In this weeks ‘Simon Says’ piece, I’m joined by Tom from Who Got The Assist and Chef Dale, to give our answers to some of the pressing concerns put forward by those FPL managers who are on their wildcard
Welcome back to our community question series where I (Simon), usually have my say on the communities conundrums in an attempt to provide a different perspective, or perhaps some statistical information or insight some of you may not have thought about.
This week, given the importance of getting the wildcard right, I thought it prudent to bring on two of my most trusted Twitter friends (oooh Twitter friend) to help provide you with 2 more credible and interesting perspectives.
First up is Tom, one half of Who Got The Assist. Him and Nick work hard to produce fantastic content for free for the FPL community, in particular, a brilliant podcast that has a lovely blend of stats, research, insight and banter. You can check them out at their website >> https://www.whogottheassist.com or alternatively, you can grab them on Twitter at >> https://twitter.com/WGTA_FPL
Second up, is Chef Dale (as he is known on Twitter). Dale has produced a fantastic balance of great food content with great FPL content and is currently featured as one of the 3Amigos on their FPL podcast. He has his own food website where he writes articles and produces youtube videos and has also produced concise and informative FPL articles for various websites sporadically for the duration of this last season. You can catch him on the 3Amigos FPL Podcast here >> https://twitter.com/3AmigosFPL as well as his own personal Twitter account >> https://twitter.com/ChefDaleH – if you’re interested in his food exploits (highly recommended), then you can also check that out here >> http://www.daledoesfood.com
So, now that the introductions are out of the way, let’s get to the questions!
Alonso or Azpi and Firmino or Vardy?
Simon (FPL Connect):
It ultimately depends on how you like to play the game; if you want reliability, go with Azpi, but if like me, you like to watch the games and seeing your defensive asset always looking a threat from an attacking sense, then pick Alonso. I can see him scoring a few more big hauls before the season is over.
Firmino over Vardy for me. Vardy is a bit of an enigma, as he doesn’t really do that well when he’s up against the weaker teams, yet performs well when against the big 6. Firmino has been far too good and with Liverpool’s attack, he can easily outscore Vardy from now until the end of the season despite the latter having 1 extra game.
Addressing these choices directly:
1.) Azpi over Alonso for me. The reason is the “uber nailedness” and the bps hoggery. The key thing with Azpi is that he is a king of the bps system. Over the course of the season, he’s beating out the nearest competitor in terms of bps-worthy actions by more than 40, and even though Chelsea have had a downturn over the last 6 it’s worth noting that he still tops the baseline bps in spite of those fixtures.
With Alonso, you’re paying for boom and bust through the odd goal, whereas with Azpi you’re paying for consistency. Think of it like this: Azpi starts every game with 3 points instead of 2 because of his BPS mastery.
2.) I’m sticking with Firmino. The underlying stats and ownership make removal a big risk in my view. I can see why people are selling Bobby on, but I feel like that’s the convenient rather than logical move in my opinion. On most key indicators, Bobby’s just below Kane in the striker stats (far ahead of everyone else) and he has Palace up next. Vardy I never like owning: relies on scavenging chances and has a low ceiling for the price you pay. One to stick with the man (and team) in form for now and then continue to reassess (in part due to Liverpool’s fixture pile up) over the next couple of Gameweeks.
Personally I would be going for Azpilicueta, don’t get me wrong I love Alonso, held him all season until recently. The problem is I don’t think Conte is a big fan. For the last 2 seasons Chelsea have been continually linked to left back Alex Sandro being the most consistent name you hear linked. They signed the youngster from Roma in the January window and I have a feeling Conte may look to include him in the “lesser games”. It is only a gut feeling but you do have to wonder.
As for the second question, I think at this point in the season value doesn’t matter all too much, as you are unlikely to be buying players back in once you sell. I worry about Leicester and whether before to long they will be on the beach but the good thing is that Vardy and Mahrez still have something to play for. Mahrez wants his big money move and Vardy wants to be on the plane for the world cup. With that in mind Leicester should be good for some goals and if you are chasing mini league rivals Vardy may represent a good differential given Firmino’s high ownership.
Go with or without City assets?
