FPL Community Questions: Gameweek 2

I’m joined by FPL Twitter community member Sarthak, or Sar as he’s known on Twitter, to answer the community’s hottest FPL questions about the upcoming Gameweek 2

Welcome back to our ‘Community Questions’ 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.

Each week, I’m going to set up a thread and ask the community what questions they have and I’ll pick the interesting ones, or the questions that apply to a wider majority, to feature on this article where myself and a guest from the FPL Twitter community will join me in providing you with our own answers.

This week, the super rational @Bosscielny6 joins me in order to provide you with an extra and fresh perspective, as I’m sure you’d eventually get sick of hearing mine all the time – see, I’m always thinking of you guys!

Sarthak has been an integral and very active part of the FPL Twitter community for over a year now and is a passionate FPL enthusiast. He’s someone that takes great pleasure in discussion/debate and is always open to help where possible. If you enjoy discussing FPL, then drop Sarthak a follow on Twitter and get involved with him in the many debates that occur every week!

Are we getting carried away with defenders after their high scoring feats in GW1?

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Simon (FPL Connect): 

I believe so yes. I had already put out a tweet earlier in the week commenting on how I thought some FPL managers were getting a little carried away, with specific regard to Mendy as their captain choice. Of course, I’m not suggesting that Mendy is a bad captain option, but when it comes to the captain, you want someone who is reliable, with a plum fixture, who has the highest possible ceiling –  is that Mendy? Not in my opinion. Quite a few other options I’d put ahead of him, Salah, Agüero, Sterling, Mané to name a few, but this is an example of folks perhaps getting a little too pre-occupied with defenders.

1 Gameweek isn’t anywhere near enough data to presume dominance in one category over the other. Gameweek 1, the defenders were king, Gameweek 2 could easily see the forwards reign supreme. If you start trying to follow the trends on a weekly basis by constantly re-structuring your team to pack it with one category, you’re going to get caught out eventually. Having said that, I would be getting Mendy in your squad, but don’t let the high scores of defenders in GW1 cloud your judgement with regard to MIDs and FWDs – remember, the top 10 MIDs and FWDs at the end of each season always outscore the top 10 DEFs on average.

Sarthak: 

Given the proven value in defenders (especially premium ones) over the years, giving it a think through is worth it, but they don’t make for realistic captaincy picks. So ideally, you handpick 2 (3 at best) premium defenders, fill the other slots with cheap nailed options and have enough funds available to pick 3-4 premium players upfront and in midfield combined.

Jump on early bandwagons or stay the course?

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Simon (FPL Connect): 

Obviously new information based on a system you didn’t think a team were going to use, or a player being in a different position to what you thought, can change the value of the player, and in this case, then re-consideration on the player is needed, but typically speaking, if you did your research on a player, brought them in and were happy about it before the season, only to see them blank in the first Gameweek, then you need to remember under what provisions you brought them in:

  1. How long were you thinking of owning the player? Was it short, medium or long term?
  2. How much did you pay for the asset?
  3. Did you assume that the team they’d be playing for were going to be more attacking than last season under a new manager?
  4. Did you assume he’d be first choice?
  5. Did you assume he’d be playing in a certain position?

Re-visiting these kinds of questions can help you make your decision on the player. For example, I brought in Lucas Moura under the provisions that he was a short-term punt (first 4 fixtures), that he’d be starting all of the first four fixtures and that he would play as a very attacking winger.

He did start, his general positioning was very central and attacking, but he failed to contribute to the scoring. He still has 3 fixtures, out of the 4 I wanted him for, left, so do I take him out and jump on Neves for example? No. Because everything I assumed was correct and I had given him 4 fixtures to return me points, not 1 fixture. If however, he didn’t start, or he played RB for example (completely hypothetical of course), then I would definitely have to re-consider.

Sarthak:

Bandwagons should only be paid heed to in two cases:
i) When the pending price rise of a player seems to be imminent and said player happens to be a top target in your estimation.
ii) When not transferring in such a player affects mid to long term transfer strategy from the perspective of funds.

As for the second part of the question, NO, one week should never be a barometer for discarding a player you picked in your GW1 squad based on your research and conviction.

Alexander-Arnold better value than Robertson? 

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Simon (FPL Connect): 

This is difficult, but I would say no, because the quality of Robertson’s delivery and the fact he’s more nailed on than TAA probably makes paying the extra £1m worth it. If TAA was nailed and his deliveries weren’t so wasteful, then it’d be a definitive yes, with him also being on free kicks when he plays.

