FPL Community Questions: Talking Bruno, KDB, Salah, Sideways Transfers and Whether it’s Time to Lose Calvert-Lewin

Myself and Sport Psychologist FPL Raptor join forces to answer the community’s hottest FPL questions with regard to the upcoming Gameweek 11

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 contributors to team FPL Connect will provide you with our own answers.

This week I’m joined by FPL Raptor!

Screen Shot 2018-04-05 at 19.38.03

FPL Raptor is a sports Psychologist and PhD student who has a very keen interest in FPL. He has wowed the FPL community very quickly with some excellent mind bending threads and articles relating Psychological concepts and theories to FPL, in an attempt to help us maximise our performance in the game we all love.

You can find him on Twitter here >> https://twitter.com/FPL__Raptor

KDB or Riyad Mahrez?

Simon: Given that Mahrez didn’t make an appearance in the UCL tie last night, I would argue that move is the one this GW.

Long term, of course, we know KDB is the main man, but right now, City are really struggling in front of goal, with Sterling having not scored now since GW5 and only played 18 mins in the last two gameweeks.

It’s clear that Pep has lost a little faith in Raheem Sterling for the time being, and off the back of an excellent hat-trick against Burnley, I think we can expect Mahrez to get plenty of minutes in the near future and with the upcoming fixtures as good as they are, I think it’s the best value for money, even if it means the odd bench and sub appearance.

FPL Raptor: At the time of writing this, we now know that Mahrez was benched for the UCL game and did not make a substitute appearance either. He looks set to start GW11 (however, we never know with Pep!).

My personal opinion is that Mahrez should be seen as an addition to KDB. KDB will be at the heart of everything City do, and also is absolutely fantastic in games against the top 6 when he sits in that number 10 role. Penalties, corners, free kicks, assists, goals – KDB has such a wide array of ways to deliver points.

With Mahrez, you just never know if he is going to start, and once he gets onto the bench, Pep tends to keep him there. If you are a ‘high risk, high reward’ type of individual, I think Mahrez is an excellent punt and I do *think* he can be trusted with the armband against Fulham. In response to your question of who to choose, I would need to see your team, and know whether you still have the wildcard in play. At face value, I would say KDB in for a -4 hit, but I am not opposed to a punt on the Algerian.

Which two from KDB, Bruno Fernandes and Mo Salah?

Simon: This is an extremely tough one, with a lot of us having Vardy as our 3rd premium option at the moment, forcing us into this very difficult decision.

Based on what we’ve seen so far this season, I would argue Bruno and Salah are the ones to own out of those 3.

City’s form hasn’t been great this year in an attacking sense, and I’m not yet convinced, despite their 5-0 win v Burnley, that they’ve truly turned the corner. I still think they’re likely to struggle to dismantle teams consistently enough for KDB to match Bruno for value, without Aguero fully fit, which will take some time as Pep has already said, and with Raheem out of form, they’re having to rely on Jesus, Torres and Mahrez to score the goals, who can do it, but aren’t as reliable as Aguero.

Given, Mahrez is £8.3m, I think for the time being, he is a good way into the City attack without spending premium. Alternatively, if you really want KDB, then Jota could be the way into Liverpool’s attack. Either way, I think Bruno is 1st choice, given that he’s cheaper and even when United or even he, are playing bad, he still manages to get the points in.

FPL Raptor: I have just discussed this recently on a podcast with FPL Academica, and there are a few layers to this question. At face value, if I could only choose 2 for the entire season (irrespective of fixtures and price points), I would choose KDB and Salah without hesitation. They are priced as two of the most expensive assets in the game for a reason, and have been delivering on a consistent basis for a number of seasons.

However, I think that in current form, with the upcoming fixtures, and at the price point of £1.0m and £1.5m cheaper than KDB and Salah respectively, Bruno is probably the best asset in FPL at this current moment. He picks up points even when United lose and he plays poorly, and he truly is their talisman. I currently have KDB and Bruno in my team, and at this exact moment in time, I believe they are the best two to own. However, come GW12 Liverpool have a tasty run of fixtures, and I cannot see myself going without Mo Salah for long.

