Fantasy Premier League Tips Gameweek 29
Welcome to Fantasy Premier League Tips Gameweek 29. Over the past five game-weeks we’ve navigated our way through our first blanks and doubles of the season, a period when those who planned accordingly will have reaped the benefits. Forget that, there was as much luck as planning involved. Personally, I was lucky enough to bring in Josh King last week but the only reason I brought him in was because Phillips was ruled out. So, a big thanks to Matty Phillips and his hamstrings. So, we’re now left with 10 game-weeks and we’re split into two camps, those with and those without a wildcard. I’m not going to argue the merits of when the best time to use the wildcard is but one thing in favour of those with wildcard is that it means there is less planning involved in prepping your team for the doubles. Those who have already used their wildcard now need to use every transfer wisely whereas those who still have it are probably in the position where they can take the odd punt. That’s enough talk about wildcard, let’s take a look at where the points are likely to come from over the coming weeks.
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[/three_fifth]Before I sat down to write this article I had a notion in my head that clean sheets have been hard to come by of late but that doesn’t necessarily appear to be the case. City have kept four in their last five games, Everton seven in 11, Stoke three in four, United four in seven, Palace three in five and Spurs three in five. Now obviously, the keepers from these clubs have been scoring well but if you don’t already own them now may not be the best time to bring them in as their fixtures suggest that clean sheets may be difficult to come by. This however is not the case with Spurs and Hugo Lloris. Spurs really couldn’t have asked for a better run in to the finish. Aside from the visits of Arsenal and United in game-weeks 35&37 they do not face another side who are currently in the top nine of the table. The question of form over fixtures or fixtures over form is often asked but with Lloris you’ve got the best of both as Spurs currently have the joint best defence in the league with just 20 goals conceded.
Only on three occasions this season has David de Gea conceded two or more goals in a game with the 3rd occasion as far back as GW9. Therefore it’s no surprise to see that he’s only conceded a total of 22 goals this season and this has seen him pick up 10 clean sheets to date. The fact that United will have two double game-weeks between now and the end of the season further enhances the appeal of de Gea although a look at their fixtures would suggest that you should invest in the Spaniard sooner rather than later to get the maximum benefit as United’s fixtures become somewhat trickier as of GW33. Given the fact that United face some fixture congestion over the remainder of the season Jose will surely continue with his rotation policy and this makes de Gea the safest option from the United rear-guard.
My final two keepers this week can be found at the opposite end of the spectrum and they are Sunderland’s Jordan Pickford and Hull’s Eldin Jakupovic. There’s only one reason I’m including both of these this week and that’s the fact that both are priced at £4.1m. Don’t expect many clean sheets from either, Pickford has two from 18 appearances and Jakupovic has three from 13 appearances. Just remember they’re both what we call enablers. It’s worth noting that even when Pickford doesn’t keep a clean sheet he’ll still find a way to pick up an extra point or two, on nine occasions when he failed to keep a clean sheet he still managed three or more points. It’s unlikely he’ll be playing for Sunderland next season. Both have some decent fixtures over the remainder of the season and could pick up a clean sheet here & there but just remember that you’re not picking them for their ability to garner you points!
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[/three_fifth]Given the perfect storm that is Spurs’ form & fixtures it goes without saying that top of our list this week is a Spurs defender. But which one? I initially considered Ben Davies but with Danny Rose expected back in early April you may only get a game or two out of the Welshman. I’ve had a quick look at the underlying stats and I can see no good reason (aside from cash!) why you would choose either Alderweireld or Vertonghen over Kyle Walker. It’s hardly surprising that his attacking stats are far superior but when it comes to the defensive stats he more than holds his own. He has been one of the most consistent FPL defenders this season and is currently the 4th highest scoring defender just two points off top spot. While he’s yet to get on the scoresheet this season he has more assists (six) than any other defender and with 18 bonus points to his name only Laurent Koscielny has more. When Rose returns things might change but for now Walker is clearly the Spurs defender of choice.
