Steve Rothgeb

Weekly Picks

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Fuzzy's FPL Favorites - GW21

Thursday, December 28, 2017


Here is an FPL Tip of the Day: When you are picking a captain and one of your players has an opportunity to own a goal-scoring record, you give that dude the armband.

 

That was my thinking ahead of Boxing Day and Harry Kane gave me the easiest captained hat trick in FPL history. Thank you, Sir Harry. I know, I know, you have not been given that title yet, but come on...it's a matter of time at this point. What a day it was as a Tottenham supporter, watching them play with a confidence that I have only seen glimpses of this season. So, you combine the fantasy success with the reality success and the result was, one heck of a Tuesday.

 

My picks for the round were solid, though it began in a cold sweat. When the team news came out for the midday games and Jesse Lingard's name was not in the XI for Manchester United, I just about slammed my laptop shut. Luckily, I was able to remember the last time I shut my laptop in frustration. That resulted in me having to buy a new one. This time though, I was still buzzing about Kane's hat trick, so I just said to myself, "Thems the breaks". The best possible scenario played out after the news was released - United found themselves down two goals to nil. When the whistle blew for halftime, you had to assume Jose Mourinho was going to make a change and Lingard's form made the most sense to call upon. So Lingard comes on and scores two second half goals. Forgive me for picking a midfielder who only returned one appearance point, but hopefully the additional dozed he scored pleased you.

 

Without the Lingard haul, I would have really been steamed because so many midfielders did the business on Boxing Day. While only one keeper, two forwards and three defenders were able to hit double-digits in points, ELEVEN midfielders hit that mark, calling into question perhaps the biggest mistake I have made with my FPL side this season - going heavy at forward at the expense of my midfield. While fielding a front line of Kane, Aguero and Morata may look impressive, I am trying to think if there has been a round this season where all three of my forwards scored. I'm pretty sure it has not. Week 20 was promising with Kane's trick followed by a Morata goal midday and Aguero yet to play a Newcastle side that City could easily score four on...but that did not happen.

 

And it is bound to not happen again this weekend, because Kane, along with the rest of Tottenham as well as West Ham United, have no game. That fixture has been moved to the end of the next round, giving both a double gameweek. Kane will be in the subs along with Angelo Ogbonna, and I have no plans to use my transfer, so the plan is to bring in two more players for the double gameweek at no cost.

 

 

So it is time to catch your breath, because Friday will be the only day without football between now and next Thursday. Let's take a peek at the landscape ahead of Week 21 :

 

 

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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: Rob Elliot - After losing his place to Karl Darlow for four games, Elliot has returned between the sticks for the last three. Considering Newcastle gave up only a single goal to Manchester City, one has to think Rafa Benitez will stick with Elliot while Darlow has had his audition for a move away in January. Brighton at home, Stoke away, then Swansea at home in the next three rounds should provide the 4.1m option a chance for some big hauls.

 

Player to sell: Lukasz Fabianski - In the last column, I had him in the "avoid" category for those shopping for a keeper. After coughing up five to the Reds, I am ready to say sell the Polish product. Swansea now have Watford away, which has little chance for a clean sheet, and also have Tottenam, Arsenal and Liverpool again in the next five weeks.

 

Player to hold: Petr Cech - Arsenal have shipped five goals in their last two. To illustrate how poor that is for the Gunners, they had given up less goals over their previous seven contests. This recent dip may cause Cech owners to look for a replacement, but I would hold. West Brom can be just the right medicine for a defense in distress and I think Arsenal use the Baggies to get the defense back on track. Other solid fixtures ahead include matchups with Bournemouth and Swansea over the next five.

 

Player to avoid: Ben Foster - Speaking of the Baggies, West Brom is coming off a clean sheet and Foster got a piece of the bonus points. If you remember a few rounds back, West Brom held Liverpool without a goal, so Alan Pardew's men are seeing their stock start to rise. Maybe they have a surprise cleanie or two in the coming weeks, but I say the schedule is still too rough to consider Foster an option.

 

DEFENDERS

 

Player to buy: Phil Jones - Yes, Manchester United were surprisingly taken for two first half goals at home to a mediocre Burnley attack, but the Red Devils are still a source for a steady supply of clean sheets. Jones stays as my player to buy this week as United's fixtures remain strong, starting with Southampton paying a visit to Old Trafford. Jones is worth 6.5m when fit but goes for 1m less.

