Fuzzy is down in the proverbial dumps.
Well folks, the past couple of weeks have served as a reminder of one of the major reasons why we love to play fantasy sports. That reason, of course, is to take your mind off of reality, if reality is not going the way you would like. Such is the case for your humble columnist, who happens to be a fan of Tottenham Hotspur. After a nice start, it has become a September not to remember - losing to Watford after being in a winning position, losing at home to Liverpool in our first major league test of the season, then losing from a winning position AGAIN, this time in the opening match of Champions League group stage play. We have a stadium that is taking longer to open than your sister's diary. Our captain is out of action, and I am not sure how much of it is truly injury-related. Harry Kane looks knackered. It is like throwing a party at your house, everyone is having a blast, and then it takes that inevitable turn toward disaster. What was once a fun mess of a house is now just looking rather trashed and no signs of there having been a good time.
I got a fever, and the only prescription is more FPL. The magical elixir that can cure all woes. Last week, I was bullish on Bournemouth and Chelsea and they did not disappoint. If you had one of Eden Hazard or Ryan Fraser in your side, you likely enjoyed a solid green arrow no matter what the rest of your side did, though many were without Fraser as his status heading into the weekend was in "doubtful" territory.
One could not help but notice how the big three in defense - Benjamin Mendy, Marcos Alonso and Andrew Robertson - all went quiet. Just in time for everyone to finally have them in their lineup, they go quiet. FPL would not have it any other way. Not to worry, plenty of points to come from these three, though we need to figure out exactly what the status is with Mendy. Instead, budget options like Matt Dohert and Aaron Wan-Bissaka topped the position this week, showing that there are attacking returns from defenders to be had in all price brackets. One thing is certain, this is the year of the full back and I feel my philosophy has changed this season regarding defenders. I put way more stock in them now. Going forward, wildcards and Week 1 sides are going to have more money in the back.
Right, we need to go ahead and dive into Week 6, because my mind is starting to relapse into reality football, and I need to get Tottenham off the brain:
TO HAVE AND TO HOLD
So now it is time to look at the players to think about ahead of Week 4. As a reminder, there are four categories of players which I feel are worth mentioning week to week when making decisions about transfers....
1) Players to buy
2) Players to sell
3) Players to hold onto
4) Players to avoid buying
I will also include later in the section, my top choices for the captain's armband. While I will consider every player from A to Z, you will normally find the usual suspects there.
Right, so let's dive in...
*Just as a reminder, keepers should always be the last position to think about using transfers for, unless there is an urgent need. So, when you see who I have listed here, bear in mind that my keeper advice does not carry as much weight as the outfield positions.
Player to buy: Rui Patricio - Patricio was nominated in this spot last week and made good with a clean sheet. A trip to Man United this weekend does not offer the best clean sheet chance out there, but I would still buy him if I were in need to, say, replace Hugo Lloris. Again, keepers should be bought as long-term investments and transferred more out of necessity than anything else (unless you are on your wildcard). So, despite the undesirable fixture, go with this superb budget option.
Player to sell: Hugo Lloris - This time last week, just before it was announced he would be missing "several weeks", I was fully expecting Lloris to return to th XI. Well, between his injury and possible unspoken disciplinary action, Lloris' return date is up in the air. I was willing to bit the bullet and hold for a one-week absence, but this situation is muddy and turning into quicksand. Hugo has to go. Honorable mention: Jordan Pickford. He has been an absolute fantasy bust. But, remember, this is FPL. Now that Everton's fixtures become more difficult, Pickford will troll us all and start actually getting points.
Player to hold: Asmir Begovic - Begovic has done little for the past four weeks, averaging the baseline two points per round over that stretch. He does not appear to be getting the saves that many of his fellow 4.5m priced shot-stoppers do, so clean sheets are important for his fantasy appeal. If I owned him, I would be optimistic of a few cleanies in the next month or so, as the Cherries have a very favorable schedule. Keep him going.
Player to avoid: Joe Hart - There isn't a starting keeper that worries me more about losing his place than Joe Hart. It is not so much that Hart has been the worst keeper in the league thus far, but more the quality of player that would replace him, that being Tom Heaton. I know a couple of Hart owners out there and I wish them good fortune, but personally, I can never recommend any keeper that has the slightest question mark in regards to their starting role.
Player to buy: Aaron Wan-Bissaka - I began this season's column by stating that Wan-B should be the highest owned player in the game. For no other reason than because everyone should take advantage of a 4m starter as their fifth midfielder. Well, the young right back has shown he is more than just an enabler in your squad, as he grabbed maximum bonus for the second time in his four starts. And, despite my plea, still three out of every four FPL managers DO NOT own him. Home to Newcastle this week, Wan-B may provide instant return on your investment. Get him while he is still cheaper than just about any other starter out there.
Player to sell: Spurs defenders not named Kieran Trippier - Spurs are not in a good way at the moment and the absence and question marks around Hugo Lloris has me pessimistic about their short-term future. Michel Vorm is a major downgrade as was evidenced in the loss to Liverpool and with so many premium defenders putting up big numbers, it is difficult to imagine there is space or money for anyone but Trippier, who offers enough attacking threat to keep the faith with.