At this time of the season we realise many of you may be reluctant to invest in a premium keeper and this may rule out David de Gea meaning you have a spot for a United defender. As I’ve alluded to above Jose has rotated his defence this season although injuries have played their part in this. In terms of game time Antonio Valencia stands head and shoulders above his colleagues. Given his attacking instincts it’s hardly a surprise that he’s picked up three assists in his last six games. What is a surprise is that these are his only assists of the season. This is particularly surprising given some of his underlying stats, amongst defenders he’s 3rd for touches in the final 3rd and 6th for chances created. At £5.7m he’s not cheap but given his two doubles on the horizon he could prove a worthwhile investment.
I didn’t include Petr Cech as I feel there are better options available between the sticks but given Arsenal’s upcoming fixtures it might be wise to consider one of their defenders. Aside from the visit of City in GW30 five of their next six fixtures are against teams which the Gunners typically feast upon and this run should see them build upon their eight clean sheets to date. Laurent Koscielny is a bonus point magnet and for this reason alone he deserves serious consideration but with money an issue for many managers I’m going with Shkodran Mustafi. The underlying stats would suggest that the German international is unlucky to have claimed just a solitary goal and assist to date. Over the course of the season he’s 2nd to Bellerin for touches in the opposition penalty area while over their last six games he’s had 14 touches in the opposition penalty area which is twice as many as his colleagues. In terms of attempts on goal he leads the way over the course of the season with 16 while he’s manged six in his last six games, the other three have managed two between them. With an ownership of just 1.3% he’s the biggest differential of the lot and he could set you apart from your rivals over the coming weeks.
While the majority of us were probably outraged by Leicester’s sacking of Claudio Ranieri, the same majority would probably agree that the reigning champions were set to be relegated if he’d stayed in charge. If they stay up the owners will be vindicated and with two wins from two since his sacking the early signs suggest they’ll stay up. They’ve conceded in both games and the underlying stats in terms of chances conceded haven’t changed much although a sample size of two games probably isn’t big enough to draw a conclusion from. They have however scored three in each of these games and this has seen Christian Fuchs claim a goal and an assist. It’s worth noting that his stats from these last two games are off the charts when compared to his stats from the rest of the season and his average position against Hull in GW27 was the furthest forward we’ve seen him all season. Winning is infectious and now that Leicester have remembered how to win there’s every chance they’ll string a decent run of results together and they’ve certainly got the fixtures to do it. Now that they have their confidence back I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see them pick up a couple of clean sheets which would make Fuchs an enticing prospect.
Alfie Mawson delivered yet again in GW28 to make it four goals from his last nine games. Swansea have managed just the one clean sheet under Clement but their fixtures remain kind to them over the next six game-weeks so a clean sheet is not beyond the bounds of possibility. At £4.6m and an ownership of just 2.2% Mawson is clearly a decent option even if the clean sheets continue to escape them.
Aside from Mawson it’s difficult to spot a cheap & cheerful defender who has both form & fixtures on their side. Mamadou Sakho has enjoyed a good start to life at Selhurst Park but Palace’s fixture list is woeful. John Stones has scored well of late but looking at City’s next three fixtures he’s best avoided for now. Stoke’s Eric Pieters is probably worth some consideration given Stoke’s recent form. Watford have some decent fixtures over the coming weeks so someone like Miguel Britos might be worth a look.
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[/three_fifth]With very little to choose between Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen many fantasy managers have opted to double up on the Spurs duo at times this season. This tactic for the most part has worked out quite well. However the injury to Harry Kane has thrown a Korean spanner in the works as Heung-Min Son would appear to be the obvious candidate to replace Kane. Obviously, Vincent Janssen could come into the equation but it’s worth noting that when Kane went off injured against Millwall it was Eriksen who Poch brought on and Son went up top. So which of the three do would expect to reap the most points in Kane’s absence? In terms of most recent form Alli is undoubtedly the one we’d choose but perhaps we’d be better served looking at how the three performed when Kane missed five games earlier in the season. In those five games Spurs managed just six goals with Son leading the way with two goals and an assist, Alli got two goals and Eriksen picking up just an assist. In terms of their underlying stats it was Eriksen who led the way, but at the end of the day it’s all about points. The decision is further complicated by the fact that Kane’s absence earlier in the season was prior to Spurs switching to a back three so maybe we shouldn’t give too much credence to their respective returns during this period. The safe option in the absence of Kane is to stick with either Alli or Eriksen however those of you who are trying to make up ground and are on the hunt for a differential Son might be the player you’ve been searching for. Thanks to seven goals and six assists he’s pulled in 100pts which is pretty impressive considering he’s only played 1255 minutes of football this season. With an ownership of just 2.1% amongst live teams the Korean international could prove to be a great differential over the coming weeks.
