What with moving house, starting a new job and Christmas/New Year’s, it’s been a little while since I wrote a Fantasy Premier League advice column.
Based solely on FPL, however, very little has changed for me. I’m still not overjoyed with my team. I’m still putting up good, but not great scores most weeks (55 points in Gameweek 21 – again, that’s decent, but still saw me with big red arrows everywhere). I’m still languishing in fourth in the Full 90 Football FPL league, with Ismo Moh continuing to pull away:
(The code is 1638548-372960, if you’d like to join in the fun).
Sigh. Plus ça change, and all that.
Instead of a load of moaning, though, I want to kick this column off with a look at the transfers we’ve had so far in the real, not-made-up Premier League.
We’ve seen very little new blood coming in from overseas, with most of the transfers being intra-Prem. That’s actually better for Fantasy Premier League purposes though, as we know who we’re dealing with, and what to expect from them.
Here are the four most FPL-relevant ones so far:
- Dominic Solanke, 4.7 – Liverpool to Bournemouth
Solanke’s obviously super-cheap. If he does get playing time, he’d become the second-cheapest relevant forward in FPL, after Isaac Success.
The problem is, that’s a big “if”. The Cherries already have two good forwards in place. It seems inevitable that Callum Wilson will move eventually, and – if that happens in January – Solanke might prove interesting.
Even then, however, Solanke’s relevance is hardly guaranteed. He’s coming off an injury, and has only ever scored one goal in the Prem.
- Nathaniel Clyne, 4.4 – Liverpool to Bournemouth
This probably means more for owners of Liverpool’s full-backs than for anyone else. With the ongoing injury crisis in central defence, Alexander-Arnold and Robertson are bolted on indefinitely with Clyne’s departure.
As for Clyne himself… I’m not interested in anyone who plays for Bournemouth’s defence. Sorry. They’ve got the worst defensive record amongst the top 15 teams in the league.
- Jason Puncheon, 4.2 – Palace to Huddersfield
Puncheon actually interests me the most out of this group, purely as an enabler.
He is super cheap. If he starts to pick up regular playing time, he could definitely be a candidate for your fifth midfield spot.
- Samir Nasri, 5.5 – West Ham, Free Agent
Let’s not waste any time here – I’m really not interested in Nasri. I’ve got no idea if he can stay fit, or if he’s even good at football any more. West Ham have been bizarrely inconsistent anyway, considering the fixture run they’ve had.
No thank you.
So, that’s your roundup of the most noteworthy transfers so far, and their FPL relevance. Exciting, huh?! Hopefully we’ll get some more interesting deals in the next three weeks or so, because – let’s be honest – they’re all pretty boring.
Anyway, on with the show!
Here are my Fantasy Premier League tips for Gameweek 22.
Goalkeepers & Defenders
All of your usual suspects are looking good for this week. Liverpool, Chelsea and Man City play Brighton, Newcastle and Wolves respectively, with the latter two being at home. They’re your top shouts for clean sheets.
I will say, however, that I’m down on Ederson (5.6) for the time being. City haven’t kept a clean sheet in the league since November 24th, and they should’ve conceded more than one to Liverpool last time out. I wouldn’t bring in any of City’s defensive players until they’ve definitely righted the ship.
A sneaky outside candidate for a clean this week is Crystal Palace. They’re quietly putting together an excellent defensive season, sitting seventh in the table in goals conceded, and they play the Jekyll-and-Hyde-esque Watford at home this week. Hennessey (4.5) and Wan-Bissaka (4.5) are the two players I’d specifically target.
Looking to the medium-term, there’s a lot of defensive gold to be mined on Merseyside. Both Liverpool and Everton have a nice little fixture run coming up. If you’re looking for defensive transfers, start here.
Obviously Robertson (6.6) and Alisson (5.9) are elite (/the best) options at their positions. Alexander-Arnold’s (5.2) place in the starting lineup is even more assured now, with Clyne’s departure, and he still offers a very cheap way into the league’s best defence.
Digne (5.2) has been turning heads in the past couple of months… including mine. He was never going to return 17pts a week, as he did against Burnley, but I like him as a short-to-mid term hold.
There are a lot of options here at the moment. Almost too many. I’ve preached this before, but – if you’re a first time reader – I would 100% pump your money into midfield instead of having two premium strikers. In fact, I’ve even been considering moving off premium strikers entirely… but we’ll get to that later.
Salah (13.3) is back on top of the pile for me. For all the early season moaning, and the big price tag, he’s still comfortably the highest scorer in FPL. Liverpool have a nice little run of fixtures coming up now, too.
