Fantasy Football Question Time
Welcome to Fantasy Football Question Time. A break from FPL can lead to many things – DIY, taking the loved one away for a Valentines treat, more productivity at work – or in my case a chance to catch up with some of the wisest brains in the FPL world. Sadly for you that meeting will stay private, but after that I had the opportunity to meet with four other FPL gurus. All are unique in their own special way, yet all provide valuable opinion for you to feed on. Our chat was enjoyable and fun and covered predominantly the current issues surrounding FPL managers – ie the blank game-weeks coming up (GW26 & GW28). We also touched on a couple of other issues. Let me introduce them to you – first up is the lesser-spotted Floydeth, who runs our IT here at FF247 from behind the scenes but occasionally visits us on site. Never far away from being on Floydeth’s back (so to speak) is Inittowinit, who needs little introduction, but who’s advice is always appreciated and well thought out. Kop joins us from across the water from sunny Ireland to offer his pragmatic approach to things and finally we welcome Mito – the controversial, confrontational Claudio Yacob loving teddy bear who will always say just what you don’t want to hear.
Lads, appreciate you making the effort to meet up. How is your team looking for GW26?
Mito: It looks good. I need to make one transfer and I should field 11. Only Siggy has a tough fixture everyone else has a good home fixture and Lallana plays away to Leicester which is fine.
Kop: Can I come back to you with an answer to this in two weeks? No? Didn’t think so. On paper it looks ok, but on paper my team has looked ok for the previous 25 game-weeks. However my current rank would suggest it hasn’t been ok for those previous game-weeks.
Init: I have 3 players missing games from the squad of 15. That remaining 12 includes Pickford and Amat though so I’m probably down to 10 plus of course Stan who is a big maybe, so perhaps 9. I do have 2 free transfers though so fielding a team shouldn’t really be an issue. I just need to wait on the cup games to see how 28 looks for the boys before deciding who to cast off. I’ve already had a word with them though so they know that if they get ditched this week it’s nothing personal and they are welcome back later with no hard feelings. Yes Sanchez I’m looking at you!
Floydeth: Ah the first of the blanks… I’m not actually in too bad shape for GW26. I’ve already gone early with one of my transfers – Ibra to Lukaku to avoid the price changes. One of my potential GW28 plans is very tight with funds so couldn’t really afford the inevitable 0.4mln swing over the FA Cup break. My other planned moves this week involve switching Amat and one of my keepers (Cech or Pickford) the results of the Cup will decide these transfers. After these moves I’ll have 12 playing GW26, with Stanislas and Pieters fighting it out for the last spot in my team.
If you owned both Alexis Sanchez and Zlatan Ibrahimovic would you sell both, keep one (which one?) or keep both for GW26 and beyond, bearing in mind the value you may have in those players, the form of Alexis and Zlatan’s fixture for GW27 (home vs Bournemouth)?
Kop: As things stand I’ve got Alexis, Ibra & Yoshi who will miss out. Clearly I could just bench both Alexis & Ibra but I’m not sure that would be a wise move particularly as they’re both likely to blank again in GW28. So which one of the two do I sell or do I sell both? Right now I’m leaning towards selling Alexis and benching Ibra. I realise that the Chileans returns have been much better in recent weeks but it’s difficult to ignore United’s home fixture with Bournemouth in GW27 when Ibra will be a very popular choice for captain. Who will I replace Sanchez with? Probably Siggy but I won’t do anything until after the Cup games. I realise Siggy is up against Chelsea in GW26 but I’ll want him in game-weeks 27 and 28.
Init: Well both miss GW26 and most likely GW28 so it all depends on your own circumstances really. Zlatan has Bournemouth in 27 as you say so that looks a good one to hold him for if you can. But holding a valuable forward spot for 1 game in 3 though… I don’t know. If I had 5 decent mids for GW26 then I’d maybe ride that one with him, the trouble is GW28 – both in terms of him missing that one but also who you would reliably replace him with from the teams left as we speak. Looking at GW26 alone then Lukaku, Costa and Kane all have great fixtures in theory so I would seriously consider binning him now for one of those.