Player to hold: Leicester defenders - The Foxes' defense was exposed by Bournemouth last weekend and have only one clean sheet in their first five, but the skies are clearing for a run of points, beginning with a splendid fixture, at home to Huddersfield. Ricardo Pereira has already shown his worth, with assists in three of the first five games, but disappointed owners of the likes of Harry Maguire have reason for hope. For the next 10 gameweeks, the Foxes play only one of the "traditional Top 6". With Jamie Vardy back in the mix, it should help the club's overall performance, which should lead to Maguire drifting up to take the occasional shot or some crosses that land from Ben Chilwell.
Player to avoid: Fabian Delph - There seems to be a a strange amount of uncertainty regarding the status of Benjamin Mendy, who was probably the biggest surprise omission in FPL this past round. If we could get a read on his status, there could be a case made for buying the inexpensive Delph. I would think four games as a starter for a player in his situation may be worth the investment, and he could wind up starting twice as many. But as of this writing, it's possible Mendy is back in the XI this weekend. So let the situation play out a bit, keep Delph in the back of your mind, but find a more dependable option.
Player to buy: Ryan Fraser - If there ever was any secret left about the diminutive Fraser, well the Cherry has been let out of the bag as Fraser ran riot over Leicester with a brace and an assist for good measure. This was not an aberration. Fraser has been on the FPL radar already, providing returns in two of Bournemouth's first four matches. But last weekend was a true coming-out party, as he put on a complete display, showing his pace, his finishing, his decision-making, his set piece work. The Cherries are in great form, have great fixtures, and this very affordable midfielder is most responsible for Bournemouth's surge.
Player to sell: David Silva - Hopefully you recognize that I do not go for obvious calls too often, and think outside the box. David Silva is great. He is form, City are doing what they do, which is making opponents look vastly inferior. Here is my problem - the Pep factor. Everyone is aware that attacking mids in Pep's squad are susceptible to rest/rotation in any given week. That fact that Silva has started three straight in the league, going the distance in all of them (ok, he was subbed in the closing minute against Newcastle) and then went the full 90 midweek against Lyon in the Champions League has me thinking this savory matchup against Cardiff is the perfect climate for Pep to sit Silva in favor of someone else. I am on to you Pep.
Player to hold: Ruben Neves - Neves is the classic case of the early bandwagon blues. More than half of his current owners invested in him immediately after his big Week 1 return, only to see a string of appearance points coming from the midfielder. He is currently the fourth most-owned mid in the game, behind only superstars Mane, Salah and Hazard but faith is beginning to dwindle. I do prefer N'golo Kante going forward as a comparable prospect, but having watched Wolves over the weekend, Neves is still quite active in the final third given his position. He loves to take shots. With a trip to Old Trafford this weekend, I may bench him for a 4th defender option, but I would not cut him at this point.
Player to avoid: Andriy Yarmolenko - West Ham finally earned thier first points of the season and credit has to go to the Ukranian, as he gets his first starts, scores twice and it leads to West Ham's best result of the season by far. While that spells good news for their attack, the Hammers may have to sputter a few more weeks before working their way up the table, as they play Chelsea, Manchester United and Spurs in three of the next four rounds.
Player to buy: Alexandre Lacazette - Plenty to like about the Frenchman going forward. He has carved out a starting role in the last two league games, making the most of it with a goal and a pair of assists, making him one of the top-form forwards currently in FPL. Meanwhile, the Gunners have the kindest run of fixtures among the big clubs, with only a matchup against Liverpool to worry about until December. His presence is also helping Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who has attacking returns in both of Lacazette's starts after blanking in the first three.
Player to sell: Alvaro Morata - Morata not only got dropped in Week 5, he did not even get a minute of pitch time as a substitute, which to be honest, is likely the best outcome for current owners, as it would have allowed for a substitute off of one's fantasy bench. Some players are worth risking one more week to see if a player can get back in XI but Morata is not one of them for me. Chelsea's attack certainly did not suffer due to his absence and Olivier Giroud assisting a pair of goals will not make it easy for the Spaniard to merit a recall.
Player to hold: Danny Ings - It is never fun to have one of your players ineligible due to facing a parent club, and such is the case this weekend for Ings owners. In some situations, I would sell a player like this, but it is Ings' price tag that leads me to believe you ought to hold him and play a fourth defender if you have him. The thing is, there are virtually no options to consider that costs the same (5.7m) or less, so you would either be replacing him with a player you likely wish you didn't have come Week 7, or spending points making multiple transfers.
Player to avoid: Andre Gray - As long as they remain close in price to one another, I doubt there will be a time when I recommend Gray as a buy over his teammate Troy Deeney. Gray grabbed a goal last weekend against Man United, so his name will have grabbed more headlines this week, but Deeney has shown himself to be far more consistent in the FPL format, with his role as the club's unchallenged penalty taker his biggest selling point.
TOP CAPTAIN CHOICES
1) Eden Hazard
2) Sergio Aguero
3) Mo Salah
5) Sadio Mane
That's it from me this week folks. Please, bear in mind much can change between the publishing of this column and the FPL deadline on Saturday. Remember, some injuries are not revealed until just before the deadline, and there are usually a few extra surprises in this regard coming out of an international break. Always try to refrain from executing your transfers for as long as possible to avoid wasting it on a player who turns out to have had a problem in training. That said, if you only have just enough money for the player you are looking to bring in and that player is at risk of rising in price, then sometimes you need to take a calculated risk and hope the fantasy gods will be kind to you.
Good luck, and may your arrows be green.