Sunday, 19 March 2017

Gameweek 29 Review: Value & Lukaku Shine Through

Romelu Lukaku went ahead of Harry Kane in the top scorer charts this weekend. The striker was the obvious captain choice with Kane out injured. He left it late to get goalscoring returns after a brilliant flick to provide Valencia with a goal in the first half, but was on hand to score twice past 10-man Hull in the last minute.

Lukaku is the second highest point-scoring player in FPL as it stands. Although Lukaku has been a fantasy favourite for many years, this is a little surprising as he has been unable to keep up consistent goalscoring runs, and instead having long periods of the season without a goal. His start price back in August was only 9.0, but Lukaku has proved his doubters wrong this season, having 18 goals to his name in 28 games, and finally looks to have fulfilled his goalscoring potential. Lukaku is in tip-top form, scoring in each of his last 4 games.

Pulis' Defence Provide Points Aplenty

Craig Dawson's two headers in West Brom's victory over Arsenal were the 12th and 13th goals scored by The Baggies' defence this season, more than any other defence in the league. Tony Pulis' team is renowned for its aerial superiority as the tallest team in the league, and are statistically the best team at scoring goals from set pieces (18). Chelsea's back four has also been prolific in front of goal at a close 2nd with 12 goals, with Gary Cahill matching Marcos Alonso's season-long tally of 4 at Stoke.

The hidden gems this season in defence have been in West Brom's back line. The idea of doubling up or trebling up on the West Brom defence looks as good as ever. Gareth McAuley in particular is the 6th top defender in FPL as the top goalscoring defender with 6 goals.

McAuley is the best value outfield player with 24.8 points per 1.0, while Burnley's Tom Heaton, the league's top keeper, has been the best value player in the game thus far (26.4 points per 1.0). Like McAuley, Heaton started the season as a budget pick at just 4.5. Pulis and Dyche are making this an interesting season of FPL.

Written by Kyle Norbury
Stoke fan, football fan, fantasy football nerd
Follow on Twitter: @SCFCnerd

Friday, 17 March 2017

The week in Fantasy Premier League: Do you need to wildcard before it’s too late?

Last week’s truncated set of fixtures left some Fantasy Premier League managers delighted. Others... not so much.
The Gameweek average score of 19 points doesn’t tell the whole story. Basically, those who had both Romelu Lukaku (EVE, 10.3) and Joshua King (5.6) flourished - pretty much everyone else was left facing those dreaded “red arrows”.

And it was standing room only in the GW28 Hall of Shame. West Ham's Manuel Lanzini and Andy Carroll returned two points each. Robert Snodgrass didn't even play.

FPL managers who picked Leighton Baines over Seamus Coleman tore their last remaining hairs out as he departed at half-time, taking his likely clean-sheet points with him.
They all pale into insignificance however compared to Phillipe Coutinho, who pulled off the ultimate FPL troll move - running to the bench after 59 minutes and 59 seconds to deny his loyal owners that precious point.
If only he had displayed that kind of awareness and pace earlier in the match. Honestly - it’s almost as if these players don’t care about helping us win our work mini-leagues!
The full article can be found here...

Sunday, 12 March 2017

(Blank) Gameweek 28 Review: All Rise For Josh King

The daring FPL managers among us took the risk of transferring in Bournemouth's out-of-position midfielder Josh King after his good performance vs Man United last weekend. We were rewarded for our optimism in the end, King had a field day against a helpless West Ham defence, but it didn't always look so promising.

Early in the game King missed a penalty. Then Bournemouth won another which Benik Afobe fluffed and many wondered if Eddie Howe's side would be given many more opportunities; whether it was their day. It was definitely King's day though, the Norwegian bagging a hattrick. The implications of this in FPL were that if you gambled on King you were rewarded with 18 points, which is nearly the week's average.