I suppose my overall advice would be to attempt to own all three. If you cannot own all three, I would currently opt for Bruno and KDB (maybe with Jota as a Liverpool asset), and look to move for Salah between GW12-14.

Best £4.5m GK?

Simon: Brachiosaurus. Right now his FPL style and nature matches that of a herbivore, cautious, not sure of his surroundings, rather than the carnivorous killer he’s currently professing himself to be.

In regards to the best 4.5m GK, I would say Sam Johnstone is the best to go for. He’s shown himself to be a very good goalkeeper and WBA have looked better defensively in the last 5 GWs, only conceding 5 goals and play Palace, Newcastle, Villa and Leeds in the next six.

Slight caveat here is that WBA are still conceding a lot of chances and shots, but this means Johnstone will make a lot of saves, currently tied top of the pile for saves on 44 with Darlow. If they can knick a clean sheet then that’s where the big hauls lie.

I’ll add, that I don’t think it’s worth taking Martinez out as it’s only going to be 1 GW and the GK has the lowest ceiling of any player in the game. I would focus the free transfer on an outfield player unless you have absolutely nothing else you can do.

FPL Raptor: Firstly, I would probably be a duck. I love ducks. Failing that, I would probably be a bear… a dancing bear (if you know, you know).

With respect to the best £4.5m goalkeeper, my advice would be that the best goalkeeper is the one you already own. Even if this is Martinez who has let you down recently and will blank in GW11, I would still keep him – especially with the upcoming fixtures.

Doing the ‘hokey cokey’ with goalkeepers is not only a waste of valuable free transfers, but almost always backfires. Those that removed McCarthy for Martinez on an early wildcard (GW4-6) probably regret doing so, and in my own experience removing Pope before his incredible run of clean sheets last season was met with similar regret. If you own McCarthy, Martinez, Meslier, Johnstone, Areola or Ryan, I would probably just keep them (especially the former three).

If you really want to remove Martinez, or you are on a wildcard, my top 2 choices would be McCarthy and Meslier. McCarthy has been unbelievably consistent, and is beginning to add save points and bps to his impressive number of clean sheets. Meslier, however, has outscored McCarthy by 1 point so far, and is £0.1m cheaper. He also tends to make many more saves than McCarthy, so has potential for those wonderful 11 and 12 point hauls. Personally, I would say McCarthy closely followed by Meslier.

I hope that helps your friend, Pingreen ;).

Bench Boost in a single GW?

Simon: Obviously with the Newcastle – Villa match being cancelled, this now isn’t a possibility, but in general, I wouldn’t ever advise someone to BB in a single GW unless there were no double gameweeks left.

There has obviously been great uses of chips in single gameweeks, Bench boost included, and sometimes it can work a treat, but you have to play the percentages. You have to give yourself, at all times, the best possible chance of scoring the most amount of points, and that typically lies in double gameweeks.

The opportunity for all of your bench players to play 2 games in a gameweek is too good for me to pass up no matter how good your bench looks for a single GW.

But at the end of the day, it is your team, and you need to play your game. If you have a real strong gut feeling about something, I would never advise going against that. That’s where the fun lies in FPL!

FPL Raptor: *I assume the Newcastle vs. Villa game being cancelled will have removed this possibility for you, but we can discuss it nonetheless.*

Taken at face value, I do not believe that a bench boost played in a single gameweek is a bad idea at all. HOWEVER, I personally would rather hedge my bets with a double gameweek, especially if you can wildcard shortly before the double. I have seen many successful single gameweek bench boosts, but if you want the opportunity for an incredible haul off your bench, you would need to wait for a double gameweek.

Realistically, with your bench boost used in a single gameweek, you are probably looking at around 15-25 points best case scenario. In a double gameweek, I do not think a score of 30+ from your bench is unreasonable if you can load up on the correct players. That being said, if your gut feeling is to use it this gameweek, and you would be happy with an additional 10-20 points, I don’t see why not!

