I’m just going to go ahead and say it. Because I’m feeling really good about these picks, I’m ready to call this one for you: This will be my best week yet. I know it’s a move that ranks just between Babe Ruth calling his shot at Wrigley and Matt Hasselbeck guaranteeing victory at a coin flip, but you can count on it.
Last week was a bit of a struggle defensively with Wayne Hennessey giving up one goal and Stoke City surprisingly getting shut out by Sunderland, which we will get to later. So maybe the moral of the story is you should pay more attention to my offensive suggestions, after all most fantasy games are based on these statistics.
On the attacking side, my bargains put together a goal and three assists, not bad for a bunch of overlooked picks. Connor Wickham looks like a solid buy with long-term potential with his two assists as the former Sunderland man completely changed the formerly one-dimensional look of the Palace attack.
Then there was Joshua King adding an assist (but we have an even better Bournemouth bargain lined up this week) and Shane Long putting my one-week buy suggestion to the test before scoring a goal after filling in for Graziano Pelle.
In terms of bargain picks in the FPL Dream Team, Odion Ighalo continues to rip apart opposing defences (eight goals, four assists!) while DeAndre Yedlin earned his Sunderland stripes with a sparkling performance.
Well, without much more delay, here are the bargains of Week 15. I’m welcoming all suggestions and debates on Twitter (@gastelumEPL) and hopefully I can include your thoughts here in this column—please send me a message, any message, even if you think I’m awful.
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 – Willy Caballero (Manchester City)
This could end up being a great one-week buy, but it will take some planning. Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini said the club could still be without Joe Hart this weekend and we will learn more about this by Friday. I would have recommended Caballero last week if Hart didn’t get hurt one day after this column published. But Caballero has been given the starting nod; he gave up one goal against Southampton and recorded four saves. But I like his chances against Stoke City despite an injury-plagued back-line. The Potters have been shut out in three of their last five matches and have scored only four goals in their last seven. Caballero is owned in only 19 percent of draft-style leagues, according to Fantrax, and is a great pickup for those leagues like Draft Kings with unlimited transfers.
DEF – Patrick van Aanholt (Sunderland)
Here’s a pick I had written down last week in this space before erasing it at the last moment. That probably sounds finicky and bandwagon-ish after van Aanholt scored a goal against Stoke last weekend, but I promise you it is true. Anyway, van Aanholt is a good short-term option to have as a first defender off the bench/starter in certain clean-sheet probable weeks in any league format (£4.6 in FPL, available in 60 percent of Fantrax leagues) with his attacking ability and Sunderland’s recent defensive fortitude. The club has recorded two consecutive clean sheets since switching to a three-man back-line as Sam Allardyce has utilized PVA as a wing-back, which suits his attacking ability and defensive laziness well.
MID – Junior Stanislas (Bournemouth)
If I could put emojis into an article, Stanislas would have those flames next to him that has previously been reserved for the Doritos Loco taco and any new Kendrick Lamar song. Stanislas is valued at just £4.2 in FPL and is taken in just 7.7 percent of Fantrax leagues, which seems on the higher end than most leagues. Since getting the starting nod, the winger has two goals (against Everton last week) and an assist. I like Stanislas as a short-term buy at best right now until he can prove the starting spot belongs to him, but he is definitely worth taking a risk as an attack-minded player with lots to prove.
MID – Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal)
Talk about players with lots to prove, here is a short-term buy that I cannot recommend more highly. He’s only valued at £5.5 in FPL for playing as a “midfielder” while he is still available in a good amount of Fantrax leagues (46 percent). With Alexis Sanchez injured and in need of a rest anyway (see FPL Sell of the Week below), Oxlade-Chamberlain has returned fit at just the right time. He was already a candidate to start along with Aaron Ramsey and now it looks like both will be starters for the weekend. The Ox will finally get a chance to start a couple weeks without having to look over his shoulder at every stoppage and I’m endorsing him to succeed. He’s proven himself to be an attacking menace in the past and now he will realize this is his moment to shine.
FWD – Troy Deeney (Watford)
Deeney is probably not available in most draft-style leagues (just 13 percent in Fantrax), but there are few strikers not named Jamie Vardy that have a hotter hand (foot? boot? metatarsal?...) than Deeney. After needing 10 weeks to scoring his first Premier League goal, the forward has scored four in his last five, including each of his last three. Against Aston Villa, Deeney looked to be at his best with a goal and assist as he moved into a more advanced role up the pitch. Available for just £5.8 in FPL, he also takes the club’s penalty kicks.
FPL SELL OF THE WEEK:
FWD – Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal)
Hurry! Stop reading this post at the end of this sentence and go drop Alexis before it’s too late. Ok, now that you have returned (a few seconds could cost you £0.1 in FPL) I’ll tell you why it was a good move. If you were one of the 30 percent who still owns the Chilean in FPL, you now have so much money available that you don’t need any of these bargains. More than 134,000 managers have dropped Sanchez in just the last couple days, and he is sure to drop in value before Saturday, and this is before he has been ruled out for three weeks (this is only a guess based off reports, so don’t just assume he’s out for this long). Even if he didn’t suffer that hamstring injury, I would have still suggested it based on his scoring record this season: just one three-game stretch where he scored six goals. There are much better options right now, for more than half his price too.