Steve Rothgeb

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Fuzzy's FPL Favorites - GW27

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Week 26 was just the pits. But, it could have been a lot worse. My week was saved because Chancel Mbemba did not feature. Yes, this needs further explanation.


Like many of you, I had a red arrow after Week 26. I was banking on a Leicester clean sheet that did not happen. I gave the armband to Aguero and that did not pan out. Thanks to the absence of Marcos Alonso, my keeper/defense combined for five total points. And my luxury forward line of Kane, Aguero and Firmino pretty much blanked. Pretty much because Kane's goal was mostly wiped out with a penalty miss.


But, the weekend could have been so much worse. Three minutes before the deadline, my team was set with Phil Jones in my defense. Just a minute before the deadline hit, I saw a tweet from my colleague Ben Dinnery, suggesting that Jones was not going to be in the squad. Now, I was already in a jam with my bench. I made a transfer to free up cash, because I was sitting on two budget midfielders who are both injured, Loftus-Cheek and Obiang (laugh about Obiang in my squad, but he got me a goal in West Ham's DGW). WIth .7m in the bank, the plan was to do Obiang->Ward-Prowse for the following week. But, having two injured mids and Mbemba, the Phil Jones news told me that I was not going to get a full XI out without another move. So, I rushed to the transfer page and got JWP in for Obiang. BUT - there was not enough time to move JWP into the XI, so he was sitting as the last option on my bench. He goes and has a big day, but I am still blocked by Mbemba until Monday night, and knowing my luck, Rafa Benitez was going to start him. Thankfully, he did not. Ward-Prowse scored a dozen points. Late hit factored in - an eight point net gain. That was awesome. Cheers, Mr. Dinnery.


So we have a weekend of football kicking off with the always-intriguing North London derby and wrapping up with another Chelsea match on Monday night. We will have the next weekend off from league play, but by the time I talk with you again, my Spurs will have played their first leg against Juventus. So it is a big week for me in reality. But until noon on Saturday GMT time, I am focused 100% on fantasy.


Right, so let's take a look at Week 27 then:



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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: Lukasz Fabianski - The Swans have taken flight. With eight points from their past four matches, they have lifted themselves out of the relegation zone, looking rejuvenated under Carlos Carvalhal on both sides of the ball. The attack is scoring more goals but I still see the defense as the best area of investment. Fabianski is already having a fine season, 4th among keepers in scoring at only 4.6m. He should flourish in the coming weeks as Swansea face Burnley, West Ham and Southampton at home in three of the next five, with the two road tilts against Brighton and Huddersfield.


Player to sell: Petr Cech - I hold the opposite view for Arsenal in comparison to Swansea. I am all about investing in the attack, but the defense still looks iffy as the Gunners have become the new Liverpool. Cech has everything going against him. His form has been poor, the next two fixtures are Tottenham and Manchester City, he is nursing a calf injury, and no keeper costs more that has returned less points. Chop him. 


Player to hold: Jordan Pickford - It isn't often a player is included as a 'hold" for consecutive weeks, but as troublesome as Everton's defense has been lately, I still think you roll with Pickford if he is already in your side. The Toffees have a very kind schedule ahead and, even though current form should see our expectations lowered somewhat, I still think there are some clean sheets coming over the next month and change.


Player to avoid: Loris Karius - A clean sheet and a penalty save over the last two weeks has seen Karius put up a couple of nice scores and he has started four league matches consecutively, but the Liverpool keeper situation is still one to avoid. I would imagine Karius is between the sticks this weekend but one mistake could see Simon Mignolet back in the fray. Too much uncertainty at a position where you cannot afford uncertainty. Maybe next season Karius becomes the clear-cut #1, but he is not getting near my team now.





Player to buy: Alfie Mawson/Federico Fernandez - That's right, I am doubling down on Swansea at the back. If you are set at keeper but are shopping for defender, you should keep your eyes fixed on Swansea's options. For all the reasons mentioned before regarding Fabianski, the defense makes for an excellent and frugal buy at the moment. Splurge for Mawson if you can, he is one of the best attacking center backs in the league. But, if money is tight, 4.4m for Fernandez should return some cheap cleanies for you.


Player to sell: Crystal Palace defenders - Owners of Palace defenders should not have too much trouble unloading this week, as they have not been in great form of late. Things certainly looked promising after the 0-0 result with Man City last month, but the defense has one clean sheet since and I don't see many more in the coming weeks, with a trip to Goodison Park this weekend followed by three straight against Tottenham, Manchester United and Chelsea.