Simon (FPL Connect):
I think it’s risky to go completely without. It makes sense to tone down the number of City assets, but I wouldn’t advise going completely without. They’re the best team in the league by a country mile and we don’t know what Pep is going to do once they have won the league. The consensus is that he will rotate, and of course it’s a possibility, but we don’t know for sure, so given the brilliant value their assets provide, I would keep one and then if Pep begins to rotate, it’s one simple free transfer.
We will always have choices to make. This season has shown you can’t have ‘em all, and due to the initial mediocre fixtures (on paper), the rotation we’re anticipating with City once they’ve won the title and their continued involvement in the UCL means I am happy to go without City for now and hope my other choices pick up the slack.
It is very tough with City seeing as the league is all but done and Guardiola has shown a tendency to rotate when the league is won in the past with Barcelona and Bayern. I think going without a City player is potentially suicide however, if they stay in the Champions League and make it past Liverpool, Guardiola will want to keep his players sharp and although he will be clever with his substitutions to keep players fresh, he will still want to win and keep the teams competitive edge. 3 men I am looking at are Leroy Sané, Raheem Sterling and Bernard Mendy once he is back to full fitness.
Aubameyang and Son or Lukaku and Mkhitaryan?
Simon (FPL Connect):
Aubameyang and Son hands down for me.
Lukaku plays in a team that is still relatively constricted in terms of how it attacks under Mourinho. If Mourinho lets the reigns off, then Lukaku becomes a completely different animal, but right now, I’m not seeing anything too different from United that makes me want to rip up my team to fit Lukaku in.
Mkhitaryan is also a very hot and cold type player and whilst his price is at a very investable level, his hot and cold nature makes it extremely difficult to rely on him and I feel you’d just end up disappointed. Not only that but rotation could very well be an issue with Mkhitaryan down to Arsenal’s Europa League exploits.
Aubameyang I think is probably a more explosive choice than Lukaku (limited data of course for the former), and Son is definitely the more explosive choice over Mkhi, who may also be susceptible to movement in/out of the side due to the UEL (though he hasn’t been yet). If you can swap Auba to Kaku in 34 that’d be ideal.
This is a straight-forward one for me really. Lukaku has been pretty consistent since the turn of the year and is chipping in with points regularly and Mkhitaryan looks to have slotted in nicely at Arsenal. However, I do think that Aubameyang and Son just have higher potential to get the double digit scores.
I would also add that if Mkhitaryan is providing assists then its likely Aubameyang who will be the one putting them away. Mkhitaryan may also hit rotation as Arsenal look to the Europa League as a route into the Champions League next season, which of course Aubameyang is ineligible to play in.
Which 2 out of Groß, Willian and Lingard and which 2 out of Vardy, Murray and Firmino?
Simon (FPL Connect):
I would go with Willian and Lingard for the midfielders and Firmino with Murray for the strikers.
Lingard was frustrating at the time everyone jumped on him, but people quickly forgot what he did before that. He’s still going to heavily feature for United and at £6.0m, represents brilliant value with the fixtures United have.
I think selling Firmino would be a huge mistake. He only plays 1 less game than Vardy and I think he could easily outscore him in DGW34, as Liverpool play Bournemouth at home and could easily knock 4/5 past them, and when they hit 3 or more goals, Firmino often posts a double-figure return.
I’d say remember that you can only play eleven players each week, so think how much you are happy with benching each week. Brighton have two home fixtures coming and I imagine you’ll be fielding their players off the bat rather than others.
I’d be tempted by Willian for sure – great value at £7.1m potentially if he keeps playing. I’d also (as mentioned above) advise keeping Firmino for now. I’d then fancy Murray for the next two home games – Vardy I’m not too keen on and, if I get him, will just be out of necessity rather than ratfaced desire. Leaves us with a mid, who is probably Gudmundson – or even cheaper assuming you’ll be benching them every week apart from 34 and maybe 35.
Of the two midfielders I would probably go Groß and Willian, with Groß being a short term signing however. Brighton need 2 victories to hit the magic 40 points which usually ensures Premier League survival. They also have a hard run of fixtures at the end of the season, so I would be tempted to hold him for the short term and then look to ditch. I’d pick Willian on the basis that he has hit some form lately and he wants to be on that world cup plane for Brazil. Pacey wingers are something Brazil have in abundance so he needs to keep this form going till the end of the season.