It’s that time of the season when Arsenal begin their perennial battle to finish 4th in the table. As in previous seasons February and the early part of March haven’t been kind to them, they’ve had some poor results in the league and were humiliated by Bayern. However, we all know by now that when the pressure is off Arsenal perform at their best. As mentioned already they’ve got some great fixtures coming up against mid/lower table opposition and these games should see the goals flow. The obvious choice is unquestionably Alexis Sanchez. Thanks to 17 goals, 10 assists& 21 bonus points the Chilean has amassed 187pts to date making him the leading FPL scorer by a distance of 14pts and he’s well on his way to having his best season in an Arsenal jersey. Unfortunately for Arsenal it might be his last. If the papers are to be believed, he wants out of the club during the summer and his recent benching against Liverpool was quite bizarre. In previous seasons Sanchez would have been considered a ‘must have’ given Arsenal’s fixtures but that mantle has slipped a little. In saying that it will take a brave manager to go without him and he’s one of a select few players who can really hurt you if you don’t own him. Personally I won’t be at all surprised if we’re all tearing our teams apart in the coming weeks in an effort to squeeze him into our squads. Should you be reluctant to shell out £11.5m on Sanchez you might want to cast your attentions towards Theo Walcott. Now many will log onto the FPL site, click into Wally, see he hasn’t scored in his four league appearances since he returned from injury and decide he’s not an option. He has however scored five goals in Arsenal’s last three cup games while he also scored in the 2nd leg defeat to Bayern. Some will argue that he’s one of the few Arsenal players who have been trying of late. He’s currently available for just £7.3m and features in just 1.7% of live teams, and until you’re sure that you want Sanchez Walcott might be worth picking up as Arsenal cover.
Against Arsenal back in GW24 Eden Hazard scored a contender for goal of the season and against United on Monday night had it not been for a great save by de Gea he would have scored another contender. He’s clearly a player in form and he’s picked up returns in seven of his last ten games. As I’ve pointed out in previous articles Chelsea don’t batter teams and have only scored four or more goals on three occasions. Despite this they are the league’s 2nd highest scorers and this proves they are extremely consistent, in fact they’ve only failed to score on two occasions. They’ve got one hand on the league and they will want to ensure that they get both hands on it sooner rather than later and this should see Hazard consistently amongst the points in the weeks ahead. If you’re trying to spread your budget around your squad Hazard’s partner in crime Pedro should be considered as at £7.1m he’s £3.1m cheaper than Hazard. He would appear to have made the position his own and has started seven of the last eight games, scoring two and assisting two in the last three games.
With one on the future doubles one player who might be worth keeping an eye on is Dusan Tadic. Southampton have scored eight goals in their last two games both of which were away from home with Tadic claiming a goal, three assists and three bonus points. At £7.0m he’s quite a gamble but at this time of the season many of us need to take a gamble and he currently features in just 0.6% of live teams. Granted Southampton face Spurs this week so it might be best to wait a week before investing in Tadic but after the Spurs game they’ve got a relatively decent run of fixtures. A cheaper option from the Saints’midfield is James Ward-Prowse. The youngster is unlikely to set the world alight but he is on certain set pieces and at £5.0m he could prove a shrewd purchase ahead of the doubles.