Captain Lukaku The Sensible Choice

A theme that has emerged this season is that the usual suspects have been the safest captain picks. By the usual suspects I mean of course the highest owned players. This week, with no Harry Kane, Eden Hazard or Diego Costa, due to FA Cup commitments, to tempt you with your captaincy, Lukaku was the overwhelming favourite. 41% of all teams have Lukaku, the highest owned in the game. The next most owned of all the starting players in this blank gameweek was Mane (25.1% ownership). The 2nd most owned striker of the 4 fixtures was Llorente (14.5%), who was unfortunately forced off with a dead leg in the first half. The Spaniard should be back next week and could be key to his side's performance against Bournemouth, who have not kept a clean sheet since gameweek 19.

Many struggling teams (like mine) can be accused of 'chasing points' by captaining out of form players, as this gameweek has reiterated the importance of 'playing the percentages' in order to choose a reliable captain. Lukaku, with a goal and assist at home to West Brom, is exactly that. Despite good performances now and then, Coutinho, Mane and Lallana are not.

Written by Kyle Norbury

Stoke fan, football fan, fantasy football nerd


Friday, 10 March 2017

The week in Fantasy Premier League: Triple Captain troubles and using the Blank Gameweek to refresh your squad

Last week, it just took one Man City fixture announcement to catapult Sergio Aguero from a forgotten man to a would-be savior of our FPL seasons.
Before long, it seemed like every manager on Twitter was confidently taking the plunge and triple-captaining the Man City marksman. By the time Double Gameweek 27 finally kicked off, the excitement was palpable.
But, as is often the case, it found a way to troll us, ending with the whimper that was City’s 0-0 draw against Stoke.

Amid all the clamour to bring in two or three Man City players, the week’s top scorers came in the unlikely forms of Dusan Tadic (SOU, 7.0) and Marko Arnautovic (STO, 7.1) - with Stoke defenders all returning double figures to boot!
As a strategy, there was sound logic to placing the triple captaincy on Aguero, and those who elected to hold onto their chip should be feeling more relieved than smug - future Double Gameweeks don’t hold any more guarantees than this one did.
Now, the altogether different challenge of the dreaded Blank Gameweek 28 has drifted into view like a tumbleweed, leaving many wondering how best to approach it.
to read the full article, click here...

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Double Gameweek 27 Review: Defenders Hot, Aguero Not

This blog proclaimed Gameweek 26 to be Harry Kane's gameweek. A week later and it's the same story, despite Sergio Aguero having a double gameweek. Kane is not to be underestimated at home, as pointed out after his hattrick and assist in 4-0 rout of Stoke. Aguero on the other hand, having scored in his first game of the Premier League week against the side rock bottom was beaten by Harry Kane, who fired yet another cluster- a brace v a strong Everton defence. Aguero owners were playing catch up but Aguero was unable to match Kane's 13 points even with a favourable mid-week fixture at home to Stoke.

Kane owners were rewarded for their faith, while knee-jerkers who took hits to get Aguero in were left disappointed. The same lesson of sticking to form players even in a double gameweek was taught in gameweek 34 of last season, when Kane outscored Lukaku who had a double gameweek blank. Time to trust Kane with the armband every week?

The double gameweek provided no consistent points for attackers due to Stoke's solid defensive work at the Etihad, but it meant both Man City and Stoke defenders kept two clean sheets in both their games.Both of which are differential defences, so points were there for the taking of managers with points to make up on rivals. Stoke seemed to have bounced back from a 4-0 loss with a new-found ambition v Middlesbrough and a new-look 4-4-2 v Man City.

Pedro, Hazard and Costa- The Holy Trinity

It is safe to say Chelsea have been the most consistent performers in this season's Premier League, testified by the league table. Three Chelsea players is still a must. This gameweek particularly strengthened the argument for having 2 of the 3 Chelsea 'PHD' attacking triumvirate. Between them they have 7 goals and 6 assists in the last 6 games. Whereas the last minute Lanzini consolation cruelly took away the clean sheet, but on another day it would be the perfect outing for Antonio Conte's men.

Written by Kyle Norbury

Stoke fan, football fan, fantasy football nerd.


