GW26 FPL Guest Q&A – January Signings, Captaincy Pick and Son risk?

In this weeks FPL Guest Q&A article, we are joined by regular FPL guest LetsTalkSoccer who will be sharing their thoughts on the most popular questions ahead of GW26. This week we will be discussing January signings and their FPL value, the in-form Son Heung-min, captaincy picks and Aubameyang.

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.

“Are January signings Batshuyai and Higuain worth a punt for FPL managers?”

LetsTalkSoccer:

Both are tempting. They’re the shiny new objects that bedazzled us with good performances over the weekend. I think they’re worth a punt, but maybe just not yet.

For us, we’d want to see what role Batman plays in the Palace attack. Not “role” meaning “position”, but “role” meaning “starting XI” or “rotation player”. It wouldn’t be surprising if he started at home against West Ham on Saturday, although Roy could opt to integrate him a little more slowly. But, a proper introduction to the Palace fans via a start at Selhurst Park could be be in order. He should bring an energy and intensity that could result in frequent returns.

There’s a potential strike partnership between him and fellow Belgian Christian Benteke. And at just £6.5m and 0.6% ownership at the time of writing this, he’s an extremely affordable differential. Managers willing to take a bit of a risk could be rewarded right out of the gate. But for those managers that are more risk-adverse, perhaps playing the wait-and-see card might be more appropriate.

As for Higuain, we say go for it, but not until gameweek 29. Before then, Chelsea face Man City, have a blank gameweek, and then face Spurs. There are other striker options available with much more favorable schedules. But, when his schedule does clear, he should be a dangerous goalscorer. By then, he’ll be well integrated into the Chelsea squad, and he and Hazard will have had plenty of time to work out their on-pitch dance. Speaking of Hazard, the arrival of Higuain could prove good for Hazard’s game too. Owning the duo could deliver a big return.

 

FPLFootballAdvice:

The January transfer window was fairly quiet compared to years gone by of last minute record deals. But I do believe that there are a handful of new players that could provide great FPL value until the end of the season.

As mentioned in the question, Higuain is one of those that could tempt managers. At £9.5m, he falls into that funny price category made up of decent strikers, but unattractive for one reason or another. For example, Firmino (£9.3m) doesn’t return what you’d expect from a striker, Lacazette (£9.3m) has been a minutes risk for most of the season, Vardy (£8.8m) Leicester inconsistency and Jesus (£10m) being a rotation risk with Aguero.

Higuain has the attributes to break the mould currently associated with the strikers valued in this price bracket. He will be the number 1 striker at Chelsea, who will be competing for a spot in the top 4. He will be playing with one of the most creative players in the league, Eden Hazard. And his start at Chelsea hasn’t been too bad, scoring a brace in his second game against Huddersfield – including 6 shots and 2 key passes.

All this said, I believe that he is a FPL player to wait and see on. Chelsea have a tricky run of fixtures: GW26 v Man City, GW27 blank and GW28 v Spurs. I wouldn’t advise any managers to transfer him in right now, and instead monitor him over these games to see if he produces impressive stats. After these games, they have a great run of fixtures and could be a nice differential for managers looking to climb their overall rank and mini leagues.

Batschuayi (£6.5m) is another player that has caught the attention of FPL managers over the transfer window. He came off the bench for a 8 minute cameo last week, grabbing an assist along with 2 shots in that time. Batschuayi has maintained an impressive shots/90 in his previous clubs, notably 3.42 in his last season at Chelsea and 3.05 in his spell at Valencia.

Again, this option should be a wait and see for managers, mainly due to the competition that he faces for the striker spot. Both Benteke (£6.3m) and Wickham (£4.9m) have returned from injury and Zaha (£6.7m) already taking one of the attacking positions, it’s still unclear which player will be number 1.

Outside of these players, two January signings that I think managers should keep an eye on are Crouch (£4.5m) and Newcastle record signing, Almiron (£6.0m). Crouch will clearly be a rotation risk at Burnley, but for those who still own Kamara and cant upgrade, then he could be a straight swap transfer. He got a late assist off the bench on his debut last week, and has the premier league experience to be trusted by Dyche.

Almiron is an unknown entity, but Newcastle have an amazing run of fixtures and for those that aren’t planning on selling Richarlison yet, if Almiron hits the ground running he could be one to consider.

“Should Son be the number 1 target for GW26 onwards?”

LetsTalkSoccer:

What an amazing guy Sonny is! He’s been on a goal-scoring spree. And, like Kante, he’s all smiles despite being an assassin on the pitch. Since gameweek 18, he’s tallied 7 goals, 4 assists and 11 bonus points. That’s 74 points in just 7 matches (he missed 1 game while away at the Asian Cup). When Son returned from the Cup, he commented on how physically and mentally exhausted he was. He then went on to play 90 minutes and score a goal in gameweek 24. And then 88 minutes and 1 goal the past week.

