Yesterday, I briefly discussed rolling the Gameweek 21 FT over, allowing me 2 FT ahead of the Spurs double gameweek in order to reacquaint myself with Harry Kane. In a calculated move after Gameweek 13, I offloaded Kane in order to bolster a 5-man midfield. We all know how that has gone, based on the last 2 weeks, which has seen Kane net 6 goals ahead of Spurs BGW. While the short term is currently in order, it’s not too early to look ahead at the new year and what transfers could help fantasy teams.
Based on TSB% data we can draw conclusions as we look at potential template players to start the second half of the FPL campaign. While there are no standards set forth we can all agree that Mohammad Salah and Harry Kane are essential. Both players represent the largest ownership at their respective positions, with David de Gea rounding out the top three most owned players in FPL. Looking at the TSB% data, Nicolás Otamendi and Raheem Sterling could also be considered essential. While ownership for Firmino and Kane are higher, their form hasn’t been as consistent through 20 gameweeks.
While fantasy managers “can’t own them all” we do see some commonality between the top 1k managers and the most owned across the FPL game as shown in the graphic below.
Depending on your strategy, you could own all of these players and have £17.5 ITB to round out your squad with three defenders. With the second Wild Card just days off, some fantasy managers may selection this option to start the new year with a bang.
Considering my overall rank, 456k (ahead of CRY v ARS), squad, current formation and the fact I have recorded just 2 green arrows in the last 5 games, my squad has been struggling. The play of Kane has only exacerbated the situation. While the logic was sound, risk calculated the #KANEXIT after Gameweek 13 backfired, dropping 78 points, the difference between 456k and the top 50k!
Ahead of Gameweek 21 I have been reviewing players, interacting on Twitter and reading pundits I favor in order to assist my decision making. Maybe if I would have taken those more serious, I would have never dealt Kane, but now I must attempt recovery. With no transfer planned this week, I will roll it over to allow me the option to bring Kane back into the starting XI.
Kane will cost me multiple moves, downgrading my premium 5-man midfield, just 3 weeks after I assembled it. Failure? In the eyes of some, I am sure. #KANEREMAIN owners have had harsh words recently for those who moved the Spurs man out ahead of his 6-goal explosion.
Regardless of Eden Hazard’s performance against Stoke City this week, he will be transferred out to free up £10.7. Hazard has been nothing short of poor, outside of his Gameweek 15 performance posting 15 points, which provided new owners a glimmer of hope. The unfortunate suspension and hamstring injury picked up by So’ton’s, Charlie Austin makes him an easy selection to replace up front.
Kane installed as the main forward, attention turns back to the midfield line, where £6.0 ITB will allow you a few options. For the sake of argument, I’ve sorted midfielder starting at £6.3, hedging my bet I gain £0.1 between now and the start of Gameweek 22. Three players come to the forefront for the next 6-8 weeks; Pascal Groß, Abdoulaye Doucouré and Jesse Lindgard. A case could be made for Ashley Young (£5.1) , playing OOP at left wingback and Ruben Loftus-Cheek (£4,6).
The decision to bring Lingard in could be contingent on whether or not fantasy managers own Paul Pogba (£7.9), who has struggled since his return from suspension. As a current Pogba owner, it’s Doucouré and Groß who grab my attention. Groß, has been higher scoring and more consistent over the season. Richarlison appears more dangerous and attacking, but the more managers see him, the more he’s being contained. That leads me to believe Doucouré could be the stronger option. The possibility of multiple players marking or collapsing on Richarlison when he has the ball will inevitably leave Doucouré running into open space.
Owning Sterling, Coutinho, Salah and Pogba is the midfield costs £35.1, which leaves £0.7 ITB and the likes of Callum Wilson (£5.7) and Laurent Depoitre (£5.3) to partner with Kane in a 3-5-2. Are either considered quality starters? The play of Doucouré seems to dictate he starts over both, opting for a 4-5-1, depending on fixture strength of schedule. Wilson is coming off a goal in Gameweek 20, while Depoitre has scored 3 goals in the last 4 games.
Another option up front would be to sacrifice Pogba, if his form doesn’t improve, downgrade to a budget midfielder and monitor the form of Everton’s Wayne Rooney (£7.5). In form before his illness, Rooney has missed the last 2 games and is still flagged ahead of Gameweek 21. Games against MNU/tot/ars in the next 6 aren’t great match ups, but for the price, he’s worth a look.
While I haven’t resigned to the fact that a premium 5-man midfield leaves me short up front, the idea of reintroducing Alvaro Morata doesn’t excite me. Ahead of Gameweek 21, he’s topping captain polls, based on his hat trick in the reverse fixture against Stoke City. At £10.7, he’s owned by 16.4% of managers in the top 1k. However it would require further savings to bring him into the starting XI.
Not willing to part ways with Sterling, Coutinho or Salah leaves me £2.2 short. Looking at the defense, in order to free up budget doesn’t provide but one option, Marcos Alonso. However, the Spaniard has shown great form in his last 4 games, returning 2 goals, 1 assist, 3 clean sheets with 6 bonus points. Currently providing expected returns for his £7.1 price tag.
One direction fantasy managers can look, starting with DGW22 is West Ham. David Moyes has the Hammers playing well and appear to have the strongest schedule to start the new year; WBA/hud/BOU/CRY/bha/WAT. Marco Arnautovic (£6.9) and Manuel Lanzini (£6.8) top the list for attacking options.
Arnautovic has found form under Moyes and returned 5 goals and 4 bonus points over 5 games and will look to keep form in DGW22; WBA/tot. Lanzini has returned just 1 goal this season, but bolstered his assists, recording 3 in Gameweek 18. Set piece duty and potential assists, as well as a nose for the goals means he too, is a good mid-priced option to start the season.
Along with West Ham, Stoke City and Brighton rise to the top of the ticker with the most favorable fixtures over the first 6 weeks of 2018. If you look at a shorter, 3 week period, Huddersfield also comes into our radar with potential returns at both ends of the pitch.