Steve Rothgeb

Weekly Picks

print article archives RSS

Fuzzy's FPL Favorites - GW5

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Right, we are coming out of the first international break of the season, which can only mean one thing: Do not ask me what happened back in Week 4 because it was a long, long time ago.


Let me be honest. Do not ask me what happened because a few calls I made in my last column blew up in my face. Some were chalked up to bad luck, like backing Wilfried Zaha as a buy only to see him as a surprise scratch. Others were...well, let me just come out and say it. I advised avoiding Jose Holebas. Predicting this game will humble even the best of prognosticators, and your pal Fuzzy was humbled. Extremely humbled. But, there was a bigger picture to Round 4 that I feel I called right. Though it is impossible to account for everyone who played their wildcard in Week 4, the consensus result has been that of a failure. Well, at least after one week anyway. The average round score was a relatively low one and while some of the hot commodities managed to deliver to their new owners, in general there was not the kind of immediate return for wildcard players that was expected. So, advantage to those who still have their card in hand. 


Perhaps even more of a dud was the attempt by many a manager this last round to play their triple captain. There has been a growing philosophy regarding the triple captain chip since its introduction, and that philosophy is - perhaps reserving the chip only for a double gameweek round is not the right approach. We have this feeling because in the first couple of years with the chip, the popular double gameweek captain choices have come up short. So, more and more people are beginning to think it is best to capitalize on form and fixture, even if that means a single fixture. Everything was aligned for Sergio Aguero to return massive points against Newcastle United but, the Premier League being the Premier League, the unexpected happened. So here is my philosophy - whether it be a single gameweek or a double gameweek, the mantra of "expect the unexpected" always applies. Ergo, it only makes sense to give the chip a go in a double gameweek. Even if it results in two blanks, with nothing but appearance points, you've lost very little on those that spent their chip on Aguero's assist. Approximately three points. That has to render the Aguero triple captain experiment in Week 4 a failure. If current trends keep up when we get into the latter stages of the season, where double gameweeks occur, I may be looking at one of these premium fullbacks as my captain of choice. A real chance at a return from either side of the ball over two favorable fixtures seems a slam dunk for a least a solid triple captain play, if not the smartest.


Week 5 will see plenty more managers playing their wildcard. The first international break has been a traditional period to play it, though one of the advantages of doing so - getting the most out of double price rises - has pretty much gone the way of the dodo bird. Still, it is about now where we see the shape of the league and can begin to make educated calls about which players are poised to thrive all season long and which have gotten off to fluke starts, whether they be hot or cold. Even if we are talking about only the first half of the season, there is still a ton of action yet to play out, and holding that wild card until the time is right could make or break your season. We will all be following similar paths with our 2nd half wildcards, so the impact may not be as big as one would think. It may be this 1st half wildcard, where there is bound to be more diversity in timing of it being played, that holds more power than any other weapon you have.


Before diving into the picks for Week 5, I want to extend my thoughts and concerns for the citizens of the southeast coast ahead of this menacing hurricane. Please, if you live in that part of the world, be safe. 



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





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: Rui Patricio - What is more impressive, keeping a clean sheet against West Ham or limiting Man City to a single goal? Any way you go, Patricio and the Wolves defense have done just that in their last two. Three of the next five are at home, with Burnley and Southampton offering good clean sheet potential.


Player to sell: Lukasz Fabianski - Returning 11 points over the first four rounds, Fabianski has not damaged his owners too much, certainly not to the extent their options at the defender position have so far. Still, it is a mess for Manuel Pellegrini. While he should continue to rack up saves, this coming wave of fixtures are just too nasty to handle. Over the next six weeks, they split three games home and away, but the three at home are against Chelsea, Man United and Spurs.


Player to hold: Jordan Pickford - I began with Hugo Lloris at this spot, thinking he was set to recover from what was labeled a minor thigh injury, but his status was updated shortly after publication, and he is set to be out. So if you have no active GK2, then I would go ahead and cut the Frenchman. As another keeper to hold, albeit somewhat reluctantly, is Pickford. Everton have yet to keep a clean sheet and are dealing with a slew of injuries. Facing a West Ham side in turmoil, they may be due for a cleanie.


Player to avoid: Neil Etheridge - Etheridge may end the season middle of the pack in points, which would be more than respectable for a 4.5m keeper. That said, he continues to stay as my keeper to avoid because of a combination of chasing points that already passed and a nightmare schedule for Cardiff in the immediate future, starting with a trip to Stamford Bridge this weekend.





Player to buy: Steve Cook - By now, you have hopefully realized that you need and have acquired at least two premium defenders who are scoring mad points just about every weekend. This feels like a week to bring in a budget option to work as your DEF #3 for the next several weeks and Cook has all the boxes ticked for me between form and fixtures. Diego Rico could offer equal or better attacking returns as he looks to settle into the left back role, but unless I am .1m short, I feel more security with Cook.


Player to sell: Trent Alexander-Arnold - I get the feeling suggesting a sale of a healthy, starting Liverpool player will seldom be seen in this column this season, but this is one of those "blue moon" scenarios. Fixtures are tough, with Tottenham, Chelsea and City in the next four. I say you keep your attacking players, and that has to include Andy Robertson, but Alexander-Arnold has disappointed thus far in terms of attacking returns and this looks the time to let him go, for now anyway.


