Steve Rothgeb

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Fuzzy's FPL Favorites - GW10

Thursday, October 26, 2017


If you want to gain entry into the world of FPL, you gotta pay the troll toll.

 

While trolls have been a part of children's stories for all of us in our youths, the practice of "trolling" has pretty much confined itself to the 21st century. A loose definition - manipulating one or more person's emotions through a series of actions or words to maximize pain and/or embarrassment. In the land of FPL, trolling was the story of the round in Week 9, and I have to bear some of the responsibility.

 

While I had a solid round personally, I could not get much satisfaction from it because I made a risky call (which, I admittedly labeled it as "risky") on the league's most expensive/productive player...and my call immediately blew up in my face and in the face of any who were on board with the idea - selling Harry Kane. I stand by my call based on the climate at the time last week - Spurs were underperforming at home, Kane had yet to score at Wembley (in the PL) and I thought if Spurs couldn't find an early goal, they would be under pressure and Liverpool would take advantage. Well, whether it was the one factor that changed things or not, Spurs indeed scored early and they played pressure-free for the first time in the big stadium. I can only hang my head in shame with my Kane call. I saw a four week window where it looked to be the toughest stretch of the season and I felt there were too many other premium options who were performing to ignore.

 

But, the trolling did not stop there. Pep Guardiola decided to "troll it up" himself in Week 9, benching two of the biggest starts from their previous win, Gabriel Jesus and Raheem Sterling, coincidentally also two of the most transferred in players heading into last round's deadline. Sure, City went on to an easy win, scoring three goals, though Burnley did well to hold them to that, as the Citizens had been averaging just under five goals a game in their last five (24 total). Twitter was up in arms when City released their team news, so the trolling was felt around the globe.

 

While I may have contributed to trolling for anyone who may have sold Kane last week, rest assured, I could not avoid my own trolling episode. Last week, I nominated Aaron Mooy as my midfielder to drop. Mooy had not come up with an attacking return since Week 2 and it seemed a tall order to expect one in Week 9 against Man United, who had given up only two goals all season before they played Huddersfield. As it so happens, Mooy was in my squad in the buildup to Week 9 and I was trying to find a way to switch him out, but I could not justify a points hit and needed to downgrade elsewhere to free up cash to upgrade Mooy the following week. So, rather than spend points, I decided to stick him in on my bench for Tom Carroll, who I felt a bit more confidence in thanks to his attacking return the previous week and was playing a much more attractive fixture. The result? Of course Mooy scored a goal. Of course. And Carroll did zilch. Now, Mooy is poised to troll me for weeks to come, because suddenly I feel a bit more confidence in him and may delay his removal.

 

Can you believe we have reached the quarter-mark of the season already. Let's get the second quarter off to a good start with a look at Week 10 then...

 

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TO HAVE AND TO HOLD

 

So now it is time to look at the players to think about ahead of Week 4. As a reminder, there are four categories of players which I feel are worth mentioning week to week when making decisions about transfers....

 

1) Players to buy

2) Players to sell

3) Players to hold onto

4) Players to avoid buying

 

I will also include later in the section, my top choices for the captain's armband. While I will consider every player from A to Z, you will normally find the usual suspects there.

 

Right, so let's dive in...

 

GOALKEEPERS

 

*Just as a reminder, keepers should always be the last position to think about using transfers for, unless there is an urgent need. So, when you see who I have listed here, bear in mind that my keeper advice does not carry as much weight as the outfield positions.

 

Player to buy: Matt Ryan - Last week, I advised the few Ryan owners out there to hang on, and hopefully they did, as Brighton earned a clean sheet. Now, I am nominating him as the best keeper to buy if you happen to be shopping this week. The Seagulls have a kind schedule ahead and Ryan's budget price should more than present value. Southampton, Stoke and Palace at home in three of the next five and the Swans on the road - a couple more cleanies in there doesn't seem too crazy to imagine.

