Welcome to the Fantasy Football Scout Guide to Gameweek 11 ahead of today’s 11:00 GMT deadline.
That deadline has shifted back from Friday following the postponement of Aston Villa’s fixture against Newcastle United, leaving many wondering what to do with the likes of Jack Grealish (£7.7m) and Callum Wilson (£6.5m).
Writing in his Pro Pundit column, Az outlined two ways managers might look to deal with their absent players: a conservative approach of ensuring their benches are strong, or going for the jugular – trying to juggle heavy hitters and squeeze out as many points as possible during this busy period.
But with several premium-priced assets to choose from, how do we go about nailing those heavy-hitters?
On the Scoutcast this week Joe spoke about the ‘Holy Trinity’. No, he wasn’t referring to Best, Law and Charlton, or indeed Gerrard, Lampard and Ronaldo, but current mega-midfielders Kevin De Bruyne (£11.7m), Bruno Fernandes (£10.9m) and Mohamed Salah (£12.2m).
– ‘Holy Trinity’ discussed on this week’s Scoutcast
Focusing on the penalty-taking trio, it’s Bruno Fernandes who has the best expected goal involvement over the last four matches – even when penalties are excluded.
As Pro Pundit Lateriser noted his “underlying numbers have shot up”.
Writing in the Scout Notes for Manchester United’s victory over Southampton, David Wardale highlighted the formation change that has seen Fernandes play further forward:
Solskjaer handed starts to Greenwood and Donny van de Beek and the latter again impressed in the balanced role that caught the eye in the Champions League last week. That role – a mix of defensive shield and midfield conduit – allows Fernandes further attacking freedom.
– David Wardale, Scout Notes
Against the Saints, the Portuguese topped the charts for goal attempts with six, and over the last four Gameweeks no player has taken more shots (17).
I really do feel that Fernandes has done enough to make him immune from any form of “hokey-cokey”. If you don’t have him, he’d be the one that I’d look to get in before he’s out of reach.
The other member of the ‘Holy Trinity’ benefiting from a double pivot is De Bruyne.
Kevin De Bruyne is shooting a lot more than he did last season. In the last two Gameweeks, he has accumulated nine goal attempts, five of which were inside the box. Last season he averaged 2.8 goal attempts and 1.2 shots in the box per appearance. If Guardiola persists with two defensively minded midfielders behind a more advanced De Bruyne, that might make him an even better asset than before.
The consensus this week has been that if you are going to own one City player, then it should be the Belgian. Over the last four Gameweeks he’s clearly outperformed his colleagues in Pep Guardiola’s side, as Joe and David highlighted on the Captaincy video.
But, at the risk of chasing points, could Riyad Mahrez (£8.3m) offer an alternative for those struggling to squeeze in so many heavy-hitters?
Against Burnley not only did the Algerian impress with his goal threat – nobody took more shots and all five were inside the box – but his creativity stood out too:
In a stunning show of all-round potential, Mahrez was also an exceptionally persistent creator in Gameweek 10. His six key passes was the most of any at the Etihad Stadium and four more than De Bruyne.
– David, Scout Notes
Willing to take the risk of ending up with egg on his face, Az is set to add Mahrez to his team for the visit of Fulham. Referencing Pep’s recent quotes about wanting his players to score more goals, the moustachioed Pro Pundit outlined his thinking on the Scoutcast:
From what I’m reading from Pep though, it just seems to be a bit different this year, it seems like he’s kind of trying to stamp his authority a bit more and trying to get a bit more from the players – who’ve had a pretty poor start to the season.
And, like you said Karam, I’m surprised Mahrez has started so many games considering he hasn’t really looked that great or scored that many goals, but for this Fulham match – he’s rested again tonight [in the Champions League] – there’s there’s absolutely no doubt in my mind that he plays against Fulham.
So I think at least for this game Mahrez is a good option over De Bruyne if you don’t own him.
In this most bizarre of seasons, something quite remarkable happened yesterday – and it will have been music to Az’s ears – Pep confirmed that Riyad Mahrez will definitely start:
But what about the third member of the so-called ‘Holy Trinity’, the points-scoring machine that is Mohamed Salah?