The last thing to consider (which sometimes will go under the radar) is whether you have a playing second keeper. If not, you are losing out on any potential points from one of your four bench players.

Best forward to compliment DCL/Bamford up to £8m?

Simon: Kane is an easy out for the time being. Pick him back up when the fixtures turn again. I still expect him to score points in this difficult period, but not as many as KDB/Bruno/Salah.

Given the postponement of the Villa – Newcastle game, I would probably hold fire on Callum Wilson. His 3 fixtures from GW12 are terrific, and he’s in top form, but GW15 and 16 bring City and Liverpool.

He’s still a great option, but I would maybe look at Michail Antonio now he’s back. He demonstrated at the start of this year, that he could still be good value despite very tough fixtures, scoring against Leicester, City and Arsenal before his injury. So the upcoming fixtures I don’t think would be a problem for him if he can get match fit quickly.

FPL Raptor: Quickly answering your first question, I would lose Kane for now, and get him back in for GW16 onwards as his fixtures turn starting with Fulham on 30th December.

I think if I owned DCL and Bamford I would probably have my third striker as one of Adams/Antonio. Adams seems to be ticking over nicely, but I suppose with the return of Danny Ings it would be interesting to see how that affects him. Antonio is a fan favourite and absolutely amazing to own on his day, it is just whether he can find his form again quickly, as he did not look quite ready against Villa on Monday. Either way, they are both incredible value around the £6.0m mark, which would leave you with £2.0m to spend in the midfield.

I think Watkins and Wilson are great options with brilliant fixtures, but their blank in GW11 may prevent you from moving for one of them. In order I would personally say Wilson > Adams > Antonio > Watkins.

Time to jump off Calvert-Lewin after GW11?

Simon: This is a difficult one. It’s personally not something I have thought about, having owned DCL since GW1.

Having said that, Everton’s creativity has really dried up in the last 5 GWs. They’ve only created 7 big chances in their last 5, and rank 14th for xG (5.47). With difficult fixtures on the horizon and Lucas Digne out, it’s hard to see that getting much better.

I think if you’re using money from DCL to fund a move for Bruno/Salah/City player, then I think it could be worth it provided you’re not taking copious amounts of hits to do so. I don’t think we should be stubborn in holding a player just because he’s done really well for us. If you really think his points are about to dry up, then you should remove him.

I will likely hold him, as right now, I have other fires to deal with, and I want to see if they can improve their form, as they still have Richarlison, and James Rodriguez pulling the strings, which is enough for DCL to still return some points.

FPL Raptor: I think perhaps pay more attention to Simon’s answer here, as I am shamefully a non-owner for the entirety of the season thus far. Having said that, surprisingly perhaps, I would say no – I would keep him! So far this season, DCL has returned against Spurs, Man United and Liverpool. In fact, his only two blanks have been against Leeds and Southampton (“easier” fixtures).

I hate to say players are fixture proof, but you do expect Everton to keep scoring despite the tricky games, and if they do, DCL will probably be involved in one way or another!

If you were jumping off, I would go for Wilson as he has a nice run of fixtures from GW12 onwards and the extra funds could come in handy.

If on Wildcard, which players to focus on moving forward?

Simon: I think you’ve identified the 3 main premium options that everyone wants and on the face of it, it looks very good. You have the sought after premium options with some very nice budget choices to supplement.

Robertson in there is also good as it’s the highest price point and will allow you to move to any defender in the game and it might be that he, and Liverpool, get back to their defensive solidity at some point despite all their injuries.

The only thing I would say with wildcarding is that the structure of your team is key. As it is right now, it’s very middle heavy. I’m typically an advocate of spreading the funds as equally as possible for balance. For example, I think Jota and Mahrez are likely to be better value than Salah/KDB for the next 5/6 GWs, but it’s what else you could do with that money. Just something to think about.

As long as you have a plan in place to move to a premium striker here, I think you’re good to go.