Sarthak: 

No, in my opinion, as TAA could be rotated with Joe Gomez as his minutes from last season suggest (18 PL starts). Robertson on the other hand, took full advantage of Alberto Moreno’s injury in the previous campaign and is now the undisputed first choice LB. For the premium price – his surety of minutes and offensive prowess is worth it (22 starts – 1G & 5A in 17/18).

Is it time to say goodbye to Sané? 

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Simon (FPL Connect): 

If you have someone with a decent fixture on your bench that could come on for him this week, I’d be tempted to give it one more go. If you don’t, then I’d definitely be looking to move him on. £9.5m is entirely too much money to be wasting on a player that’s not featuring regularly for whatever reason.

Sarthak: 

Only today has the news filtered through re: De Bruyne’s knee injury, which could keep him on the sidelines for an estimated 6-8 weeks if early reports are to be believed.

If in case Pep decides to switch to a 3-5-2, you would struggle to see where Sané fits in, as he is a natural winger, unless he is deployed as a wingback. Guardiola also spoke about how Sané isn’t at an optimal level fitness wise. Keep him v Huddersfield as it’s a plum fixture, and hope he starts, otherwise target one of Mané or Eriksen, for a potentially similar outlay and guaranteed minutes.

The big one: Aguero or Salah for captain? 

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Simon (FPL Connect): 

I have posted my view on the matter in my Captain Metric article which you can view here >> https://fplconnect.blog/2018/08/14/fpl-captain-metric-gameweek-2/ 

Sarthak: 

I’ll be staunch on this – Kun Agüero. If you’ve picked the Argentine marksman, yet you’re thinking twice about captaining him v Huddersfield at home, then you might as well have not picked him in your squad at all.

He started 22/25 PL matches in 17/18 when fit, is a proven goalscorer with a minutes per goal ratio of 93.8 and Liverpool face their bogey team Crystal Palace, who seem to be more solid at the back recently under Hodgson.

How long should we hold onto premium assets before ditching them if they’re not returning? 

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Simon (FPL Connect): 

Something I have always contemplated myself. This depends on the type of person you are, and in turn, the type of player you are. I’m typically quite impatient, so when it comes to premium assets not returning me anything, I used to have a short fuse (3 Gameweeks).

I recognised that and attempted, last season, to rectify it and when Harry Kane was firing in all those numerous goal attempts in August without scoring, I told myself, “Trust him, the goals WILL come”… and they did, despite him causing many headaches with regard to the captaincy. He braced in GW4 and went on to hit a few more double digit hauls in the next few GWs and I held him for the rest of the season.

I did however, get rid of KDB after, yes you guessed it, 3 Gameweeks, and he went on to score 209pts being one of the top scoring midfielders in the game.

So, really, if you spend premium on an asset, it’s probably best to simply hold them for the season (with the obvious exception of suspensions/injuries or absurdly long spells without any points like 8-10 GWs etc) as they usually still, despite whatever short-term lull they’re having, come out on top come the end of the season.

Sarthak: 

Depends. A player like Eriksen is a season keeper as his points trickle throughout the campaign. Others like Eden Hazard go through purple patches where they are red hot from a fantasy perspective before their returns start dipping, at which point, you have no choice but to look for an alternative.

Money better spent in midfield or attack right now? 

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Simon (FPL Connect): 

Right now, it would be easy to say that the midfield is better to spend your money on, but we can’t tell the future. The forwards were poor in GW1, but it doesn’t mean they will be again in GW2. Think about the players you want to buy in isolation, don’t think about which category is on top at this moment, as it will likely change very quickly.

Sarthak: 

Midfielder. £1-1.5 mil could be the difference between a Will Hughes and Richarlison while there is a dearth of mid-priced strikers who can be relied upon, so that sum is unlikely to result in a huge upgrade upfront. Quid for quid, captaincy unfactored, midfielders provide better value as they get an extra point for every goal scored and clean sheet kept.

Adding to Kylie’s earlier question: Lucas out for the Richarlison bandwagon? 

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Simon (FPL Connect): 

Presumably, you got Lucas in as a short-term punt as I did, so you were likely looking at the first 4 fixtures as well. In the next 3, he faces Fulham at home, Man Utd away and Watford away. 2 of those 3 fixtures are good, and he could still easily return well with those fixtures ahead.

Remember you’ve already missed out on his brace, so that isn’t a factor in this decision – focus on what you think the two players could get you over X period and then go with the one you think will score more.

