Steve Rothgeb

Weekly Picks

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Fuzzy's FPL Favorites - GW26

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Welcome to the final third.


In a 38-week season, there is no clean division of thirds, but heading into and coming out of this weekend, we will pass the 2/3rds mark of the season, setting up the all-important final third. And with a very busy transfer window now behind us, we should see less of a template team across FPL and a bit more reality, as managers take their shots on new talent, or old talent in new situations. It is also the time of the season when the FPL chips are unleashed, in an attempt to maximize potential with double gameweeks looming in the future. I am still in possession of my 2nd half wildcard and all three chips, and I do not plan on using any this round, or the next. So, the run-in is hopefully going to provide me a giant leap in the rankings.


And let me tell you something, I could use a giant leap. Week 25 was "the week that wasn't" for yours truly. In a game that requires a manager to successfully navigate through injuries that come and go, there was one injury this week that cost me dearly in every format I play in - my laptop. Yes, technical difficulties left me without a computer for a few days, right in line with the round, and I was burned badly. As far as FPL goes, I suffered my first red arrow since Week 17. In several draft leagues, I missed out on all the big names coming in from out of the league, and it may cost me severely. Time will tell. Yes, I have a phone, but I would not exactly call it smart. Plus, my hands are larger than say, just as a random example, Donald Trump's, so using a phone like it's a laptop is a fruitless endeavor for me. Well, c'est la vie. Something like this happens to us all from time to time. You think you hit confirm, and you didn't. At least, when things like this happen, it wakes you up, much like a rumble strip on the highway when you are driving a long distance through the night. 


Right then with the quick turnaround to Week 26, let us waste no time and dive into the picks:



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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...




*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: Mathew Ryan - Brighton have just three points from their last six, not having won since Week 19 against Watford, so they understand the importance of getting wins over the next few weeks, and they will need good defending to make that happen. Facing West Ham's depleted attack this week, then Stoke, who have scored in only one of their last five matches, Ryan offers at least a short-term cheap GK option that can carry you until we enter the land of double gameweeks and you have a chance to drop him in a wildcard.


Player to sell: Nick Pope - I know, I know. I had Pope in the "avoid" section last round, and he comes through with a double-digit haul, catapulting him to 2nd rank on the season among keepers. I may sound like a broken record, but Tom Heaton is going to get his job back and, at this point, it could be any time. If there is one fixture I feel comfortable dropping a Burnley defensive asset, it is against Manchester City. So, use the tough fixture this weekend as a chance to switch Pope out before you are stuck with a non-playing keeper. 


Player to hold: Jordan Pickford - The Toffees have not kept a cleanie for five league matches running, and a trip to the Emirates does not offer much encouragement for that streak to end. Still, I would grin and bear it with Pickford this weekend, because with the Gunners out of the way, there are several upcoming opponents with weaker attacks.


Player to avoid: Hugo Lloris - Very happy to see Spurs keep a clean sheet and spoil the debut of Alexis Sanchez with Manchester United. While I feel Tottenham are capable of a clean sheet against anyone, its a bit much to ask to stop the Red Devils, then do it again against Liverpool and again against Arsenal. Flag him as a potential option for the run-in but forget about buying him or Tottenham defenders for the next two weeks.





Player to buy: Harry Maguire - Check back to my previous article, I was worried I backed Maguire one round too early. Such was the case after the 2-1 defeat to Everton. Still, I am happy to continue backing him because the next four rounds offer three very good chances at big returns - home games against Swansea, Stoke and Bournemouth. Ben Chilwell should be considered as well for those struggling for funds. But, if you have the cash to splash, Maguire's ability to score on both sides of the ball will provide you bargain over the next month.


Player to sell: Jonjoe Kenny - Seamus Coleman made his return midweek, which spell doom for Kenny. Truth is, I am rather certain Kenny will start this weekend, because Coleman probably isn't fit enough to handle two games in under a week. But, that fixture is away to Arsenal, so I am not expecting Kenny to produce much. From then on, Coleman is nailed on at right back, so the days of a useful Kenny are behind us.


Player to hold: Ahmed Hegazi - West Brom have a nice run of fixtures on tap. They have only one clean sheet in five, but I would expect them to keep at least one, with a good shot at two, over the next three weeks when they host Southampton and Huddersfield. The Week 1 sensation has not found an attacking return since that opening round, so he could be due for his next headed score from a corner.


