
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 9 Years
          15 days, 7 hours ago

          Martinez
          TAA Lamptey Justin Saiss
          Salah Zaha KDB*
          DLC Jimi Werner
          SUBS Podence Mitchell Burke*

          2FT 0.1m itb

          A KDB to Son (Roll a FT)
          B to Maupay/Son
          C Werner/Podence to Bamford/Son
          D Werner/Burke to Son/Brewster

          1. Smudger’s Dirty Dozen
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 9 Years
            15 days, 7 hours ago

            B Werner/KDb to Maupay/Son

          2. Tonyawesome69
            • 1 Year
            15 days, 7 hours ago

            Got to keep Werner for the SOU game. Podence to Soucek

        4. Stupendous
          • 8 Years
          15 days, 7 hours ago

          Nailed it finally!!!

          Martinez
          Chilwell KWP Robbo
          Salah Son Pulisic Rodriguez Grealish
          Kane DCL

          Martin Brewster Kilman Mitchell

          1. FC Hakkebøf
            • 3 Years
            15 days, 7 hours ago

            Bench is awful.. Kilman not a safe starter and neither is Mitchell

          2. The Mighty Hippo
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 4 Years
            15 days, 7 hours ago

            You've got two benched defenders who probably won't be playing. Is it worthwhile downgrading Robbo to say Semedo and upgrade your bench? Otherwise a great team.

            1. Stupendous
              • 8 Years
              15 days, 7 hours ago

              Consider it and fixing bench yea.

              Cheers

          3. FC Hakkebøf
            • 3 Years
            15 days, 7 hours ago

            Robbo -> TAA
            Rodriguez -> Fodder
            Brewster -> Maupay
            Kilman -> 3.9
            Mitchell -> Lamptey

            1. FC Hakkebøf
              • 3 Years
              15 days, 7 hours ago

              KWP -> Saiss

            2. Stupendous
              • 8 Years
              15 days, 7 hours ago

              No no no no and no but thanks

              1. Stupendous
                • 8 Years
                15 days, 7 hours ago

                And no

            3. Would Ed Woodward
              • 1 Year
              15 days, 7 hours ago

              Isn't that just your team?

              1. Stupendous
                • 8 Years
                15 days, 7 hours ago

                Um no. Wc draft

                1. Would Ed Woodward
                  • 1 Year
                  15 days, 7 hours ago

                  lol, I know, that wasn't to you.

        5. wulfranian
          • 4 Years
          15 days, 7 hours ago

          *bottomed
          If Soyuncu is out and with James not nailed should i take a hit?Coleman/James/Soyuncu are my three defenders with Targett/Douglas my subs.

          1. Stupendous
            • 8 Years
            15 days, 7 hours ago

            Wildcard

            1. wulfranian
              • 4 Years
              15 days, 7 hours ago

              Anyone?

          2. Tonyawesome69
            • 1 Year
            15 days, 7 hours ago

            James should start this weekend with Chilwell most likely out. Azpi LB and James RB.

            1. wulfranian
              • 4 Years
              15 days, 7 hours ago

              Cheers.Is Chilwell out?

            2. wulfranian
              • 4 Years
              15 days, 7 hours ago

              Alonso could also play.

              1. ivantys
                  15 days, 7 hours ago

                  Alonso is finished

                • Tonyawesome69
                  • 1 Year
                  15 days, 7 hours ago

                  He dropped out the ENG squad and is a doubt. Not sure if it is a doubt. Alonso could play but I don't think he is favoured by Lampard at the moment.

            3. moz_1983
              • 8 Years
              15 days, 6 hours ago

              Not for a hit, no. Take one out if you have a FT, Targett will come on if more than one player doesn't play. James should play.

          3. Dark Side Of The Loon!
            • 4 Years
            15 days, 7 hours ago

            Play 2: R. James, Lamptey or Dallas
            Play 2: Brewster, Foden or Podence
            Captain: Salah, Sterling or KDB

            Thanks a lot!

            1. FC Hakkebøf
              • 3 Years
              15 days, 7 hours ago

              James, Dallas, Brewster Foden

          4. icanseethroughyou
            • 10 Years
            15 days, 7 hours ago

            Urgent surgery required or can I get a decent game week with sticking in Salah for KDB? Not convinced either Kane or Son are going to score big myself.

            McCarthy, Ryan
            Digne, TAA, Justin, Holding, Egan
            KDB, Podence, Foden, Zaha, Greenwood
            Werner, Watkins, Richarlison

          5. GreennRed
            • 9 Years
            15 days, 7 hours ago

            On WC, 1M in bank. Have Castagne, Saiss, Taylor, Coufal and Mitchell. Will leave Mitchell as fodder. Who would you consider upgrading Taylor to, 5.5m or less?

            1. ivantys
                15 days, 7 hours ago

                I prefer Semedo over Saiss

                1. GreennRed
                  • 9 Years
                  15 days, 7 hours ago

                  Cheers. Do you think he could bring as many FPL points as Doherty did when at Wolves?

                  1. ivantys
                      15 days, 7 hours ago

                      He will need to settle first, don't think he will bring as many as doherty this season but he has shown lots of attacking potential already but will need Wolves to start clicking again.

                2. Tonyawesome69
                  • 1 Year
                  15 days, 7 hours ago

                  Semedo, Dallas and Ayling. Maybe Masuaka instrad of Coufal.

