Hello everyone! We’re back to review Gameweeks 9 and 10 in GAFFR. It’s obviously been a very busy period over the last couple of weeks, so we’re going to cover 2 main talking points here.
The main men amongst the goals
If you have owned some combination of Aleksandar Mitrovic (11.2m), Dominic Solanke (11.3m), Ben Brereton Diaz (8.3m) or Viktor Gyokeres (6.0m), you have quite happily come out of these two gameweeks with at least one goal and possibly a lot more! Solanke was the lowest returner, scoring one against Luton before drawing a blank against Peterborough, to the disappointment of many managers who will have captained him in GW10. He did get 5 bonus points across the two games though, showing that he will often still be able to get you points even when the goal hauls aren’t necessarily there. Gyokeres managed to get 2 goals in a 16 point haul in GW9 against Peterborough, before blanking against Luton. However, 18 points across the two gameweeks is still a very good return. These two paled in comparison though to Mitrovic and Brereton Diaz. Mitrovic scored Fulham’s only goal against Bristol City (as well as hitting the woodwork), before scoring a first-half hattrick against Swansea in GW10. 4 goals across the two games and 30 points for those who owned him, which at this point is probably the majority of managers in the game! Finally, there was Brereton Diaz. The Chile international had an amazing week, scoring a hat-trick against Cardiff in GW9 and following that with two more against Huddersfield in GW10. 5 goals across the two, two of which were penalties, meant that in total Brereton Diaz got 36 points for managers that owned him. Blackburn’s fixtures are still good as well, so while he is unlikely to keep up that sort of rate of return, there could be more goals in the coming weeks for him.
There were two other men who scored multiple goals that will have made the GAFFR managers that owned them very pleased. The first of these was Karlan Grant (9.5m) of West Brom. In GW9 he got two against QPR, one of which was a gift from Opta after Dieng had saved it then pushed it into his own goal, the second of which there was no doubt about though. For a man who had been struggling for goals, in addition to getting his team the three points, the relief was palpable. He then followed that up with a goal in their 4-0 win over Cardiff, ultimately rewarding managers who had held him (or got stuck with him!). It remains to be seen whether this is the start of a run for Grant, but it was certainly a good week for him, and his GAFFR owners. The second player who was amongst the goals was returning Stoke talisman Nick Powell (7.9m). He followed a very good free kick goal in Stoke’s win against Hull by scoring their only goal in a 1-1 draw against Preston. His return has come at exactly the right time for Stoke and while they do have a tough run of fixtures, Powell has shown in the past he can score against anyone, so that shouldn’t put people off owning/starting him. He played both of those games up front as well, making him potentially an even better option going forward if that does continue.
Other goalscoring players that deserve a mention here, doing all their damage in just Gameweek 10, are Elijah Adebayo (6.1m) and Harry Cornick (5.7m) of Luton. Both of them got two goals in Luton’s 5-0 win over high flying Coventry, with Cornick also adding two assists for a massive 25 point haul. They are the two main players in a Luton attack that has shown itself to be good so far this season and could potentially be good options for managers looking for different options for their teams.
The early stages of the relegation battle
An interesting storyline at the moment is at the bottom of the table, particularly as GAFFR managers look to work out who they can target. Derby currently are bottom, but as we know this is due to the 12 point penalty they incurred due to going into administration. Derby are a team we thought could struggle this season, but it’s worth noting that without the points penalty, Derby would currently be sitting 11th in the table. They have kept clean sheets recently against Reading and West Brom as well. GAFFR managers might be able to benefit when they have defenders playing against Derby, but they are obviously not your normal bottom of the table side, so probably shouldn’t be targeted. One spot above them currently is Hull (it will likely be Reading at some point, but we’ll come back to them). Hull are a bit of a different story. They have only won one game all season, which was on the opening weekend against Preston. They scored 4 goals in that game, but did not score again until Gameweek 8. They have 6 goals this season, as well as 6 points, in their 10 games and look like a team that you can target, particularly in the short term.
Above Hull on 8 points are a trio of teams, Peterborough, Barnsley and Forest. Peterborough are the only team in the division with a worse goal difference than Hull and appear to be another one that GAFFR managers can target. The one thing to bear in mind with them though is that there is a stark divide between their record at home and away. They are almost two different teams home and away. They have played 5 games at home and 5 games away so far this season. At home, they have won 2, drawn 2 and lost 1. That includes a narrow 1-0 defeat to West Brom via a very late winner and a goalless draw with Bournemouth. In those 5 games, they have scored 7 goals and only conceded 4. Away from home however, it is a completely different story. They have lost all 5 of their away games, scoring 3 goals and conceding 16 goals in the process. What is clear with Peterborough is that if you have a player playing at home against them, you should definitely start them and they immediately become a very good captaincy option.
Barnsley are the second team in that group. They obviously had a great season last season, reaching the playoffs, but it’s been a harsh snap back to reality for Barnsley this season. They lost Valerian Ismael to West Brom in the summer, as well as losing key players like Alex Mowatt (8.5m) (on a free to West Brom) and Daryl Dike (as his loan ended). They have only won 1 game out of 10 so far this season, with the big issue for them being the 5 draws. They are another team with a goalscoring problem, with 7 goals in 10 games, which has played a big role in them currently only having 8 points. They have also had two really significant losses at the bottom of the table in their last two games to Blackpool and Nottingham Forest. They are another one that you can probably target at the moment, at both ends of the pitch.
The third team is Nottingham Forest. They are obviously a little bit different due to the fact that they have just recently sacked Chris Hughton as manager, having one game under Steven Reid before Steve Cooper took charge. While it is not necessarily all fixed right away, Forest have picked up 7 points in the 3 games since Hughton’s departure, scoring 6 goals in the process. Creating chances was a big issue for Forest before and the dramatic improvement there, while it would need to be seen over a longer period to put more stock in it, suggests that they are going to be a different team under Cooper. They have also moved to a three at the back system which has seemed to help a number of their players and far from targeting them, it looks like GAFFR managers could well be looking to get Forest players in if the early trend under Cooper continues.
We mentioned Reading before and we have to talk about them when it comes to the relegation battle. Even though they’ve had a fantastic recent run after their initial struggles, moving up to 12th in the table, there is likely to be a 9 point penalty imminent for them. This would take them down to 23rd and put them right back in the mix down at the bottom. The already thin squad there has taken an absolute beating through injuries this season, necessitating the arrivals of the likes of Scott Dann (4.9m) and Danny Drinkwater (5.0m). It remains to be seen whether a drop back down the table would have an impact on the team, but it is something to bear in mind with Reading.
We will finish briefly here with some GW11 captaincy picks. Aleksandar Mitrovic and Harry Wilson (9.7m) of Fulham could both be good picks this weekend. Dominic Solanke remains a good pick, despite a tougher fixture on paper against Sheffield United. We also like Ben Brereton Diaz against Blackpool, Jed Wallace (10.3m) against Barnsley or even Elijah Adebayo against Huddersfield.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this, we’ll speak to you again on the roundup podcast and see you back here next week!
The EFL Fantasy Podcast (@EFL_Fantasy)