Here’s Rob Reid (the FPL Vet) with his review of October in fantasy premier league. Rob finished with a rank of 22k last season 4,701 in 2015/16 and 7,810 in 2014/15
ROB REID (THE FPL VET) WITH HIS REVIEW OF OCTOBER IN FANTASY PREMIER LEAGUE
Hi everyone and welcome to the third of my monthly reviews for 2017-18 FPL season. Regular visitors to the site will remember that I ran this monthly series of articles last year and I’m pleased to report I’ll be doing the same this season. With me also doing weekly ‘Player Picks’ and showing my team along with some of my fellow contributors each week, I’ve slightly changed the format to this season’s review articles.
I’ll still continue my series of observations reflecting on the previous month’s action and also looking forward to the next month. These observations are made on some basic stats analysis combined with some personal opinion derived from watching EPL action. I’ll be doing monthly awards again. Player of the Month and Donkey of the Month return but I won’t be doing One to Watch this season as it crosses over a little with my Player Picks article. Instead I’ll be doing a Team to Watch award – the EPL team who I think could provide some strong and possibly unexpected returns over the next month, with a look at their prospects and their players.
Finally, I’ll take a look at some of the high-performing teams from the mini-leagues I’m entered in this year. It’s back to one of my friends and family leagues this month and a familiar team (for which I get a lot of stick at home!) I hope you find this enjoyable and of benefit once again – comments and feedback are of course always welcomed.
Would it be fair to say that the last month has left us with more questions than answers?! Many of us hit Wildcard at the start of the month and this initially looked a good strategy. That was until certain managers started randomly rotating and being very coy in their pre-match press conferences! More on that later. It was also a month where a number of the championship contenders faced each other in key clashes, providing some interesting results and variable returns. We’ve also seen a further 3 managerial changes since last month’s review. How will Messrs Puel, Moyes and Unsworth (or successor) influence the fortunes of their ailing teams? Let’s explore things a little further.
Citizens (& Kane)
Manchester City continue to sweep all before them with 31 points from their first 11 games and 38 goals scored. The huge problem however has been the total unpredictably of Pep’s selection. We all want City attacking assets, but they have 7 plausible options and only 5 positions available. Aguero and Jesus fight it out for 1 or 2 forward berths with Sterling, Sane, B.Silva, D.Silva and De Bruyne battling for the other 3 or 4 positions. Who do you pick? Or do you gamble on picking 2 and hope 1 will start? It’s a lot of money to potentially leave on the bench. Speaking of money that leads me nicely on to Harry Kane (ok so I just used his name in this section for the pun…)
Pochettino – FPL Troll + captaincy dilemmas
So we’ll start with Sir Harold here. It’s been a frustrating month for us Kane owners. He’s capable of fantastic returns as he showed when Spurs blew Liverpool away. But worryingly he’s blanked in 4 home games against what are on paper easier opponents, games where we he is an obvious captain candidate. Can we afford to hold the most expensive player in the game if we can’t trust him with the armband? And don’t get me started on Pochettino and his ‘injury’ updates. It’s fair to say we can’t really trust anything that he says in his statements! And don’t even get me started on Ben Davies….
Salah looks a season keeper
The Egyptian continues to offer steady returns with 7 goals and 3 assists so far this season. He now boasts nearly 40% ownership and with good reason. Beyond his scores, his in game stats are super consistent suggesting that he’ll continue to deliver. With Mane now back from injury, Liverpool’s attacking potential is back to full potency again and Salah should profit from this further. His appeal as a template player should not be underestimated.
New managers, old tactics?
As mentioned earlier, we have had 3 managerial changes recently. We’ll start at Leicester who opted for the conservative appointment of Claude Puel. He started with a clean sheet though, last weekend was a bit more open against Stoke. If he goes to type, then The Foxes would offer more solidity in defence, probably reverting to counter-attack tactics which would also favour Vardy and Mahrez.
Next up it’s Everton. David Unsworth may be only a temporary appointment and defensively they’re still like a sieve, but at least he’s got them playing with some fight as their comeback to win from 2-0 down showed last week.
Finally it’s West Ham and David Moyes and it’s a tricky trip to Watford for his first game. If he reverts to type then he’ll sign Steven Pienaar and Adnan Januzaj in the transfer window!
The Burnley Express goes on
And we’re not talking about James Anderson, though here’s hoping for the impending Ashes series. Sean Dyche has led his charges to the dizzy heights of 7th, level on points with Arsenal and Liverpool. While they’re averaging less than a goal a game going forward, they’ve only conceded 9 times so far this season. Only the top 3 can better this, so look to their defence and keeper Pope for investment. I’ll also mention 7th placed Brighton here who also boast some great value defensive options, not to mention assist king Pascal Groß in midfield.
The Rise and Fall of Romelu Lukaku
After hitting peak ownership of near 60% in GW8, 4 games without a goal has seen 500,000 sales and a drop in price back to his previous starting point of £11.5m; in spite of 2 assists in this period. Is this a bit unfair? Lukaku’s FPL reputation is as a flat-tack bully and with United now facing 3 easier fixtures combined with the impending return of Paul Pogba for GW12, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Belgian back in the goals soon thus rewarding the remaining 47% total owners who still hold him. If he doesn’t perform in these though, expect the wave of sales to increase further
Player of the Month – Leroy Sane (Man City £8.9m)
A slightly surprising blank in GW11, but this was preceded by 3 double figure returns cementing him as a strong FPL asset as well as making him the leading points scorer in the game. The only thing that stops him from being a template player is the uncertainty of Pep’s rotation, but he’s started the last 6 EPL matches so arguably he’s the most secure of City’s attacking options. He’s fast becoming a dangerous player not to own!
Donkey of the Month – Richarlison (Watford £6.4m)
It’s 3 goals and 3 assists in the last 6 for the Brazilian, but it’s a run that’s been accompanied by some incredible misses along the way. Best of the lot for me was his first miss against Chelsea which alone is enough for the Golden Carrot, not to mention the others! Let’s not be too harsh on him though, he continues to produce consistent returns and by all accounts is a very likeable individual. Hopefully he’ll convert more of his chances over the next few weeks and we’ll see his single digit hauls become double digit ones.
Team to Watch – Bournemouth
Eddie Howe’s team are about to embark on a great run of fixtures before they face a horror 3 from GW17. They ground out a late victory away to Newcastle last weekend and have proved themselves a tough team to beat, with both Chelsea and Spurs of late labouring to break them down in 1-0 wins. For investment, Andrew Surman is a good budget midfield option with steady minutes and even some attacking returns this season (2 goals and 1 assist).
Callum Wilson is also worth watching as a cheap forward option now he is back from injury. Charlie Daniels is my top pick though. He’s reasonably priced at £4.8m, the Cherries should pick up some clean sheets over the next 5 weeks and he’s got a good history of attacking returns from full-back.
As mentioned earlier, it’s back to a friends and family league this month. This manager finished in the Top 10k last season and has won our league several times before so it’s no surprise that she’s taken an early lead again this season. Yep – it’s my wife’s team!
She’s been super consistent again this season and sits with an OR of 44k at present. She tends to adopt a slightly more conservative transfer strategy than me, trying not to take points hits and waiting until as late as possible to make transfers so her OTV is a bit lower at £101.1m but this has never been a problem for her in previous seasons. Oh and she hasn’t used her Wildcard yet either! A great start to the season, and she’s already 33 points ahead of me so she’s not going to be easy to catch. There’s work to do from yours truly if I’m going to regain the household bragging rights in May.
So that’s all for me – I’ll be back next week with my Player Picks and team as usual. Enjoy the international break everyone.
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