                  1. GreennRed
                    • 9 Years
                    15 days, 7 hours ago

                    Punting on Coufal. Has some potential, just not sure if it's good or bad!

                    1. Fit_to_drop
                      • 1 Year
                      15 days, 6 hours ago

                      Will you post up your current WC team. I am working on mine this week also.

              • ObiDadKenobi
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                15 days, 7 hours ago

                Quick question: I have made 4 transfer already for a hit -8 (I had 2 ft). If I now activate wildcard will I still get -8 hit for the transfers I already made?

                1. ivantys
                    15 days, 7 hours ago

                    No

                  • @fpl_phenom
                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                    • 5 Years
                    15 days, 7 hours ago

                    no once you activate you will wipe all the hits

                2. Cruyff's Eleven
                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                  • 2 Years
                  15 days, 7 hours ago

                  Retry

                  A. Guaita + Ollie Watkins OR
                  B. Ryan + Maupay

                  Why?

                  1. ivantys
                      15 days, 7 hours ago

                      A cos Ryan can't keep any clean sheets ever.

                    • Tonyawesome69
                      • 1 Year
                      15 days, 7 hours ago

                      A - Both Palace and Villa have some good fixtures coming up. PAL seem to keep CS when playing against non top 6 teams.

                    • EternalRot
                      • 4 Years
                      14 days, 19 hours ago

                      I would rather have Guaita.

                      1. Cruyff's Eleven
                        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                        • 2 Years
                        14 days, 19 hours ago

                        Even with Butland now at Palace?

                  2. @fpl_phenom
                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                    • 5 Years
                    15 days, 7 hours ago

                    Van Anholt is not an option is he? ruled out ?

                    1. Tonyawesome69
                      • 1 Year
                      15 days, 7 hours ago

                      He is available for selection but may not be ready to start games

                      1. @fpl_phenom
                        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                        • 5 Years
                        15 days, 7 hours ago

                        cheers

                    2. Fit_to_drop
                      • 1 Year
                      15 days, 6 hours ago

                      I am looking at him in a Wildcard set up due to Palace's good run of fixtures

                  3. Andy_Social
                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                    • 8 Years
                    15 days, 7 hours ago

                    If anyone is considering Doulas as a 4m defender, don't. He's gorn to Blackburn.

                    1. Andy_Social
                      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                      • 8 Years
                      15 days, 7 hours ago

                      *Douglas

                  4. ⚔★Vibudh★⚔
                    • 4 Years
                    15 days, 6 hours ago

                    Is there any chance at all that Pep does a Mourinho and KDB starts?

                  5. Darragh82
                    • 1 Year
                    15 days, 5 hours ago

                    Hi folks,
                    Any feedback welcome.
                    352
                    McCarthy
                    Robbo, Chilwell, Saiss
                    Salah, Son (c), Grealish, Pulisic, Rodriguez
                    DCL, Jimenez
                    4.0, Konsa, Brewster, KWP
                    Thanks!!

                    1. DOGS
                      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                      • 3 Years
                      15 days, 5 hours ago

                      SOLID

                    2. Shayben
                      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                      • 9 Years
                      15 days, 2 hours ago

                      Quality team

                    3. EternalRot
                      • 4 Years
                      14 days, 19 hours ago

                      Yeah, pretty solid.

                  6. DOGS
                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                    • 3 Years
                    15 days, 5 hours ago

                    Best Midfielder around 5.9m

                    Thinking:

                    A-McGinn
                    B-Barkly
                    C-Klich
                    D- ASM

                    currently have podence

                    1. Darragh82
                      • 1 Year
                      15 days, 5 hours ago

                      One of the villa boys, take out the Leicester and arsenal fixtures, they have a lovely run right up to Christmas.

                    2. EternalRot
                      • 4 Years
                      14 days, 19 hours ago

                      I have Klich and Podence. I would say probably Klich cause he's on pens (or at least has been).

                  7. TheDragon
                    • 2 Years
                    15 days, 4 hours ago

                    Sterling or Kane?

                  8. Shayben
                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                    • 9 Years
                    15 days, 2 hours ago

                    Great article!

                  9. boroie
                    • 2 Years
                    14 days, 21 hours ago

                    Have already taken a -4... is this worth a WC?

                    McCarthy
                    TAA Chilwell Justin
                    Salah Son Prodence KDB*
                    Kane Wilson Brewster

                    Nyland*; Shaw KWP Bissouma

                    1. EternalRot
                      • 4 Years
                      14 days, 19 hours ago

                      Nah man, don't be hasty.

                  10. EternalRot
                    • 4 Years
                    14 days, 19 hours ago

                    Alright he's my team:

                    Guaita
                    Digne - James - Castagne
                    Son - Salah - Klich - Podence - KDB*
                    Werner - DCL

                    4.0, Saiss, Davis, Dunne and 2FT.

                    WHO DO I TRADE KDB FOR? James and then upgrade Podence to the likes of Grealish?

                  11. Louis123
                    • 9 Years
                    10 days, 8 hours ago

                    Just a quick one.....

                    Werner, KDB, Soucek OUT
                    Kane, Grealish, Rodriguez IN

                    -4 Yay or Nay?

                    PS. Already have Son, Salah & DCL.
                    Many thanks.