Fantasy Football Tips Gameweek 25
Welcome to Fantasy Football Tips Gameweek 25. Hello and welcome to your Tips article for Gameweek 25. This particular week falls midweek and will be played out across next coming Tuesday and Wednesday and I must admit, midweek FPL is one of my favourites. Whether it is the condensed gameweek of just two nights covering all your players or whether it is the rush of tension and panic regarding so much breaking team news at the same time or the fact that the evening games and I get peace to watch football from first kick to last, I don’t know. I just love it. Jurgen Klopp may not, of all the teams playing in the FA Cup this weekend, Liverpool are the only ones who play their Gameweek 25 fixture within 72 hours of their cup tie ending. This ironically is due to TV scheduling (the Reds’ trip to Huddersfield is the viewing offering on Tuesday) so while I sympathise with the German, tough! Get on with it! I have sleeping kids, a wife at Zumba and a fridge full of beer. Make it work der Jurg!
Just a shout out here to ‘AT’ who superbly debuted an (official) article this week when he penned this week’s Fixtures article which I always refer to especially when I’m writing Tips. Well done and welcome AT (officially)
To this week’s nuggets and to be honest, I’ve looked off the beaten track for some of these purposefully as I seemed to be defaulting to the same handful when preparing each of these. So please don’t be shocked to find no Kane, Salah or Sterling. You should definitely already have these guys in my humble opinion.
I decided here to forego the usual ‘premium’ pick as I’ve written about David de Gea or Ederson in alternative weeks or so it seems. Likewise, the budget peeps are usually Nick Pope or the Palace/Newcastle goalie (whichever was flavour of the month at that time). I decided therefore to suggest three mid-priced lads and here they are:
Kasper Schmeichel (eve, SWA, mci, STK, BOU, wba)
Leicester seem to be purring along quite nicely under the tutelage of Claude Puel and this hasn’t gone unnoticed by me seeing that the Danish goalkeeper is the first of FOUR Foxes to make my Tips cut this week. With three favourable and more importantly winnable home matches across the next half dozen and trips to struggling Everton and West Brom, it’s not difficult to imagine Schmeichel adding to his 7 clean sheets so far. Three points in his next match would see him crash the century mark for the season. He has more Bonus Points than any other keeper (14).
Jordan Pickford (LEI, ars, PAL, wat, bur, BHA)
Just behind the Leicester man is the ever-present Everton goalie Jordan Pickford who has six clean sheets and an overall tally of 93 so far. With Big Sam casually saying that he will be more defensive now (when did he announce intentions to the contrary?) then it could be worth shelling out the £5.0M on the England glovesman. With only really Arsenal as a huge worry on the horizon then this could be your man if you are looking to eradicate any Courtois worries or if you have cash on the hip and are looking to improve upon your cheapie keeper. Only Lukasz Fabianski of Swansea, perhaps understandably, has more saves in the league than Pickford.
Jack Butland (WAT, bou, BHA, lei, sou, MCI)
My third choice is the Stoke keeper (and they all laughed). But get a load of those next five fixtures and consider that under the management of Paul Lambert and with the return to action of Ryan Shawcross for the first time since Boxing Day, they did shut out Huddersfield and will have taken great belief from that. Noticeable as well that the England international managed to collect a save point and two bonus in that performance. Do you back the new manager bounce to continue?
Victor Moses (BOU, wat, WBA, mun, mci, PAL)
The Nigerian has scored 23 points in his last two matches. One of those was an ordinary ‘6 point cleanie’ against Leicester and an extraordinary 17 point raid away to Brighton last Saturday lunchtime. This guy could be just under the radar and costs considerably less than the expensive Azpilicueta and Alonso. With him playing the last two league matches and beginning the League Cup defeat to Arsenal on Wednesday, it looks like Conte favours him as the strongest wing back for his system and you may reap the rewards of that in the next three matches. After that it is a step up with back-to-back trips to Manchester but I would think that first and foremost the Italian will keep things tight and see if his attackers can win the games on their own so perhaps a clean sheet or two is not the wildest stretch of the imagination.
Virgil van Dijk (hud, TOT, sou, WHU, NEW, mun)
Lots made of the VVD assist for Swansea’s goal last Monday and the price tag was inevitably brought in to it in respect of those questioning the wisdom of parting with £75M. In fairness the goal itself could be put down to early days confusion and a defence trying to gel. Perhaps they all wanted to take responsibility and ultimately no one properly did. Before you think I’m here to defend Liverpool, I will go right ahead and say that so long as Liverpool continue to beat the big teams and not follow it up properly, then I’ll be shaking my head as much as the next man. The player himself has a decent run of games now and always looks threatening with both head and in box-range shooting. I can see him grabbing between 3-6 goals before the season’s end and at just £5.5M I would consider getting in nice and early.
