FPL Community Questions: Gameweek 7

I’m joined by Stephen or FPL Midget as he’s known on Twitter, to answer the community’s hottest FPL questions with regard to the upcoming Gameweek 7

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/guests from the FPL Twitter community will join me in providing you with our own answers.

This week, I’m joined by Stephen (FPL Midget on Twitter)!

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Stephen first started playing FPL in the 2007/08 season but was more of a casual player up until about the 2012/13 season where he started to get involved in the Twitter community. In 2014/15, he finished just outside the top 20k and then just outside the top 10k the following 2 seasons. He’s currently sat at 42k and is a very active member of our community, be it chatting with people about FPL, football in general or Manchester United – who he supports.

I’ve always personally found Stephen a pleasure to chat to and if you wish to follow his progress or chat with him about any of the above, then you can follow him here >> https://twitter.com/FPLMidget

Fraser vs Richarlison vs Maddison

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Simon (FPL Connect): 

James Maddison
– 6 appearances
– 3 goals
– 1 assists
– 11 penalty area touches
– 14 goal attempts (4 in the box)
– 1 big chance
– 10 chances created
– 2 big chances created
– xGI (expected goal involvement) 3.04

Richarlison
– 4 appearances (inc red card game)
– 3 goals
– 0 assists
– 15 penalty area touches
– 9 goal attempts (6 in the box)
– 2 big chances
– 2 chances created
– 0 big chances created
– xGI (expected goal involvement) 1.39

Ryan Fraser
– 6 appearances
– 3 goals
– 2 assists
– 18 penalty area touches
– 13 goal attempts (8 in the box)
– 2 big chances
– 15 chances created
– 6 big chances created
– xGI (expected goal involvement) 2.13

Of course the stats here are skewed by the fact Richarlison has played much less game time than the other two options because of his red card in GW3, but as you can see, his stats are still very solid for just 3 and a half appearances.

He’s has nearly the same number of penalty area touches as Fraser in nearly half the game time and has had more shots inside the box and big chances than Maddison. Having said that, his assist potential is much worse than the other two options.

Overall, all 3 are great options and I’d definitely be looking at owning 2 of the 3, but based on the stats, eye-test, fixtures and price, the winner has to be Ryan Fraser. I would then couple him with Richarlison over Maddison, as Richarlison’s goal threat from open play is much more frequent and significant than Maddison’s, who’s goals have either come from outside the box or from a set-piece which isn’t sustainable in the long-term, and I’d rather have the player who’s tasked with scoring goals over the player who’s mainly tasked with creating them.

Stephen (FPL Midget): 

Out of the 3 my preference is Richarlison. He looks a constant threat and has proven he can deliver at the start of the season. He’s a bit greedy but that’s good from an FPL POV. He looks the most likely to score of any Everton player in a Silva team that likes to attack.

I do really like Maddison too. I’m actually regretting not bringing him in for Mkhitaryan (I went D. Silva). He’s clearly a very talented player who I think will get consistent returns but perhaps just not as explosive as Rich.

Fraser has had a phenomenal start, especially for his price but can he sustain it? I think that will depend on whether Bournemouth can sustain it as a team. Burnley may have just been an anomaly, but don’t be too shocked if they dip and consequently Fraser too. Certainly worth keeping if you got him early though.

There’s justification to own all 3 but I started the season with Richarlison and kept him through his ban and he’s still my favourite out of the 3 unless he dips in form. Despite not scoring on his return he came close so no sign of a dip yet in my opinion. Expecting points to flow, particularly at home to a leaky Fulham up next.

Which move is better? 

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Simon (FPL Connect): 

I would definitely advise waiting for the official word on Mendy before committing to a move, because he is one player you’re definitely going to want when he’s fit.

If we hear that Mendy is gonna be out for 2/3 weeks or more, then of those two moves, I’d prefer the second option – I’d go with Hazard and a Wolves defender like Bennett/Boly/Doherty.

Kane simply hasn’t done enough to convince me that he’s worth paying £12.4m for yet. More than that, Spurs as a team haven’t been that convincing either, and whilst their immediate fixtures are very enticing, beyond that is a tougher run that entails Man City, Barcelona, Wolves, Chelsea and Arsenal.

