Budget Enablers in FPL: Gameweek 23

This weekly article profiles budget FPL players that you may wish to consider for selection in your squads when looking to enable funds to be spent elsewhere in your team.

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Goalkeeper – Alex McCarthy (£4.4m) vs Wolves (H)

As the cheapest FPL keeper with regular playing time, McCarthy has always been of some interest but that has now ratcheted up with Southampton having the second lowest figures for xGA (10.84) in the league across the previous eleven games. They are only behind Liverpool.

The Englishman has only kept two clean sheets during that mixed fixture run but his eight save points ensure he is of good value. Lukasz Fabianski and, possibly, Aaron Ramsdale owners would be hard pressed to look away from the Saints stopper because he will free up much needed cash ahead of the Liverpool triple-up in Gameweek 24.

With just 2.1% ownership, he has just one hard fixture on paper (Liverpool in Gameweek 25) in his next eight. Encouragingly, all their four home opponents sit in the league’s bottom eight across the previous three away games for xG. With the Southampton line-up seeming so settled right now, McCarthy will be hopeful of adding further to his clean sheet tally.

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Defender – Craig Cathcart (£4.3m) vs Spurs (H)

This writer purchased the Northern Irishman ahead of the last gameweek and immediately benefited from Watford’s latest clean sheet. With doubts over the future minutes of Diego Rico and Martin Kelly, the 30 year old represents a suitable replacement in excellent defensive form.

There are a myriad of options in the Watford defence (including Ben Foster) right now but I believe that Cathcart is the best one as his centre-back position reduces his rotation risk ahead of the midweek Gameweek 24 and he is the second cheapest defender.

Since Nigel Pearson took over, Watford sit joint-second in the league for the least amount of goals conceded (four) with three clean sheets to boot. With 2.1% ownership, he is a differential budget option who can be benched this weekend but come into contention for three consecutive games against Aston Villa (a), Everton (H) and Brighton (a).

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Forward – Mason Greenwood (£4.3m) vs Liverpool (A)

With a goal in each of his last three home matches, the precocious talent is slowly cementing his status as the best third striker option for those only looking to play two up front.

The Englishman’s form comes at a time when Marcus Rashord needs any sort of break and funds are much needed for the Liverpool triple-up, particularly for those looking to own both Sadio Mané and Mohamed Salah.

Although he should not yet be replied upon for regular starts, FPL managers would be wise to keep an eye on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s comments on the fitness of Rashford. He has been used relentlessly this season and is seemingly being substituted to rest whenever possible as we saw in the second half of Saturday’s demolition of Norwich City.

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