It could have been worse. Thankfully there were only four fixtures, meaning my blunder of picking Mane as captain over Lukaku saw me only slip marginally down the overall table to a still very respectable 140k. My score of 30 beat the average of 19 so it wasn’t a total washout. On to game week 29 then and already there are injuries and suspensions to consider. Let’s channel Degeneration X and break it down.
Oh, Harry Kane. He’s only gone and ruined his ankle again. A suspected 6 week absence (give or take) means he’s burning a hole in many teams, so where do you turn? If you don’t have Romelu Lukaku (£10.3), that seems like a good place to start, despite him spending the week telling Everton how little he wants to be there. They are at home to Hull though, and you have to back him there. With Zlatan banned for Man Utd and Arsenal far from certain to start Giroud, premium strikers are hard to find this week, though Diego Costa (£10.6) is a safe option ahead of a trip to an inconsistent Stoke side. If you want to look further afield, Defoe (£7.7) at home to perennially travel sick Burnley seems a cost effective and nailed on option. With his Sunderland side 6 points adrift at the bottom, you do think they really have to win.
On that note, let’s look at some other less pricey options. Tottenham will likely turn to Heung-Min Son (£6.8) to fill Harry Kane’s boots, and the South Korean is in good goalscoring form after his FA Cup hat trick. In even better news, he’s down as a midfielder on the FPL game, so at £6.8m you could do a lot worse. As mentioned in the previous section, Sunderland need to start winning games and with 4 decent games in their next 5, you think it’s now or never. Lamine Kone is a very reasonable £4.4m or Jordan Pickford a bargain at £4.1m if you need a goalkeeper, but aside from Defoe there’s not a lot of attacking options. Watford have 3 home games in the next 5 if you can figure out who anybody other than Troy Deeney (£6.8) is.
It’s an International break after this, because we’ve all missed that International football feeling. It means the next gameweek is two weeks away and obviously players might come back with injuries and jetlag, so keep an eye out over the break for players’ game time for their countries. Also, the FA Cup semi finals are set for Game week 34, which currently stands at 6 fixtures. It does mean that some teams have potentially three double game weeks on the horizon, though none of those fixtures are announced yet.
Lukaku is the outstanding candidate due to his general form and his opposition. I mentioned a few weeks ago that he goes mad every 5 or 6 weeks and this is the game in the sequence where he is due a performance. I just wish he hadn’t been mouthing off all week. I had planned to bring Sanchez back in this week as I think not having him is asking for trouble, but Harry Kane’s injury has ruined that. He’s always better away from home in my opinion though, which could spell trouble for West Brom. If you’re looking for a differential, Defoe at home to Burnley seems as good an idea as any, unless you think Sunderland are actually doomed this year.
I have quite a bit of trepidation for this week, as I mentioned I hate not having Sanchez as you never know when that fuse is going to be lit, but I need to shift Kane before his value plummets which means I’d need to take a points hit to get Sanchez. It’s just a headache. Whatever you decide to do, good luck, and may all your arrows be green.