Justification

A bit less than 24 hours ago, as of this writing I made the decision to activate my second wild card for this FPL season. While considered “early” I did hold it 2 weeks longer this year, than I did last year. Won’t do much good as we await the teams for the BGWs and DGWs, but was looking a bit shorter terms and teams that could help secure differential points and possibly provide a bump in the overall rankings.

I received a DM on Twitter (@6thGoal) from a follower who inquired, “why activate the WC now when you can resolve your team with the 2 FTs.” Figured it provided me an opportunity to justify the logic behind the squad selection. I do agree I could have navigated GW23 with the 2 FT I had, however I could not of added Harry Kane without taking a hit. While that wasn’t the determining factor, I did include it in my decision to activate the wild card.

While we still have some time before the Gameweek 23 deadline, the team has it stands appears formidable…on paper. Breaking down the numbers I’ve trebled up on Chelsea and Man United assets, while doubling with Spurs, Everton and Man City.

GOALKEEPER

David de Gea (MNU £5.9): Most expensive and top scoring goalkeeper in the FPL game. Currently owned by 42.7 TSB%, while recording 12 clean sheets on the season with 10 bonus points.  After a poor 3 week run, he’s recorded back to back clean sheets with a favorable run ahead. Spurs, Chelsea and Liverpool dot their upcoming schedule through GW30. We know Jose plays very defensive against the larger clubs, so keeping it clean is a possibility.

Asmir Begovic (BOU £4.5): Selected due to the fact he will be playing in GW28 and GW31, both of which could signal blanks for Man United. Bournemouth faces Newcastle and West Brom at the Vitality Stadium.

DEFENDER

Marcos Alonso (CHE £7.3): Like de Gea, he’s the most expensive and top scoring defender in the game. His numbers have been comparable to some forwards in terms of attacking prowess with 3 goals in the last 5 games. He’s also posted 10 clean sheets and 10 bonus points. It’s a virtual sea of points as Chelsea have a great run through Gameweek 27.

Nicolás Otamendi (MCI £6.5): Owned by 33.4 TSB% in the FPL, his 112 points are third best for defenders, as he’s scored 4 goals on the season, while backing it up with 10 clean sheets and 16 bonus points. First time buying into a City defender since starting the season with Vincent Kompany. Outside of this weekend’s away fixture against Liverpool, City have a good run through Gameweek 27. Expectations are for at least 3 clean sheets during that period.

Andres Christensen (CHE £5.6): Missed 2 of the last 3 games during the holiday period, but a regular stater since GW11. He’s currently owned by just 4.4 TSB% and is overdue to score a goal. Brought in as a differential to the defense, a player I could move if needed to bring in coverage for potential blank gameweeks. Chelsea’s good run could potentially bag 4 clean sheets before GW28.

Jonjoe Kenny (EVE £4.5): Since Big Sam has taken over, Kenny has been a regular in the starting XI. Back to back CS in GW19 and GW20, but their run has dried up as of late, some question to the Toffees falling back to their old form. Schedule looks great after GW23 as they see Arsenal, Man City and Liverpool as the only tough fixtures through the end of the season. Everton will also feature during the blank gameweeks. Another differential in my sqaud, as he’s 6.2 TSB%

Paul Dummett (NEW £4.2): Owned by just 0.2 TSB%, Dummett is a defensive enabler that frees up budget to be used elsewhere on the pitch. He’s been sidelined much of the season with a hamstring injury but returned GW18. He’s featured in 2 out of the last 3 matches and came off the bench last week. Could be in line for spot starts as the 4th defender depending on fixture.

MIDFIELD

Mohammad Salah (LIV £9.6): The highest owned player (49.8 TSB%) in the FPL game and current high scorer (168 points) on the season. He’s place is secure regardless of fixture, Liverpool have a great schedule to see out the season after Gameweek 23. Games against TOT/mnu/che could prove challenging, but outside of those games, it’s a fine run for the Reds. Might be worth doubling up, depending on which midfielder steps up in support now that Coutinho has departed. Looking for Salah to continue his scoring pace.