Friday, 3 March 2017

The week in Fantasy Premier League: Sergio Aguero and Double Gameweek mania

By Ken Rooney

The season’s first Double Gameweek, arriving as it did out of the blue, has whipped FPL managers into a veritable frenzy.

Suddenly the community is rife with fevered talk of bringing in three Man City players, despite that dreaded blank, followed swiftly by games against Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea.

Mass hysteria has even led to some FPL managers suddenly seeing John Stones (MCI, 4.7) less like Bambi and more like Franco Baresi.

Contrast them with the more seasoned, cautious FPL bosses, who have been quietly cursing how the DGW has upset their meticulous planning for the blank GW28.

But there is the good news for them - this is one week where you can take a completely guilt-free -4 hit for a player - as long as you captain him. In a DGW, it simply makes complete mathematical sense.

To read the full article, click here...

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Gameweek 26 Review: Harry Kane's Gameweek

It would be wrong not to make Spurs' number 9 the headline act of this weekend's Premier League action. Harry Kane has continued his knack of scoring in twos and threes, offsetting his dry spell of just 1 goal in 4 games prior to the visit of Stoke. Kane bagged a first-half hat-trick with three sumptuous strikes, all from outside of the area.

That's now 4 in 4, 7 in 6 or 10 in 10 for Kane. Kane has his fair share of blank returns, but when he does get on the scoresheet he is more likely to score more than one than he is to score a solitary goal. His goals can be erratic, meaning he is not always a reliable captain pick, but worth the gamble at home, where 12 of his 17 PL goals this season have come.

Chelsea Still Sitting Pretty

Pedro is the main man in the Chelsea team of late, but Hazard and Costa continue to chip in with goals and assists. They looked a dominant force once more against Swansea with the creativity and intricate passing of their Spanish maestros, with the dogged work of Kante. Pedro's fine form is starting to be noticed in the FPL community and at a budget price of 7.0. Step aside, Eden.

Notes For Blank Gameweek 28 Planning

It will be important to choose carefully which of your Chelsea and Spurs players to sell in preparation for their blanks in gameweek 28, when they don't play. The likes of Kane, Alli and Pedro will all rise in price as a result of good form and Costa went up in value most recently of all the Chelsea players, so it may be a good move to keep them in your team and cash in on their rises. None of the league's top defences play in gameweek 28 except the inconsistent Everton, so finding a short-term defensive replacement may be difficult. Hazard and Alli look the men to sell as the similiarly priced Liverpool trio of Mane, Firmino and Coutinho all look very tempting for their home game against Burnley.

Written by Kyle Norbury,

(Embarrassed) Stoke fan, football fan, fantasy football nerd


Saturday, 25 February 2017

Seb's GW26 Preview (Part 2)

Top Captain Picks

1. Christian Eriksen vs Stoke (home) - £8.7 (TSB 15.3%)

In his last 3 games against Stoke, Eriksen has registered 5 assists, and created on average over 3 chances per game. This excellent creativity he has shown in the past against Stoke is reinforced by his recent home form, where he has created a chance every 27 mins in his past 3 games at White Lane, with 4 assists coming in this period. Also, Eriksen put in a terrific performance in the FA Cup against Fulham, registering 2 assists, creating 5 chances and mustering 9 shots at goal. Following this, he managed a goal (5 shots) and an assist (7 chances created) in the Europa League against Genk. This suggests that he has re-found his form, and that this could be the GW where he rewards his owners greatly.

2. Diego Costa vs Swansea (home) - £10.6 (TSB 36.8%)

Despite having only registered 1 shot on target in the last 3 GWs, Diego Costa is still one of the top captain picks in GW26. In his past 3 home games, he has registered 1 shot every 19 mins (4.7 per game), which is very good. In fact, he has only blanked at home once this season. Furthermore, his record against Swansea is quite exceptional, with 7 goals (4 shots per game) and 1 assist coming in his last 4 games against the Swans. Thus, Costa clearly has the potential to be one of the top point scorers in GW26.

