Thanks in part to Leicester City’s nine goals on Friday, we were witness to 38 goals this weekend in the Premier League with only four clean sheets, which further fortifies the odd trend away from defensive points in Fantasy Premier League this season. In formats like the original FPL.com and other salary cap leagues, it’s an easier thing to fix. In FPL Draft, things get a little more difficult when you have to go through the waiver wire while waiting on your second-round defender pick to start earning his keep.
Regarding last week’s picks: Manchester City defender John Stones earned a clean sheet and midfielder Harvey Barnes recorded two assists as part of Leicester’s Friday night rout of Southampton. Meanwhile, recent picks like Nathan Ake and Çaglar Soyuncu eac notched clean sheets while Neal Maupay and Luka Milivojevic each scored and recorded three bonus points.
Without further delay, here are the bargain hits and misses ahead of Gameweek 11. I’m welcoming all suggestions and debates on Twitter (@gastelumEPL)— I would love to include your thoughts here in this column next week and throughout the season. If you don’t want your name mentioned, just let me know; otherwise, I’ll be sure to give your Twitter handle a shout-out.
All of the stats used in this column come straight from the good folks at Fantasy Premier League on a weekly basis. Our friends at FPL.com take the data from a thousand private leagues, all of which consist of eight teams, in order to minimize the impact of data from public leagues where autopick drafting is more prevalent.
Of course, it’s just a sample size, so it’s not hard and fast; but it should give us a good idea of the tendencies of FPL Draft leagues and managers. Remember, the waivers deadline is a full 24 hours before the first game of the week, and the lowest-placed team in your league gets the first pick.
One-week Pick (OWP) - When a regular is suspended for a match, ineligible to face his parent club as a loanee, or his fill-in looks to deputize for only a week while the regular nurses a minor injury, this is where to find some replacements. They should only be looked at when you really need help at a position that week alone, and not looked at as long term plays. Best for salary cap leagues with unlimited transactions, not so much for draft leagues.
Short-term Pick (STP) - When a regular faces a multi-game suspension, an injury layoff lasting 2-5 weeks, international commitment, etc., this is where you look for players that can offer more beyond one week but do have a limited shelf life in most cases. Worth using a waiver claim or spending a bit more of your free agent budget (FAAB) than the One Week Buys. Can be useful in salary-cap format as long as you are comfortable with possibly needing to transfer them out in a few weeks.
Long-term Pick (LTP) - When a regular is either facing a month or more out or has lost his spot seemingly to someone better, these are the players that emerge as potential long-term investments and are therefore the most valuable of the group and worth paying up. Great for any format, but especially valuable in draft leagues with limited waiver claims.
GK – Tim Krul (Norwich City)
I nearly recommended Tim Krul last week as my bargain keeper only to get spooked by the looming match against Manchester United with the schedule opening up the week after. So I figured I would let the weekend pass and then jump on Krul this week, only to see the Dutchman save two penalties and record 16 points, despite losing 3-1 to validate my original concerns. But outside of my own personal record as Bargain Hunter, it doesn’t change much as Krul is only taken in 2.8 percent of FPL Draft leagues and was started in just 0.4 percent of leagues over the weekend. But one look at the club’s upcoming schedule should have you interested.
Through Boxing Day, Norwich can do some serious damage in avoiding relegation if they find that early season form against the likes of Brighton, Watford, Everton, Arsenal, Southampton, Sheffield United, Leicester City, Wolves and Aston Villa. The only minor concern is that Norwich manager Daniel Farke confirmed Krul is nursing a knee problem, so you may want to wait until the club’s pre-match press conference to see if it’s Krul or Michael McGovern in goal for the Canaries. Regardless, the Norwich keeper is one of only five keepers under the 50 percent ownership mark in FPL Draft leagues and looks like an asset on the bench in the coming months.
DEF – Daryl Janmaat (Watford)
While every team in the Premier League has won at least two games, Watford remain bottom with five draws and five losses, but no wins. While it may seem strange to recommend a defender from a last-place club that is winless heading into November, I assure you that defense isn’t Watford’s problem since the return of new/old manager Quique Sanchez Flores. With captain Troy Deeney still sidelined by injury, the club has scored five goals this entire season while only conceding one goal in the last three weeks. After the infamous 8-0 loss to Manchester City earlier this year, it seems that Flores has focused on fixing the leaks in defense before anything else.
And that has earned the club some positive results with two clean sheets in the last three weeks and a renewed role for Daryl Janmaat. The Dutch international and former Newcastle man has recorded 27 points in those three games, including three clean sheets (he was subbed off before Tottenham’s late goal in Gameweek 9), an assist and six bonus points to boot. While we can’t expect Janmaat to have another eight-assist season like his debut 2014/15, the fullback has shown he can be an attacking weapon off your FPL Draft bench in the next two months.
MID – Ayoze Pérez (Leicester City)
It seems that every year, Ayoze Pérez goes through a massive slump until a breakthrough performance forces the floodgates open and puts him on every fantasy manager’s radar. Well, mark it two years in a row now that Perez has managers scrambling following a hat-trick, which came on Friday night in a record-setting 9-0 drubbing of Southampton at the St. Mary’s. The three goals and two bonus points opened his scoring account at Leicester and earned him 20 points, but it appears that most missed out on the haul as only 37 percent of FPL Draft managers started the Spaniard.
That’s mostly because Perez hasn’t had the easiest time breaking into the starting lineup since the move from Newcastle, where he looked like a must-have fantasy pick as a midfielder lining up at forward. But with James Maddison, Harvey Barnes and others fighting for similar roles, Perez struggled in Brendan Rodgers’ system until finally striking gold. Now, at just 44 percent ownership in our latest sample of FPL Draft leagues, this will be the last week you’ll have a chance to pick Perez off the waiver wire with his numbers surely rising above the 60/70 percent mark by this time next week. Don’t be shocked if someone beats you to him, but if you don’t manage to get Perez it’ll be a steal.
FWD – Lys Mousset (Sheffield United)
This is more of a “put him on your radar” post than a “go get him now at all costs” mandate, which is rare when it comes to forwards. But Lys Mousset has been quietly setting himself up to be a bona fide starter for Chris Wilder at Sheffield United. Despite making only one start and not playing more than 60 minutes in a league match, Mousset is the club’s leading scorer with three goals this season at a rate of a goal every 65 minutes. The forward struggled to find time at Bournemouth and looked to be set for a minor bench role at Sheffield United only to make the most of his playing time with goals in back-to-back games.
Surely this has earned him a start against Burnley this weekend and in the near future. It’s remarkable that Mousset has not seen more starting time given the fact that only two clubs, both in the bottom four, have scored less than Sheffield United’s nine goals while the Blades sit comfortably in eighth place. Since he’s taken in only two percent of FPL Draft leagues, it would be smart to keep Mousset on your watchlist, unless you are desperate for a third striker, to see if he earns more playing time (which he will) before making the move as he should become the club’s No. 1 choice at forward in no time.