FPL strategy – Stephen Toumi continues his “think differently” series with back from the break

Fantasy Premier League

Here’s regular commenter and contributor to the site Stephen Toumi talking about FPL strategy in relation to his team. This is his 6th fantasy premier league strategy article in the series of thinking differently in FPL. 

FPL strategy – Stephen Toumi continues his “think differently” series with back from the break

If you want to see Stephen’s last “thinking differently” article use this link

With Overall Points of 581 and an Overall Rank of 766k, I am coming off 57 points in Gameweek 11. It’s 4 green arrows out of the last 5 gameweeks. To date, I have activated my Wildcard (GW5) and Free Hit chip (GW9)

Maybe I have spent too much time in the “planning” phase, which appears to be a never-ending process as a fantasy manager. Prior to the start of the season, after prices were released, we spent countless hours putting together variations of our starting XI. However, squads were in a constant state of flux, as pundits provided their opinions and fixtures were taken into consider, as well as how players ended last season.

While my overall rank wasn’t impressive at the end last season, I looked forward to what FPL would bring this season. So far, it’s been constant frustration and very little consistency on the pitch. Players who finished on a high note last year, haven’t really been that big returner this season. We have seen some bright spots through 11 gameweeks, but there is still much football to be played as we wait out this second international break.

Reflections over the international break

While this break provides fantasy managers a time to step back and relax, it also provides time to plan, as the matches come fast and furious as we hit the holiday season. I’ve been actively updating my plan based on the fixtures more than form. That and the fact I am not supporting Pep’s roulette, opting for Kyle Walker as my lone Man City asset. The goal over the break is to remain injury free. While there are some key players listed as “injured” I feel my squad will get through this break unscathed.

fpl strategy

Midfield musings

Starting the year with a 5-2-3 allowed me to run premium defenders out, as well as “go big” up front with 3 forwards. Early on, the play of Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Christian Eriksen in a supporting role looked very promising, but assists have dried up for both midfielders. Mkhitaryan was offloaded for GW8 after just a single return in the last 5 games. Eriksen remains as a viable starter, but entered the international break with a 3-game streak of no returns. Recently (GWs 9 & 10) his average position has been deeper than what it was earlier in the season, as a result he’s scored just 1 goal over the last 5 games.

The addition of Richarlison and Pascal Groβ to the midfield has bolstered my scoring at a cut-rate price that’s been easy on my budget. In conjunction with transferring out Gabriel Jesus, I introduced Mohammad Salah, as the decision was made to move away from the 5-man defense over the international break. Salah delivered 15 points in Gameweek 11, as he’s now “essential” in my starting XI.

Initial plans were to start a 5-man midfielder, with Harry Kane as the lone forward. After further consideration, support for a 4-5-1 is waning, while a 4-4-2 is gaining support. Harry Kane remains in my plans (for now), as his underlying statistics are still very good, shots (59), in the box (39), on target (22), penalty touches (72), but his lack of returns against lower teams at Wembley (BUR/SWA/BOU/CRY) are a concern. Kane will now partner with Chelsea’s Alvaro Morata beginning in GW14.

No Lukaku and the other options

The decision was made to avoid Romelu Lukaku, currently in a 4-game goalless streak, even though the Red Devils have a favourable next three; NEW. BHA, wat. While he has shown a level of consistency to start the season, the return of Paul Pogba to the United midfielder could spur the team back to the juggernaut they were to start the season. Gameweek 15 and 16 offer the strongest competition, away to Arsenal and home to Man City, beyond that Man United has a nice run through mid-January.

With Sergio Agüero and Lukaku left out, I turn to Alvaro Morata up front. With 8 goals and 3 assists, his numbers are on par with Agüero but without the risk of rotation and at £1.5 less, allows me to retain the services of Marcos Alonso on defence. Morata, like Lukaku have prime fixtures through early February, facing Liverpool away in GW13 and Arsenal in GW22. However, I have a contingency plan in place if Lukaku shows us the consistency he demonstrated to start the season.

fpl strategy

Reviewing the wing backs

Running a 5-man defence in excess of £30.0, allowed me to load up on wing backs and treble So’ton to start the season, I was hoping to capitalise on early clean sheets and attacking returns. To date, my squad as bagged 29 clean sheets (4 on the bench), 2.63/week. The performances of Sead Kolasinac and more importantly, Marcos Alonso have been disappointing. Expectations at the attacking end of the pitch have been few and far between when compared to Alonso’s defensive partner, César Azpilicueta.

Alonso is running short on time with just 2 goals (both in GW2) and 4 clean sheets, his 46 points are well off that of Azpilicueta (67) and Antonio Valencia (61). Yet with Chelsea’s run of fixtures, I will allow Alonso a few more weeks, in order to retain his starting spot. Kolasinac, on the back of a 14-point performance in GW10 is on his way out to free up budget and introduce Charlie Daniels, saving £1.2 to help fund Morata. Aaron Cresswell ranks second in crosses (73) and crosses successful (16) but West Ham has conceded 12 goals in their last 5 games, causing the dismissal of Slaven Bilić, in favour of David Moyes.

However, Cresswell will be dropped in favor of Brighton’s, Shane Duffy. Depending on formation (3-5-2 or 4-4-2), Duffy could potentially rotate with Daniels depending on fixture; HUD or STO/swa/BUR or CRY/SOT/cry or hud.

fpl strategy

Final thoughts

With a change in formation and the final player joining my squad by GW14, I will have £0.2 ITB. The remaining question mark, Christian Eriksen. Lacking returns in his last 3 fixtures, at £9.6, it’s a single transfer to bring in Pogba. Sane or Sterling. Should a move for Lukaku arise, then selling Alonso would be required in conjunction with Tammy Abraham and an -8 point hit to return to three big forwards. The next few games weeks will be instrumental as we head into the busy holiday schedule.

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