Here’s Rob Reid’s fantasy premier league review where he looks back at the last month. There’s his view on a number of topical issues plus his awards for player of the month and donkey and the FPL Troll of the month. Rob has finished 3 of the last 4 seasons in the top 0.5% of FPL managers.
fantasy premier league review – Rob Reid looks back at the last month
Hi everyone and welcome to the third of my monthly review articles. Regular visitors to the site will know that each month I write a reflective article about the previous few weeks in FPL. It’s a light-hearted observational piece based mostly on my opinion but with a few stats thrown in as well. As in previous seasons, I’ll also me making a few fun awards, have a look at another team from one of my mini-leagues and look forward to who I might think do well over the next few weeks. I hope you enjoy and welcome feedback as usual. Let’s get started!
Sterling on the Rise
In contrast to the current economic climate, in FPL Sterling is very much a rising commodity. 7 returns from 10 starts including a bumper 21 pointer against Southampton in GW 11 has seen managers starting to work him into their squads…which is the big problem! With this form, can we afford to be without him? But with Salah, Aguero and Hazard also all priced £11.2 and up how can we afford to be with him? Something has to give somewhere – it’s a brave manager who goes against percentage ownership. A captain return from a player with 30%+ ownership is an overall ranking killer. Sterling however could be just the differential we need.
Con Te Partiro Slavisa
After a terrible run of results and with a defence reminiscent of a Sunday morning on Hackney Marshes, it was time to say goodbye to Fulham manager Slavisa Jokanovic this week. It was hardly a surprise. His replacement? 2015-16 managerial hero and Andrea Bocelli’s best mate, the lovable Tinkerman Claudio Ranieri. So what can we expect?
First of all he has to shore up Fulham’s ailing backline. He was successful at Leicester in this respect by simply favouring the more defensive full-back pairing or Fuchs and Simpson so it might be he just consistently sticks to less adventurous defensive players. He’ll also need to get the best out of an attack which although talented, has been misfiring of late, especially the frustrating Aleksander Mitrovic. So will Fulham go from being a favourite fixture for opposing players to more stubborn and stuffy? GW13 against Southampton will hopefully give us some clues.
Back Those Full-Backs Again!
We’re back there again, the 5 top rated players at the moment for Season Value are all full-backs. Marcos Alonso continues to lead the pack, with an incredible 7 assists and 1 goal to add to his 6 clean sheets. Think of him as a midfielder who gets 3 extra clean sheet points – with 47% ownership, he’s essential. Then there’s the Wolves pairing of Doherty and Jonny – they’ve got 2 lovely fixtures coming up and both like to get forward, especially the Irishman who’s posting some great attacking stats. They’re both sub-£5m and excellent value.
Making up the Top 5 are Liverpool pair Robertson and Alexander-Arnold. Robbo is the more gametime secure but at £6.5m is £1.5m higher than the more rotatable TAA – do you take the risk on the young England star? Whoever you go for, a backline of Alonso + 1 Liverpool + 1 Wolves looks a good plan, leaving you enough room for City cover to round it off. Well at least until Spurs’ hit a great run of fixtures in GW15…
Under the Radar
I’ve mentioned City, Liverpool and Chelsea assets a bit so far, but there’s going to be some good differential picks from the rest of the Big 6 over the next few weeks I reckon. Spurs run from GW15 to GW21 is hard to resist with Trippier a strong candidate to join the aforementioned full-back club, the well priced Lamela in good recent form and Harry Kane being well, Harry Kane.
At Man United, Anthony Martial has certainly been in the points of late though is rated a slight doubt for GW13. United only face 3 of the Big 6 between GW13 and GW26, a great run so they are well worth monitoring. And then there’s Arsenal. Aubameyang and Lacazette have already has served notice of their intent this season with 12 goals and 6 assists between them and if he holds his place, Rob Holding could be an absolute steal at £4.4m as a defensive filler. Keep your eyes open folks!
The Cherry on Top?
Bournemouth have intrigued me so far this season, both from a footballing and a fantasy point of view. Callum Wilson has been superb so far with 6 goals and 7 assists, with Ryan Fraser not far behind. At £5.1m, David Brooks could also be a great budget pick with 3 goals in the last 6 starts and they even racked up a run of 3 clean sheets from GW8-10!
The problem now is that the fixtures turn rather sour, with 3 of the Big 6 in the next 4 weeks, then Spurs and Man United in GWs 19 & 20. This has also pre-empted by a poor result away to struggling Newcastle, so has the time come to put our Bournemouth players on the back burner for the time being?
Basement Battle Update
I’ve already mentioned Fulham and I’ll be talking more about Newcatle later, but how about the other 5 teams who look set for the relegation dogfight? Here’s my brief fantasy overview working my way up from the bottom to finish off the news section!
Huddersfield – look more solid at home – could be more defensive returns here, lack real quality going forward.
Cardiff – could be some value in midfield with good fixtures and Paterson as an OOP player/ Camarasa’s set-pieces, shipping too many goals in defence.
