Sean Sullivan

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Sean's Super Subs - Week 8

Wednesday, October 11, 2017


The international break is over, meaning it’s time for FPL managers to get back on the horse.  And, furthermore, assess the potential fallout of having lost several key players to injury.  Chelsea will be without Alvaro Morata and N’Golo Kante, who picked up a muscle problem in France’s World Cup qualifier against Bulgaria, against Crystal Palace this weekend.  Liverpool ace Sadio Mane has been ruled out for four to six weeks with a hamstring injury he suffered playing for Senegal.  Shkodran Mustafi is set to miss significant time for Arsenal after he suffered a thigh strain playing with Germany, while Manchester United appear to have lost Marouane Fellaini for two or three weeks due to a sprained MCL.  Elsewhere, Newcastle’s Matt Ritchie and Bournemouth’s Joshua King are both early doubts for GW8.  


However, have no fear, my list of viable replacements is here!  This week’s column addresses how to cope with the loss of stars and provides alternatives to look at should their likely fill-ins be unavailable.  

 

A reminder, here’s what you need to know to maximize my advice.  This column is reserved for weekly free agent and waiver-wire adds for Togga draft leagues and features only players owned in less than 50 percent of leagues.  Players who make each column will be classified as a streaming option, (one-week add), long-term add (worth holding for a specific duration of matches) or a must-add (should be owned in all leagues).


Goalkeeper

 

 

Nick Pope, Burnley (19 percent):  Pope has been nothing short of excellent since stepping in for the injured Tom Heaton.  Having made 14 saves and conceded just once across three starts, he sits first in points per match (13.88) and sixth in total points (55.50) amongst all goalkeepers.  Pope’s presence on this list is to upgrade him from a top streaming option to a starter in leagues with 10 or more teams.  Burnley boasts a generous list of fixtures over the next five matches, positioning him to be a top-five goalkeeper by this time next month.  During that span, Manchester City will be the only opponent Burnley faces averaging more than one goal per game this season.  If you need a new first-choice option, I would grab Pope.  

 

 

Opponent

WHU

@MCI

NEW

@SOU

SWA

Goals For

7

22

7

5

3

Goals Per Game

1.0

3.14

1.0

0.71

0.43

 

 

 


Defenders

 

 

 

Jose Fonte, West Ham (49 percent):  Fonte’s presence in the starting XI has been an undeniable boost for Slaven Bilic’s backline.  In two matches without him, West Ham conceded seven goals.  In the four matches with him, the Hammers kept three clean sheets.  In addition to averaging more than two aerials won and two interceptions during that span, Fonte got after it in the final third with two assists from four chances created. The Portuguese center-back also ranked 10th amongst all defenders in points per match average over the last three weeks (13.60). Having outscored all other West Ham defenders in each of their clean sheets thus far, Fonte is the one to start against Burnley this weekend.  The Clarets defeated Everton 1-0 in GW7 but still allowed a total of 24.25 points to center-halves Michael Keane (16) and Ashley Williams (8.75).

 

 

 

Rob Holding, Arsenal (7 percent):  Arsenal are facing the prospect of being without two of their three first-choice center-halves for Saturday’s trip to Watford, with Shkodran Mustafi ruled out after injuring his hamstring on international duty and Laurent Koscielny (Achilles) not yet back in full training. Further complicating the issue is the status of Calum Chambers, who is considered questionable, has been sidelined since suffering a groin injury against Doncaster in the Carabao Cup last month. This means Holding will likely get a start in GW8 and see significant time for the duration of Mustafi’s absence, which has been reported as an extended period.  The 22-year-old, who played well when he filled in for Koscielny in GW7, can be considered a streaming option for 12-team leagues.  He’s averaging 4.33 aerials won and 4.67 clearances per game, both bests amongst all Arsenal defenders.  

 

 

 

Tommy Smith, Huddersfield Town (26 percent):  There is nothing wrong with playing it safe when it comes to streaming defenders.  This is why Smith makes the list for GW8.  The Huddersfield Town captain has been consistent over the last six matches, scoring no less than eight points in the four matches his side have either won or drawn.  Boosting his value is the Terriers matchup with Swansea City, as they’ve allowed the second most points to defenders (380) this season.  Furthermore, in recent weeks, right-backs have enjoyed successful outings against the Swans.  Newcastle’s Jesus Gámez scored 19.25 in GW4, Kieran Trippier posted 14.25 in GW5 and Pablo Zabaleta tallied 15.50 in GW7.  Smith, who ranks 15th in points per match (7.54) compared to all defenders owned in less than 50 percent of leagues, is another streaming option for deeper leagues.


