Steve Rothgeb

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Fuzzy's FPL Favorites - GW18

Friday, December 15, 2017


Cue the Ennio Morricone music, because it is time to reflect on the good, the bad and the ugly that was Week 17.

 

The Good - I feel like I gave some helpful advice in what was a tough gameweek for many, shouting the praises of Riyad Mahrez, holding onto Aguero and making him captain (which was a wise move relative to the most popular captain picks of the round), avoiding Jermaine Defoe who was benched. I am never going to get every call right, clearly, but I have also had a tendency to overreact to what looks like bad calls after one match. The advice given in this column is intended to look at the bigger picture and, after having looked back at some of my calls, I realize while some calls did not pay off immediately, many of those calls paid off over a few weeks. That makes me feel...good. 

 

The Bad - I had to find some positivity from Week 17 because the round was particularly bad for most of us. Injuries, rotation, and a lack of goals around the league left many sitting on a red arrow. Basically, if you did not own David Silva or Shinji Okazaki, or if you did not have at least two clean sheets in your defense, you were doomed.  Through social media, I have seen several managers blowing off steam by showing screenshots of situations like a fellow who had a 4-4-2 with Okazaki first sub. One of his defenders was Ben Davies. Davies didn't start, but he managed to come on in the 90th minute for the briefest of cameos, keeping Okazaki's haul in fantasy prison.

 

The Ugly - For that Okazaki owner, it was a bad situation. But, when it came to the opening round of the FPL Cup, the results were just plain ugly. Yours truly was matched up against a manager who decided it was a good idea to have Nick Pope, Cesar Azpilicueta, Philippe Coutinho and Harry Kane as his substitutes. Kane, who was the top captaincy pick for the round, was only good enough to be THIRD SUB on this chap's bench. Meanwhile, his forward line was Tammy Abraham and Mame Biram Diouf...and he CAPTAINED DIOUF. Basically, I was done in by the five point advantage he had over me by having David de Gea to my Phil Jones along with the nine point haul he got from Tiemoue Bakayoko. This manager finished with 60 points and, after looking at his gameweek history, naturally this was his highest scoring round of the season. So my cup run is finished, but at least I was playing what appeared to otherwise be an active manager. That was not the case for so many others. After posting my misfortune on Twitter, several FPL-holics shared their horror stories, with "horror" being the operative word, as I saw one example after another of smart, active managers being upended by "ghost" teams. Rudderless ships. Several stories had me shaking my head but one particular fellow played a ghost team that still had Bojan on it. Bojan, for crying out loud.

 

So, to bring things full circle, I have come up with a way to make something "Good" out of all of this. I started a mini-league yesterday called "Victims of FPL Cup 1st Round". It is an exclusive league for those who were unceremoniously dumped out of the cup in the first round. It is open to anyone who fits that description but keep in mind, I will be checking the pages of those who enter to be sure they are indeed - Victims of FPL Cup 1st Round.

 

Here is the code to that league: 5339-1206331

 

To quote Bluto Blutarsky - "Did you say 'over'? NOTHING is over until WE decide it is!"

 

Right, I'm feeling invigorated. Let's take a look at the landscape of  Week 18, keeping it short and sweet with another quick turnaround...

 

 

Follow the entire Rotoworld Premier League team on Twitter: Neal | Steve | Andrew | Sean | Stag | Ben | Galin | Nik

 

 

TO HAVE AND TO HOLD

 

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...

 

GOALKEEPERS

 

*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: David de Gea - I have de Gea here for the second straight round. He already returned 11 points in one gameweek since I said "buy him" and United look to have clean sheets galore over the next several weeks.

 

Player to sell: Fraser Forster - Another repeat. I said drop him last round, and the Saints shipped four goals. Brutal schedule for them makes me think things won't improve for several weeks.

 

Player to hold: Mathew Ryan - There are not too many Ryan owners out there and he has been a mediocre defender, even in the budget realm. But, the Seagulls have perhaps their best run of opponents this season. Back to back home games to start, and poor scoring sides like Newcastle and West Brom over the next six rounds.

 

Player to avoid: Nick Pope - Pope has been a brilliant surprise and if you own him, you are a happy customer. I think this may be the wrong time to get on board though. While a trip to Brighton has a good chance of a return, the Clarets face Tottenham, Manchester United and Liverpool in three of the next four. Then, following that stretch, their next two at Turf Moor are against both Manchester sides.

