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.
Da ba dee da ba di”
In a season where there have so many pivotal 50/50 calls, this time it was your choice of Reece James (£6.4m) versus Marcus Alonso (£5.6m) which determined whether you were left feeling blue.
Prior to the Gameweek, everyone was actually piling in on the blues. Chelsea and Manchester City’s favourable fixtures caused some to Free Hit, while there was a cacophony of Wildcards as the late rank charges began.
Yet pretty much everyone forgot about Gabriel Jesus (£8.5m), who provided divine returns for those who did in fact take a leap of faith on the City striker.
Neale Rigg was talk of the toon with an impressive 83 fuelled by a Wildcard which contained Alonso and Kevin De Bruyne (£11.9m) and, crucially, it also saw him keep faith in Bukayo Saka (£6.8m).
FPL Matthew was not too far behind with his overhaul giving him 81 points, even though he captained Reece James. Both managers had gone with a five-man defence and the final few weeks may yet prove the saying that the best form of attack is defence.
The Free Hitting double act of Az and Mark had less success. Mr Sutherns must have walked under ladder and kicked a few black cats as his bad luck continued with his decision to move out Saka, Nick Pope (£5.4m) and Andrew Robertson (£7.3m) proving costly, although his chip play did at least gain him a green arrow.
Az was the least fortunate and his red arrow gives an opening to Fabio Borges, who is now nine points behind. It could yet come down to the battle of the Bench Boost as both have this one chip remaining. Could Hee-Chan Hwang (£5.4m) be an unlikely hero for Az? Probably not.
As for the captains this week, it was an open field with a wide variety of picks. We even saw a lesser spotted Timo Werner (£8.7m) armband from Joe but the best of the bunch was Geoff Dance, who saw something twinkle in the eye of Cristiano Ronaldo (£12.2m).
The late Wildcard wagons pulled into FPL town with five of them making their move:
The Grandmaster caused a stir with his decision to say no to Mo and keep faith with Bruno Fernandes. He also waved goodbye to his Spurs and, to add to the controversy, went without any City players.
- IN – Schmeichel, Mykolenko, Cash, Alonso, Fernandes, Jota, Coutinho, Havertz, Mount, Pukki, Iheanacho, Nketiah
- OUT – Ramsdale, Coady, Doherty, Livramento, Saka, Martinelli, Cornet, Barnes, Son, Kane, Antonio, Calvert-Lewin
Hold the line! Matthew has gone big, big and bigger at the back with five premium defenders. It’s cheap and cheerful up front and good to see he has joined the Teemu Pukki (£6.0m) party. The lack of much Aston Villa, Everton and Leicester coverage suggests he is planning his Free Hit for Gameweek 37.
- IN – Schmeichel, Robertson, Alexander-Arnold, Alonso, James, Mount, Kulusevski, Foden, Pukki, Nketiah, Dennis
- OUT – De Gea, Saiss, Tarkowski, Livramento, White, Gilmour, Raphinha, Fernandes, Kane, Antonio, Weghorst
A cracking start for the Scout chief with his Wildcard. Surprisingly, he is the only one to go with Kevin De Bruyne (KDB), and he clearly likes his players with three-letter acronyms as he also brought in Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall (£4.4m, KDH).
Joel Matip (£5.1m) is a canny pick who won’t get the headlines but has amassed a very impressive 41 points over the last six weeks.
- IN – Schmeichel, Foster, Laporte, Matip, Cancelo, Alonso, De Bruyne, Salah, Mount, Dewsbury-Hall, Pukki, Mateta, Nketiah
- OUT – Sanchez, Ramsdale, Doherty, Digne, White, Schar, MacAllister, Son, Maddison, Dewsbury-Hall, Ronaldo, Kane, Weghorst
Maybe variance is a thing, as Tom suffered more bad luck: his Raheem Sterling (£10.5m) pick looked good on paper but bad on the pitch and it was made worse by his decision to kick out James Ward-Prowse (£6.4m) as part of the reshuffle.