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Spurs’ fixture run from GW15-GW27

Having said that, GW15 marks the start of an unbelievable run for Spurs that sees them play only 1 of the ‘big 6’ in 13 GWs – that’s when I’d look to Spurs/Kane and hopefully by that point, they and Kane have hit the higher gears.

Stephen (FPL Midget): 

I see a lot of people talking about bringing in Kane due to his good fixtures. I’m a big believer that form is more important than fixtures and right now Kane has not impressed me on the pitch so, personally, I’m not desperate to bring him in yet.

Sterling had a brilliant season last year, but his problem this year is a much higher price combined with rotation – this makes it difficult to opt for him.

Hazard on the other hand, despite now also being 11m, has looked in excellent form and has very little rotation risk. Bolstered by the fact he takes penalties, he’s a no-brainer over Sterling.

I’m not a big fan of hits. They need to be guaranteed long term transfers but then there’s often the opportunity to wait a week if they are. The odd -4 is ok but, unless something drastic happens to your squad, I’d avoid any more than that.

With all that considered, I would be much happier bringing in Hazard and a budget defender for just the -4 or, if you feel you can wait one more week, bring him in next week without a hit. As for budget defenders I would look straight to Wolves. Bennett is still only 4.1m but, if you can stretch a bit further, Doherty (4.4m) is the man I’m looking to bring in this week myself.

With Liverpool playing Chelsea and City next and us owning a large proportion of those assets, what’s the optimal strategy? 

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Simon (FPL Connect): 

I think this might be an example of overthinking slightly. I don’t think there’s any data to suggest that premium assets are any less likely to return against the big teams than the smaller teams? We pay premium because of their ability to score points against anyone.

If you have a premium player playing against another premium player, just roll with it and remember why you chose them in the first place. I think these upcoming big games have the potential to be high scoring and quite fruitful from an FPL perspective.

Stephen (FPL Midget): 

I think the important thing to remember is – you built your wildcard squad with a long term strategy. You picked Liverpool, City and Chelsea assets because they will be stalwarts in your side. These will be the sort of players that can score points in any fixtures.

For me, the best strategy is to have faith in your premium players – play the numbers. If you start dissecting your team you’ll be wasting all the planning that went in to your wildcard and no doubt find you’ll regret selling or benching one of your premium players that you picked with good reason. Just remember, it’ll be easy to judge your decisions with hindsight but, if you play the numbers, you should still come out on top overall.

Kane and Richarlison essential for GW7 and GW8? 

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Simon (FPL Connect): 

If we were playing a game where we could make unlimited transfers every single Gameweek, then I’d say yes to that, but we don’t. FPL is a long-term game. When you bring in a player, especially if you’re paying big money, you should be looking longer term.

As I said in response to Ryandika’s question, Kane and Spurs haven’t done enough to convince me that I should be investing there and despite those two very enticing fixtures where it’s conceivable that he could score big, I’m just not convinced it will happen like I have been in the past when it comes to Kane.

I wouldn’t say Richarlison is ‘essential’ because anything can happen in the future, but I think he’s going to continue to be brilliant value in the short-medium term. I very much like him and Silva knows how to get the best out of him – invest for sure.

Stephen (FPL Midget): 

It’s rare any player is absolutely essential in my eyes. If Kane was looking like he might score a hat-trick in any given game and almost guaranteed at least one goal then I’d be saying “you’d be brave not to own him” – at the moment though, he’s really not looked at the races.

On the other hand, he’s one of those players that can suddenly produce back-to-back hat-tricks as we saw last season amidst the infamous ‘Kanexit’ but personally, I prefer to go with form over fixtures and for me he’s not showing enough to invest 12.4m in and lose one of my other premium players.

I’m a big fan of Richarlison under Silva. He was unlucky not to get on the scoresheet against Arsenal so he’s odds on to produce at home to a leaky Fulham. Again, I don’t like the phrase ‘essential’ and I’m not sure if he’s capable of consistent big returns, but we’ve seen he can score a brace so I’d put him in the next bracket down from what you might deem ‘essential’. If you have a free transfer and a player who’s not performing or a rotation risk such as Mkhitaryan, Pedro etc I’d certainly look to bring him.

Keep faith in Salah? 

