Steve Rothgeb

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Fuzzy's FPL Favorites - GW22

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Yes we are well into January now, but let me begin by wishing everyone a Happy New Year!


The festive period is such a strange time. Between odd workdays and shortened weeks and with the Premier League fixtures coming from all over the place seemingly every day, there were definitely a couple of times in that span where I had to ask myself, "What day is it today?". Ah, but with Week 21 behind us and with some time to relax and take in some intriguing cup games, like a 7-0 to Spurs here or a 9-0 to Manchester City there, we should all be feeling a bit rejuvenated for the coming weekend and a return to "normal".


Ahh, but as an FPL manager, there is nothing normal going on. With the cup results from this week, we are beginning to see scheduling take shape down the road for blank gameweeks and double gameweeks to allow for cup-tied clubs to play their commitments. The first blank looks to be coming in Week 27, unless, of course, Burton Albion can score ten unanswered goals against city in the reverse fixture of the Carabao Cup semi-final. I am going to go out on a limb and declare City are through. That would mean their match with Everton in Week 27 will blank. It is never too early to start planning for these things. It is a bit too early to advise not buying players from either of these sides, but we are only a couple of rounds away from that very advice. As well, it is important to get a nice, budget-friendly but playable bench ready for your squad. In small "blank" rounds, it could be a matter of just putting a Leroy Sane and Richarlison on your bench for their blank, but that 3.8m defender who never plays that you brought in to help afford another player is not going to help you once we enter the blank/double gameweek section of the season, and that is the season where one's bread gets buttered.


So, in short, no need to panic just yet. This is the early, early nod to the blank/double portion of the season. For the next couple of weeks, keep your managing simple and have some fun. You deserve it after a busy festive period and a looming chip-heavy final act of the season.


Right, let us take a look then at the landscape ahead of Gameweek 22...




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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...




*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: Neil Etheridge - Was ready to nominate Etheridge on the heels of two double-digit returns, but knew it best to get the match against Spurs in GW21 out of the way. Well, now it is time to buy. His starting price tag just went up for the first time all season this week, amazing when you consider he now sits second-place among keepers. Every season, there's a shot-stopper from a struggling-to-survive side that is fantasy gold, and Etheridge appears to be that man, between his team's need to squeeze out results in low-scoring affairs and the keeper's penchant for stopping penalty attempts.


Player to sell: Bernd Leno -  Arsenal have kept just one clean sheet since Week 7. That is right when Leno took over the #1 shirt. One clean sheet in fourteen is absolutely abysmal. I think I advised selling a while back but the Gunners did have some favorable matchups in recent weeks, so some owners may have stuck with him. In recent weeks, they failed to keep out the likes of Southampton, Brighton, Burnley and Fulham. Now, they get a tough run of games. Maybe Petr Cech, who started the only other league game where Arsenal kept things clean, isn't the problem here.


Player to hold: Hugo Lloris - Manchester United are a force to be reckoned with once again, and I am not expecting Spurs to be able to keep them out. Lloris owners simply need to take a low return rather than sell though, cause it is the only really tough fixture Tottenham have for the next several weeks.


Player to avoid: Kasper Schmeichel - This is tough because I like Leicester's chances of a clean sheet this weekend as opponents Southampton are struggling with injuries and suspensions. But, the fixtures turn brutal quickly, with the likes of Liverpool, Manchester United  and Tottenham in consecutive weeks over the next month.




Player to buy: Lucas Digne - If you've been reading regularly, you know I've been touting Digne for ages, before his points explosion a few weeks back. Naturally, I had to wait until the week after his last big haul to get him in my side and it has been two weeks of "YAWN". I got three words - Home. To. Bournemouth. Three goals from the Toffees coming and I will be shocked if Digne isn't involved. Relatively soft opponents lay ahead, giving a bit of hope for clean sheet points as well. At his price, should provide great value over the next month.


Player to sell: Newcastle options - The Magpies get Chelsea, Manchester City and Spurs over the next four rounds. Need I say more?


