Currently sat at 694th in the world, Let’s Talk FPL’s Andy talks through some ideas for his own team and addresses some trending topics from within the Fantasy community.
Do we need double Man City defence still?
This question is probably a lot easier to ask when you don’t own Rúben Dias (£6.1m), but as a John Stones (£5.2m) and João Cancelo (£6.2m) owner, I’m considering jumping off.
When I leapt on triple Manchester City back in Gameweek 18, I saw it as almost essential. Aymeric Laporte (£6.0m) wasn’t starting very regularly and they had lots of Double Gameweeks on the horizon (as well as a game in Blank Gameweek 18). Fast forward a bit and Gameweek 27 is their last double and Laporte has started eight of the last 12 games in all competitions. Even going into Double Gameweek 27, I’m not confident of two starts and at that point a defender from another team can potentially do just as good a job and be nailed.
Antonio Rüdiger (£4.6m) seems like a potential ideal replacement. He’s cheaper and since Gameweek 19 hasn’t missed a single minute for Chelsea. In terms of goal threat, there isn’t much to split them when looking at all Gameweeks since Rudiger won his spot back.
In that same time period, Chelsea have conceded 5.62 expected goals compared to Man City’s 6.70; both are elite defences.
There’s no real need to remove your defenders before Gameweek 27 but it’s something I’m thinking about in the long term, with a potential move for double Manchester City attack instead. Rüdiger seems like an ideal replacement, given the general points ceiling of the likes of Stones.
Free Hit could be better in Gameweek 33 than Gameweek 29
Originally I was looking at using Free Hit in Gameweek 29 but I think I’m pretty well set up for this already. Below shows the eight players that are playing in Gameweek 29.
As always, it’s quality instead of quantity and I think I have most boxes ticked (ignore the pun). With three transfers between now and Gameweek 29, I can cope with it quite easily.
With Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur blanking in Gameweek 33, I’m currently going to be left with five players without a game that take a big chunk of the budget. I could bench three but it would leave me with a lot of money outside of my starting XI.
As it stands, I wouldn’t be looking to sell these players as the fixtures either side of the blank from Gameweeks 31 to 35 are good for both teams:
Manchester City – Leeds (h), Aston Villa (a), Crystal Palace (a), Chelsea (h)
Spurs – Manchester United (h), Everton (a), Sheffield United (h), Leeds (a)
The Gameweek 33 fixtures have the potential for me to do something a little different with players from teams I might not have enough transfers to get to.
While I may or may not own Bruno Fernandes (£11.6m) by this point, I’d definitely want him in for Leeds along with another Manchester United attacker. I currently don’t own any Aston Villa midfielder or forward, and while their run-in isn’t great, they do have West Brom in this Gameweek. Liverpool against Newcastle also means a double or triple-up could be profitable.
Could we drop Bruno Fernandes?
It seems stupid to even be considering dropping the highest-scoring FPL player and I’m sure most people will just skip this part, but it’s something I’m considering.
The way Manchester United set up against the traditional top six is to nullify the opposition while neglecting their own attack. I wouldn’t be surprised to see another blank against Manchester City, just as there was against Chelsea.
That then leaves West Ham followed by a blank in Gameweek 29. There’s potential to do something more interesting with the Fernandes money.
After that, he could be brought back in on a Wildcard or via free transfers. I look at Manchester United’s remaining fixtures and wonder where I’m going to captain him. In every week, there’s arguably another option that could be considered instead. Below are Bruno’s best fixtures with an alternative in brackets.
- Gameweek 30 v Brighton (Kane v Newcastle)
- Gameweek 32 v Burnley (Salah v Leeds)
- Gameweek 33 v Leeds (Salah v Newcastle, although for me Fernandes would be Free Hit in most likely)
- Gameweek 35 v Aston Villa (Kane v Leeds)
- Gameweek 37 v Fulham (Kane v Villa)
Not captaining a heavy hitter doesn’t mean you have to sell them but if you’re trying to fit in a certain number of premium players, especially due to captaincy, then something may have to give.
Let me caveat all of the above by saying there’s good reason to keep Bruno Fernandes. Looking at xG per 90 minutes in the Premium Members Area, he is sat top of all midfielders who are playing regularly. That’s equal with Mohamed Salah (£12.6m) and just above Kevin De Bruyne (£11.8m).
It would be a brave call to remove him but if you thought that De Bruyne could start realising his underlying statistics, and that Salah could get back to the form that saw him hit almost essential status earlier in the season, then perhaps backing them over Fernandes for captaincy could be a calculated risk-type move of beating the template.
Mohamed Salah is potentially worth keeping
It seems as though people are starting to get a bit frustrated with Salah. I’ve seen lots of comments talking about selling him, and definitely if there was a choice between him and Fernandes, then I know which one people would look to keep.
However, when you look a bit closer at the recent numbers, they’re quite promising. Yes, he’s blanked nine times in the last 12 games. But for those people that like to put emphasis on “form”, he’s also scored four goals in the last six. I am, admittedly, expecting a blank against Chelsea in the second game of the double.
His underlying statistics are promising too. Looking at players’ last six matches, he ranks second for expected goal involvement behind the hero that is Michail Antonio (£6.5m), and by the way, Raphinha (£5.4m)!
We need to see how Liverpool continue to perform without Jordan Henderson (£5.4m), but it’s promising that their full-backs are looking good on the eye again. In fact, Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.4m) has the highest expected goal involvement (2.03) over the last six matches and is getting forward a good bit with eight shots over that same time period.
Thinking ahead, Liverpool have a great run-in and it might be worth saving a transfer and keeping Salah for the longer term.
Selling any big hitter always feels risky and I wouldn’t want to put anyone off doing it, but with Fulham and Wolves to come, there might be better ways to spend your transfers while giving Salah time to pull through on his underlying numbers.
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