GW15 FPL REVIEW FROM @FANTASYGAFFER
It’s been a hectic week at the Gaf’s household as we’ve welcomed a new baby boy. In celebration, I’ve opted to shirk some responsibility and combine the typical gameweek recap for each week; instead I’ve written a single EPL fantasy GW14 and GW15 post. Given the ‘what have you done for me lately’ mentality of FPL, coupled with the ever-present need to vet the fixtures, rotation and midweek obligations, this will focus far more on the action which deprived us of Sergio Aguero, Cesc Fabregas, Charlie Austin and more.
Missing from GW16 will be a slew of players who saw red in GW15, most notably QPR’s Charlie Austin who undercut a fine outing (1 goal, 1 assist) when he drew a second booking in the late stages for a needless elbow (aren’t they all?). Austin was the driving force which delivered a 2-0 win over a surging Burnley side and, in the end, it is just a one week suspension. There is no pressing reason to move the 25-year-old out of your side at the moment. He was never going to be a high-value play on the road at Goodison in GW16 and this rest may suit him ahead of the GW17 home clash with West Brom.
Speaking of the Baggies, they struggled to a 0-0 draw with Saido Berahino relegated to the bench and a late substitute appearance. The England forward has not scored in the League since ending his impressive five goals in four matches run on 25 October. In the six matches since, he has failed to record a goal, an assist, or a FPL point total above 2. He is worth mentioning here as he remins 17.5%-selected and has seen a price dip to £5.9 from a high of £6.1. Also, he was on the bench when Graham Dorrans saw his 9′ penalty saved by Allen McGregor. West Brom managed just two other shots on goal as Berahino awaited his 72′ introduction. This side is berefit of creativity at the moment and, as a result, without value for fantasy premier league managers. Describing the end of a run of defeats with a 0-0 draw as “good” does not inspire confidence in FPL managers, and the Baggies’ boss did just that in his post match presser. We expect Saido to be back in the fold for the next one.
With Gareth McAuley and Jolean Lescott starting in the centre of the defense, West Brom did show substantial resolve in the defensive end. With Aston Villa next visiting the Hawthorns there is some value in chasing a clean sheet, but we would not feel comfortable as Alan Irvene’s side have seen just two clean sheets in their previous nine League fixtures.
Another side with substantially better defensive presence this week was Brendan Rodgers’ Liverpool. Perhaps that’s better written as “Brendan Rodgers’ Presents: Liverpool – a Brendan Rodgers Joint, featuring Brendan Rodgers as The Boss“. The man has seen himself thrust squarely into the spotlight over quotes regarding defense, the Captain and playing players on form. Frankly, we’re just happy Dejan Lovran is out – having made six errors (per Opta) in the opening 10 fixtures, the former Southampton stalwart did not look comfortable partnering Skrtel and needed to be replaced. The Reds have secured clean sheets in two of their past three but will run into Arsenal and United in their next two. A busy Christmas schedule is filled with sides Liverpool must beat to chase a top four finish and we like waiting on adding any Liverpool players until they’ve come through the next two.
The ‘wait and see’ approach is also one which many managers have elected to forgo when it comes to Sergio Aguero. By far the biggest story of the weekend was watching Kun limp off, replace by Jose Pozo (we’ll forgive you if you need to look him up) on 7′ and facing a lengthy spell on the sidelines.
So there we have it [Aguero] expected to miss around a month in the first instance #MCFC
— Ben Dinnery (@BenDinnery) December 7, 2014
Aguero is not expected back for at least a month. This, of course, comes at the worst possible time for both Manchester City’s Mauricio Pellegrini and his legion fantasy counterparts. Assuming he is able to return in one month, he will miss the following fixtures: Leicester (a), Crystal Palace (H), West Brom (a), Burnley (H) and Sunderland (H). For a player in the rich vein of form Kun has displayed this season, that was the stretch which could have propelled him to 30 goals. Instead, managers are left with one option.
Almost 100k managers have dumped Aguëro today—I’m one of them. — FPL Daily (@fpldaily) December 9, 2014
There may not be a one-for-one replacement for Aguero within the squad as Steven Jovetic is recovering from a knock and Edin Dzeko has been limited to 30′ by the gaffer. If Dzeko returns to full fitness, he would be the obvious addition on the strength of his Premier League record to date. However, the short-term solution is less clear. Robin van Persie (who hit two on Monday) is a like-for-like swap with huge potential and a matching price-tag.
It was Robin van Persie (who I touted just two weeks ago as a high-cost differential based on his underlying stats) that nabbed the brace in the 1-2 win at St. Mary’s. But Wayne Rooney pocketed an assist in his return to action and is priced a full £2.0m less than his strike partner. The Red Devils’ captain has 5 goals and 3 assists in less than 1000′ played – pacing him for better than 15 goals and 10 assists for a full season (given the total available minutes remaining). The only caution is the 16.6% already claiming Roo – a number sure to rise in the coming week. We like both of the United front-men, with your squads needs and available funds likely the deciding factor.
Another interesting differential selection to replace Aguero is Villa’s Christian Benteke. £7.9m-rated and 1.0% selected, the big Belgian is playing good football at the moment. It might appear a mixed bag on the surface, but West Brom (a), Man Utd (H), Swansea (a), Southampton (H), Crystal Palace (H) and Leicester (a) is the run between now and 10 January for Paul Lambert’s men. Benteke is closer to RvP in terms of play than many would credit. He is skilled on the ball, capable with both feet and able to generate chances for others. The only true limiting factor for Benteke is the skill which surrounds him. And even that couldn’t keep him from hitting 19 two season’s ago.
As we noted above, Liverpool hit a smooth run of fixtures beginning with Boxing Day, and a healthy Daniel Sturridge would have to be option A to replace the injured City star should Aguero look set for an extended spell in the New Year. And, finally, Cesc Fabregas will sit out the next match after receiving a fifth booking. The Chelsea midfield has no shortage of viable replacements, but Cesc has been too good and too consistent this season to slash from the squad over a single missed match.
Ed: Many Congrats to the Gaffer for his new arrival