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Simon (FPL Connect): 

Yes. Chelsea were much more difficult to get at last year under Conte, but I feel Sarri’s more expansive game can be breached more easily, especially for a team like Liverpool with the players they have in attack.

If Sarri approaches this game like he has the rest of the games so far this season, then I can see the front 3 of Liverpool tearing them to shreds, particularly Salah up against Alonso who we know isn’t the best in terms of his defensive contributions, which Sarri has openly admitted himself.

Stephen (FPL Midget): 

Stamford Bridge is one of the hardest away fixtures of the season, for any team, including Liverpool. They failed to even get on the score sheet in the same fixture last season. However, Chelsea are trying to play more expansive football under Sarri, which often works in detriment against this Liverpool side as we’ve seen with the likes of City. Salah is still highly involved in almost all of Liverpool’s attacks, which are usually quite high in number.

He’ll most likely be up against Alonso who, as we know, loves to get forward, which could leave space for Salah to work. Despite not being as prolific so far as we may have been expecting, Salah is still producing and the signs are there that he could come in to some big hauls in the near future if not against Chelsea. Personally, I’d advise keeping hold.

What to do with Mendy? Premium replacement or budget? 

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Simon (FPL Connect): 

I have Bennett to come on if Mendy is ruled out and I bought him at £6m so I’m more than happy to wait for the official word on him. I would advise waiting until we hear more about it, but if we hear he’s out for 2 weeks or more, then yes, time to move on.

In terms of a replacement, I’d probably look to go more budget and go for players who have 0 risk of rotation. With UCL group stages in full swing, the premium full backs are at the greatest risk, so someone like Shaw or Trippier is going to be a risky replacement.

If you’re comfortable with the risk however, then I’d go with Trippier, but if not, then I’d go with one of Bennett, Boly or Doherty at Wolves who have shown themselves to be very well organised thus far and with good fixtures coming, should see some clean sheets.

Stephen (FPL Midget): 

We’ve been left completely in the dark with Mendy, which is very frustrating. I’d certainly wait until the next press conference. The value you bought him at may have a role to play. If you bought him for £6m, it may be worth hanging on a little longer. If you’ve not gained any value then you’re not losing anything by taking him out now or to get him back in.

Trippier is a popular choice but he’s still a rotation risk so there’s an element of gambling with that move. I would have suggested Luke Shaw as a good option but Utd aren’t looking as solid as last season and particularly the last few games they’ve looked quite negative and vulnerable. They may turn it around but there’s no clear sign of that yet.

You could look to free up some cash to invest elsewhere by bringing in one of the Wolves defenders. Bennett at 4.1m would save you the most but Doherty at 4.4m is the most attacking of their defenders. Wolves have a pretty decent run of fixtures until GW11 and have looked pretty solid defensively.

Another team with a good set of fixtures is Leicester. They’ve not been brilliant defensively but I could see some clean sheets coming soon. Chilwell and Pereira both getting forward well and good assist potential. The latter was randomly dropped last week however so I’d be more comfortable with Chilwell.

If you’re prepared to gamble, Trippier could pay dividends but if you want to remain safe and free up some cash then Doherty or Chilwell would be solid picks assuming you don’t already own AWB. If you already have decent cover then it may still be worth hanging on a little longer though.

Is there ever a case to not use your 1st Wildcard? 

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Simon (FPL Connect): 

Screen Shot 2018-09-26 at 15.17.08.png
FPL Boffin’s current team

I personally don’t think, looking at your team here, that you need to Wildcard, but as most say, there isn’t any right/wrong time to play it, it simply comes down to when YOU feel you want to or need to.

With Trippier and Bernado likely rotation risks, I would definitely be looking to either remove in the future, or if you want to keep and accept the rotation, improve the bench. That’s the only thing that’s glaringly obvious but even so, it’s not something that NEEDS sorting this week and Kane, as I said earlier, simply hasn’t convinced me yet, but that’s me, you may feel differently.

I think in your position though, there’s really no need to be risking this kind of move, as you’d have to remove a highly owned player to do it. Salah’s underlying stats suggest an explosion of points is imminent and Liverpool’s fixtures are about to get much better, Hazard and Chelsea look in very good form despite the set back at West Ham last time out and Agüero looks so reliable in a team that score for fun.

