The November international break always seems like the longest. We’ve already had two significant interruptions to the schedule at this point in each season and this one already feels like enough already. Throw in that the days are getting shorter and the weather colder in many of the places the Premier League (or at least this column) is popular and that means fewer alternatives to sitting inside on a Saturday or Sunday and watching some football.
So, as we approach the Thanksgiving holiday here in the US, I’ll avoid the cliché of writing a long opening focused on all the things I, or fantasy managers, or Premier League fans in general should be thankful for (although Unai Emery and renewed hope at Arsenal is WAY up on that list if I were to write it down for you). I’ll keep it short by saying that we should all be thankful for the fact that we’re almost done with the last international break of the first half of the Premier League season and on the verge of a deluge of matches that will satiate even the most avaricious of fans (yeah, I used deluge and avaricious in the same sentence, what of it?).
I will also give you one more thing to be thankful for at this festive time of year, I’m going to keep the intro brief and get right to the discussion of players likely to be available on the waiver wire in your FPL Draft league.
To my mind, it is always a bit of a fool’s errand trying to predict too much about how managers will approach players returning from an international break. Certainly, the farther they are returning from, the more likely they are to either struggle for fatigue or be rotated against injury. That said, in nearly 20 years of fantasy PL I’ve not come across any hard and fast rules that should be followed. The right advice is to wait for the Friday press conferences and do your best to read the tea leaves based on what managers have to say. Beyond that, we go back to old reliable, the schedule, to start looking ahead to who will be worthy waiver wire choices:
- Callum Paterson – Cardiff City and attacking results have hardly barely seen the same sentence this season but Paterson has hit for 7, 7, 2, 12 over his last four matches. The Bluebirds’ next four matches are all mid-table or lower. Time to ride the hot hand.
- Salomon Rondon – Unlike Paterson, Rondon’s outburst looks much more like an anomaly as it accounted for exactly half of his season fantasy output to date. Newcastle do have a favorable schedule coming up so if you need a forward badly, he could hit, just harder to get as excited about him as Paterson.
- Lewis Dunk – If you need a defender to replace someone from say, Arsenal or Spurs who both have difficult schedules the next few weeks, then Dunk looks like a solid add given Albion’s upcoming schedule for the next four matches.
- Charlie Taylor – This is more about Burnley in general than Taylor specifically. Betting on a serious turnaround seems unreasonable but if there is going to be at least a brief resurgence then matches with Newcastle and Crystal Palace over the next two match weeks are as likely a time as any.
- Wolves Defenders – I’d imagine many of Wolves players who had been high fliers earlier in the season have been jettisoned as they struggled over the past few matches. Having watched them in person last weekend at the Emirates, they appear to have solved whatever their issues were and look ready to return to being defensive stalwarts. Oh yeah, the schedule gets light for the next two matches as well with Huddersfield Town and Cardiff City up next.
If I didn’t cover a player or trend you’re interested in knowing about, you can always find me on Twitter @nealjthurman and ask or put the question to the entire Rotoworld Premier League team @Rotoworld_PL.