Here’s our fantasy premier league wildcard tips GW8 article where Rob Reid writes about his wildcard which he has activated this week. Rob has finished 3 of the last 4 seasons in the top 0.5% of FPL managers
fantasy premier league wildcard tips GW8 – Rob Reid activates his wildcard
So it’s Wildcard time for me this week, a week earlier than I had planned going into next week but still around 4 weeks later than I often play it. So not wait another week until the international break?
First up, I’ve lost a bit of ground in the Overall Rankings in the last couple of weeks. My overall rank of 135k is ok for this stage in the season, but I’ve been treading water a bit over the last 3 weeks. I’ve been playing week to week since around GW5 instead of having a long term strategy, kind of in the knowledge that I’ve got my Wildcard in the locker and I can activate at any time. This is against my usual playing style where I tend to plan 3-4 weeks ahead and I believe it’s hampering my progress. Long term, I’ve got a few areas of the team that need tidied and I’d like to shift funds into different areas.
Next is the performance of premium assets. I’ve had Aguero and Salah from the start and I used a point hit to pick up Hazard 2 weeks ago, which has paid off so far. I’m mindful however of the form of Raheem Sterling and more notably Harry Kane. The Wildcard gives me an opportunity to bring one of these players in without taking a significant points hit. It also gives me a chance to potentially sell an under-performing premium and yet at the same time have a clear plan for how I can bring that player back in.
Thirdly, it’s a response to a turn in the fixtures for some of the lower teams in the division. Clubs tend to settle into a more conservative style at this point of the season as injuries and midweek pressures take hold. This can lead to less open games and more clean sheets. It therefore presents an opportunity to bring in some lower priced more differential defensive assets which can yield steady gains over the next few weeks.
Staying in my Squad
There are a couple of players in my team who aren’t going anywhere. The first is Eden Hazard. He’s the leading scorer in the game and is on a great run. The next are my 2 super-cheap budget defenders – Bennett and Wan-Bissaka. Wolves look a solid compact unit who I think will be good for plenty of defensive points this season. Palace haven’t been quite so solid, but AWB is a bonus point hoover; he’s a nice squad player.
The final player I’ll definitely be holding is Salah. Mo Salah or No Salah, has certainly been a pertinent FPL question of late. Is his form in front of goal an indicator of a winter of discontent for FPL managers? Or is valor the better part of discretion and will he start to give us some points to back up the stats he continues to produce? Poetics aside, it’s impossible to predict but what I can see is that with his FPL form of last season and with how Liverpool’s GW9-16 fixture schedule stacks up, it will be a bold manager who casts him aside at present.
Maybes (current squad)
It will probably surprise people to find 2 fairly big names on this list. Sergio Aguero and Marcos Alonso. Both have high ownership and have racked up the points over the first 7 GWs. For Aguero, the issue is fixtures vs rotation. Pep will surely want to save him for the bigger matches, but if he does play the easier ones as well, he can explode at any point. For Alonso it’s price in his position.He’s very expensive for a defender when there’s so much available in the budget range, but this is counter-balanced by the fact that you’re effectively getting an OOP midfielder who gets 4 points for a clean sheet instead of 1. Ideally, I’d like to hang on to both but it may be that one is sacrificed to free up funds elsewhere.
The most obvious target this week of course has to be Harry Kane. Cardiff (along with Fulham and Huddersfield) are the worst defence in the league so it’s set up for a big haul for Sir Harold. Couple this with the captain favourites from previous weeks Aguero and Salah facing off against each other and Hazard playing away from home and he’s a clear armband leader this week. The problem is his price and the impact this will have on the rest of the squad. I’ve crunched a few drafts together and it’s impossible to own Salah, Kane, Aguero and Hazard and not seriously compromise elsewhere.
One budget player I’d like that will help though is Ryan Fraser. He’s posting some great stats despite having not returned in the last 2 weeks and I expect he’ll continue to routinely pick up points, mostly in the form of assists. I’ve got him at £5.9m which, while not the absolute bargain he was at his starting price is still great value in my opinion. Speaking of creative players who used to play for Aberdeen, I also like the look of James Maddison and indeed Leicester in general at the moment. Maddison also looks like a player who will pick up plenty of assists, with Jamie Vardy the player who will profit a lot of the time in terms of finishing them off, so they’re both also on my watchlist.
Another position I need to weigh up is my 3rd (and likely cheapest) forward. There’s 3 prime candidates here for me: Mitrovic, Arnautovic and Jimenez. Mitrovic looks a real goal threat but plays for a weaker side; he’s got a tricky fixture next but then 3 nice ones after that. I’m a big fan of Arnie and I think he’ll continue to return consistently over the next few weeks if he stays injury free. Jimenez has the advantage of being £1.4m cheaper but does seem to miss a lot of chances. Sadly, there’s no-one sub-£5.5m that really appeals to me. Joselu at £5m is the only one with any regular gametime so a drop to a £4.5m would be a total commitment to only playing 2 up front.
Finally I need to make some changes in defence and in goals. Alexander-Arnold is a cheaper way into the Liverpool defence than Alisson, my existing cover so he looks a good shout. I’ll then have 2 slots to fill in defence and both my keeper slots. I like the look of the fixtures for Brighton, West Ham, Watford and Newcastle over the next couple of months and they all have cheap players who could figure for me.
9 spots to fill then; £57.7m in the bank.
I’ve gone top heavy by incorporating both big gun attackers with Arnie and then tried to spread the remaining funds around the rest of the team (which wasn’t easy!)
I’ve gone top heavy with cheaper 3rd striker, this allows me to keep Alonso. It still limits me in other areas, but Alonso’s high ownership and attacking potential on top of Chelsea’s clean sheet prospects make him a dangerous player not to have.
This would be a hop on/ hop off strategy – I’d sell Kane next week for Aguero for the Burnley fixture then swap my strikers around every couple of weeks depending on form, fixtures etc. Lucas Moura gives me additional Spurs cover without Kane, but he could be downgraded to allow a defensive upgrade. Vardy as an upgraded second striker is also tempting here, the funds from this would come from not having Moura.
So at the moment it looks like a straight call between loading up on premium assets versus a more conservative hop-on / hop-off strategy that spreads the funds a bit more around the squad. I’ll of course be waiting until after the midweek European fixtures before making any final calls, but what do you think folks? Which strategy looks best or do I need to consider another approach entirely? There are pros and cons to every option of course, remember FPL is most simply a game of 50/50 calls, I’ll just have to hope that whatever I decide, I get the majority of them correct!
Here’s a poll but please leave comments with feedback below as well
I’ll be back before the deadline with my final squad either way. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this and I look forward to hearing people’s thoughts.
See also the first contributors teams article the bandwagons and sinking ships article early ffgeek team thoughts, 10 top FPL manager analysis article, fixture ease article, underlying stats for players up to GW7 and a review of GW7 in isolation
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