Fantasy Premier League managers are always full of questions whenever there’s a Double Gameweek and this week we face the biggest in the game’s history.
Given that my season is down in the dumps, I thought I would take some of these questions and try to help you guys instead.
Let’s get started…
Who are the Bench Boost enablers and cheap defensive options? Also can you look into how defence is the only differential currently in the game as the template grows stronger?
Hi Nehal, thank you so much for the question. When it comes to enablers and cheap defensive options for the Bench Boost, there are lot of options that have come to the fore recently.
Two teams that have two fixtures in Double Gameweek 26, and have displayed some really strong performances of late are Fulham and West Brom.
The Baggies have a great run of fixtures in the next three Gameweeks where they face Brighton and Hove Albion (home), Everton (home), Newcastle United (home) and Crystal Palace (away).
Sam Allardyce’s men are 11 points off safety at the moment and what this tells me is that in these next four games, they have to go the win and try to accumulate three points.
The way West Brom played against Burnley while they were down to ten men really caught my eye. I have been really impressed by their new forward Mbaye Diagne (£6.0m) who seems to be getting a big chance every game he’s playing.
In the last four Gameweeks, out of all the players costing £6.5 million or less, Diagne is top of the table for big chances and xG non-penalty. I like his fixtures, his underlying numbers and the recent form for the team. I also prefer Diagne to Fulham’s Josh Maja (£5.5m) primarily because of the fixtures Maja has after Double Gameweek 26 where he faces Liverpool (away) and Manchester City (home) in Gameweeks 27 and 28 respectively.
In defence, I quite like the look of out-of-position defender Ainsley Maitland-Niles (£4.6m) who is finding himself in the box very often for this West Brom team. He could have easily had a goal and assist in the Burnley match.
Fulham’s defensive numbers have been very impressive as well which is why Alphonse Areola (£4.5m) is my favourite budget goalkeeper option for the Bench Boost.
In the last six matches, Fulham are amongst the top five defences in the league for shots in the box conceded. They have kept four clean sheets in the last seven games and, in general, have tightened up at the back. In addition, Areola has a match in Blank Gameweek 29.
Fulham’s motivation cannot be questioned at the moment. Scott Parker has galvanised his troops and they are in the midst of a very interesting relegation battle. They are going to treat each match as a cup final which is why I like the budget picks emerging in defence and in attack.
With regards to your comment where defence is the only differential in the game at the moment, I strongly disagree. Son Heung-min (£9.5m) is owned by 51% of the game and has scored only one goal in his last eight Premier League starts. The likes of Harvey Barnes (£6.9m) and Kevin De-Bruyne (£11.8m) are still owned by under 20% of the game. Harry Kane (£11.1m) who has a good looking Double Gameweek in 26 and some decent follow up fixtures is still under 30% owned.
While I agree that there are a lot of good differential picks emerging in defence and that it has been very difficult to beat the template this season, it is not the only place to make ground.
What is the best time for using the Free Hit Chip?
Rank these defenders considering fixtures: Marcos Alonso (£5.7m), Lucas Digne (£6.1m), Ricardo Pereira (£5.9m), Luke Shaw (£5.1m), John Stones(£5.2m)/ Ruben Dias (£6.1m)
There is a lot of interest in defenders at the moment which is why I thought I would take this question on. So here’s what I think.
First up, I would have one of the Manchester City defenders as my pick. Despite Pep Guardiola mentioning that he’s going to constantly rotate his team, Dias looks fairly nailed-on and is still very cheap for what he offers.
The way Manchester City are playing at the moment, it will be a surprise if they don’t keep a clean sheet. They have four games in the next two Gameweeks and you would expect them to shut their opponents out in at least three of them.
I really like Shaw right now. I have been talking about him for a long long time. The Manchester United man is the cheapest defender of all those you have mentioned and his underlying statistics are off the charts.
In the last six matches, Shaw is second for chances created among all outfield players in the league not. Not just that, his delivery has a lot of quality, he’s on set pieces and in the last two games in particular, he’s been coming a lot closer to goal. I would not be surprised to see Shaw get a goal as well very soon. I’m not particularly worried about his rotation threat either.
My third preference is potential out of position Pereira. He looked great against Aston Villa and there is a lot of upside with this pick playing on the right-wing for Leicester City. They have good follow-up fixtures after the Double Gameweek as well.
My fourth preference is Digne and surprisingly Alonso is my least favourite option primarily because of what I saw at the weekend. Thomas Tuchel was visibly not happy with Alonso’s performance in the draw with Southampton and if we are to jump on Alonso, I think the right thing to do would be to judge his performance in two very difficult games in Double Gameweek 26 and if he comes through that unscathed. Chelsea have good fixtures after that so it’s a matter of one or two Gameweeks where Alonso could move from my fifth choice to first or second based on how he does in the over the next few days
What should I do with Danny Ings (£8.5m)?
It does not look very encouraging for Ings at the moment does it? Personally I think there is enough upside in removing him for Double Gameweek 26 considering one of his two fixtures in Double Gameweek 27 is against Manchester City.
The moves to make would be either an upgrade to a trigger-happy Harry Kane (who is a real captaincy option for me) or a downgrade to a fit Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£7.7m) who has a very good set of fixtures in Double Gameweek 26.
That’s it from me for this round of The Burning Question. I hope you enjoyed this article.
For more discussion, you can watch the latest episode of the FPL Wire linked below where we had both Tom Freeman and Zophar on a Wildcard, which made for a really interesting episode.
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