Welcome back to the weekly FPL rundown. You’ll be glad to know after today I won’t be back for two whole weeks thanks to the International break, which thankfully doesn’t effect fantasy football. I had another terrible week, scoring just 35 points which is 6 less than the average of 41, but in my defence, what are you supposed to do when Kane, Aguero and Salah make up a third of your budget and score 3 points between them? Those bad times saw me slip to 273,557th overall. This week is a total wreck by the way, with just four Premier League games going ahead Fantasy Managers are left with the choice of whether to fill their teams with terrible players or just write it off as a bad week. In my case, I’ll be doing both. With so few games to get into, I’ve previewed each of the four games and their FPL prospects. Do with the advice as you please, I wouldn’t listen to me but at least humour me.
Bournemouth vs West Brom
Such are the slim pickings this week, Bournemouth are actually quite an attractive proposition. For starters they are playing a team rock bottom of the league and starting to get a little bit cut adrift, but also they are off to Watford in week 32 (after the International break) so putting their players in isn’t a total one time thing. Junior Stanislas is a good bet from their midfield, whilst Calum Wilson has been in many people’s teams for a while now after a purple patch earlier in the season. With Jermain Defoe approaching fitness and Josh King only being a sub last time out it’ll be interesting to see if Eddie Howe makes any changes. Bournemouth’s full backs have been useful for a long time, particularly Charlie Daniels, as even if they don’t get many clean sheets they practically players as wingers. Couple that with the fact that West Brom can barely string two passes together and you might be on to a winner. West Brom, well, a lot of “dead” teams have the likes of Hegazi and Dawson from the start of the season but clean sheets have been hard to come by, however they are at least a threat from set pieces. They’re at home to Burnley in a fortnight so if you do think the West Brom survival bid begins here then they actually have a pair of home games coming up, but you’re a braver man than me if you are putting your eggs in the WBA basket.
Huddersfield vs Crystal Palace
All logic here would suggest Huddersfield defenders, but Zaha is back and Palace usually at least score when he is about. He improved Roy Hodgson’s team ten-fold when he came on at Stamford Bridge and provided he stays fit is worth having in the run in. Having said that they have Liverpool at home next before an easier run, so it depends how brave you’re feeling. I’m not sure he has 90 minutes in him yet after his layoff but this is the sort of game he’ll probably win a penalty, so Milivojevic at less than £5m looks appealing, even if he is barely involved in open play. Huddersfield have an array of average midfielders who are all vital components in the cog but none of them are great fantasy assets. I have Van la Parra but given Huddersfield had 30 shots against 10 man Swansea and didn’t score, I expect changes.
Stoke vs Everton
Has Paul Lambert improved Stoke? He has made them slightly harder to beat but they don’t win many, whereas Everton barely win away. Let’s deal with Everton first. They have Man City and Liverpool back to back after this and their away form is garbage, so anybody you put in is probably a one week job. They are fairly expensive too, given what was expected of Everton this season, so there’s not a lot of value there. Sigurdsson is out for about 6 weeks which at least means Leighton Baines might have some set piece responsibility, probably even penalties seeing as Rooney missed again last week. Stoke are all about Shaqiri, if he plays well they play well, though outside of him there’s only Choupo-Moting I’d consider. He’s a midfielder on the game but practically plays up front, so there’s that. Given Everton’s away woes I’d be tempted by a Stoke defender, such as Bauer, but they have Arsenal and Tottenham after this so it depends if you want to rely on a very leaky defence or not.
Liverpool vs Watford
I wonder if Salah will achieve 100% captaincy this weekend? I jest of course, but Liverpool are the obvious team to rely on this week. A very winnable home game against average opposition, you may as well have a full house of 3 Liverpool players if possible. Liverpool players are mostly fixture proof so even if you are left with all three for their trip tp Crystal Palace, it could be a lot worse. They have a good run of fixtures incoming and Salah didn’t score last week which means he’s bound to this week. Right? Watford are basically safe and more than capable of an away day capitulation, so with that get all your money on a shock Watford 1-0 win. If you do like Watford’s chances they have a very good run after the International break so there’s no harm in getting them in but I don’t know how much they will really have to play for in the run in, there could be some flip flops out.
You could play your free hit chip to get a full team out but there will be better opportunities to play that once the double game weeks are confirmed. Also these are predominantly bottom half clubs, so be wary of filling up on them. They are bottom half for a reason. Harry Kane is expected to be out for 4 weeks which opens up the budget, with game week 34 looking like a possible return date. I expect Son to replace Kane in the Spurs side for a few weeks, which is great seeing as he’s a midfielder, but their next game is Chelsea away so there might be better value to be had.
I’ve gone Salah, Firmino as vice. I suspect a lot of people will do the same, but I don’t know. Follow your heart, or something.
I have 5 players – Van Dijk, Wimmer, Van La Parra, Salah & Firmino. Wimmer never plays though and I have one free transfer left, having used my first to bring in Firmino. At the moment I’m thinking Stanislas, I am going to have a huge amount of budget left over at this rate with Kane sold and Aguero to follow even if his injury isn’t that bad. He is now a rotation risk with Jesus, so that’s fun.
It’s a bit of a strange week, I’m sure some people will take points hits to get a full team out but I really don’t see the value in it. I don’t want most of the players for multiple weeks so unless you have a wildcard up your sleeve to correct the damage, I wouldn’t get too upset about only having a handful of players. Whatever you do, I wish you luck and may all your arrows be green.