Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Gameweek 8 Review- The GW of Budget Buys

With the big-hitters failing to produce big points and the obvious clean sheets not turning out as such, it was not so much about the usual suspects of FPL point-scoring but the cheapies that brought home the points this gameweek. There were very few viable midfield options below 7.0 until the last few gameweeks. Nacer Chadli has so far scored regular points in his new role for West Brom after coming to prominence as a fantasy option at 6.4 in gameweek 5. Since then there have become even more good value fantasy propositions from midfield.

Junior Stanislas (5.5) was the top-scoring player in FPL this gameweek. His two goals and two assists took him up to 3 goals and 3 assists in his last 3 games. He is certainly one to watch in an impressive attacking side that cruised to a resounding 6-1 victory against Hull.

Joe Allen’s price dropped to 4.8 earlier in the season when he was a substitute for Liverpool, but now transformed into an attacking midfielder his price looks like rising. Allen’s brace at home to Sunderland makes it three consecutive games in which he has scored. Despite not being a renowned goalscorer but more of a defensive midfielder, Mark Hughes has so far deployed Allen further forward. His rise to goalscoring form coincides with a good run of fixtures, with Hull, Swansea and West Ham next up for Stoke.

Take Note of Attacking Defenders

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Whilst writing these reviews, every week I wonder how to assess defensive options with so few clean sheets. The 0-0 at Anfield on Monday is the exception that disproves the rule that clean sheets have been in short supply. After the last gameweek I pointed out premium options such as Bellerin (6.5) and Walker (6.0) were worth their cost for their clean sheet potential and attacking points. This may be true, as Bellerin made an assist and very nearly scored despite neither claiming clean sheet points, but it is also worth looking elsewhere for players in other price ranges who are capable of attacking returns and bonus points.

The stand-out cheap defender before this gameweek was Brad Smith of Bournemouth. He had risen to 4.7 on Saturday after another assist, but it was his teammate Charlie Daniels who scored and assisted to pick up two bonus points. Daniels also takes penalties, so is a great option for your defence at 4.9. Alternatively, Steve Cook proved his aerial threat by scoring v Hull, a game where all of the Cherries’ players showed their full attacking potential.

Even more affordable than the Bournemouth defenders is Middlesbrough’s George Friend (4.5), who created 2 chances and crossed the ball 5 times on Sunday. 4.5 Holebas, also a defender, scored in the same game for Watford. This contributed towards his 2 bonus points even though his side lost 1-0, but ‘Boro’s fixtures are tricky. They go up against Arsenal, Man City and Chelsea in the next 4 games, including an in-form Bournemouth. Erik Pieters (4.4) has much more favourable fixtures and collected 2 bonus points in Stoke’s first win of the season. Will their form continue? I certainly think so.

Kyle Norbury,
Stoke fan and fantasy football nerd,
Follow me, Kyle on Twitter: @SCFCNerd

Monday, 3 October 2016

Big Guns Fire Blanks - Gameweek 7 Review

Gameweek 7 was a rare weekend where the big-hitters in FPL all struggled to have a part to play for their teams. Eden Hazard’s 0 goals or assists in the last 3 gameweeks means his popularity will continue to drop after a strong opening 4 games. Then, on Sunday all of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Sergio Aguero and Alexis Sanchez unusually failed to register a goal or an assist. The latter was a surprisingly good captain pick with 3 points. The overall average for the gameweek was very low and not many points were to be made up on league leaders.

Having failed to breech a Stoke defence that had conceded the most goals in the league this season prior to Sunday, Ibrahimovic is now out of form, similar to Hazard, without scoring returns in his last 3 games. Zlatan’s price has already fallen from 11.9 back to his base price of 11.5 and will continue to lessen your team value if you choose to hold onto the Man United striker. Next up for the Swede are tough games for him to score in, against Liverpool and Chelsea in the next two gameweeks.

Always Captain Aguero?

As mentioned last week, Sergio Aguero is essential to a successful FPL season. His goals/game ratio is the best of any striker in Premier League history. When he scores, he tends to score in twos or threes or not at all, as we found this this week. Aguero was a forlorn figure in City’s 2-0 loss away to Spurs- his second PL blank of the season. This season Aguero’s 6 Premier League goals have all come in games he’s scored twice. The same pattern of scoring in clusters appears in Europe too. Kun hit a hattrick in the first leg of the qualifying round for the Champions League and in the first round of the group stage, before failing to find the net in mid-week against Celtic.

This could mean choosing when to captain him is all about timing. Missing a captain brace or more from Kun could prove costly, but it might be best to be selective on who to place the double-point burden based on fixture difficulty. For example this week Romelu Lukaku, Firmino and Diego Costa proved the better options as they faced easier opponents than Aguero. 

‘Blankaku’ Turns Reliant Romelu

Your writer chose not to captain Lukaku with his double-gameweek blank in GW34 of last season living long in the memory. One of those games came against Crystal Palace. I was wrong to doubt the Belgian, as Lukaku looks to have picked up form early on, this time scoring against Palace.

He is still dubbed ‘Blankaku’ for his goalless runs, but Lukaku can be a prolific goalscorer when on a scoring run. He has now bagged 5 goals this season- all 5 coming in the last 4 gameweeks. He is now in fine scoring form going into the international break. The last international break got his scoring tally for the season up and running, so the Everton striker’s 21% ownership will be hoping he stays in form playing for Belgium versus Bosnia and Gibraltar.

Kyle Norbury,
Stoke fan and fantasy football nerd,
Follow me, Kyle on Twitter: @SCFCNerd

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Best replacements for Kevin de Bruyne in FPL?

