Well, fellow fantasy managers, how did your first gameweek dealing with blanks this season go? I have a feeling for many of you, it was pretty "meh", unless you are the fortunate owner of Marko Arnautovic or perhaps you were one of two people on the planet who invested in Marcus Rashford before the last deadline. If that was you, please email me your lotto numbers at your earliest convenience.
From a fantasy perspective, I suppose I cannot complain. A green arrow is always nice, but 42 points is not exactly bragging material. I managed wins in both my head to head leagues as well, so I achieved the trifecta over the weekend. What is even more satisfying, as a Tottenham supporter, I was able to use an Alberto Paloschi goal to guide me to a H2H win in one league, but Spurs were still able to win, while Mesut Ozil's goal and assist was my highest FPL scorer, but the Gunners wound up losing. I was able to have my cake and eat it too, and I must say it was delicious.
Still, I can always find reason to be frustrated and I was hoping for a better showing from many of my FPL investments. I captained Mahrez over Vardy, which cost me some points, while also getting minimal returns from the likes of Dele Alli, Harry Kane and Dimitri Payet. I can forgive these gentleman for a week without producing, but the one man I have in my sights now that is beginning to get on my last nerve is Alexis Sanchez.
Many of you were in the same position as me last month. You were a Kevin de Bruyne owner and when the Belgian went down with a lengthy knee injury, it just happened to coincide in the same week as the return of Alexis, who immediately got on the score sheet in Arsenal's FA Cup match. We have seen how dynamic the Chilean can be for the Gunners, enough to where he makes for a legit captaincy option from the midfield position.
Before Sanchez was sidelined with his own injury, reports were circling around about how he needed some rest, which explained why he had failed to score this season outside of a three week span between Gameweek 7-9. I suppose now we have to assume he is recovering from too much rest after not playing for so long? It has been five games back now for him, four starts, with nary a goal or an assist for a player that costs 11m. Watford's Valon Behrami is putting up the same kind of points for 4.2m. Now, I am not suggesting a switch to Behrami, but the frustration of owning such an expensive player who isn't producing, while the likes of Michail Antonio, Jesse Lingard and Wahbi Khazri, who could be had for around half the price, are out there getting returns. I was all set to drop Sanchez for my transfer in Week 28, but have decided that this is his final audition in a home match against Swansea City. He is going to have to get it done against Lukasz Fabianski however, who is coming off a brilliant performance despite losing against Spurs and will naturally be pumped facing his former club. Even if Sanchez comes good though, he is likely headed for the exits in fantasy. After the Swans, its the North London Derby at White Hart Lane, followed in all likelihood by a blank gameweek, assuming Arsenal can win the FA Cup replay with Hull City.
Right, so with the quickness of a midweek round, this week's rankings will be of the "name only" variety. We have a heavy plate to consume with three deadlines over the course of eight days, but I am here to concentrate on the bread and butter. We are back to a full fixture list for Week 28, so let's take a gander:
Week 28 Fixtures
Aston Villa v Everton
AFC Bournemouth v Southampton
Leicester City v West Bromwich Albion
Norwich City v Chelsea
Sunderland v Crystal Palace
Arsenal v Swansea City
Stoke City v Newcastle United
West Ham United v Tottenham
Liverpool v Manchester City
Manchester United v Watford
I promise this does not come from personal ties, but I have to think the match of the week is West Ham v Tottenham. While only squeaking past Sunderland with a 1-0 final at home a few days ago, the Hammers will be real test for Spurs and vice versa. The Irons still have their sights on a top four finish and, with Manuel Lanzini back in the mix, they have a very dangerous midfield that will be tough to keep out. Two clubs to look at for investment this week are Newcastle United and Everton, especially the latter, as both were given the weekend off as their would-be opponents Liverpool and Manchester City played their cup final. Everton have rest and are playing lowly Aston Villa. We have already seen the likes of Ross Barkley and Romelu Lukaku be pretty consistent fantasy contributors this season, so this situation could be quite lucrative for them. Manchester United certainly have reason to be watched as they are coming off their most celebrated performance of the season and have a home game against Watford, who are starting to hit a wall with the goals drying up from Odion Ighalo.
What follows are my top picks at each position. It doesn't matter what format you play, these rankings will help you figure out how players at each position compare with one another, and can help you on transfer decisions in the FPL.com game, who to start or bench in draft leagues, and who is worth putting up the cash for in salary-based leagues. You will also see how I have begun to highlight prospects that are especially valuable in formats like Playtogga, Fantrax and DFS, so that they are given the credit they deserve. At the end of the day though, nothing gets the points flowing more than goals, assists and clean sheets. So without further ado, let's get cracking...
David de Gea
Virgil van Dijk
Patrick van Aanholt
So there you have it. The best of the best to consider for Week 28. Be sure to check the latest injury reports that will surface throughout the day ahead of this evening's games. Those in non-FPL formats whose league's deadlines are inside an hour of the opening kickoff, be sure to follow the team news for the five matches going tonight, and you can adjust your teams accordingly. If you own players like Anthony Martial or Aleksandar Mitrovic, who do not play until Wednesday, you may want to find a fill-in replacement from your free agent pool that will get a surely get a start tonight.
Good luck this week fellow managers, and may your arrows be green.