fantasy premier league – Stephen Toumi continues the 4-5-1 journey in his “think differently” series


Here’s regular commenter and contributor to the site Stephen Toumi with his 9th fantasy premier league strategy article. He continues his “think differently” series and his 4-5-1 formation journey  

fantasy premier league – Stephen Toumi continues the 4-5-1 journey in his “think differently” series

trouble at t’ mill




In what can only be described as a train wreck, I limped through the last 3 gameweeks losing 308k spots in the overall rank, on back to back red arrows before rebounding last weekend. In the words of Agent 86, Maxwell Smart (‘60s TV), “I missed it by that much,” regarding the FPL season, as I’ve been on the leading edge of wingbacks early, followed by a “power 3” up front and now “5 big” in the midfield is trending. One aspect has been constant through 18 gameweeks, the inconsistent return of captaincy points, successful just 38% (10+ points) since the start of the season.

For the season, I was riding high (171k) after Gameweek 15, but returns of 35 and 36 points the following weekend knocked me down the overall ranking before posting 62 points (-4 hit) to bring me to 955 overall points on the season, where I currently sit at 479k, looking up, while team value has dropped £0.5 to £102.6.

fantasy premier league

There has been a bit of soul searching the past few weeks after back to back red arrows yielding a total of 71 points. Last season I had a similar stretch that posted 83 points over 3 weeks that saw a long run of red arrows that did me in. That was the feeling I had as I was struggling with results from Gameweeks 16 and 17 before recovering last week. However, it will be how the team sets up and scores the rest of festive period that will set the tone for the rest of the season.

fantasy premier league

Kane and Morata problems

Not sure how differently setting up in a 4-5-1 is, with the lack of returns from the forward position, many are questioning holding or transferring Harry Kane and Alvaro Morata. On the back of 2 goals in 2 games, I moved Kane after Gameweek 14 for Morata. While that move hasn’t paid off, just a 6-point difference (17 vs 11 points) in favor of Kane. More importantly, it allowed me to free up budget to build a 5-man midfield. As for the question of what to do with Kane, there is support on both sides. Plans are still open to bring him back for DGW22. Unless Spurs find some sort of form the next few weeks, I don’t believe he will feature in my starting XI.

Owning Morata and Eden Hazard has tied up £21.6, which is a considerable amount. It was a feeling of relief to move Kane for Morata and save £2.2, now it appears Morata’s returns aren’t worth his current price and further savings could help bolster an already strong midfield. The move to Aaron Ramsey (GW16), who subsequently injured his hamstring had to be addressed a week after he was brought in (GW17). The move cost -4 to bring in Philippe Coutinho to partner with Mohammad Salah, Richarlison and Pascal Groβ appeared strong on paper. However, returns for Richarlison and Groβ have dried up with just 2 assists in the last 6 weeks combined. Is their time up?

Richarlison and Groβ under the microscope

For fantasy managers who own both Richarlison and Groβ, it’s rather clear cut. Richarlison is still posting worthwhile statistics and highly involved in Watford’s offense, but his returns have been few and far between (2 assists in 6 games). An argument could be made to continue to ride out this spell as Watford still have favourable fixtures through December. This lack of returns for Groβ allows me to target him for an upgrade in the midfield. Budget allowing, you could also upgrade Richarlison.




Liking the view from the top

While a move to the 5-man midfield was already underway, James Egersdorff and his #KANEXIT strategy seemed to confirm my decision to sell him weeks ago and distribute the funds over my starting XI. It’s risky, while Kane still has good underlying statistics, the fact is he’s got a single return in the last 4 gameweeks and Spurs, as a team, continue to look out of synch and struggling to create and provide consistent attacking returns. Is there really good value in keeping Kane?

Putting a positive spin on taking hits, I enjoyed hearing the term “investing,” from James as he discussed dispersing funds through your starting XI. Morata becomes the linchpin in my plan, as he’s downgraded to Laurent Depoitre. Over the last 4 gameweeks, Huddersfield has scored 7 goals (5th best in the league). The £5.2 saving allows me to feed the midfield and upgrade Groβ to Raheem Sterling and Richarlison to Paul Pogba, just off suspension.

fantasy premier league

Sterling was my second choice behind David Silva, but a continuing uncertainty as to his availability has me concerned. I feel Silva is less of a rotation risk than Sterling, but both have been playing great football recently. Depending on the status of Silva, he could easily be brought in for Sterling if necessary.

There’s still points in defence

Defensively my squad is now anchored by David de Gea, an upgrade last week for Lukasz Fabianski. Rob Elliot seems back in favour at Newcastle, but is solely a backup. De Gea now sits on 99 points for the season, behind 70 saves and 10 bonus points. Last season de Gea posted 74 saves all season! He’s well on pace to post career number in saves and possibly overall points.

fantasy premier league

While Marcos Alonso and Sead Kolasinac were both on the transfer list, they’ve had a stay of execution, as I will continue to run with the big wingbacks. Budget defenders, Arthur Masuaku and Christian Kabasele could find themselves in a rotation due to the fact Stephen Ward (knee) continues to be flagged. Watford/West Ham rotate nicely through GW28. Watford has been nothing short of woeful on defence recently. The Hornets have been red carded in the last 3 games, playing short and have conceded 8 goals in the last 4 with no clean sheets.

fantasy premier league

The final picture

The forward situation will see Charlie Austin and Wayne Rooney rotate, starting in Gameweek 19 as each have favourable fixtures into early February. While a 4-5-1 will be the preferred formation, Depoitre could be introduced to feature in a 3-5-2 depending on their fixtures, which appear favourable through Gameweek 24; sou/STO/BUR/lei/WHU/sto.

fantasy premier league

It will be the results of the next 4 gameweeks that make or break the season. Favourable returns over that period could allow me to rise up the overall rankings, gain in my mini-leagues and set me up nice to begin the new year. If red arrows happen to dominate this period, then it will be time to reevaluate the big investment in the midfield, but as of this writing I feel this is a festive holiday plan full of cheer!

Good luck and Merry Christmas!

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