Neither Josh King nor Gylfi Sigurdsson have any doubles on the horizon but in King we have a player in outstanding form and in Siggy we have a player in good form coupled with great fixtures. Bournemouth host Swansea this weekend and then travel to Southampton in GW30 two games which could go either way. They then face Liverpool, Chelsea & Spurs! So why should King be considered? He’s scored eight goals in his last seven games, is priced at just £5.6m and is playing OOP. Siggy’s returns haven’t been quite as impressive but he has brought home the bacon in each of his last seven games with three goals and five assists. With four wins and 13 goals scored in their last eight games there’s nothing to suggest that Siggy will stop returning at any time in the near future.
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[/three_fifth]A couple of weeks back it appeared as though we were set to be awash with inform forwards but now Ibrahimovic is suspended, Kane is injured, Aguero is coming off the back of a relatively disappointing double game-week and now Lukaku has said he’s not going to sign a new contract at Everton. Once more it appears as though we’re left with slim pickings, or are we? Because of what we’ve just outlined, top billing this week goes to Diego Costa. Costa hasn’t pulled in many big hauls this season in fact he’s managed just three double figure hauls but he’s incredibly consistent. He’s had 25 appearances this this season and has only blanked on seven occasions. Over the last four games he’s had 38 touches in the opposition penalty which may not seem like a lot but it’s 2nd only to Ibrahimovic. He’s probably unlucky to have only scored twice in that time but a large part of his game involves bringing the likes of Hazard & Pedro into the game. Chelsea do have a number of potentially tricky fixtures on the horizon and while their record against the top 5/6 teams isn’t fantastic this season I expect them to grind out victories in these games and that will see Costa remain amongst the goals.
Despite his recent revelation that he will not sign a new contract we’d be foolish to write off and ignore Romelu Lukaku at this stage. After all he is the joint leading scorer with 19 goals and even more importantly he’s bang in form with seven goals and an assist in his last five games. In his last four games he’s had 24 penalty area touches – a tally which is bettered by six strikers. However he has turned these 24 touches into 12 attempts on target which have led to three goals. Clearly he’s not as wasteful as some would imagine. Will his contract standoff effect his returns? Quite possibly, but only time will and for now it’s best to assume it won’t. He’s scored in his last five game at Goodison and with Everton’s next three home games against Hull, Leicester & Burnley that streak should continue.
Stop the lights! Jamie Vardy might be having another party! As I’m sure everyone is aware Jamie Vardy threw a party in his gaff the night Leicester won the title last season. Unfortunately for Leicester by the time the party stopped they were embroiled in a relegation fight and they were forced to sack Claudio Ranieri. Since his sacking, Leicester have beaten both Liverpool & Hull 3-1 while they’ve also progressed to the quarter finals of the Champions League. The feel good factor is back at The King Power Stadium. Vardy scored twice against Liverpool and picked up an assist against Hull. His underlying stats have also shown a marked improvement. Over the course of the season he has averaged 4.8 penalty area touches per game a figure that increases to 9 over the last two games while his shots on target averages have also increased. Aside from a trip to Everton in GW32 Leicester have a great run of fixtures and Vardy could prove an excellent differential.
In Manolo Gabbiadini Southampton have unearthed Liverpool’s next forward! Joking aside where or how do Southampton unearth such gems? He had managed 16 goals in 56 league appearances for Napoli over three seasons but had slid down the pecking order. Even he couldn’t have imagined he’d start life on the south coast as well as he’s had, four goals in his first three league games as well as a brace against United in the League Cup final. His underlying stats are staggering, in his three league games he’s had 20 penalty area touches which have led to 16 attempts on goal, so it’s little wonder he’s scored four. Given his incredibly impressive start it’s hardly surprising that he already features in 9.1% of teams and in view of the fact that he will have two doubles before the end of the season this % is only going one way.
Finally, if you play the fixtures you’ll certainly want to consider Troy Deeney. Five of Watford’s next six games are against Palace, Sunderland, West Brom, Swansea & Hull. Add to this the fact that Deeney has scored five in his last six games and you’ll understand why we’ve included him this week.
Thanks for reading Fantasy Premier League Tips Gameweek 29. This article was written by Kop Warrior
The Tracker in full…
Teams with DGW’s ahead… (with thanks to Rosco)