With Champions League back and the international break gone, we are fully back into the swing of things after an eventful weekend in the Premier League. Things in FPL.com were a little bit easier, but if you didn’t have Eden Hazard in your FPL Draft league, I’ll try to do my best to help you fill some of that void off the waiver wire (see my last pick).
My picks last week were fairly successful with Rui Patricio recording a clean sheet for Wolverhampton Wanderers while Glenn Murray scored a critical goal for Brighton in a exciting comeback from down two goals in the final half-hour at Southampton. Meanwhile, recent picks like Raul Jimenez (goal and two bonus points), Aaron Wan-Bissaka (clean sheet and three bonus points), and Wayne Hennessey (clean sheet) showed up in a busy week.
In team news, before sure to keep an eye on West Ham star Marko Arnautovic, who picked up a knee injury, and Roberto Firmino, who sustained a scary eye injury but managed to come in as a super sub in Liverpool’s Champions League win over Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday.
Without further delay, here are the bargain hits and misses ahead of Gameweek 6. I’m welcoming all suggestions and debates on Twitter (@gastelumEPL)— I would love to include your thoughts here in this column next week and throughout the season.
All of the stats used in this column come straight from the good folks at Fantasy Premier League on a weekly basis. Our friends at FPL.com take the data from a thousand private leagues, all of which consist of eight teams, in order to minimize the impact of data from public leagues where autopick drafting is more prevalent.
Of course, it’s just a sample size, so it’s not hard and fast; but it should give us a good idea of the tendencies of FPL Draft leagues and managers. Remember, the waivers deadline is a full 24 hours before the first game of the week, and the lowest-placed team in your league gets the first pick.
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, not so much for draft leagues.
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 Pick (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 draft leagues with limited waiver claims.
GK – Jonas Lossl (Huddersfield Town)
I mention this every year, but as the season goes on, it’s more of my job to find you new starting keepers than actively try to seek out a star recommendation every week. Considering that at least six high-profile keepers are taken at a ridiculous rate, meaning they could never be considered bargains, that leaves 14 starters over the course of 38 weeks of the season. In my FPL Draft team, because my No. 1 keeper is Hugo Lloris, I went with Michel Vorm as my No.2 and the Dutchman has been solid filling in during Lloris’ injury spell. If you own one of the top six keepers, it’s a solid move to stash his backup on your bench.
This week I’ll feature Huddersfield Town’s Jonas Lossl, who has featured in the last three matches for the Terriers since Ben Hamer went down with an injury. While Hamer returned to the team this week, Lossl was given the start in a 1-0 loss to Crystal Palace. Keep an eye on that situation but Lossl looked good in his first start where he recorded a clean sheet in Gameweek 3. If you are struggling for a backup keeper, consider the widely available Lossl ahead of a trip to Leicester City this weekend.
DEF – Willy Boly (Wolves)
There is no defender in the Premier League in better form than Wolves center-half Willy Boly—no, not even Marcos Alonso, at least according to the FPL.com form metric. In the last three weeks, Boly has recorded 23 fantasy points, including a goal, two bonus points, and two straight clean sheets for an in-form Wolves defense that has been confident since holding defending champion Manchester City to a 1-1 draw in Gameweek 3, the only goal the club has allowed in the last month.
While Wolves have to head to Old Trafford to take on a Manchester United side that has started to turn things around, the next four games completely open up for the reigning Championship winner with Southampton, Crystal Palace, Watford, and Brighton due up through the end of October. Given Wolves’ current defensive form, there are surely some clean sheets in that run. And with Boly available in more than 80 percent of our most recent sample of FPL Draft leagues, the Frenchman looks like an excellent short-term pick with long-term potential.
MID – Andriy Yarmolenko (West Ham)
Since Leicester City’s James Maddison is already taken in 78 percent of FPL Draft leagues, I’m going to suggest West Ham’s Andriy Yarmolenko. Fantasy managers have been waiting for the Ukrainian international to put up some numbers since his arrival from Borussia Dortmund, but Yarmolenko was just waiting for his first Premier League start to show up. In Sunday’s 3-1 win over Everton, Yarmolenko rewarded manager Manuel Pellegrini’s trust with two goals in a man-of-the-match performance to give West Ham its first win of the season and end a dreadful four-match winless streak.
As most managers will jump at Yarmolenko just because of his two goals, it’s worth taking a look at the attacker, who is available in 81 percent of our latest sample, but won’t be for long. Despite a tough schedule ahead for West Ham, I like a move for Yarmolenko considering a knee injury to Marko Arnautovic leaves the start uncertain and Pellegrini looking to replace his offensive output: cue Yarmolenko. At the very least, Yarmo is a short-term pick.
MID – Ryan Fraser (Bournemouth)
Somehow, the fourth-highest point-earner in the Premier League is taken in only 55 percent of FPL Draft leagues, but given his performance on Saturday, Fraser will likely be long gone by the time the weekend rolls around. The Scottish international, who has more fantasy points than any forward so far this season, is enjoying his breakout year with two goals, an assist, and three bonus points to give him three goals and two assists on the year already, putting him behind only Eden Hazard, Sadio Mane, and Marcos Alonso on point.
I’ve already recommended Fraser earlier this season, but the fact that he is this available still is an urgent call to pursue him on the waiver wire and hope for the best. Bournemouth has already scored 10 goals through five games this season and there are surely more to come with an upcoming schedule of Burnley, Crystal Palace, Watford, Southampton, and Fulham through the end of October. Surely, Fraser will be involved in those after making himself a bona fide long-term pick to start the year.