3. Romelu Lukaku vs Sunderland (home) - £9.9 (TSB 32.6%)

This GW, Romelu Lukaku has both the form and fixture to succeed. Firstly, his current form is superb, especially at home. The big Belgian has 6 goals and 1 assist in his last 3 home games, with an average of over 12 points per game. Over this period, he has also managed 4.3 shots per game and created 4 chances. Lukaku’s appeal is heightened further due to the favourable nature of this fixture. Sunderland have conceded almost 2 goals per away game this season. This is in contrast to the Everton attack, who have put on average over 2 goals per game past their opposition when playing at Goodison. Also, Lukaku has scored 4 goals (5.3 shots per game) and registered 2 assists in his past 3 games against the Black Cats, which adds to his appeal this GW.

4. Harry Kane vs Stoke (home) - £11.2 (TSB 19.3%)

Like Eriksen, Kane has not been in blistering form in the league. However, he still has great promise heading into GW26. In the FA Cup against Fulham, Kane re-found his top goal scoring touch, netting 3 goals and registering 6 shots. This highlights his explosive FPL potential, which could be evident again in GW26. This is so for two reasons. Firstly, Kane has 4 goals in his past 2 home games. Secondly, Kane has scored 3 goals in his past 3 games against Stoke, who have conceded 11 goals in their past 3 games away to top 6 opposition. All of these factors bode well for Kane owners in GW26.

Punt/Differential Picks

1. Roberto Firmino vs Leicester (away) - £8.4 (TSB 10.6%)

Liverpool bounced back to form last GW with a dominant 2-0 victory over Tottenham. Central to their victory in this match was Roberto Firmino. Now at centre forward again due to Philippe Coutinho’s return to the starting XI, Firmino has 2 goals and 1 assist in his last 4 games and looks to be finding his best form again. This GW, he faces Leicester, who are in terrible form. Over the last 5 games, Leicester have conceded nearly 3 goals per game, and have not found the back of the net since GW19. As a result, the Foxes will be under a lot of pressure, and Firmino may be able to punish them. Moreover, in his 3 matches against Leicester, Firmino has scored 1 goal (2.3 shots per game) and provided 1 assist (4 chances created per game), which demonstrates how he is not a stranger to scoring FPL points when versing Leicester.

2. Ross Barkley vs Sunderland (home) - £7.1 (TSB 7.4%)

Ross Barkley is a player who has flown under the radar. After being reinstated into the starting line up in GW16, he has returned 2 goals and 5 assists from 9 starts, which is more than decent. During this time, he has registered a shot frequency of 1 every 36 mins, and created 1 chance in the same amount of time. This means that he is on average, directly involved in nearly 6 attacking opportunities per game. Facing Sunderland, who have failed to impress defensively this season, Barkley should have ample opportunities to add to his quality attacking record in GW26.

3. Sofiane Feghouli vs Watford (away) - £5.0 (TSB 0.8%)

After a very slow start to life in London, Feghouli has recently shown signs of returning to the top form he showed when playing for Valencia. Particularly, his GW25 performance against West Brom was very promising. In this match, Feghouli netted 1 goal (3 shots), provided 1 assist (3 chances created) and returned a 12 point haul. Should he be able to take this form into GW26 and give a similar performance against Watford, who have the equal 5th worst home defensive record this season, Feghouli could become an FPL asset whose returns well exceed his price.

4. Lazar Marković vs Burnley (home) - £5.4 (TSB 0.1%)

At Liverpool, Marković showed glimpses of his talent in the rare opportunities he received, but was not up to pace with English football to succeed. Now playing his trade on loan at Hull, he seems to have developed greatly, and will be a key player for the Tigers if they are going to stay up.  He has looked very dangerous in his 2 league starts, and has managed to have a big chance to score in each game. Facing Burnley at home, Marković will come up against the 4th worst away defence in the league, so he should have opportunities to convert his dangerous play into returns and thus FPL points.

Star Picks XI

By Sebastian Candido

(Twitter: @_FFM_Seb)