Here’s the rub: Son says he’s tired, but he keeps producing. Poch can’t afford to rest him while Kane and Dele are out. So, the question is whether he’ll be rested at some point, if he’ll slow down because of the exhaustion, or if he’ll just keep scoring goals and rewarding his FPL managers. He’s playing with a high level of confidence and momentum, so if managers are undecided or maybe slightly leaning in his favor, it seems like a good investment to us.

We’d like to fit him into our team somewhere, but right now that would require a bit of surgery…and a hit. His main competition at his £8.7m price is Pogba at £8.6m. They have almost identical total FPL points. The case for Pogba right now would be that he’s on great form, is on a team that’s playing at a higher overall level than Spurs, and Man U have a slightly more favorable fixture in gameweek 26.

If you can fit both into your squad, that’s a best-case scenario. And, Pogba has a much higher ownership rate than Sonny does (38.1% compared to 15.2%). If you’re looking to keep up with the masses, Pogba might be your target. If you have Pogba or need a reliable differential that can bring in big hauls, Son is an excellent option.

 

FPLFootballAdvice:

Son has been one of the stand out players of the season, scoring 8 and assisting 7 goals prior to the Asia cup. Since his return, he has scored in each of the league matches, however he has been open about fatigue.

With many managers looking to jump off teams that face a blank in GW27, Son looks a great option to get in for his next 2 matches. Spurs face Leicester at home, followed by Burnley away – who notably are 6 league games unbeaten. I recently wrote an article discussing blank gameweek players and replacements, something I strongly recommend managers reading if they own any.

In that I stated the potential negative associated with the opposition and fixtures that Son has in the short and long term. I believe that he is a great option for managers to get into their teams, especially if they are looking for options in the blank GW27. Just be wary of the following GW28 and 29 fixtures, but with news of an early return for Kane, it could see Spurs much stronger ahead of these matches.

“Best captaincy option for GW26?”

LetsTalkSoccer:

GW26 is a transitory week and a week of decisions for many managers. GW27 is a blank gameweek for four teams, including Man City and Chelsea most notably. This removes Aguero, Sterling, Sane, Hazard and Higuain, among others, from selection and captaincy.

So one decision facing FPL managers is whether they begin transferring out players from these teams prior to the GW26 deadline or wait until just before the GW27 deadline. If you have a couple or a few players from these teams, as many do, it might be necessary to making transfers sooner than later. Other managers will want to avoid the inevitable price increases and falls that will happen before Week 27. All this to say that depending on what you might be forced to do, it could eliminate a key player or two from receiving your captain’s armband.

If the BGW doesn’t affect your options for GW26, Aguero is a good captain option who faces Chelsea at home. We saw what he did against Arsenal at home in gameweek 25, so there’s no reason to think he’ll play any differently against the Blues.

Man Utd at Fulham makes it tempting to hand Pogba or Rashford the armband. Mo Salah at home against Bournemouth certainly favors the Egyptian. Because of recent slips, Liverpool need a strong showing. I expect Salah will lead the way for The Reds. Mane and Firmino should also rise to the occasion.

Sonny has to be part of the conversation. He’s finding ways to score goals and keep Spurs in the hunt. All this while describing himself as physically and mentally drained. Imagine if he’s rested, recovered and fit when he faces Leicester. And then there’s Aubameyang at Huddersfield. He’s not been on form as of late, but that won’t last forever and this game is the perfect opportunity to turn things around and reward his owners that captain him. I expect he’ll be among the top 3 most-captain players for GW26.

My under-the-radar pick for GW16 is Jimenez. Wolves play Newcastle at home, where Jimenez has scored 7 of his 9 goals this season. He’ll be well rested and I could see him scoring a double Monday night.

Almost certainly, Salah will the most-captained player for the week. This always presents a dilemma for those that want to captain someone else, because literally half of all FPL managers own him and his usual very high captaincy rate. If he delivers returns, those that didn’t captain him could suffer greatly.

But, if managers go against the masses and their captains do well, they could see a nice differential jump. Because there’s a real Salah performance index factor, it greatly influences how managers select their captains. It’s not just about how well you think your captain will perform, but also very much about how you think Salah will perform too. It’s a calculated risk when choosing someone other than Mo. But one that can pay off if your predictions become reality.

For us, we currently have Mo wearing the armband. But cases can be made for everyone listed above too.

 

FPLFootballAdvice:

GW26 is posing as an interesting week regarding captaincy, with a number of players staking a claim. If you asked a few weeks ago, the Liverpool fixture at home to Bournemouth seems a no brainer for Salah owners. Liverpool have scored 32 goals in 12 home league matches, with Salah scoring 9 goals and 4 assists in this period. Meanwhile, Bournemouth haven’t impressed on the road, losing 9 of their 12 matches and conceding 27 goals in the process.

