With Double Gameweek 19 and Blank Gameweek 18 now in the rear view mirror, FPL managers are now looking ahead to a run of “normal” Gameweeks ahead.
Gameweeks 21 to 25 should provide us with more time for long-term planning to bring in players for a series of fixtures, opposed to simply transferring players for the Blank or Double Gameweek.
We asked the Scout Network to cast their eye at differential picks owned by less than 10% of players that they think would be great options for the next five Gameweeks.
Ted Talks FPL graphic for Traore
My super differential pick for Gameweek 21-25 is 0.6% owned Aston Villa midfielder Bertrand Traore (£5.9m)!
At £5.9m he’s had the most attacking returns out of all midfielders in the last six. Yes, you did read that sentence correctly…
He also ranks first for over-performing, implying confidence, and big chance conversion, which shows clinical finishing!
The underlying numbers are a little less impressive; 15th for Big Intentions (that’s Big Chances + Big Chances Created) but four of those are pretty good for his price.
With form players, I think it’s perfectly acceptable to ride the wave of over-performance in the short term before it comes crashing down!
When it comes to risk vs reward, there’s not a lot of risk when the player is so cheap.
Villa also have some decent fixtures in the next four, with Southampton (away), Arsenal (home), West Ham (home) and Brighton (away) up next.
It’s been a rollercoaster of a season so far when it comes to owning Chelsea assets. Injuries to the likes of Christian Pulisic (£8.2m) and Hakim Ziyech (£8.1m) and inconsistent line-ups have resulted in mixed performances from attacking players.
Frank Lampard’s departure at Chelsea gives FPL managers the chance to enjoy some of the new manager bounce which nearly always occurs in the immediate aftermath of a change.
The announcement of German manager Thomas Tuchel as Chelsea boss should increase the appeal of some of their assets who have played in the Bundesliga, including Timo Werner (£9.2m) and Pulisic.
Pulisic is owned by just 2.2% of managers which isn’t surprising, having failed to return in his last five Premier League appearances. However, Pulisic thrived under Tuchel at Dortmund where he was promoted to the first team from the youth ranks.
This season has been stop-start for Pulisic as a result of injuries as well as a lack of consistency in teammates. Playing under Tuchel, who Pulisic publicly stated he is very “thankful” to, should result in an improvement on his underlying stats.
Pulisic currently has an expected goals rating (xG) of 2.95 which is a long way off his xG last season of 8.99. If Tuchel’s arrival at Chelsea can spur a revival in fortunes, I think Pulisic could be, alongside Werner, one of those to benefit and be a great differential investment over this next run of fixtures.
There are three players that have been added to my watchlist as differentials for Gameweeks 21 to 25 and they are Raheem Sterling (£11.5m), James Rodriguez (£7.7m) and Harvey Barnes (£6.8m).
Sterling (9.2% ownership) has largely gone under the radar this season, but Manchester City are starting to pull away from the chasing pack. Sterling has been ticking away among the points with two goals and two assists in the last six Gameweeks.
With cheaper, more popular City options in midfield and defence, Sterling is now a differential. And with Sheffield United (home) and Burnley (away) in the near future, he could be a good punt. City also look to be stacked with fixtures for rescheduling that will result in Double Gameweeks for the likes of Sterling and co.
James Rodriguez could seem like an out-there pick, and well, he is. However, Everton have a lot of their key players returning to fitness, including Rodriguez himself. I’d be expecting Everton rediscover their earlier form now, with Newcastle (home), Leeds (away) and Fulham (home) among the fixtures between Gameweek 21 to 25. With two assists in the FA Cup and just an 8.5% ownership, Rodriguez could be worth adding to your watchlist.
Last but not least is Harvey Barnes, who at just 5.6% ownership is an uber differential. He’s racked up three goals and one assist in the last five Gameweeks. He also arguably has the best set of fixtures of my differential watchlist players. In fact, Leicester’s long-term fixtures look great. Now that Barnes seems to have nailed down his spot, and with Jamie Vardy (£10.0m) seemingly back from injury quicker than first thought, Barnes is top of my watchlist for differentials.