Most have probably owned Alexis for longer so this one comes with a cash issue as selling him and buying him back again in a week or two probably costs you a fair bit. I don’t often consider the money involved in these things but in this case it could be a fair bit. Then again he has Liverpool in 27 and that is followed by Man City soon after. I’m considering selling him on my own team and then picking up Hazard instead after he’s finished his blank weeks purely based on their respective fixtures. Chelsea have a very decent run after 28.
Mito: I sold Alexis before the Chelsea game. It should have worked out, but a handball and Jakupovic watching a crappy penalty go right by him later and it turned out a bit painful. So I said in Tips last GW and in chats with you, that if I owned Alexis after Chelsea I definitely keep him for Hull. So that is done, now if he does result with a blank in 28 also, I sell him. Because his fixture in 27 is not ideal to go along with 2 blanks. GW26 is not that hard to negotiate and he can be benched if Arsenal does result playing in 28, because I think I would really want him for a Leicester home game if it does happen that game-week.
Zlatan is someone I do own and I feel like I might sell him regardless of what happens in the FA Cup. I have Lu-Ka-Ku and Kane for 26, but really want Costa against Swansea. To be honest I feel like I need Costa until GW30 at the very least. So what to do? Sorry, forgot you were asking the questions. Because I am set up for 26 and already have six in place for 28 (would be happy with 7 if only 3 fixtures go forward in 28) I think I might get cheeky with Zlatan, Costa and Kane. Zlatan to Costa this week, Kane to Zlatan next and for GW28 I will bench Ibra unless an unexpected forward pops up with no blank in 28 where they be worth buying back in Ibra’s place.
Let’s just say, for the sake of this interview, that the FA Cup matches go to “plan” and the Premier League teams win, leaving just three fixtures in GW28 – Bournemouth vs West Ham, Everton vs West Brom and Hull vs Swansea. How many players do you think it would be advisable to own for that game-week?
Init: I imagine the average will be 7 or 8. It feels like most have about 4 or 5 right now and will bring in mainly GW28 players with their remaining transfers prior to it, plus some taking hits to do so. So that probably adds 3 to 5. The good old ‘-2 hit’ theory could tempt some to fill up (it’s only a -2 in theory if you are replacing a blank spot as they will automatically gain you 2 just for playing, in theory) but in this instance I wouldn’t recommend it as you are simply filling up with players who you will probably regret having the week after. It’s looking like slim pickings that week. If we were talking Chelsea, Man City and Arsenal all playing then it’’d be a different proposition.
Floydeth: I have tried planning for this outcome ‘just in case’ and think 7 or 8 players will be enough (with minimal hits taken.) I’m not too worried about it, as everyone is in the same boat. I have, however looked at ‘loading up’ and wildcarding the week after but this will depend on whether any doubles (or trebles) have been announced by then.
Mito: 7 is my magic number apparently. I currently own 6 and if things work out, I can see one more entering the squad. Don’t really think there is a number that I give much thought to. I only just counted for the sake of this interview. When looking at that GW, I targeted players I definitely wanted, had my one or two I have my doubts whether I really want and went from there. So 7 without hits if there is only 3 fixtures and a possible 8th if West Ham convince me to take a hit on a second player of theirs.
Kop: Any more than 7/8 would be ill-advised. If only these three games go ahead you need to remember that you’ll have your forwards playing against your defenders so it’s going to be very difficult to score a significant number of points.
You also need to take the form of the six teams into account as well as their fixtures in the weeks after GW28.
Bournemouth – Their form is so poor their fixtures are irrelevant.
West Ham – Their away form has been quite good of late with three wins from their last four games, scoring 10 and conceding four. Their following three fixtures are Leicester (h), Hull (a) & Arsenal (a). Given Bournemouth’s recent form and the home game against Leicester there’s an argument to be made for having one or two Hammers.
