FPL Community Questions: Gameweek 8

I’m joined by FPL Junior as he’s known on Twitter, to answer the community’s hottest FPL questions with regard to the upcoming Gameweek 8

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 FPL Junior!

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FPL Junior started playing FPL seriously in the 2015/16 season. He joined the FPL community in 2015, as his love for the game began at this point. His best FPL finish of 3,305 came in that same season and he’s had finishes of 9.8k in 16/17, as well as narrowly missing out on a top 10k finish last year at 12k despite only being 17 years of age – hence his Twitter handle. He also runs the XI team with weekly articles.

If you want to follow FPL Junior’s progress, or just want to get involved with any debates with the young FPL prodigy, then you can find him here on Twitter >> https://twitter.com/FPL_Junior

A good time to say goodbye to Marcos Alonso?

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Simon (FPL Connect): 

It’s no real surprise that Alonso has regressed. There was absolutely no way he was going to be able to sustain his ridiculous early season form. The problem is, he’s regressed more than owners would have liked.

Underlying stats wise, in the last 3 Gameweeks, he’s only had 3 penalty area touches and 2 goal attempts, in comparison to the first 4 Gameweeks where he had 16 penalty area touches and 12 goal attempts.

Despite the drop off, I personally think Alonso is a season keeper, because at any moment, he could hit a monster haul and his huge ownership (45.6%) would mean a large red arrow if you transferred him out and your replacement does nothing.

The fixtures for the foreseeable future look good and given the attacking role he plays in this Sarri system, I would say no to this.

FPL Junior: 

FPL’s most expensive defender has only blanked twice this season but he hasn’t returned an attacking return in the previous 3 gameweeks. The bread and butter of a defender is their clean sheet potential and Chelsea are looking strong under Sarri. Only Man City and Liverpool (4) have kept more clean sheets than Chelsea (3). 17 shots on target and 35 shots in the box are only bettered by Champions, Man City. The only issue seems to be the 14 big chances they’ve conceded which is only joint worse with Man Utd from last season’s top 6.

Alonso’s initial explosion of 5 assists and a goal during the first 4 gameweeks wasn’t sustainable and this has shown in his recent barren spell. In the last 3 games he’s averaged just ONE touch in the box per game and just 2 attempts, compared to 4 touches in the box per game and 12 attempts, 6 of which in the box in his opening 4 games. This drop off is rather concerning for owners and future attacking potential. The Spaniard’s heatmap has barely changed so he’s still equally as high up the pitch.

After all that, I’m still keeping him. Chelsea’s upcoming run of games are still very favorable. They face just 1 top 6 side over their next 5 games in Man Utd, who are currently in turmoil. If I was wildcarding or was content with my team I’d definitely think twice about owning him as there’s great value elsewhere and attacking threat has definitely receded.

The best set and forget £4.5m GK?

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Simon (FPL Connect): 

This one is easy for me – Rui Patricio.

I think he has the best combination of shot stopping and potential clean sheets of any of those keepers there and has a good track record of saving penalties to boot.

Fabianski is a good alternative and will likely get more save points, but I don’t rate West Ham’s defence and under Pellegrini, I think they will continue playing an attacking style against the majority of the teams and that will leave them vulnerable at the back.

FPL Junior: 

Rui Patricio. The Wolves defence is a secret gem and provide great value. Wolves have conceded just 6 times this season evenly spread home and away but their underlying stats are scarily good. 37 shots conceded in the box is only bettered by Chelsea and Man city and 4 big chances conceded is the league’s best.

They’ve conceded the second most shots outside the box which tells us opponents are shooting on sight, as they’re rarely able to breach the Wolves backline. The Portuguese keeper is also making saves and has racked up 25 saves for the season. For £4.5m he’s the perfect long term “set and forget.”

GW8 a good time for a differential captain if you don’t own Kane? 

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Simon (FPL Connect): 

Yes and in fact, I will be going for one myself in Alexandre Lacazette.

Having said that, I can’t see too many other options that I would prefer over Hazard/Agüero/Salah if you don’t own Kane.

Lacazette plays the worst defence in the league (Fulham have conceded 16 goals and 24 big chances in their 7 games so far), and given Arsenal’s defensive frailties and the fact Fulham are at home and can attack well, I think that game is going to be very open and will see plenty of goals.

