There goes my first week as the Bargain Hunter; now I feel like a veteran. Well, not quite. Of my first picks, Jonny Evans was the only one that paid serious dividends last weekend. But I still think Jack Butland, Bojan and Martin Olsson will still be worth it as the season progresses.
There’s no way too many folks predicted the debacle that was a 0-0 draw in the Manchester derby, but it just proves to always think twice before benching your top defenders, even up against the strongest opposition.
Meanwhile, the Fantasy Premier League dream team was composed of mostly bargain picks in Week 10. We’re talking about Almen Abdi, Mousa Dembele, Costel Pantilimon, Christian Fuchs and the big surprise of the week: Billy Jones (among four Sunderland players). But only one member of the dream makes my list of bargain picks this week.
Luckily for your draft-style or salary cap league, most people probably don’t have any Sunderland players in their teams outside of Jeremain Lens and maybe Pantilimon. But don’t worry, I have two in my list to make sure you jump onto that bandwagon early.
Don’t forget to send me your thoughts on my latest bargains on Twitter (@gastelumEPL) and ideas on the player you think is the next biggest bargain for next week’s column. I would love to include your suggestions below.
One Week Buys (OWB) - 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.
Short-term Buys (STB) - 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 Fantasy Premier League format as long as you are comfortable with possibly needing to transfer them out in a few weeks.
Long-term Buys (LTB) - 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 considerable FAAB for. Great for any format, but especially valuable in the FPL.com game.
GK - Heurelho Gomes (Watford)
While Gomes may be owned in 62.5 percent of leagues, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t check on his availability. I still consider him a bargain at any rate, even in FPL where he is only priced at £4.6 despite being the second highest point-getter among goalkeepers. The former Spurs keeper has recorded four clean sheets this season and the best part about him is Watford’s upcoming schedule (excluding Manchester United), which features West Ham, Leicester, United, Aston Villa, Norwich and Sunderland before the festive period. The potential for clean sheets—and the fact that only four teams have conceded less goals than Watford—makes him a great short-term buy and a solid long-term solution at keeper.
DEF - Danny Simpson (Leicester City)
Now here is a really sneaky short-term buy for draft and salary cap leagues, who just happens to be the cheapest player in all of FPL at £3.9. Simpson has started at right-back for Leicester in the last three matches and is owned in just 4.8 percent of leagues. He seems to have wrestled the starting job away from Ritchie de Laet and Leicester are set up nicely to turn its first clean sheet of the season (did someone say pizza party?) into a nice little run. That’s because West Brom, Watford and Newcastle are all up next before the schedule turns absolutely brutal. Simpson could be a good, cheap choice to have on the bench as long as he remains the starting right-back.
DEF - Ramiro Funes Mori (Everton)
A one-week buy that became a short-term buy before quickly becoming a long-term buy, Funes Mori is the next man in at center-back for Everton due to Phil Jagielka’s knee injury, which is expected to keep him out for two months. The Argentine is owned by just 14 percent of leagues and is valued at a steady £5.5 in FPL, which is worth the price when you look at Everton’s upcoming run of fixtures. From now until the new year, the Toffees have nine fixtures—none of which against last season’s top eight. That’s going to be harvesting season for the Everton defense, despite the loss of Jagielka, and the crop will be clean sheets.
MID - Yann M’Vila (Sunderland)
In FPL, no midfielder £5.0 or under has more points than M’Vila with his goal and three assists. That alone, makes him an excellent bench option: He’s cheap, is a reliable starter and is not injury-prone. In draft leagues, not much changes. He could be a good one-week buy at any point this season if you’re looking to fill a gap with someone who is guaranteed a start and who often takes free-kicks from an attacking position.
FWD - Steven Fletcher (Sunderland)
There are two types of fantasy managers: The one who goes on with his or her fantasy life in bliss and picks the top, most reliable forwards and the one who sees the upside in Fletcher and then gets burned when he or she should have just spent a little bit more money. But let me try to convince you this is the time for Fletcher. The forward has started the last three matches for Sunderland and looks to be Sam Allardyce’s solution to the club’s attacking woes. Owned by 40 percent of leagues and priced at £5.0 in FPL, Fletcher is widely available after just recording a goal and assist against Newcastle. While I still consider him a short-term buy, Fletcher has the track record to turn into a long-term solution. With the Scottish international, it’s low-risk and high-reward: my kind of bargain.
SELL OF THE WEEK:
FWD - Harry Kane (Spurs)
Welcome back to our newest feature, where last week I tried to convince you not to buy the hype around Raheem Sterling after a hat-trick, which, in hindsight, looks to be the right call. Well now I’m here to tell you not to select Kane for your fantasy team (unless he is available on a waiver wire). It’s great to see Kane get back to his scoring ways after a hat-trick against Bournemouth, but I’d wait to see before you end up spending too much money (£9.2 in FPL) on a forward who scored as many goals on Sunday that he did from April to October. Kane will surely feel less pressure to score now, but there are plenty of better options who are cheaper and in better form while you wait for Sergio Aguero to return.