You find me in a good mood this week!
My previously middling Fantasy Premier League team actually put in a good performance in Gameweek 22. I got 68pts, which isn’t too bad at all, and smashed the average of 49pts.
Digne has simply been a revelation in recent weeks (more on him later). Salah picked up three bonus points too, which helped add to yet another solid fantasy performance from him.
That’s not to say that it’s all sunshine and rainbows. Is it ever, in FPL?
Marcos Alonso has been driving me absolutely crazy. In fact, I finally snapped this week and transferred him out for Andrew Robertson – something I probably should’ve done a while ago.
Long-term readers will remember my meltdowns from when I transferred Alonso out earlier this season, and immediately came to regret it. The same thing will inevitably happen this time. Prepare yourselves. He’s always capable of a double digit return, after all. My only hope of being proven right is that Chelsea do have some dodgy fixtures coming up.
Elsewhere, I bid a tearful goodbye to Son, as he headed off to the Asian Cup. Pogba was an easy choice as his replacement.
Finally, I also swapped the injured Trent Alexander-Arnold out for Wolves’ Ryan Bennett. This leaves me doubled up on the Wolves defence… which I really don’t like. But, I am going to switch to a 3-4-3 formation soon. Basically, Rashford has become so essential in FPL that I don’t really have a choice. I need to swap bench fodder Isaac Success into Rashford ASAP, and this Trent –> Bennett move frees up funds to do just that.
Obviously this does mean I’ve taken a four point hit, which never feels good. Given that Kane, Son, Trent and Guaita have all suddenly become unavailable, though, I’m guessing this will be a big hit week all round. Accordingly, I shouldn’t have lost too much ground on my many, many rivals.
Let’s talk strategy, briefly.
One of the ideas I floated in last week’s piece was the “no premium forwards” strat. With Kane now out, this strategy takes on even more credence. I’d much prefer to have no premium forward at all than bring in Firmino. If you don’t want Aubameyang, then I’d recommend you take this course of action. That money can be better invested elsewhere.
One final strategy note – we’ve got a blank gameweek coming up. GW27 will almost certainly be a blank for Everton and Man City. It might also be one for Spurs and Burnley or Chelsea and Brighton too. Plan accordingly.
Right! After that lengthy intro, let’s get onto my Fantasy Premier League tips for Gameweek 23.
Goalkeepers & Defenders
Just to spice things up a little, I’m going to kick off this section with a team I’m pretty sure I’ve never mentioned here before: Cardiff. They’ve registered three clean sheets in their last four games, and could certainly do so again this week against Newcastle.
Specifically, Etheridge (4.6) is an intriguing value pick. Did you know he’s actually the second-highest scoring GK in FPL this season? Crazy. A chunk of his value has come through bonus points, and he has to stop saving penalties at some point. Still, Cardiff have good fixtures coming up. If you’re prepared to make a goalkeeper transfer or two, I’d look at Etheridge.
I’ve just gone hunting for defenders for my own team… and didn’t find much that I liked.
As mentioned earlier, I’m finally off the Alonso (6.6) bandwagon. He simply doesn’t seem worth it any more. David Luiz (5.9) offers better value now, and still covers your Chelsea clean sheets.
Liverpool’s defence is pretty good, isn’t it? Robertson (6.7) and Van Dijk (6.5) continue to be great options. With Trent injured I’m expecting Milner (5.6) to fill in at full-back, so I wouldn’t be rushing out to pick up the (terrible) Alberto Moreno (4.1). Milner is obviously a midfielder in FPL, however, so he still isn’t worth bringing in.
Outside of those two, there aren’t many great options.
Digne (5.3) has been an excellent fantasy asset, and still has a few nice fixtures to come. I don’t really like any other defenders at Everton, though.
It’s a similar story at Wolves. They’ve got decent fixtures, but only one defender who I really like – Doherty (5.2). Bennett (4.1) is a fine enabler, but I don’t expect points from him.
Wan-Bissaka (4.5) has found himself linked with some of the big boys in this transfer window, which is no surprise. I’d be quite happy if he stayed where he was, however. He’s a great enabler, and offers a ton of value for his price tag.
Southampton have looked a much better team all-round under Ralph Hasenhüttl, and I’d take a good long look at Cedric (4.2). He’s super cheap, and Saints have four great fixtures coming up.
Finally, if you want to get in on the Manchester United hype train, you might like to take a look at Lindelöf (4.8). Man U have kept two cleans in a row, and have an excellent run of fixtures coming up. Personally I see this as a bit of a punt, though – I’m not convinced the previously awful Man U defence has been fixed overnight.
If you had Kane, and don’t already have Salah (13.4), I would go straight from him to Mo. As I said in the intro, I’d just rather have him than Aubameyang right now, and go with cheaper forwards. Salah’s returns have been great (the penalties have helped), and you can basically captain him for the rest of the season.
While we’re on the subject of Liverpool, I would steer well clear of Mane (9.5) for now. He’s tailed off massively since his electric start to the season, and his returns have been inconsistent to say the least.
