GW18/19 FPL REVIEW FROM @FANTASYGAFFER
On injuries, internationals, rotation and redemption we will wax poetic. We will endeavor to avoid puns at all cost and will keep our sniggering opinions on management to ourselves. We might even conjugate the odd bit of latin…amō amās amat alans out across the land…right well, that’s shot, so on with the column.
Hoping everyone’s had a bit better holiday season than Everton. Losses to Stoke and Newcastle saw Roberto Martinez’s men drop to 12th in the table and are a shocking 5 points above the relegation places as we approach 2015. Injuries to Phil Jagielka (45′ against Stoke) and Tim Howard (45′ against Stoke, as well) leaves an already weak defense without two of it’s pillars and EPL fantasy managers must consider selling Leighton Baines as his offensive returns will be further compromised by defensive losses. Interim netminder Joel Robles might temp some managers who are reaching for their wild card early in the month, but the low cost is coupled with a low chance of returns. Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea are all scheduled for the 4-6 week period Howard faces on the sidelines.
Lengthy layoffs face a number of other players, most notably those headed to international duty. African Cup of Nations will kick-off in two weeks time with the matches scheduled to run 17 January to 8 February 2015. A number of top fantasy premier league options (Toure, Bony, etc) will be departing, but remain in contention for the January 1 match (and some may remain for the following weekend). However, the Asian Cup will first claim one player with massive FPL significance – Mile Jedinak.
Taking the note directly from the Premier League themselves, Jedinak “is set to play in Asian Cup for Australia. The tournament starts on January 9, with group stages ending on January 20 and the final taking place on January 31. Jedinak will miss at least GW20-22.” The Eagles best performer this season then could be further unavailable for GW23 depending on Australia’s performance in the tournament and/or his level of fatigue. It’s time for the 9.2% of owners to transfer the Palace captain and look to reinvest those meager funds elsewhere.
An interesting place to start is Manchester City’s James Milner. Milner spent the last two fixtures playing as a “false 9”, with mixed results at best. While the underlying statistics portend future returns – and those same statistics create real fantasy value in draft formats like Togga – Milner failed to score in either outing. Still, he’s earned the nod over the recently returned Steven Jovetic and should continue to see match time. Sergio Aguero may be fit ahead of schedule, but will likely miss at least two more in the League. Yaya Toure may be injured and is due to join Ivory Coast for ACoN, Fernando is suspended for the next match after receiving his fifth caution of the campaign and neither Pozo nor Dzeko are fit to play on New Years Day. Sunderland at The Etihad and a trip to Everton are the next two facing the Citizens and Milner remains a quality short-term option.
Another quality play may be Liverpool’s Adam Lallana. Everyone who predicted the former Southampton man leading the FPL in points this gameweek must has then abruptly forgotten to act on the impulse, he is selected in fewer than 1% of sides. His two-goal haul on Monday Night led the Reds over Swansea City and secured them six points from their last two matches. Lallana continues to partner Coutinho and Sterling in Liverpool’s front three and is the same price as Sterling at £8.3m. With Leicester, Sunderland, Aston Villa, West Ham and Everton in the next five there is no reason to believe Liverpool will switch tactics. With that in mind, all three of Brendan Rodgers’ makeshift frontline receives a fantasy boost and both Coutinho and Lallana will see a sharp rise in their ownership in the coming days.
Manchester City’s David Silva will also see his ownership rise after completing an impressive Christmas programme. He was one of the Five Players You Must Pick headed into this gameweek and summarily delivered another goal. He now has four goals and an assist since 20 December and has rounded into form nicely since his recovery from injury. £9.3 and selected in 16.7% of FPL sides, he has seen a massive uptick in ownership in the last five days with better than 300,000 net transfers in. The man is playing fine football and scoring for fun – he may well best the seven goals, 12 assists in 2163′ he posted a year ago and may even challenge his 184 pt haul in 2011/12 when he recorded 17 assists.
Some quick notes from players set to miss the GW20 festivities: Messers Tompkins (West Ham), Konchesky (Leicester) and Skrtel (Liverpool) have all picked up a fifth yellow card and will be suspended for the New Years Day fixtures. As will Arsenal’s Olivier Giroud who saw red following his headbut of Nedum Onuoha in the Gunner’s 2-1 victory over Queens Park on Boxing Day. Giroud will not miss a third Premier League fixture as Arsenal have a cup tie which will absorb one match of the ban.
Read the Gaffer’s Last Article: Injuries Are Live