The stats, for once, were not his friend when Liverpool took on Brighton in Gameweek 10, but that didn’t necessarily tell the whole story. The Egyptian had a goal ruled out for offside, and the eye test showed he was taking up some good positions:
A couple of early opportunities did arrive for Salah. Firstly, Jota was released down the flank in the opening minute and almost provided a tap-in for his team mate, were it not for a defender getting there first. Two minutes later, Fabinho’s (£5.4m) long pass put Salah through on goal but his left-footed shot went wide.
– Marc Jobling, Scout Notes
This week’s guest on the FPL Wire, FPL Salah, was tipping Liverpool to win by two or three goals against Wolves. Nuno Espírito Santo’s team have surprisingly poor odds of keeping a clean sheet, and could be psychologically affected by the terrible head injury to Raúl Jiménez (£8.3m).
However for Captain Sensible Jan Sienkiewicz the shortlist for the armband contains just two names: De Bruyne or Fernandes.
For those struggling to decide between the pair, Jan examined their opponent’s defences – and he detected the odd crack in the West Ham rearguard. Against Fulham and Aston Villa in their last two home matches, the Hammers have conceded 29 shots, including five big chances.
West Ham’s defence has arguably performed worse than the Cottagers’ over the last four matches in terms of underlying statistics.
Reason enough to trust the renowned away form of the Manchester United talisman?
Ahead of Gameweek 10, the stage seemed set for Jamie Vardy (£10.2m) to reward his backers with a haul against relegation-threatened Fulham. But the excitement ahead of kick-off soon dwindled as last season’s Golden Boot winner endured another frustrating outing at the King Power stadium. A solitary assist wasn’t the outcome many had hoped for.
Nonetheless the warning signs were there – his troubles at home have been well documented. But with a trip to bottom-of-the-table Sheffield United up next, is he being unfairly overlooked?
Recency bias plays a massive massive part in the way people play this game which is why I think it’s really important to delve into more than just who scored last week.
– David, Captaincy video
The contrast between Vardy’s home and away form could hardly be more stark.
80.3% of his points have come on the road this season, an average of 10.6 points per away game, while the Blades are the only Premier League team without a clean sheet in 2020/21.
– David, Scout Notes
Timo Werner (£9.5m) wasn’t expected to thrive against Tottenham’s obdurate defence last time out but he, too, could be in for a more rewarding weekend:
Chelsea … will expect a far more open game against Leeds United next weekend, which should allow room for Werner and Hakim Ziyech, both of whom were stifled against Spurs.
– Neale, Scout Notes
Encouragingly, Werner was given a rest in midweek for the Champions League win over Sevilla, and team news aficionado Neale predicts that the German will start against the Whites. And it’s a game that is likely to suit him:
Leeds are renowned for their open style of play and aggressive approach when attempting to win the ball back, which should suit Chelsea’s own tactics, and particularly Werner. The German has already made the most of Southampton’s high-line earlier in the season and could recapture this kind of form against Bielsa’s team.
While for Leeds, Raphinha (£5.4m) has impressed two of our Pro Pundits with his recent performances. Tom’s headline differential pick last week, the Brazilian could well find himself in his team after the Chelsea fixture.
He’s a flair player, which I love, and … he doesn’t just stick to his wing and often moves centrally where he can link up with the midfield.
There are signs of a huge bargain in midfield here especially given the great schedule Leeds United enjoy after their game against Chelsea.
The reason for not getting him just now is the Chelsea defence – an expected goals conceded of just 1.48 over the last four Gameweeks makes them the best in the division. Ben Chilwell (£6.2m) has produced a return in every match he’s played this season, while Reece James (£5.2m) continues to impress having established himself as first choice. The latter can confidently be described as “baps-magnet”.
Of who we’d consider first-choice FPL defenders, James has the best minutes-per-BBPS average (5.1). Not just excelling in terms of chance creation and crosses, the Chelsea right-back has also performed well for net successful tackles.
– Neale, Scout Notes
With appealing options in attack and defence, Fantasy managers are once again spoilt for choice. And it looks like this might be a recurring theme:
But you can’t have them all and this feels like something we are all going to have to put up with this season.
For those interested in the Head-to-Head Leagues, the main page can be linked to here. The fixtures for Gameweek 11 can be found below:
Use the drop-down menus to show your league and division. To find out which league and division you are in, follow the instructions on the main Head-to-Head page.
Once the Gameweek starts, if you click on your opponent’s name you will be linked to their team on the FPL website.
And may your arrows be green!
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