When I saw the lineups come out last weekend, I had a very good feeling about the list of players I recommended. First and foremost, we will start with Chris Wood. My favorite Kiwi was recalled alongside Ashley Barnes in a 4-4-2 and marked his first start since returning from injury by heading home Burnley’s winner at West Brom. While I was disappointed to see Jermain Defoe named to the bench, he justified my hype by scoring a late equalizer at Watford. The 35-year-old may have even of done enough to get a start when Bournemouth travel to Crystal Palace this weekend. As for the pair of Newcastle players I mentioned, Kenedy grabbed an assist and Jonjo Shelvey created five chances. The final piece of the puzzle was Roberto Pereyra, who ranked as a top-20 midfielder thanks to his third goal of the season.
Before we get down to business, here is a brief guide to maximize my player recommendations. This column serves the purpose of providing you with weekly free agent/waiver-wire adds for Togga draft leagues. Each week, I research and identify players with the best value available in more than 50 percent of all leagues. The players selected are then given one of three specific labels. Streaming options are players worth adding for a single gameweek. These players are best suited for owners dealing with injuries or suspensions. Short-term adds are players worth holding for a specific duration. In most cases, players are given this label because of a boost in form or increase in playing time. Long-term adds are players worth adding based on potential. Essentially, this tag is reserved for players with a good shot at becoming a reliable contributor (more risk, more reward).
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Ben Chilwell, Leicester City (14 percent): The England Under-21 international is someone I have tipped in the past because of his attacking exploits, however, did more than simply attack in the 2-0 win over Brighton. The youngster won five aerials, three tackles and made seven clearances as 10-man Leicester kept a clean sheet at the Amex Stadium. In what was Chilwell’s most complete defensive performance, his 10.75 points from defensive actions and additional six from the clean sheet accounted for a season-best total of 16.75 points from defensive categories. The relevance? With Chilwell showing the defensive improvement needed to lock down the starting left-back role, it appears FPL managers no longer need to worry about Christian Fuchs stealing starts
That being said, Chilwell’s biggest appeal remains his attacking prowess. The 21-year-old has been a top-10 defender in each of the last two gameweeks thanks to assists in consecutive matches. And each helper was rather impressive, as picked out Iheanacho against West Brom and delivered a superb ball for Vicente Iborra over the weekend. In addition to back-to-back standout performances, his 51.25 points over the last three gameweeks are more than any other defender. In terms of readily available defenders, there is no better long-term option than Chilwell.
Will Hughes, Watford (19 percent): After a run of influential substitute cameos, Hughes made his first start since returning from a hamstring injury at the weekend. Watford manager Javi Garcia deployed Hughes in the No.10 role and dropped Richarlison to bench, a decision the 23-year-old repaid with an impressive performance. He teed up Roberto Pereyra for the Hornet’s second goal, created four chances playing underneath Troy Deeney, and showed a good connection with Kiko Femenia on the right wing. Hughes has been restricted to just 477 minutes this season through injury, but his production remains supreme. The summer signing from Derby County is creating a chance every 40 minutes and averaging an assist every 159 minutes. His two goals, two assists and 10 chances created from five starts are complemented by an enticing 17.75 points-per-match average. Hughes is a difference maker for Watford and, should he stay fit, could be the same for managers in leagues with 10 or more teams.
Aaron Lennon, Burnley, (10 percent): This week’s underappreciated option is former Everton cast-off Aaron Lennon. The 30-year-old seems a much-rejuvenated player at Turf Moor and that’s translated into noteworthy production in recent weeks. Lennon has provided reliable and accurate service from the right wing, as he’s supplied eight crosses, five chances created and two assists over three straight starts. Back-to-back matches with assists—crosses for Chris Wood and Ashley Barnes—has seen Lennon rack up 24.50 points and emerge as a target amongst the pool of midfielders available in more than 50 percent of all leagues.
Manager Sean Dyche’s new 4-4-2 formation and this weekend’s match against Watford present the ideal scenario for for Lennon to continue his hot streak. Burnley generates the vast majority of their chances from the flanks and Watford is allowing an average of 17 crosses per match, while Wood and Barnes have combined for eight goals in the last five matches. All signs point towards another assist for Lennon, making him a worthy streaming candidate for 12-team leagues.
Jack Wilshere, Arsenal (31 percent): I decided to mention Wilshere because Arsenal host Southampton. Southampton allowed 52.5 points to West Ham midfielders last weekend and 53 when they faced Newcastle in GW30. Wilshere, meanwhile, is averaging 3.5 successful take-ons when he starts this season and 8.25 points-per-match when deployed in a three-man midfield or more advanced role. In short, Wilshere should have no trouble posting a double-digit score if he starts this weekend. This qualifies him as a late add for managers in a squeeze.
Yannick Bolasie, Everton (20 percent): Bolasie scored his first goal since returning from injury in Everton’s 3-1 defeat to Manchester City when he powered a low strike through the legs of his mark to beat Ederson at full stretch. Bolasie’s goal was merely a late consolation, but his return to form has seen him average 12.75 points-per-match over three straights starts on the left wing. Everton’s forgotten man also benefits from a favorable run-in following this weekend’s Merseyside derby. The Toffees travel to Swansea City in GW34 and host Newcastle in GW35, before closing out the season with matches against Huddersfield (A), Southampton (H) and West Ham (A). Available in 80 percent of leagues, Bolasie has the potential to be a real long-term asset for managers in search of a forward.