Midfielders

 

 

 

Grzegorz Krychowiak, West Brom (25 percent):  Though his 18.50 points weren’t good enough to put him in contention for the Perfect XI, they were good enough for seventh-best among all midfielders in GW7. Krychowiak’s outing saw him grab his first assist for West Brom and, even more relevant to his fantasy stock, record six interceptions. The significance?  He has made the sixth-most interceptions by a midfielder this season, despite playing just four matches, and leads the entire league on a per-match basis (3.8).  In short, Krychowiak’s volume of defensive actions offsets inconsistent involvement in the final third.  This should translate to a strong fantasy against Leicester City, as the Foxes have allowed an average of 12.70 points to opposing defensive midfielders over the last three matches.  An add for managers who lost Marouane Fellaini, Krychowiak is a safe play for GW8.

 

 

Grzegorz Krychowiak

Head-to-Head

Marouane Fellaini

4

Apps

6

9.50

PPM

10.50

14

INT

9

9

AER

17




Mikel Merino, Newcastle (27 percent):  Newcastle will likely be on the back foot this weekend against Southampton, who rank fourth in possession percentage (57%), but that works in favor of Merino.  Across the last three matches during which his side were out possessed, the Borussia Dortmund loanee completed more passes than any other Magpie (142) and posted no less than 9.5 fantasy points.  Merino is averaging 9.33 points per game despite no goals or assists in six starts, which sets him up for a big game if he breaks the drought at St. Mary’s Stadium.  He’s a sleeper consideration for GW8, and a valuable long-term add should N’Golo Kante be sidelined for longer than expected.

 

 

 

 

Lewis Cook, Bournemouth (Less than 1 percent): Cook skippered England’s Under-20 World Cup winning side in the summer, becoming the first player since Bobby Moore (1966) to captain a Three Lions national team to victory in an international tournament.  Following his time in the limelight, Cook had to wait until GW7 for his first Premier League start of the season. But boy did he deliver, producing more passes (66) and successful take-ons (6) than any other player on the pitch in Bournemouth’s scoreless draw against Leicester City. While some will see his man-of-the-match performance as promise for the future, I believe there is much more to come this season.  If you have an open spot on the bench, the smart move is to add Cook.  He’s a long-term add who has the potential to be a must-start midfielder in 12-team leagues.  Feel free to chirp me on Twitter if I’m wrong—@Sean_Sullivan_1.

 

 

 

Cook’s Career

Apps

Assists

Key Passes

Passes Per Match

Completion %

BOU (2016-18)

7

2

7

46.5

84.6%

Leeds (2014-16)

81

3

82

36.3

77.2%

 

 


Forwards




Michy Batshuayi, Chelsea (19 percent): Antonio Conte has a big decision on his hands with Alvaro Morata unavailable for Saturday’s match with Crystal Palace, which has major fantasy implications.  Retain his 3-4-2-1 formation and play Batshuayi, or deploy a 3-4-3 with Eden Hazard as a false number nine.  Should the first scenario come to fruition, Batshuayi is a must-start in all leagues.  The Eagles rank 20th in both points allowed to forwards (211) and goals conceded (17).  However, should the second scenario be Conte’s course of action, the Belgian is still worth adding as the clear-cut handcuff for Morata.  If you own Morata or need frontline depth, Batshuayi is the one to add.




Salomon Rondon, West Brom (19 percent):  Rondon was in dire need of a strong showing last time out and responded with his first goal of the season against Watford.  His solo effort ended a five-match goal drought to start the campaign and marked his first goal at The Hawthorns since December 2016.  While he had seen just 179 minutes of action prior to GW7, I wouldn't write Rondon off just yet.  The 28-year-old went 15 matches without a goal in 2016/17 but still finished as their top scorer for the second successive season.  If you are desperate for a forward, Rondon is a decent streaming option for GW8. Leicester City rank 19th in points conceded to forwards since the start of the season. 

 


 

Rondon (WBA Career)

Apps

Minutes

Goals

Shots on Target

Shots Taken

2017-18

6

252

1

2

5

2016-17

38

2896

8

26

95

2015-16

34

2568

9

21

71

 
 
 
 


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