Southampton – horribly goal-shy, Ings injury a bit of a worry, Hughes teams never renowned as good defensively.
Palace – loads of talent, coming to the end of a bad run of fixtures, I’d expect them to pull clear and score FPL points at both ends of the pitch on the way.
Burnley – what has happened to the defence of last season? Gudmundsson still a solid asset, mixed fixtures over next 6 weeks.
Player of the Month – Anthony Martial (MAN £7.6m)
A few good candidates this month, but it’s hard to overlook the French midfielder who as racked up 54 points (6 goals and 1 assist) in the last 5 gameweeks. United may have taken some criticism over the last few weeks, but Martial has really stood out and is perhaps starting to realise some of the potential he has always shown. There’s 2 caveats though, firstly a small one in that he’s rated a slight doubt for GW13. The second bigger one is that he’s done this before – gone on short runs of good form, then been anonymous for longer periods afterwards. Either way, as mentioned earlier he’s one to watch over the next few weeks.
Donkey of the Month – Aleksandar Mitrovic (FUL £6.6m)
Not so much for an individual event but more for a succession of poor returns, it’s The Golden Carrot for the big Serb this month. With only 4 points in the last 3 weeks, a solitary assist in GW9 his only return in the last 6 and his stats dropping off a cliff it’s no surprise there’s been the equivalent of an FPL fire-sale on him in the last fortnight. His performances haven’t exactly inspired either, he’s looked lazy and frustrated. Perhaps new manager Ranieri can be the man to inspire him back to the form of the first 6 gameweeks.
FPL Troll of the Month (new for 2018-19!) – Jose Holebas (WAT £4.8m)
The rollercoaster ride that is owning Jose Holebas has certainly had it’s ups and downs this season. A minus 1 score followed by a suspension was merely a progression of things in GW8, meaning he then missed out on a clean sheet in GW9. He was then promptly dropped for another clean sheet in GW10 before returning in GW11 with a spectacular 1 pointer in The Hornet’s inglorious defeat to Newcastle. This gave him a grand total of 2 points between GW5 & 11, after 34 points in the first 4 weeks. The icing on the cake? An equalising goal in GW12 for an 8 point return. Owning Mr Yellowbas is certainly interesting if nothing else.
Team to Watch – Newcastle
7 points from the last 9, including 2 clean sheets might well be the start of a Newcastle recovery, after a wretched early season run. The fixture list also looks kind for the next few weeks as The Magpies face none of the Big 6 until they meet Liverpool in GW19, with games against fellow strugglers Burnley, Fulham and Huddersfield in this period.
Rafa Benitez is good at producing teams that are tough to break down and Newcastle’s defensive record isn’t as bad as things might suggest. They might only have kept 4 clean sheets, but they’ve only conceded more than 2 goals on 1 occasion and of the 15 goals they’ve conceded in the league this season, 11 of them have been against teams in the Big 6.
It’s therefore in defence that most of their best assets lie, although agreeably probably as 4th or 5th defenders in your squad along with the attacking full-back options mentioned above. Dummett and Fernandez at £4.4m are the best value options (the former is yellow flagged at the moment) and there’s Yedlin at £4.5m. Dubravka in goals gives you the added bonus of save points, but at £5m I’d suggest there are better value options in goals, or that it might be worth stepping up to a premium option such as Ederson or Allison.
I’d probably be steering clear of their attack though – it’s hardly packed with prolific strikers. Rondon and Perez are streaky and have never hit double figures in a season and Joselu isn’t renowned for being a great finisher either, notwithstanding the fact he’s fallen out of favour at the moment to his counterparts. The only midfielder I’d have a slight thought about is Kenedy at £4.9m but again he’s hardly got a great FPL points scoring history.
Therefore, it’s defence where you could pick up a nice differential but who knows – you might get lucky with one of the strikers going on a hot streak? Either way, I think Newcastle will prove tough opponents over the next few weeks and I’d be wary of them nullifying the points scoring potential of teams playing against them if nothing else, as they showed against Bournemouth last week.
I’m back with my friends and family league this month and a team that leapt an incredible 340k places in GW11 and a manager who likes to ignore the template to some extent. Yep – it’s my wife’s team!
If you follow my monthly articles, you’ll know that Mrs R is also an FPL veteran and boasts a highest OR of 5327 for the 2016-17 campaign. It’s been a bit of an inconsistent season so far, but she’s currently sitting at 266k (53k ahead of me I hasten to add) and she’s gone against convention by ignoring Salah and Mane in midfield in her GW9 Wildcard and going for Raheem Sterling. It paid off in GW11 with his big return, indeed if she hadn’t benched Jimenez of Wolves, she’d have been in the 100 club that week. It wasn’t such a good GW12 as she scored below the average, but I like the look of her team – especially the defence and with 2 transfers in the bank; I think she’s in a good spot for GW13. I’ll update on her progress later in the season!
That’s all from me in this article. See you next week for my GW13 Player Picks. Look out for this week’s Twitter Poll and be sure to vote!
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