My team was nominated as the official Fantasy Football First team. My job is to tell you how and why I have picked certain players and formations for the Fantasy Premier League, and explain my reasoning behind any changes along the way. This article explains the changes I have made to my team and why.
I have bought West Brom’s Philips, selling Sigurdsson in the process.
I am also thinking of creating a Wild Card team for game week 21; game week 21 is a good game week to play a wild card as many January transfers will be announced in the coming days, and the FA Cup break gives extended opportunity for price rises. A good alternative game week to play a wild card is game week 32 after the blank game weeks in 30 and 31, but prior to the double game weeks in 34 and 37. If I play my wildcard then there will be another article on site later.
How did I do in game week 18?
In game week 18 I made no transfers despite holding two free transfers. I scored 52 points dropping my rank 39K to 259K.
How did I do in game week 19?
In game week 19 I sold the injured Pickford and bought his team mate Mannone. I scored only 46 points dropping my rank 11K to 270K.
So all in all a fairly poor Christmas break for my team.
Reviewing the team
I remain happy with my strikers. Costa did OK given his one week suspension, scoring in game week 19. Defoe continues to return brilliant points for his price, averaging 5.2 points per game – and keep in mind that FPL is about getting the most points for the money available.
Kane has picked up 20 points in the last 2 games, and has averaged 6 points per game since his return from injury in game week 11, despite his price dropping £0.3 in two weeks. Ibrahimovic’s return to goal scoring form is the main reason, paired up with a recent 3 week spell with no goals. However, a striker with 3 consecutive 2-point game weeks should not overly worry us too much as we expect a striker to score only every other game and only once every 5 shots. I do think Kane’s price will continue to fall given the return of Aguero this week. Indeed it now feels like we have 4 quality FPL strikers to choose from in Aguero, Costa, Zlatan and Kane.
In midfield, Sigurdsson has not returned more than 2 points for 4 weeks now. Moreover, the scathing press reviews suggest that the team have not been performing to their potential and that the management merry-go-round does not give me the confidence for future point returns. I feel Swansea assets (other than super-budget assets) should be sold.
Firmino we looked at over game weeks 16 to 18 and the conclusion was to hold for now. I was pleased when he scored in game week 18, but I look forward to more returns in the near future. However, I am tempted to switch to the cheaper Lallana.
Hazard is doing well, but I never captain him, so I have to ask are his points in line with his price? He is returning 0.63 points per million per game (ppmpg) this season. We say anything below 0.5 is bad, and anything above 0.75 ppmpg is good. So 0.63 feels OK. By way of comparison, Sanchez is also returning 0.60 ppmpg, however, owners sometimes captain Alexis, meaning his points return is 1.2 ppmpg when captained. This suggests to me that either I should captain Hazard more, or use the cash to find slightly lower priced midfielders who are returning more ppmpg, for example, Lallana, Coutinho, Firmino, Alli, Eriksen. Son would be a good option if his game time was better.
Referring back to the four premium strikers mentioned earlier, Aguero, Costa, Zlatan and Kane, their ppmpg values are 0.45 ppmpg, 0.62 ppmpg, 0.55 ppmpg and 0.55 ppmpg respectively. This suggests to me that there is more value in having Sanchez and Hazard combined with your personal preference of premium striker(s). (PPMPG can be found on the Forwards page off the top menu).
At the back, Walker’s suspension was unfortunate but Watford scored anyway so he would have only given me 3 more points. Azpi continues to deliver points, and I feel will continue over the coming tougher fixtures because Chelsea’s plan A is to work the ball to Costa via Hazard or Willian/Pedro, so that Costa can receive a pass behind the opponent’s back 4. Plan B is Costa hold up the ball then pass for Haz or Willian to receive the ball behind the back 4. Plan C, which is invoked against tough opponents, is a diagonal long ball from Azpilicueta or Alonso. You can read more about this on Stats Bomb. So perversely, the tougher the opponent, the higher the chance of an Alonso / Azpilicueta assist, and hence why I am happy to keep him.
Holebas is a bench defender, so I am not worried about him, while Cedric and Pieters are in primarily to provide rotation. This rotation is not working well for me at the moment because Stoke and Spurs conceded a lot of goals at home this December. I’ll review this rotation soon.
In summary, my most pressing worry is Sigy.
Game week 20
I have decided to sell Sigy, despite the injury to Walcott resulting in a sustained absence. I choose to keep Walcott mainly because after game week 21 there is a two week gap to game week 21, giving Walcott time to recover. I would rather keep Walcott because he returns excellent value for money.
I have decided to buy Phillips of West Brom. He has scored 4 goals in 9 games, providing 5 assists in the same period. This is because he’s playing as an attacking right wide midfielder, although against Swansea he played wide-left. He also has the freedom to come inside and move into the box from the final-third half-space, which is a great indication of attacking intent and goal/assist potential.
So sticking to my planned defender rotation, this is my team for game week 20.
My captain is currently set to Firmino, but if I change I’ll let you know on twitter.
Game week 21 Wild Card Team
I am also thinking of creating a Wild Card team for game week 21; game week 21 is a good game week to play a wild card as many January transfers will be announced in the coming days, and the FA Cup break gives extended opportunity for price rises. A good alternative game week to play a wild card is game week 32 after the blank game weeks in 30 and 31, but prior to the double game weeks in 34 and 37. However, I have noticed that in the last 3 years I have saved the wild card for the double game weeks but only gained a 20-40 point advantage over the teams around me, where as managers who played the wildcard in January tended to get a 30-50 point advantage from the earlier wild card, so my inclination is to wild card tonight. If I do then there will be another article on site later.
We know the following from past research at Fantasy Football First:
- There are more clean sheets in the second half of the season than in the first half, but its the top teams that mostly keep these clean sheets.
- The top scorers keep on scoring, but goals from occasional scorers like Mirallas, Morrison, Routledge will reduce.
I will use these guidelines when building a wild card team.
Best of luck this weekend everyone.