Andrew Gastelum

Weekly Picks

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The Bargain Hunter - Week 34

Tuesday, April 10, 2018


It’s finally here: The colossal double gameweek that everyone has been waiting for. As FPL.com managers have to figure out their wildcard and bench boost among other format-specific advantages, we FPL Draft managers don’t have to worry about any of that.

 

But actually, without a wildcard, it makes things a bit more difficult since you can’t uproot your entire team without losing some quality players to free agency. But I will give you a few suggestions on some role players you can add to bolster your squad and add a couple more chances with some extra matches this week.

 

Last week, Luka Milivojevic was the only one of my picks to offer any substantial returns with his third straight game with a goal and three bonus points. But recent picks like Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Chicharito (also two bonus points) scored while Seamus Coleman added a clean sheet and Xherdan Shaqiri picked up an assist.

 

Without further delay, here are the bargain hits and misses ahead of Gameweek 34. 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.

 

Long-term Pick (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 – Alex McCarthy (Southampton)

There’s been a lot of talk surrounding McCarthy in FPL circles ahead of the double gameweek, but I’m here to make the case against adding the Southampton keeper despite two games in the upcoming week. The former Queens Park Rangers and Crystal Palace man has started every game since Gameweek 21 after taking over Fraser Forster’s starting spot in goal. But in 2018 McCarthy and Saints’ defense has only recorded one clean sheet.

 

And since that clean sheet in  Gameweek 29, Southampton has shipped nine goals in the last three Premier League matches. It’s not like McCarthy is making a ton of saves while conceding goals either like Lukasz Fabianski does for Swansea; he has conceded more goals in the last three games than made saves (8). With both Chelsea and Leicester City due up in the double gameweek, you’re better off opting for a keeper with a stronger chance of a clean sheet, even if they only play in one match this week.

 

 

DEF – Stephen Ward (Burnley)

Burnley has been the main draw in FPL circles for the double gameweek because they also play in the blank gameweek next week, giving them extra significance than just a one-week pickup. Ward has been a major figure in the Clarets resurgence this season until an injury kept him out for two months. Before the injury, Burnley recorded eight clean sheets in 17 games with Ward; without him, the club struggled with only two in 10 matches.

 

Burnley also match up against Chelsea and Leicester in the double gameweek, and Stoke and Brighton after, but their defense is so much stronger than Southampton’s that a Clarets defender should be a priority in the double gameweek. With Ward available in 60 percent of FPL Draft leagues in our latest sample, he seems like your best lock after James Tarkowski for a Clarets defender this week.

 

 

DEF- Wes Morgan (Leicester City)

If you’re looking for a bargain defender just for the double gameweek, you can’t go wrong with last week’s pick in Ben Chilwell. But if he’s not available you can opt for Leicester captain Wes Morgan: the only regular starter from Leicester’s title-winning backline. After struggling with minor injuries throughout last season, Morgan has returned to form this season with Leicester sitting comfortably in the top 10.

 

With Burnley and Southampton in the double gameweek, Leicester City has a decent chance to record a clean sheet in the upcoming week and Morgan could be an excellent fourth/fifth defender to add to your squad for the short-term (but only if Chilwell isn’t available because he’s still the better option in FPL formats). Morgan is only taken in nine percent of FPL Draft leagues, so he looks like a fairly steady bargain option.

 

 

FWD – Joshua King (Bournemouth)

Josh King was one of the big picks in last year’s double gameweek and remains so this year given his current form despite being upgraded from midfielder to forward. Don’t let the thought of playing Liverpool and Manchester United in the same week deter you: Liverpool will be coming off a draining gauntlet of games ending with Manchester City tonight, while United has only one clean sheet in the last six Premier League matches. After a career-high 16 goals last season, King has let off this season, but tends to finish strongly.

 

The Norwegian international has scored in the last two matches and has recorded three goals, an assist and five bonus in his last five Premier League games. And after the blank gameweek, the Cherries close out the season with a favorable slate of games, making King more than just a one-week option. But you’ll have to check your league’s free agency as he’s available in only 30 percent of our FPL Draft sample. 








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