I want to kick off this Fantasy Premier League tips column with two disclaimers.
Firstly, ’tis I, your humble Editor Joe writing this article. Unlike our regular columnist James, I do not constantly and arrogantly proclaim myself an “expert” in all matters FPL. Obviously I follow the league closely, though, so I do know what I’m talking about (y’know… kinda).
Basically, if your FPL season gets single-handedly derailed by the advice given in this column, don’t blame James.
Secondly, I’m writing this whilst mired in a massive comedown from the greatest drug known to man – a good old fashioned whooping of your biggest rivals.
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) December 2, 2018
So, please bear that in mind.
On a personal note, I had a very respectable week indeed in FPL. Public Emery racked up a tidy 58pts, beating the average by nine.
The excellent Shane Duffy – who’s been in my team all season – picking up 10pts was most pleasing; as was Wan-Bissaka – my automatic sub for the injured Aguero – making a nice contribution off the bench.
No good team rests on its laurels when things are going well, though.
In the midst of my post 4-2 daze, I had no real choice but to emotionally transfer in Aubameyang immediately for Aguero. After that performance, how could I not? I’ve also finally gotten Sterling into my team, about two months too late, in exchange for the long-underperforming Hazard.
I felt good making these transfers, but they actually haven’t helped to solve my biggest problem of all – Ross Barkley clogging up a midfield berth. What a terrible transfer he was. Oy. A narrow distance behind him in my “worst transfer of the season” rankings is Rui Patricio. Boy oh boy do Wolves look terrible. Conceding two goals back-to-back against Huddersfield and Cardiff? Come on now.
Anyway, enough of my lamentations. Let’s get onto the stuff you actually care about.
Here’s a full guide to your transfer targets in Fantasy Premier League Gameweek 15.
Goalkeepers & Defenders
In a shocking development, the bookies have Man City and Liverpool – the two best defences in the league by far – as the two favourites to keep clean sheets this week. Both are playing away, but they’re also playing teams in pretty terrible form. City are visiting Watford, and Liverpool are taking on Burnley.
Compatriots Ederson (5.8) and Alisson (5.7) remain by far your best picks if you want an elite keeper.
As for the defences, Laporte (6.1) is the only current elite option for City, given Mendy’s injury woes and Walker’s complete lack of any attacking contribution (1 goal and 0 assists on the season… in this Man City team). Delph (5.3) offers a cheap way into the City defence, but is subject to rotation, as we saw at the weekend. Also, as James keeps saying, you don’t want to lock up the City spots in your team for less-than-elite options.
I’ve been running with both Alexander-Arnold (5.3) and Robertson (6.5) in my team for weeks now, and I feel great about it.
Trent has rebounded brilliantly after being dropped earlier in the season for Gomez, and Lovren showed mid-week against PSG why Gomez needs to stay at CB anyway. This pair are the 2nd and 3rd-highest scorers amongst FPL defenders this season, and if you don’t have either of them in your team… I don’t know what to tell you.
Outside of the big two, the bookies also like Spurs to keep a clean. Yes, they took an absolute hammering on Sunday (did I mention that already?), but they get to welcome the newly-Mark Hughes-less Saints to Wembley on Wednesday.
That said… who are you taking out of this lot? Vertonghen’s suspended, Aurier contributes nothing to the attack, and Rose and Davies keep being rotated.
Trippier (6.1) is reportedly coming back this week, and has made solid contributions when he’s played. Given his risk of rotation, though, I don’t want to pay that much for him.
Slightly further down the list, the bookies have Bournemouth and Everton.
Bournemouth are only there because they’re playing Huddersfield. They have been generally mediocre defensively.
Pickford (5.0) is the joint third-highest scoring keeper in FPL, and both Keane (5.0) and Digne (4.9) have contributed well for their mid-range price tags. Everton do have City and Spurs coming up shortly, though, so I wouldn’t be rushing to get any of them in right now.
On to our bargain buys.
As mentioned earlier, I love having Duffy (4.7) in my team. He’s got three goals already this season, Brighton generally look solid, and they have Palace this week, then Burnley after that.