Everton – Their home form has been quite impressive of late with threw wins from four and 13 goals scored. Unfortunately their games following GW28 are not that kind as they face Hull (h), Liverpool (a) & United (a). Despite their fixtures not being kind I think there’s a case to be made for having 3 Toffees in your team with Lukaku being the obvious choice and I’d also be tempted to double up at the back with Coleman & Baines with a view to losing one of the two ahead of the derby in GW30.
West Brom – Their away form is patchy to say the least with just one win and two draws from their last four away games, scoring just five and conceding eight. Their games immediately after GW28 are horrid as they host Arsenal & travel to United. I’ve currently got two Baggies (Nyom & Phillips) and I will hold onto both for GW28 but if I didn’t already own them I’m not sure I’d be buying them ahead of GW28. Although it must be said that their fixtures in game-weeks 26 & 27 are quite tempting.
Hull – Since Marcos Silva took over he’s had two wins and a draw from five league games, with the two wins coming at home against Bournemouth & Liverpool. Their fixtures following GW28 aren’t to be ignored with a trip to Everton followed by home games against West Ham & Middlesbrough.
Swansea – Just like Hull the Swans have seen an improvement in both performances and results since appointing a new gaffer. Paul Clement has won three and lost two of his five league games. In GW29 they face a trip to Bournemouth and follow that up with a home game against Middlesbrough so they’ve certainly got some decent fixtures. I’m sure Siggy will feature quite prominently and with three goals from his last six games Alfie Mawson is also likely to be quite popular.
I can see how some might be tempted to try and get 10/11 players for GW28 but personally I’ll be happy with 7. I’m also going to try to have 2 FT’s for GW29 so that I can quickly get my team back in shape. I should mention at this stage that I’ve still got my WC so this will hopefully make it that both easier to plan for the forthcoming doubles. However if I didn’t have this WC I’m not sure I’d focus on GW28 and I’d be more than happy with 5 players. Why? You need to remember that as things stand these teams are unlikely to have any doubles over the remainder of the season so there is a good chance you’ll want to replace then with players with a double. If you don’t have that wildcard you need to start planning for the doubles now.
Referring again to GW28 and those three fixtures, please name six players that you would consider “must-have” for that week.
Mito: Lukaku strikes me as the only must have. Just because he will most likely carry the captaincy on most teams. But I would really like to have Baines, Coleman, Siggy, Brunt and Snodgrass, these six are considering the fixtures around 28 also, because if it was purely based on GW28 with nothing else to consider, I probably be heavy on West Ham and wouldn’t have any Baggies.
Init: Everton and Swansea have both the form and fixture that week so probably Lukaku, Coleman / Baines, maybe both and then Siggy. I’d consider Llorente from the Swans too. Beyond that it’s ‘how’s your luck’ time. Carroll for sure if he’s healthy plus your pick from Lanzini, Snoddy or Antonio.
For Chelsea attacking cover would you choose Eden Hazard or Diego Costa?
Floydeth: I would say Costa, he seems to be the more consistent scorer this season. Although, Hazard’s ‘explosiveness’ will be very tempting for doubles if and when they are announced.
Kop: Good question. Given their respective price tags I’m not sure either are currently worth the money but if I had to choose between the two I’d go for Hazard as his stats are better but this is hardly a surprise as he’d generally more involved in Chelsea’s play and he’s only blanked three times in his last eight games. Granted you’d expect more from him but he’s certainly more consistent than Costa. If money is tight you could always consider Pedro instead. The Spaniard has started five of the last six games scoring twice in that period.
Init: I’d prioritise Costa I think but as I said earlier I’m considering Hazard and that’s based mainly on seeing a huge improvement in his play which should at some point turn into fantasy points. It did in fact against Arsenal and that was the game I am thinking about really as he did look unplayable in that one and that was even prior to his wonder goal. Being on pens helps his cause of course. Depends on your own situation as to which you can afford or fit in but given a choice I’d have both.
