In this weeks ‘Simon Says’ piece, I’m joined by KylieFPL and Holly (founder of fantasyfootballcommunity.com), to give our answers to some of the pressing concerns put forward by the FPL community ahead of GW33, including those 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 and concerns surrounding Salah’s minor injury, I thought it prudent to bring on two more credible FPL Twitter accounts to help provide readers with 2 extra, insightful perspectives.
Kylie is a new member of the FPL Twitter community and is fairly new to FPL in general, with this being only her 3rd season, but whilst she may lack the experience of a long-term veteran, she’s more than made up for that with her intelligence, demonstrating a brilliant understanding for the game and football in general, with a rank of 4,725 in her first season and following that up with a rank of 46k in her second season. She is currently having a great season again and is currently ranked 27k – you can follow her on Twitter here >> https://twitter.com/KylieFpl
Holly has been a long standing member of the FPL Twitter community and was previously known as ‘FPL Holly’, until she decided to create her own community driven website that collates all the best content produced by the FPL community and rolls it out into a concise and informative article format, to save you sifting through the endless amount of content that’s available to us. You can follow her on Twitter here >> https://twitter.com/FFCommunity_ or you can go direct to her website at >> http://fantasyfootballcommunity.com
Is it too early for Kane, Crispy asks?
Simon (FPL Connect):
Is is too early for Kane? No, not in my opinion. Kane’s injury wasn’t severe and if they didn’t feel he was close to 100% last weekend, then he wouldn’t have even been in the squad. He’ll have a full weeks training under his belt and I see no danger of 80+ minutes against Stoke, who he (8 goals and 2 assists in last 5 appearances v Stoke), and Spurs (19 goals scored in previous 5 meetings) love to play!
Having said that, in this particular context, I don’t think I’d be making that move, as I don’t think Kane coming back in negatively impacts Son at all, as that was how they were playing (Kane up top and Son from the left) before Kane’s injury and Firmino was brought off early in last night’s UCL tie, so I think Firmino starts and gets circa 70 minutes against a pretty poor Everton side, before playing Bournemouth in DGW34.
My gut feeling is to wait until Double Gameweek 34 to transfer Kane in, especially if you can’t get him in without a hit this week. His game time isn’t guaranteed this week, since he’s just returned from injury. You’d need him to outscore Son by 4 points, which has occurred in less than half of the previous eight gameweeks.
For me, I won’t be getting him in this week despite a great fixture, but there is certainly a case for it. I think the big question you have to ask yourself is: can I get Kane without a hit and weakening my team substantially elsewhere? If the answer to that is yes, then why not? If the answer is no, then I really think you need to hit pause and consider.
Remember you’re not buying Kane in isolation. It’s Kane and the whole balance of your team. I personally think he will start against Stoke but his minutes could be managed and his double isn’t spectacular. I’d hold fire and assess the fallout of gameweek 33. If Kane is fit and firing, then go for him in the double. If not, then arguably he can wait until 36.
Is Alonso worth the price-tag and how should we structure our benches now if we’re bench boosting in DGW37?
Simon (FPL Connect):
RE Alonso; right now, you’d have to say no, but you’re looking at the potential of what he COULD give you from now until the end of the season and there’s no doubt in my mind, that he’s one player that could more than justify his price given the fixtures that are left, if he plays them all of course.
Presuming you have no wildcard left in this context, I’d advise only having players you really don’t mind putting on the bench right now, as it’s going to cause you far too many headaches each week, and then look to spread your cash a little wider in your team as you get closer to DGW37 using your free transfers and perhaps a hit or two.
Marcos Alonso is out of form, but could easily have had a brace against Spurs. An early substitute is a worry: Ben Davies is currently outperforming him as an attacking defensive option, at a much cheaper price tag.
In terms of bench structure, it depends which chips you have remaining: spreading funds with cheaper enablers from teams like Swansea is the way forward.
The eternal question RE Alonso! On present form, no I don’t think he’s worth it, but in reality you pay £7.2m for two reasons:
- Fear: We know what he can do and despite a recent goal drought he continues to look likely. The stress of watching him flirt with shots in the box or stand over a free kick is intense. Consider enduring that in a double week with two matches rather than one. It could be highly unpleasant.
