Fantasy Football Tips Gameweek 11
Welcome to Fantasy Football Tips Gameweek 11. The game-week before an international break is always a tricky one for FPL managers. For some it will be chasing lost points from the week before while for others it may to build on a good week. It’s not really the ideal time to wildcard as many of the players will be travelling near and far over the next fortnight, whilst the most experienced and wise managers will look, if possible, to hold their free transfer this week in order to have two to utilise when the inevitable injuries, rest or rotation occurs when the players arrive back late from international duty. So to write your Tips article is tricky this week – but of course when the chips are down and the difficult questions need answering, FF247 turn to me. Who to choose between Aguero & Jesus? Which City midfielder to select? What to do with Lukaku and Kane? Yep, none of those burning questions will be answered.
Instead I will focus on differentials – those players that are or may become FPL options and who are owned by less than 5% of teams (at the time of writing.) Of course this allows me a little fun where I can suggest left field names not on the radar and of course it means I don’t have to mention Wayne Rooney or Joe Hart (Guy will be so pleased with me.)
It is unlikely that you are looking to change your keeper this week unless you are either wildcarding or have two free transfers burning in your pocket and have no other move to make – in which case you should be writing this article, rather than reading it. When 39% of teams own David de Gea and 27% own Rob Elliot, you can probably see the ideal keeper combo. After all if you own DDG you’re not going to sell him and if you don’t own Elliot then you’re not maximising the cash angle that he offers.
However there are some lesser owned names that offer tremendous value. First up is Man City’s Ederson who is owned by just 4.8% of teams. I picked up Ederson in my wildcard team ahead of GW8, when City hosted Stoke and on the back of four successive clean sheets I thought he was a great idea considering the rotation problems in City’s defence. My keeper then proceeded to conceded two vs Stoke and then last weekend two vs West Brom. I am not known as the worst gambler in the world for nothing. Some good fixtures for City remain with Leicester, Huddersfield, Southampton and West Ham all on the horizon and some clean sheets better be forthcoming otherwise he’ll be sold quicker than a turkey before Christmas.
Next up is Asmir Begovic – having moved to Chelsea to see how the other half live, Asmir decided he best get back playing before he found himself permanently employed as Thibaut Courtois’ fluffer. Bego has played every minute for the Cherries this season and kept errrrm one clean sheet (some Tips article this is.) In fairness to both Asmir and myself, Bournemouth have played Man City, Arsenal, Spurs and Chelsea – we’ll forget the part where he conceded vs West Brom, Brighton and Everton. Anyway, let’s be positive here – Bournemouth kept Chelsea and Spurs to just the single goal each and have a decent run of games coming up with Newcastle, Huddersfield, Swansea, Burnley, Southampton and Palace all featuring in the next six weeks. If there is not a clean sheet or two in this run you can recommend I never write Tips again (see, there is method in my madness.)
I have waffled rubbish about keepers for too long now but I need to mention just a couple more. Julian Speroni (4mln and 2.8% owned) has dethroned Wayne Hennessey as Woy’s no.1 – what a lucky guy. His price means he and Elliot team up as the cheapest playing pair of keepers in the game and clearly allow investment elsewhere. Whereas I am not really suggesting you should invest in anything Palace related (apart from maybe Wilfried Zaha) Jules does have his uses.
Finally Nick Pope who has appeared in the majority of Tips article since he took over from the injured Tom Heaton at Burnley. Pope costs 4.5mln and is owned by 1.2% of teams and has kept three clean sheets in the six full matches he has played. Like Heaton he is a ‘save point magnet’ which maybe tells us as much of the Burnley midfield and defence but even so Pope has accumulated 6bps, which is the joint highest of any keeper.
The defenders section starts with a couple of Foxes and two of their full backs. Danny Simpson and Ben Chilwell were both started by Claude Puel in his first match as Leicester manager. Chilwell was played in front of Christian Fuchs on the left hand side and costs just 4.3mln. Now before you all run out and buy the young man, stop. For now, just put him on your watch list and see if he can secure the a starting berth under the new manager – if he can then he will be a valuable and cheap defender playing in midfield in a team that has decent fixtures going forward (GW12 & 14 aside). Simpson played on the right side of the defence and seems assured in the role – priced at just 4.5mln the defender looks excellent value if Puel can continue to tighten things up – as long as you have a rotation partner for Simpson for GW12 & 14 then I’d have no hesitation in recommending him.
