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Steve Rothgeb

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Fuzzy's FPL Favorites - GW11

Thursday, November 1, 2018


In memory of Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha (1957-2018)


Folks, I am not going to mince words...this has been one of those weeks where reality had made it rather difficult to devote full attention to the world of fantasy football.

 

The tragic loss of Leicester City owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha has shocked the global football community, but for those who are linked with Leicester or with Thailand, the latter category which I fall in, this week has been a real punch in the gut. So, before diving into this week's column, I just want to express how huge of a person Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha is here in the Land of Smiles.  The 2015/2016 season was one no PL enthusiast will ever forget, but it was something even more special for me. I was given a chance to do some much-needed, long awaited traveling in the summer of 2015 and my travels had me land in Thailand for the first time. It was a magical experience that was being reflected on a weekly basis by what was happening over at Leicester. To see the story of the Foxes play out the way it did while simultaneously immersing myself in Thai culture and football, and to see a nation work themselves into a fever pitch with the impossible story that is Leicester's title win...it's just one of those once-in-a-lifetime moments you feel honored to witness. Mr. Srivaddhanaprabha is a legend here and, in some roundabout way, the mark he left on Leicester was also left on me, because I decided not long after that season to move to Thailand permanently and do what I could to help the sport grow here. His impact here will last forever.

 

Thank you for indulging me for a moment. So, with a clear head for at least a brief window of time, let me quickly rehash the results of Week 10, which were generally very productive. My big "buy" miss was that of Ricardo Pereira, who failed to even play, but being bullish on the likes of Ryan Fraser, Callum Wilson, Mathew Ryan, and, of course, both Sadio Mane and Mo Salah, proved to be spot-on calls with immediate returns. Other trends continued - Southampton cannot score and Burnley cannot defend. In fact, that 0-0 result between the two of them really does point to how poor Southampton's attack is and that Burnley only have one cleanie beyond that opening round shows how significant a dropoff their defense has seen. We aren't seeing too many upsets these days. The top half of the table are generally destroying the bottom half, Brighton is the only lower-tiered club to be on a positive streak, and that could continue as they to play opponents outside the Top 6 for several weeks to come, so while we cannot afford to bring in all the big names, at least Brighton is one side that offers some cheap players that are producing right now.

 

Next week, I will likely be focusing much on the idea of playing the Triple Captain chip as Liverpool will host Fulham in Week 11. Until then, let's take a look at Week 10:

 

 

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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: Martin Dubravka - Newcastle have scored more than one goal only once this season, that being the dramatic loss against Manchester United, so their attacking prospects have little to be desired. However, defensively things are looking up. Dubravka's main strike against him is his price. He was given a 5m price tag, when he really should have gone for 4.5m. This may be one of only a couple of weeks all season I recommend him for a buy, because I think he can match or exceed 5m value given the fixtures ahead for the Magpies, which are quite favorable. He is fresh off a clean sheet and in the three he has collected on the season, he has amassed five bonus points.

  

Player to sell: Asmir Begovic - Saw a great, albeit scary, stat on my Twitter feed this week. My apologies for not crediting the account, I simply cannot remember. So, Bournemouth have a very interesting schedule this season. If you break their fixtures up into three segments - Weeks 1-10, Weeks 11-29, and Weeks 30-38 - here is a sobering fact...that middle segment, which consists of half the season, has the Cherries facing the "Top 6" sides ten times in those 19 Weeks. This explains a kind early run of fixtures and they will finish with a kind run. This "meat" portion of the fantasy "sandwich" seems to lack flavor, at least for their defensive options, like Begovic. Attackers like Fraser and Wilson will likely be productive, but there could be some drop off.

 

Player to hold: Kasper Schmeichel - Schmeichel was mentioned here last week. The Foxes did not keep things clean and the Dane continues to linger near the bottom of starting keepers in terms of points. I just have to think the law of averages will balance things out soon. Case in point - Jordan Pickford. The Everton keeper was near Schmeichel just two weeks ago, scored 26 points in these last two weeks, and is now just a point shy of second-most among FPL keepers. Another example of just staying patient with your keeper.

 

Player to avoid: David de Gea - The keeper so good, he was given the only 6m price tag at his position. Well, in a league with only 20 teams, he now stands 16th in the FPL points table. Shocking. His price has fallen a couple of notches, and those shopping for a keeper might want to pounce on his discount price. Keep waiting. After the Red Devils face a Bournemouth side who are quite competent on the front foot, they then have the Manchester derby to contend with. Let DdG's price fall at least once more and revisit the idea in Week 13.

 

 

DEFENDERS

 

Player to buy: Aymeric Laporte - If you are annoyed by City's rotation policy, it's time to ease your anxiety and go for Laporte, who has played every minute of every league game. Bear in mind, Pep himself has said Laporte will not play every minute all season - so understand a rest could come any time soon - but it is clear Laporte is otherwise the first outfield name on Guardiola's team sheet. True, he is not as explosive as Benjamin Mendy, but he comes cheaper and, again, with a higher degree of certainty week in, week out that he will start.