FPL Junior: 

Apart from Harry Kane, there’s definitely no stand out captain option this week. Last season I believed in the motto of “When in doubt, always captain Salah,” but with his recent form, this has gone out the window. The Man City versus Liverpool game is an interesting one as managers tend to avoid these games for captaincy but last season there were a total of 12 goals in the two games.

An in-form Hazard faces an average Southampton defence who’ve shipped 11 goals in a run of kind games, so I wouldn’t be against captaining the Belgian who has assisted and scored in his 3 away games. I rarely take a punt on captaincy and I’ve got the armband on Hazard.

Is there a plan for Kevin de Bruyne now he’s back? 

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Simon (FPL Connect): 

At the moment, no, not for me. He’s at a very desirable price right now (£9.7m) for what we know he’s capable of delivering, but given the extent of his injury, I think it will take some time for him get to 100% match fitness again so I’m happy enough to wait.

FPL Junior: 

I can definitely see why Sterling is being brought in. Pep loves him. He’s started every game barring Gameweek 2, this is ideal, as a cameo off the bench is horrible. The winger has only blanked once and is showing consistency. The main reason why I didn’t opt for their top goalscorer is due to his £11.1m price tag. At that price I’d rather have Agüero, as I’d be much more confident in giving him the armband.

It’s impossible to fit in all these premium assets! KDB is definitely on my radar at a cut price £9.7m, which saves you some cash. However, I won’t be rushing him in or ripping up my team for him. A premium midfielder such as Hazard would have to be the makeweight as I can’t see him being a season keeper and to keep team structure.

Hop on hop off for Kane v Cardiff? 

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Simon (FPL Connect): 

As I’ve argued in my captain metric article (https://fplconnect.blog/2018/10/02/fpl-captain-metric-gameweek-8/), I’m not even that sure Kane is the best captain option this week, so my answer on this is fairly clear, especially if you’re having to take a hit to do it.

Most will likely have to lose Agüero to do it and he has been very consistent this year and all in spite of having a problem with his foot. City will have their tails up after getting a late and important win in their Champions League match against Hoffenheim, a game in which Agüero scored, and will want revenge against Liverpool after last year.

I can see the game being open and if Agüero nets 1, then Kane’s gonna have a lot of work to do to make the move worth it.

Of course, that’s all my opinion and the way I’ve interpreted the information available to us. If YOU really feel that Kane is going to bang 2/3 goals this weekend, then trust your instincts.

FPL Junior: 

Yes. There’s no stand-out option apart from the Spurs versus Cardiff game. If I had a spare FT lying around I’d definitely bring in Harry and give him the captaincy. Cardiff have conceded 2 goals on the road on average and I expect that to continue.

Kane hasn’t looked in fantastic form but he’s improved over the previous 2 games. Spurs are reliant on him with their amounting injuries and penalties are massive for Kane and he hasn’t looked like missing a single one all year.

How do we assess when players are about to hit form or are about to regress?

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Simon (FPL Connect): 

There’s no exact number or way to tell, otherwise the game would be pretty boring as everyone would know exactly when to buy/sell assets.

To use your example there with Marcos Alonso and regression, it was easy enough to assume he was going to regress in the attacking returns department – you need only look at the previous season history for that where over the last 2 seasons, he had averaged 10 attacking returns the whole year, and with 6 already in the first 4 GWs, how many more could we realistically expect in the short-medium term?

Beyond that, you have to use a blend of the eye test and statistics.

Using the stats, we could see that Mané’s rate of returns would likely be unsustainable given that his goal conversion rate was quite high to begin with (40% after 4 GWs).

Using the eye test, people were able to see that Kane was still sluggish early on or was dropping deeper where he wasn’t doing that last season, or that Mo Salah’s confidence is low, down to poor finishing in good positions, body language or giving the ball away.

In terms of when a player is about to hit form, it’s basically using the same strategy above. Using the stats to view the ridiculous amount of goal attempts Mitrovic has been having, or the eye test, where some people were able to spot early on that Hazard in this new system was going to tear it up, simply by watching him and viewing his body language on the pitch, his role, how often he was getting into the box and shooting etc.

FPL Junior: 

It’s never easy to predict form but I always look towards the fixtures to predict it. If a player has good underlying stats but isn’t yielding points and is about to start a purple patch of fixtures then he could be about to hit form.

It’s tough to determine an exact number but I’d give players that have pedigree or a good reputation 3 high scoring gameweeks before saying they’re in-form. Unproven players that are either new to the league or have never been a great FPL asset, 4 gameweeks of consistent points before saying they’re in-form, as it’s hard to have 4 lucky weeks.

