Arsenal, Spurs, Chelsea, Liverpool – Do NOT make the cut

 Gameweek 18 Preview: Fantasy Premier League #FPL

Written by John Wallin @FantasyGaffer


This weekend will be a bit different than the past few week’s columns. Gone are most of the big names, replaced with the best players on the best form with the best match-ups. We’ve come to realize we can’t stop you from handing Kane the armband when really it should be Son. But in an effort to save you from yourself, this weekend will focus on all the players you *should* be getting into your XI – reputation be damned.

Defender – Zanka/Schindler, Huddersfield

Truthfully, five weeks ago this would have been Burnley’s James Tarkowski – we even picked him on Talkin Togga – but Burnley have Spurs, Liverpool and United (twice!) over the next seven. We’ll reinvest in GW27 for the stretch run. In the meantime, the Huddersfield duo of Zanka (£4.5; 6.9%) and Schindler (£4.6; 3%) are massively under-owned. Zanka (1530′) has two assists to go with six cleansheets and 4BPS. Schindler (1406′) has two assists of his own, 5CS and 9BPS, having twice notched the full 3BPS.

Most important? Their next five take them through New Year’s Day and run: Watford (a), Southampton (a), Stoke (H), Burnley (H) and Leicester (a). The next two? West Ham (H) and Stoke (a). Buy in now and use the savings to improve elsewhere.

Midfielder – Michail Antonio, West Ham

Two seasons ago, Antonio scored 8g, 7a, 12BPS in 2057. Last year he increased his counting stats to 9g, 8a but recorded only 8BPS in 2433′. This season he’s played 936′ for an underwhelming side and sits on just 1g, 1a through 17 matches. So why the optimism? £7.4m. 0.3% selected. He leads the Hammers with 21 shots and is fourth in the squad with nine key passes. Lanzini (20) leads the team in KP and is also a great shout for this column; priced £6.8m with 0.7% ownership! West Ham has a blank in GW21 but otherwise has Stoke (a), Newcastle (H), Bournemouth (a) and West Brom (H). Even David Moyes can’t **** that into a cocked hat.

Don’t listen when Ryan tweets that this should have been Northern Irish God Steven Davis. Saints next four are Chelsea (a), Huddersfield (H), Spurs (a) and United (a). There will be a time to invest – this ain’t it.

(ED: So should have been Davis)

Forward – Romelu Lukaku, Manchester United

10 straight weeks of negative net transfers. Negative net transfers in 12 out of the last 13. 1.3 million managers have shed Lukaku’s salary since GW8, leaving his price at £11.3M. He is now £1.6 less than Kane and only £1.0 more than Jesus. He’s played the most minutes of any OFPL forward and sits level third (with Morata and Rooney!!) on nine goals.

Upcoming are West Brom (a), Leicester (a), Burnley (H), Saints (H), and Everton (A). Plus a very nice Stoke (H) and Burnley (a) in January. Oh, plus Pogba’s back. Giddy-up.

Captain – Wayne Rooney, Everton

We’ll break form for this week and give a GW18 captain choice – Rooney has been in fiddle faddle of late. Five goals from four, an assist in that span and a conversion rate that would make Aeron Greyjoy blush. Rooney isn’t good for much these days, but he is excellent at scoring goals when gifted the chance. Swansea are allowing an EPL-worst 5.18 shots on target per match this season. They are allowing 14.53 total shots per match. Rooney is going to have plenty of chance to score, and score he shall. Then retire to his faddle field to fiddle.

Outsider – Nick Pope, Burnley

Well, they’ve mostly been a bit outside, Big Rom notably not. But there are plenty of ‘not top’ players who should be given a long look for inclusion as we navigate a ruthless fixture list. Somehow Burnley’s Nick Pope (5.5%) remains massively under-owned while recording 76pts, the second-top score for GK (DdG, 96pts). The fixture list is a bit tricky upcoming, but he has already posted cleansheets in seven matches, had three matches with 7+saves (including against City and LFC) and been good for 12BPS. That’s all come in just 13 starts. £4.7m is a fine price and Tom Heaton still isn’t slated for an official return. Need an outfield player? Hueng-min Son has earned 75+ minutes in six of Spurs last eight EPL fitures. Five goals, two assists and the confidence of his manager mean the £8.0m-rated midfielder needs to be owned in more than 3.7% of sides, even this weekend at Man City.

Draft – Yannick Bolasie, Everton

If you’ve waited this long to snag Bolaise off your Togga waivers, you might be out of luck. The Toffee’s forward (yes, FORWARD) has already earned competitive minutes after spending more than 12 months on the sidelines with a ligament injury. Just one goal and four assists for the playmaker last season (1048′) before being stretchered off. Of course, those numbers don’t appear eye-popping – and they’re not. What makes Bolasie dangers is his ability to create chances, beat the man on the dribble, deliver a cross – all with the work rate that allows him to get back in the defensive half and earn points. He’s a high-floor, high-ceiling player and one Everton could desperately use fit and firing. Get him now even  if you can properly start him until the New Year.

Need a GW18 shout? Double-down on that Leicester midfield. It’s always Riyad Mahrez, but Mark Albrighton has looked perfectly serviceable of late and is widely available. Should start after getting the rest in midweek.




John (aka FantasyGaffer) has been playing fantasy sports for more than a decade.

An avid supporter of Liverpool since the days of the Spice Boys, he has earnestly worn a white suit on multiple occasions. You’ll find his work on fantasy draft site PlayTogga.

Prior to joining Togga, he wrote for EPLIndex,, BackPageFootball and his own site, FantasyGaffer.


Posted on 15 Dec 2017, in Player Selection and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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