 

 

DEFENDERS

 

Player to buy: Jonjoe Kenny - I have been bullish on Everton ever since the managerial change, touting the likes of Jordan Pickford and Dominic Calvert-Lewin. But there is another gem in defense and he has a tasty 4.4m price tag. Kenny has been showered with praise since he has been given a run in the side, and his emergence has been directly in line with the Toffee's turnaround. Right back is finally settled at Goodison and thy name is Kenny.

 

Player to sell: Liverpool defenders - The Reds have kept seven clean sheets in the first seventeen weeks - not great, but not bad either. What IS bad, is the Klopp carousel combined with a turnstile of injuries. The fact that Joe Gomez is the top scoring defender thus far among the group, but has only started half of their last six league games while perfectly healthy tells you all you need to know.

 

Player to hold: Jan Vertonghen - It is time to start planning for the first double gameweek of the season. Spurs have no match in Week 21 but they make up for it immediately with a double in Week 22. Yes, the lack of Toby Alderweireld has seen a dropoff in cleanies, but the Swansea away/West Ham at home double offers much potential. So, if you have Vertonghen and can afford to bench him when Spurs blank, then that is the way to go.

 

Player to avoid: Stoke defenders - This may seem obvious, but if you are looking at the fixture ahead for the Potters, I can see why some might want to look their way for a cheap defender. Do not let the fixtures cloud your judgment on this one. Stoke have one clean sheet since Week 2 and they have had plenty of kind matchups between now and then, only to fail. 

 

 

MIDFIELDERS

 

Player to buy: Eden Hazard - I may be taking my own advice from the midweek and bringing in Mahrez for the weekend, but, if I had the funds, I would be opting for Hazard instead. Yes, he has not had an attacking return in the last two rounds, but I am not ready to deem him out of form. The Blues have three of the next four at home to Southampton, Brighton and Stoke. There will be goals from Chelsea coming. You could try out other options but run a greater risk of rotation. Hazard is so expensive, but this stretch of games justifies his price in my view.

 

Player to sell: Cesc Fabregas - Fabregas has not had an attacking return in four straight and was upstaged over the weekend by Tiemoue Bakayoko in midweek, which has me worried Bakayoko could be usurping Fab's spot in the XI.

 

Player to hold: Richarlison - This is based on whatever info we get from Watford ahead of the weekend. But, even if he is ruled out entirely, it looks to be only for the one game and when you think of how consistent he has been, how cheap he is compared to his production and the fact that the Hornets have a schedule ripe for attacking points, he is still worth holding onto assuming you can get a full XI in without him.

 

Player to avoid: Bernardo Silva - Silva found his fellow Silva with an assist in midweek. He was one of City's big summer signings and offers loads of potential. But, unless there is an injury crisis, he will not be making consecutive starts any time soon.

 

 

FORWARDS

 

Player to buy: Wayne Rooney/Dominic Calvert-Lewin - In the last column, I backed DCL as the forward to buy. I am going to double down and add Rooney to the mix. You are getting good value on both of these players, so I included the two. The choice of who to add is based entirely on your situation, what you can afford, et cetera. At home against basement-dwelling Swansea this weekend, your investment has a good chance of paying off immediately.

 

Player to sell: Jermain Defoe/Callum Wilson - Both of these prospects have shown the ability to haul in big numbers on their day, but the rotation is rampant and it appears Eddie Howe is going to keep it that way. Add in two upper echelon opponents over the next two rounds and it makes the decision to drop one of these easier on you.

 

Player to hold: Andre Gray - Gray showed some attacking form, getting returns in three straight weeks last month. December has not been kind to him though...yet. Watford have three of four at home and Brighton, Huddersfield and Swansea are among the four opponents. There has to be a Gray goal, or two, or three in that stretch.

 

Player to avoid: Shinji Okazaki - See, this is a classic example of advice that may look bad in the immediate future. I would not be shocked if Okazaki found the net this weekend. And, when you look at players near his price, he among the best in the 6m and under bracket of forwards. The problem is pitch time. Take a look at his playing time so far this season and you will see something unsettling. Too many short shifts when he starts and 1 point cameos from the bench when he doesn't. The game this week where he scored his brace, is the first time he played 90 full minutes this season, and I am pretty sure he did not go the full 90 once in the last three seasons. A true anomaly.

 

TOP CAPTAIN CHOICES

 

1) Eden Hazard

2) Mo Salah

3) Alexis Sanchez

4) Riyad Mahrez

5) Romelu Lukaku

 

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





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