My pick is Harvey Barnes from Leicester. He’s owned by just 5.6% of the game and currently in a good run of form with three goals since Gameweek 15.
Along with James Maddison (£7.2m), they are the creative force of the team and will have added responsibility for goals too, with Jamie Vardy currently out following surgery.
With Leeds in Gameweek 21, you know there will be plenty of chances. And with set-plays you wouldn’t be surprised to see him pick up an assist in that game. He has so far this season performed better against the mid-table teams and with Leeds, Wolves and Fulham up next I think it’s a good time to jump on an offensive Leicester asset.
Everton’s James Rodriguez
For those who still have their second Wildcard available, Gameweek 25 will probably be the turning point of the second half of the season and a good time to activate it.
Until then, and because Gameweeks 18 and 19 led to a very template approach for the majority of FPL players, Gameweeks 21 to 25 seem like the perfect time to go for differentials.
James seems to have overcome the injuries which kept him out for a long spell and he got two assists against Sheffield Wednesday in the FA Cup. This emphasises his appeal, especially on set pieces. Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£7.6m), Richarlison (£7.8m), Yerry Mina (£5.6m) and Michael Keane (£5.1m) have all proved their ability to score headers and are now all available. Let’s not forget also that Everton’s strong form earlier this season came from the DCL and Rodriguez duo. Rodriguez is also a very interesting prospect when it comes to open play threat. With Newcastle, Leeds, Manchester United (away), Fulham and Liverpool to come, Everton’s fixtures are a mixed bag but Rodriguez looks like a great differential option.
Reece James (£5.1m)
With the European Championships this summer and an out-of-form Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.3m), we believe Reece James is in the perfect spot to establish himself as a leader under new coach Thomas Tuchel.
Tuchel is known for deploying attacking full-backs, which he did a lot with Dani Alves at Paris Saint Germain. Tuchel’s arrival will probably mark the end of FPL legend Cesar Azpilicueta (£5.6m) as the German coach will likely want to rebuild with new players. With Burnley (home), Tottenham (away), Sheffield United (away), Newcastle (home) and Southampton (away) on the fixture ticker, we are backing James to be back in the FPL points.
Ademola Lookman (£5.0m)
Fulham have turned things around lately and this is mostly due to a formation change, which has seen Lookman occupying a more forward, out-of-position role. Although he has not really proved he can sustain his high intensity game style during a full 90 minutes, his display during Fulham’s first half against Liverpool, following his great display against Spurs, is very encouraging.
Lookman could have collapsed after his horrible penalty miss at West Ham but he bounced back and that’s what you want from your player from an FPL point of view. Confidence is the mother of streaks and Lookman has it right now.
What’s happening in the Scout Network?
On Thursday the newest episode of the Scout Network Podcast was released This week FPL Family‘s Sam was joined by Leo from Bendito Fantasy to reflect on Gameweek 20 and consider how we can use our knowledge from that Gameweek to make plans for Gameweek 21.
Next week Sam will be joined by Adam from the FPL Experiment Podcast.
Ted has had another busy week of content creating, his latest video on Gameweek 21 picks is available here.
Nymfria updated us with her weekly video comprising of a Gameweek 19 Review and Gameweek 20 preview, with a look ahead to some future moves ahead of Gameweek 21, you can catch that here. Nymfria also joined Sam of FPL Family to discuss all things FPL on the most recent Scout the Gameweek Podcast.
It has been a busy week for El Statto’s Website Jumpers For Goalposts. There has been a review of Leicester City who are flying high in the league, but their players still have low ownership. El Statto assessed each position throughout the Leicester team and picked out options of players for your FPL squads.
Also this week there was a new feature added to the site in the form of a planner for the rest of the season. The planner is free to download as a google sheet spreadsheet that will keep FPL managers on top of all the rearranged fixtures and help you plan your transfers. You can download a copy here.
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