Here’s regular commenter and contributor to the site Stephen Toumi with his 8th fantasy premier league strategy article. He continues his “think differently” series looking at the 4-5-1 formation with 5 premium midfielders
fantasy premier league strategy – Stephen Toumi continues his “think differently” series with 4-5-1 and 5 premium midfielders
In my “Think Differently” series, I have highlighted key attributes in past articles to help me succeed during this FPL season. The first attribute I have practised is patience. It’s an important characteristic, as a fantasy manager we approach the season as a marathon, not a sprint. Sometimes that knee jerk transfer or potential price rise doesn’t pay off. Second, I continually remind myself to accept change, as the FPL game is a very dynamic. While consistency on the pitch rewards us handsomely, measured risk is acceptable. Heading into the holiday period I shift my thinking to a 4-5-1 formation, to take advantage of a resurgence in the midfield.
Harry Kane and Spurs
Over the first 12 gameweeks I have struggled with Harry Kane (£12.8), leading the forward line in a 5-2-3. Missed captaincy points in GW4 and GW13, as I vice-captained him, didn’t boost my confidence in keeping the Spurs man. While his underlying statistics were near the top, Spurs form at Wembley against seemingly weaker teams was dismal. The die had been cast, Kane was to be sacrificed to bolster a 5-man midfield.
Holiday planning began ahead of Gameweek 12, looking for an exit strategy on my Spurs assets; Christian Eriksen and Harry Kane. With just 4 returns in 12 fixtures, Kane would be the linchpin required to buy into the premium midfielders. Eriksen hadn’t posted an assist since Gameweek 2 and no returns in 4 weeks, his time was up.
Chelsea and beyond
With Mohammad Salah, Richarlison Andrade and Pascal Groβ already featuring in the starting XI, the introduction of Eden Hazard strengthened an already prolific midfield. Kane was replaced by Chelsea teammate, Alvaro Morata who’d returned attacking points in GW10-12. Both moves paid dividends in Gameweek 15, as Hazard (captain) and Morata combined for 38 points, which proved to be the difference between a red and green arrow.
Looking beyond the newly acquired Chelsea assets, it was time to evaluate Jamie Vardy, since introducing him in Gameweek 6, returns have been few and far between (3 goals, 1 assist). With £1.3 ITB and 2 FTs heading into Gameweek 16, Vardy has been running on borrowed time but has favourable fixtures; new/sou/CRY. Releasing Vardy provides the necessary budget to bring in form midfielder, Aaron Ramsey, 2 goals, 6 assists, 7 bonus points in his last 7 games. Arsenal have scored 12 goals in the last 5, which makes Ramsey, at £7.2, viable considering their upcoming fixtures through early February.
The other option under consideration is doubling up with the Liverpool attack. Salah is currently owned by over 54% of fantasy managers, which won’t help the ascent up the overall ranking. The addition of Sadio Mané (£9.4) or Philippe Coutinho (£8.9) would help to give an advantage when Liverpool return attacking points. A favourable run of fixtures through December; EVE/WBA/bou/ars/SWA/LEI/bur.
The budget forward requirement
Up front it becomes a budget pair of forwards, partnering with Morata. Callum Wilson is already in place, but hasn’t performed since his hat trick in Gameweek 12. Intentions were to add Oumar Niasse (£5.0) after his Gameweek 10 performance, but a 3-game suspension appears to have him out of favour with Sam Allardyce, who seemingly favours Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£5.2). I don’t expect to start either budget option on a regular basis in my 4-5-1 formation but want to make sure my third forward is a regular starter.
Shaking up the defence
The final piece of my 4-5-1 requires moving a premium defender, for a budget option. With £29.5 still wrapped him in defence and enough budget defenders featuring for their respective teams, I can tap those funds to finalise my midfield. Initial thoughts were to drop Sead Kolasinac, but his recent performance, as well as upcoming schedule has turned my attention to Kyle Walker. At £6.6, he’s the second more expensive defender (behind Marcos Alonso) and Man City haven’t looked especially good defensively. Just one clean sheet in the last 6 games and just 1 assist in the last 7, reassures me I can get more mileage out of the funds being reallocated to the midfield, coupled with a budget defender.
December and DGW22
Looking deeper into December, I will keep an eye on the return of Paul Pogba from his 3-game suspension, as Man United will be in a favourable run; STK/bur/tot/HUD/new. Glyfi Sigurdsson is another £8.0 midfielder, who has flourished in the past 4 games (29 points) and appears to be another “Allardyce guy.”
Acknowledging the first DGW of the season, Harry Kane will remain in my plans Spurs will face swa/WHM in Gameweek 22. Rolling a free transfer into that gameweek will allow me to move the £12.8 forward back into the starting XI, at the cost of a premium midfielder and budget forward. This will be the first opportunity I would consider tipping Kane with the Triple Captain Chip.
Long term planning continues to play a part in my FPL season. As has been seen through this series, plans can change based on a single performance. What appeared to be favourable last week, has suddenly changed with new players coming into focus. Practising patience and remaining flexible continue to play a major role in how I approach the fantasy game.
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