As Fantasy Football Scout continues to expand to the furthest reaches of the globe, we take a look at the newest members of FFS International and get their views on which West Ham assets are most appealing for their favourable run of fixtures.
Fantasy Football Scout’s global community continues to grow with every passing year. Over the last season c. 4.7m Fantasy managers have visited the site from six continents and 234 countries.
As well as the United Kingdom, the list of top 10 countries is made up of:
- The United States of America
- The Republic of Ireland
With the continued growth of the Fantasy Football Scout userbase, we have developed FFS International and launched the Arabic language section of our website to enable us to increase and improve the content we can offer globally.
The Fantasy Football Scout community already contains Pro Pundits from all over the world, the Scout Network and Scout Academy both have global members, and now under the banner of FFS International, we can bring together much of the best content from across the planet.
This week we have added five new members to the FFS International community:
- FF Titans (Singapore)
- FPL Crypto (Canada)
- Block 5 (Kuwait)
- Ahmed Al Kayal – Fantasy Talks Show (Egypt)
- Bendito Fantasy (Spain)
Are West Ham assets good options? If so who should we invest in?
The Hammers have just entered a nice run of fixtures which lasts right through until beyond Gameweek 18 and, as a result, they are on the radars of many FPL managers.
Some of the members of FFS International assess which West Ham players are the best options over this period.
Vladimir Coufal (£4.5m) is our top choice from West Ham. The Czech defender has been impressive, playing every minute of every game since his arrival in the Premier League ahead of Gameweek 4. In the five matches he played, he has two assists and two clean sheets, making him arguably the best defender in the game at his price point of £4.5m. His low ownership of 1.5% also makes him a great differential.
Pablo Fornals (£6.4m) also looks like a good option. He is currently West Ham’s top FPL points scorer. Whilst listed in the game as a midfielder, he is deployed on the left side of the front three and brings guile and creativity to the Hammers’ attack. He has already matched his goal tally of his previous season and has three assists to his name. Regardless of whoever West Ham play as their frontman, Fornals is capable of contributing.
Tomas Soucek (£4.9m) has been the mainstay of the West Ham side since joining in January 2020. He has the most FPL points (27) of any midfielder priced at less than £5.0m so he makes a perfect choice as a fifth FPL midfielder you may or may not want to play. He’ll definitely get the minutes and is a goal threat going forward at set pieces. He has 44 goals in 206 games in his career – a very decent record.
Lukasz Fabianski (£5.0m) caught the eye in Gameweek 8, earning a whopping 15 points with a clean sheet, a penalty save and three bonus points. However, we do not recommend bringing him in. It is not often that goalkeepers earn the maximum bonus and that usually happens when the custodian in question makes a penalty save and keeps a clean sheet. Against Fulham, Fabianski was lucky as Ademola Lookman fluffed his spot-kick with a Panenka attempt. All in all, penalty saves are rare: Fabianski himself has made just seven of them in his 14-year Premier League career. Going for another ‘keeper like Alex McCarthy saves you 0.5m. Another alternative would be Edouard Mendy, who at £5.1m has kept three clean sheets in the four games he played.FFTitans
In terms of schedule, West Ham has a kind fixture list over the next five Gameweeks, which invites a deeper look into their assets and where to invest.
From an attacking point of view, the loss of Michail Antonio (£6.2m) to injury was a big blow. Out of all of West Ham’s attacking assets, Antonio was the one with the big underlying numbers and attacking contributions. He was also very consistent against all types of opponents. Aside from Antonio, the rest are not proven at this level or their underlying numbers are not strong enough to warrant strong consideration. Soucek, however, looks to be one of the best enablers in the game this year and would be perfect as the 11th pick in your starting line-up.
I’d be more inclined to invest in West Ham’s backline given that they have the best defensive fixtures over the next five, according to the Season Ticker. Aaron Cresswell (£5.1m) looks to be the standout option given that he has multiple routes to points, but in that price range, I’d be more tempted by Joao Cancelo or even a punt on Reece James rather than spend that amount on a West Ham defender. At £4.5m, however, both Coufal and Arthur Masuaku (£4.5m) offer great value. Coufal is a more certain starter if any change in formation occurs, and his safe playing style performs better on the Bonus Points System. On the other hand, Masuaku’s underlying numbers are better and his more adventurous playing style gives him a better opportunity to contribute in attack. All three are good options, and your choice may well depend on your budget and your squad depth.Block 5
It’s been quite a reversal of fortunes for clubs like West Ham and Aston Villa, after finishing 16th and 17th last season respectively. And here we are giving serious thought to FPL asset double-ups in both cases as their fixture schedules ease.
