Fantasy Football Scout community writer Greyhead continues with his series of articles analysing the Fantasy Premier League (FPL) transfers and strategies of some noted Fantasy managers, from serial top 10k finishers to well-known faces.
The Great and The Good this year are the Scouts Joe Lepper, Neale Rigg, Geoff Dance and Tom Freeman, FPL Wire’s Zophar, from the Hall of Fame Fabio Borges, FPLMatthew, Yavuz Kabuk and Tom Stephenson, Blackbox’s Az and Mark Sutherns, FPL “celebrities” LTFPL Andy, Magnus Carlsen and FPL General plus last year’s mini-league winner Les Caldwell.
“I’ve never been closer; I’ve tried to understand that certain feeling carved by another’s hand. But it’s too late to hesitate. We can’t keep on livin’ like this
Leave no track! Don’t look back! Temptation”
The temptation of a heavenly Gameweek 7 was too much for several FPL managers as the Chelsea fixture swing arrived and there was a rising number of defenders tackling little else than their club’s medical facilities.
For some, including Let’s Talk FPL Andy, this was a last-minute effort with the scare stories about the Cristiano Ronaldo (£12.6m) rotation coming true. His 60-second Wildcard got off to a flying start!
The armband argument came down to a straight Rom vs Ron debate, but we forgot about fixture-proof Mohamed Salah (£12.7m), who once again helped all those zombie teams who had perma-captained him in August to a green arrow.
We have a new leader going into the international break as Let’s Talk FPL Andy flew past Tom Stephenson, opening up an 18-point gap. This was his fourth green arrow in a row and he now sits just outside the top 10,000, his highest rank of the season.
Andy was joint-top scorer with another Wildcarder, Tom Freeman, as he reached 61 points, which saw Tom soar up 230,000 places in the overall rankings. The game is on!
Elsewhere, Fabio continues his steady ascent with 52 points for the week, helped by double Brighton defence and Son Heung-Min’s (£10.0m) continued good form.
It’ll be intriguing to see if the Hall of Fame no.1 hits the Wildcard button over the break. What we do know is that Tom Stephenson and Az has pressed it. Who else will join them?
Let’s look at the trio of managers who overhauled their squads this past week.
Andy has doubled-up on Man City and Chelsea defenders but has given himself plenty of money in the bank for a Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.5m) upgrade when he returns.
He has managed this through the triple up of mid-priced marvels in Raphinha (£6.5m), Bryan Mbeumo (£5.5m) and Bukayo Saka (£6.3m) and it’s hard to argue with the initial results.
IN – Ramsdale, Rudiger, Cancelo, Azpilicueta, Laporte, Livramento, Saka, Mbeumo, Brownhill, Lukaku
OUT – Sanchez, Shaw, Alexander-Arnold, Ayling, Veltman, Tsimikas, Greenwood, Sarr, Bissouma, Ronaldo
Tom was another one to hit the reset button and he did so in style with 12 changes to his squad. He has stuck with a flexible 4-4-2 formation, using Son as the cash cow in midfield should he want to bring in Alexander-Arnold.
The bench is strong with Adam Armstrong (£6.0) looking primed to come in as Southampton’s fixtures improve and Mbeumo is an inspired move. I also like the Kieran Tierney pick, always good going forward, in an improved Arsenal defence plus he’s only £4.9m.
IN – Raya, Foster, Rudiger, Azpilicueta, Tierney, Cancelo, Livramento, Mbeumo, Son, Douglas Luiz, Lukaku, Armstrong
OUT – Sanchez, Steele, Alexander-Arnold, Shaw, Maguire, Veltman, Ayling, Jota, Sarr, Gilmour, Ronaldo, Obafemi
Another Wildcard and another approach with Yavuz – who let’s not forget is going for his eighth top 10,000 finish in a row – taking the “threemium” route.
Yavuz’s moves were focused on the supporting cast as he has continued to hold Salah, Ronaldo and Romelu Lukaku (£11.7m).
The Chelsea defensive double-up was there and he has also invested in cut priced bargains such as Emile Smith Rowe (£5.3m). It also means he has the dreaded double midfield pivot of doom with two £4.5m midfielders.
The gamble is whether this lack of flexibility is worth accommodating the huge haul opportunities provided by those three big hitters.
