It was a strange weekend in the Premier League. There were only three clean sheets, all recorded by teams outside of the top nine. Two teams (Huddersfield Town and Newcastle) recorded their first wins of the season. And a 1-1 draw between Arsenal and Liverpool left us about 12 goals short of what we expected from that matchup.
Of last week’s bargain picks, no one put up outstanding numbers over the weekend, but Ross Barkley remains an extremely hot pick, going from 58 percent ownership in FPL Draft leagues to more than 80 in just one week. However, recent bargain picks like Erik Lamela, Johann Berg Gudmundsson, Anthony Martial and Callum Wilson each scored goals.
More on Barkley: I received an interesting query last week from @Jeremywiise asking if he should switch out James Maddison for Ross Barkley. Form says yes as the Leicester midfielder hasn’t contributed to a goal in the last four matches while Barkley has been on fire. However, Chelsea’s depth should concern Barkley owners while Maddison remains at the core of Leicester’s operations. Tough call, can’t go wrong either way.
Without further delay, here are the bargain hits and misses ahead of Gameweek 12. 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.
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 – Jonas Lossl (Huddersfield Town)
Huddersfield Town goalkeeper Jonas Lossl, who was one of the big fantasy surprises of last season after starting the year with three straight clean sheets, has seen just about the opposite season this year. He didn’t even enter the year as the Terriers’ starter after losing out to Ben Hamer and seeing his ownership take a massive hit. But since a Hamer injury early in the year, Lossl has regained his starting role in the last eight matches and now looks to a favorable schedule to turn around the season after their first win, a 1-0 win and clean sheet against Fulham on Monday.
Already having faced four of the top-six teams in the Premier League, David Wagner’s side will look to turn the momentum of their first win into a win streak with West Ham, Wolves, Brighton, and Bournemouth due up in the next month. If you’re still unsure about Huddersfield as a team, you can afford to wait as Lossl is owned in just 15 percent of our latest sample of FPL Draft leagues. So if you need a consistent backup keeper for the short term, through mid-January, Lossl is worth a look.
DEF – Ben Chilwell (Leicester City)
I like Chilwell as my pick of the week after his man-of-the-match performance in a 1-0 win against Cardiff City, where he recorded 12 points including a clean sheet, an assist and three bonus points. The young left-back checks all of the boxes for a quality fourth defender, starting with reliability: Chilwell has played all 90 minutes in every league match this season. He also poses a bit of an attacking threat with two assists in the last three weeks. And Chilwell is widely available in FPL Draft leagues, where he is taken in only 36 percent.
But lastly and most importantly, Leicester City’s upcoming schedule points to a couple of clean sheets in the near future with Burnley, Brighton, Watford and Fulham in the next four gameweeks. While I would check to make sure Harry Maguire and Ricardo Pereira are not available in your FPL Draft leagues first, Chilwell represents a solid addition to any defense given his form and the upcoming fixture list.
DEF – Federico Fernandez (Newcastle)
Don’t look now but Newcastle is starting its annual “Don’t panic, we’ve got enough to scrape by” routine. The Magpies finally earned their first win of the season in a 1-0 win over Watford this weekend, but more importantly the club earned its second straight clean sheet, signaling a more focused defensive approach. And here’s why that’s so important: Bournemouth, Burnley, West Ham, Everton, Wolverhampton, Huddersfield Town and Fulham all lead up to Christmas Day, and Rafa Benitez will have clean sheets on his mind.
I would normally recommend Jamaal Lascelles, the team captain, defensive leader and more likely recipient of bonus points, but he is an injury doubt ahead of the weekend. Keep an eye n his status but Fernandez is not a bad replacement who is available in virtually every FPL Draft league out there. But if you’re looking for a goalkeeper, check out Martin Dubravka as well to take advantage of that Newcastle schedule.
MID – Felipe Anderson (West Ham)
It’s starting to come together for the new West Ham signings, and Felipe Anderson is the perfect example of that. The summer arrival from Lazio has scored all three of his Premier League goals in the last five matches, including a two-goal, two-bonus-point showing this weekend in a 4-2 win against Burnley. And one look at the Hammers’ upcoming schedule will show you a bunch of green tags through New Year’s Day with only Manchester City as a daunting matchup in the next 10 games.
The only problem is Felipe Anderson’s availability: The attacking midfielder is available in only 32 percent of our sample of FPL Draft leagues, so check right away to see if you can still add him off the waiver wire. But adding a midfielder with his attacking potential, especially as a fourth or fifth midfielder, is a difficult thing to pass up.