Anthony O'Shea

Weekly Picks

print article archives RSS

Stag's Take - Gameweek 11

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Stag’s Take – Gameweek 11


Few gameweeks teach lessons to managers like Gameweek 10 did. Injuries and unexpected rests for, amongst others, the third most-owned defender, the most-owned midfielder and third most popular player in the game, and the sixth most-owned forward (Robertson, Hazard, and Arnautovic) put big dents in FPL teams. In the end, many teams explored the depths of their bench to field 11 men, with many managers failing to even complete a team.


I’m guilty as charged in some respects. Ben Hamer and Callum Hudson-Odoi (CHO) both rack up zeros weekly for me, but fortunately I needed just the first two bench slots to make up for Robertson and Ricardo Pereira’s absences at the weekend. The debacle breathed life into one of my favourite FPL debates – should you focus your money on your first XI or have a solid reserve?


The "first XI" approach gives the obvious advantage that you have as much quality and points potential as possible in your scoring players. That’s all well and good, but once Pep’s wheel of rotation strikes or an unknown injury or illness arises (there have been more of these this season than I remember previously being the case), you can be in a situation where all you have is dross to compensate. Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Dale Stephens, and Aboubakar Kamara are fine… but there’s more to FPL than that in my opinion.


For me, the “solid reserve” approach doesn’t merely mean having “playing players” sitting on your bench like the trio I mentioned – it means genuinely having selection headaches in your own team every week. In GW10, I benched the six-shot blanker Matt Doherty only to have him subsequently retake a spot in my XI by default; that sort of risk is okay as the potential heartache of points sitting on my bench is better than my points potential falling off a cliff-edge at bench slot one or two. The difference between a 4.5 midfielder and someone better such as David Brooks (5.1), Ross Barkley (5.8) or an unplaying cheap forward and Danny Ings (5.6) or Raúl Jiménez (5.7) can be huge, and the rest of your squad takes a relatively small hit to allow you splurge a little more on your 12th and 13th man. All the named players have at least the same floor than the bargain basement’s forgotten shelf dwellers they replace, but their ceilings are much higher. That said, I can understand having a non-playing midfielder or forward this season, like CHO in my side. The value in defence is incredible, so you need to have your five slots active and able there. There’s no point relying on a poor third forward you have no intention of playing when that last million could transform Jan Bednarek (3.9) into Matt Doherty (4.9).



Mid-priced forwards: The Dilemma-vic


The most common dilemma in the FPL community this week from my perspective has been what to with particular mid-tier strikers. I’m going to do my best to go through the main four individually and come to some kind of resolution for you all.


Marko Arnautovic


The Austrian was a popular transfer-in last week but disappointed owners by succumbing to illness and remaining bench-bound as the Hammers tried to hold on minus a man at Leicester.


Even when The Hammers were truly struggling at the beginning of the season, “Arnie” stepped up to the plate and showed he could provide goals this season, firing in four so far evenly split between home and away. He has been dogged by a knee injury all season. Speaking about his 32 minutes appearance in the midweek EFL Cup loss to Spurs, Pellegrini said “Marko just worked one day during the week so it was too risky to play more than 30 minutes. He has no problem but he always has some sort of disturbance with his knee but it is not an injury.” To be honest, this “disturbance” sounds pretty worrying but footballers are usually carrying injuries and we don’t know about them. He was clearly suffering as he stormed the early-season, so why can’t he continue that?


In the short term, Arnie’s opponents are enticing. First up is Burnley in the cavernous London Stadium. On the road, only Fulham have conceded more shots in the box than the Clarets. On average sides have had 13.6 attempts in the area against them. Burnley also come in the runner-up position for big chances conceded away from home (17).


Aside from a home game against Man City in GW13, West Ham’s fixtures are a dream until 2019, with the next five games featuring Huddersfield (A), City (H), Newcastle (A), and Cardiff (H) after this weekend. Unless Pellegrini says something to the contrary in relation to Arnie’s fixture in his pre-match press conference – BUY.



Aleksander Mitrovic


@FPL_Chris on Twitter put it brilliantly when he said Mitrovic’s biggest downside is that he doesn’t get to play Fulham. He clearly has the talent, with five goals already this term. However, he has no gone four games with a goal and he has shown little sign of changing that.


In the first six weeks of the season, Mitrovic’s expected goals per game was 0.6, averaging an attempt every 19.3 minutes and 5.7 penalty area touches per game. He looked menacing and his popularity boomed as a consequence.


In the last four games (with a comparable set of fixtures in truth) his stats have collapsed. His expected goals per game has been 0.1, with an attempt coming once a half (every 45 mins) and just two penalty area touches per game. The eye-test tells you he’s isolated; the stats don’t lie.


The only thing preventing a fire sale is the fact that “HUD (A)” is perched below his name. However, the Terriers aren’t all that bad at home defensively. They may have conceded seven goals at on their turf but that has come from just six big chances (7th best), nor have they been particularly culpable for conceding shots in their own box.


Many people are saying give Mitro one more week if you have him – I say sell him now unless you have a bigger fire to put out.