IN – Ramsdale, Semedo, Azpilicueta, Rudiger, Cancelo, Douglas Luiz, Brownhill, Smith Rowe, Antonio
OUT – Bachmann, Shaw, Alexander-Arnold, Tsimikas, Ayling, Benrahma, Gray, Traore, Dennis
This is a summary of the transfers for this week:
Az – Azpilicueta (Alexander-Arnold)
LTFPL Andy – Wildcard
Fabio Borges – Son, Rudiger (Jota, Alexander-Arnold)
Joe Lepper – Cancelo (Williams)
Geoff Dance – Lukaku, Raphinha, Rudiger (Jota, Digne, Ronaldo)
FPL General – Rudiger (Alexander-Arnold)
Les Caldwell – Alonso (Shaw)
Magnus Carlsen – Saka (Jota)
Mark Sutherns – Rudiger (James)
FPL Matthew – Christensen, Rudiger (Shaw, Ayling)
Neale Rigg – Lukaku, Smith-Rowe, Christensen (Jota, Bamford, Alexander-Arnold)
Tom Freeman – Wildcard
Tom Stephenson – Rudiger (Coufal)
Yavuz Kabuk – Wildcard
Zophar – Rudiger (Ayling)
Defensive transfers were the order of the day due to a combination of necessity and desire to capitalise on that Chelsea guaranteed clean sheet. They forgot FPL never quite follows the rules.
Az made the pick of the moves thanks to Cesar Azpilicueta’s (£6.0m) double assist and Fabio Borges’ canny transfer for Son should not be overlooked.
The template for The Great and The Good is as follows with number in brackets showing how many teams in which they appear:
Sanchez (10), Steele/Foster (7)
Rudiger (12), Livramento (9), Alexander-Arnold (8), Shaw (7), Azpilicueta/White/Semedo/Cancelo (4)
Salah (15), Raphinha (12), Sarr (7), Benrahma (7), Greenwood (6)
Antonio (15), Ronaldo (9), Lukaku (8)
A disturbance in the defensive force as Alexander-Arnold drops out of the 100% ownership club for the first time this season.
Meanwhile, Chelsea’s defenders are flavour of the month with Antonio Rudiger (£5.8m) joining the template and Azpilicueta part of the battle for the fifth defender spot. As a result, cheap enablers Luke Ayling (£4.4m) and Joel Veltman (£4.4m) are discarded.
We also see the end of Diogo Jota (£7.6m), who has frustrated many a manager and who’s playing time now comes under question with the return of Roberto Firmino (£8.8m).
THE JOY OF FORMATION
With a large proportion of the FPL Community wildcarding over the next week, I thought I would poke around the formations of The Great and The Good as structural decisions will provide the framework for our final squads.
Obviously, 3-4-3 remains the preferred formation with the likes of Az, Magnus, Fabio, and FPL General sticking to this traditional format for the majority of the opening gameweeks.
However, this year the need for stronger benches, plus the rise of the cheap defenders and the £5.5-6.5m midfield bracket means that many of them are switching between 3-4-3 and 3-5-2.
Mark and Tom Stephenson have been strong proponents for the 3-5-2 from the start, whilst FPL Matthew and Geoff Dance have used their transfers and their Wildcard, in Geoff’s case, to shift to this approach.
Tom Freeman has stood alone with his case for the 4-4-2, mainly driven by his investment in Harry Maguire (£5.4m) and Son necessitating this formation.
Meanwhile, Yavuz and Neale are the managers to have invested in the triple threat of Lukaku, Ronaldo and Salah, meaning that 4-3-3 appears to be their structure of choice going forward.
The point here is that there are several options open to those Wildcarding this year with a key decision being how flexible you want to be with your selection going forward – is it a case of “threemium” of bust?
Brace yourself for Wildcard mania over the next two weeks with RMTs and tinkering bound to hit explosive levels. My advice if you are not overhauling your squad is to log out as otherwise you will end up dizzy by all the dithering.
If you are Wildcarding then my advice is simple. Make your own decisions.
There is always the danger of ‘groupthink‘ and there are some names being overlooked by the masses, you only have to glance at Jamie Vardy (£10.4m) and Sadio Mane’s (£11.9m) form over the last few weeks to see how easy it is to forget some familiar faces.
Anyway, that’s all from me for now and remember don’t have nightmares.
For those affected by any of the topics raised in the above article then you can find me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/Greyhead19