GW12 FPL REVIEW FROM @FANTASYGAFFER
It was a poor week for fantasy premier league managers, with an average score of 35 points heading into Monday’s clash between the Villains and the Saints. A number of high-profile players missed out (including Nacir Chadli) while one notable forward made his comeback. While we say ‘oh, you again’ to Olivier Giroud, we also need to give attention to Danny Ings and Dwight Gayle – the only two forwards to score in double-digits GW12. On with the football.
Monday’s match was a dire affair, with Southampton showing some rust from the layoff and possibly a bit of fatigue from their cadre of newly minted internationals. The highlight of the match was undoubtedly the late goal scored by Nathaniel Clyne, from the center of Brad Guzan’s box, on a well-weighted cross in from Ryan Bertrand. We can only tout the Southampton defenders so much before it becomes all consuming, but the duo remain valuable despite the difficult runs of fixtures they’ll face in the coming three weeks. Michael Phillips at Togga covered the Saints as well in his Outside the Box column.
Forwards were the position to watch this week, as Daniel Sturridge was ruled out until the New Year following another (reportedly ninth!) thigh injury while Olivier Giroud returned to action for Arsenal. Both Mario Balotelli (hamstring) and Emmanuel Adebayor (lower back) failed to make the bench for their respective sides. In their stead Rickie Lambert and Harry Kane each found the net once, with the younger England man the one to own in FPL. Kane has hit two in his last three, is £4.8m and selected in a paltry 1.7% of sides. He and Ayoze Pérez (£4.9m, 2.7%) are the best from the low-rent district with either capable of starting in a fantasy 4-3-3. Danny Ings followed a double for the England U-21’s with a Premier League brace as the Clarets dispatched Stoke. Priced £5.7m and 0.6% selected, it is hard to make an argument for Ings over either of the less expensive choices but his two goals in two minutes showed that he can spark Burnley and perhaps net 10 this term.
On the other end of the spectrum were two high-cost, widely-owned, heavily-captained players, one of whom failed find the net. Both Manchester City’s Agüero and Chelsea’s Diego Costa were in contention for the Captain’s armband heading into the weekend. Agüero finished without a goal or assist and recorded fewer than 6 points for just the fourth match this season. In each of those (GW3, 5, 9 and 12) he went for 2. Certainly a blow for those who’ve captained the Citizens’ talisman, but he remains on the short list for the armband every week as he is Manuel Pellegrini’s most consistent striker and a magnet for bonus points.
The bonus for the Chelsea v West Brom match was an interesting triplet as Fábregas (3) and Hazard (3) both pocketed full allotments while Cahill – who neither scored nor assisted on a goal – took the final one. The duo have now collected 13 and 12 points, respectively, and sit behind Alexis Sánchez (15) and Sergio Agüero (14) amoung all fantasy players. Even more remarkable for Chelsea is that Diego Costa has also secured 9 bonus points this term. With only 12 matches gone, there is likely to be some unexpected bunching at the top (and bottom) of any list, but Chelsea’s midfield duo share a title with a very unlikely set. Tottenham’s Christian Eriksen (11pts) and Nacer Chadli (10pts) and West Ham’s Stewart Downing (11pts) and Diafra Sahko (11pts) are the only other teammates to have each earned double-digit bonus points to date. It is notable that these player have been able to secure significant totals without syphoning value from their teammates and everyone we’ve listed here should retain a modest bump in value due to the bonus point structure.
If you play in other formats of fantasy football, the bonus points do not weigh as heavily (or at all), but EA Sports PPI – which is a sortable field on the Official FPL site – is a good barometer for success across all formats. It is unsurprising to see perennial Player of the Month candidates leading at each position. One notable player is in the mix is Manchester United’s Robin van Persie. Van Persie is a posh play (£12.4m) and an out of fashion one as well (1.9% selected) but could be a remarkable value in the coming weeks. With Hull (H) and Stoke (H) in the next two weeks, Louis van Gaal doggedly remaining in 4-4-2 and Falcao still needing to prove match fitness, the Dutchman could finally see the just rewards for his tireless work. His 187 EAS PPI score is level-seventh amoung forwards this season (Steven Naismith) and ahead of Welbeck (14.3%), Rooney (14.0%) and Sturridge (7.9%) amoung others. While Rooney and Sturridge have missed matches – the reality is that the perception of van Persie as a bit past his prime is being over-exaggerated by relatively poor returns (3 goals, 0 assists).
There will understandably be a rush to add the men who scored in Saturday’s clash between the Gunners and Red Devils – Rooney and Giroud both deserve serious consideration on form and fixtures – but van Persie scored 12 goals in 1580′ a season ago and his underlying numbers suggest that a similar run is still possible for the one-time 30 goal machine.