Now that the transfer market is over, I figured we’d have some fun highlighting the recent transfers into the Premier League that are must-have claims off the waiver wire in FPL Draft. But with another game just around the corner this weekend, I’ll condense my column a bit due to all of the Rotoworld content in the next two days.
Last week, I was victim of the transfer bug with my forward pick in Michy Batshuayi completing a move to Borussia Dortmund in a bizarre transfer carousel that saw Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang land at Arsenal and Olivier Giroud at Chelsea.
However, my other picks were more generous, especially last week’s goalkeeper pick: Watford’s Orestis Karnezis recorded 10pts with his clean sheet and three bonus points. Meanwhile, recent picks like Jordan Ayew (goal and two bonus points) and Callum Wilson (goal, assist, three bonus points) put up some big numbers while Andros Townsend also recorded an assist and a bonus point.
Without further delay, here are the bargain hits and misses ahead of Gameweek 26. 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.
DEF- Aymeric Laporte (Manchester City)
After multiple attempts for the 23-year-old, Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola finally has his man in Aymeric Laporte. Despite his youth, the Man City club-record signing (£57 million) is an experienced central defender with 222 appearances for Athletic Bilbao. Laporte is an athletic defender who can also play left-back, which has been a major concern for City this season, and is known for his sharp passing ability and composure on the ball, which should really worry John Stones considering Laporte is the exact type of center-back Guardiola prefers.
In fact, Guardiola felt so comfortable with Laporte that he started the French international in the club’s 3-0 win against West Brom on Wednesday just a day after he completed his transfer. There is a lot of competition in this City side that has recorded 11 clean sheets this season, but that shouldn’t deter you from picking up Laporte, especially if you need defensive help. Even if he doesn’t start every game, Laporte is at least a short-term pick with the expectation that he will start and play the full 90 as a bona fide starter in the near future.
MID – Theo Walcott (Everton)
I actually had Walcott’s name written into this exact spot last week but thought just an assist in his first Everton start against West Brom last week was not enough to warrant a pick just yet. Well, Walcott made sure I won’t make that mistake again with a 15-point, man of the match performance in a win against Leicester City on Wednesday with his two goals. With the World Cup just around the corner, Walcott is wasting no time in putting his name on Gareth Southgate’s watchlist with a couple of impressive performances for Sam Allardyce’s new-look Everton side.
But if you want the former Arsenal phenom, you should move fast—Walcott is already taken in two-thirds of our sample of FPL Draft leagues and his ownership will only go up in the coming days after his most recent performance. At the moment, I have no problem calling Walcott a long-term pick with the club’s need for a winger and a World Cup spot to motivate the attacker.
FWD – Islam Slimani (Newcastle)
I personally think this is going to be one of the most productive moves of the transfer window in the Premier League this winter. The Algerian has been dying for some consistent playing time at Leicester City, but a series of niggling injuries and Claude Puel’s preference for Shinji Okazaki in behind Jamie Vardy has kept Slimani on the sidelines—in fact, Slimani is currently fighting a thigh injury that is not expected to keep him out for more than two weeks.
For that reason I wouldn’t recommend Slimani immediately, especially owned in only 9.3 percent of our FPL Draft sample, but the second he’s healthy, Slimani is going to be a steal. In three seasons at Sporting Lisbon, scored 57 goals for an average of a goal every other game. In his first Premier League season last year, Slimani continued that rate with seven goals. Now, with Newcastle in desperate need of a consistent striker and Slimani desperate for gametime, this could be a match made in bargain heaven.
FWD – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal)
There is no new arrival that you should use your waiver claim on more than Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, even if you already have a strong setup at striker (imagine Aubameyang as your THIRD striker!). The Gabon international is about as reliable as a forward as you can ask for: Aubameyang has scored 21 goals in 24 Bundesliga matches this season and has scored 141 goals in 213 games at Borussia Dortmund. Only Robert Lewandowski has a better goal-to-minute ratio in the Bundesliga than Aubameyang’s 116 minutes per goal.
Sure, there are concerns about how the 28-year-old will adapt to the Premier League style of play, but with a newly re-upped Mesut Ozil and former teammate Henrikh Mkhitaryan providing the service, Aubameyang is in good hands. Obviously, he’s a clear long-term pick if you can get your hands on the 2016 Bundesliga Player of the Year on the waiver wire. After all, Arsene Wenger doesn’t just spend a club record £56 million on anyone (literally).