 

Player to sell: Ben Foster - Remember when the season was about to begin and Foster was the overwhelming choice among the budget keepers to have on your team, with a good run of fixtures to start the campaign a selling point? Well, what goes around, comes around. Those easier matches are over with and frankly, Foster's fantasy production was not as good as hoped. The Baggies have kept only one clean sheet since Week 2 and now have Man City, Chelsea and Tottenham in three of their next four. Flip Foster to Ryan if the rest of your side is in good shape.

 

Player to hold: Jordan Pickford - Do not be surprised to see several Toffees in the "buy" or "hold" section of this column in the next couple of weeks as fantasy production through the Everton squad should pick up with the sacking of Ronald Koeman. I feel bad for anyone who had been rolling with Pickford up until now, but if he is in your side, it is time to see if he will finally pay off. The schedule certainly helps - Watford is the most formidable opponent until the Merseyside derby in December. Again, it is too bad if you've backed Pickford until now, but give him a chance for the next few weeks.

 

Player to avoid: Julian Speroni - Speaking of new management, Palace are beginning to turn things around and it is presenting some fantasy options among the Eagles. Do not let Speroni be one of them. While the veteran may have the job for as long as Palace keep a positive momentum going, it is hard to envision him holding the job down for the rest of the season. That, and Palace still have work to do in the back. The appeal would be Speroni's minimum price, but folks, Rob Elliot, who led all keepers in Week 9 by the way, is still only 4.2m and that .2m more than Speroni is the difference between a cheap keeper you want to actually use and one that has little job security on a club who are still very much a work in progress.

 

 DEFENDERS

 

Player to buy: Stephen Ward - Sean Dyche is quickly becoming my favorite manager, Burnley quickly becoming my favorite "secondary club" to follow and it is all due to watching this Claret defensive group play. 95% of the time, I tune into a non-Spurs match to catch an attacking player on my FPL team, but I am just as entertained watching Burnley defend. With City, Chelsea, Tottenham and Liverpool out of the way for the first half of the season, the schedule is favorable up through the festive period. Games at Turf Moor are all the more appealing and the Clarets have three at home in their next four, including Newcastle and Swansea.

 

Player to sell: Stoke defenders - I nominated Ahmed Hegazi here last week and would like to again this week - he still has high ownership, the Baggies are not getting defensive returns and Hegazi's place in the XI may be under threat soon. In an ongoing effort to avoid repeating myself though, let me offer another piece of advice - dump Stoke defenders. Looking ahead at the schedule a couple of weeks ago, I was thinking of investing in a cheap Potter for my defense, based on fixtures. I forgave the beating handed to them by Man City a couple of weeks back, but last week at home against Bournemouth was supposed to be the beginning of a turnaround. Instead, they coughed up two to the Cherries. Despite a positive schedule over the next several weeks, I see nothing to be gained from spending a transfer here.

 

Player to hold: Charlie Daniels - Do not expect a clean sheet for the Cherries this weekend when they host reigning champs Chelsea, but if you are a Daniels owner, you need to switch him out for another option already on your bench or just start him and bite the bullet. Reason being, once the Blues are out of the way, Bournemouth have a long stretch of positive matchups. While they have under performed so far this season defensively, I would expect a couple of clean sheets in the coming weeks. More importantly though, Daniels is set up for some attacking returns against opponents between now and Week 17 when the Cherries get Manchester United.

 

Player to avoid: Chelsea defenders - Defensive investment from the top clubs has the potential to pay off at any time, but looking at the schedule for the Blues over the next four weeks and considering three clean sheets in their first nine weeks hasn't been all that impressive, I think it makes sense to avoid shopping for a Chelsea option. Three of the next four are at home and the one they play at the Bridge is against Manchester United. 

 

MIDFIELDERS

 

Player to buy: Mo Salah - If my squad is set up at the moment to afford three premium midfielders, it would include Christian Eriksen, a Man City option and Salah. Liverpool may not have been impressive against Spurs last weekend, but their attack is too potent to go into any kind of prolonged funk. The Reds begin the first of five home games over the next eight weeks and the only top club they face for the next two months is a home date against Chelsea. Meanwhile, Salah has exhibited the sort of goal-scoring consistency that is rare to find at the midfield position. His goal last week against Spurs shows that he's capable of producing in the tough fixtures. Philippe Coutinho is certainly another option, but I like Salah's guarantee of being in the front three whereas Coutinho will often play deeper when Sadio Mane is fit.

