It’s always difficult to try to regroup after an international break. Although just two weeks separate Gameweek 12 and 13, it seems like we’ve lost that rhythm and plan-ahead mentality afforded by the weekly fantasy grind. Week 13 has that feeling of cramming for an exam after just returning from spring break.
Now to the elephant in the room: Dimitri Payet. In Fantasy Premier League, expect Mesut Ozil’s price to skyrocket as owners switch out one stellar midfielder for another. In draft-style leagues, don’t count on Payet being released since he’s due back in February. Instead, there are some other options out there that can fill some of his void for cheap.
Still new to this column, I’ve decided to quickly review the picks of the previous week as I think it’s important to stay accountable. Looking back on Week 12, I can stand by Jordan Veretout, who received his first start in more than a month. It’s only a matter of time before he starts creating goals.
Meanwhile, Nathan Ake should continue to be a long-term buy despite Watford losing to Leicester—it was only the third time the club has conceded more than one goal. Joel Campbell has turned out to be the epitome of a one-week buy with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Aaron Ramsey due back while Dele Alli held his own against Arsenal and will now benefit from a lighter schedule.
Last bit of bargain advice for this week, don’t take too many risks in terms of bargain hunting this week. With multiple players out with long-term injuries, it’s best to wait a week and see who comes in and what formation changes take place. The last thing you want to do is waste a transfer/waiver selecting an obvious replacement only to see him sit the bench.
Without much more delay, here are the bargains of Week 13. I’m welcoming all suggestions and debates on Twitter (@gastelumEPL) and hopefully I can include your thoughts here in this column.
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 – Brad Guzan (Aston Villa)
Two American keepers in two weeks? Yeah, but it’s not because I’m biased. With Remi Garde settling in, I’m taking the Kevin Garnett, anything is possible route after recording a clean sheet against Manchester City. I’m considering Guzan a long-term buy as a backup keeper (priced at £4.4 in FPL and available in about 60 percent of Fantrax leagues), considering Aston Villa only faces one team from last season’s top six in the next 13 matches. Sure, Villa only has two clean sheets this season, but Garde has shown that he will emphasize defense and solidarity in midfield. And with this schedule, the goose eggs are sure to come.
DEF – Danny Rose (Spurs)
This is a pick more suited toward FPL and weekly salary cap leagues as Fantrax says Rose is available in only 27 percent of draft leagues. Against West Ham minus Payet, I expect Spurs to show their worth at home with the chances of a clean sheet promising. Rose has three assists in his last three league matches and looks to have taken back the starting left-back spot from Ben Davies, making him a long-term buy with attacking potential.
DEF – Dejan Lovren (Liverpool)
Lovren may have taken some heat last season for his dreadful performances, but this is my favorite pick of the week. While he may not be best for a weekly salary cap system like DraftKings, Lovren is a great bargain in both FPL-style and draft leagues. At just £4.9 in FPL, he’s a cheap way into the Liverpool defence in the absence of Mamadou Sakho, and he’s available in half of all Fantrax leagues. While I said it’s best to wait for most injury replacements, Lovren is too good to pass up as he looks to impress under Jurgen Klopp.
MID – Jesse Lingard (Manchester United)
There’s a lack of cheap midfield talent this week as we wait on some injury replacements, but Lingard is a great one-week buy for weekly salary cap leagues with unlimited transfers. He could even turn into a short-term buy if he builds on his first goal and first England call-up as Louis van Gaal has placed more emphasis on youth in his second year at Manchester United. The 22-year-old was Man of the Match against West Brom in Week 12 and that bodes well for a low-risk, high-reward pick.
FWD – Andy Carroll (West Ham)
Carroll is another solid one-week to short-term buy that could pay off in the absence of Payet while we wait on the status of Diafra Sakho. If you’re set on forwards, I wouldn’t go out of your way for Carroll, but he will surely take more of the attacking responsibility in the coming weeks and is available in most Fantrax leagues if you need some firepower. As long as he stays away from injury, Carroll could turn out to be a steal.
FPL SELL OF THE WEEK:
FWD – Sergio Aguero (Manchester City)
Let me make this clear right away, I’m not suggesting you sell Aguero if you somehow still have him in FPL. What I’m really saying by this is I’m selling the idea of bringing Aguero into your team this week. News will probably break later this week saying he is in contention for the weekend, but after missing so much time, Manuel Pellegrini likes to ease his players into action. Even if he does start (still unlikely even after considering Wilfried Bony is also recovering from injury), it makes sense that Aguero will still need time to find his rhythm, much like all of us returning to our fantasy teams after an international break.