I’ve looked closely at the numbers. West Ham, in Gameweeks 1-4, showed early signs of defensive improvement before facing Spurs, Man City and Liverpool. During these opening Gameweeks, the Hammers conceded only seven shots on target (the lowest in the Premier League), kept two clean sheets and conceded only four goals.
That prompted me to move for Cresswell last week as their fixtures begin to take on a similar path to those opening Gameweeks. Cresswell has created 17 chances for his teammates thus far, the most out of any other FPL defender.
New signings Coufal and Masuaku are budget entries and play more advanced roles than Cresswell. The two wing-backs have both started every game since Gameweek 4. Fabianski exploded into the frame in Gameweek 8 with 15 points, reminding us all of his proven FPL pedigree; a great set-and-forget option at £5.0m for anyone on a Wildcard this week or miserable Aaron Ramsdale owners, like myself!
Going forward, Antonio could offer tremendous value now at 6.2m, as he resumes training. In my opinion, a fit Antonio trumps any other FPL option in this West Ham side and it will be interesting to see if he recovers sufficiently over the international break. I wouldn’t rule out a Cresswell and Antonio double-up, although there is a lingering worry over the latter’s troublesome hamstrings.
Other great budget striker options have emerged, such as Ollie Watkins and Patrick Bamford, who may be safer choices over Antonio for the medium term at least. Soucek loves a shot, matching Son Heung-min with his goal attempts (18) and shots inside the box (13) numbers this season. For me, he is a very viable and cheap Daniel Podence direct replacement.FPL Crypto
The injury to Antonio came at a very unfortunate time, right when thousands of managers were likely ready to bring him in following the nightmare fixture list to begin the season. Nevertheless, we still see plenty of value in this West Ham side, just no longer from the forward position – at least until Antonio is back and healthy.
Our top recommendation for the friendly fixture turn is Cresswell, as he provides clean sheet potential, attacking threat (from set pieces) and great security for starts. The more budget defensive options of Masuaku and Coufal also look like great picks but both trail Cresswell, due to possible game-time issues for Masuaku (if Moyes ever changed to a back four, he could very well lose his spot) and a bit less attacking potential from Coufal.
Turning to midfield, the two standout options thus far have been Jarrod Bowen (£6.3) and Fornals. However, Said Benrahma (£6.0m) is all of a sudden muddying the waters here, staking his claim for more minutes with an assist and a solid showing last time out against Fulham. It’s unclear who would potentially lose their spot should Benrahma prove too influential to stay on the bench, but that little bit of uncertainty makes us hesitate to dive into any of these assets, and if we had to recommend somebody in this price range across the entire league, would likely opt for the in-form Diogo Jota, Jack Grealish or Wilfried Zaha.
Perhaps the best route into West Ham’s midfield is also the cheapest, with Soucek providing security of starts, strong value, and plenty of attacking potential that finally resulted in his first goal of the season last time out.American’s Talk FPL
What’s new from our FFS International Members?
Ahead of Gameweek 9, the FFTitans will have their regular FPL content – a post looking at stats and a preview of the upcoming Gameweek. As well as this they will be producing a selection of possible Wildcard teams, based on some statistical metrics. They will also be selecting their favourite captain choices of the week.
Over the international break, FFTitans have delved into the validity of awarding FPL assists for winning penalties as well as selecting a set-and-forget goalkeeper for the Gameweeks to come.
They have also produced content ahead of UCL Fantasy Matchday 4 – a point in the game they believe to be a great opportunity to utilise the Wildcard chip.
During the first week of the international break, Block 5 has released two special episodes of the podcast, covering:
- Chips and Double/Blank Gameweek planning
- How to differentiate smartly in FPL
During the upcoming days, Block 5 will also be releasing the regular weekly episode of the podcast covering fixture swings and underlying numbers, as well as translating episodes of some of the best FPL pods around and producing the Gameweek 9 detailed preview.
Links can be found over on Block 5’s Twitter account.
Cathal (@FPLCrypto) and Gabriel (@FPLLens) are working hard to re-launch the popular “6 Picks” Weekly Contest, from Gameweek 9 onwards. The Weekly Contest is a side-game on the FPLCrypto YouTube channel where viewers choose one FPL player in each of six categories for a given Gameweek. FPL Crypto offers up a prize for the weekly winner. Look out for the YouTube video, scheduled to come out early next week, after which participants have until the Gameweek deadline to enter their picks.
You can read more about all of our FFS International members here.
If you are interested in joining the Scout Network, Scout Academy, FFS International or being part of the next wave of the Community Trials please get in touch!