Welcome to the Fantasy Football Scout Guide to Gameweek 12 ahead of today’s 18:30 GMT deadline.
While thinking about deadlines, a heads-up that you must make your changes for Gameweek 13 before Tuesday at 16:30 GMT. It’s the first midweek deadline of the season.
This week, with so many premium-priced players performing well, the burning question on the minds of the Fantasy Community has been: “how many can I fit in my team?”
Gameweek 11 saw just about every well-owned premium player get at least one attacking return, so I completely understand the commotion.
Much debated by our Pro Pundits and across the site, the consensus seems to be ‘up to four but no more’:
“Owning four premium assets is achievable, especially if you can get your low-value differentials to work for you.” – Sam
“Four is the optimum number.” – TheFPLPrince, Scoutcast
“I like to play with a balanced squad, so three premiums feels like the optimum number for my strategy … I would advise those looking to stretch to five to reconsider. I feel that five expensive options are almost certain to upset the balance of a squad.” – Darren
One approach for selecting your big hitters is to look at the upcoming Gameweeks and decide who you want to captain.
However, there is a strategy element to consider. On The FPL Wire this week, Pro Pundit Zophar pointed out that combination ownership might put a different slant on your decision making.
Ragabolly’s excellent Live FPL website allows you to check different ownership combinations.
For instance Son Heung-min (£9.6) and Harry Kane (£10.9m), owned by roughly 60 and 40 per cent of all Fantasy managers, have a combined ownership of 28 per cent.
Contrast that with the 1.2 per cent who own the ‘Holy Trinity’ of Mohamed Salah (£12.3m), Bruno Fernandes (£10.9m) and Kevin De Bryune (£11.8m).
In other words, if Son and Kane continue to perform well it will be very hard to make significant progress up the ranks. Conversely, if they do poorly and the ‘Holy Trinity’ score highly, then a big green arrow is heading your way.
And there is a lot of love for the ‘Holy Trinity’.
Salah, De Bruyne and Fernandes look like the three to have when thinking of the best captain options.
Andy’s captaincy planner:
- Gameweek 12 – Salah v Fulham (A)
- Gameweek 13 – De Bruyne v West Brom (H) or Fernandes v Sheff Utd (A)
- Gameweek 14 – De Bruyne v Southampton (A) or Salah v Crystal Palace (A)
- Gameweek 15 – Salah v West Brom (H)
Salah and Kevin De Bruyne are going to provide me with the most frequent captaincy option so I plan to fix the Liverpool and Manchester City talismen in my squad for the foreseeable future.
However a Gameweek 14 encounter against Leeds, who have conceded the most big chances and the most shots on target over the last four matches, marks out Bruno Fernandes for Pro Pundit Darren.
Fernandes finds himself top among midfielders for chances created (16), top for big chances created (six), second for attempts on goal (16), top for shots on target (seven) and second for big chances (four).
Form v Fixtures
The decision to lose Kane or Son comes down to a classic form versus fixtures dilemma.
By looking at just the points scored so far, the Spurs’ boys look like the go-to options – but, of course, bar Leicester they rank last for fixture difficulty. This is where the obvious ‘go-to’ data that we as FPL managers look at can be contradictory – good form, poor fixtures – and this is what often divides us as a community.
Comparing Kane to the four other key assets under consideration, Pro Pundit Sam reveals that the decision to sell him is far from straightforward.
[Kane’s] role as arch-chance creator ought to logically mean that his goal attempts (41) would be lower than the others – however, he is ahead for that stat, too.
Nonetheless it’s a path that Pro Pundit Tom Freeman is considering in order to get Salah.
By far the most-popular captain this week with over 43 per cent of the vote, there is an opportunity for Salah to do well in the upcoming matches.
– All matches
As you can see from the table above, four of Liverpool’s next five opponents sit in the bottom seven for shots conceded in the box this season.
– David, Scout Notes
And ahead of an enticing encounter against Fulham, there’s widespread agreement that the Egyptian is the best pick:
“In terms of expected goal involvement Salah is the top choice for the captaincy because he’s expected to have been involved in three goals over the last four matches: he’s had six shots inside the box; five shots on target; and created six chances – that’s a broad spread of points: you’ve got assist potential, goal potential, bonus potential. Nice.” – Joe, Captaincy Video
“His relentless pursuit for goals makes him my captain this weekend.” – Darren on Salah
“He makes the captaincy decision very straightforward this week” – Fabio on Salah
“The Egyptian is the clear front-runner this week and the best pick of all” – Jan, Captain Sensible
Big Hitter Switching?
When making his decision to bring in Salah for Gameweek 12, Fabio has reluctantly decided to sell Bruno Fernandes. So is switching between ‘big hitters’ a good strategy?
This season, loyalty is difficult in some ways – the players mentioned as “must-haves” each Gameweek are different: Fernandes in Gameweek 9, Vardy in Gameweek 10, De Bruyne in Gameweek 11 and now both Salah and Son ahead of Gameweek 12.