It just so happens that Brighton face Stoke and Palace at home in GW12 & 14 and with Lewis Dunk and Shane Duffy comfortably making the differential qualifying ownership of less than 5% then a rotating pair of Seagulls and Foxes could very well work out beautifully. Duffy probably nicks it over Dunk due to higher chance of bps but there isn’t much in it and Dunk is slightly cheaper at 4.4mln. Look at this run of Fixtures if you rotated a Leicester & Brighton defender – Swansea, Stoke, West Ham, Crystal Palace, Burnley, Huddersfield, Southampton, Crystal Palace, Watford, Watford, Newcastle, Huddersfield, West Brom, Watford – not bad eh? Wildcarders, thank me later.
If you like Bournemouth’s fixtures but do not want to include Begovic in goal you could look towards Simon Francis who costs just 4.4mln – I have detailed the Cherries’ decent set of fixtures above and think that Francis could well prove to be excellent value in the sub 4.5mln category over the next few weeks.
Swansea’s Federico Fernández has played every minute for the Welshies this season alongside Alfie Mawson – now I’d prefer Mawson for his goal threat but I’m not sure I’d want to pay 5mln for any Swans player, let alone a defender so Fernandez is the cheap differential to have here. Paul Clement has tightened things up somewhat and while they remain a poor Premier League team a cheap defender may just be excused given they only face Chelsea out of the top teams over the next six weeks.
Antonio Rüdiger appears to have confirmed a starting spot (for now) under Conte and if you are unwilling to splash out on Azpilicueta or Alonso and prefer a good old fashioned defender from one of the top teams then at 5.9mln Rüdiger looks a half decent choice. Fixtures are good for the Blues (they go to Liverpool in GW13 and Arsenal in GW22 take note) but aside from that they have a lovely run of fixtures through to GW28. The German defender appears in just 1.9% of teams.
Described by those in the know as the ‘best right back at the club’, Jonjoe Kenny was selected by David Unsworth for the match at Leicester. Sadly for our Toffee fans, the Unsworth influence was nowhere to be seen at the Walker Stadium – however (and how many times have we said this, this season?), if Everton can turn their form around, or indeed find some form, or if Ashley Williams can remember how to defend, then Kenny could be another shrewd pick and cheap defender for your team. Like Chilwell, put him on your watch list – he only costs 4.3mln and is only owned by his Dad, Guy and Inittowinit.
Some other names that may come under your consideration but I don’t need to waffle about are: Gary Cahill (3.4% owned) if he can re-secure a starting spot, Kevin Wimmer (0.4% owned) if you truly believe last week’s clean sheet at Watford was the start of wondrous things to come for the Potters, Danny Rose (0.2% owned) if Ben Davies gets injured, Burnley’s Matthew Lowton or any Liverpool defender if you are completely mad.
Now we can have some fun. I’m sure we’re all agreed that the Keeper and Defender sections are always a little dull in comparison with the attacking players who can truly make a difference if we can sniff out the cheeky differential before the millions of casual players playing FPL.
In days past my first two midfield Tips have been FPL gold – one the assist champion and the other the most explosive midfielder in the game. How the mighty have fallen for Mesut Özil and Alexis Sanchez now get to appear in a differentials article. There is of course good reason – the steady demise of all things Arsenal, injury, contract rebellion, FPL pricing and tricky up and coming fixtures all unite to conspire against our fallen comrades. Both could conceivably leave Arsenal in January, although if both were allowed to go, the animosity would surely reach the levels where the Emirates may sound like a football stadium. Özil assisted vs Swansea to go with the previous weeks goal and assist at Everton and looks to be heading for a return to his best form while Alexis matched Özil’s output at Goodison. However, both players face a mountain to force themselves into out teams – the Gooners go to Man City this weekend before hosting Spurs in GW12 and Man Utd in GW15 – Alexis is priced higher by only Harry Kane this season meaning he’d have to be a serious captain choice most weeks for him to be worthwhile. However, we all know what Alexis is capable of and if there is any sign of a return to his explosiveness then we know he is difficult to ignore.