James has been on the Wolves defence for a while now. I backed them too, with my aforementioned Patricio transfer a few weeks ago. Recently, however, they have been dreadful. They haven’t kept a clean sheet since October 6th. Doherty (4.9) has performed extremely well for his price tag, and grabbed a goal at the weekend… but I simply can’t recommend getting any of them in based on their current form.
Finally, Leicester are quietly having a very solid season at the back. They’ve got the best defensive record outside of the top six, having conceded 17 in 14 games, and they’ve kept three clean sheets in their last four. Pereira’s (5.1) price just rose, and rightly so – he’s the pick of the bunch, if you do want to buy into the Foxes’ back line. Be aware of their rollercoaster fixtures over the holiday period before you do, though:
Sterling (11.5) is the highest scorer in FPL right now, and it’s not particularly close. Despite costing 1.5m less than Salah (13.0), he’s registered 18 more points. And yet… he was still selected by only 18.9% of FPL managers in Gameweek 15. That number is rising fast, though. In fact, he’s currently the third-most added player.
What I’m saying to you, basically, is that you need to get Sterling in right now. He looks like the best player in the league at the moment, he’s become incredibly consistent, and he’s in the form of his life.
Does that mean you should drop Salah?
Personally, I’m not. I prefer binning off Hazard (11.0) instead, and keeping the faith in Mo. His underlying stats remain excellent, and – although he certainly isn’t delivering on his price tag – he’s still the 5th-highest scorer in the game.
Other advocates might point to his upcoming games against Burnley, Bournemouth and Man U… but he has disappointed against poor defences already this season. Thus, to an extent, this still remains a gut call.
Amongst your other pricier options, Sane (9.4) represents a fascinating proposition.
He was simply unplayable against Bournemouth at the weekend. He’s got a ridiculous three goals and four assists in his last four games. Obviously City have a lot of options on the wings… but Sane has made himself undroppable. If you can’t afford Sterling, get Sane instead.
The Spurs duo of Eriksen (9.2) and Alli (8.9) are the only other top-level midfielders to consider.
Eriksen has provided excellent results since he fully returned from injury. He’s played 90 minutes in each of the last two games, and has registered three assists against tough opposition in Chelsea and Arsenal. Given all the time he missed with injury, the only thing I’d worry about is rotation in the upcoming games.
Honestly, I have no interest in Alli. Before his goal/assist combo against Chelsea, he had registered neither goal nor assist since… game two of the season. Like Eriksen, that can be blamed on injury to an extent. Unlike Eriksen, however, Alli isn’t consistent even when he does play. If he gets on a hot streak I’d look at him, but until then I’m steering clear.
In the mid-range, the name on everyone’s lips is Felipe Anderson (7.1). He’s the second-most transferred-in player right now, ahead of Sterling and Kane… and I’m buying in to the hype.
Anderson is a quality player, and I think he offers ridiculous value at 7.1m. His slow-ish start was entirely predictable. Now, we’re seeing the player he really is. He’s scored in three of the past four games, and West Ham have a ludicrous run of fixtures coming up:
I’ve got Arnie in my team already, but I’m really considering doubling up and trying to find a way to get Felipe in too.
Son (8.3) represents a tantalising, high-ceiling prospect. He’s had back-to-back excellent seasons, grabbing 12 goals and 8 assists in 17/18, and 14 goals and 9 assists in 16/17. He looked wonderful against Chelsea too. He’s yet to complete 90 minutes this season though, and I kinda want to see him get a few more games under his belt before I buy in.
One player I never bought into was Martial (7.7). There’s no accounting for being part of a crap attack, and playing under a miserly, miserable defensive manager. Particularly one who’ll turn on a young player as soon as they show the slightest sign of slipping up. After not scoring for one single game, he was immediately dropped by Mou for Southampton – a game in which he could have thrived.
Like the player, don’t like him in FPL… and it’s not his fault.
The cupboard continues to be bare for value midfielders. None of them offer any consistency. Even the more attractive prospects, like Fraser (6.2) and Pereyra (6.3) have challenging upcoming schedules.
Honestly, I don’t love any of the options here, so I’ll just give you a few I’m keeping my eye on.
