Well then what a week that was in the Premier League. Leicester City’s fall from grace continued, Bob Bradley gave Arsenal a run in his first match as Premier League manager and Liverpool and Manchester United bored us to death.
But more importantly, that also happened to be my best week since I’ve started writing the Bargain Hunter column last year (it wasn’t even close) and that is reason enough for celebration.
Lee Grant picked up a clean sheet in goal for Stoke City, Swansea City forward Borja Baston scored his first Premier League goal, Aaron Cresswell recorded an assist (and then was wrongly sent off) and Junior Stanislas came through with two goals and two assists. Meanwhile, past picks Charlie Daniels, Jose Holebas and Manuel Lanzini scored goals, Charlie Austin scored two and Maarten Stekelenburg saved two penalties. So sorry, there’s no possible way this week could possibly top that.
We’ve filled up most of our Rotoworld draft leagues, but it’s never too late to join. 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 8. I’m welcoming all suggestions and debates on Twitter (@gastelumEPL) and hopefully I can include your thoughts here in this column.
One-week Pick (OWP) - 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 Pick (STP) - 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 Picks (LTP) - 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 – David Marshall (Hull City)
Yup, I’m recommending you take a goalkeeper who just gave up six goals to a mid-table team. No, I’m not kidding. Hull City’s defensive setup was atrocious, but the Tigers were also desperately chasing a lead from early on and turned on the “ultra-attacking” function on their FIFA console with no regard for their defense. However, I like Hull City’s upcoming schedule, starting this weekend with Stoke City, who has scored the third-lowest goal output in the Premier League with seven from eight games. Captain Michael Dawson is set to come back from injury by the end of the month, which will only strengthen the club’s injury-plagued backline. And Marshall is a starting goalkeeper and available in nearly 90 percent of leagues, so if anything, he could be a solid backup.
DEF – Geoff Cameron (Stoke City)
Stoke City finally earned its first clean sheet of the season and will now begin the climb out of the Premier League basement following a 2-0 win against Sunderland. The Potters upcoming schedule is one of the best in the Premier League and I fully expect them to turn their season around. Just look at this list: Hull City, Swansea City, West Ham, Bournemouth, Watford, Burnley—all leading into the first week in December. Cameron has started the last six Premier League games in four different positions, showing the importance of his presence and versatility in manager Mark Hughes’ setup. Listed as a defender, he earns those crucial clean sheet points and could be extremely valuable in the next six weeks. Because of that, Cameron is a long-term buy and available in more than 90 percent of Fantrax draft leagues.
DEF – Joel Matip (Liverpool)
Who would’ve thought that Liverpool’s first clean sheet of the season would come in Week 8 in its biggest game of the season against Manchester United. The Liverpool defense held strong against United’s attack in an impressive tactical effort that somehow ended in a scoreless draw to keep the Reds in fourth place, just two points back of first place. Matip looks to have solidified a spot in manager Jurgen Klopp’s backline after starting the last six games, and Liverpool have a favorable slate ahead of them with West Brom, Crystal Palace and Watford due up next. Matip is not as readily available on the waiver wire as some of the other picks, but he’s a legitimate long-term buy.
MID – Victor Moses (Chelsea)
How about that Victor Moses? The man who saw loans to Liverpool, Stoke City and West Ham in the past three seasons has returned to Stamford Bridge at 25 years old, four full seasons after the club initially signed him, and has put on quite the performance, endearing himself to fans and, most importantly, manager Antonio Conte. The Nigerian international has impressed Conte with his work rate and hustle as a wing-back and has been rewarded with two straight starts in a competitive Chelsea lineup. In the weekend win against Leicester City, Moses played an instrumental role in the absence of playmaker Willian, scoring his second goal of the season. For now, we’ll consider him a short-term buy until we figure out whether he becomes a fixture in the starting lineup, but he’s only taken in 16.3 percent of Fantrax leagues.
FWD – Sam Vokes (Burnley)
Now here’s a guy who has been through a lot. Season-ending injuries, years in injury rehabilitation and a five-season wait in the top flight before scoring his first Premier League goal, which came in a surprising Week 2 win against Liverpool. Vokes has been manager Sean Dyche’s go-to forward up top following the suspension of Andre Gray. The former Wolverhampton Wanderers frontman found his groove this weekend against Southampton with a consolation goal, which Dyche hopes will see the forward return to the form that saw him score 15 goals to help the Clarets finish top of the Championship last season and earn promotion back into the Premier League. Vokes is available in 43 percent of Fantrax draft leagues and he’s a reliable short-term fix if you need the help in attack.