In this weeks FPL Guest Q&A article, we are joined by regular LetsTalkSoccer who will be sharing their thoughts on the most popular wildcard questions ahead of GW34. This week we will be discussing Liverpool triple up, essential wildcard players, Leicester City and Eden Hazard.
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.
“Liverpool Triple Up?”
Liverpool assets? Are they that good that you need triple up or is there a case for going without them as alternatives are playing one more game?
— Jeb Calloud (@JebCalloud) April 8, 2019
Is it too much? Not necessarily. Of course it depends on who those three players are. But let’s assume we’re talking about a trio of their premium players. It somewhat depends on how each manager approaches the upcoming gameweek. There are two primary paths to stroll down – which will probably land at similar places for most.
Down one path, many managers will wildcard going into GW34. For those that are able to completely blow up their teams and build anew, the FPL world is their oyster. For these teams, the Liverpool triple is probably not for them. With one game less left than many other teams, including no double gameweeks, it means one less opportunity to earn points.
While not each player on the 15-man squad needs to have a double GW coming up, giving away 3 spots – 20% – of the team to players with no DGWs doesn’t feel right either. We think two Reds – a defender and an attacker – should work just fine. Even just a single Liverpool player can make good sense in a wildcard squad. As we know, FPL budgets get stretched quite quickly. And thankfully, there are less-expensive (not cheap, but less-expensive) Liverpool assets to add to the Wildcard team.
Specifically, we’re talking about TAA and Mane. They cost less than their respective options (Robertson/VVD; Salah), but can still generate a comparable amount of FPL points. Despite not having any doubles to play, it’s hard to look past Liverpool completely.
Traveling down the second path, we have managers that have already used their wildcard chips and are now simply attempting to build the best teams they can for these last few weeks of the season. For them, our advice is this: if you already own multiple Liverpool players, you don’t have to drop them. At least not all of them. If you have three, maybe two makes sense. If you have two, perhaps cull it down to one.
If you’ve given Mo “one last game” to prove himself and you’re still not happy with him, maybe it’s time to replace him with Mane. That could possibly enable you to invest the saved money into upgrading one of your strikers to a premium striker for example. Some of it depends on who else is in the squad and how many transfers it would take to improve other areas of your squad that might need more immediate attention.
We advise managers to take a holistic, larger-picture look at their teams. Take all five remaining gameweeks into consideration and map out what transfers and chips usage make the most sense for you. With limited Free Transfers each week, non-WC managers will need to take a very strategic, very deliberate approach.
As a team, Liverpool are performing at a high level and individually their most-popular FPL players rarely fall short of providing owners with quality points week in and week out. Plus, they’re making a run for the PL title, which should mean that their level of play will only get better. While three Liverpool players may be too much, having no Liverpool players could come back to haunt those that go to that extreme.
Liverpool face a tricky GW34 fixture against Chelsea, where the title could possibly be lost if they lose. The Reds haven’t kept a clean sheet in their last 4 league matches, somewhat of a worry when they have been soo consistently good at the back all season. However, we think that the value still lies in the Liverpool defence, and a double up isn’t out of the equation.
After Chelsea, Liverpool face Huddersfield and Cardiff, some of the lowest scoring teams in the league. Robertson is the obvious, but expensive, pick from the defence, offering gametime security and attacking potential. The return of Gomez might put some doubt over the gametime of TAA, with the Champions League commitments Klopp might see the mentioned fixtures as an opportunity to give minutes to Gomez.
The attack is the big question for managers, Salah hasn’t been in good league form but did get an important goal against Southampton last GW. Although Salah might regain form, we like to base on stats and Mane has been winning over the last month. He also is a cheaper option and in turn for wildcard managers will provide further budget to strengthen in other areas.
For us, we wouldn’t argue with a Liverpool triple up, and would personally recommend a double defence and single attacking asset if you choose too.
“Essential wildcard and long term picks?”
Who are the 4 or 5 must have players looking at the remainder of the season fixtures?
— FPL DINOSAUR (@DinosaurFpl) April 8, 2019
For us, the must-haves are:
- Sterling: He’s an essential piece of the Man City team that’s trying to retain its League title. He has the third-most FPL points among all players. And we expect to see him deliver even more in this final stretch. Among FPL-classified midfielders, he has the highest expected goals over the last 5 games (xG of 3.54). At any time, he’s capable of scoring a couple and assisting a couple more.
