As readers know, introductions aren’t the reason why you read my column. This week, however, an opening is essential.
FPL Transfer Tracker was initially intended to be a weekly look at the top five players with the most transfers in for each Gameweek. That formula was quickly proven to be inadequate due to the number of regulars. After workshopping some ideas during a two-week hiatus, I’m back with a new format. Rather than restricting this column to the top transfers-in, the new approach will feature a broader scale of players that have captured my attention, regardless of popularity.
FPL Transfer Tracker - Gameweek 12
Callum Wilson, Bournemouth
GW Transfers-In: 247,427
Callum Wilson has played his way to the top of the transfers-in list. The interest in the 26-year-old comes after scoring three goals in the last two matches and totalling more shots inside the box (13) than any FPL forward in the previous four gameweeks. His opponent this week, Newcastle, has kept clean sheets in each of their last two home matches, but it’s important to note the Magpies allowed 14 shots inside the area to Watford last time out. Bournemouth has a bad run of games on the horizon, with their next four coming against Arsenal (H), Manchester City (A), Huddersfield Town (H) and Liverpool (A).
Verdict: If you own Wilson, sticks with him this week. If you don’t, look elsewhere for a budget striker.
Marko Arnautovic, West Ham
GW Transfers-In: 212,094
Another budget forward, but slightly more expensive, Arnautovic is the best long-term investment, in my opinion. The Austria international scored and an assist in Gameweek 11 for his second double-digit return of the season, but the real value here is getting him in before West Ham’s schedule opens up. The Hammers have Huddersfield (A) and Manchester City (H) in their next two matches and close out the calendar year with games against Newcastle (A), Cardiff (H), Crystal Palace (H), Fulham (A), Watford (H), Southampton (A) and Burnley (A). Arnautovic enters the stretch ranked second among all forwards in shot accuracy (50%) and sixth in both shots (30) and shots inside the box (21).
Verdict: My plan is to transfer-in Arnie for Callum Wilson after this weekend. He’s scored in three of his five home matches this season, including the 3-1 win over Manchester United.
GW Transfers-In: 212,094
Everton could be without Richarlison this weekend because of a foot injury. He hasn’t officially been ruled out, but FPL managers will want to have a contingency plan in case the Brazilian is unable to go. Nevertheless, in his last four games playing as a forward, Richarlison has three goals and a conversion rate of 37.5%. This season. Richarlison’s conversion rate of 28.6% also ranks first among all FPL midfielders with 20 or more shots. The Toffees travel to Stamford Bridge to face a Chelsea side that conceded twice at home to Crystal Palace last time out, before facing Cardiff City and Newcastle at Goodison Park. The Bluebirds have allowed nine goals during their previous three away matches while the Magpies are allowing 18.1 shots away from home.
Verdict: Richarlison’s upside for the next two matches outweighs his potential absence in Gameweek 12. Don’t panic if you brought him in before the injury news.
Anthony Martial, Manchester United
GW Transfers-In: 148,003
With five goals and 47 FPL points in his last four games, it’s no surprise to see Martial’s name among the most popular transfers-in. Manchester United heads to the Etihad for a Manchester derby this weekend and, outside of a trip to Anfield in Gameweek 17, their upcoming fixtures are favorable for the Frenchman. His next eight games include Crystal Palace, Fulham and Huddersfield at home, as well as Southampton and Cardiff City on the road. Martial has put eight of his 10 shots on target and is averaging a goal every 70 minutes in his last four starts.
Verdict: His price has risen £0.3m over the last three gameweeks, and I’m expecting the trend to continue after this weekend. Form, fixtures and another potential price rise make Martial a good investment right now.
Sadio Mane, Liverpool
GW Transfers-In: 120,847
A home match with Fulham makes Liverpool the club to target in Gameweek 12. No club has conceded more goals (29) than Fulham, who are allowing 2.7 goals and 19.8 shots on the road this season. It’s realistic to assume that some managers have decided to go with Sadio Mane over Mohamed Salah since the former is much cheaper. At face value that seems like a smart move, especially when you take into account that both players have scored four goals in five appearances at Anfield this term. However, a closer look at the numbers reveals that Egyptian is the one to own. At home, Salah takes a shot every 23 minutes, and Mane has an attempt every 43 minutes. Since Gameweek 6, Salah is averaging 3.3 shots and 6.3 FPL points per game while Mane is averaging 1.6 shots and 4.8 FPL points.
Verdict: Don’t get cute. Stick with Salah and give him the armband this weekend.
Felipe Anderson, West Ham
GW Transfers-In: 91,119
A technically gifted winger with an eye for goal, Anderson joined West Ham this summer as the club’s marquee signing in a record £42million transfer. The Brazilian had failed to validate his hefty price early on, but that changed last weekend, as Anderson put in his best shift thus far in a 4-2 win over Burnley at the London Stadium. He led all players with five shots and 103 touches and scored twice, making him the consensus man of the match. Anderson has taken 14 shots and created 20 chances in his last nine games and is finding his form at the perfect time, with West Ham facing just two tough opponents in their next ten games.
Verdict: The returns haven’t been there so far, but his underlying numbers foreshadow a spike for the rest of the calendar year. This makes Anderson a long-term investment for those who lack a mid-priced differential in midfield.
Raheem Sterling, Manchester City
GW Transfers-In: 80,966
As expected, Manchester City thumped Southampton in Gameweek 11. But Raheem Sterling, not Sergio Agüero, was the top performer. The England winger scored twice, grabbed two assists and took all three bonus points to produce the highest individual score of the term (21 points). Sterling has now scored four goals and three assists in four home starts, making him a desirable option for what should be a goal-heavy Manchester derby at the Etihad. Manchester United has kept just one clean sheet on the road and City is finding the back of the net at an alarming rate at home, with 24 goals in six games. Sterling has also scored or assisted in seven of his nine starts and played a direct hand on as many goals as a Sergio Agüero (11). Plus, his average of 85.8 minutes player per start is better than Aguero’s 72.5 and David Silva’s 83.
Verdict: If you’re looking to get in on City’s attack, I think Sterling is the best option. His usage is supplemented by the trend of not being a late substitute and one-point risk when he doesn’t start.
Glenn Murray, Brighton
GW Transfers-In: 55,051
Four of Brighton's next five matches are against clubs with defensive issues. The 35-year-old has scored six goals of Brighton’s 12 goals this season and boasts the best conversion rate (42.9%) among all FPL forwards. I like Murray this weekend against a Cardiff City side that has conceded 13 goals at home this season, the same amount as Fulham, as well as his prospects over the next five gameweeks. Brighton faces Leicester City (A), Huddersfield Town (A), Crystal Palace (H) and Burnley (A) after this weekend.
Verdict: The ageless frontman has been clinical this season, and I’m recommending him for managers looking to replace Callum Wilson. In Murray, are managers are getting some funds to play with and a budget forward with a much more enticing short-term schedule.
Tip of the Week - Jamie Vardy, Leicester City
GW Transfers-In: 11,266
Vardy is in a slump having gone three starts without a goal. However, I’m expecting big things over the next few gameweeks. Vardy has taken eight shots and registered at least one shot on target during his goal drought, which is encouraging ahead of his home clash with Burnley this weekend. The Clarets have leaked goals away from home this season and have now allowed the second most away goals (15) after conceding four at West Ham last weekend. Furthering his appeal is matches against Brighton (A), Watford (H) and Fulham (A) after this weekend.
Verdict: I love him at home against Burnley, especially given his low ownership and the absence of James Maddison. Through Gameweek 16, I have Vardy pinned as a viable second forward.