FPL Raptor: When I wildcard I am very interested in flexibility. Yes I think that at this current time budget forward options are matching the premium strikers, but with Vardy’s current fixtures, and Kane’s GW16 onwards fixtures, I would like the ability to make that switch more easily than your current set-up would allow you to. That being said, I suppose all it would take is a double transfer to downgrade a premium midfield option and upgrade to a premium striker.

Due to the flexibility previously mentioned, having Robertson at the back is a great shout. I also think one mid-price option such as Chilwell/James/Dias is good to have for the same reason, but perhaps two limits the options in midfield and attack. I would personally be looking at one of Ayling/Dallas on a WC, along with Lamptey, finishing with one cheap playing defender (Lewis/Kilman).

In midfield I would make sure to have KDB, Salah and Fernandes, but with the addition of a premium striker this might not allow the likes of Grealish, Mahrez, or Son. Instead, it may have to be a Jota/Torres alongside a £4.5m midfielder.

The wildcard team attached in the original tweet looks excellent to me, I would just have a plan to get Kane in ready for GW16 onwards.

Thoughts on “sideways transfers” – fine or not fine?

Simon: I honestly have never understood the whole “sideways transfer” concept. Every player in the team has their own potential to score points depending on their role, their ability and their form. Now, okay, 2 CBs in some teams, may have identical points potential, and that could be considered a sideways move.

But if we’re talking Mane > Salah or Sterling > KDB as you’ve suggested above, their roles, their ability and their form are completely different.

My advice would be to ignore anyone telling you no, using “it’s a sideways transfer”, as a justification to a transfer like the ones you’ve suggested above. You need to weigh up their ability, their role in the team and their form yourself and make a decision as to their comparative points potential for the period you intend to own them.

FPL Raptor: I do not think there is necessarily such thing as a sideways transfer – each player is an individual, and even if they are playing in the same team, they can have very different returns. In answer to your question, the reason for this is that historically players like Salah vs. Mane will score very similarly across the season, and therefore using 4 points worth of transfer could backfire, as it is often hard to catch when each of the players will perform. For example, if Mane blanks four games in a row, and Salah scores six goals over that period, switching to Salah might be considered sideways as you expect Mane to start firing soon and Salah’s rate of return to drop off.

I assume in this case the reason you are asking is that you are considering Sterling to KDB, which this season is most definitely not a sideways move. Not only has Sterling been an awful FPL asset according to underlying statistics and the eye test, but he appears to have falling out of favour with Pep. KDB is finding form and will play 90 minutes in almost every Premier League game this season. For me, that move is not sideways, and is quite an easy decision.

What to do with Hakim Ziyech?

Simon: Ziyech is an easy hold for me. Having got him myself and watched his recent performances, I still believe he represents good value for money and expect him to return points again from this coming GW.

The upcoming fixtures are still pretty good, and over the last 5 GWs, he ties with Bruno Fernandes, KDB and Grealish for big chances created (4).

His goal threat isn’t great, with only 7 shots and 2 coming inside the area over that same period, but he is very much the chief creator for Chelsea right now and has does have a credible goal threat from range too.

I would hold for now and re-assess next GW.

FPL Raptor: I personally would hold Ziyech, but my motto and method this season has been to hold when in doubt. I have been doing it perhaps too much with the likes of TAA (sold a couple of GWs ago) and Werner (still in my team since GW1), but I only transfer players out if there is an incredible option at a similar price, or I am completely unhappy with the player.

For me, Ziyech looks incredibly dangerous every time he cuts in on that left foot, and he looks to be viewed in a very positive light by Frank Lampard. With him being on most set pieces, and being the only natural right winger at the club, I would suggest keeping him for at least the Leeds game.

However, it does depend on who you would be selling him for. If it is a punt such as Mahrez, I would probably avoid for now and hold Ziyech. However, a long-term option such as Grealish (minus the GW11 blank) would probably be a smart transfer. Ultimately, you need to consider who is coming in, and whether you expect them to outscore Ziyech over the period you intend to hold them.

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