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 the double GW35. This week we will be discussing captaincy options, Deeney replacements, bench boost and whether to keep Vardy.
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 is the best captaincy option?”
Unlike many weeks, there’s no one (or even two) crystal clear front runners. Some players have double gameweeks, but their fixtures are a bit more difficult. While others have more favorable fixtures, but they’re playing just one match. Because of this, we thought we’d compare the players that are usually considered for the armband.
The numbers in green represent the highest or most favourable. And those in red represent the lowest or least favorable. For example, while Hazard has the highest expected assists over the last three games, his GW35 opponent has conceded just one goal over their last three games.
Despite having just one match in GW35, it’s hard to look past an in-form Mo Salah. Despite his low(ish) xG and xA per 90, his current form is strong, Liverpool’s FDR is very low (just a 2), he earned the joint-highest points in the reverse fixture and his opponents have conceded a healthy number of goals in their last three matches.
Not captured in the table, but relevant to the story, Mo and the rest of The Reds face a Cardiff team that’s desperate to avoid relegation and has conceded the third-most goals this season. With the Golden Boot and the Premier League title both within reach, we expect Mo to turn in one of the best performances of GW35. If he were playing two games in the upcoming double GW, he’d be the clear-cut favorite for the armband.
But, since it is a double gameweek, we have to take that into consideration. Among the teams with two games, we like Aubameyang. He’s high among expected goals per 90 minutes and Arsenal average just a 2.5 FDR for the gameweek. Auba has earned a collective 10 FPL points vs his two GW35 opponents in the reverse fixtures, and those same opponents have conceded the highest number of goals on this list over their last three games.
Because of the advantage of playing two games in the week, and the points potential it represents, we like Aubameyang for the captaincy.
GW35 is an interesting gameweek for managers, with a number of big teams having a double gameweek. The notable ‘big 6’ sides that have these fixtures are Spurs (City A, Brighton H), Arsenal (Palace H, Wolves A), Man City (Spurs H, Man Utd A) and Man Utd (Everton A, Man City H).
Man City have proved that they can score against any of the ‘top 6’, scoring 17 goals in 8 league games this season. Of these goals, Aguero has scored 8 and Sterling 3. Rotation is always a risk with both of these players, but with an incredibly tight title race, we think both will start and have FPL value being captained. For us, we own Aguero and he is firmly in our thoughts as our captain pick.
As mentioned, Spurs face Man City in their opening fixture followed by a home match against an out of form Brighton. We expect both Son and Eriksen to feature in both games, however the match against Man City offers little hope of FPL points. The Brighton fixture on the other hand could be a big return from both players, so for us, to captain either player would be on the basis of just the Brighton match.
Meanwhile, Liverpool face relegation threatened Cardiff away and Chelsea have a home fixture against Burnley. We have an interesting captaincy option outside of the ‘top 6’ in the shape of Raul Jimenez. Wolves also have a double gameweek, playing Brighton and Arsenal both at home.
Wolves have a great record against the ‘top 6’ sides, while Arsenal have only kept one away clean sheet which came in GW34. We think that his gametime is secured over the two fixtures, and we expect him to do well over the double gameweek.
Other than this differential option, we can’t ignore the single gameweek fixture of Liverpool. Mane has been in great form over the past few months, and continued this against Chelsea scoring the opening goal. Our main worry over Liverpool will be Cardiff’s mindset going into the match. On paper, Liverpool should blow Cardiff away, but with the match being played at Cardiff and coming off the back of a good win, they will make it hard for the Reds.
“Essential players till the end of the season?”
Who do you think is essential for the final gameweeks?
— Kloppite (@Dirk02155670) April 15, 2019
Just a few weeks left in the season! It’s gone by all too quickly. But, there’s work to be done. These same weeks are the ones that can make or break an FPL manager’s season. So proper planning is important.
There are some players that make sense to own for another week or two. A couple Leicester City assets come to mind as great options for GW35, but before GW36 where their fixtures take a turn for the worst, managers will want to think about transferring them out.
And then there are the players that are the unicorns of FPL: The players that are on good form, their teams have favorable fixtures, and their FPL points potential are high. They are the essential players. To us, these are the essential, position by position.
- Alisson: Liverpool’s defense has been impressive throughout the season. Among other impressive stats, they have a league-leading 18 clean sheets. They’ve kept clean sheets in 53% of the games they’ve played. Impressive. More recently, Alisson has kept 1 clean sheet in his last three games. Three of Liverpool’s last four fixtures are against teams with the lowest goals scored this season. We expect to see more clean sheets from the man between the sticks for The Reds.
