Sean Sullivan

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Sean's Super Subs - Week 16

Thursday, December 7, 2017


This weekend, proceedings get underway when Chelsea travels across London for a meeting with West Ham.  While Saturday offers seven matches in total, the slate serves as an appetizer for Sunday’s potent derby doubleheader.  Following the Merseyside derby get-together between Liverpool and Everton at Anfield, Manchester City will put their 13-match win streak on the line when they travel to Old Trafford for this season’s first derby clash against Manchester United.  However, suspension and injuries have foiled some managers’ plans, with Paul Pogba’s red card against Arsenal and Robbie Brady’s injury against Leicester City. Pogba is banned for three matches and Brady is done for the season, meaning FPL managers must reorganize through the free agent market ahead of GW16.  This week’s column provides a mix of short-term and long-term options, highlighted by a defender for the festive period and a midfielder set to flourish for the rest of the season.  

 

 

Before we get down to business, here’s what you need to know to maximize my recommendations.  This column is reserved for weekly free agent adds for Togga draft leagues and features only players owned in less than 50 percent of all leagues.  Players who make each column will be classified in categories such as; streaming options (one-week adds), short-term/long-term adds (worth holding for a specific duration of matches) and must-adds (should be owned in all leagues). 


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Defenders

 

 

 

Mamadou Sakho, Crystal Palace (13 percent):   If you’re looking to make an investment for the festive period, Sakho is the defender to add.  The center-back has been a key component of a backline that has kept back-to-back clean sheets and conceded just once in their last three matches.  Sakho is averaging 6.75 clearances and 2.33 interceptions per match this season and posted more than 12 points in each of his last three games.  He should build on this success against Bournemouth this weekend, especially considering the Cherries have scored just four goals in seven away matches this season.  Sakho warrants a look in leagues with 10 or more teams in GW16 and should be a servable starter in upcoming matches against Watford, Leicester City and Swansea City.

 

 

 

Martin Olsson, Swansea City (6 percent):   Over the weekend, Olsson was arguably Swansea City’s top performer in a 2-1 defeat by Stoke City.  The left-back created three chances, sent in 11 crosses and recorded his first assist of the season.  His helper came three minutes into the match when he whipped in a pinpoint cross for Wilfried Bony, who did well to volley past Lee Grant from 10-yards out.  Although Olsson is averaging just 6.65 points per match this season, he ranks third amongst all defenders in total crosses (68) and offers streaming value in fixtures when he can get forward.  This week, the Swans host West Brom, who over the last five matches have allowed an average of 4.4 crosses and 13.70 fantasy points to opposing left-backs.  All things considered, Olsson’s offensive upside gives him fourth defender value in 12-team leagues.  

 

 

 

Steve Cook, Bournemouth  (31 percent):   With Adam Smith serving a one-match ban for diving, his absence is expected to earn Cook a recall against Crystal Palace on Saturday.  Cook was one of five changes to the side that drew 0-0 with Swansea City in GW15, with his return to the starting XI in central defense likely to see Simon Francis shifted to right-back.  The Bournemouth captain is in line to see sufficient action at Selhurst Park and should have no problem posting defensive actions, having racked up 27 clearances and 22 successful aerial wins across his last five starts.  Consider Cook a one-week option for deeper leagues this weekend.  


Midfielders

 

 

 

Johann Berg Gudmundsson, Burnley (27 percent):   Among the midfielders available in at least half of all leagues, Johann Berg Gudmundsson is the name that stands out.  With four assists and six double-digit fantasy scores over the last eight matches, JBG can be added in deeper leagues.  His emergence as a consistent contributor has come at a crucial time for Burnley, with offensive architect Robbie Brady ruled out for the rest of the season due to a serious knee injury. While the absence of Brady will be a big blow the Clarets, Gudmundsson stepped into the spotlight after the Republic of Ireland international was stretched off in GW15.  The 27-year-old, in the span of 60 minutes against Leicester City, tallied five key passes, three successful crosses and two shots on target. Gudmundsson is already averaging 3.5 crosses and 1.3 shots per match and those numbers should rise in the absence of Brady.  He’s a solid midfielder to add and start against Watford who has long-term upside as a potential set-piece taker for the rest of the season.  

 

 

 

Demarai Gray, Leicester City (22 percent):   Gray snapped a run of three poor fantasy outings by scoring the only goal during a 1-0 win over Burnley in GW15.  He did not record a successful cross or take-on, but the winger came close to a brace when he fired off the post in the second-half.  This week, Leicester travel to Newcastle, who have conceded four goals in their previous two home matches and eight in total since GW13.  With the Foxes rolling on the heels of a match that saw Riyad Mahrez link successfully with Gray multiple times, expect more of the same at St. James’ Park.  He’s a good goal/assist dependent option to have at your disposal for GW16, especially for managers that already have non-goal dependent midfielders in their starting XI.  

 

 

 

Ryan Fraser, Bournemouth (10 percent):   Fraser was one of the breakout performers during the second half of last season.  In fact, the Scotland international and Cesc Fabregas were the only two players to see less than 2,000 minutes and still manage eight or more assists.  Fraser helped Bournemouth to a draw against Southampton in GW15, scoring a goal to go with 41 touches and three successful take-ons in the final third.  If the 23-year-old retains his place in the starting XI this weekend, he could be a useful late add for managers in 12-team leagues.


Forwards

 

 

Wilfried Bony, Swansea City (21 percent):   Bony pledged to rediscover his scoring touch last week and came through with his first goal of the season in Swansea City’s 2-1 defeat by Stoke City.  But chances are he went unclaimed in the majority of leagues when waiver cleared, with managers well aware he had done next to nothing in 394 minutes of action prior to GW15.  That being said, the 28-year-old looked more like his former self in what was the first time he played a full 90 minutes together with Tammy Abraham this season. Bony’s early goal was an expert volley, which was reminiscent of those scored during his first stint in South Wales, while his five shot attempts also greatly exceeded his current season average (1.9).  The Ivorian need to string together more performances of this caliber to return to FPL relevance, which is why I am labeling him as an add for those willing to take a gamble in deeper leagues.  He does, however, offer decent value as a third forward against West Brom.  The Baggies have conceded in each of their last six away matches and allowed 210 shots this season. 

 

Fanduel Picks - $1K Saturday Equalizer (Single Entry)

 

GK: Lukasz Fabianski vs. WBA ($5,000)

DEF: Kurt Zouma @ TOT ($7,000)

DEF: Phil Bardsley vs. WAT ($5,500)

MID: Riyad Mahrez @ NEW ($9,500)

MID: Erik Lamela vs. STK ($6,000)

MID: Roberto Pereyra @ BUR ($5,000)

FWD: Harry Kane vs. STK ($13,500)

FWD: Christian Benteke vs. BOU ($8,500) 

 




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