Gameweek 12 FPL Q&A – Time to sell Sterling & Otamendi replacements

In this weeks FPL Guest Q&A article, we are joined by LetsTalkSoccer who will be sharing their thoughts on the most popular questions ahead of GW12. This week we will be discussing whether it’s time to sell Sterling, Dele Alli as a FPL option, Otamendi replacements and captaincy options.

Thanks to all those people that sent in their questions to us, we have picked out the most popular ones that have been asked. Like always if you enjoy the content, please give our Twitter account a follow along with our FPL guests this week.

“Sterling out? Who to buy if managers already own Mane & KDB?”

LetsTalkSoccer:

Sterling certainly isn’t making life easy for those of us that have him in our squads, is he? He’s had just 2 double-digit hauls in the first 11 games of the PL season. Not what we’d expect from one the highest-priced players in the game.

His goal scoring has been inconsistent this season. But, that’s nothing new for him (or to those that own him in FPL – we know it all too well!). Last season, there were 2 different times when his goalless stretch lasted a full 5 matchweeks! And during neither of those periods was he benched. Notwithstanding that, he managed to score 17 goals and assist 15 more.

By GW11 last season, he scored 6. So, despite his apparent drought, he’s actually on a better pace so far this season. But, in the 2018/19 season, he had 5 assists through 11 games as opposed to the 1 he has now.
Based on this comparison, things don’t seem nearly as dire as some might think. This season, the general feeling is that managers are much more impatient than before. If a player hauls one week and doesn’t the next, it’s time for him to go.

Some managers seem to be easily influenced by chatter on social media. If they see an FPL account or manager that they follow or respect suggest transferring a player in or out, these managers tend to make highly reactive moves. Not only does this potentially waste their free transfers, but, when done in large amounts, it also artificially inflates or deflates a player’s FPL price. We try to preach patience to the Community so that managers don’t make rash decisions that they might regret. The situation with Sterling is a bit more pressing because at £12.1m, he occupies a large part of a manager’s budget.

To answer the first part of the question: We own Raz. And we’re not parting ways with him. Because although he does have frustrating periods of quiet, he can also bang in the goals with the best of them. We’re not willing to take that risk when he does haul. And he will haul. It’s just a matter of time.

He’s missed 6 big chances so far this season. If he’d knocked in half of them (3), would this even be a consideration? And he’s also created 7 big chances, so if his teammates would’ve finished some of those off, he’d be on pace for another stellar season.

But, if your patience has run out and you’re looking to add to your midfield that already has Mane and KDB in it, we suggest the following players…

  • Maddison: He’s easily in the top 10 of many important categories among midfielders, including ICT Index, BPS, Form, Points Per Match and Bonus Points. The Leicester City attack is running hot recently, and Madders is right in the thick of it. And, he’s a wizard on set pieces. With the tasty fixtures The Foxes have ahead, he could be a great get.
  • Salah: Yes, Mo! While Mane is in better form and priced a bit less, we all know it’s a matter of time before Salah finds his form. And when he does, we’ll all wish we had him. Liverpool will also begin a great run of fixtures after the City game this weekend. It would make complete sense to double up on the Liverpool attack
  • Bernardo Silva: If you’re looking for a like-for-like option, perhaps Silva is to your liking. Pep certainly likes him. Pep’s consistently started the player in the last 3 PL games. While we’ve all been burned by Pep Roulette before (and we undoubtedly will again), but if you own Sterling, you’re somewhat tolerant of that anyway.
  • Son: With the red card ban lifted, expect Son to show his thankfulness by playing with a renewed energy. He’s been playing just a high and nearly as central as Kane has. No one outworks Sonny, and his hard work is usually rewarded. Spurs have some very appealing fixtures over the next 13 or so games.
  • Martial: Although you’re never quite sure what version of Manchester United you’ll see from game to game, you can always bet that if goals are scored, he’s usually involved in them. On top of that, he might either share or own penalty kick duty for the team. Playing in the 9 spot, he’s a potentially dangerous attacker to own, at a very reasonable price. Plus, United’s fixtures look favorable all the way into the new year. Aside from Mo, these options will save you all-too-valuable budget too.

 

FPLFootballAdvice:

As a fellow Sterling owner, it feels that the patience is certainly being tested over the past few gameweeks. 2 goals and 1 assist in the past 5 matches should be a decent haul for most players. However, looking at the fixtures over this period – Wolves (H), Villa (H), and Southampton (H) – you can’t help but feel like points have been left on the table.

Sterling is still the third highest scoring midfielder, but the upcoming fixtures have flagged some concern. Between gameweeks 12 – 17, Man City face Liverpool (A), Chelsea (H), Man United (H) and Arsenal (A). While Man City players can be perceived as ‘fixture-proof’, this run of fixtures don’t look like incredible value for the likes of Sterling.

