Welcome to the Fantasy Football Scout Guide to Gameweek 20 ahead of today’s 16:30 GMT deadline.
Injuries to Kevin De Bruyne (£11.9m) and Jamie Vardy (£10.1m) have been the main talking points over the last few days.
The Belgian is ruled out with a hamstring injury for the next four to six weeks, so who should Fantasy managers bring in and what’s the best way to redistribute our funds?
The Scoutcast trio of Joe, Seb and Man City fan Karam discussed the alternatives to De Bruyne.
Many are looking at the cheaper options among Pep Guardiola’s attack, especially Ilkay Gündogan (£5.6m) and Phil Foden (£6.3m), but with West Brom, Sheffield United and Burnley up next, Karam entertained the thought of going big at the back:
However, because [Gündogan] is £5.5m, I would rather spend this exact money at the back, I would get a double defence, a triple defence … to me the next three scream three clean sheets. We will be lacking a lot of the creativity that De Bruyne was offering, and surely if we are winning 1-0 games then the defence will grab all the BPS – and we know Cancelo is just extremely good at creativity as well.
Gundogan offers insane value right now with great attacking numbers, decent expected minutes and penalty-duties for just £5.5m.
Looking beyond the pool of Man City Players, if you don’t own one of Bruno Fernandes (£11.3m) or Mohamed Salah (£12.5m) they are “clearly the best choices if you are a non-owner” according to Fábio.
The Egyptian ended his goal drought in convincing fashion, netting twice against Manchester United in the FA Cup. And Pro Pundit Lateriser pointed to some encouraging underlying statistics compared to last season.
Meanwhile, Seb examined which players have performed best over the long, medium and short term:
Over this whole season, for expected goal involvement, Sadio Mané, Jack Grealish, Son Heung-min and Marcus Rashford come out as my top four. In the last six matches, that is Son, Gündogan comes into there, Mané and Grealish. And in the last four it is Son, Harvey Barnes, Gündogan and Foden comes into there. So that maybe gives you an idea of how people have done over the season and how form comes into it.
One name stands out, and if you don’t already own him, Son appears a must-have. The South Korean has been on the end of six big chances in his last four matches, as well creating eight chances for his team-mates.
As Manchester United showed last night in the FA Cup, Liverpool’s defence can be breached on the counter which should suit Jose Mourinho’s troops. Brighton and West Brom are fixtures where Son is a great captaincy shout and, given Chelsea’s recent malaise, Mourinho will surely fancy getting one over his old club as well.
No Vardy, No Problem
Moving onto Vardy, who will be out for a few weeks following an operation on his hernia, as far as Joe is concerned it was a straightforward decision on who to get:
I am going to do the completely obvious thing and, in a way, the decision has been taken out of my hands – I took Kane out for Vardy for Double Gameweek, I want Kane back, I have the money to get Kane back for Vady. I do want a premium forward structure at the moment. And I think Harry Kane is the best to get in, and I’m going to get him in.
And for those considering moving funds into midfield, Man United are top of the fixture ticker for attack over the next six Gameweeks. The likes of Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford (£9.6m) and the emerging Paul Pogba (£7.7m) loom large on our Fantasy radars.
Some caution is advised with Rashford due to a knee injury, but it is not as bad as first feared with scans revealing only bruising.
As Jamie highlighted when he delved into the Big Numbers, Bruno Fernandes has mustered 161 touches in the final third over his last four matches, meaning the Portuguese talisman is still getting in the right positions despite scoring and assisting only once.
With opponents Sheffield United keeping just a solitary clean sheet in their last 15 away games, it’s no surprise that a certain B Fernandes has garnered more than 53 per cent of the vote in this week’s captain poll.
And Jan scrutinised The Blades in his latest armband article, pointing out how vulnerable they are to counter-attacks when pushing for goals and much needed victories:
Fernandes is this week’s runaway captaincy candidate … The Portuguese international has now delivered 33 Fantasy points in his previous three home games (a massive improvement on what we saw at the start of the campaign) and was given a bit of a breather in the FA Cup at the weekend.
A Pundit Of Plans
A trio of Pro Pundits in the shape of Simon March, Sam Bonfield, and Andy Mears shared their thoughts on how to make the most of the second half of the season.
Simon reflected on what had gone well and not-so-well as he plots his way up the ranks.
My best seasons have always been built on four to five fairly consistent players who, once I’ve identified them, I try not to touch. The benefit of this approach, I find, is that, once you’ve established this core, you can use your transfers far more productively elsewhere, allowing you to build proactively and take advantage of form and fixture swings.
The former FPL Champion identified Fernandes, Grealish and Son as his perhaps unsurprising core to build around. Along with a Manchester City defender and potentially Antonio. But ultimately he feels that there is still a long way to go and it’s important not to panic.
High-flying Andy, meanwhile, gave us his take on the best fixture runs for the next four Gameweeks, with Leicester City, Manchester City and Aston Villa top of his list. Note that his article was written before the news of the injuries to De Bruyne and Vardy.
One player he feels we may be overlooking is João Cancelo (£5.8m):
Cancelo feels a bit like the forgotten man right now, but in that same time period he’s had eight shots, four of them in the box and created 10 chances as well. When you watch Manchester City in attack he’s often found in midfield and it feels like a big haul isn’t too far away, but you have to expect him to miss more minutes than the other two defenders mentioned.
Last but not least, Sam discussed chip strategy. Inevitably, she’s thinking about using her Triple Captain chip on Harry Kane. But she also outlined how careful planning can benefit the more serious FPL manager:
We are coming to the most important part of the FPL season. This is the time where casual players often fail to prepare for the Blank and Double Gameweeks, or have already used their chips.
Community Competitions and Head-to-Head Fixtures
RedLightning rounded-up the latest Community mini-leagues and competitions.
For those interested in the Head-to-Head Leagues, the main page can be linked to here. The fixtures for Gameweek 20 are yet to be generated but will be added here soon.
May your arrows be green!
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