Double GW32 FPL Guest Q&A – Is Harry Kane a Free Hit Essential?

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 double GW32. This week we will be discussing the essential free hit players, Harry Kane’s value, Man City triple up and the best budget midfielders.

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.

“Who are the essential picks for Free hit GW32?”

LetsTalkSoccer:

With half of the Premier League teams playing twice in GW32, there seems to be an abundance of players that could be considered essential. “Essential” has a couple applications in the FPL world. On one hand, it might mean players that are all but certain to haul in the upcoming gameweek. On another hand, it might define a player that has such a large ownership that the risk of not owning him is too great. And right in the middle are players that have a combination of the two. So our list below will be from within one of those three spheres.

• With two favorable fixtures (away at Fulham and home to Cardiff), Manchester City players are probably the most in-demand of the lot. On social media, everyone is specifically talking about Aguero and Sterling. Aguero is largely owned (almost 40% ownership) and can score a couple goals in the blink of an eye. Sterling’s recent form (in league and international matches) makes him almost impossible to ignore. These two should easily be the two most-captained players of the week.

• Also on social media, there have been countless references to a Free Hit “template team”, meaning that most Free Hit teams will include most or all of these players. Most of these players are also largely owned in non-Free Hit teams too. Those players include Pogba, Hazard, Laporte, and possibly Jimenez and/or Rashford (or Lukaku).

• And for managers not using their Free Hit chips, there are also some single-game players that are either essential or near that level. This list includes a very in-form Mane, a widely-owned Salah, and the dangerous Arsenal strike duo of Lacazette and Aubameyang at home to Newcastle.

While most managers – whether they’re Free Hitting or not – will have many of these players in their GW32 squads – the challenge and the fun of FPL comes in choosing the differential players. Because of the large number of teams playing twice, and the corresponding large number of viable players from those teams, we expect to see a lot of separation between teams’ overall rankings.

“Do I pick AWB or Schlupp?” “Luiz or Rudiger?” “Ederson, Kepa or de Gea?” “Zaha, Batshuayi or Deeney?” “Deulofeu, Milivojevic or Jota?” These are the decisions those of us facing Free Hit are faced with this week. It should result in plenty of thinking, rethinking and overthinking!

 

FPLFootballAdvice:

For us, when deciding on which players are deemed ‘essential’ we look at a number of criteria’s. These include form, gametime security and fixtures. However, the priority of each can depend on the strategy and overall FPL position we are at the time of a free hit.

We are currently just sat outside the top 100k, therefore we do not believe that we need a team full of essential differentials, that compromise the factors that we account for. Gametime security and fixtures are the two that we are focussing on, mainly on the former.

Therefore, there are a handful of players that we believe fall into this category and become essential players to own if you follow the same strategy. These include Pogba, Aguero, Sterling and Hazard.

Pogba has played every minute under Ole since his appointment, and has become an integral part of the team. He has also returned 8 goals and 7 assists since the change of manager, and being on set pieces it adds another FPL factor.

Aguero has not featured with Argentina over the international break while Jesus has travelled and played for Brazil. While it is hard to predict the Pep rotation, these pieces of information suggest that Aguero is likely to start in one, if not both matches. It is worth noting that he has in fact started the last 8 league matches, playing over 75 minutes in 7 of these.

As mentioned, it is impossible to predict the Pep rotation, but it is hard to ignore the form of Raheem Sterling. He has started 4 of the last 6 league matches, scoring 5 over this period including a hat trick in GW30. Sterling has featured for England over the break – scoring another hat trick – but so too has all of the available Man City midfielders. Sterling is as likely as any midfielder to play in both matches, and we think with his form and City chasing the title it will be hard for Pep not to play him in both.

Hazard is the last of our mentioned, and most likely the most unpredictable. While his gametime is all but guaranteed, it is his and Chelsea’s form that come into question. However, they do face 2 of the 3 worst defensive records in the league and not owning him could be a big rank killer for managers.

In the reverse fixtures, Hazard scored his only hat trick of the season against Cardiff leading to a 20 point haul. The absence of Cardiff’s best defender, Sol Bamba, will only boost Chelsea and Hazard’s attacking potential. Against Brighton, Hazard registered a goal and assist and with Brighton playing in their FA cup semi final 3 days after, Chelsea could face a weakened side.

Aside from essential individual players, we think there are certain teams and positions that managers should target in their free hit sides. Chelsea’s great fixtures offer clean sheet potential with both teams relatively low goalscoring this season. Defensive assets such as Kepa, Luiz, Rudiger and Azpilecueta should all be on managers radars and we think owning at least one defensive player would be a good move.

Man United haven’t been water tight defensively this season, having only kept 7 clean sheets. However, they offer some well-priced FPL players such as Lindelof (£5.1m) who has started the last 5 league matches. Games against both Watford and Wolves aren’t easy clean sheet games, but with both having on eye on the FA cup and United chasing a top 4 position, it could be a great investment.