Player to hold: Ricardo Pereira - The last two rounds have offered his owners little in terms of points, but current owners of Pereira should stay the course. He has a pair of assists already and has played in wide midfield role in two of the first four games. With so many other fullbacks off to monster starts, it has kept Pereira under the radar. If I were to bet today which defender who had a starting price of 5m or less will finish at the top in points, it would be this guy.


Player to avoid: Watford defenders not named Jose Holebas - Holebas made me look extremely foolish after his Week 4 return, as I was in the camp that the Hornets would come back down to Earth somewhat beginning with Spurs. He proved me wrong big time. That said, while Holebas may continue to deliver consistent attacking returns for a budget defender, I highly doubt clean sheets are as likely in the next several rounds, so do not bother looking for a different, cheaper option. It is Holebas or nothing from Watford's back line.





Player to buy: N'golo Kante - Kante's fantasy appeal has been greatly increased under new management. With four games in the books, the pattern has been established - Kante is spending lots of time getting forward compared to his first couple of seasons with Chelsea. I cannot think of a player as inexpensive with the potential to explode as Kante and it only helps that Chelsea have great fixtures ahead. He won't give you Hazard-level points, but a on a points per pound spent basis, the potential for major value is undeniable.


Player to sell: Felipe Anderson - Forgive me if it feels I am picking on the Hammers if you happen to be a supporter, but it cannot be ignored how poor the outlook is for West Ham options right now. Basically, if you own a Hammer not named Marko Arnautovic, it is time to let go. Felipe Anderson has shown a bit of promise, but he has little chance of pleasing owners over the next several weeks.


Player to hold: Henrikh Mkhitaryan - This one hits close to home as a owner of Mkhi myself. Who knows the kind of points were left frozen on the bench of many a fantasy manager after the Arsenal man's one minute cameo, but the result is the same for all - frustration. I am going to hold him this week though. The Gunners have a good run of fixtures, too good to drop him after one non-start. Fellow owners can take the same approach I am - if he is once again benched, then the fresh-off-suspension Richarlison ahead of Week 6 will be among the easiest transfer decisions made this season.


Player to avoid: Andre Schurrle - Goals in back-to-back games and going for less than his starting price tag? Very appealing. But I think you wait a least a week to buy him, and let this tough matchup against City pass. Alexsandar Mitrovic is set for a double price rise ahead of the Week 5 deadline, but Schurrle is on pace to go the entire international break without a rise. So, he should still remain excellent value after this round. 




Player to buy: Callum Wilson - I guess I will miss the Mitrovic train. While I believe in form over fixtures, I also believe one blank does not ruin one's prospects completely. Such is the case with Wilson, who came up without an attacking return for the first time this season in Week 4. He is the FWD #3 to own for the next six weeks. I think he outscores Mitro in that stretch and Josh King may as well.


Player to sell: Cenk Tosun - A pair of assists is okay but that is not the sort of production I am looking for in a striker. Tosun has yet to find the net himself this season and owners may be giddy about his prospects of opening his account against West Ham. While it is impossible to rule out the chance, I have to wonder, what kind of service is he going to get. Injuries and suspension will see a weaker-than-usual XI from the Toffees this weekend. Look at it as a chance to get him out now and Richarlison in later. You are going to want the latter going forward anyway.


Player to hold: Jamie Vardy - Because of a red card in Week 2 and resulting absences in Weeks 3 and 4, Vardy is a forgotten man. The fact that his price dropped only once over that stretch tells me many an owner decided to keep him around. Well, going forward, you have yourself a nice differential. It shouldn't take long for the veteran to start finding the net again.


Player to avoid: Glenn Murray - Murray is always going to be given less credit than he deserves. Honestly, he did well to record a dozen goals last season and to see him with three already in this campaign is quite impressive. But if things average out as one would expect, then you are likely chasing points buying him this week. Spurs and Man City immediately follow after this coming round, which does not help his prospects. In general though, I do not trust Brighton's attack on a weekly basis enough to justify having Murray fill up one of three precious forward slots. No disrespect, Glenn.





1) Sergio Aguero

2) Eden Hazard

3) Marcos Alonso

4) Mo Salah

5) Sadio Mane


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, and there are usually a few extra surprises in this regard coming out of an international break. 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

Highest Searched Players over the last 7 days

Video Center

    Player News: Week 17

    Player News: Week 17
    Matchups: Gordon, Jeffery

    Matchups: Gordon, Jeffery
    DFS Analysis: Williams/Coleman

    DFS Analysis: Williams/Coleman
    Dose: Cam

    Dose: Cam's Season Ends
    DFS Analysis: GB

    DFS Analysis: GB's Williams
    Dose: Cam Shut Down

    Dose: Cam Shut Down
    Dose: Lindsay Makes Pro Bowl

    Dose: Lindsay Makes Pro Bowl
    Dose: Gordon Eyes Wk 16 Return

    Dose: Gordon Eyes Wk 16 Return