Gameweek 23 Preview: Fantasy Premier League #FPL
Written by John Wallin @FantasyGaffer
Written by @FantasyGaffer
You may have heard, there is now a podcast as Bang Average as this column; with myself, Ryan and Mike talking all formats of FPL – not just ‘The Togga’. Go and subscribe, this will still be here when you get back. Now onto proper FPL insight. None of that ‘start Jamie Vardy when he he’s done his hamstring’ nonsense this space so often contains.
Defender – Shane Duffy
Dunk, Bong, Bruno and Duffy sound more like pledge names than footballers and the Brighton defensive core have often produced like they were half-drunk this season. But fantasy managers shouldn’t give up on them too early and a match against West Brom (as well as Saint, Hammers, Potters and Swans in their next six!) means discount points are at the ready. At £4.6m Duffy is the priciest of the lot but still owned in just 3.8% of sides. His 66pts are level with Maya Yoshida and better than Zanka, Mustafi and Lascelles. Time to trust your Seagulls.
Midfielder – Mesut Ozil, Arsenal
Bound to be an unpopular pick, Ozil is listed as 75% likely to play (knee) and owned in a scant 2.5% of OFPL sides. However, Ozil – unlike Alexis Sanchez – is not rumored to be leaving Arsenal this window and Wenger’s side are in desperate need of three points in each of their next four matches (bou, CRY, swa, EVE) ahead of a tricky set away to Spurs and home to City. 4 goals, 5 assists leaves Ozil off the double-double pace slightly, but he’s still creating chances. 19 chances created over his last five League appearances include a massive eight (8!) against Newcastle GW18. He created three in GW4 in the Gunners 3-0 dusting of the Cherries and he’ll be good value to post 7+ points in this one.
Forward – Sergio Aguero, Man City
Liverpool may boast the best home defensive record in the EPL (4 goals conceded) and not have allowed City to win on their ground over the past 15 years and City may be without Jesus and Kompany and Fodden – really, it’s that last one that might do them – but Pep’s side are on a different plane this season. 25 away goals (+20, no less) from 11 matches and having easily handled Liverpool 5-0 in GW4 means Aguero is must-own once again. The only thing keeping him from getting the armband here is the potential for a VvD shadow that leaves KDB/Sterling/Sane free to attack in from the wings. That would neutralize Kun’s FPL effectiveness but may prove a poor tactical decision in the real-world.
Captain – Eden Hazard, Chelsea
The Foxes injury list may not be long, but it does include Wes Morgan (thigh), Huth (fitness) and Fuchs (illness). It’s possible two of the three play, but even if they do this side has allowed 18 goals from 11 away matches and will be without their most potent striker as Vardy will need to pass a late fitness test on his groin to have any chance here. The idea that Ross Barkley’s arrival could unsettle Hazard is laughable, but the Belgian is also capable of an FU performance and he might just remind Ross why he’s the least popular Friend. Eden had a goal and a chance created against Arsenal in GW22 and will be looking to put Leicester to the sword early.
Outsider – Matt Ritchie, Newcastle
It’s been a long time since Matt Ritchie has done anything of note. GW14 was the last match where he recorded better than 3pts, when he notched two assists in a 2-2 draw with West Brom. His GW23 opponent, Swansea, are nearly the same team at home (2-2-7 -11) as they are on the road (2-2-7 -10) and lost in the reverse fixture 1-0 on a Ritchie-assisted goal. He is down to 2.1% selected and has suffered negative net transfers in 14 of the last 15 weeks. On 0 goals, but 7 assists, this isn’t even a good time to get in the £5.5m midfielder as The Toon face City, Burnley, a rejuvenated Palace and Man Utd over the next four. But if you own him in OFPL or Draft – this is the week to start him.
Draft – Saints Midfield Roulette, Southampton
Sofaine Boufal? Nathan Redmond? Dusan Tadic? Steven Davis? Everyone on Bang Average has a different favourite Saint – and none of them is Dusan Tadic though that man leads all of Claude Puel’s midfield with 181.5 pts. Of course, the Saints midfield is subject to squad rotation up to and including during the match. While Tadic is the best bet against Watford this weekend, if Boufal, Davis or Redmond (or James Ward-Prowse or even Oriol Romeu) are starting and available of the wire in your Togga league – grab them and start them. The Hornets sit 18th in the form table over the last five weeks having a 1-0-4 record (-6 differential) in that time. Who’s dead bottom? Southampton, of course. But this will be the week they rise from the dead; the week they start up the stairway to heaven; the week they’re baptized anew. Ugh, sorry. Still, I need two more words…. Screw Flanders.