Stephen (FPL Midget): 

There’s never a wrong or right time to use the first WC, only what’s right for you and your team. I started very well yet still chose to play my WC quite early simply because there were a number of players I knew I wanted and a number of players I knew I didn’t want for the long term that I wouldn’t be able to get if I spaced out my transfers over a few weeks and wasn’t keen on taking hits. It worked out pretty well.

You’re absolutely flying at the moment and Kane’s form doesn’t suggest he’s essential yet and with the form of your other players, even if Kane does start producing, he’s unlikely to outscore your other premium players by much, if at all. My only concern with your current team is the rotation risk of mainly Trippier and B.Silva and with limited bench cover that could become an issue. You could consider bringing in Richarlison for B Silva or if you’re keen to keep I would try to strengthen your bench.

Either way it doesn’t look like you have the need to play your WC. Keep hold of it for a rainy day e.g. a combination of injuries and suspensions occur within a short space of time that might coincide with an upturn in Kane’s form or downturn in others in your squad.

Who’s the better option? 

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Simon (FPL Connect): 

I brought in Lacazette in GW5 on my Wildcard as I believed, after the Cardiff performance, that he had won his right for a shot in the first team. Since then, he’s started up front in every PL game up front and completed 90 minutes having more penalty area touches than any other forward and scoring 2 goals and assisting 2.

His fixtures are still very good and I don’t think he’s the rotation risk that others think he is. Vardy is always a solid option and has great fixtures too, but I feel that Lacazette’s ceiling is higher playing in a better team, so it’s Lacazette for me. 

Stephen (FPL Midget): 

I’ll keep this one brief – Vardy. Simply because of the rotation risk of Lacazette and the favourable fixtures for Leicester.

Are there Brighton players that are worth consideration given their incredible upcoming fixture run? 

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Simon (FPL Connect): 

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Brighton’s next 10 GWs

I think, based on the above and their performances so far, that yes, they are worth some investment.

They don’t seem as defensively solid this year however, so I wouldn’t be too keen on going for a defensive option, especially when we have cheap options like Wan-Bissaka, Ryan Bennett/Matt Doherty available, as well as other cheap GKs performing well, but Duffy’s attacking threat from set-pieces is considerable and if you think they can tighten up, then he could be worth a look.

Knockaert is in good form having returned in his last 3 GWs and represents good value, but at this price, Fraser is the best option still and if you have him, then you should be looking at Richarlison/Maddison beyond that. If you have Fraser and can’t afford Richarlison/Maddison, then yes, in that context, Knockaert may be worth a punt over this period.

It’s a similar story with Glenn Murray. Around this price, there’s quite a few options – the main one being Mitrovic who is on fire and is posting some extremely good underlying numbers, like the two Bournemouth strikers. The main difference between Murray and these others, is the conversion rate. Murray has a goal conversion rate of 44.4% in comparison to the others (Mitrovic 17.9%, Wilson 12.5%, King 20%) who are getting the chances much more frequently. At just 2.2% ownership, it might be worth a shot, but the numbers suggest it might not be sustainable.

Stephen (FPL Midget): 

Absolutely. After the City game they have a brilliant run of fixtures as you’ve pointed out. Knockaert seems to be in a rich vein of form with 3 assists and now a goal and could’ve had more. At £5.5m he’s now 0.4m less than Fraser so, if Fraser can’t sustain his good start or you’re looking to free up cash elsewhere, he’s an excellent choice from GW8 onwards. For those that might not be aware, Knockaert suffered depression since the end of 2016, when his father died. From the sounds of things, he’s thankfully overcoming it, so this could be his time to really develop in to an excellent Premier League player and FPL asset. I’m sure we all hope for the best for him either way.

Murray at £6.5m is certainly worth considering too with 4 goals so far, 3 coming at home. He also appears to be the main penalty taker. At this price bracket, I would still prefer Mitrovic if you can find the extra £0.5m but, if you’re working to a tight budget, he’s probably the best choice at £6.5m and below. Personally though, since I already own Mitrovic, my sights are set on Mr Knockaert.

With no clean sheets so far, I wouldn’t get too excited about any of their defensive assets, although Shane Duffy has managed to accumulate 27 points so far with 2 goals and 2 assists. Whether he can keep that up is another matter but at £4.5m he could well be worth the punt.

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