 

Player to sell: Henrikh Mkhitaryan - I had been willing to keep the faith with Mkhi through his dry spell but once Jose Mourinho decided to bench him, perhaps it is time for me to wake up and smell the coffee. Abdoulaye Doucoure is now ahead of Mkhitaryan on points for the season.....Abdoulaye Doucoure. The German's price has been steadily falling for weeks now, so even if you got in early on him, selling him now is not going to make any difference in your team value - if you wanted him back, it will likely be at the same price you got him at the first time, if not cheaper. Meanwhile, even if he picks "now" as the time to find form again, it has to be against tough opposition the next two weeks - Tottenham and Chelsea.

 

Player to hold: Gylfi Sigurdsson - You cannot hold down the Icelandic legend down for long and, with the departure of Ronald Koeman, the time feels ripe for Sigurdsson to return to his fantasy glory. A trip to Leicester this weekend is not the most ideal fixture, but home to Watford the next week will surely invite some goals. If you've held Siggy until now, do not let go, lest you run the risk of missing future points while other fantasy managers bring him in.

 

Player to avoid: José Izquierdo - Izquierdo made good with his first start of the season by scoring his first goal for Brighton, and with a good-looking schedule ahead for the Seagulls, managers might be looking for him as a budget differential. I have two words to put this idea to rest - Juniour Stanislas. For the same price, you can go out and pick up the much-more established Stanisals, who has been one of the best budget options when fit since Bournemouth joined the top flight. I would rather have Izquierdo this weekend, but FPL is about thinking beyond one week. Go Stanislas instead from this bracket.

 

 

FORWARDS

 

Player to buy: Alvaro Morata - It is usually not the best idea to transfer an expensive player in just as he is returning from injury, as it is likely that player will play a truncated shift, which is precisely what Morata experienced, along with a yellow card for added insult. That performance will leave Morata under the radar in the buildup to Week 10, but we cannot let our memories be so short and forget how consistently productive Morata had been before his brief injury spell. 

 

Player to sell: Jermain Defoe - Beyond the fact that Defoe has not been cleard for the weekend following a hamstring injury that forced him to miss last weekend,  the return of Callum Wilson has also caused some reason for Defoe owners to panic. This weekend's clash with Chelsea seems a good window to part ways with Defoe.

 

Player to hold: Javier Hernandez - West Ham were looking to be the next club under new management, but a midweek cup win for Slaven Bilic over Tottenham may have the Hammers trending in the right direction. I think it is worth Hernandez owners, who have had little to celebrate lately, to hang on and see if the momentum continues to build. There should be goals against the Reds this weekend, especially if Dejan Lovren is anywhere to be seen near the pitch for Liverpool.

 

Player to avoid: Glenn Murray - A brace from a striker who costs below 6m is always going to raise an eyebrow for fantasy maangers looking for cheap production, but it will take one blank from Murray for you to smack yourself in the head and say, "Why?" The current climate of FPL does not bode well for taking chances on cheap strikers, but if I were to buy one, I would go Laurent Depoitre instead, who at least seems to have his place nailed down for Huddersfield and costs half a million less.

 

TOP CAPTAIN CHOICES

 

1) Sergio Aguero

2) Mo Salah

3) Harry Kane

4) Alvaro Morata

5) Alexander Lacazette

 

That's it from me this week folks. Please, bear in mind much can change between the publishing of this column and the FPL deadline on Saturday. Remember, some injuries are not revealed until just before the deadline. Always try to refrain from executing your transfers for as long as possible to avoid wasting it on a player who turns out to have had a problem in training. That said, if you only have just enough money for the player you are looking to bring in and that player is at risk of rising in price, then sometimes you need to take a calculated risk and hope the fantasy gods will be kind to you.

 

Good luck, and may your arrows be green.



Steve Rothgeb is a contributor for Rotoworld.com and WorldSoccerTalk.com, a self-proclaimed fantasy sports oracle, and Tottenham Hotspur fanatic. He can be found on Twitter @FuzzyWarbles.
Email :Steve Rothgeb





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