- Robertson/Alexander-Arnold/Van Dijk: Take your pick. You can’t go wrong. They make up three of the top six defenders in total FPL points. Your FPL team should have at least one of these three for many of the same reasons listed above for Alisson. In addition to the clean sheet potential, these guys get regular attacking assets. VVD has 3 goals and 4 assists, Robbo with 10 assists and TAA with 1 goal and 7 assists. And, they’re magnets for bonus points. Robertson and Van Dijk have the first and second-most bonus points among defenders (Alexander-Arnold has the 7th most).
- Wan-Bissaka: It’s important to be somewhat frugal on the defense. That’s where a value defender, like AWB, comes in. At just £4.5m, his price is right. Plus, he’s a regular starter that accumulates bonus points (8th among defenders), and is always an attacking threat.
- Salah: If Liverpool are going to maintain their top spot, Mo will be a big reason why. While having gone through some dry spells, he seems to have found his form at the right time. He’s not only the highest-scoring midfielder in FPL, he’s also the highest among all players. Oh yeah…and he’s also tied for the top spot in the Golden Boot race. Not too bad for a guy that’s a “one-season wonder”! He has 2 goals and 1 assist in his last three games. Over the last five games, his attacking activity is strong (xG is 1.61, xA is 0.86 and shots per 90 is 4.40). We all know what he’s capable of doing (remember THAT strike against Chelsea on Sunday?). And with very favorable fixtures ahead – an average 2.5 FDR for his final four games – and a title to win, look for Mo to go big.
- Ward-Prowse: Every FPL team needs an enabler…so why not choose one that starts and plays 90 minutes regularly and has the potential to provide attacking points? We’ve chosen JWP as our example. Not every player has to be premium priced for them to be important in an FPL squad (we could same the thing about Jota). At just £5.1m, Ward-Prowse is an excellent bargain that enables managers to spend on other parts of their squads. JWP has a high ICT Index (134.3), an average of 2.25 key passes per 90, and 6 goals scored (both figures are 2nd in the Southampton squad), he also represents a player with attacking potential. And at just 3.6% ownership, he’s a possible differential too. With low cost and high potential for attacking returns, JWP (or Jota) provide a lot of bang for little bucks. If not, JWP, then Jota is equally as appealing.
- Son: With Kane out, it’s time for Son to shine (no pun intended!). Last time Kane was sidelined with this ankle injury, Son stepped up with 3 goals and an assist in just three games. History is repeating itself once again: In the last two games, he’s netted one and assist another. With Kane unavailable, we expect Son to be heavily featured in the Spurs attack. With his current form, his increased freedom to attack and Spurs upcoming fixtures, we think Son will have a strong finish to the season.
- De Bruyne: Now healthy, we’re seeing the KDB of last season. The guy that the balls goes through in City’s attack. The guy with vision and anticipation that makes fortune tellers jealous. If Man City are going to lock down the title, it’ll be due in large part to KBD. He’s critical to their success, as evidenced by him earning maximum bonus points in his last two games. In a squad full of rotation, he’s one of the least likely to start a game on the bench.
- Aubameyang: Maybe not essential before now, but with his current form and remaining fixtures (see our table in Question 1), he represents the potential for a lot of FPL points. He’s second in the in the running for most goals scored this season (he’s on 18 currently) and is second on the team for shots per 90 over the last five games (Sh90 = 3.38). He’s one to have in your squad.
- Aguero: “He’s a rotation risk.” How many times have you heard that about Serg this season? We always say that minutes don’t equate to points. Any chance of Pep Roulette hasn’t seemed to slow him down. He leads all forwards in FPL points earned. And he’s tied with Salah in the Golden Boot race. For Man City to hold onto their title, they need Aguero front and center. And despite having some difficult fixtures (Spurs at home followed by the Manchester Derby away in DGW35), he’s still one to have. Big players are expected to step up in big games. He’s scored 15 (78.9%) of his 19 goals at home this season, and he scored against Manchester United in the reverse fixture back in Week 12. With KDB back and firing on all cylinders, Aguero’s opportunities to shoot should only increase.
- Jimenez: What a value he is! At just £6.9m, he’s third among forwards in FPL points (166). Not surprising, he’s first on his team in expected goals (1.96) AND expected assists (1.64) over the last five games. He also leads in shots per 90 (2.56) over those same five matches. And he’s 6th among all forwards in points/match (5.0). In a battle to maintain – or even improve – table position, we think Wolves will fight (and fight hard) to win as many of their remaining games as possible. They’ll rely on Jimenez to lead the way.
