Andrew Gastelum

Weekly Picks

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The Bargain Hunter - Week 27

Tuesday, February 6, 2018


Gameweek 27: better known as the North London derby and nothing more. Sure there are other games this week, but does any of it really matter? But actually, let’s enjoy this week before we get the February FA Cup break next week—those are always such bores.

 

If you missed last week’s column on the potential impact of the winter transfer window arrivals, you can find it along the sidebar here. Of my winter transfer picks, only Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had an immediate impact with his debut goal since arriving in a massive move from Borussia Dortmund.

 

But recent picks like Xherdan Shaqiri (goal and two bonus points) and Luka Milivojevic (goal and three bonus points) excelled along side Alex Iwobi’s assist and Luke Shaw’s clean sheet for Manchester United. Of this week’s pick, only Kenedy is a winter arrival, but I feel like there are some real gems in last week’s column, so check it out when you can.

 

Without further delay, here are the bargain hits and misses ahead of Gameweek 27. I’m welcoming all suggestions and debates on Twitter (@gastelumEPL) and hopefully I can include your thoughts here in this column.

 

All of the stats used in this column come straight from the Premier League on a weekly basis. Our friends at FPL.com take the data from a thousand private leagues, all of which consist of eight teams, in order to minimize the impact of data from public leagues where autopick drafting is more prevalent.

 

 Of course, it’s just a sample size, so it’s not hard and fast; but it should give us a good idea of the tendencies of FPL Draft leagues and managers. Remember, the waivers deadline is a full 24 hours before the first game of the week, and the lowest-placed team in your league gets the first pick.

 

One-week Pick (OWP) - When a regular is suspended for a match, ineligible to face his parent club as a loanee, or his fill-in looks to deputize for only a week while the regular nurses a minor injury, this is where to find some replacements. They should only be looked at when you really need help at a position that week alone, and not looked at as long term plays. Best for salary cap leagues with unlimited transactions, not so much for draft leagues.

 

Short-term Pick (STP) - When a regular faces a multi-game suspension, an injury layoff lasting 2-5 weeks, international commitment, etc., this is where you look for players that can offer more beyond one week but do have a limited shelf life in most cases. Worth using a waiver claim or spending a bit more of your free agent budget (FAAB) than the One Week Buys. Can be useful in salary-cap format as long as you are comfortable with possibly needing to transfer them out in a few weeks.

 

Long-term Pick (LTP) - When a regular is either facing a month or more out or has lost his spot seemingly to someone better, these are the players that emerge as potential long-term investments and are therefore the most valuable of the group and worth paying up. Great for any format, but especially valuable in draft leagues with limited waiver claims.

 

 

BARGAINS:

 

GK- Petr Cech (Arsenal)

It’s tough to dislike Cech, a consummate professional and down-to-earth star in a game littered with out-of-touch divas; but that shouldn’t prevent us fantasy managers from making an objective decision to drop the 35-year-old for the short term, at the very least. Cech is owned is 98 percent of our latest sample of FPL Draft leagues, and while I’m not saying you should release the Czech icon, I think you should have ready/find a backup keeper for the meantime.

 

Arsenal has been spotty at the back of late, conceding 16 goals since its last clean sheet nine games ago, which happened to be mid-December. And that ominous streak doesn’t look likely to end soon with Tottenham and Manchester City due up in the next two matches. And then there’s the fact that Cech was subbed off with a calf injury, which has yet to be sorted out, in the Gunners 5-1 win over Everton this past weekend. For now, the best idea would be to leave Cech on the bench in FPL Draft and hope your backup has a better schedule/defense in front of him.

 

DEF- Alfie Mawson (Swansea City)

You can’t have a conversation about reliability in defense without mentioning Alfie Mawson. The Swansea defender has played the full 90 minutes in every single Premier League game this season, accounting for seven clean sheets and two goals so far. As the club’s highest-scoring outfield player in FPL, I would love to see his WAR, because there are few players who are as underrated and, at the same time, as valuable to his team as Mawson is to the Welsh side fighting off relegation.

 

Somehow, the central defender is taken in only 30 percent of our FPL Draft sample. Under new manager Carlos Carvahal, the Swans have turned things around quickly, going unbeaten in the last four Premier League matches which include wins against Liverpool and Arsenal to pull them from bottom of the table to out of the bottom three. With Burnley, Brighton, West Ham, Huddersfield Town and Southampton up next through mid-March, Swansea has a good chance at recording clean sheets and distancing themselves from the relegation battle.

 

 

MID – James Ward-Prowse (Southampton)

Remember when Ward-Prowse was the FPL defender most managers had in their teams just because he was a cheap (£4.0) midfielder and enabled them to afford the expensive stars? Well, the young attacker is starting to shed that label and make a name for himself, all over the past month. After struggling for playing time for much of the season, Ward-Prowse has now secured a spot in the club’s starting lineup, starting each of the last six Premier League games and showing why he belongs.

 

In his last four league matches, Ward-Prowse has recorded three goals, two assists and eight bonus points. And while he looks like a valuable option in FPL’s original format, he looks to be a great fifth midfielder option in FPL Draft, where he is available in more than 85 percent of draft leagues. Given Southampton’s (and his) form—unbeaten in each of Ward-Prowse’s starts this season—the midfielder could be a prime pickup with long-term potential.

 

 

MID – Kenedy (Newcastle)

It’s well-known that Newcastle desperately need help in attack, which Islam Slimani will surely provide once he returns from injury, but Slimani’s fellow winter arrival is already providing a massive boost. Since arriving on loan from Chelsea, the Brazilian winger has started both of his Premier League games for Rafa Benitez, igniting the Newcastle attack with his pace and vision.

 

In his first match, a 1-1 draw with Burnley, Kenedy provided the assist on Jamaal Lascelles header; over the weekend, Kenedy was the catalyst in setting up the club’s lone goal. The versatile attacker has already taken some corners and free kicks for the side and will surely have an impact on set plays, but his 5.8 percent ownership in FPL Draft leagues means you can wait on Kenedy for when he really starts to pick things up.

 

 

FWD – Chicharito (West Ham)

A couple months ago, upon the arrival of David Moyes, I recommended releasing Javier Hernandez for his lack of confidence and gametime. After all, this was a highly-touted summer signing with Premier League experience who hit such terrible form that he was kept out of the starting lineup for 10 straight games, failed to score for 13 straight games and was actively seeking a winter exit after just a few months at his new club. But now, Chicharito has turned everything around.

 

Quick disclaimer: Chicharito is taken in 71 percent of our FPL Draft leagues, which is most likely a holdover figure from all of those who drafted and no longer actively play, so he might not be available on your waiver wire. However, if he is, the Mexican international might be worth a look. With Andy Carroll and Michail Antonio injured, Chicharito has stepped up with two goals, an assist and five bonus points in his last three games. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but Chicharito is back and in form. 






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