I get the uneasiness about Man City’s premium midfielders… but I’m not buying it personally. I’d still back Sterling (11.3) and Sane (9.5) to get back on song sooner rather than later, particularly as they have home games against Wolves and Arsenal (Eek – Editor Joe) coming up. De Bruyne (9.7) remains a fascinating option… but also one I’m not prepared to take right now. I just want to see him play a full 90 minutes first.
Hazard (11.1) is another one who’s stuttering… but who I’d also keep the faith with. Chelsea’s attack has been rubbish recently, but I’m hoping that was just a bit of Christmas-period fatigue, and that things will settle back down to normal now. That said, given the immense burden Hazard has to carry, I do have some concerns about him burning out. I wouldn’t actively look to bring him in now, but hold him if you’ve got him.
Manchester United have obviously looked great recently. Yes, they’ve been playing rubbish teams… but they’re about to play plenty more (see below)!
Pogba (8.4) is the name on everyone’s lips. Returns of 13, 15 and 18 points within his last four games saw his price shoot up from 7.8 to 8.4. Given Man U’s easy-peasy schedule after they play Spurs, The Pog will probably be my replacement for the imminently-departing Son:
Martial (7.3) has gone off the boil a bit recently, but I’d also consider him as a budget way into these fixtures, if you can’t afford Pogba.
It’s the same old story for cheaper midfielders. There are still only two top options to consider: Richarlison (6.9) and Felipe Anderson (7.4).
Richarlison’s been a long-term hold for me. He’s proven to be pretty good value for the price tag… but I’m still a little underwhelmed, particularly considering how much time he’s spent up front. Everton have a nice run of fixtures coming up, so I’m really hoping that he’ll finally pop:
Anderson has fallen foul of West Ham’s general inconsistency. He still offers a very high ceiling for his price, but the Hammers do have Arsenal, Liverpool and Man City to play in the next six weeks, plus Wolves away. Their fixtures get much easier again after Gameweek 28, so – if you don’t have him already – I’d hold off for now.
It could be argued that you should move off premium strikers all together, as the money could be better invested elsewhere… and I’ve actually been tempted to do this. I’ve resisted so far, and would advise you to do the same for now… but I wouldn’t call you an idiot for running this strategy.
It’s business as usual for the premium forwards.
Kane (12.6) has been ridiculously consistent. In the past 10 gameweeks, he’s had one return of under five points. In his last four games alone he’s registered five goals and two assists.
Aubameyang (11.4) is obviously your other top option. He’s outscored Kane on the season in Fantasy Premier League, despite being 1.2 cheaper. Whilst his recent form hasn’t been quite so ludicrous, he’s still got four goals and an assist in his last four matches.
I’m taking Auba out of the two, but you can’t go wrong with either of this pair.
As for Aguero (11.2)… he’s a comfortable third choice for me. He’s scored in his last two games, sure (and what a goal that was against Liverpool), but I’d still rather have Sterling for only 0.1 more.
After that, I’m not interested in anyone until you get down to the 7.0-ish price bracket.
You’ve got a few choices here.
It seemed like Arnautovic (6.9) was finally back as an option… then he started demanding a move to China, to “challenge for titles” (lol).
Rashford (7.3) seems a far safer pick. He’s looked excellent in a more central role under Solskjaer, and has grabbed a goal and an assist in each of his last two games. Again, Man U also have some very tasty fixtures coming up.
As for Callum Wilson (6.7)… who knows? If he does end up going to Chelsea, and can nail down a starting spot (which shouldn’t be hard, considering his competition is Alvaro Morata), he immediately represents incredible value. It’s hard to argue with his returns at Bournemouth anyway, although the injuries – which he’d managed to avoid in his spectacular first half of the season – seem to be catching up with him again.
Your top options this week are:
- Hazard at home to Newcastle
- Sterling at home to Wolves
- Salah away to Brighton
- Aubameyang away to Wolves
- Kane at home to Man U.
(If you don’t have any of those five… you’re playing the game wrong.)
I’m plumping for Salah, even against a stout Brighton team. He’s returned consistently over the past couple of months, Liverpool will be looking for revenge after their loss at the Etihad, and he’ll be the most popular captaincy shout amongst your competitors.
Besides, if you’re spending 13m-odd on a player… you should really be captaining him.
Consider the dust shaken off, and me – your friendly neighbourhood Fantasy Premier League expert – back to my best.
Good luck out there, everybody.