“Is Kane worth owning, considering Spurs tough fixture against Liverpool?”

LetsTalkSoccer:

With 3 goals in his last 4 games, Kane is on pretty good form. In the last 5 games, his expected goals per 90 minutes (xG90) is 0.63.

Spurs’ first fixture of GW32 is away at Anfield to face Liverpool. In the last 8 PL matches he’s played against Liverpool, Kane has 5 goals and 2 assists, including 3 goals and 1 assist away at Liverpool.

Following this match, Kane and co. play their first Premier League match in their new stadium, when they host Crystal Palace. In the games he’s appeared in against Palace, Kane has 3 goals and 2 assists (over 9 league games).

He neither scored nor assisted in either of the reverse fixtures earlier this season.

Compared to other forwards playing twice this week, Kane is a little further down the list as far as form goes. Players like Jimenez, Lukaku, Deeney and Aguero appear before Kane. In terms of points per match, however, Kane is only second to Aguero (6.0 for Kane, 6.3 for Aguero).

For £12.5m, it feels to us that there are better, less expensive options for forwards that have two games in GW32. For managers not playing Free Hit, if they already own Kane, it’s completely fine to hold onto him. But for those that don’t own him, we don’t recommend you transfer him into your squad when there are better values out there to be had.

 

FPLFootballAdvice:

Spurs face Liverpool at Anfield in their first fixture of the double gameweek, before christening the new stadium against Crystal Palace. The home game has an air of inevitability about it, where it feels it is written in the stars for Kane to score the first premier league goal at their new ground.

First, Spurs must tackle Liverpool and in that the doubts over the FPL value of Kane in our free hit teams arise. Liverpool have conceded the least home goals this season (9), and are the only side to remain unbeaten at home.

Spurs meanwhile have the second best away record behind Liverpool, but are the leading scorers for away goals (32). Kane has had an involvement in 15 of these, including 11 goals and 4 assists. While Liverpool remain unbeaten at home, it is clear that Spurs have the form and stats to cause them problems. Kane currently has 4 goals in 8 league matches against the rest of the ‘top 6’, and his FPL value shouldn’t be doubted when playing a top side, unlike other players.

We think that Kane should be in all manager’s considerations when creating their free hit teams for GW32. He ticks the gametime security over the two fixtures, along with the recent form having scored 3 goals in his last 4 league matches.

At £12.5m, investing in Kane will have a negative impact on the rest of your squad and naturally weaken certain areas. You have to determine whether owning Kane will outscore the potential players that you could own without him. If so, then he could be a great differential for managers with his ownership currently at 15%.

“Best Man City triple up option? Do we focus on all-out attack?”

LetsTalkSoccer:

Man City present quite a few players from which to choose. Top of our list are Aguero, Sterling, Ederson, David Silva, Laporte and Bernardo Silva. Then there’s the fringe, differential players like Sane and Zinchenko. The trick, as always for this team, is to try to read Pep’s mind. Pep Roulette is an enigma that frustrates and befuddles FPL managers.

First off, a Man City triple up for this week (and even for the remainder of the season, including non-double gameweeks) is a wise choice. Because of the abundance of quality options, choosing the best three is the challenge.

Normally, in an exercise like this, us managers are tasked with predicting which players from a particular club are likely to score the most FPL points. It gets more complex with City because of rotation concerns.

Our best advice for handling this: Don’t get too hung up on the threat of rotation. Trying to determine how Pep will handle things is an exercise in futility.

Just because Sterling has played a lot of minutes for England doesn’t necessarily mean he’s certain to be benched for one of City’s two games. Or, just because Aguero is well rested doesn’t mean that he’s guaranteed to start both games.

So we’re not getting too caught up this debate. And remember – even if their minutes are managed, players like Raz and Kun can still bring in large hauls. Minutes don’t always equate to more points.

We like the idea of a three-headed Man City attack. As of now, the three we’ve chosen are Aguero, Sterling and B Silva. (Although D Silva is also an appealing option.) We feel that there are more potential points to be earned on the attack then there are to be had defensively.

Looking at points per match, an attacking trio of Sterling-Aguero-D Silva is greater than that of Sterling, Aguero and a defensive player. But, that’s not to say that someone like Laporte or Ederson won’t possibly add a lot of value. For us, however, an all-out City attack is the strategy we’re currently on.

 

FPLFootballAdvice:

Man City have a double gameweek which is the stuff of dreams. They face Fulham (A) followed 4 days later against Cardiff (H), some plum fixtures for FPL managers to target. Owning 3 Man City players is a no brainer, but the question is whether to invest 1 spot in the defensive area or go all out on the attack.