Özil is competing with the likes of Silva, Sterling, Sané, Eriksen, Salah and KdB among others in terms of pricing and is being outperformed by all of the aforementioned. However, these previous two matches serve as a reminder as to what a focused Özil can do. There will never be a time when either is less owned – current stats show Alexis appearing in 3.4% of teams while Özil is owned by 2.1%.
Someone else coming into form is another who spent the summer trawling airports looking (and failing) to find a new destination. Riyad Mahrez was more Tom Hanks in Terminal rather than the maestro midfielder who led Leicester to the title just 18 months ago. However one goal and three assists in the last three matches come at a time where he is either looking to impress his new manager or detecting the January transfer window is but two months away. Owned by just 4.3% of teams and costing 8.4mln Mahrez is not cheap (compared to the City lads) but nor is he a rotation risk (like the City lads). Fixtures are ok and he looks in better form than Jamie Vardy if you fancy Puel can persuade Mahrez to continue in his present state.
Wilfried Zaha’s return from injury has started well for the Palace midfielder who has scored in both home matches on his comeback. With Christian Benteke still weeks away from a return, Zaha is Palace’s main (only) attacking threat – Woy seems to have ingrained some self-belief in the team and while they still look a poor side, Zaha we know is exciting and is capable of turning a match on his own. The Eagles face a tricky trip to Wembley this weekend, but after that their fixtures look ok and Zaha faces home matches against Everton, Stoke, Bournemouth and Watford before the Eagles face a top team again. Zaha is awkwardly priced at 6.8mln leaving him in that ‘no-man’s land’ of midfielders – he is neither cheap nor expensive. If you can find some spare change he may well be prove to be a decent upgrade of Richarlison, Ritchie or Choupo-Moting, especially if he can get close to last season’s returns of 7 goals and 11 assists.
I had two other names written down to mention but in all honesty I don’t think, on reflection, that they fully deserve investing in right now. However I would definitely include Anthony Martial and Pedro onto your watch list. Both have a decent run of matches coming up and both should be doing better than their current returns suggest. Pedro has been a big disappointment this season, scoring twice and assisting twice. Maybe he is missing Dirty Diego messing with the opposition defences and feeding off the scraps. If he can get on a run then he is clearly a cheaper alternative to both Hazard and Morata, but I would want to see some evidence first before jumping in. Martial meanwhile is struggling to get a start but showed vs Spurs what a great weapon he can be from the bench. With Martial it is confidence but like Pedro, wait for some evidence of him starting and delivering from the off, rather from the bench before investing. Oh yeah, he was nearly on penalty duties for a minute there too. But then who isn’t at Old Trafford these days!
Some cheaper and definitely nastier options have begun to present themselves. First up and we have a different basement option to Tom Caroll and Ruben Loftus-Cheek. It’s Gareth Barry, back from the dead! Just when we thought he turned his back on any FPL team by teaming up with Pulis, the veteran midfielder defies injury to return two assists vs Man City in GW10. Now I’m not suggesting that Barry should be your no.1 target this week, far from it, but if you are wildcarding and need a cheap option then he should be considered.
While Claude Puel’s first selection as Leicester manager bodes well for Ben Chilwell, it could also spark the start of exciting times for Demairi Gray. The signs are that we will witness a continuation of Puel’s faith in youth as he showed at Southampton and before that Nice and Lyon. Gray repaid the selection with a goal vs Everton and while he will clearly face sterner opposition in the weeks ahead, it was clear that given the opportunity Gray has the natural skill to prove excellent value at 5.3mln. And thank the dear Lord we now have a realistic alternative to Christian Atsu, Robbie Brady and Granit Xhaka in this price region!