I’d look towards the stats when seeing if a player’s regressing or whether he’s just been unlucky. A tough run of games may make an “in-form” player regress.

Bench boost chip in a single Gameweek a good strategy? 

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Simon (FPL Connect): 

I’ve seen many examples of people using their chips in single Gameweeks and getting really good scores, so it’s definitely possible, but nailing it at the right time is like trying to guess the right number on a Roulette table whereas, playing BB or any of the other chips in double Gameweeks is like playing Roulette for Red/Black, Odd/Even or the thirds.

The likelihood of a decent score is higher in the double Gameweeks, as they play twice – simple.

Even if your bench players all have good fixtures in a Gameweek, there’s no guarantee that they will score well. Often our bench players returns are completely random, but at least with a double Gameweek, you know for sure they will all get twice the number of appearance pts.

FPL Junior: 

Since the bench boost chip has been around, I’ve used it during a double gameweek every season. There’s pros and cons to using it during a DGW but in my opinion the pros outweigh the cons.

I’ve usually saved my second wildcard to create a XV to bench boost specifically. There’s a potential to have an extra 8 games by using it in a DGW compared to 4 in a SGW. The downside of a DGW bench boost is the higher chance of rotation due to the fixture congestion but that’s part and parcel of a DGW.

Hopping on and off a viable strategy for the big 4 (Hazard, Kane, Salah, Agüero)? 

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Simon (FPL Connect): 

I think this is a question that ultimately depends on your squad set up and the position you’re in. The hop on and hop off strategy is a luxury move.

Currently, I have numerous problems (David Silva, Mendy, no Liverpool players) to contend with and so my attention is focused on these things first. So I have to use the free transfers I have, to find the best solution to these problems before I can afford to make luxury moves such as hopping onto Kane and then hopping off again.

If you’re in a position where you have a couple of free transfers and don’t have any problems and the team looks set for the next 4/5 Gameweeks, then I think that strategy is viable, but if you have some problems to deal with, then deal with them first – your season won’t be won or lost in GW8.

FPL Junior: 

We are given 35 free transfers each season (assuming you use both wildcards) which isn’t massive. I see the “hop-on hop-off” strategy as a viable strategy if you use it a couple of times a season, at most.

The risk with the strategy is neglecting the rest of your team and the potential of being burnt when swapping premium players in and out. Premium assets usually perform in tough games too for example, bringing Kane in to captain him this week for Agüero and swapping him back for Agüero’s home game against Burnley in GW9 could pay off well.

The key part to this strategy is captaincy. You’re not only bringing in Kane and Agüero, you’re getting a captain and doubling their points.

Keep or sell Lucas Moura? 

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Simon (FPL Connect): 

Keep. Alli has been ruled out for roughly a month, so that should see Lucas safe for another 2 GWs at least. He’s at a great price and has 2 decent fixtures coming.

FPL Junior: 

Spurs have been hit with an injury crisis and are without Eriksen and Alli for Cardiff. I’d be keeping hold of him for this plum fixture even with those key players missing. Long term I’d be looking to move him on. I’d be looking to replace him with either in form Maddison or Richarlison who are great value in a similar price bracket to Lucas.

Can we keep relying on Agüero with Gabriel Jesus waiting in the wings and Pep, the rotation king, as manager? 

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Simon (FPL Connect): 

I think generally speaking, we can never know what to expect from Pep. I think over the course of the season, Agüero will continue to provide good value and will start ahead of Jesus, so long as he keeps his form up and does what Pep wants from him.

Having said that, the Christmas period is different, and chaotic – I can definitely see Jesus coming in for Agüero 2/3 times over that time. So I’m thinking of making a switch to Kane around then, which nicely coincides with Spurs’ beautiful run of fixtures.

FPL Junior: 

I have to agree – Agüero is Pep’s number 1 but there’s going to be a time when Agüero is rested. The Christmas fixture congestion always sees rotation and with a club like Man City in all 4 competitions, rotation is a given. You either stick with Agüero and ride it out or you go without.

The worst thing to do is constantly hop on, hop off. At this moment in time, Agüero’s having his minutes managed which isn’t ideal for owners, but it does help him to maintain these consistent starts. Unless injury hits one, we can’t expect to see either play 90 minutes week in, week out.

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