But Lateriser is less certain:
There are a lot of consistently performing big-hitters at the moment in the game, which is why I’m not confident about whether switching them around is going to be fruitful.
Kevin De Bruyne is the big hitter to catch Lateriser’s attention and, as David reported in his Scout Notes for Manchester City’s win over Fulham, nobody had more shots or shots in the box than the Belgian:
Kevin De Bruyne, it is worth noting that he’s shooting a lot more this season than he was in 2019/20. In the last four Gameweeks, no midfielder has had more shots in the box than the Belgian… Him playing alongside two more defensively minded midfielders is definitely helping his output and in my opinion, he looks an even better asset than he did last season.
So, having established that owning at least three expensive players might be a good idea, the other question that’s been debated this week is how do we go about affording them?
Even in defence there are no easy decisions to make. Downgrading corner-taking Andrew Robertson (£7.2m) to Reece James (£5.3m) could save you a decent chunk of cash. But is it worth losing a pricey Liverpool defender?
“In the next five Gameweeks, Liverpool play Fulham, Palace, Newcastle and West Brom… should your team structure be able to afford it, I also think they are good fixtures from a defensive point of view” – Lateriser
“It is worth noting that when you check the Season Ticker for the Christmas period Liverpool are at the top for defence with Chelsea at the bottom.” – Andy
Can you squeeze them both in? As TheFPLPrince pointed out on this week’s Scoutcast, the return of Olivier Giroud (£6.7m) to the Chelsea starting XI is good news for the Chelsea full-back.
Olivier Giroud is actually really good for Reece James and what’s been happening over the last few Gameweeks is that Reece James is a fantastic crosser – he’s been putting in all these great balls. Now Giroud’s biggest strength – and all his goals – all come from when he (James) cuts in on that right side, they all come from there. So if Giroud plays, Reece James is going to get assists.
And Tottenham Hotspur offer another potential source of value defenders.
No side has conceded fewer goals (nine) or kept more clean sheets (five) than the Lilywhites in 2020/21. Mourinho has previous for excelling in his second season in a new job, with his former sides’ defensive records particularly impressing
– Neale, Scout Notes
Although after recording his biggest-ever points tally against West Brom, Wifried Zaha (£7.4m) might have something to say about that.
But at least there should be an opportunity for attacking returns:
25 chances conceded by Crystal Palace from their right flank over the last six Gameweeks – only Southampton (26) have allowed more from that zone of the pitch in the same time. Son Heung-min and Sergio Reguilon (£5.7m) could prosper down Spurs’ left wing when the Lilywhites head to Selhurst Park on Sunday, then.
– Neale, Big Numbers
One budget midfielder everyone agrees on is Tomas Soucek (£4.9m):
“Soucek is always a threat upfront during set-pieces and having already scored five goals in his 24 appearances for the club and we think he can continue to maintain that goals per game ratio.” – FF Titans, Scout Network
“Great enabler” – Zophar, FPL Wire
“He remains the best option for a fourth or fifth midfielder, in my opinion, and a scheduled Double Gameweek 19 should provide extra attention for the Czech. “ – Darren
As Darren mentioned, West Ham are the first team to have a Double Gameweek confirmed. (More teams will also have Double Gameweeks coming up.)
But it’s upfront where the real value could be found.
Three of the top five forwards currently cost less than £8.0m. When you look at all attackers and compare their non-penalty xG data, the top 10 includes nine forwards with five of them costing £8.0m or less.
Patrick Bamford (£6.2m) in particular stands out.
25 shots in the box attempted by Patrick Bamford over the last six Gameweeks, 11 more than any other FPL forward. The Leeds man is also top among players in his Fantasy position for penalty box touches (39), overall shots (29), big chances (10), efforts on target (12) and, crucially, goals scored (five) over that period
– Neale, Big Numbers
Even cheaper than Bamford, Danny Welbeck (£5.5m) headlines Tom’s differentials this week. With an appealing set of upcoming fixtures for Brighton, the former Manchester United striker could be a canny pick.
Moving up in cost slightly, fellow South Coast forward Danny Ings (£8.3m) looked sharp on his return from injury, while Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£8.0m) continues his excellent start to the season.
There was a debate on the Scoutcast about whether it was a good or bad idea to sell the 23-year-old. Everton-fan TheFPLPrince argued that the absence of Lucas Digne (£6.1m) could dent Calvert-Lewin’s goalscoring potential.
However, Joe countered that since Digne has been out Calvert-Lewin has nevertheless averaged an attempt in the box every 25.7 minutes.
Perhaps the decision to sell will come down to how much you paid for the England international, given that his price has shot up by £1million so far. And, for the most-owned player in FPL, your appetite for risk taking will also play a part.
For those interested in the Head-to-Head Leagues, the main page can be linked to here. The fixtures for Gameweek 12 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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