 

Player to sell: Hector Bellerin - Perhaps it seems easy to pick on a player carrying an injury flag but reports as of this writing point toward the right back coming back into the XI this weekend. What makes this the standout drop is the flag plus tough fixtures. The Gunners have been in fine form for a long stretch but it will be put to the test over the next month in which they play Liverpool, Spurs and Manchester United.

 

Player to hold: Ricardo Pereira - In Week 10, a healthy Pereira was kept out of the XI for the second time this season. Owners are understandably frustrated but there is reason to hang on. When Pereira has been pushed into midfield this season, it has been Daniel Amartey filling the right back role. Well, unless Claude Puel plans to kick the tires on Danny Simpson, then Pereira is nailed on for some time, as Amartey has been sidelined with surgery. It may take a hit to his attacking potential, but Pereira still has good fixtures and is capable of points from both sides of the ball.

 

Player to avoid: Southampton options - The Saint worked out a 0-0 draw last weekend, which seems to be the only path for them to gain points, one at a time. I suggested avoiding them for defensive purposes last week. Even though they kept a cleanie, the reason I gave last week was the same. You would be enticed by that Newcastle matchup, but now the road ahead looks treacherous. The Saints get both Manchester sides and Spurs over the next month, starting with City this weekend.

 

 

MIDFIELDERS

 

Player to buy: Ross Barkley - It has been years, but we have seen the return of vintage Barkley - kind of an amazing way to put it considering he is still only 24 years of age. After his move to Chelsea, it lookes as though the English Bulldog would be spending the bulk of his time sitting on the porch. He was given an opportunity a few weeks ago and he has absolutely run with it, to a point where I have to think he has earned regular playing time for at least a month. That makes him worthy of an FPL transfer and, considering his ability and the team he plays for, looks an absolute steal. He has already risen in price twice this week, so get in now while he still goes for under 6m.

 

Player to sell: Lucas Moura - Moura has gone quiet, so form alone should be enough for owners looking to part ways. However, with Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli coming back from their respective injuries, spaces in the attacking midfield will be limited. Sure, Mousa Sissoko, who has started the last two, is easy to peg for a drop, but someone else has to go to and I think Lucas is due to get dropped.

 

Player to hold: James Maddison - The keeper, defender and now midfielder "hold"...all from Leicester City. Is it a coincidence? Not really. The fixtures say keep trotting them out there, with Cardiff the opponent this weekend. It has been a few quiet weeks for Maddison and its understandable that he should be "on deck" for a possible drop, but I really want to see how Leicester respond this weekend, all things considered, before looking to ship them out.

 

Player to avoid: Luka Milivojevic - If you had Milivojevic in your side last week, then a big congratulations for you. I had been saying around Week 6 that he was worth holding onto because his value comes from pens and he is due for his first. Well, FPL likes to give you the old 1-2 punch sometimes and Luka put up a pair of goals from the spot, giving him one of the best rounds among midfielders. I would ignore it with ease, because Palace are in the midst of a brutal schedule, with Chelsea, Spurs and Man United in the next three.

 

 

FORWARDS

 

Player to buy: Jamie Vardy - It would be foolish to attempt to gauge how much the loss of owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha means to everyone at Leicester, but I feel pretty certain that has to be especially tough on Jamie Vardy. Considering the story of Leicester and of Vardy and how they came together to do something so special, it ranks among the most amazing relationships in sports. The fact that Vardy was dropped last weeks means nothing to me. He will be in the XI this weekend and, if he is the player full of unabashed emotion, rising to the occasion and defying expectations like we have seen him do, then I want him in my side and I play him with confidence.

 

Player to sell: Harry Kane - Hurts as a Spurs fan but Kane continues to be the the forward I would chop right now. Even if he gets a goal this weekend, I would not immediately be feeling sour grapes about shipping his out. When he scores in back-to-back games, or scores a trick in a dominant display, then he comes back into my thinking. Until then, the game's most expensive forward is simply not playing like it.

 

Player to hold: Marko Arnautovic - Owners were expectedly crestfallen when Arnie missed out on Week 10, but the worst thing they could do is drop him from their squad. He has a clean bill of health heading into Week 11 and he has a home game against a Burnley side that are coughing up goals at an alarming rate, considering how well they performed defensively last season. Not only do you keep Arnie, you may even think about an "outside-the-box" armband play.

 

Player to avoid: Isaac Success - A 4.5m forward who is getting starts and coming off a goal? What's not to love? Hey, I am all about those facts but I also need to take off the rose-colored glasses and look at the situation with my typical eyewear. The recent starts for Success are a direct result of the absence of Troy Deeney. It's pretty certain Success will get another start this weekend, based on his contribution last weekend and the fact that Deeney is still not 100%. But, after this weekend, Success' time in the XI could come to a quick halt. So, unless I am on my wildcard and want an enabler at the forward position who at least has a chance to play here and there, then I would not be tempted by the false promise of Success.

 

TOP CAPTAIN CHOICES

 

1) Sergio Aguero

2) Eden Hazard (assuming passed fit 100%)

3) Mo Salah

4) Marko Arnautovic

5) Jamie Vardy

 

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, and there are usually a few extra surprises in this regard coming out of an international break. 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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