Sterling has been a consideration for us to sell, however like many managers we already own Mane and De Bruyne. With Salah not looking like the player of last season, there are no other ‘premium’ midfield options. The Sterling situation appears to be a mental block for many managers, the idea of selling a premium and ‘downgrading’ to a considerably cheaper option can appear a backwards move.

Players like Maddison, Mount and Tielemans are all currently in the top 10 for midfield points scorers. However, being priced around the £6-7m bracket it can feel uneasy selling a £12m player for a player of this price. In an ideal world, managers want to sell a premium player and replace for another premium.

We think that if managers already own the likes of Mane and De Bruyne, then the logical decision would firstly be to invest in either Leicester or Chelsea assets. Both sides are providing excellently priced assets with brilliant long term fixtures, therefore the sale of Sterling could easily fund any player from those sides.

For us, the sale of Sterling wouldn’t fund another midfielder, but in fact the opportunity to upgrade our forward line to the hitman Jamie Vardy. And that is where managers should be paying their attention if midfield alternatives do not take their fancy. The sale of premium players provide the opportunity to change team structure – sometimes at the expense of a points hit – so managers should be looking outside of just a direct swap.

Likewise, if managers don’t own the likes of De Bruyne or Mane, they would be the top of our replacements for Sterling. De Bruyne provides a cheaper alternative to re-invest additional funds into the squad while maintaining investment in the Man City midfield. Mane is simply in excellent form this season and arguably the only direct swap that would be deemed an upgrade to some managers.

For us, we think that selling Sterling should only be done if managers have a clear strategy/transfer plan of what to do. Let’s not forget the historical data for Sterling – 35 goals and 32 assists in the last 2 league seasons – he is still one of the best FPL assets.

“Dele Alli – FPL option?”

LetsTalkSoccer:

Not for us. No. Not yet at least. We’d want to see more from him before making an £8.4m investment.

But, some managers are more risk tolerant than we are. So for those that are, at 0.7% ownership he could be just the differential they’re looking for.

 

FPLFootballAdvice:

At first glance, it seems like a ridiculous question regarding the past year Alli has had. A once promising career has significantly stagnated, although injury has been a problem for the Englishman.

Spurs have struggled this season, the league form is something to worry about. They have only won 1 league match in their last 6 games, and have been shy in the goals department only scoring 6. The only shining light over recent weeks has been the resurgence of form in Alli. 2 goals in the last 3 matches have reminded some managers of the FPL potential he does have. Let’s not forget that this is the same player that scored 18 goals, 11 assists in the 2016/17 season. The following season another impressive campaign scoring 9 goals and 13 assists.

Alli’s 0.7% ownership can be a tease to those managers who love an FPL punt, but the £8.4m price tag should be enough to know it isn’t a wise transfer move. There are too many factors against owning Dele Alli, and for us it would take many consistent scoring gameweeks to make him a consideration.

At this price range, managers can afford the likes of Mount, Maddison, Tielemans and Martial all a £1m+ cheaper. Throw in the recent form of Spurs and competition for places in the attacking spots, Alli is a risk too expense for managers to take right now.

“Best Otamendi replacements – same price or less?”

LetsTalkSoccer:

At this point, we think it’s best to avoid Man City defenders. Like most other teams, clean sheets are hard for them to come by. And then there’s the dark cloud of Pep’s rotation hanging over our heads. Just doesn’t seem worth it.

So, we suggest looking elsewhere. There are so many good options at £5.3m or less. Some defenders that float our FPL boat are:

  • Lundstram: Do we even need to provide details as to why you should own him? He’s the FPL gift that keeps on giving. A player so underpriced and out of position, that it makes us wonder if maybe an intern at the official FPL headquarters was in charge of pricing and categorizing him. Whatever the reason, we’re glad it happened. He has the most FPL points of all defenders. And by quite a bit. The closest player to him is Pereira, and he’s 14 points behind Lunny. Plus, at almost 40% ownership, you almost HAVE to have him for coverage just to protect yourself.
  • Soyuncu: Normally, we don’t love the idea of having a CB in the squad, but he’s a bit different. Leicester City have a nice lineup of fixtures coming up. 3 of the next 4 PL games are at home. Plus, he has the highest BPS among any defender priced £6.8m or less. On good form, he’s another budget-friendly option.
  • Pieters: Despite a rough patch recently, Burnley have the fixtures to turn things around. If you look at his heatmaps, he plays in a very advanced position on the pitch. He’s a player that you could easily rotate with others depending on the fixture.

 

FPLFootballAdvice:

Otamendi has been a decent FPL option for managers this season, a cheap way into the Man City defence. Unfortunately, Otamendi is the latest player of a long list to be affected by the Pep roulette. Now managers – including ourselves – have been seeking an alternative to the City man, especially with the tricky run of fixtures.