- Jimenez: Arguably the greatest value in FPL this season. He’s a consistent asset: When he’s not scoring goals, he’s usually assisting them. With a favorable set of fixtures on the horizon, including two games in Week 35, the future is bright for the Wolves striker.
- Ward-Prowse: Or some other inexpensive midfielder that both enables you to invest more money on expensive players like Kane and Sterling, while also being dependable starters and points earners. Favorable fixtures are important too. Jota is another player we consider to be in this category.
- Robertson: While Liverpool don’t have any doubles coming up, the team is on great form. As they continue their run for a title, they’ll step up their game even more. Roberston is about as nailed-on a player as their is. He has more points than any other defender. Couple his attacking threats with Liverpool’s ability to keep clean sheets, and Robbo is a very valuable asset.
Kane would of been the top of our personal list, but after the injury against City he is out of the equation. We definitely think their are certain players or teams that are important to own in any wildcard squad. Although we don’t see a player ‘essential’, it’s worth noting their FPL potential over the coming weeks.
Jimenez looks a great wildcard option, at £6.8m he offers the attacking threat and gametime potential that is important. Wolves also have decent fixtures including a double gameweek in 35 with both of the fixtures being at home.
Robertson is an expensive FPL asset, but if managers can afford him then he should be the pick of the Liverpool defenders. As mentioned in our previous question, he offers the balance of attacking and clean sheet potential.
With their double gameweek, although Brighton haven’t impressed recently, we think a defensive option would be a wise move. They have two great home fixtures in their double gameweek, and both Ryan and Duffy should be in managers considerations. Managers should not have a short term approach to wildcarding however, and instead focus on the remainder of the season. A triple up of Brighton defenders might be a good short term move, but long term could take up valuable spots.
Other than the mentioned above, we think there are a number of teams and areas that managers should focus in their wildcard teams. Thankfully, we have created a team-by-team analysis, highlighting the best players from each side and those to avoid. Check it out here, and get an in-depth look into the players you are considering.
“After his injury, who is the best Kane replacement?”
Assuming that Kane is confirmed out (maybe for the rest of the season), we think Kun is the front-runner to replace him. Looking at this data, Aguero seems to not only be the best choice, but also the obvious choice. Let’s also take a look at other premium froward options using the same criteria above.
Based on current form, Vardy looks like the best choice. And he might be…for the near term. Over the next two GWs, Leicester City have favorable fixtures, but the their FDRs take a turn for the worse. So, if you care to develop a bit of a transfer strategy, he might make sense for your team.
If you’re looking for a longer-term solution – one the might last you through end of season – we like either of the Arsenal lads over Firmino. Mainly because Arsenal play one more game than Liverpool will, which means the potential for more points generated.
From the data, Aubameyang is the better choice among the two. Even though he’s come off the bench a bit recently, it’s clearly not limiting his ability to cause damage to opponents’ defenses and reward FPL managers that own him. To further the point, Auba has earned 45 FPL points against his remaining opponents in the reverse fixtures, while Lacazette has 22. (Also, FYI that Aguero earned 28 points in the reverse fixtures)
Whenever Aguero is part of the conversation, someone always brings up the “R” word – rotation. There’s always a concern that Pep will rest Kun at some point. That’s been the theme all season long. Yet, Aguero has seen limited benchings and actually has more points per match (6.5) than any of the other players listed above.
The closest is Aubameyang at 5.5 PPM. So even with managed minutes, Aguero still averages more FPL points per game than any other forward. Also remember that City are trying to retain the League title. Pep needs his best goalscorers on the pitch as much as possible. We expect Aguero to get more starts and play more minutes than many would expect. Remember too that minutes don’t always equate to points – whether it’s Kun or Auba. They’ve consistently been proof of that.
“Should we be considering Leicester assets even though they don’t have a double gameweek?”