 

Player to sell: Swansea defenders - Forgive me for beating up on the Swans, having already picked Fabianski as the keeper to drop, but, based on the fixtures ahead, all of Swansea's defense has little to offer over the next several weeks. New management should help, especially in their attack, but clean sheets will have to wait after the next five rounds or so.

 

Player to hold: Huddersfield defenders - The Terriers were unable to keep Stoke out on Boxing Day, but keep the faith if you are using Lossl or one of their defenders. The fixtures are strong for another four rounds, with a home game against Burnley this weekend offering a decent chance of a clean sheet.

 

Player to avoid: Nathan Ake - Ake was in my Week 1 blueprint before moving parts around and going with the cheaper Asmir Begovic at keeper. Begovic has since been dropped but I am sure I would have given up on Ake as well before his big haul on Boxing Day. A goal and an assist shows he can provide attacking returns in more ways than one, but it took twenty weeks to finally get it. Buying now seems like a classic case of chasing points.

 

 

MIDFIELDERS

 

Player to buy: Philippe Coutinho - Whether you own Mo Salah already or not, I am giving full permission to load up on Liverpool's attack. Coutinho has scored now in three straight and has a pair of assists in that time, so he is in form equal to Salah at the moment, for a cheaper price. Personally, I am pocketing my transfer this week so that I can bring in a Tottenham option in the same price range next round. But, if you want a new toy now, Coutinho is your man.

 

Player to sell: Xherdan Shaqiri/Eric Maxim Chopou-Moting - These two Stole options are neck and neck in points on the season and have been the brightest spots from an otherwise lackluster group of fantasy options. I would cash in now on both of these, with the Potters traveling to Old Trafford and Stamford Bridge for two of their next three matches.

 

Player to hold: Leroy Sane - Last round, I advised selling Sane, which proved sound advice as the German international did not crack the XI and returned a frustrating one point cameo. If you did not sell him in time, you cannot let emotions make you drop him this week, because Pep will likely turn back to him while resting another City mainstay, to the misery of fantasy owners. Get one more round out of Sane this week, then ship him out for a Tottenham midfielder of choice for the double gameweek next round.

 

Player to avoid: Tom Ince - Ince is the Nathan Ake of midfield when it comes to popular preseason budget options that took twenty weeks to finally pay off. Ince scored his first goal of the season in Week 20, and he is worth monitoring with some kind opponents ahead for Huddersfield, but I need to see at least another haul from him before considering him as a potential bargain midfielder.

 

 

FORWARDS

 

Player to buy: Alvaro Morata - Another repeat pick, Morata grabs the forward to buy honors again. He paid immediate returns with a goal on Boxing Day and, with Kane on a blank, City's attack slowing down a bit, and other factors, I have Morata as the best forward to play this weekend and behind only Mo Salah as the top captaincy option.

 

Player to sell: Jamie Vardy - With trips to Anfield and Stamford Bridge in two of the next three weeks, I have to say goodbye to Vardy. Three precious forward slots just blocks him from being a viable option. You gotta have Kane ready for next week. You should have Morata as a second premium striker, though the likes of Lukaku, Augero, etc are also solid. If your third slot isn't for Roberto Firmino, it should be for a budget option. Vardy is stuck in no-man's land.

 

Player to hold: Wayne Rooney - It was surprising to see Rooney's illness cost him two games. I cannot imagine it extending to three. So, if you were unfortunate enough to hold on to him in the hopes of a return, do not sell now in frustration. Unless definitive word comes out that he is out of the weekend, I would count on Rooney being back, which should be beneficial to all Everton attacking options in fantasy.

 

Player to avoid: Collin Quaner - Quaner has carved out a starting role for Huddersfield and has picked up an assist in two of the last three games, quite the value for a forward that goes for the rock-bottom price of 4.6m. Perhaps if you are on a wildcard and want to go with five strong midfielders and Quaner would be your bench attacker every week, then I cannot picture a scenario where using a transfer on him will be worth it.

 

TOP CAPTAIN CHOICES

 

1) Mo Salah

2) Alvaro Morata

3) Sergio Aguero

4) Eden Hazard

5) Raheem Sterling

 

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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