We recently covered our essential picks for a wildcard squad in our previous GW34 Q&A article. While these remain relevant, we have highlighted a few others that we think will score big until the end of the season.
A Liverpool defender looks the best opportunity for clean sheets until the end of the season, with a great run of fixtures left. We think that Robertson (£6.8m) is the best of the bunch, offering gametime security and attacking potential.
However, if you can’t afford the premium price, TAA (£5.5m) provides a cheaper but riskier option to managers. The return of Gomez (£4.8m) will probably put his position under threat, especially in the home fixture against Huddersfield. But either way, we think a Liverpool defender is a must for FPL managers.
Man City have arguably a tougher set of fixtures, notably against Spurs and Man United left to play. While these may prove tricky, Man City have shown that they can score goals against any of the top 6 sides. Therefore, we believe an investment in an attacking asset is essential, however managers must be wary of the risks.
No attacking player has proved that they are void from the Pep rotation, but they have proved that they are some of the best FPL value in the game. We think that Sterling is the best Man City option, having played 2320 minutes, it seems that he is one of Pep’s go-to men and will feature heavily in the back end of the season.
In the striker role, we think the only consideration is Aguero with Jesus being used sparingly throughout the season so far. While we think Aguero will too be rested at some point, it is clear that he is the number 1 striker at the club, and will be similar to Sterling as a main part.
“Should we be considering Man City players with their tough fixtures?”
We have covered some of this in our previous question, and in result think that they should be under consideration. As mentioned, their attacking assets are a risk to own with the regular rotation from Pep, but we think their FPL potential is too high to ignore.
Their fixtures are tricky but because of this, it might mean Pep has to play his best players on a regular basis. There is no predicting his selection, but you’ve got to be in the lottery to have a chance of winning. And we think the risk/reward is worth it for the remaining fixtures that City face.
Man City have the second best defensive record in the league and should be considered from an FPL perspective. We think that the only considerations are Ederson and Laporte, who have played the most minutes from the City defence.
However, the priority for managers should be investing in the City attack. Outside of the ‘essentials’ from the previous question, if managers are looking for a differential then Kevin De Bruyne could be the man. He assisted 2 goals in GW34 and returned maximum bonus points, playing the full 90 minutes. Pep has announced him fully fit and we expect him to feature regularly from now until the end of the season.
“Keep or sell Vardy?”
With his high expected goals per 90 minutes over the last three games (xG90 = 0.97) and his current form (3 goals, 1 assist in last three games), if you already own him it’s probably worth holding onto Vardy for one last week. In addition to the things working right for Vardy, he also has Maddison and Tielemans playing well and able to serve him chances to put more shots on goal.
But then it’s time to sell as he faces Arsenal (H), Man City (a) and Chelsea (H) in his final three games of the season. Not necessarily because he can’t provide points against these guys (he scored 1 and assisted 1 in the reverse fixtures), but more so that there are better options to choose. In the reverse fixtures, Vardy had a goal against Chelsea and an assist when Leicester hosted Man City.
Vardy disappointed owners with a blank against Newcastle, where they ended up losing 1-0 at home. For Leicester, they have a decent fixture against West Ham away in GW35 before the fixtures take a turn for the worse. They face Arsenal (H), Man City (A) and finish the season with a home match against top 4 chasing Chelsea.
West Ham have conceded 25 goals in 17 home matches this season, keeping only 3 clean sheets. We think that Vardy needs to leave fantasy teams before the last 3 games of the season, but there could be value in this West Ham fixture.
Apart from the Newcastle result, Leicester have been in great form under Rodgers with Vardy scoring 7 goals in his last 7 games. There is definitely an argument to keep Vardy for one more gameweek, but we think it depends on the current situation of your squad.
GW35 is a double gameweek, therefore you want to own players that have two fixtures. For example, the likes of Jimenez, Rashford, Llorente and Lacazette all have games in the double gameweek that are similar or cheaper price than Vardy.
If you do not own strikers with a double gameweek, then it could be a good idea to sell the Leicester man for one that does. Arsenal have a decent double, however the risk with Lacazette is his potential rotation with the Europa League. Jimenez arguably has some of the best fixtures, and if you do not own the Wolves man then that is a decent transfer to make. His gametime will be secured and has a proven home record.
“Best Deeney replacements?”
As of now, Deeney won’t be back until GW37 (reports are that Watford will appeal the decision). That covers three games for Watford, so we’re talking a bit more long term as opposed to other red cards. In terms of players at a similar price to Deeney’s (£5.9m), we have Rondon, his teammate Perez, Ings, and Gray. If your budget allows you to stretch a bit, you get into Wilson (and King) and Jimenez territory. Taking a deeper look at the lot…
From this group, we’d narrow it down to Jimenez, Wilson and Ings based on their expected goals/assists per 90 minutes and the FPL points they’ve earned in the reverse fixtures against their remaining opponents. Then it comes down to which of these each manager already owns.
