Fantasy Football Unplanned: Week 17 Preview

Fantasy Football

After a brief absence, I’m back trying to make sense of Fantasy Football for another midweek round of matches. Since we last spoke, things haven’t exactly been peachy. At the weekend, I scored 54 points, beating the average of 43, and still I tumbled down to 92,349th overall. I need to find a way to reverse the slide, but my team is starting to look stale and out of form. More on that later. First though, let’s see what this midweek can promise us.

The Dilemma

We’ve got three games on Tuesday night, with the most poignant being Huddersfield vs Chelsea. Conte’s men looked to have hit some sort of form, causing a mass jumping on the bandwagon for Morata and Hazard, however that momentum was checked with Saturday’s defeat at West Ham. You’d expect Chelsea to win at Huddersfield, one defeat doesn’t make them a poor team and I don’t anticipate them dropping points here. The one concern, which will be a recurring theme during this update, is that there is scope for rotation. The midweek fixtures a few weeks ago were the catalyst for many managers to shuffle their packs, but I’m hoping Conte doesn’t here and prioritises getting back to winning ways. Morata is ruled out with a bad back though, which is annoying.

Onto Wednesday then and three of the big 6 have friendly looking home fixtures. Let’s start with Liverpool against West Brom, as Jurgen Klopp raised more than a few eyebrows with his team selection at the weekend. Pre-game rumours suggested that both Salah and Coutinho were carrying knocks, and that certainly seemed plausible as Coutinho started as a sub whilst Salah was withdrawn after 65 minutes. If you look at this with glass half-full optimism, you could say both have had their rest now and will be refreshed and ready for the visit of Pardew’s men, but realistically, would Klopp take such a chance in the Merseyside Derby if either were 100% fit? Mind you, Salah looked perfectly fine when scoring his goal. Man Utd were humbled by neighbours City on Sunday but have a great chance to bounce back with a home game against Bournemouth. Romelu Lukaku endured another torrid afternoon but scored 4 past Bournemouth last season so read into that what you will. There’s still no Pogba though, and his absence does seem to make a marked difference. Tottenham are at home to Brighton, and I for one was over the moon to see Harry Kane scoring twice at Wembley on Saturday. Do it again, please.

Man City face a trip to struggling Swansea, who I don’t think will be relishing facing Pep’s men. Sergio Aguero didn’t get a single minute in the derby on Sunday so I’d expect him to start here, along with 10 others – just don’t ask me who! Rotation will always be an issue with Pep, and nobody understands him (but his woman). Finally, Arsenal are off to West Ham. Can we call West Ham rejuvenated? One sunny day doesn’t make a summer, or something along those lines, and when it’s David Moyes summer rarely makes an appearance these days. Arsenal ran in 5 in this fixture last season, with Sanchez scoring a hat-trick and running wild. What price a repeat?

Bargain Bin

Sadly we can’t fill our teams with players from the top 6, but there are many good options at reasonable prices. Looking at the upcoming fixtures, they seem quite favourable for Watford, who face Crystal Palace, Huddersfield and Brighton in their next three. The Hornets don’t keep that many clean sheets but have plenty potential attacking returns, with Richarlison their top points scorer so far, and counted as a midfielder on the game. He’s just £6.6m, but if that is too pricey you have Doucoure at £5.4m. Everton have a new lease of defensive life now that Sam Allardyce is in the dugout, with Jonjoe Kenny (£4.3m) and Mason Holgate (£4.2m) getting a lot of game time recently. Everton travel to Newcastle, who are in awful form, so you may also consider Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who is a cheap option at just £5.2m. He’s a striker though so it depends if you want to have a bargain forward on your books.

Also Consider…

The FPL Cup starts this week. This is the cup ran by the Official FPL website, and is essentially a giant knockout competition. If you’ve qualified, your opponent will be visible on the right hand panel now. It operates on the head to head rules, so if you take a points hit for a transfer you essentially start on minus figures, so bear that in mind if you are tinkering. The deadline this week is Tuesday at 6.45pm due to there being games on Tuesday and Wednesday night.

Captain

Kane and Salah are again the main choices, favourable home fixtures ahoy there. Salah’s fitness is a slight concern and I don’t trust Kane 100% at Wembley yet. Eden Hazard is the other choice, as it’s possible he’ll be fielded as a false 9 or whatever you want to call it. Also he’s really quite good.

For my team, I’ve got players carrying injuries and losing their places, and that’s before you even consider the possible rotation issues. I’ve used my transfer this week on bringing Kabasele in for Fernandez, a bit of a sideways move and as I mentioned, Watford don’t even keep that many clean sheets but they have some decent fixtures coming up and Fernandez has lost his place recently due to personal reasons. Morata being ruled out is a pain but I’m going to leave him in and see if he makes the weekend, I don’t want to take with the teams ripe for rotation. That leaves with me the following:

De Gea, Kabasele, Monreal, Mee, Cedric, Gudmundsson, Loftus-Cheek, Salah, Hazard, Kane, Vardy. Subs: Elliot, Morata, Daniels, McArthur.

Mee is doubtful, as is Cedric, but at least Charlie Daniels should come in if he’s needed so I don’t have to play with 10 like I did last week. It’s a bit of a mess, there’s 3 or 4 players I need rid of (at least!) but we’ll just have to make do with what we’ve got until the January wildcard becomes available. Hopefully Jamie Vardy will be buoyed by his wife returning from the jungle.

Whatever you decide to do, I wish you good luck and may all your arrows be green.