This column is reserved for weekly free agent and waiver-wire adds for Togga draft leagues. Each week Sean Sullivan recommends players—based on availability, matchup or form—that should be added or started. These weekly picks are meant to grab your attention, limit the often-fatal last minute lineup tinker, and help you maintain a superior squad throughout the FPL campaign.
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Week 4 Recap
- Lukasz Fabianski — 12.25: Despite conceding a header to Jamaal Lascelles late in the match, Fabianski was Swansea City’s top performer. He made seven saves, highlighted by a flying stop on a Joselu header in the first-half and leg kick denial on Ayoze Perez in the second. Fabianski ranks fourth in points (39.25) and fourth in saves (16) amongst all goalkeepers, which is made all the more impressive considering he conceded four goals to Manchester United in Week 2. He’s emerged as a solid streaming option when the matchup is favorable. (7 out of 10)
- Anthony Knockaert — 11.5: Pascal Groß stole the headlines against West Brom, overshadowing a solid outing by Knockaert. The midfielder created two chances and attempted two shots, putting one on target while the other was blocked. In the process of scoring 25 points over the last two matches, he’s created five chances and registered three shots on target on target. Knockaert’s stock remains the same, meaning he’s best suited as a four or fifth midfielder in deeper leagues. (7 out of 10)
- Grzegorz Krychowiak — 6: While West Brom was handily beaten by Brighton, Krychowiak faired well on his debut. The Poland international finished the match as the Baggies top passer, with 59 and a completion rate of 91.5%, while his 72 touches were also second best. His six points in the 3-1 defeat was below my projection…but he should bounce back over the next few matches. (6.5 out of 10)
- Tommy Smith — (-2.25): Smith had his worst performance of the season in the 2-0 defeat at West Ham. The right back failed to hit his per-averages across the board and the Terriers conceded for the first time this campaign. His stock is hurt, not injured, but owners should be prepared to rotate him based on matchups. (5 out of 10)
- Jay Rodriguez — 2.5: Rodriguez struggled in the defeat to Brighton. His movement off the ball was good but it was nullified, as his teammates rarely were able to pick him out. Like the rest of the Baggies, J-Rod will want to put this one behind him. (5 out of 10)
- Elias Kachunga — (-1): The momentum gained over the course of his last two performances came to a halt at West Ham. Kachunga was removed from the match after 74 minutes having been disposed four times and render ineffective by the Hammers. His stock is down following his worst fantasy outing of the season. (4.5 out of 10)
Week 5 Tips
When the dust settles on 2017/18 it’s likely a few managers will have won championships because of smart free agent adds, while others will have squandered their hopes due to pre-mature drops. That being said, this week’s column highlights what I believe are the best batch of recommends I have compiled since tipping Victor Moses early last season.
Before we get down to business, remember: Only players available in less than 50 percent of Togga leagues are considered for this column.
Rob Elliot, Newcastle (9 percent): Owners in need of long-term replacement for Burnley’s Tom Heaton should consider the Newcastle number one. Elliot has been the top FPL goalkeeper over the last two gameweeks, with 28.5 points across back-to-back clean sheets. While defender Jamaal Lascelles made a sliding clearance after Tammy Abraham rounded Elliot to maintain the clean sheet against the Swans last time out, the goalkeeper deserves recognition for his contributions. He made a sprawling save on Jordan Ayew in the first-half, ranging to his right to deny a strike from 20-yards out, and got a strong parry on a near post effort by Tom Carroll in the second. The Irish custodian also has appealing matchups in six of the next eight gameweeks, excluding the visit from Liverpool (GW7) and Manchester United (GW12). He’s an option in leagues with 10 or more teams.
Davinson Sanchez, Tottenham (40 percent): Sanchez had a promising performance on his full debut for Tottenham. He led Spurs with nine clearances and three interceptions as they cruised to a 3-0 win over Everton at Goodison Park. The match saw Mauricio Pochettino’s decision to use a three-man central defense pay huge dividends. Ben Davies and Kieran Trippier shined at wingback, as they combined for three assists, and the back three held the Toffees to just one shot on target. The smart move is to add Sanchez and hope Pochettino adopts the three-man backline moving forward. Why? A place in the starting XI would see the summer signing from Ajax have a good shot at being a viable fourth defender in deeper leagues.