In mind of the question, we have looked at options that are cheaper than Otamendi. We second the thoughts of LetsTalkSoccer regarding the FPL god Lundstram. Sheffield United have a difficult 2 fixtures against Spurs and Man United but after that their fixtures are great. At 40% ownership, if you don’t own him managers should seriously consider buying him for protection. His out of position FPL classification has meant that attacking returns are a real possibility – 3 goals & 1 assist so far – mixed with the excellent Sheffield defence of 5 clean sheets, Lundstram can rack up serious points. He has already registered three double digit returns including last weeks 21 point haul, he should be top of the list.

Our first pick goes to Leicester City’s Soyuncu. Currently priced at £4.8m, he got his first goal for the club last weekend, racking up an impressive 14 points alongside his clean sheet. Leicester have the joint best defensive record (8) alongside Sheffield United, and have the long term fixtures to continue this form. While Soyuncu isn’t necessarily the best attacking FPL defender, he is a cheap way into a great Leicester defence for those managers that can’t afford the likes of Chilwell and Pereira.

Looking at the cheaper options, we think that Bournemouth’s Rico (£4.3m) is still a decent FPL asset. Rico has registered 2 assists this season but it is the team’s defensive performances that have been the real selling point. The Cherries have kept three successive clean sheets, including that against Man United last weekend. Bournemouth have a mixed long term run of fixtures, but for those managers looking for a cheap 4/5th spot in their defence, Rico could provide the perfect option with potential attacking returns.

Our last pick goes to a real differential in the shape of Newcastle’s Jetro Williems. The left back is currently priced at £4.5m and owned by only 1.4% of managers, and quietly flown under the radar with 1 goal, 2 assists and 2 clean sheets. It looks like Willems has secured his position, starting 7 of the last 8 league matches, and Newcastle have a great run of fixtures.

Defensively Newcastle have been average, conceding 17 goals in 11 matches, however notably 5 of those came against Leicester playing with 10 men for over 50 minutes. Their real strength is their home form, only conceding 3 goals in 5 league matches. With the likes of Bournemouth, Southampton and Crystal Palace all struggling to score heaps of goals, it could be a great time to jump on Willems as a cheap Otamendi replacement.

“Captaincy options”

LetsTalkSoccer:

We’ve updated the comparison chart below. It lists the most in-demand attackers in FPL, including their current form, expected goals and expected assists per 90, and how they’ve performed against their GW12 opponents in the past.

We particularly like…

  • Vardy: 8 goals in 8 games against Arsenal; on great form; 5 goals, 1 assist in 5 home games.
  • Aubameyang: 2 goals, 1 assist against “Top 6” teams so far this season; 3 goals in 2 games vs. Leicester City
  • Firmino: Very much under the FPL radar, but plays well against City; 6 big chances missed and 7 big chances created.
  • Jesus: As our punt for the weekend, we wouldn’t be surprised to see Pep play both Aguero and Jesus in an attempt to outgun Liverpool; has 3 goals in 3 games against The Reds.

Gameweek 12 captain

Whichever players you choose or chips you play, we wish you green arrows! Best of luck in Week 12. Cheers!

 

FPLFootballAdvice:

Since the release of the 2019/20 fixtures, gameweek 12 was the week that we flagged as a tricky one for managers and captaincy. The main reason for that was the Liverpool v Man City fixture, with many managers owning at least 2 from each side. Although both have struggled defensively this season, it is hard to confidently pick a player from either side to captain.

Our top pick comes from one of the top performing sides in the league, Jamie Vardy. Currently the league’s leading goal scorer with 10 goals, Vardy has once again proved what a brilliant FPL asset he is.

Leicester face Arsenal at home this weekend in a fixture that sees the Foxes the favourites, and rightly so on the basis of this season. At home, Leicester have won their last 4 home league matches, drawing the other in the opening gameweek 1. Over this period, Vardy has scored 5 goals and 1 assist, a pivotal part in this run of form.

Arsenal on the other hand have had been in a torrid run of form away from home, not winning since GW1.
We think that if managers own Vardy, he is a shrewd pick for captaincy. The current form of both sides suggest a great opportunity for Leicester to continue their top 4 push, and plenty of chances for Vardy to add to his tally against a shaky Arsenal defence.

Outside of Vardy, we think that on paper Spurs look like they should have a good fixture against Sheffield United. However for those managers unaware, Sheffield have the joint best defensive record and have conceded the least goals away from home (4). While we expect Spurs to win the match, the combination of Champions League, current league form and stern United defence could see a tricky day at the office.

Although we have already discussed the difficulty in captaining players in the Liverpool Man City fixture, we do think there could be value in Sadio Mane. It is clear that Man City aren’t as defensively sound since the absence of Laporte, and now a potential injury to Ederson could add to the growing concern.

The top pick from this fixture is Liverpool’s Sadio Mane, who has been in excellent form so far this season. 6 goals and 4 assists in 11 matches has contributed to him currently being the leading points scoring midfielder.

 


 

Big thanks to LetsTalkSoccer for contributing to this weeks Q&A article, be sure to give their accounts a follow for top tips throughout the season.

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