…and so it begins, the start of the holiday period and more games than you can shake a stick at. As games come fast and furious, it’s important fantasy managers stay ahead of the curve and dialed in to their squads. Deadline dates, while always important become imperative, miss setting your lineup could cost you. It’s also a time for rotation by managers, which means your bench players could be called upon at a moment’s notice.
This week begins with a step in a new direction, as I start to transition to a 3-5-2 formation. While not quite where I want to be, I run out a 4-4-2 in Gameweek 14. This formation, while played just once before (GW12) has yielded my highest score (84) on the season, hopefully that bodes well for me and luck remains on my side. It’s been 6 green arrows in the last 7 gameweeks.
FPL TRADITIONAL STARTING XI
The most notable changes entering Gameweek 14, the appearance of Spurs assets. While the writing had been on the wall for 5 weeks with Christian Eriksen, none of the impending moves for my squad could have been made without releasing Harry Kane. At £12.8, I just can’t justify his price, based on his performance. Sure, he picked up a goal this last weekend, but it was his first in 4 weeks! Now tied on 74 points, but his replacement, Alvaro Morata comes in at £2.2 less. While I am quite away this transfer could come back to burn me, I am willing to take the risk.
As mentioned, Eriksen gives way to Eden Hazard, which now gives me treble Chelsea heading into a fantastic run of fixtures, which could make or break my fantasy season. Scores of 11, 3, 18 and 8 in the last 4 gameweeks give the appearance that Hazard is back in form and the Blues and dangerous, commanding the midfield. He will also be one I turn to often with the captain’s armband.
Between the sticks, I continue with Rob Elliot and Lukasz Fabianski, both have had good spells this season. Coming off a 9-point performance, Fabianski is relegated to the bench in favor of Elliot based on his away fixture to the Hawthorns and WBA. Two 1-point performances in his last 2 (mun/WAT), but has picked up 3 save points in his last 4 games.
Defensively, I set up with 4 defenders, lead by the resurgence of Marcos Alonso. His 14 point return in Gameweek 12 gave me the confidence to stick by the most expensive defender in the game. Based on fixtures, this could be a very lucrative period for Chelsea defenders.
Sead Kolasinac is coming off back to back clean sheets and continues to get forward posting 5 attempts (last 4 weeks), all in the box, bested only by Alonso and Bertrand. His 21 touches in the penalty box is top for all defenders in the last 4 gameweeks. While Arsenal has some challenges through GW26, Kolasinac may or may not play a role in my 15-man squad, but gets the nod home to Huddersfield.
Another high priced wing back, Kyle Walker remains established in the starting XI. City gave up a unexpected goal against the Terriers last week, but confidence is still high in the attacking defender who is on 4 assists for the season. The final defender, Stephen Ward, who should of had 4 clean sheets in the last 4 games, but a “soft” foul and spot kick ruined their CS last weekend. Burnley has been solid defensively and look for it to continue away to Bournemouth.
The midfield looks great, in my opinion. Led by Eden Hazard and Mohammad Salah with Richarlison and Pascal Groß, the budget options. Expectations are high for Hazard, as he takes the pitch with the captain’s armband, home to Swansea City. There is some question about Salah even starting this week, as he could be handed a rest ahead of the weekend fixtures.
Richarlison has been the most consistent performer in the last 6-7 game weeks and has returns the last 3 weeks wearing the armband. While up against United this week, I keep a positive outlook he can build on his last home performance. Meanwhile, Pascal Groß continue to perform and gets the start, against Crystal Palace. His days might be numbered, due to my strategy, but I will attempt to keep him if at all possible.
Up front, it’s Jamie Vardy’s farwell party, as Leicester host Spurs. Hopefully he can build off an early assist last weekend. It’s my hope he can catch Spurs on the counter attack and net a goal this weekend. Finally, Alvaro Morata takes his place up front, for his first run out for my starting XI. He will be a key player moving forward.
Outside of Watford hosting United and Leicester hosting Spurs, I’ve got some favorable match ups, which could really play out to my advantage, if things go as played. We know that rarely happens. If I need to turn to my bench, Callum Wilson, home to Burnley will get the nod, while Aaron Cresswell, away to Everton sits second. Not that I expect to use 3 substitues, Tom Carroll takes up the final bench spot.
FPL DRAFT STARTING XI
The draft team is coming off a 46 point week that saw me edge closer to the top spot, now 16 points off the pace. This week I run out a 4-5-1 formation led by a double Burnley defense, but a question mark up top leading my attack.
It shouldn’t be a toss up between the pipes this week, while I had planned on Ederson starting, I have flipped to Nick Pope, in hopes Burnley, at home can keep a clean sheet against Bournemouth, who’s attack, outside of Huddersfield hasn’t been too impressive.
Defensely, the back four are set to keep it clean all around with “Dave” leading the way at Chelsea against am weak Swansea team. Shkodran Mustafi is a newcomer to my starting XI, claimed off the waiver wire, coming off back to back clean seets and facing Huddersfield. I round out the defense with Charlie Daniels hosting Brent Mee as Bournemouth sees Burnley visit the Vitality Stadium.
On paper, the midfield appears loaded; Eric Maxim Chuopo-Moting, Wilfried Zaha, Dele Alli, Richarlison Andrade and Philippe Coutinho. I started the season with just the two big names, but have been able to bring in the young, hot talent to round out my 5-man midfield. Choupo-Moting and Richarlison both have tough fixtures, Stoke City, home to Liverpool while Watford host Man United. Liverpool has been a sieve on the road, while United and Watford could pull a 0-0 draw.
Dele Alli continue to frustrate in the EPL, as do all attacking Spurs assets. That said, he did pick up an assist last weekend and I am still looking to have him turn around his season, much like he did this time last season. Coutinho is my premium midfielder I am banking on to come through this weekend, on the back of 3 double digits returns in 7 games he’s played this season.
Up front, I will start Sergio Agüero, knowing there is a high probability he will be rested, home to So’ton. On the bench I have Callum Wilson and Glenn Murray lined up in the first two bench spots, with Watford defender Kiko Femenia in the third spot.