- Potential/Promise: With Chelsea so porous at the back at the moment, I just don’t believe that you can adequately ‘cover’ Alonso’s potential returns with either Azpilicueta (despite his BPS mastery) or the dreaded Christensen. For me I want clean sheets and/or attacking returns in the premium price range, and with Alonso you are paying for the potential to deliver on the promise of big returns.
So I’d argue Alonso or bust at the moment with respect to the Chelsea defence.
It’s hard to look past Swansea for bench options ahead of their double in 37. They’re cheap, still have something to play for, have been much improved under Carvalhal and have good renaming fixtures. Between J.Ayew, Fabianski and the affordable defenders you have high bench points potential without dispersing funds from your strong first XI. There is also merit in Newcastle, particularly in the form of Kenedy at £4.7m.
Alli and Eriksen worthy of consideration?
Simon (FPL Connect):
The underlying stats are actually looking much better for Eriksen, than for Alli. Alli of course, as we know, spends more time in the penalty area and is a greater goal threat, with 19 penalty area touches to Eriksen’s 11 over the last 4 GWs, but Eriksen has fired in 13 goal attempts to Alli’s 5 over that same period of time. Granted, 8 of those have come from outside the area for Eriksen, but as we’ve seen on many occasions, he can score well from range and is far more creative than Alli. Both certainly worthy of consideration though in my opinion, as Alli is finally showing that goal-scoring touch from last year, with those dangerous runs in behind the defence.
It’s definitely worth a gamble on Eriksen or Alli if you are chasing rank. Both are coming into form, and Spurs have the pick of the fixtures for the season run in. For me, Alli edges things slightly, as he’s more of a goal threat. Plus, he’s got plenty of work to do over his final eight games to impress Gareth Southgate and cement his place in the England team for the World Cup.
I like the idea of Alli or Eriksen as a differential, and indeed with speculation over Salah’s minutes (and possible injury) we could see some people making a direct swap to one of the Spurs boys. In the long run I don’t think that either is a viable alternative to Kane due to the probable high triple captaincy in 37, but for the short term I can see merit in investing in one (or more!) over Kane for the 34 double.
Ahead of the World Cup, it’s Alli who gets the nod from me, but with a big health warning because he has been very patchy this season.
As for Son, the smiling assassin, I think he’s worth having regardless. At that price you get an explosive player (with or without Kane on the pitch), even if he comes off the bench for one of the next few games.
Who’s most essential, Kane or Lukaku for DGW34?
Simon (FPL Connect):
If you’re just talking DGW34, then Lukaku has to get it based on the fixtures, but if we incorporate GW33 as well, then it honestly wouldn’t surprise me to see Kane outscore Lukaku over that two gameweek period. Kane loves playing Stoke and will be super hungry to get those goals with him being so far behind Salah in the race for the golden boot. City could well feature a weakened team against them and Brighton have shown they can be beaten well against the big teams at home (5-1 V Liverpool, 4-0 v Chelsea).
In my opinion, it has to be Lukaku for Double Gameweek 34. Kane faces an away game at Manchester City, plus he’s been steady returning from injury this season already. Lukaku is a man in form, with easier fixtures. It’s a close call though, both sides will have half an eye on their upcoming FA Cup Semi Final.
In Lukaku we have a steady option with consistent returns of late, albeit with a low enough ceiling. He’s nailed on with great fixtures – in a double that is hard to ignore.
And then there’s the lure of Kane who has both rewarded and punished us this season whether we have him, sell him, or captain him. He’s a scary prospect not to own in the latter end of the season, but his fixtures are middling.
If you can get Kane in easily, then I’d go for him because I simply see Spurs scoring more goals and he will want some of the action.
What to do with Mkhitaryan and Bailly following their benchings on the weekend?
Simon (FPL Connect):
I would hold fire on both for now and see what happens this weekend, providing you have decent enough bench players to come in for them. Bailly is without doubt United’s best defender and it’s extremely difficult to take Mkhi out now ahead of such a tantalising fixture. But would certainly be looking at moving him on after this weekend, especially if Arsenal post a comfortable Europa league win against CSKA Moscow.