With little obvious form to back up my selection I bring you Heung-Min Son. He’s not cheap (7.9mln), jeez he is not even guaranteed to start. Much depends on Harry Kane here – while many are ‘expertly speculating’ that fit or not, Big Nose won’t be risked vs Palace, this could fall into the hands of the ultimate risk taker who has a bit of cash and a spare transfer this week and wishes to unleash the beast that is Son on the Eagles at Wembley. Cheaper than Eriksen and Alli, this is the ultimate risk, the long-odds choice, the transfer of the mad, but the stuff of Champions if it comes off!
Some other little owned names to be listed for the sake of the wildcarder: Shaqiri – on set pieces for Stoke and a goal and 3 assists in his last six matches. Junior Stanislas – he came back from injury, forced himself into the starting XI, scored and assisted vs Stoke before picking up a groin injury vs Chelsea – with good fixtures keep an eye on Howe’s presser to see his injury status.
I should really apologise in advance for this section because in all honesty the choices are, like the strikers mentioned, very limited. Let’s be honest here – if there was a striker really worth having who is owned by less than 5% of teams I’d like to think he would have been mentioned somewhere before this article went to press.
However, I have managed to find four differential strikers who fit into the cheap 3rd striker category. One is a kid with little experience, one an old veteran on his last legs, one only just coming back from injury and hasn’t played first team football since January and our final hero has only just returned from suspension for stamping! A motley crew indeed, but as we know this category is tough to nail down and the price of the strikers smacks of inconsistency which means there probably isn’t one cheap striker for the season but one must be prepared to jump on and off depending on form and fixtures.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin has featured in every league match for the Toffees so far this season. Poor lad. This is tantamount to child abuse. He hasn’t even scored, poor love. So this is very much a ‘If Everton can find some form, then keep this chap in your sights’ tip. He clearly has something about him and is well thought of at the club and their fixtures are good… on paper. Maybe a new manager will come in and turn things around. As I say, keep an eye on him.
Brighton – known for its seafront, pier, fish and chips and the Lanes. Sadly it is not terribly well known for its strikers or indeed their prolificacy in front of goal. However, the Seagulls do offer a couple of cheap options and if you watched Chris Hughton’s men bang three past the Hammers a couple of weeks ago, you were reminded of what they can achieve vs their peers in the league. Glenn Murray was the hero that day, scoring a brace and following that up with the equaliser vs Southampton last weekend – such form has seen become the no.1 striker at the club, at least while his ‘hot’ streak continues but waiting in the wings is the cheaper option, namely Tomer Hemed. Hemed costs just 5.0mln (0.7mln cheaper than Murray) and had scored a couple of goals before being banned for stamping on Newcastle defender DeAndre Yedlin. Brighton’s fixtures are ok, a bit mixed, but there is enough there to warrant giving one of the pair a look – matches vs Swansea, Stoke, Crystal Palace and Huddersfield are woven around tougher fixtures vs Man Utd, Liverpool and Spurs, but assuming you are rotating your cheap striker with a defender or midfielder then there are plenty of options available in the other two categories to make Murray or Hemed a viable option.
Further along the South coast and bypassing the tepid scoring machine that is Southampton, we arrive at Bournemouth. See, you get a geography lesson too. Now if Southampton are tepid then Bournemouth are running dry right now having just scored just six goals in their opening ten games. Jermain Defoe is looking his fossil age, Josh King has suffered with the arrival of the fossil and Benik Afobe is, well, Benik Afobe. Step forward Calum Wilson who is just returning from his latest injury which has kept him out of action since January – Wilson has started just 25 matches out of a possible 86 due to injury, but in those starts he has scored 11 goals and with the Cherries being slumped in the relegation zone, the club need him back and firing asap. Wilson came off the bench to play 15mins vs Chelsea on Saturday and while Eddie Howe won’t rush the striker, he’ll also be aware that his job is on the line and we can expect to see much more of the striker over the next few weeks. He is definitely one for your watch list and if he can regain his starting spot and form then at 5.9mln we may well have the best cheap striker option for the rest of the season.
Thanks for reading Fantasy Football Tips Gameweek 11
This article was written by Cookie.
The League Codes for FF247 for the 2017/18 season are as follows:
Gameweek Tracker GW11-19