As I mentioned in my last column, this is where we tell what our teams are made of, no matter the format. After the first international break, we always have a series of injuries, new transfers forcing players in/out of starting lineups and some sort of Sergio Aguero drama.
While most FPL.com managers scramble to find a replacement for the fantasy deity that is Kun, we’ll continue to look at Fantrax’s draft leagues for the best value out of the remaining free agents. So naturally that means Aguero’s replacement.
I struck out with my last picks for Gameweek 3, with Curtis Davies coming within minutes of a clean sheet and Alvaro Negredo getting shut down on the very week that I suggest adding him (of course). Although picks like Kevin Mirallas and Negredo still have long-term potential and I would consider adding them if they are available in your leagues.
We’ve started filling up our Rotoworld draft leagues, but it’s never too late to join, and you can find them all here under “Rotoworld Draft League”. If they are all filled up, let us know on Twitter and we’ll add more leagues. For obvious reasons, we’re capping leagues at 10 users in order to encourage a higher level of competition. And if you’re bored of the attacking-based FPL.com or Perfect XI formats, our salary cap league on Fantrax (Rotoworld Salary Cap) mirrors the old Yahoo format that includes advanced statistics and defensive metrics. It’s not for the casual FPL.com player, and that’s why we love it.
Without further delay, here are the bargains for Week 4. 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 salary-cap 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. Great for any format, but especially valuable in the FPL.com game or draft leagues with limited waiver claims.
GK – Shay Given (Stoke City)
Given looks like an excellent value pick now that Stoke’s No.1 Jack Butland had another surgery to address lingering scar tissue in his ankle, which is expected to rule him out for up to two months. In Butland’s absence, Given has been phenomenal even without a clean sheet, especially in Week 3. Despite recording an own goal, Given saved a penalty and recorded eight saves. He’s currently fifth in the Premier League in saves and his upcoming schedule until around Butland’s return works in his favor (Spurs, Crystal Palace, West Brom, Manchester United, Sunderland, Hull City, Swansea City). He’s available in most leagues and very much worth the waiver claim if you’re not happy with your current setup in goal as a short-term buy.
DEF – Brendan Galloway (West Brom)
Anytime you can break into a Tony Pulis defense, you should really consider your options. Galloway is the latest defender to find his way into the back-line, moving to the Midlands on loan from Everton. The 20-year-old made his debut for the Baggies with a start at left-back against Middlesbrough, earning the clean sheet. The Deadline Day addition of defender Allan Nyom concerns me a bit, so if you can hold off on Galloway do, as the versatile defender is available in more than 80 percent of Fantrax draft leagues. If he continues to start he will most definitely be worth a look with Bournemouth, West Ham, Stoke City and Sunderland up next.
MID – Jack Wilshere (Bournemouth)
This might seem like a rather obvious pick, but your draft league may surprise you. Despite making the loan move from North London to the south coast almost a week ago, Wilshere is still available in 42 percent of Fantrax draft leagues. He’s a legitimate long-term buy, with the big “if” hanging over him concerning his fitness. But with Bournemouth desperate to replace Matt Ritchie’s production, Wilshere will certainly be the go-to man for the Cherries. I would bet on him setting a new career high in both goals (three) and assists (five) IF he can stay healthy.
FWD – Wilfried Bony (Stoke City)
It’s not often I recommend two forwards in one column, but this week had just too many opportunities to pass up—both just happen to be Aguero understudies at the start of this season. We’ll start with Bony, who has the chance (and I would bet on it happening) to put up incredible numbers as Stoke’s frontman. There’s so much good service coming from the midfield (Giannelli Imbula, Joe Allen) and the wings (Xherdan Shaqiri, Marko Arnautovic) but the club has struggled for production from forwards—last season, the club scored the fewest amount of goals in the top 12 of the table. But now with Bony on loan, we can only expect another 17-goal season like in 2013/14. He’s a long-term pickup without a doubt, but in the past six days his ownership in draft leagues has risen by 36 percent so it’s now or never.
FWD – Kelechi Iheanacho (Manchester City)
Now we’re onto our Aguero replacement. Iheanacho is one of the few players to edge Aguero in goal-to-minute ratio like he did last season, scoring eight goals at a rate of one goal every 95 minutes (practically every Premier League match). But now with Aguero—who scored once every 98 minutes last season—suspended for the next two Premier League matches, it’s time to look at Iheanacho as a short-term replacement against Manchester United and Bournemouth. The 19-year-old Nigerian international is still available in 51 percent of draft leagues and who knows, if he goes on a scoring tear Pep Guardiola will have to find a way to pair him with Aguero.