Player to hold: Marcos Alonso - What on Earth has happened to Chelsea? Seven goals conceded in their last two, and we are not talking Man City and Liverpool as opponents. Alonso owners were understandably distraught seeing his name omitted from the XI, but after shipping four goals, at least some managers had a player subbed in that produced something. As an Alonso owner, I am ready to cut ties, but he deserves one more match at home to the Baggies to see if he can pay off before the Blues get both Manchester sides back-to-back.


Player to avoid: Danilo - Last week, I nailed my prediction in advising not to buy Aymeric Laporte, as I felt he would be rested against Burnley, and he was. If you want to buy Laporte now, I feel much more confident, at least in the short term. However, the same logic behind last week's call applies to Danilo this week, who scored a beautiful goal from distance against the Clarets. On many clubs, that would have earned him another start. But not in Pep's side. I think Danilo is, at best, a 50/50 shot at starting and that is not what I want when I go to buy a player.





Player to buy: Gerard Deulofeu - Last week, I talked about Deulofeu. I talked about his potential but thought it was best to avoid until his form changed my mind. Consider my mind changed. After an assist in his first game with Watford, he followed it up with a goal and an assist against Chelsea. In a match with four goals for the Hornets, it is hard to believe Richarlison played a part in none of them, when he was seemingly a part of every goal in the first half of the season. At 6m, Deulofeu's price could be 6.5m by the end of next week's international break. West Ham, Everton and West Brom should provide him more chances to score big in the next three rounds.


Player to sell: Jesse Lingard - If you got in on Lingard when he hit a dazzling run of form, you were rewarded handsomely. So much so that, you may find it difficult to part ways with him, especially when producing at a very nice price. But, the January shakeup at Old Trafford is likely to have a negative impact on him. Last week, we saw surprise benchings of Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial. Lingard has barely made the 60 minute mark the last two games and I think a benching is coming soon.


Player to hold: Tottenham midfielders - The North London derby marks the end of three straight tough league games for Spurs. With a pair of goals against Manchester United and Liverpool, I see no reason why they cannot score two or three against the Gunners, who have struggled defensively lately. After the derby, there should be a surge in Tottenham investment, as the schedule takes a kind turn. This weekend may not yield great results, but its too late to give up on Son, Eriksen or Alli with better days ahead.


Player to avoid: Eden Hazard - If you own him, you need to roll with him one more week and see what you can get out of him in a home game against West Brom. Otherwise, he should not be in anyone's plans with the current state of affairs at Chelsea. He is simply too expensive. Yes, he is producing while the rest of the club is not, and a return this weekend would not surprise. But, a player of his price, you expect a longer-term investment than usual and there are too many negative stigmas around the Blues these days for me to pony up that kind of bread. 





Player to buy: Roberto Firmino - It is a weird weekend for strikers. When I look at the market, I see plenty of names that do not seem like a solid buy this week, and very little in terms of bankable assets. So, it is admittedly uninspired, but Firmino makes the grade this week. No returns last weekend, but he is delivering on a consistent enough basis for me not to worry about buying ahead of a trip to St. Mary's followed by consecutive home games against West Ham and Newcastle.


Player to sell: Everton forwards - The forward situation at Everton reminds me a lot of Christmas morning presents from my mother. She tended to be more about quantity (the appearance of many boxes under the tree) rather than quality (oh, a bottle of conditioner from the Dollar Store, thanks Ma). Is Cenk Tosun, the Turkish Harry Kane, already a bust? Is Rooney a regular anymore? What about Dominic Calvert-Lewin? He seemed to be productive when given the chance. Is Sandro Ramirez still with the club? Wait, now we are back on Oumar Niasse? Just forget this whole mess and sell.


Player to hold: Callum Wilson - You knew it had to happen. Everything was lined up positively for Wilson heading into last weekend and he could not find the net, despite some high-percentage chances. Stay patient folks. Part of the reason he is a budget player is that you cannot expect returns every week. With Huddersfield and Newcastle the next two opponents, I can all but guarantee Wilson will be back in the points quickly.


Player to avoid: Olivier Giroud - I would imagine in a DFS format, I would look at Giroud as an option this weekend. In fantasy draft leagues, I would be very happy to swipe him up if he was cast away in the free agent pool earlier in the season. As an FPL option though, I am not as eager to get him as many others are. Given the state of affairs at Chelsea, the club are very fortunate to have worked out a deadline day deal to get him. But, if the Frenchman continues his reputation, it could be a poor buy. That reputation is - legend off the bench, mediocre as a starter.





1) Mo Salah

2) Sergio Aguero

3) Alexis Sanchez

4) Harry Kane

5) Eden Hazard


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.
Email :Steve Rothgeb

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