Sarthak: 

Incidentally, I own him myself. Stick for one GW more at least, as he faces Fulham (H). Heung-min Son has departed for the Asian Games while Erik Lamela is battling a muscle injury, meaning Lucas should be nailed for now at least. Then ahead of GW3 when Spurs travel to Utd, re-assess and make the easy switch to Richarlison, if needed.

Which Arsenal asset to go for with their lovely upturn in fixtures approaching? 

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Simon (FPL Connect): 

I personally wouldn’t be looking at Lacazette. I simply don’t think he’s good enough a player to nail down a spot as the main striker in that team with Aubameyang there and so many other good attacking options – evidenced by his benching in GW1.

I’d be looking at Ramsey here at £7.5m. As you identify yourself, his positioning was ridiculously attacking, almost like a striker at times and at that price, if he’s going to continue in that role, he could be amazing value. If you aren’t sure about him because of his injuries, or doubt his ability, then Aubameyang would be the other one I’d be looking at. Amazing goal record and after last Gameweek, it would appear he’s going to play as the main striker mainly and then move out wide if they need a goal to accommodate Lacazette.

Sarthak: 

Aubameyang and Ramsey are the most nailed options in Unai Emery’s side, when fit. The former provides a reliable captaincy pick GW3 onwards when Arsenal’s fixture ease up considerably, while the latter has a penchant for being a shrewd fantasy asset (7G, 10A in 1844 PL mins in 17/18).

Mkhitaryan and Lacazette will both be prone to rotation and there’s better value to be had for the respective price-points. Lingard and Firmino instead, for example.

Which of Tomkins, Wan-Bissaka or Boly to start in GW2?

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Simon (FPL Connect): 

I don’t think either Palace or Wolves are going to keep a clean sheet, though I’d argue that Wolves would be more likely than Palace to keep one. So, we’re looking for the potential for some attacking returns and when it comes to that, I’d go with a CB for the goal threat they pose from set-pieces, as they’re more likely to get some set-pieces than Wan-Bissaka getting into an assist position against a team like Liverpool who play a high-press with 3 forwards.

So then I’d make a gut call on who poses more of an aerial threat from set-pieces out of Tomkins and Boly… your call.

Sarthak: 

Tough one. Liverpool *should* eventually breach Palace’s stubborn resistance, so on paper, Boly seems a decent shout away to Leicester. He also has a goal in him from set-pieces due to his aerial presence. If you’re OK using a FT to upgrade one of them, I would suggest upgrading Boly to TAA.

Ruben Neves, Kante or Jorginho?

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Simon (FPL Connect): 

If we delve into the stats, Ruben Neves produced the most shots of any of them with 3, but all 3 were from outside the area. Both Kante and Jorginho only had 1 shot each, with Kante’s being inside the box and resulting in a goal. In terms of assist potential, only Ruben Neves created a chance, which was the cross for Raul Jimenez’s goal.

Of course at this price, we aren’t expecting much, but given that Ruben Neves is on free kicks and has a history of lethal long range shooting, I’d argue he is the best option of the three, with Kante, with his new position in Sarri’s system placing him a little further up the pitch, a close second for the odd few occasions, like in GW1, where he’ll break into the box to try to score.

Sarthak: 

All 3 should provide decent value for their £5m price-tag, but if I had to pick one, it would probably be Ruben Neves as the Portuguese is Wolves’ first-choice set-piece taker (as he very ably showed in GW1), and the signing of Joao Moutinho seems to have given him more of a license to contribute offensively.

Alexis Sánchez: Stick or twist?

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Simon (FPL Connect): 

Brighton conceded the most shots (19) of any team in GW1 and conceded 2 big chances in the process. Whilst his potential is stunted somewhat from playing out on the wing in Mourinho’s cautious system, he is at the heart of everything they do going forward and that game has the potential for Sánchez to do well in. I would advise holding him for the Brighton game and then re-assessing after that.

Sarthak: 

Twist. Utd aren’t a free-scoring side, which means his ceiling will always be low barring the odd occasion. For £10.5m, you could make a straight switch to Hazard if you fancy it, Sterling, if you are able to cough up £0.5m more (£11m), or ‘downgrade’ to either of Eriksen or Mané who will all likely provide much better value than the Chilean in a controlled and slightly negative minded Mourinho team.

All views are our own and any data consulted was obtained at www.fantasyfootballscout.co.uk

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