Has Tottenham’s bubble burst in terms of Alli, Eriksen and Kane?
Init: We can’t expect any team to consistently knock 4 past anybody else. It just doesn’t happen in England. It’s not like Spain where you can just lump on Madrid or Barca knowing one or the other will knock 5, 5 or 7 in every other week. They may well have peaked in that respect but who says they won’t come again. Teams can be cyclical in this respect. Liverpool looked likely to do it and then faded. Spurs had a few weeks of doing it and then likewise. It’s more about judging who is on the cusp of having such a patch. Man City feels like the next one to me.
Floydeth: Yep, it seemed to coincide with me doubling up with Alli and Eriksen. I will hold onto both of them until 28. Not sure which one is making way yet though.
Double Everton defence or one Toffee and Alonso (or another premium)?
Mito: Yeah, exactly that. Baines, Coleman and Alonso. I will ride with the Everton boys until after the Hull game in GW29 and then look to move one of them on if possible.
Floydeth: I would go for Alonso, Walker and Coleman / Brunt. I have Baines currently but not sure he will stay when I wildcard for the DGW.
Kop: I’ve got Alonso & Coleman myself and I’m quite happy with the pairing. Suppose, for the sake of an argument, that I’m currently on a WC….in this situation I’d be tempted to double up on Everton with one eye on GW28. Obviously Coleman would be one of the two and I think I’d gamble on Baines as the 2nd. Yes Funes Mori & Williams are cheaper but Baines has those set pieces in his locker.
I’m not sure there’s another premium defender worth considering at this stage. Spurs have gone off the boil since they lost Danny Rose to injury. Valencia would be worth a shout but he blanks in 26 and probably 28.
Is Alexis the only Gooner worth considering?
Kop: Yes yes yes! In their last eight games they have scored 16 goals with Sanchez scoring five and picking up two assists. Olivier Giroud has also scored five in that period but he just can’t be relied up week in week out. Alex Iwobi has scored two and created two in that period but I wouldn’t want him instead of Alexis and I wouldn’t want to double up either. Despite keeping four clean sheets in those eight games their defence doesn’t instil a huge degree of confidence in me.
Init: It’s difficult to argue otherwise really. A defender would be good but their fixtures are mixed and even when they aren’t it’s hit and miss in that respect.
Floydeth: On current form, yes. He is a season keeper for me and captain most weeks from now on!
Is Siggy a must have for the next few weeks?
Floydeth: Yep, everything Swansea do seems to go through him and he is on set pieces.
Init: I wouldn’t fancy him much this week at Chelsea in all honesty and this very fixture dissuaded me from buying him last week. After that he’s good to go though with Burnley, Hull, Bournemouth and ‘Boro, so in answer to the question – sort of and definitely – after this week.
Antonio, Lanzini or Snodgrass from West Ham?
Init: I suspect Snoddy will come to the fore after a while due to set pieces but either of the other two are capable of chipping in with goals. Lanzini is of particular interest as he looks the most likely to fill the Payet void in terms of creativity in the team. Whether that translates directly into fantasy points though is another matter.
Mito: Any of the 3 or all 3 could be worth it. I have always been with Antonio. Take the good with the bad. However, having watched some of their game, I be hard pressed to ignore the influence that Snoddy is having on them. Lanzini is very talented, but his minutes with Andy likely back could be up in the air. He might get the nod to start, but with Feghouli likely on the bench the leash won’t be long. So I think I rather avoid that possible frustration. In the end, if I had to pick one, a slight lean to Snodgrass, in particular because his price allows me to invest elsewhere.
Kop: I already own Snodgrass and I’m tempted to bring in Lanzini as well. He starts more often than not and has two goals and three assists from his last five games. He’s also a great differential as he features in less than 1% of teams. In terms of underlying stats Snodgrass is the one you’ll want.
Is anyone from Hull catching your interest?