I still fancy a late surge from the king of the differentials as a midfield of Mason Mount (£7.7m), Mohamed Salah (£13.3m) and Kai Havertz (£7.9m) will have better days.
- IN – Schmeichel, Foster, Emerson Royal, Laporte, Cancelo, James, Havertz, Mount, Sterling, Dewsbury-Hall, Salah, Nketiah, Pukki, Rodriguez
- OUT – Sanchez, Ramsdale, Doherty, Kilman, Rudiger, Regulion, Sancho, Fernandes, Ward-Prowse, Martinelli, Luiz, Kane, Weghorst, Broja
Zophar decided to avoid some of the potential Pep roulette by going with Ederson (£6.1m), as the most secure of the City defensive starters.
His decision to bring in Son Heung-min (£11.0m) while others decided to sell catches the attention, and his call to Bench Boost last week means he could spend little on the benchwarmers of Martin Kelly (£3.8m) and Sam Greenwood (£4.6m) and focus his investment on the first XI.
- IN – Ederson, Steele, Robertson, Kelly, Son, Mount, Havertz, Pukki, Greenwood, Nketiah
- OUT – De Gea, Ramsdale, Burn, Schar, Kulusevski, Martinelli, Sancho, Kane, Broja, Weghorst
This is a summary of the transfers for this week:
- Az – Free Hit
- LTFPL Andy – Havertz, Alonso (Fernandes, Tierney)
- Fabio Borges – Alonso, Pukki (Coady, Lacazette)
- Joe Lepper – Werner (Adams)
- Geoff Dance – Pukki (Broja)
- FPL General – Mount (Coutinho)
- Les Caldwell – James, Salah (Schar, Fernandes)
- Magnus Carlsen – Wildcard
- Mark Sutherns – Free Hit
- FPL Matthew – Wildcard
- Neale Rigg – Wildcard
- Tom Freeman – Wildcard
- Tom Stephenson – Dobbin, Mount, Robertson (Wood, Raphinha, Rudiger)
- Yavuz Kabuk – Alonso, Pukki, Havertz, Cancelo (Doherty, Lacazette, Raphinha, Rudiger)
- Zophar – Wildcard
While the chips were flying, the remaining members of The Great and The Good had to be aggressive to keep up, leading to hits aplenty – which sounds like a really bad Bond villain.
Yavuz went on the attack with a minus twelve and at least Alonso and Havertz gave him immediate returns as he pushes for the boom or bust of a 10,000 finish; a rumour passed me that he would quit if he doesn’t achieve this goal.
Tom Stephenson was uncharacteristically offensive but again his minus eight was rewarded by Andy Robertson’s double-digit returns – great Scot!
The template for The Great and The Good is as follows, with the numbers in brackets showing how many teams in which they appear:
- Foster (7), Schmeichel (6)
- Alexander-Arnold (14), Cancelo (12), James (9), Alonso (7), Robertson (7)
- Salah (13), Saka (10), Mount (9), Havertz (7), Kulusevski (7)
- Pukki (8), Nketiah (7), Kane (4)
As you expect, with the quintet of Wildcards the template is shaken to its core with changes across all positions as Kasper Schmeichel, Alonso, Mason Mount, Havertz, Pukki and Edward Nketiah (£5.5m) all come into the squad.
Harry Kane’s (£12.5m) appeal appears to be on the wane across this group of managers and this may yet have an impact on the final standings, as he could yet spark against a European fatigued Leicester for those willing to captain.
It’s worth having a quick glance at the season stats, with Yavuz leading the way in hits, Zophar still cash-rich and the captaincy calls proving decisive as Az and Fabio battle it out at the top on 676 points.
As mentioned right at the start, the swings caused by some crucial 50/50 calls have been crucial this season: we’ve had Havertz vs Salah, Antonio vs Bowen and even Bruno vs Ronaldo.
This weekend gives us another opportunity to spin the wheel with the captaincy call wide open, so while many have already started to count their predicted points for Gameweek 36, I would suggest spending a little more time on the armband choice for this weekend to make sure you are swinging whilst you’re winning.
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
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