Chris Smalling (tot, HUD, new, CHE, pal, LIV)
I personally have DDG with no wish to double up on United so I was blissfully ignorant to what Mourinho preferred in his defence week to week. The ex-Fulham and ex-England (too soon?) defender is priced at just £5.3M and is cheaper than both Valencia and Jones and has kept two clean sheets in the Reds’ last two leading me to suspect he’ll keep his place. Also a threat from set plays, he has a goal this season, he could be the United cover you’re after. A mixed bag of fixtures granted, but if anyone can procure a clean sheet anywhere (yawn yawn) it’s Jose.
Ben Chilwell (eve, SWA, mci, STK, BOU, wba)
As described above, Leicester are doing some nice things in the league recently and if you have no space for a goalkeeper in your squads you could consider one of their cheaper defensive players. Aleksansdar Dragovic is £4.9M and looks handy to retain his place even with the return of Wes Morgan, who for me has been on borrowed time for a long time, but I would go with the budget-friendly Ben Chilwell who Puel clearly appears to favour above the more experienced Christian Fuchs. That the academy graduate is also able to play wide left in midfield or as wingback, means that there can be the odd occasion where he is out of position and may benefit in attacking returns whilst perhaps likely to add to his four clean sheets for the season. Being just £4.3M and owned by only 0.8% I think he is a decent chance to take even if it is just to pad out your squad.
Arthur Masuaku (PAL, bri, WAT, liv, swa, BUR)
Here’s another of the overlapping defender-cum-winger type. Masuaku has proven to be shrewd signing who David Moyes is using brilliantly in the left hand side of a fairly competent attacking West Ham side. The Congolese has yet to score for the Londoners but has racked up 32 games so far and looked well settled. One check of the fixture list and it is almost as good as can be, save maybe for an Anfield trip in late February, so if you have this guy already then he’ll probably be used throughout the next five or six weeks and if you are on the lookout for someone of that £4.5M range, then I would advise that he could be your guy. UPDATE: He’s been banned, the stupid git.
Eden Hazard (BOU, wat, WBA, mun, mci, PAL)
“I don’t care if it is Brighton I can’t take anymore” *SOLD* Eden, bless him, scored 16 points versus Brighton. The law of FPL is an ass! After weeks of 2 and 3 pointers, being substituted early or not featuring at all, the Belgian trolled so many managers with his maverick display last week. For those who haven’t completely ex-communicated him, I would like to draw to your attention his next three matches where conceivably he could chalk up double-digit scores in any or all (or none!) of them. He has eight goals and four assists so far so it hasn’t been a complete waste of time this season despite how it feels to most of us. There is also the carrot that the midfielder could being deployed in attack if Morata is off it and Chelsea fail to land Crouch/Barnes/Slimani/Plug from the Bash Street Kids before the window closes.
Alexis Sanchez (tot, HUD, new, CHE, pal, LIV)
Now here is one huh? If you are going to back anyone in FPL from the start, without monitoring how they might adapt to their new teammates, then it surely is this dude. At £11.7M he is not cheap but if you can do it then it’s not the riskiest one you’ll ever make. He’s not been signed to not play and with his eye-watering wages actually come eye-watering FPL totals in previous years. 264, 167 and 207 in his past three seasons and he has 97 so far with half a season to go. It’s easy to see why Jose signed this guy up and for the United supporters they must be very satisfied to pick up such a genuinely brilliant player. Owned by just 3.1% of managers (Salah is 55.0% and Sterling is 36.9) this could be a transfer for the ‘chasers’ in the FPL game. Also, he’ll be a brilliant differential captain at that ownership level. Huddersfield should be his home debut and Newcastle after that.
Riyad Mahrez (eve, SWA, mci, STK BOU, wba)
Here’s a guy clearly, who we should have bought weeks ago. Six goals and four assist in his last eleven games, he just keeps adding up the points and with the fixtures treating him to some potential cannon-fodder, it would make complete sense to get him in now if you haven’t. This is all clearly based on the assumption that he remains at Leicester beyond next Wednesday’s transfer window closing. I hope he does because I would love to see where Puel could take the ex-Champions to this season. At 5.7 points per match, the Algerian is putting up the numbers, you should put up the cash.
Xherdan Shaqiri (WAT, bou, BHA, lei, sou, MCI)
I always thought that the Swiss was trying to play through the tough times of the end of the Hughes era at Stoke when many others weren’t and his class delivery always shone through. New manager Paul Lambert must realise that this guy is his best player and therefore represents his best chance for survival and hence I would forecast that the team will be set out to play to the strengths that being allowing him the ball in mid to wide areas and taking up positions which both allow him a target and occupy opposition players. The more they can get Shaqiri on the ball the better basically. He has the best ball delivery that the Potters have and with a respectable 4.0 points per match for just £6.0M, he has already matched his goal tally of 4 from last season. He will definitely better that and with these next few fixtures, this will be sooner rather than later.