Firstly, we think that both Aguero and Sterling are essential players to own in any free hit side. They are City’s two best attacking players and also their most in form stars, playing against the worst (Fulham) and 3rd worse (Cardiff) defensive teams. Rotation is always a worry under Pep, but this applies to each of the attacking players in the City side.

If managers are looking at investing in the Man City defence, then we think there are two players to consider – Ederson or Laporte. Ederson has played every premier league minute this season, and with the injury to Claudio Bravo his position is guaranteed in the team. The negative for Ederson is the FPL points ceiling being low due to the teams that City face. Save points would be a surprise and therefore the most a manager can expect is a typical 6-point return – which by the way is great!

Laporte has played more premier league minutes than any other City defender (2336), however has missed the last 3 league matches due to injury. He was an unused sub in their last league match, and having not played over the international break you would expect him to resume his usual role at the heart of the defence. It isn’t too far out of the realms of possibility for Laporte to get attacking returns, scoring 2 goals along with 1 assist this season.

At the top end of the pitch, there are only a handful of players that we would consider for free hit teams. Bernardo Silva (£7.5m) has been one of Pep’s players of the season, reflected in his minutes played being the most of any City midfielder – 2284 mins. David Silva (£8.5m) has had his minutes managed by Pep but is currently a great differential option at 4% ownership. While Sane (£9.3m) has been the FPL troll for many managers, averaging an impressive 5.3 points per match but only starting 2 of the last 6 league matches.

We have created a stats table to highlight each players attacking league returns this season:

 SaneD. Silva B. Silva
Mins152118932284
Points per match
5.34.64.0
Goals865
Assists1167
Sh90/Kp902.59/2.002.16/2.771.61/2.08

Based on the stats, Sane is the most expensive but best attacking option from the above midfielders. However, as stated it would take a brave manager to own Sane with his recent lack of gametime. We think if managers are seeking to solely climb rank, Sane could prove to be a great differential but understand that he could either be the top points scorer or not even play! The extremes seem to be that large with Sane this season.

Otherwise, although David Silva tops Bernardo for stats, we would be tempted to go for the cheaper option in Bernardo. He should provide the minutes security, however under Pep it is never a certainty unfortunately.

In regards to where we would invest our triple up, we think the best option is to own Aguero, Sterling and a defensive asset, in this case we would pick Ederson. He is the only guaranteed minutes over the double gameweek and although he doesn’t have a high points ceiling, he should provide steady points for managers. This strategy would avoid the risk rotation in the midfield, but those that like to take the risk then there could be big rewards in ownership in an attacking triple up.

“Best budget midfield options for DGW32?”

LetsTalkSoccer:

Staying true to our theme of “many options” for DGW32, there’s no shortage of viable mid-priced/budget midfielders.

So as not to inundate readers with too many stats, we’ll focus on just a couple that could help managers make informed decisions.

Our watchlist of affordable midfielders playing twice in Week 32 includes:

Milivojevic (£6.3m): He faces HUD and tot. He has a high ICT Index of 190.5, has an Expected Goals (xG) of 1.66 over the last 5 games (the highest on his team), and has just 8.0% ownership. Plus, he’s on pens for Palace.

Townsend (£5.8m): A slightly cheaper alternative to Mili, with half the ownership (3.7%) and nearly as high an ICT Index (186.3). However, his xG over the last 5 is low compared to Mili’s – just 0.89.

Deulofeu (£5.6m): He’s been popping up on a lot of Free Hit team drafts. He has an ICT Index of 123.9 and an xG of 2.11 (the highest among Watford players). He has 5.4% ownership. Watford face mun and FUL in GW32.

Jota (£6.1m): He’s produced well for Wolves. His ICT Index is 129.3. His xG over the last 5 games is 0.70. And he has 4.6% ownership. Wolves take on bur and MUN.

Camarasa (£4.5m): He’s the most-affordable on this list. However, Cardiff face an uphill battle facing CHE and mci in Week 32. But, he’s produced for his team. His ICT Index is 142.1 and his current ownership is at just 1.9%. His xG of 1.70 is second-highest on the team.

Groß (£6.7m): Brighton take on both SOUT and che next week. A bit more towards the mid-priced side, he could be a surprise standout of the week is he’s deemed fit to play, especially at just 1.5% ownership. His ICT Index sits at 126.4. Despite absences due to injury the last 2 weeks, his xG over the last 5 matches is among the top of his team at 0.97.

There are other affordable options out there, such as Pereyra, Moutinho and even Kante. But in terms of attacking returns, we think that the six listed above can not help managers make the most of their budgets, but also possibly deliver some real value.

 

FPLFootballAdvice:

It seems that many FPL managers are searching for the perfect budget midfielder for GW32 to compliment their numerous premium players. Funds become tight and the options are less appealing the further you drop, however we have recently highlighted our top picks in a Twitter thread.

Our thread below discusses some of the popular budget midfielders and our views on their potential returns and gametime security. Click below to check them out!

 


 

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