Shane Duffy, Brighton & Hove Albion (2 percent): If you’re in need of a defender who has a high floor for defensive metrics, Duffy checks all the boxes. The Ireland international leads all FPL defenders in both clearances (39) and aerials duels (15), and was the top Seagull defender in points the last two matches. His production trends bode well for Friday’s trip to Bournemouth, especially considering the Cherries struggles thus far. Eddie Howe’s side have scored just one goal in four matches and conceded the second most points to defenders (235). Duffy is a streaming option in 10-team leagues.
Aaron Cresswell, West Ham (5 percent): Cresswell is the West Ham defender who I think has the best long-term potential. The England international was excellent playing on the left side of midfield in the 2-0 win over Huddersfield Town, supplying more key passes (3) and successful crosses (2) than any other Hammer. However, the most notable stat was his quantity of crosses. Cresswell attempted 19 in total with 10 coming from corners, including the left-footed in-swinger that led to Andre Ayew’s finish to double lead in the 76th minute. The 27-year-old’s outing mirrored his impact from gameweek two, when he recorded four key passes and three crosses from six attempts in the 3-2 defeat at Southampton. He’s worth a start against West Brom in 12-team leagues for those who don’t have a clear-cut fourth defender already. Compared to all defenders, Cresswell ranks second in both key passes (7) and successful crosses (5).
Pascal Groß, Brighton & Hove Albion (7 percent): Groß will be one of the most added player across all formats of fantasy after his man of the match performance in the 3-1 win over West Brom. The 26-year-old scored the opener just before half-time when he slide inside the box to burry an effort in the bottom right hand corner, and doubled his tally with a low shot from 25-yards two minutes after the restart. Groß capped off his brilliant performance with an assist on the third goal, whipping in a pinpoint left-footed cross for Tomer Hemed to head home at the near post. Although 30+ point performances won’t be a regular occurrence, the summer signing from FC Ingolstadt has the potential to be a top-25 midfielder. Groß led the Bundesliga in key passes last season (98), and has recorded seven in four appearances for thus far. He’s a must-add for those in need of a midfielder. Meanwhile, fellow Seagull Solly March (13 percent) is also worth a look in 12-team leagues.
Eric Choupo-Moting, Stoke City (12 percent): After three relatively quite appearances to begin his first season at Stoke City, Choupo-Moting turned in a heroic performance against Manchester United. The Cameron international put the Potters ahead just before half time when he raced behind Eric Bailly and slide to sweep home a Mame Biram Diouf cross, and later rose to head home the equalizer. While both finishes were well taken, the former FC Schalke player’s contributions to match went beyond finding the net. Choupo-Moting attempted more shots (6), completed the most successful dribbles (4) and won the most aerial duels (3) of any Stoke player. I’m buying the 28-year-old as a long-term asset, especially considering his best two games of the season have come against Arsenal (8.5 points) and Manchester United (31.5). He’s a must-add for owners who need a midfielder with high upside in the final third.
Oliver Burke, West Brom (7 percent): West Brom was outclassed by Brighton during GW4, but Burke showed real promise on his longest appearance in an Albion shirt. The 20-year-old came on as a 57th-minute substitute for Salomon Rondon in the 3-1 defeat at the Amex Stadium and set up James Morrison’s late consolation goal with a composed headed assist. The winger’s cameo also showcased his primary attributes of power and pace, as he clocked the second-fastest top speed (35.13 km per hour / 21.82 mph) in the Premier League over the weekend. Burke is the prototypical attacker the Baggies have lacked over the last two seasons, but I’m not fully convinced Tony Pulis is ready to hand him a starting role. That being said, he’s a player I would add and stash in deeper leagues.
Andy Carroll, West Ham (21 percent): Before I go any further, know this: I have been and will always be a sworn sword of House Carroll. The big Englishman returned to action on Monday and made an instant impact. The former Newcastle and Liverpool striker was menace for the Huddersfield Town defense all night, as his physical presence up front helped West Ham pick up a 2-0 win. Carroll attempted six shots (one on target) and won 13 aerial duels, the most won by single play so far this season. The aerial ace teamed well on the attack with Chicharito and Michail Antonio, which is encouraging for fantasy owners ahead of this weekend’s trip to West Brom. Should Bilic continue with the three-pronged attack moving forward, the trio could produce huge returns across the next five matches. Following a visit from Tottenham in gameweek six, the Hammers face Swansea City (H), Burnley (A), Brighton (H) and Crystal Palace (A). Carroll isn’t a season-long option because of his injury history, but he should be considered a starter in deeper leagues while fit (however long that may prove to be).