There are 7 gameweeks left, so I personally think it is pointless holding players because of value. I think which players to select comes down to if you are chasing or are top of your mini leagues. If you are chasing then you probably ditch Firmino because of his ownership and vice versa if you are fighting off challengers. I think Vardy has the potential to be a must-own for the final weeks of the season so he is a definite for me. Murray does worry me however, he is 34 has played most of the season but Brighton do have 2 other younger strikers with different skillsets. I think once safety is guaranteed, we may see Hughton rotate, so the likes of Groß could be worthwhile short term but perhaps not long-term.
Willian and Alonso or Hazard and Christensen?
Simon (FPL Connect):
Willian and Alonso.
Hazard is the FPL devil… sorry that’s just my personal emotion talking there. Realistically, Hazard could do brilliantly well from now until the end of the season, but he’s simply been far too inconsistent at his price to warrant consideration, whereas Willian, when he’s started, has been brilliant and is far cheaper at just £7.1m.
Willian and Alonso for me. I don’t like Hazard’s price for the inconsistency of returns; his extreme boom and bust has traumatised many this season (including Nick and I) so I wouldn’t touch him with a barge pole. Injurdsen also just makes me too nervous to own. By process of elimination we end up at A!
I’ll be honest, I don’t like either of those combinations, as my gut is telling me that Alonso may see some rotation and Christensen has had his injury problems of late. Also add that Hazard is the troll of the season in FPL terms and it’s a very tough choice to make.
If you are making me choose though, it would be Willian and Alonso. Christensen is a bit too injury prone at the minute and Hazard is guaranteed to be on the Plane for Belgium, so don’t be surprised if he starts to play within himself and look after the body for the end of the season.
Best formation going forward: 3-5-2 or 3-4-3?
Simon (FPL Connect):
This is tough to say as it really depends on how you’re playing the chips and which cheaper enablers you believe will produce the best value. I personally like what Andy King (£4.2m) gives me as a cheap enabling 5th midfielder and with some half-decent options available for our 3rd strikers, like Barnes/Murray, I’m siding with 3-4-3, but what I would say, is just be flexible, be ready to adapt the system to suit the changing FPL environment.
Bit of an eternal question and really an individual judgement as to where you spot value. For me, it comes down to the man not playing. No striker under Barnes at 5.3 I’d say is worth your time if you want a playing bench option; for midfielders, Cook at 4.3 (who I own!) represents a 1m saving that I can then spend elsewhere. So I think for me it’s 3-4-3 due to the distribution of cash.
It is totally dependent on your personal situation, although I think having 3 premium strikers has never really worked at any point of the season. I am switching to 3-5-2/4-5-1 as that is when I had my most success and going big in midfield this year has proven to be very successful.
Optimum number of players for DGW34 whilst still fielding 8 for BGW35?
Simon (FPL Connect):
My feature picture is an example of a WC draft that I made that I would go with based on the fact I don’t have FH. It features 10 DGW34 players and 8 BGW35 players. With that, you could use 1 FT to get 9 BGW35 players for no hits. I think that strikes a good balance between optimising both DGW34 and BGW35 without the Free Hit chip, but that’s just one example.
For the second part, using my example, I’d have 10 DGW37 players, 2 of which GK’s, which of course both can’t play, so that makes it 9 DGW37 players. With 2 free transfers available, I’d be able to field a full 11 of DGW players if I wanted to without hits, but of course, you’ll likely still want Salah in there so it would likely be 10 DGW players + Salah.
There’s always an element of your judgement and preferences regarding what players you want to keep / bin. I think pinpoint the SGW guys you want to retain for 34, then work out by elimination your DGWers, then you can figure out who is leftover to play in 35 + 2 transfers.
I think you could fit a full squad of double gameweek players in for 34, find the 8 for 35 and still field 10 or so players for 37.
The problem I would have with it is that you would be picking players for the sake of picking players. It would mean having players from teams like Brighton and Newcastle and whilst there is points to be earned from the lesser sides, I think that you can also run the risk of being blinded by the doubles.
Look at all the personnel in your squad and just bear in mind that some double gameweek players will most definitely be rotated and some single gameweek players will also score well. Do not leave yourself light in a fixture like Liverpool at home to Bournemouth based purely on the fact another player plays twice.