Mkhitaryan has to go to the top of the priority list, although his benching shouldn’t come as a surprise since Wenger has gone on record to say he’s concentrating on the Europa League. Wait to see what team Mourinho fields this weekend before making a decision on Bailly, there’s still hope there!
I would hold for this week and assess ahead of 34. Mkhi was given a rest but I see no reason why he won’t play against Southampton, and they are woeful at the moment.
Bailly is slightly trickier because in assessing the alternatives, it is hard to say who (beyond De Gea) is truly nailed in that back line. If you have him you probably never intended to play him this week against City so I’d say leave him on the bench and go into 34 with two free transfers and a willingness to sell if needed.
Power front 3 of Kane-Lukaku-Vardy from DGW34 onwards a good move?
Simon (FPL Connect):
On paper, it looks great, but it really depends what it does to the rest of your team. I’ve always been an advocate of overall balance to allow flexibility and going too top heavy can hamper the rest of your team. It just depends on your team value. If you feel you’re happy with your overall team with those 3 up front, then go for it. There’s certainly some great value to be had in midfield, whereas not so much in the striker section.
The power front three looks enticing for Double Gameweek 34, but it depends on the damage it does to your overall team structure. Kane and Lukaku look essential, but Vardy could be downgraded to a cheaper player in order to spread funds across your squad. See what happens in Gameweek 33 before committing.
Lovely if you can afford it (which I can’t)! In an ideal world it would be great to go three strong up top, but it does beg the question as to what that means for the rest of your team. Personally I like the balance and flexibility of a 3-5-2 with a good midfield and two of those three strikers up front (with a cheaper 3rd striker to complement). And frankly with Barnes in a great run of form with 4 goals in 4, I think he’s an ideal option.
Bench boost best utilised in DGW34 or DGW37?
Simon (FPL Connect):
On paper, DGW37 is the better double gameweek for all your chips, as the fixtures are much better. So you have to decide whether a triple captain on Kane in 37 would outscore a bench boost in that gameweek. I personally think a Kane triple captain in DGW37 has a higher ceiling than a bench boost, so if you have triple captain left, bench boost in DGW34, if you don’t, then bench boost in DGW37.
GW34 v GW37 is a tough one, it’s literally 50/50 right now and we won’t know which was the right call until after the events. Personally, I’m going with GW34, although this decision is partly influenced by going early on the wildcard button ahead of Gameweek 32. If you’re chasing, or have the Triple Captain chip to hand, go with Gameweek 34. We don’t know which teams will still have something to play for by the time May rolls around.
I’m still an advocate for the 34 Bench Boost, with the caveat that you have your Free Hit chip at your disposal. Rightly or wrongly I think that your chances of putting out a team of 13 to 15 players who will play both games is higher. While the fixtures are arguably better for bench options in the later double, I personally don’t enjoy battling with anxiety before the team sheets are announced.
That being said, if you don’t have your Free Hit I do think the sensible choice is a Bench Boost in 37. This way you can still play 34 with a good number of double game week players, navigate through game week 35, and then gear up with a couple of transfers to optimise for 37.
Following Salah’s injury, albeit likely only minor, Salah out a good idea? (For Son in this example)
Simon (FPL Connect):
Of course, wait for the final word, but I doubt he’ll see much action this weekend regardless of what Klopp’s final word is in my opinion. In this context, I think Son in for Salah is a good move, especially if you’re trying to climb the rankings, as most higher up the ranks will likely hold him, especially if Klopp says he’s okay in the presser. You do have to consider team value in this situation though and how buying him back for £10.7m is going to affect your future transfer plans. If it negatively impacts it too much, then I’d advise against selling him.
IF Salah is confirmed out for Gameweek 33, it’s enticing to look elsewhere for a three game punt encompassing Double Gameweek 34. It does depend on your team value though and how much you have tied up in the Egyptian: if you sell him now at 9.8 million, will you be able to afford to buy him back at 10.7 million?
I can absolutely see the temptation to shift Salah if you are able to Free Hit him back in for 35. But as someone who made the mistake of selling him earlier in the season and paying an extra 0.5 to get him back, I would think twice about it. In saying that, those that take the risk could be highly rewarded given he’s unlikely to play this weekend and may have severely managed minutes over the next two. If I was so inclined I would look at Eriksen or Alli though, due to security of starts.
One last word before you go!
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