fantasy premier league – Stephen Toumi continues his “think differently” series

Fantasy Premier League

Here’s regular commenter and contributor to the site Stephen Toumi with his 7th fantasy premier league “think differently” article.   

fantasy premier league – Stephen Toumi continues his “think differently” series

Here’s a link to Stephens last “think differently” article

A successful GW12

Time spent putting forth a strategy, can quickly disappear a weekend later. What once appeared to be the most lucrative of moves, can suddenly cause pause, allowing a fantasy manager to reconsider. This is the crossroad I stand at, as I continue to “think differently” in my approach to the 2017/18 FPL season.

Coming off a season high, 84-point haul in Gameweek 12, I give myself a small pat on the back for rolling my FT and practising patience, a quality that doesn’t come easy for fantasy managers. Unfortunately, that patience was pushed, as I knee jerked a transfer in before the end of last Saturday, to catch a price rise. On the season, I stand at 665 overall points, improving 420k spots to 349k in the overall rankings. With green arrows from the 5 of the last 6 gameweeks, I’ve been planning a midfield coup as we head into the busy FPL holiday period.

fantasy premier league

The midfield shift

Starting the season, I rolled out a 5-2-3, featuring Christian Eriksen and Henrikh Mkhitaryan as my attacking midfield options. The move to “go big” up front paid off as both midfielders returned good points. The injury to Paul Pogba saw Mkhitaryan hit the skids, eventually dropped from the Man United starting XI. Eriksen would go on to post 3 goals, but since GW2 hasn’t recorded an assist.

It appears there is a shift to the balance of power in the FPL, as midfielders have taken centre stage recently. The top three out of four scoring players in the FPL, Mohammad Salah (88), Leroy Sané (80) and Kevin De Bruyne (72) are midfielders. The surprise consistency from Pascal Groβ (68) and Richarlison Andrade (66) have only helped to strengthen the position. Big players are starting to post big points, Alexis Sanchez (22 pts last 4 games) and Eden Hazard (37 in last 4 games). Then there are the remaining Man City midfielders who continue to post attacking returns; David Silva (67) and Raheem Sterling (65).

Before last weekend Romelu Lukaku hadn’t scored in his last 4 games, while Harry Kane has just 2 goals (brace in GW9) in his last 5 games. Pundits and managers continued to believe both players deserved the captain’s armband, week in, week out, but both have failed to deliver (Lukaku did return a goal in GW12). With £11.5 and £12.8 between the two forwards, expectations are for consistent returns. While Lukaku delivered early on (7 goals in 7 games), Kane has hit for returns in just 4 out of 8 games. Neither have lived up to their price, which has me thinking about a different approach.


Could a fantasy team be successful running out a 4-5-1? High risk, high reward with just a single (premium) forward that would feature 4 premium midfielders and a Richarlison, Chuopo-Moting or Groβ as the fifth midfielder. The other idea, shift to a more conventional 3-5-2, leading with two premium forwards,, two premium midfielders and 3 budget friendly midfielders. The “big” 5-man midfield is tempting, especially based on recent performance and attacking returns.

fantasy premier league

While it would require a some hits over the next few weeks, the prospects of Hazard, Sané, Salah, Pogba and Richarlison have me salivating like Pavlov’s dog when I consider the potential returns. Together this 5-man midfield would have returned 61 points in Gameweek 12! Looking back at the past 4 gameweeks these midfielders have averaged:


Salah 42 /10.5

Hazard 37 /9.25

Pogba 35 /8.75

Sane 33 /8.25

Richarlison 21 /5.25

Putting the structure together

This “loaded” 5-man midfield doesn’t come without a cost, as only one premium forward could be started. While Kane has returned in just 4 games, all eyes turn to Alvaro Morata (£10.5), £2.3 cheaper than Kane and TSB% of 24.3, compared to Kane’s 37.9. Fixtures for both look very strong through the end of the year, I give Morata a slight advantage thru GW27.

fantasy premier league

Opting for Morata over Kane for this period leaves means I must download my defence, which at the start of the season exceeded £30.0! With three premium wing backs, Marcos Alonso (£6.9), Kyle Walker (£6.5) and Sead Kolasinac (£6.0) in the starting XI, one must be downgraded to make the 5-man midfield work. With more favourable fixtures for Man City and Chelsea, moving Kolasinac for a budget defender saves £1.5. Options at this price include, Ben Mee (£4.6), Matthew Lowton (£4.6), James Tarkowski (£4.5) and Kiko Femenia (£4.5). Burley has a good run through Gameweek 18, while Watford’s schedule improves after Gameweek 15.

Based on the upcoming schedule, the double of Kane/Eriksen shifts to Morata/Hazard. Risk runs high with just a single premium forward, flanked by Wilson and Oumar Niasse, once off suspension. Any injury to Morata over this period would require multiple transfer in order to afford Lukaku, Kane or Agüero. Gabriel Jesus could be a direct replacement at £10.5, but with playing time not guaranteed it wouldn’t be viable.

fantasy premier league

The look of the final 5-man midfield when finalised, looks very dangerous. Just as with the 5-2-3 to begin the season, the 4-5-1 carries substantial risk. I am willing to take advantage of the midfielders coming into prominence. We will see how this plays out over the hectic holiday period.

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