Our guest article this week has been written by Andrew Deihl, aka TheDeihler.
During the midseason grind, the top players start to hit their strides and you’re looking at how to bring each one in without sacrificing an unable bench. Or like some individuals, this past gameweek they came across something like below, with the bench also looking something like this:
In this article, we discuss some potential budget players in each position to help protect against mayhem, like this, until the next wildcard is available in gameweek 19.
Goalkeepers (£4.5 and under)
The crop of goalkeepers this season has created quite the bonus of return to most FPL owners. Across those keepers who have played all the minutes this season, 7 of the top 10 are under £5.0. Even better is that some of these keepers have a great run of fixtures leading into the new year. There are 3 in particular that I believe every manager should consider: Lukasz Fabianski (£4.5m), Mathew Ryan (£4.5m) and Alex McCarthy (£4.5m).
All 3 keepers have been averaging fairly high saves per game rating, which allows them to all have opportunities at getting the additional +1 for 3 saves in a match. Fabianski and Ryan are both registering more than a save bonus each gameweek, and have the most bonus points from goalkeepers. On the other side is McCarthy, who has been able to keep 4 clean sheets this campaign, equaling his tally from last season.
|Total Points||Clean Sheets||Saves per Game||Save Bonus||Bonus Points|
The other thing to consider until the next wildcard, is the short and long term fixtures that the player faces. Looking at the schedule ahead, both Fabianski and Ryan have the more reasonable fixtures, having faced more of the top 6 earlier this season. McCarthy still has both Manchester teams, Spurs and Arsenal, but that also means more potential for saves in a game if you are in a bind come those gameweeks.
Defenders (£4.5 and under)
With the likes of Andrew Robertson, Benjamin Mendy, Marcos Alonso and Kieran Tripper all dangling in your face for production each gameweek, you have to offset those transfers with a little cheaper, ok maybe cheapest options on the market.
To help decide, I’ve come up with a few lovely options that will keep your bench warm and ready if the occasional squad rotation were to happen (looking at you, Mendy and Robertson). The 5 I have chosen as potential back-up plans are Fabían Balbuena, Bruno, Cédric Soares, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Kiko Femenía.
Now, it would seem surprising by picking Balbuena (£4.5m) being a centre-back, but he has shown his capabilities, especially against Leicester City in gameweek 10. He took 2 shots and scored 1 goal last weekend, showing how much of a threat he can be within the box from set piece opportunities.
Bruno (£4.4m) and Kiko (£4.2m) haven’t seen as many minutes, but when they get the start they have made it count. After coming off injured in gameweek 1 against Watford, Bruno returned in gameweek 8 and has since provided 1 assist and 3 straight clean sheets in the process.
Kiko, another player who saw limited time before gameweek 8, has also returned an assist and back-to-back clean sheets for Watford.
Cédric (£4.4m) and Wan-Bissaka (£4.3m) have been productive in their own rights. Anyone who has seen Wan-Bissaka knows he is defensively sound, and at 20 has a bright future. He is ranked 1st in tackles and interceptions among all defenders with a minimum of 6 games.
Cédric has been a regular for some FPL owners since he joined the league back in 15/16. His ability in defence isn’t always seen on the stat line, but he defends properly and does possess a good crossing ability moving forward.
|Total Points||Goals/Assists||Clean Sheets||ICT Index||Bonus Points||Appearances
|Balbuena||28||1 / –||1||43.7||3||10 (900)|
|Bruno||26||– / 1||3||11.1||4||4 (281)|
|Cédric||32||– / 1||3||38.1||7||10 (867)|
|Wan-Bissaka||33||– / 1||3||37.7||9||9 (796)|
|Kiko||23||– / 1||2||16.0||3||8 (315)|
Ultimately though, when it comes right down to it, you want the rotational player to be able to provide a clean sheet when necessary. The road is a little tougher for the likes of Wan-Bissaka and Cédric, whereas Bruno Kiko and Balbuena have much more reasonable gameweeks.
Midfielders (£5.0 and under)
Finding a productive cheap midfielder is very difficult. In most cases, these are defensive options or those who have warmed the bench all season. Some people really like N’Golo Kante, but when you have the ability to possibly triple up on Chelsea, I’d rather not waste it.
Personally, I have found 5 options in the midfield that should secure points in the event of rotation: Grady Diangana, Beram Kayal, Josh Murphy, Kenedy and Etienne Capoue.
Each one of these individuals have different times on the pitch. Capoue (£5.0m) is the best option, having played all the minutes this season, but be wary because he is on 4 yellow cards. The next yellow card would force him to miss a game. I would rate him the highest as he has produced a goal and 2 assists.
Josh Murphy (£4.8m) and Kenedy (£4.9m) have seen the field quite a lot and both are similar. Each have the ability to cut inside and take shots and play along the left side. Murphy and Kenedy average 2.5 and 1.7 shots per game respectively. Kenedy is slightly more defensive, but in both cases, they can put together some good plays of action and the fixture schedule for each is relatively kind.
Lastly, Kayal (£4.4m) and Diangana (£4.5m) have spent much less time on the field this season, both just starting to appear. Kayal has helped Brighton plug the midfield and then distributes forward.
Diangana for me passed the eye test after his substitute performance against Spurs. He’s truly had 90 minutes of game time to get a read on. Mark Noble’s red card definitely changed his tone and Leicester City. The fact that Pellegrini chose him over Michail Antonio shows the faith in him. I decided to bring him into my squad already before the Leicester City game, so I’m going to put my faith in him too.
Forwards (£5.5 and under)
As for budget forwards, it’s extremely difficult to want to spend this cheap on forwards. When looking at forwards this season, most of the production is in the budget forwards (£6-7m). Players such as Wilson (£6.6m), Mitrovic (£6.9m) and Murray (£6.5m) have been some of the value picks of the season.
There are still a few diamonds in the rough however that could keep your funds low to be able to invest elsewhere: Sam Vokes, Bobby Reid and Isaac Success.
Vokes (£5.3m) and Reid (£5.2m) have spent the most amount of time on the pitch, both featuring in almost all the games available. Success (£4.5m) has more so come off the bench from the start of the season, but due to injuries he has been the front man for Watford over the past 2 gameweeks.
Vokes has registered 2 goals, Reid a goal and assist and Success a goal. As you can see, the production isn’t necessarily there, so these are much more high risk than the other individuals mentioned in different positions, but they are very cheap options. Based on xG, Vokes is making the most of his chances (1.77), whereas Success is not (1.64). There isn’t much to expect from these guys, but its worth it if you want the highest valued players.
I hope this helps shed some light on new players you hadn’t looked at before, or existing budget players that you now feel more comfortable using. It’s still luck of the draw to predict who will come out the best in each game, but a little information along the way can help decisions be much easier.
Thanks to Andrew Deihl for the article, be sure to follow his FPL account on Twitter for regular FPL content and updates.
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