If a manager had none of them, our suggested order of preference is Wilson, then Jimenez, and then Ings. Although we could easily flip the order between Jimenez and Wilson – both are close in terms of the potential they bring. With Ings, he’s cheaper (just £5.4m), which allows him to enable upgrades in other areas of the team, and he’s got just 2.6% ownership, making him an attractive differential.
Of the many Deeney replacements available, we recommend looking at Wilson, Jimenez and Ings.
We were one of the many managers that trusted Deeney in our wildcard squads, only to be burnt by his red card. Unfortunately, this means that he will miss Watford’s great double gameweek against Huddersfield (A) and Southampton (H).
At £5.9m, managers don’t have a vast range of strikers to choose from unless they have money in the bank. We have discussed our personal plans for Deeney in our team article, which you can read here.
In the absence of Deeney, Watford will probably look to call upon one of their other strikers in Gray (£5.9m) or Success (£4.5m). It isn’t clear which player will be starting in the double gameweek, so we recommend managers waiting for the press conferences.
Our thought is that Gray is the best option, however managers need to consider the long term with their transfer decision. When Deeney returns, it is likely that either of the two striekrs will return to the bench, and for those that bought Gray, he could be an expensive bench player to own.
While he is a good option, it is worth considering that you might have to spend another transfer getting him out after GW35. Whereas in Success, he averages less points per game (1.5) compared to Gray (2.6), but at £4.5m could be a third bench player to forget. One to think about for managers.
If you have the money in the bank, we think Jimenez is the best player to replace Deeney. As mentioned in the previous question, he has the attacking potential and gametime security that you look for over a double gameweek.
We think that the Saints strikers Long and Ings are decent budget options but both at risk of sharing minutes over the two fixtures. While in decent form, their fixtures against Newcastle and Watford away aren’t the most appealing and we imagine both to be tricky games for them.
We think the biggest FPL risk/reward replacement will be Arsenal’s Lacazette. He is averaging 5 points per match, and has been playing the most minutes compared to Aubameyang. However he was rested in GW34, highlighting the risk of rotation that managers will be investing if they buy Lacazette.
“Should we consider playing bench boost in a single gameweek, opposed to the double GW35?”
A few weeks ago, we would’ve quickly and emphatically said to use Bench Boost in DGW35. Now, with as poorly as chips have worked (or NOT worked as the case may be) for a large number of managers that have recently activated their chips at the “right” times, we’re hesitating to pull the trigger in GW35.
Look at blank GW33. The “perfect” time to play your Free Hit. It was a bust for most of us. And take a look at the recently-finished double GW34, where many managers played their Wildcard chips. Their plans, which included captaining a double gameweek Shane Duffy, ended in mass amounts of frustration. So forgive us if we take a step back on GW35.
As with Triple Captain, it depends on who’s in (or will be in) your squad by the DGW35 deadline. If you played your Wildcard this past week, and did it properly, you now have a viable bench. The only way Bench Boost is optimized is by having all (or at least most) of your players playing. Once we know they’re regular starters, now we look at fixtures. If you have a bench full of starters that also have favorable fixtures, using your Bench Boost this week seems like an excellent choice.
If you don’t have one or both of the key criteria – regular starters with favorable fixtures – you might want to rethink the week you play your BB chip. Like anything else in FPL, it’s all about maximising the points potential. So if you find that you might have a higher points ceiling in another week, don’t feel that you MUST play the chip in GW35.
For example, our current bench is Dubravka-Fraser-AWB-Schlupp. While most of them have favorable fixtures in GW35, Fraser does not. But all five of these players have favorable fixtures (all of them have FDRs of just 2 in GW36 and 38). So we have some things to think about!
Our advice is: Don’t feel like you have to play your chip this coming week just because you think most others are. Yes, you might not earn as many points as they do this week. But when you play your chip in another week, you’ll be the one with more points. Essentially, it all evens out. Shut out the noise, look at the data, and do what you think is best for your team.
This has been a popular question in FPL this gameweek, and we can see many managers making an argument for holding the bench boost for a better single gameweek. We have written a recent article all about bench boosting, one that you should read in you are considering it this weekend.
Thanks again to LetsTalkSoccer for contributing in this weeks Q&A article. Make sure to give their account a follow and support their great work!
Be sure to check out our recent articles, where we have discussed bench boosting in a single or double gameweek.
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