Hazard (11.1) is incredibly frustrating to own (Tell me about it – Editor Joe). He is still really, really good, though. I still wouldn’t recommend getting him in at the moment… but I also wouldn’t make a blanket statement that you should get rid of him if you are an owner. The decision must be made based on the specifics of your team… but I can almost guarantee you have bigger problems to solve.
Turning to Man City, obviously Sterling (11.3) and Sane (9.6) are excellent. Personally, I really want to see De Bruyne (9.7) play 90 minutes, so that I can downgrade from Sterling to him, and thus free up funds for Rashford.
Sterling is the second-best midfielder in the game, as far as I’m concerned… but that’s in a vacuum. In my particular team, I have a huge amount of money tied up in him, Salah and Aubameyang, and I’d need to get rid of one of them to upgrade elsewhere (in this case, up top).
Dele Alli (8.9) just became a whole lot more interesting. He has shone whenever Kane’s been injured in seasons past. I’m slightly nervous about the sudden injury crisis at Spurs, however, which might hurt the whole team’s performance. I’d rather have Pogba (8.6) right now. As for Eriksen (9.3)… I still love him in real life, but he’s just too expensive for his FPL returns at the moment.
Let’s whip around some of the cheaper midfield options, who – unsurprisingly – play for worse teams.
Fraser (6.1) is still a pretty good option, and Brooks (5.1) is temptingly cheap. Bournemouth have been terrible recently, though, and they still have some tough fixtures to come in the near future.
As I mentioned in the GK/DEF section, I’m starting to seriously consider some Southampton assets. Redmond (5.2) is probably the most appealing candidate right now. He’s mega-cheap… but he’s also been a massive letdown in past years.
Richarlison (6.9) continues to frustrate his owners, including yours truly. The problem is that I just don’t see many other options at this price tag. Felipe Anderson (7.3) might be worth it, but with Arnie and Hernandez both being linked with moves away from West Ham in this window, he becomes a less appealing asset.
On the subject of West Ham, Nasri (5.5) looked good in his debut. 106k FPL owners have transferred him in this week already. Fitness is still a concern for me, though. Let’s call this one a “wait and see”. If he puts in a couple more good performances, and can consistently play 90 minutes, I’ll look at him seriously.
Martial (7.3) is an intriguing mid-range proposition. He didn’t return against Spurs, but he looked dangerous, and seems to be an integral part of Man U’s fearsome, speedy counter-attack. If you can’t afford Pogba, give Tony Marshall some strong consideration.
Finally, Camarasa (4.6) is a good enabler. He’s got two goals and three clean sheets in his last five games, and Cardiff have a few good fixtures coming up.
It might sound crazy to say after an awful performance, but Aubameyang (11.3) is definitely the only premium asset to consider here. He has 134pts on the season (top among forwards), and we know he can score. His fixtures are a mixed bag – Arsenal have Chelsea and City coming up… but also Cardiff, Huddersfield and Southampton.
Kane (12.5) is out for a month, so… get rid, obviously. His replacement will presumably be Llorente (5.6), I guess… but I’d much rather just get Alli in. I’m pretty sure Vincent Janssen is technically still at Spurs, even if he isn’t on the FPL website, so there’s no guarantee Llorente gets all the work up top anyway.
Your only other potential premium forward is Aguero (11.2)… but he’s also not an option at the moment, thanks to the rotation with Jesus (10.1).
Rashford (7.5) is the name on everyone’s lips right now (595k transfers in this week), and rightly so. He’s been transformed under Solskjær, and just keeps on delivering the goods. You should be doing everything you can to get him in too, ASAP.
A lot of people have been turning to Firmino (9.3) after the Kane injury. I wouldn’t bother. If you take out his game against Arsenal’s awful defence, he’s only got one goal and two assists in his last six games. He’s just not worth the price tag.
Wilson (6.5) is the only other interesting name to consider.
He’s the third-highest scoring forward in FPL this season, and has produced consistently when healthy. Right now, though, I don’t have a clue what’s going on with him. He played 80 minutes against Watford in GW21, and scored a goal… then wasn’t even in the squad against Everton. Has he got an injury, or a transfer window-related ‘”injury”? I just don’t know. Steer well clear, for now.
We’ve got a few decent options for FPL captaincy this week:
- Salah vs Crystal Palace, Home
- Hazard vs Arsenal, Away
- Sterling vs Huddersfield, Away
- Pogba vs Brighton, Home
- Aubameyang vs Chelsea, Home
- Rashford vs Brighton, Home
It should come as no surprise that I’m plumping for Salah. At that price, you’re captaining him at home against a lower-mid table club.
Hazard has been known to terrorise Arsenal’s defence before, and he’s my number two pick.
It’s always fascinating to see how the wider FPL community responds to a big injury. Kane going down has left a big hole in many people’s lineups. I’ve told you what I would do in this situation, but I’m interested to see what course of action people actually take.
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