Player to avoid: Aymeric Laporte - I was very happy to see Laporte priced at 5.5m when he arrived to the Etihad, and he was immediately thrust into the XI by Pep Guardiola with success, helping City earn a clean sheet. I think he will be a fantasy asset during the run-in. I would wait on buying him though. There is bound to be rotation with City's heavy schedule and I would not be surprised to see Laporte not in the XI this weekend against Burnley. From there, even if he does start every match, the Citizens have a run of Leicester, Arsenal and Chelsea. Wait for that to pass before considering Laporte.





Player to buy: Theo Walcott - Walcott is like Woody from Toy Story. He isn't the newest, shiniest toy, but he is tried and true. Walcott entered the last round with 10 points on the season and ended the round on 25 points. The move to Everton looks like he perfect environment to unlock his potential. Walcott's FPL success is well-documented. When he is playing, he is very productive. Do not let the Arsenal matchup sway you. He will be pumped to face his former club and the Gunners haven't exactly been sound defensively lately. After that matchup, Everton's opponents 


Player to sell: Riyad Mahrez - What a mess. I am super-bullish on Leicester this week - they have some very good matchups starting this weekend, but their most productive player to date may be the worst option from the Foxes you can have. After a botched attempted move to Manchester City, Mahrez has fell on bad terms with his teammates and was left out of the squad against Everton. I think time will heal wounds, but if I am a Mahrez owner, I cannot afford to go another round where he is potentially frozen out.


Player to hold: Alexis Sanchez (and company) - United's attack hit a wall against Spurs midweek, so some very expensive players are burning holes in fantasy managers' wallets. Don't let one result with a Sanchez-led attack cause you to hit the panic button. Any attack is capable of being stifled by Tottenham when Spurs are playing well. This coming match, home to Huddersfield, is the one to erase the memory of Week 25. I think Alexis offers the best captaincy choice in the league this weekend. Martial, Lingard and Pogba should get another shot for you this week, though the latter two should be on the chopping block soon if their situations do not improve.


Player to avoid: Gerard Deulofeu - It's nice to see Deulofeu back in the PL and Watford look to take full advantage of his services while on loan, as he was immediately inserted into the Hornets' XI during the midweek. 6m is a nice price for him, he has shown stretches in the past where he has made that price look insanely cheap. But, he is the sort I would wait for form to come before taking the plunge.





Player to buy: Callum Wilson - Everything is looking positive for a Wilson investment right now. He has been in fantastic form, but was flying below the radar until netting again against Chelsea in a surprise result. He now has four goals and two assists over the last seven rounds. If you can get a forward that is averaging a return of some sort every round, and he costs below 6m, you have a gold mine on your hands. Add to this three very nice fixtures in a row - Stoke and Newcastle at home with Huddersfield away sandwiched between. 


Player to sell: Alexandre Lacazette - In Arsenal's estimation, it has been Alexandre Laca-production, thought to be fair, he's 6th in scoring amongst forwards (I just saw a pun and went for it). Prepare to watch that rank sink like a stone with the arrival of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Perhaps in the future, Arsene Wenger will find a way to start both premium forwards, but with the sale of Olivier Giroud and Danny Welbeck in the physio room, Lacazette looks to take on the Giroud role as a striker option off the bench. No one with a price tag above 10m should have question marks around playing time. Sell him.


Player to hold: Jay Rodriguez - The arrival of Daniel Sturridge has raised eyebrows across FPL, as West Brom, normally not a popular source for attacking options, have a premium striker on their hands. For the few that own Jay Rodriguez, do not fret. The two will most likely partner together up top. J-Rod is in great form at the moment. Throw out the blank against City midweek, he has four goals in his previous five contests (a brace in the FA Cup v Liverpool included). Sturridge could actually improve J-Rod's potential and I would be happy to own him now. I am not buying into Sturridge in the FPL format because I have an issue with his injury history.


Player to avoid: Jordan Ayew - I know Ayew has been doing everything right to deserve your consideration and he is so deliciously cheap, but I cannot buy in. Swansea are on the right track with back to back wins over Liverpool and Arsenal, but I still do not see them as a dependable source for goals. Perhaps I would give him more respect, but Wilson for .6m more provides a way better option in terms of value and production. Also, with recent personnel movement, Jordan may not even be the best Ayew on his own team now.





1) Alexis Sanchez

2) Sergio Aguero

3) Harry Kane

4) Mo Salah

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 and, a self-proclaimed fantasy sports oracle, and Tottenham Hotspur fanatic. He can be found on Twitter @FuzzyWarbles.
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