Sessegnon (6.0) is one. He’s pretty nailed, completing 90mins in nine of his last 10 games. In his first game under Ranieri, he also grabbed two assists. If the Tinkerman can reboot Fulham’s attack, young Ryan could offer some nice value.
March (5.0), at Brighton, is the definition of a punt. He never gets 90 minutes at the moment… but he’s managing to contribute anyway. He’s somehow got four assists in his last four games, despite only playing 69, 38, 17 and 90 minutes. In that last game, when he did get 90 minutes, he picked up two of those assists.
Finally, a long-term player to keep an eye on is Everton’s Lookman (5.1).
Everton’s attack has stuttered in recent weeks, and Silva’s current foursome of Bernard, Richarlison, Sigurdsson and Walcott simply isn’t gelling. Lookman looked fantastic against Liverpool when he came on, offering a cut and thrust that Walcott – for example – simply doesn’t.
Theo or Bernard might well be sacrificed for the youngster in coming weeks, and – if that does happen – I’ll be keeping my beady eye on him.
Auba! Auba! Auba!
How good is Aubameyang (11.0) ? I mean, really. What a guy. Did you see that finish for his first goal? Oof.
Auba is now the Premier League’s top scorer, with 10 goals. In terms of minutes/goal, he’s wiping the floor with absolutely everyone. He’s scoring every 104 minutes. For reference, that figure stands at 121mins for Aguero, 128mins for Sterling, and 157mins for Kane.
Personally, I didn’t think there was an option not to bring him in after that Spurs performance. He’s the standout forward pick for me right now, providing a perfect blend of value and results.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the Premier League:
• 1,058 mins • 1,037 mins
• 31 shots • 31 shots
• 10 goals • 10 goals
If it ain’t broke… pic.twitter.com/1ByLVfnOyP
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) December 3, 2018
Your other top options, of course, are Aguero (11.4) and Kane (12.4). Aguero’s clearly going to be rotated for Jesus in the upcoming weeks, and – even if Spurs do have an easy upcoming schedule – there’s no way I’m shelling out an extra 1.4m for Kane over Auba.
Honestly, I wouldn’t bother with any mid-range forward right now.
Firmino (9.2) simply isn’t returning at all.
Vardy (8.9) is a more appealing option – he’s scored in each of his last two games. I’d still rather combine one top striker with one cheaper option, though, and plow the savings into my midfield.
When it comes to budget options, you actually have a whole lot of choice.
Wilson (6.8) is having an absolutely outstanding season. He’s got seven goals and a ridiculous seven assists, and – after goals against Man U and Man City – has proven he can do it against the bigger teams. Inconsistency and injuries were the biggest knocks on Wilson in the past. With both of those apparently removed now, he offers a nigh-on irresistible option.
Ah, Glenn Murray (6.7) It feels like we’re all waiting him to turn back into a pumpkin, but it’s simply not happening. Like Wilson he’s got seven goals. Unlike Wilson, he has zero assists, making him an inferior choice for me.
Arnautovic (7.1) didn’t have quite the explosive start I was hoping for in this soft run of fixtures for West Ham. Javier Hernandez being reinstalled as the lead striker also worries me a little. Still, I can’t imagine Arnie blanking too often in the upcoming slate of easy-peasy games.
I’d still hold off on Mitrovic (6.6) for now. As with Sessegnon, I want to see how Fulham respond to the change of manager before I consider investing. Playing away to Chelsea wasn’t really a fair barometer… but upcoming games against middling-to-poor defences – like Man U, West Ham and Wolves (currently) – should give us a better idea.
Tough call this week, with all your usual suspects – Auba, Aguero, Sterling and Salah – playing away.
Kane is the best overall option in FPL in Gameweek 15, given he gets to pound Southampton into the ground at home. Even Lukaku scored against them at the weekend, for God’s sake.
Personally, I’m going for Aubameyang at Old Trafford. Mou’s still a wily old fox, particularly in big games, but there’s no disguising how awful Man U’s defence is.
Salah should be a safe pick away to the currently-terrible Burnley side. He’s turned in underwhelming performances against poor teams already this season, though.
There, that wasn’t so bad, was it?
Well, even if it was, thanks for reading anyway!