Raheem Sterling (MCI £8.7): Owned by 37.6%, I’ve recently just got back into the City midfield after KDB burned me to start the FPL season. Since picking him up, he’s been nothing short of amazing with consistent returns. He continues to pile up the minutes in a Pep team that was rife with rotation, Sterling has been silver through the holiday period. Some decisions made need to be made approaching Gameweek 28.

Heung-Min Son (TOT £8.1): I venture back into the Spurs midfield, but this move is only temporary, unless Son continues to shine. Plans are already set to move him out for GW25 go on a short 3 game run against MNU/liv/ars. He’s scored 2 goals, 2 assists and 3 bonus points in the last 2 games. He is a rotation risk and rarely sees 90 minutes.

Paul Pogba (MNU £7.9): Seen as a “good deal” coming off suspension, he failed to impress, while teammate Jesse Lingard out performed him. Pogba did finish on 12 points in GW22, his best output since GW12. His place in the sqaud is dependent on just how advanced his positioning is. He’s still owned by 13% of fantasy managers.

Jesse Lingard (MNU £6.3): His ownership currently sits at 16.8% but keeps rising, as he’s the new budget priced midfielder FPL owners have been after.  His 4 goals and 1 assist in the last 5 has brought him unbridled attention as many continue to bring Lingard into their starting XI. If he continues to perform, I’m not sure I need to double up with Pogba, however I’m holding out hope that Pogba plays in the advanced position to warrant inclusion on my squad.

FORWARD

Harry Kane (TOT £12.9): The most expensive player in the game, owned by 44.7% of managers. Owned Kane for the first 13 weeks of the year and finally jettisoned him for a stronger midfield, citing inconsistency. Bringing him back for the second time this year during the wild card, as he is the more consistent option up front, where he will play as a lone striker. Like his teammate Son, I expect to move Kane out starting GW25.

Oumar Niasse (EVE £4.7): More of a speculation selection, as I look for Niasse to change clubs during the January transfer window. In reality, if he doesn’t move, he’s nothing more than possible coverage during the BGW and an enabler in my budget.

Oliver McBurnie (SWA £4.5): Brought in as an enabler with no intentions of playing him. Ever. Purely a budget buy, which could hurt me come the double gameweeks, but feel I have time to sort this out move forward.

FORMATION

As it currently stands, I will start in a 4-5-1 formation, in hopes Kane continues his scoring up front. I still hesitate to reintroduce him in my squad after what was a lackluster performance, especially when captained, for the first 13 weeks of the season. I am still banking on the midfielders to continue their good runs of form, which has seen then overshadow the forwards in terms of consistent points and output.

Defensively, I like setting up with 4 players, especially with Alonso playing like a number nine at times for Chelsea. His shots on target this year better many forwards from other squads. The fourth defender will most likely rotate. Everton appears to have some good fixtures upcoming, while Dummett will be used on a BGW basis, which is the current plan. At £4.2, I am left with few options to replace him, requiring a £0.1 increase in order to look in the direction of Palace defender, James McArthur.

The midfield will be where most of the movement will take place. Kevin De Bruyne is already in my plans, when I downgrade Kane for 3 weeks. Pogba’s stay on my squad could be short lived if he doesn’t play in that attack role that fantasy managers are hoping for. At £7.9, there are few options, including Aaron Ramsey who should be fit shortly.

SUMMARY

While the WC solves the short term problems, attempting to plan for DGW or BGW is like trying to hit a bulls eye in the dark. There are still too many variables in play to nail down games. Even speculating what teams will or won’t play, I plan on rolling transfers and will start to look at these fixtures in 2-3 weeks. I assume some hits will be necessary, but it’s my hope to capitalize on some good defensive match ups with the likes of Chelsea, Man City and Man United before we hit this period.

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