Here’s regular commenter and contributor to the site Stephen Toumi with his 4th fantasy premier league strategies article in the series of thinking differently in FPL. He’s continued his focus on the 5-2-3 formation
fantasy premier league strategies – thinking differently in FPL by Stephen Toumi
You can see Stephens last article when he used his wildcard with this link
If there is one quality I have employed this FPL season, its patience. Through 8 game weeks, I have continued to run out a 5-2-3 formation to take advantage of the clean sheet possibilities to start the year. To date, my 5-man defense (and goalkeeper) have kept 23 clean sheets, by way of comparison, the overall number one has kept just 18, conversely, I have struggled to find the net, bagging just 20 goals compared to his 29. A 2-man midfield will do this! When looking back to last season, I am 31 points better off (440 vs 409) this year, but 346k lower in the overall rankings (634k vs 288k). While the season is still young, there are many questions left unanswered, but remaining consistent is what I am after.
Advantages of 5-2-3
“Thinking differently” has allow me to look at my fantasy squad without some of the problems plaguing fantasy managers; finding that budget, 5th midfielder or 3rd forward to provide offensive returns and having non-starters on the bench to maximize other positions. Going into the season starting a 2-man midfield has allowed me to budget more on defenders (£30.3m) and forwards (£31.7). Based purely on budget, I feel I have a “balanced” squad, allowing me to transfer premium players at each position without having to completely rebuild my squad. Unfortunately, a single goal coupled with no attacking return can quickly add up, ruining a game week when your attacking players have put in a noteworthy performance.
While I continue to plan 3-5 weeks out, rarely have I been able to follow those expected moves to maximize points. Then again, no one thought Man City would be lights out scoring, as they have been the last 4 out of 5 games (24 goals)! That fact, coupled with players like Eric Maxim Chuopo-Moting, Richarlison and the reemergence of Zaha have me reevaluating the viability of shifting to a 3-man midfield.
What about 5-3-2?
There has been some thought to moving to a 5-3-2 midfield to capitalize on in-form players. It’s very difficult to ignore what Silva, De Bruyne, Sterling and Sane are doing at City. Even though they won’t bag 7 goals per game, it’s at a point where attacking returns outweigh Pep’s rotation decisions. However, I am not sure I want to triple up on City, as I already own Kyle Walker and Gabriel Jesus.
The thought of introducing Kun Aguero to partner with Jesus and Harry Kane and Jesus up front is tempting. He’d posted 5 goals in 3 games prior to injury, compared to Jesus’s 4 goals. Yet, I stop short of pressing that ‘Make Transfers’ button as the thought of Pep creeps in, whispering “rotation…rotation.” We know it will happen, but chances are even with managed minutes City attackers are going to get their attacking returns.
The other third forward option, partner the fit again, Alvaro Morata with Kane and Jesus. Now down to £10.2m, it would cost me two full transfers dropping Ben Davies in favor of Phil Jones and Jamie Vardy for Alvaro Morata. I would be getting back into Jones just 3 weeks after moving him because of the upcoming fixtures. This move would exhaust any remain budget ITB, relying on the in-form Christian Eriksen and Pascal Groß. While Brighton has favorable fixtures through Gameweek 12, they have accounted for just 6 goals on the season but has been involved in 5 of those (2 goals/3 assists).
While there is some concern over Groß and his offensive potential, I would like to move on Watford’s, Richarlison, playing in an advanced role for the Hornets, he’s been a popular choice behind 3 goals/3 assists through 8 games. To bring him in would require moving Davies for Stephen Ward, which would leave me £0.7m ITB. At £6.4, I could transfer Richarlison and still have £0.3 ITB for future moves.
Clean sheets continue but attacking returns stall
Defensively many fantasy owners consider £30.0m spent on defenders crazy! That’s £5.0-6.0m that could be applied to a stronger, more robust midfield, yet Eriksen and Mkhitaryan proved to be strong picks before the injury to Paul Pogba and Marouane Fellaini. Gameweek 8 was the worst defensive performance, just 12 points, since Gameweek 4 when defenders and goalkeeper combined for 6 points. Knowing just a single goal ruins a 6-point performance, it’s a risk I continue to take.
Only Davies has offensive returns since GW4, which is concerning but continuing to see clean sheets roll has helped me post 4 green arrows out of the last 6 weeks. It’s a situation that must be monitored. Marcos Alonso and Sead Kolasinac not returning is frustrating, as is Kyle Walker scoring an own goal, but their track records as attack-minded defenders are what I continue to bank on.
For now, I am governed by patience. I don’t want to get too excited by the high-flying Citizens or worry about a lack of offense returns from my wing backs
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