Steve Rothgeb

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Fuzzy's FPL Favorites - GW19

Thursday, December 21, 2017


Since my last FPL column, Manchester City were about to take on a tricky opponent in their to-date undefeated season in Tottenham. Knowing how unpredictable the Premier League can be, surely we were in for a knock-down-drag-out war.

 

Just kidding.

 

City were at it again, making this whole Premier League thing look way too easy, by adding four more goals to their season total. Fantasy hauls all over the shop, unless of course you invested in a forward. I mean, the best attack in the league surely merits investment at the forward position, right? Well, Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus combined to contribute ZERO points. I guess THAT would be the "unpredictable" part of the PL. I am beginning to think it is time to ignore either option for the rest of the season, regardless of a big round down the road attempting to change my mind. It is bad enough trying to navigate around Pep Guardiola's penchant for rotating both forwards at any time. But, to have both of these > 10m fantasy options play and provide nothing to managers when City put four on the board - that is downright insulting.

 

Crystal Palace, Everton and West Ham have all turned their seasons around in a major way, continuing that form last weekend. All three won their games with a combined score of 9-1. All three of these clubs were fantasy poison just a month ago, but we have seen the impact managerial changes have had. The beauty of it all - the poor form of these three clubs saw many who invested early in the season selling them away, so now most weapons from these sides can be had at a cut rate. You can have a Palace keeper at 4m, an Everton or West Ham defender at 4.4m, or an Everton forward at 5.4m. These are the budget producers we need to fit that one extra heavy hitter in our squads.

 

Finally, as we enter the final round before Christmas, I just want to express my gratitude toward Sean Dyche. Burnley are one of the four clubs I cover at length for Rotoworld and this season has been a pleasure to witness, week in and week out, the character of this Claret team. Once again, they found a clean sheet, despite the injury issues at the back recently. Just twelve goals conceded on the season has them tied for the best defensive record in the league. Yes, if you want to win titles, you need to score some, Manchester City has scored FORTY more goals than Burnley to date. But, it just goes to show, if you can put in a tough ship and defend your butt off, you can flirt with a place in Europe next season. Yes, the Clarets will not pull a Leicester and win a title, but they have been just as big a story as the Foxes were two seasons ago. 

 

So, the holiday is upon us, though I will be back with a Week 20 column on Christmas Day, so as I pour my fourth cup of egg nog, let's take a look at the landscape ahead of Week 19...

 

 

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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: Adrian - This is a buy only if you have a starting 2nd keeper you can use in Week 21, when West Ham have a blank. Cut-rate price and in fantastic form, the next two against Newcastle and Bournemouth offers promising returns.

 

Player to sell: Petr Cech - Cech has been the best of the premium keepers not named de Gea, but if you need to free up some cash, now looks a good time to ship him out for a cheaper keeper. Arsenal's next two home games are against Liverpool and Chelsea.

 

Player to hold: Jonas Lossl - Its been a solid first half of the season in terms of fantasy points for Lossl, so while it has been frustrating that the Terriers have kept one cleanie in their last seven league games, the fixtures ahead should see a turnaround. Southampton, Stoke and Burnley, the next three opponents, are all prone to getting shut out.

 

Player to avoid: Nick Pope - Pope is even with David de Gea when it comes to points per game over the course of the season, so if you have him you keep him. But, three of the next four will test the Claret defense to the max, with Manchester United, Spurs and Liverpool waiting in the wings.

 

DEFENDERS

 

Player to buy: Nicolas Otamendi - On a club where world-class talent can be susceptible to rest in any given round, perhaps it is time to give Otamendi more credit as a Man City fantasy asset than he has been given until now. Given the state of City's injury report in defense, an already nailed-on Otamendi will be sure to play every minute through the new year. Bournemouth, Newcastle and Crystal Palace in the next three should see at least one clean sheet and Otamendi gives decent attacking potential for a center back.

