Andrew Gastelum

Weekly Picks

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The Bargain Hunter - Week 16

Wednesday, December 6, 2017


Who doesn’t love the month of December when it comes to the Premier League? Of course there’s the Boxing Day and New Year’s fixtures, but that’s just a fragment of the 70 Premier League games to be played in December, starting last weekend.

 

After last weekend’s fireworks, we can only expect Sunday to be one of the most anticipated days of the season so far with the Manchester derby and Liverpool derby playing back-to-back. Not a bad way to kick off the festive period in the top flight.

 

Not that we’re past the last congested, shortened week, we’ll return to our full slate of coverage. Of the last gameweek, only Jonjoe Kenny was able to make a push for a differential with his clean sheet for Everton. But recent picks, all within the last three weeks, like Glenn Murray, Charlie Austin and Xherdan Shaqiri all scored over the weekend.

 

Without further delay, here are the bargain hits and misses ahead of Gameweek 16. I’m welcoming all suggestions and debates on Twitter (@gastelumEPL) and hopefully I can include your thoughts here in this column.

 

All of the stats used in this column come straight from the Premier League on a weekly basis. Our friends at FPL.com take the data from a thousand private leagues, all of which consist of eight teams, in order to minimize the impact of data from public leagues where autopick drafting is more prevalent. Of course, it’s just a sample size, so it’s not hard and fast; but it should give us a good idea of the tendencies of FPL Draft leagues and managers. Remember, the waivers deadline is a full 24 hours before the first game of the week, and the lowest-placed team in your league gets the first pick.

 

One-week Pick (OWP) - When a regular is suspended for a match, ineligible to face his parent club as a loanee, or his fill-in looks to deputize for only a week while the regular nurses a minor injury, this is where to find some replacements. They should only be looked at when you really need help at a position that week alone, and not looked at as long term plays. Best for salary cap leagues with unlimited transactions, not so much for draft leagues.

Short-term Pick (STP) - When a regular faces a multi-game suspension, an injury layoff lasting 2-5 weeks, international commitment, etc., this is where you look for players that can offer more beyond one week but do have a limited shelf life in most cases. Worth using a waiver claim or spending a bit more of your free agent budget (FAAB) than the One Week Buys. Can be useful in salary-cap format as long as you are comfortable with possibly needing to transfer them out in a few weeks. Also someone used as a

Long-term Picks (LTP) - When a regular is either facing a month or more out or has lost his spot seemingly to someone better, these are the players that emerge as potential long-term investments and are therefore the most valuable of the group and worth paying up. Great for any format, but especially valuable in draft leagues with limited waiver claims.

 

 

BARGAINS:

 

GK – Karl Darlow (Newcastle)

During the past two seasons in this space, I cannot recall a more bargain-heavy week with all five players owned in less than 25 percent of our current sample of FPL Draft leagues. And that starts with Karl Darlow, the Newcastle keeper who has enraged FPL.com managers by seemingly replacing Rob Elliot in the starting lineup. While it’s only been during the past week, Darlow certainly seems to be on the rise in Rafa Benitez’s book.

 

The keeper was originally expected to be the starting keeper this season after leading the team out of the Championship last year, before Elliot won out. Darlow has started the last two matches, saving his best performance for the club’s 3-1 loss to Chelsea on Saturday when he made six saves and earned the praise of Eden Hazard afterward. The Magpies keeper is available in 99 percent of our sample, which means you might be able to hold off for some time to make sure he keeps his spot.

 

 

DEF – Mamadou Sakho (Crystal Palace)

As I mentioned last week, I’m all for revving up the Crystal Palace bandwagon, which seems to be collecting a following now that things have started to turn around. Palace earned its first clean sheet of the season last week in a scoreless draw with Brighton and got a taste for it, recording another clean sheet just days later in another scoreless draw with West Brom. The club’s attack, not the defense seems to be the bigger problem, and that’s why we have Sakho here.  

 

Apart from scoring one of the club’s two goals in the last three Premier League matches, the fan favorite has earned two man-of-the-match performances in the last three games along with eight bonus points and the two clean sheets. This defensive trend looks to only continue for Palace, who have climbed to within three points of leaving the bottom three despite its abysmal start, with Bournemouth, Watford, Leicester City and Swansea City all before Boxing Day. And the best part is Sakho is available in more than 95 percent of FPL Draft leagues, making him an attractive short-term option.   

 

 

DEF- Christian Kabasele (Watford)

I already had him on my shortlist for the upcoming weekend, so the fact that Kabasele scored a goal over the weekend in the club’s impressive 1-1 draw with struggling Tottenham only gives me more reason to recommend him as a defender. After being used in a bit-part role last season, Kabasele has emerged as one of Marco Silva’s most reliable defenders for the upstart Hornets, yet somehow he is only available in 0.4 of our sample of FPL Draft leagues.  

 

Two weeks ago, I offered up Watford defender Marvin Zeegelaar as a pick, and I would still recommend him over Kabasele simply for his attacking potential as a wing-back, but Kabasele isn’t a bad option either if you want more security as a starter. I would just find a way to get a Watford defender into your team at this point in the season with the following schedule through New Year’s: Burnley, Crystal Palace, Huddersfield Town, Brighton, Leicester City, Swansea City.

 

 

MID– Jesse Lingard (Manchester United)

After the breakout week that he had, Jesse Lingard has to be in here somehow, someway. The Manchester United midfielder looked like the burgeoning talent we all know him to be with a goal and an assist against Watford in a 4-2 win, and then followed that up with a career day at the Emirates with two goals in a 3-1 victory over Arsenal that has United fans raving over the youngster’s talent.

 

His toughest test yet will come against runaway title favorites and derby rival Manchester City this weekend without Paul Pogba, but he has form on his side. I would be weary of relying upon Lingard to be a long-term fix with such quick turnover in Jose Mourinho’s midfield (remember Henrikh Mkhitaryan?), but if you need a fifth midfielder Lingard is not a bad short-term option available in more than 90 percent of FPL Draft leagues, although not for long.

 

 

FWD – Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton)

Available in a whopping 21 percent of our FPL Draft sample, Dominic Calvert-Lewin comes in as the most coveted option of the week, which makes sense since productive forwards are the hardest to come by on a weekly basis. The young Everton striker looks like a better option for salary cap leagues rather than draft leagues, but his impact can still be felt as a third forward.

 

After a brief introduction to the rigors of the Premier League last season, Calvert-Lewin has come into his own as he looks to fill the void left by Romelu Lukaku. The 20-year-old already has two goals and five assists this season, including two goals and two assists in his last five appearances. Under new manager Sam Allardyce, we can’t be too sure over his role, but I would label Calvert-Lewin as a short-term pick who can only continue his upward trend.

 

 








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