Callum Wilson


Page: Transfers

Players sorted by: Form

5thCallum Wilson


Wilson now has three goals and three assists in his last four games and already has 12 goal contributions to his name this term. His returns have been phenomenal for his price point. The question is, can he and his teammates keep up their form in the next six games when they face four of the Top Six? You could be forgiven for being dubious; Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth have always been vulnerable against the big sides capable of dealing with their expansive play and counters.


Even though I trusted him with my captain’s armband last week, I don’t believe in Wilson going forward. As I have bigger problems to deal with in my squad, I will keep him for the clash against Man Utd this weekend, and naturally that means he’ll stay for GW12 against Newcastle. After that, it’s time to sell. Those of you looking to buy Wilson now are chasing yesterday’s points. If you really want to keep a Cherry on top of your team, look at Ryan Fraser or David Brooks in midfield instead. They are important in attack and generally provide King and Wilson up front with their opportunities, whilst also chiming in with a few attempts themselves.



Glenn Murray


Evergreen, veteran, unbelievable – those are the words that tend to describe Murray when he finds the net this season but Big Glenn is forcing commentators to reach for their thesauruses as he keeps scoring, with his tally currently standing at six. Brighton have signed a number of strikers to replace Murray, but each one seems to give him the energy to score three to five more goals and hold his starting place for a little longer.


Albion’s great fixtures, which have already yielded three consecutive clean sheets for their defenders, have also proven fertile pickings for Murray. He chipped in with two of the Seagulls’ three goals in the period, highlighting his importance to the team and value as an FPL asset and bonus magnet (four BAPs in those two goalscoring appearances).


This may sound ludicrous, but his goalscoring consistency makes him seem like Sergio Aguero lite. He dependably scores one every other week; he seems to rarely score in multiples; he is his team’s only striker; he is over thirty; his minutes are always threatened. The chief FPL points potential difference is that the Argentine has capable finishers around him to feed to benefit from a few assist points too. In reality, one huge difference is conversion: Aguero has an attempt every 15 minutes, Murray has a shot every 54. 12.8% of Aguero’s efforts find the back of the net whilst Murray scored 42.9% of his. Quite frankly, it’s unsustainable. Brighton are being choked and eking out 1-0 wins thanks to their defence. If I’m looking to buy a striker to start weekly for my FPL team, I want someone who I can expect to have a few opportunities to score – not one or two. Even Mitrovic would be a better option given his minutes are less threatened except for the fact that he has a dysfunctional team supplying him. Brighton are functional, but their modus operandi is a gutsy win or hard-fought draw. Compare that to West Ham or Bournemouth, who push and push to try and extend their leads even when sense dictates that they should sit back and hold out. In my opinion, you should stick with Shane Duffy and Mat Ryan unless you want to operate a three striker formation, in which case Murray is a decent option, but still not the best one.



Captaincy Corner


Sergio Aguero (Southampton H)


Only once this term has Aguero failed to find the net at the Etihad this season in the PL and even that day he nabbed an assist. This weekend will certainly see Aguero, the most-owned player in the game, surge to the top of the most-captained tables as Mark Hughes’ struggling Saints come to town.


The Saints are by no means poor on the road in defensive terms. They have conceded the 7th-most shots in the box (50) and the 9th-most big chances. That is not all that tantalising until you consider how prolific City are: Nobody has scored more goals at home (18), City have 31 more shots in the box (91) than their nearest rival, and they have created a chance every 3.4 minutes at the Etihad in 2018/19. That final figure in particular is astounding.


This game has “rout” written all over it – this is a weekend for the shield captaincy pick. Don’t let a few consecutive blanks let you disregard one of the finest goalscorers ever to play in England.



Mo Salah (Arsenal A)


I almost spilled my tea when researching for this piece when I realised that Arsenal have conceded the joint-most big chances at home in the PL this season (13), equal with Burnley and… Chelsea (?). It’s quite amazing, as The Gunners’ shots in the box conceded don’t ring alarm bells at all but when I cast my mind back to GW9’s win over Leicester, I do remember the Foxes creating quite a few opportunities which they failed to exploit.


Salah has been quite dependable this term, and is likely to get on the scoresheet if The Reds find the net at the Emirates. With Liverpool’s defence strong this term, I think Arsenal will have to open themselves slightly to push forward, which should give Salah and co. more space to scythe through to Leno’s goal. Furthermore, what if Xhaka plays at left-back again?! Salah could end the race to the Golden Boot on Saturday if so!



Marko Arnautovic (Burnley H)


As I highlighted above, Burnley are one of the worst teams in the league on the road. West Ham should score against them, and Arnautovic playing out-of-position as a striker is their most likely source of a breakthrough. Keep an eye on Pellegrini’s press conference though, as dark clouds are never far away when it comes to Arnie’s fitness currently.



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



Stag has been providing #FPL Tips since July 2015 and has been a contributor for since August 2016. He is a self-proclaimed wannabe fantasy football genius, a student, and die-hard tea enthusiast.


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