However, both Salah and Liverpool have looked a shadow of their selves compared to earlier in the season. Liverpool have drawn their last 2 games while Salah has blanked in both. His underlying stats haven’t been terrible – 6 shots and 2 key passes in these matches – but don’t suggest top form.

Another option for managers is Aubameyang, a player that has been in plenty of conversations on Twitter. The Arsenal man is a popular transfer this week, with a majority of these being by Aguero owners who have one eye on City’s blank GW.

Arsenal face Huddersfield away this weekend and go into the game off the back of a 3-1 loss to City. More importantly is that Huddersfield got smashed 5-0 by Chelsea in GW25, a sign of their defensive frailties for Aubameyang owners.

Aubameyang has thrived against teams in the bottom half of the table, scoring 11 of his 15 goals against these teams. Huddersfield have only won 1 game at home this season, and it doesn’t look like their fortunes are going to change based on current form.

One other notable mentions is Marcus Rashford who plays Fulham in the Saturday lunchtime kick off. Rashford has 5 goals and 2 assists in his last 6 league matches, making a mockery of his £7.7m FPL price. Fulham have conceded 23 goals in 12 home league matches, only keeping 1 clean sheet. Against a defence like this, Rashford could be a great differential captain for those looking to climb their ranks.

“Should managers take a hit to get Aubameyang in?”

LetsTalkSoccer:

We’re not keen on taking hits. We try to avoid at all costs, and only take when necessary. If you look at the top 100K teams, they very rarely ever take hits. So we think it best to mirror the best.Part of the decision is rooted in a manager’s focus: Either short term (the gameweek ahead) or long term (overall record). Those focused on the upcoming week are usually more liberal with taking hits.

Hits are always a gamble. Not only do you need your newly-selected player to perform well, but you also need the player you replaced to do poorly. Otherwise, the move doesn’t provide a return. We’ve seen a lot of managers forget that.

Essentially, for a hit to pay off, you’ll want your replacement player to earn a minimum of 7 points. Here’s why:

Assuming the player you want to drop earns the usual 2 points, you’ve now lost another 4 points from the hit. That’s 6 points. So, to put you on the positive side, you need 7 points from your new player, at a minimum. Now, that’s for managers wanting immediate returns for that gameweek. If a manager is looking out on a longer horizon, the calculation takes on a different meaning.

Specially for Aubameyang, it all depends on how he performs in GW26. And it also depends on whether he’s a GW27 replacement for either Aguero or Higuain who don’t play. In that case, it’s more advisable, but not if you can delay that transfer until after gameweek 26 so that you don’t have to take a hit.

Those focused squarely on GW26, based purely on matchup, you’d think Aubameyang should fare well at Huddersfield. But recent form is a concern. It really comes down to whether you believe Auba will deliver significantly more points than whomever he replaces.

If you can save transferring him in until GW27 to avoid a hit, we lean more on that conservative side of things when it comes to potentially sacrificing points. But, if you need to do everything you can to help gain ground, the risk might be worth the reward to you.
FPLFootballAdvice:

Aubameyang was one of the casualties of the double gameweek, with over 160,000 managers selling him. The popular swap for those was into Aguero, who rewarded those with a hat trick against Arsenal and appearance points v Everton. Aubameyang now comes into a nice run of fixtures, starting this weekend away to Huddersfield followed by Southampton and Bournemouth.

Firstly, I think that if you are a Aguero owner and have 2 free transfers at your disposal, then a good move would be to sell and buy Aubameyang. Aguero has Chelsea this weekend followed by a blank in GW27, and while he has proved he can score big against anyone, I think there is more value in Aubameyang.

Something that managers should consider for both Aubameyang and other players is the returning European matches. For Aubameyang, he plays Bate in the Europa League on 21st Feb, Southampton 24th Feb and Bournemouth 27th Feb. All these matches are at home which can only help the opportunity of Aubameyang playing in all the league matches. I personally don’t think these fixtures are enough to stop buying Aubameyang, and reading into it too much could see you over-think it.

In regards to owning Aubameyang with a points hit, I think that it is all squad dependent on the individual manager. I believe Aubameyang could return decent points over the next 3 fixtures and cover the points hit inflicted on your squad. Managers just need to assess whether his purchase doesn’t negatively affect your squad going into the blank gameweek. If it is a sale of one of those sides, then a hit isn’t the worst move and I think it could benefit over the coming fixtures.

Blank GW27 Thoughts

The blank GW27 is right around the corner, and it is essential that all managers plan from this week to prepare their teams accordingly. We recently wrote a blank GW27 article which we recommend all managers take a look at. We discuss all the key players from the teams that have a blank, and what we think owners should do with them. We also highlight the best players to own during the blank along with thoughts on players that could climb your overall rank in the long term.

 


 

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