Mito: Yeah, one guy, but I won’t buy him. I have been impressed with Marko Polo(Ed – Markovic). Very unlucky vs United when he got David de Gea going the wrong way and hit the post. Didn’t get a chance to play Liverpool otherwise many would see him as a want for GW28 if he had that double digit haul he would have got versus them in his resume. Plus he looked a real nuisance vs Arsenal. Really could have turned that game on its head if Gibbs gets tossed for fouling him like he should have. He would require an extra transfer, meaning a hit, if it was for free, I wouldn’t mind giving him a go in 28 as my crazy punt.
Kop: Mito, you’re a dick!! Hull have surprised me. I thought their relegation was all but guaranteed but the change in coach has certainly seen a change in fortunes. I don’t see them scoring a lot of goals so I’d probably avoid their midfielders & forwards but despite having had a number of tough fixtures since Silva arrived they’ve looked quite solid at the back. They’ve got some decent fixtures over the coming weeks so if you’ve got a spare FT floating about I’d consider one of their defenders. If I had to pick one I’d go for Harry Maguire. Over the past four game-weeks he’s had more touches in the opposition penalty area than any other defender so I wouldn’t be surprised should he get himself on the scoresheet in the coming weeks.
Floydeth: Jakupovic, possibly. Not really checked any others yet. I may draft in a striker for the next blank depending on who gets the most minutes.
Who should we be looking at for Bournemouth cover for GW28?
Kop: Their tea lady. I hear she does a great cuppa. Seriously though I would avoid them. Since they beat Swansea on New Year’s Eve they’ve taken just two points from their following six games, conceding 18 goals in those six games. If you happen to own one or two of their players you could hold onto them if you can hide them on your bench until GW28 but I certainly wouldn’t go buying any of them. I have Junior Stanislas and as he hasn’t even featured in their last two games and I’ll be ditching him.
Mito: Well the problem with looking at them for 28, is who and will it cost you to bring in and then sell. It is likely that someone on Bournemouth will make an investment in them worth it by the end, but good luck guessing who. Plus, then there is the whole thing of using 2 transfers to bring and depose of them and that is if you plan well, imagine taking a hit or two to buy and sell them. That’s not my department, if you are interested in going through all that, contact Mitro.
McAuley or Brunt?
Kop: Why would you pick Brunt? McAuley all the way. The bloke just gets given goals!
Init: Stats say Brunt, by a mile. PPM is much higher I believe. And he’s on set pieces of course. In fact we were asked this very question by someone on a WC this week and I will repeat my answer – Brunt for you, McAuley for me. Brunt makes more sense, I just love having my lucky charm McAuley! He just makes me smile every time he scores, I don’t know why. We have a long fantasy history together and he’s been consistent throughout so call me Ranieri but I’m just loyal to some.
Mito, one for you – what was your reaction to Feghouli scoring and assisting on the same match?
Mito: Congratulations? I have always been a touch unfair (took 25GWs for him to do enough in a game for his name to come up) to Feghouli, so I imagine that is where this question is coming from, but if you think a goal and an assist has me thinking any different….NO! Before GW1 started I simply stated that he just doesn’t look the type to do well in FPL. His scoring and assisting in previous seasons makes that clear and so do all his sub appearances and relatively low minutes. This whole season has been exactly what he has been for several seasons. Plus if Andy is back, who sits? Him or Lanzini and even if he starts (which he shouldn’t) he has the Argentinian sitting ready to take his spot.
One last thing, that goal and assist he got were basically all the work of Lanzini. The goal he scored was a tap in after Lanzini smashed it from long range and the rebound just laid there and the assist was him dishing a square pass to Lanzini who then proceeded to dribble doing all the work, ending it with a wonderful left footed blast from range. Feghouli = Lucky bastard
Some FPL managers are complete mavericks and are always looking for the ultimate differential rather than playing the conservative game. Can you identify a differential (and risky) tactic to use between now and GW29?