 

Player to sell: Matt Lowton - I cannot in good conscience recommend selling a Burnley defender. They provide such good value this season, so when a tough fixture comes around, they deserve to get a shot at a start or be a bench weapon. However, it appears Lowton may have lost his gig to Phil Bardsley. Lowton was back in the squad last weekend, only as a substitute. He missed a decent amount of time, so there's a chance Sean Dyche turns back to Lowton, but the risk that he doesn't combined with three straight difficult opponents means Lowton is not worth waiting around for.

 

Player to hold: Everton defenders - Swansea snapped the Toffees clean sheet streak and, with Chelsea next on the schedule, fantasy managers with an Everton defender may want to upgrade. I would hold on. Everton's defense is much improved and there are plenty of kind fixtures immediately after Chelsea. Play or bench, do not transfer out.

 

Player to avoid: Watford defenders - A couple of weeks ago, I was all set to bring in Marvin Zeegelaar. That plan flew out the window when he picked up a three match ban. I even considered the ultra-cheap Adrian Mariappa, just based on the fixtures for the Hornets. But, this defense is a shambles right now. Plenty of reason to consider Richarlison and company for attacking returns, but stay away from the defense for now.

 

 

MIDFIELDERS

 

Player to buy: Eden Hazard - Hazard makes it in for the second straight round as the top midfielder to bring in. Of course, when you back a player with a price tag like Hazard, it isn't easy for all of us to move him in without spending points. Chelsea are up against an improved Toffee defense this weekend but with Morata banned, Hazard is likely to play center forward. If not this week, save your transfer to get him in next week. Back-to-back home games against Brighton and Stoke could bring huge returns.

 

Player to sell: Alexis Sanchez - One player you may own that would be easy to switch out for Hazard is Alexis. Arsenal get Liverpool and Chelsea in two of the next four. Of course, Alexis has the quality to score on anyone, but on paper, Hazard shows way more potential in the coming weeks. The final selling point - Alexis is on four yellows. Dropping him now may help you dodge a fifth and a resulting ban.

 

Player to hold: Pascal GroßGroß owners have to be getting impatient, as the midfielder who was consistently putting up numbers has done nothing in the last six weeks. Perhaps those owners are being a bit greed to have expected Groß to keep up the pace he was on in the first dozen weeks. I say give him one more week. Brighton are at home to a Watford side that just shipped four to a usually tepid Huddersfield attack.

 

Player to avoid: Aaron Mooy - Meanwhile, the other promising midfield option from a promoted side, Mooy, had been quiet for months until having a big weekend and finishing with the joint-highest score at his position. His price dipped below his starting value, so he presents a bargain, but you are chasing points by adding him now. Could be another two months before the deep-lying mid finds attacking returns. 

 

FORWARDS

 

Player to buy: Romelu Lukaku - Lukaku is returning to form, having scored in his last two. With Morata banned, question marks around who starts for Man City up top, the questionable form of Alexander Lacazette, and a blank soon coming for Harry Kane, Lukaku has the best environment to thrive in the coming weeks among the premium strikers. 

 

Player to sell: Jamie Vardy - Not much in the way of a "Vardy Party" in recent weeks, so a lack of returns combined with a tough schedule for the Foxes - Man United, Liverpool and Chelsea in the next five, I think it is safe to drop Vardy. I would say the opposite to Mahrez owners incidentally. His form is good enough to ride out the storm.

 

Player to hold: Alvaro Morata - Unless you can make a switch from Morata to Lukaku without spending points, I would hold on to the Chelsea forward and bench him through his Week 19 ban. Face it, with Chelsea's fixtures, you are going to want him back immediately anyway. Maybe you will get lucky and get returns from the likes of Ruben Loftus-Cheek as a Morata deputy.

 

Player to avoid: Laurent Depoitre - Depoitre has been in great form, scoring goals in the last two games for Huddersfield and adding a couple of assists in the most recent game, giving him the top score among forwards in Week 18. Considering how cheap he is and the schedule for the Terriers, Depoitre could very wekk provide value. But, with Calvert-Lewin at virtually the same price, I just have more faith in Everton from a consistency standpoint.

 

TOP CAPTAIN CHOICES

 

1) Kevin de Bruyne

2) Romelu Lukaku

3) Eden Hazard

4) Raheem Sterling

5) Mo Salah

 

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 Friday night. 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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