Player to hold: Burnley options - Sean Dyche finally giving Tom Heaton his gig back appears to be the shot in the arm the Clarets needed, who have improved on both sides of the ball by leaps and bounds in the two matches since captain regained his spot. There may be only a handful of you out there with a Burnley defender on your roster, but consider yourselves in a potentially great situation. I think the second half of the season will have Burnley looking more like the side we grew to admire last season, which means defenders have fantasy value.


Player to avoid: Huddersfleid options - Perhaps you need a cheap defender to make a double transfer and are looking for a clean sheet and think that Huddersfield could get it done against Cardiff. That may very well play out that way, but it will feel like a wasted transfer regardless in quick fashion, as the Terriers are about to face a tough test in the schedule with Man City, Chelsea and Arsenal all within the next month.





Player to buy: Eden Hazard - After a nice run of consecutive returns, it has been two quiet games in a row for the Belgian attacker. That might be reason to list him in my "hold" section, but I feel too strongly that he's the big mid you want this weekend and going forward. He is my top armband choice this weekend at home to Newcastle, and will probably sport the armband again soon against the likes of Huddersfield and Bournemouth.


Player to sell: James Maddison - Not often a player features as a "sell" in consecutive weeks, but some praise for your humble writer is needed after telling you to get rid last week. He was then dropped for the away win to Everton. That result may mean we see the same XI again this weekend, so if you still have Maddison, thinking last week's benching was more of a rest may want to rethink that notion. Not to mention, the Foxes have a tough schedule soon after this weekend.


Player to hold: Richarlison - Only one goal in the last five for Richarlison, and that came in the one game in that stretch that he didn't start. What is with this guy? He scores, so let's make him a he can't score. He's had a dip in form, so let's give him a he scores from off the bench. Yes, he can be a bit of a headache for FPL managers, but if you got him, you should be feeling optimistic instead of annoyed, as the same kind schedule that has me advising to buy Digne is the same that will make Richarlison one of the best value mids over the next month.


Player to avoid: Heung-min Son - It is not so much that I worry about the opponent this weekend, Manchester United. It is the fact that, and I warned about this weeks ago, Son will depart for the Asian games after this weekend's match. Current owners should roll with him again this week but should also already have a plan lined up to move him out before the following gameweek. This is more for those that simply aren't aware of country commitments with these mid-season tourneys.





Player to buy: Marko Arnautovic - If you can handle one unavoidable fact - that Arnautovic is made of glass and odds are he will not go four games in a row without picking up a knock or something worse - then you are qualified to go out this week and bring him into your squad. He is fit, for now, and his form is sharp. No worries about matching up against Arsenal this weekend, as my Leno thoughts earlier explain.


Player to sell: Sergio Aguero -  This will be a tough pill to swallow if you bought Aguero in the past couple of weeks, as he is back to playing and scoring, but I fear for his chances of starting this weekend. A yellow flag, which has been given for "illness", normally means the player is likely to be recovered in time for the next match. But my god, Gabriel Jesus has scored five goals in two cup games over four days. I think he gets the start this weekend and Aguero is just too expensive to hold through a questionable time like this.


Player to hold: Raul Jimenez - He returned only one point last time out and current owners are not happy with that. Wel, boo-hoo. Jimenez was back on the score sheet this week in cup play, so his form is still there, the job security is there, the consistency you would expect from a player at his price is there. Just stick with him.


Player to avoid: Marcus Rashford - Hear me out. I am all ready, actually giddy with excitement, about news that Rashford is passing Romelu Lukaku in the pecking order. At 7m and change, he would be a brilliant partner to my Raul Jimenez as two budget options at forward which allows for more money spent in midfield. The only reason I am saying avoid this week is because a trip to London to face Spurs this weekend is not the ideal time to buy. The minute the deadline passes and the next gameweek is live, you have my blessing. I have a feeling Rashford will be next weekend's "player to buy".




1) Eden Hazard

2) Mo Salah

3) Leroy Sane

4) Harry Kane

5) Richarlison


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 and, a self-proclaimed fantasy sports oracle, and Tottenham Hotspur fanatic. He can be found on Twitter @FuzzyWarbles.
Email :Steve Rothgeb

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