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FPL: Five lessons learned from GW2

My name is Josh (@whatthebiggsee) and I’ve played FPL for the past four years. By no means am I an expert but I’m constantly learning. With that in mind I will be writing this weekly column for 90MAAT on 5 things we learned from an FPL perspective each game-week. Lets hope it helps me and you!

1. Goalonso rides again

Leading up to this season a lot of people had a lot to say about fantasy football favourite Marcos “Goalonso” Alonso.

Would he play or be replaced by Emerson? Rumours seemed to suggest he might be.

Would he be able to get forward as much under Sarri or play a more traditional left back role?

Would he match his previous season’s points totals?

All valid questions; a new manager can bring wholesale changes. Sarri doesn’t play with the wingbacks that Conte did, and because of that a lot of people had fears that Alonso wouldn’t fit. The defender excelled best as a winger and a few suggested he wasn’t actually good at defending and only worked when going forward.

Turns out we were wrong to fret, with 11 points in gameweek 1 and 13 in gameweek 2 the Chelsea man currently sits top of the points totals and with a run of Newcastle (A) Bournemouth (H) Cardiff (H) and West Ham (A) is it time to seriously consider investing the 6.5m into your defence to bring him in?

2. Kane scores in August

Harry Kane, Premier League one season wonder, Premier League golden boot winner, World Cup golden boot winner and allergic to goal scoring in August. 14 games, 988 minutes and 46 shots and 0 goals. Astounding isn’t it? From a fantasy perspective it normally leads to many managers avoiding him for the first few games despite any good fixtures be it due to superstition or the fact he often costs so much.

Then roll on Fulham, after the game on Saturday Kane stat’s for august stand at 15 games, 1065 minutes and 49 shots AND 1 WHOLE GOAL! He did it, the England man defied all expectations and scored against a team in August. He ended up on seven points due to receiving one bonus. Meanwhile the 3-1 win for Spurs showed us some other interesting bit of information. Trippier seems to be on set pieces, Eriksen is looking less like a fantasy asset worth 9.5m, and Lucas Moura could be a great asset playing up next to Kane.

With Kane, however, the 12.5m price tag makes it hard to get him in without either a huge amount of rearranging or a good amount of forward planning. I’m not saying rip your team up for Kane; the last game for them this month is away at Manchester United so not the easiest game by any stretch of the imagination. He is expensive and if you are desperate for him don’t let me stop you, but I would warn caution. If you had a plan to get him in after the United game maybe stick to it.

3. Agueroooooooo

Sergio Aguero. Man, myth, legend. The Argentinian is fantasy football royalty. The man scores goals for fun and once he gets rolling the points well and truly fly in.

He showed exactly why we all love him with a simply dazzling display against Huddersfield. Three goals, an assist and three bonus points led to a nice 20 point haul. The man is a hero quite frankly and all heroes have their villains, in this case the much-dreaded rotational nightmare. As discussed last week City love to shake their team up. Great for the team when you have the depth to do so: horrible for fantasy football managers.

This issue was fuelled when on Friday an article broke suggesting that Aguero could be dropped for Jesus as Pep wasn’t impressed. As you can imagine this caused quite a ruckus. There was a lot of debate all over.

There was a press embargo on part of the press conference – Pep spent the whole time telling everyone he hates Aguero and we will never see him play again. The article is true we can’t captain him and probably drop him.

He might start on the bench but come on to score – captain him he could score vs a tired Huddersfield defence.

As an Aguero captainer it was hard. I had faith and it paid off but I was very close to changing it several times and I don’t mind telling you leading up to the team news I was feeling incredibly nervous. Pep was understandably happy with Aguero after the game and it seems he will be firmly routed in the starting 11 for the foreseeable future. Pep roulette is real however as Sterling, Mahrez and Walker were all dropped to the bench for the game with Jesus, Kompany and David Silva coming in.

There is every chance one week Pep could see Aguero as replaceable and that’s just something you either have to live with or you don’t have players from the best team in the league. It’s a horrible decision to make but that’s where the fun can come from. You pick the right player and get 20 points you pick the wrong one and get one. Good luck to all playing the Pep roulette each week, may we all be rewarded with some points.

4. Clean sheets aren’t real

A defender is a cruel thing to own in FPL. How often have you got to the 80 minute mark with clean sheets intact only to have them cruelly ripped away by some nobody from Bournemouth? This, however, doesn’t put people off investing in players at the back. This week only 4/20 teams kept clean sheets. They were Cardiff, Newcastle, Leicester and Liverpool. Of those, Liverpool players are probably the only ones heavily invested in.

Now this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t own any defenders. As mentioned previously Alonso scored 13 this week. There were a few defenders scoring points without the clean sheets. Cook (14 points), Trippier (11 points) and Mendy (8 points) are notable worthwhile defenders.

It’s these sorts of weeks that make you believe wing-backs are the key to defender selection. The potential attacking returns of a marauding fullback heavily outweighs the clean sheet and bonus potential of the centre back. Robertson vs Van Djik an example of this, both started at 6.0m and despite Van Djik’s potential aerial threat, Robertson’s assist potential is just too good to pass up.

In my eyes three top tier wing backs is the way to go. Not a guarantee of points but hopefully slightly more reliable than the central defenders standing next to them

5. Early bandwagons to get you rolling

At the beginning of each season there are players who start well that soar in popularity and price. They might be hidden gems or previous superstars, either or they can help make or break your season.

If you jump on early and they keep up form great. You’ve got a high scoring player who’s going to keep rising and make you look like a genius. (Think Mahrez in 2015/16). If you avoid them for some reason or another, lack of faith in their abilities, too expensive, always seem to have some other problem to fix each week or just plain old stubbornness, not grabbing one of the rising stars of FPL can hurt you greatly.

This season is no exception with a fair few players popping up to steal the show early doors.

Richarlison – currently leading the transfers in with 752000. He is the joint third highest scoring player (23 points) and looks to be refreshed under Marco Silva. Many managers will remember his poor second half to the season and that may keep some wary of the Brazilian, but he looks a steal at 6.7m.

Mane – Not the Liverpool player many were hoping would explode this season. Having played second fiddle to Salah last season, many picked the Egyptian but it’s the Senegalese superstar who’s lighting up the Premier League so far this season. Currently the top scorer (26 points) and with 700000 transfers in so far and rising in price 3 times he’s a popular pick. I think many will see the appeal of a Salah to Mane trade to free up 3.2m. Whether the roles stay this way or Salah gets back on top remains to be seen. Either way Liverpool are terrific in attack and we will probably see lots of goals from both wide men.

Mendy – Last but not least on my list is the Manchester City full back, third in transfers in with 660000, with two price rises so far the 6.2 man looks to be an incredible asset for the season ahead. The joint third highest scoring player so far (23 points) and doesn’t look like slowing down with Manchester City’s good run of fixtures. Getting him in now could help propel you up the rankings both globally and in your mini leagues.

That’s only three of the top bandwagons a few honourable mentions are Alonso, Pedro, Aguero and Wan-Bissaka. If you are wildcarding and want to keep team value in mind looking at these early season performers may be a great way to do so.

Thanks for reading hope these lessons help you in the future!

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