Fantasy Premier League has become a difficult game in the last few weeks, with managers at all levels of the overall rankings struggling with the unpredictable nature of the 2020/21 season.
I have also fallen foul of the frustration. After an excellent start to the season, my team massively underperformed in the last two Gameweeks. I fell from a place inside the top 10,000 to an overall rank of 177,000 in the span of just nine days, mostly due to a horrible Gameweek 6, in which I only got 35 points.
Even though I have some big decisions to make before Friday’s deadline, I am still eager and ready to prepare my team for Gameweek 7.
My team in Gameweek 6
Even though I never worry that much about rankings this early in the season, I am slightly concerned that my transfers haven’t been working at all. In fact, out of five transfers in so far, only Andrew Robertson (£7.1m) delivered an attacking return and everyone else either blanked, got injured like Kevin De Bruyne (£11.5m) or, in the case of Reece James (£5.0m), fell victim to Frank Lampard’s rotation.
Ahead of Gameweek 6, I decided to use some of my money in the bank to upgrade Michail Antonio (£6.3m) to Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£7.7m) and, even though this decision made perfect sense at the time, it immediately cost me seven points.
Antonio scored an incredible goal with his only shot against Manchester City while Calvert-Lewin looked like a shadow of what we have seen in the first five matches of the season in Everton’s defeat Southampton. And, of course, a yellow card in the last minute was the cherry on top of a poor overall performance.
I bought Calvert-Lewin in because he was a nice set-and-forget option until Gameweek 11 at the very least, thanks to a combination of great underlying statistics and a decent run of fixtures.
Unfortunately, without Richarlison (£7.8m) in the side, Lucas Digne (£6.2m) suspended and James Rodríguez (£8.0m) perhaps still managing that injury which messed so many of us about last week, Calvert-Lewin’s appeal has already decreased a bit. However, I am sticking to the plan and hoping he still manages to deliver good value over the next five matches.
WHO IS THE BEST DIGNE REPLACEMENT?
As I was writing this, I caught confirmation that Digne’s three-match suspension has been reduced to one. It means he won’t play against Newcastle and will return in Gameweek 8, when Everton host Manchester United at Goodison Park.
Despite the reduction in his length of absence, I still don’t hold out much hope for Digne’s appeal over the next two Gameweeks. Unless something bad happens with my players in midweek matches, I think it is time to part ways with the French left-back.
Fixtures is the first thing i look into when I am comparing defensive options, focusing mainly on the next five or six matches and using longer term fixtures as a tie-break to separate two similar options.
So, let’s see which teams have the easiest short term fixtures from a defensive perspective.
Teams with the best defensive schedule in the next five matches
From this list, I am going to exclude Crystal Palace (due to uncertainty about how they will shape up with players returning from injuries), West Bromwich (based on their poor showings in the early Gameweeks) and Southampton, since I already own Alex McCarthy (£4.5m) and Kyle Walker-Peters (£4.5m).
Here are the best options from each of the five remaining teams.
EVERTON – Michael Keane (£5.1m) – He has already scored twice this season and seems to be a decent value option if I am to keep trusting Everton’s defence. However, Keane is no Digne and his best fixtures are away from home, which I am not thrilled about. Having plenty of money in the bank, I am probably going with someone else.
CHELSEA – Ben Chilwell (£5.8m) – With great fixtures ahead, an impressive attacking threat and some set pieces in his arsenal, Chilwell seems to be the best Chelsea defender to have and, simultaneously, the logical replacement for Digne. I do worry he could be rotated with Marcos Alonso (£5.8m), Cesar Azpilicueta (£5.9m) or even Reece James (£5.0m) once in a while though, especially with a hectic winter schedule ahead. Nevertheless, his upside seems too good to ignore and I think he is a great candidate, even if he might be rested by Lampard here and there.
LEICESTER – Timothy Castagne (£5.8m) – The Belgian full-back has impressed so far with four attacking returns in just six matches but he does seem a bit too expensive for someone who will have to play against Leeds, Wolves and Liverpool next. I think Castagne will be a great option from Gameweek 10 but right now it is a bit too soon to rely on him.
ASTON VILLA – Ezri Konsa (£4.7m) – After watching Villa’s shocking performance against Leeds, and with plenty of money to spend, Konsa is not someone I’m all that interested in right now but I think he could still provide decent value in a rotation with a West Ham defender, for example. Something I would probably consider if i was Wildcarding this week.
MANCHESTER CITY – Ruben Dias (£5.5m) – He seems to have nailed a spot at the heart of City’s defence but they will play against Liverpool and Tottenham in two of the next three fixtures so, just like Castagne, it doesn’t seem to be the right time to get Dias in.
Despite poor performances in the last two Gameweeks, I still think my team looks pretty good and except for Aleksandar Mitrovic (£5.8m), and possibly Timo Werner (£9.3m) if it seems he will lose his starting place, I don’t have plans to sell anyone else for now.
I still have my Wildcard available, which is great but, unless an injury crisis comes up, I don’t think I will need to use it in the next few Gameweeks.
Not having Harry Kane (£10.9m) has been a bit stressful but it is hard to justify using a transfer to sell Werner with such a great schedule ahead of him. I don’t mind having the German international (plus £1.5m and one spare free transfer) over Kane, even if he still doesn’t look like the goal-scoring machine we saw in the Bundesliga.
Thanks for reading and good luck with your transfers for Gameweek 7.
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