Similar to our rationale regarding Liverpool players, if you currently own key Leicester assets (like Vardy, Tielemans, Maddison, Pereira, Chilwell), you don’t necessarily need to drop all of them. Especially for those using their Wildcards, it’s about prioritisation. After you’ve filled your team with what you consider to be must-have players, you’ll need to assess the spots you have left and what players represent the best potentials of earning the most FPL points.
Also like our Liverpool analysis, a transfer strategy is important. Over the next two weeks, Leicester have very appealing fixtures. Then, for the final three weeks, it get ugly for them. So if you have Leicester assets, it could be wise to have them out of your team before the GW36 deadline.
If you don’t already own players from this team, and you want one, we suggest either Maddison or Tielemans. While Vardy is a great player, he’s also much more expensive. Both of these in-form midfielders are attacking threats, both in terms of goals and assists. And, unlike Vardy, they also benefit from clean sheets.
It seems that in terms of return on the investment, one of these two makes the most sense. But, again, for those not Wildcarding, who have limited Free Transfers before they start taking points hits, the decision needs to be made as to whether a Leicester City player will enhance your team (over the next two weeks) or become troublesome to unload before Week 36.
Leicester have been one of the form teams over the past month, with the appointment of Rogers having a big influence. Vardy and co have been important FPL assets for managers, with the frontman scoring 6 goals in his last 5 league matches.
Unfortunately, from an FPL perspective, their long term fixtures are unappealing even with their recent form. They have two great fixtures coming up against Newcastle and West Ham where managers can find some great FPL value. If you do choose to own Leicetser assets, it might be worth considering an exit strategy before their GW36 fixture.
With the injury to Kane, Vardy could be a great option for managers over the next few gameweeks. Wildcard owners need gametime security, and Vardy provides this along with the form that he currently has. We think he is the best Leicester option if you want to consider these assets, and provides a good captaincy option for GW34 if you are struggling.
“Should we be considering Hazard?”
He’s definitely up for consideration. so let’s take a look…
With his dominating performance against West Ham, how can he not be? We’ve said it all season: Hazard plays hot for a stretch and then goes very cold for a stretch. He seems hot at the moment, so it might be worth the look. Haz has 30 FPL points over the last two games. And, he’s one of the most-transferred out players currently, which could actually make him a bit of a differential.
On the downside, he (and Chelsea for that matter) are unpredictable. One minute on fire and ice cold the next. Of the next three games, two of them are challenges (away at Liverpool in Week 34 and away at Man Utd in Week 36). And no double gameweeks for Chelsea. Probably a couple of the reasons for managers dumping him by the tens of thousands.
Of the premium midfielders with good fixtures that also have double gameweeks, there are better options than Haz. And managers can only afford so many premium-priced players. To us, Hazard is a non-essential player at this time. When his schedule turns a bit more favorable over the last two weeks of the season, when Chelsea are trying to lock in a Top 4 finish, Hazard could return as a good player to own.
Hazard was the joint top points scorer in GW33, grabbing a brace against West Ham on Monday night. The Belgian was in top form, however a run of mixed fixtures has made him an unattractive option for many managers – currertly the most sold player.
Chelsea don’t have a souble gameweek, and face two vert difficult away matches against ‘top 6’ sides over the next 3 fixtures. Its worth noting, that Hazard has the second best points per match of any midfielder and has been directly involved in the most goals this season. He is averaging 2.92 sh/90 and 2.99 kp/90, having the second highest xG of any player over the past 4 league matches.
We can see why managers don’t want Hazard in their wildcard squads, with his price tag he takes up a precious premium spot in the team. And with the upcoming fixtures, Chelsea’s inconsistency and participation in the Europa League, there are some factors to consider.
We think that Hazard is still a good wildcard option to consider, especially from a long term view. They face Burnley at home in GW35 along with a home match against Watford in GW36. Due to his price however, we think that there are a few better options available to managers for their wildcard squads. We currently value Spurs assets such as Son and Eriksen, along with Liverpool and City midfielders as priorities over the Belgian. But with the volume of sales ahead of GW34, Hazard could turn into a differential for those needing to gain ground in those mini leagues.
We hope that this article has provided some insight for those wildcarding but also to those that are not. Be sure to check out our recent article, where we created a team-by-team analysis, highlighting the best players to own and ones to avoid. You can check out this must read here.
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!
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