Last week, I highlighted my favorite arrivals from the transfer window and sprinkled in a few others on my radar. No matter what kind of move you're seeking ahead of GW27, it would be wise to reconsider four specific players from my previous column. At the top of the list is Gerard Deulofeu, who stole the show with a goal and an assist in a 30.5-point performance against Chelsea. The Watford winger has the tools around him to be a pivotal mid-tier second forward for the rest of the season. In midfield, Badou Ndiaye has the potential to be a nice rotating piece after a fine debut for Stoke City. He attempted three shots, recorded two key passes and assisted on Xherdan Shaqiri’s fifth minute goal. Last but not least, fellow Potter Moritz Bauer further cemented his place in the starting XI with another strong performance. Bauer has won 10 tackles, created six chances and pinged six successful crosses in four matches.
Before we get down to business, I wanted to take a brief moment to revise the explanation of how I recommend players. In this weekly series, I identify players available in more than 50 percent of all Togga leagues. The players I find come from a laundry list of reasons and normally fall under one these three specific labels. Streaming options, also known as one-week adds, are players worth adding for a single gameweek because of injury or suspension. Short-term adds are best suited for manager needing to replace an injured regular, as these players will offer similar value or production. Long-term adds are players worth adding based on their potential to become nailed-on starter.
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Nathan Ake, Bournemouth (49 percent): Bournemouth defenders are in the short-term conversation ahead of back-to-back matches against Huddersfield Town and Newcastle. Huddersfield has failed to score in five of their last six matches and Newcastle hasn’t scored multiple goals in a match since late December. Ake, meanwhile, is averaging 11.92 points per match over his last six starts. The Dutchman ranks 21st amongst all defenders in total points (178.25), sixth in clearances (159) and 15th in aerials won (74). The Cherries are unbeaten in seven matches and that’s enough support for me to believe they will record at least one clean sheet over their next two games. I see Ake as a top-20 defender for both GW27 and GW28.
Matthew Lowton, Burnley (47 percent): After impressing as a substitute, Lowton could make his long-awaited return to Sean Dyche’s starting XI this weekend. The 28-year-old returned from a 12-match absence and shined during his 45-minute cameo in the 1-1 draw with Manchester City, recording an assist with a stellar cross for Johann Berg Gudmundsson at the far-post. Lowton was the first-choice right-back before his injury and looks to have an opportunity to win the role back as Phil Bardsley struggles to overcome a muscle strain. Averaging 9.08 points per match this season, which places him slightly off the pace of Victor Moses (9.38), Lowton is a good option for leagues with 10 or more teams. Despite Swansea City’s current form, it’s tough to see the Swans scoring multiple goals against the Clarets.
Lewis Cook, Bournemouth (1 percent): Earlier this season I took a definitive stance on Cook when I labeled him as a soon-to-be nailed-on starter with legitimate FPL value. While I jumped the gun by saying this back in GW8, the youngster returns to this column after fighting his way into Eddie Howe’s starting XI. In seven straight starts, Cook has recorded 14 successful dribbles, 13 successful tackles and created 11 chances. Despite no goals or assists during that span, he is averaging enough points (8.36) from peripheral metrics to be a viable fourth/fifth midfielder in deeper leagues. After hauls of 11.5 and 13.5 points the past two matches, I’ve added him in two 12-team leagues for the trip to Huddersfield Town. Why? The Terriers have allowed an average of 13.2 points per match to opposing central midfielders over their past three games. Regardless of where he starts in midfield, Cook is an above-average streaming option this week.
Joao Mario, West Ham (39 percent): Due to injuries, Mario should remain in the West Ham starting XI and offer solid returns FPL returns for the next few weeks. The Inter Milan loanee had a discreet debut in GW25 but performed better at the weekend, recording an assist and three successful dribbles in the 3-1 defeat at Brighton. Expect Mario’s core production to come from take-ons and chances created, making him a short-term option for the duration of Manuel Lanzini’s absence. However, as a corner taker, Mario’s has additional value for GW27. He’s taken 75% of the club’s corner since he arrived and Watford have conceded the third-most goals from set-pieces this season (12).
Kelechi Iheanacho, Leicester City (19 percent): Until the Riyad Mahrez saga is sorted out, manager Claude Puel will likely hand a few players more playing time. Fousseni Diabate had an encouraging home debut against Swansea City playing on the right wing, as he showed some strong work defensively and was able to penetrate on the attack. And while the recent signing looks like a promising prospect, it was Iheanacho who stepped up and provided the majority of creativity without Mahrez. Making his first start since October, the Nigeria international was crisp in link up play throughout his 68 minutes up front with Jamie Vardy. Iheanacho set up Vardy for the opening goal in the 17th minute with a stellar move, slipping Vardy through with a well-weighted pass after drawing two Swansea defender with a deft shot fake. My gut tells me Iheanacho will be the biggest beneficiary of Mahrez’s absence, meaning he should get another start this weekend when the Foxes face his former club Manchester City. All things considered, he’s my sleeper pick for GW27.