Kevin de Bruyne will be out for up to 3 to 5 weeks and many managers are looking for a replacement for the injured superstar. In this article I will give you several recommendations as an alternative.

First off, since KdB is himself pretty pricey, I’m sure there are ways for you to top up a bit more and get Alexis Sanchez at £11.1. Why Sanchez? Well, as always Sanchez is a really explosive player and is able to convert half chances into goals when he is on form. To add on to that, Arsene Wenger is playing him as a striker. What more could you ask for? A great midfielder playing up front, he is bound to get you points either via scoring or bagging the assist. Arsenal’s next few fixtures look really enticing as they play Burnley (A), Swansea (H), Middlesbrough (H) and Sunderland (A) next. Therefore, in the next 4 gameweeks, be prepared for him to do well and look forward to his price rising!

Next, it is the Spurs midfielder Hueng-Min Son (£7.5). With Harry Kane being out for the time being, Son seems to be taking over the goal scoring opportunities whenever he plays. In the past 3 Premier League matches he has attained 47 FPL points by scoring 4 goals and providing 1 assist. At a budget price, and with Spurs having a few decent fixtures next, Son is the player to get as the other Spurs midfielders such as Eriksen and Lamela look cold.

Finally, with no European duties, Liverpool midfielders are the ones to get. Why? Firstly, they have scored a ton of goals in the season. Totalling 16 goals in 6  matches, scoring 5 goals once and 4 goals twice (one against Arsenal), they look to be unstoppable. Secondly, their next few fixtures looks to be a walk in the park, bar Manchester United in Gameweek 8.

Sadio Mane (£9.0) is the one to consider if you have the budget for him. He is explosive as well, and will take the opportunity to get himself goals. Phillipe Coutinho (£8.2) is the heart of Liverpool’s midfield right now. He is able to set up his team mates to score and is able to take his chances from outside the box. Surprisingly, he is doing way better than Firmino who is actually playing upfront. Firmino is hardworking but isn’t able to get points in FPL as of now therefore, I would stay away from him. Lastly, it is Adam Lallana. If you are looking for Liverpool coverage but have a budget issue, then he is the player to get at £7.2. Lately, he has shown that he is a player worth considering as he is involved in many of the attacks and can score as well.

Before replacing KdB, know what your plans are. If you want to bring in Aguero then a cheaper option is better than a premium player.

Written by: @FantasyFoxez

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

The Return of the Kun - Gameweek 6 Review

Lord of the Strikers- The Return of the Kun

Kun Aguero was back this week. If you didn’t already know, then it would be a good idea to transfer him in your team as soon as possible. This is because he is about to rise back up to 13.1 and has returned to his brilliant best after a two-game suspension. Aguero outscored all strikers this week except Jermain Defoe, which is even more reason to get Aguero (unless you want Defoe instead). Lord Aguero continues to hold a mythical status within the FPL community and the majority of experienced managers see him as a must-have captain pick every week, and with good reason. Noone has scored more Premier League goals in the last 5 seasons than Sergio Aguero.

Surprise Packages Keep on Giving

The surprise player of the season so far, along with last week’s headline grabber Etienne Capoue, has been Raheem Sterling, who has now produced 4 goals and 3 assists under Guardiola. That’s already as many assists as the entire of last season and just 2 goals less. It’s important to note however that Sterling only made 23 league appearances. This time round he is proving his potential and looks to be a certain starter throughout the season for Man City.

This could also be the season Phillipe Coutinho hits double figures for goals and assists for the first time. 3 goals and 3 assists in 6 games mean that at the current rate he will reach 18 goals and 18 assists by the end of the season, which is a lot better than 8 Gs and 10 As last season. Owners were warned in this feature after a strong gameweek one showing that he’s prone to inconsistency, but the Brazilian is proving doubters wrong with great quality in the attacking third, and not just the occasion wondergoal.

Although Coutinho will likely take the credit for Liverpool’s fine form, Adam Lallana is playing a big part in their early-season success, as a vital cog in a well-oiled machine. The winger is matching Coutinho’s goals and assists tally and is 1.0 cheaper at 7.2. Previous to his goal and two assists against Hull, including maximum bonus points, he was an unsung hero in a very threatening attacking team which has created more chances than any other team in Europe. Lallana and Coutinho are not yet proven in FPL, but they are definitely worth a gamble.

The Case For A Cheap Defence

With just 4 clean sheets out of a possible 20 two weeks in a row, it seems the majority of points are not coming from goalkeepers and defenders. Only Bournemouth, Arsenal, Southampton and Burnley kept clean sheets in gameweek 6. Arsenal and Spurs are the only premium-priced defences to have kept clean sheets in the past 2 gameweeks. However, you do get what you pay for with defenders. Kyle Walker (5.8) was the highest scoring defender in gameweek 5 and this week the most expensive defender in FPL, Hector Bellerin, proved his worth with an assist to go with his clean sheet vs Chelsea. A balance of 1 or 2 of the pricier options along with the best value cheap defenders, namely Adam Smith of Bournemouth at the moment, might be the best way to go.

Kyle Norbury,
Stoke fan and fantasy football nerd,
Follow me, Kyle on Twitter: @SCFCNerd

Thursday, 22 September 2016

5th Birthday: Free Entry Competition & Small Survey


Only one entry per person.

The winner will be the person who FIRST submitted the correct answer (thus only one winner).

In the unlikely event no one is able to successfully predict the correct first scorer from this Saturday's 3pm kick offs, the winner will then be based on the correct first assist from the original first goal submissions.

The winner will be announced this weekend.

The winner will receive a classic football shirt from a specific collection.