Ryan Fraser (che, STO, hud, NEW, lei, TOT)
Whilst we mention cheap midfield with players with four goals to their name, here’s Bournemouth’s Ryan Fraser. He has four goals in his last three games so undoubtedly represents a form pick for just £5.1M of your FPL kitty. Whilst he has bettered last season’s goals scored mark already, he has only assisted once this season compared to nine last season. For a debut season in the Premier League, he did manage exactly 100 points last season. I think this is very decent for his price bracket. He has played almost all of his last six matches except one missing with injury so I think he is being relied upon by Eddie Howe and is a decent cut-price pick should you fancy taking a little detour from the norm.
Luka Milivojevic (whu, NEW, eve, TOT, MUN, che)
OK so this guy is not picked on fixtures alone as one look at the above would send you running but for someone who always plays, costs sub-£5.0M and hits penalties successfully (usually) then the Serb is your go-to guy. A goal in just over every five games so far for Palace and he’s only played 36 games for them. That’s extremely good considering the position he plays on the field. Looking back in time to his spells with Crvena and Olympaicos, he’s always had a good scoring record. Where cost is prohibitive, he’s the ideal fifth midfielder.
Sergio Aguero (WBA, bur, LEI, ars, CHE, stk)
There is not much to be said here. Lucky or not, the Argentine, scored a hat trick last week and now faces three very decent matches in which he should start in each. He is out on his own in second place behind Harry Kane for goals scored this season with 16. This will be added to as early as this weekend in my book. I’m sure a Kane to Aguero move will be mightily popular this week due to the comparison of fixtures of the two these next three weeks.
Roberto Firmino (hud, TOT, sou, WHU, NEW, mun)
I captained this guy this past week and he hit the post in the last minute to deny me a return. To show there are no hard feelings I tip him this week simply due to the fact that I see a number of goals coming his way for the rest of the season. He may kick off your midweek FPL in style when he is unleashed upon a slumping Huddersfield on Tuesday. Five goals in his last seven matches brought him to double figures for the season and with the array of talent surrounding him, he is still fantastic value at £9.2M. Take him along with your preferred Liverpool midfielder of choice (SALAH!) and reap the rewards. Ignore the one poor result in a run of 18 unbeaten. I’m sure the Anfield men will return in style straight away.
Jamie Vardy (eve, SWA, mci, STK BOU, wba)
Rounding off my Leicester love-in is the focal point of the attack, Jamie Vardy. Only Romelu Lukaku has played more minutes of all the strikers and only Kane has more bonus points (Vardy has a very impressive 19 so far). Ten goals (a theme to my picks) and he’s only three off last season’s total. A link up with Mahrez is maybe a little too reliant on Leicester (says I!) but if you are looking for a mid-priced striker then you can still have Vardy for £8.5M. Where you may have to downgrade a midfielder to make that third striker, possibly Dominic Calvert-Lewin, into Vardy, then it is a sacrifice worth making in comparison to their records and minutes on the pitch. Again, the fixtures seem nice and handy for more goals from the England international.
Jay Rodriguez (mci, SOU, che, HUD, wat, LEI)
Imagine a world where West Brom play two strikers. You don’t have to imagine because God’s Gift to everything, Alan Pardew (genius), has paired Salomon Rondon and J-Rod in attack for the past three matches. This is obviously working as in the last two matches, Rodriguez has a goal, an assist and three bonus points. This is clearly my ‘cut-price’ striker pick this week and for those using 3-5-2 and may be looking for a back-up striker for this particular system, then the ex-Southampton man could be your most reliable playing option even with the somewhat discouraging fixtures.
So that’s it from me from this week and I hope there may be a player or two in there who is just right for you or at least gets you thinking outside the box a little. For some of us at this time of the season we need to think of other ways to skin the FPL cat. What I would avoid though and it is something that regularly has me sharply drawing air through my teeth, is where we start to look for differentials in the wrong places. At this time of the season there may be a template team but for that there is a reason – the best players are consistently performing and you need to have them. Look for the budget picks to find some of those lesser lights to make up the deficits but don’t try to beat the system. Salah is performing better than Oxlade-Chamberlain, Sterling better than Bernardo Silva, Harry Kane better than Llorente (OK, that last one was a bit crazy but you get my point). Have the essentials, pad out the rest with low ownership types and get the captain picks correct.
Easier said than done? Yeah, but someone has to get it right, why can’t it be you? Stay positive.
Thanks for reading Fantasy Football Tips Gameweek 25
This article was written by GP
The League Codes for FF247 for the 2017/18 season are as follows:
Gameweek Tracker GW25-31