Floydeth: Maybe just sticking with the players everyone is selling will be the differential!!
Kop: A differential and risky tactic? Are you sure you meant to ask me this question? How about loading up with 11 players for GW28 and then wildcarding ahead of GW29. While we may not know when the double game-weeks will be we will at the very least know which teams will have doubles. It’s a tactic that’s clearly fraught with danger as I expect GW28 to be a relatively low scoring game-week. The general consensus suggests that the doubles will once again be game-weeks 34 & 37 meaning there will be a considerable period of time between your WC and the doubles, a period of time when a lot could change and a lot could go wrong. This is certainly not a tactic I would advise.
Init: I mentioned the ‘-2 hit’ thing earlier and that would be the only real maverick thing I would suggest employing for those of that persuasion. It would be in GW28 of course and probably see those who take it to the extreme fielding 11 in that week. Just do a me a favour and don’t go asking on the site how you then fix it afterwards!
Mito: I think double (dare I say triple) Hammers in the attack could pay off, in particular if they are able to get anything vs Chelsea in GW27, the other fixtures look tasty, even extending a GW more into 30. But you would have to be the type that likes rock climbing with no safety harness.
Giving Markovic a go is very risky, but if you are the lover of a punt…..
Is Bench Boosting with all 15 having a double gameweek worth the bother, or does it just mess up your team for the remaining weeks?
Init: It may depend on how many weeks are left. I did it last season and had my best ever GW with nearly 200 points. It did however mess up my team to the extent that I ended up losing my ML as a result of having the players from that week and not the likes of Kane and Alli who did so well in the final few weeks.
Kop: This really depends on the fixtures. Let’s say someone like Everton have a home fixture against a poor team there is every chance that the likes of Coleman & Lukaku will outscore players who might play twice in that particular week. You’ve also got to take the fixtures following the double game-week into account, you don’t want to load your team up with players who have poor fixtures. The idea of bench boosting with 15 double game-week players sounds great but in reality it’s unlikely to be a good idea. Balance is key.
Floydeth: I will try not to fall into this trap, players I sold scored better than my ‘doubles’ last year damn you Klopp. So, no its isn’t worth the bother.
How would you improve FPL?
Mito: Make bench points part of the every week points would be something. Think having the bench mean something more than “break glass in case of emergency” would really make teams very different. Because you would then see teams with weak players in the last slots and teams that went with a very balanced side. Would also mean that 25-40% wouldn’t be on the same captain every week.
Bonus points system should probably be changed to award points for things they do during the match. So not a 3,2,1 system, but one where all players can garner points as the game goes along. It be kinda fun watching, hoping your player makes one more tackle, one more key pass or creates a big chance and then see the points roll in. That would make defensive mids viable and not just 5th mids, plus dribblers creator types like Silva would be more influential and not just depend on others to finish what he creates.
Floydeth: Take it back to basics, with just wildcards. No chips.
Kop: I’d get rid of the bonus points. This is my 9th season playing FPL and I can’t remember a system which didn’t create controversy. In its place they could possibly give 10pts to which ever player is the official MOTM in each game.
They also need to modify their scoring system so that players like Kante are rewarded. It’s clear now how influential he was at Leicester last season and he’s one of Chelsea’s most important players this season but the most points you’d expect from him in any given week is 3.
They also need to be more transparent. The price changes have gone crazy this season which makes planning rather difficult but if they were to tell us when players were due to rise & fall it would make things a lot better.
Init: I’d have two free transfers every week. MLS has demonstrated that it allows for a bit more flexibility and it would actually increase interest and interaction. One is too limited. It’s just more fun when you can play around and bring in who you actually want without it becoming like some sort of strategic sudoku equation every time, based upon your next 16 moves!
Gentlemen, appreciate your time and meeting up for the chat. Good luck for the rest of the season! I’m off to buy Feghouli.
Thanks for reading Fantasy Football Question Time. This article was written by Cookie