FPL Watch: Must have, Differential & Budget Options for the festive period
GW 15 was one full of rotation and surprises with many of the usual big hitters missing including the likes of Andy Robertson, Raheem Sterling, Sergio Aguero, Sadio Mane and players like Mohamed Salah and Alex Lacazette making impacts off the bench.
Today, we look at players across the pitch who pose a good differential, budget and a must have option in your FPL team.
Must have: Lucasz Fabianski. The West Ham shot-stopper is the joint highest point scorer outside the current top6 and has saved all 3 of the last 3 penalties he faced in stark contrast to only 2 of his previous 19. He has the second most number of saves in the division and has received the most bonus points(9) for any keeper. With some brilliant fixtures over the next 6 GWs, and at a very affordable 4.6M he could be a stellar option to set and forget.
The differential: Over the next 12 game weeks, a home game against Manchester United is the only game that ranks over 4 for Hugo Lloris on the FDR. He is priced slightly high at 5.4M but is owned by less than 5%. With Vertonghen and Alderweireld back in the starting line up, the clean sheets could increase for the Frenchman. He offers you a differential to the conventional Ederson or Alisson picks. He’s conceded only 11 in 11 and has four clean sheets to his name.
The budget option: Joe Hart at 4.5M has conceded the most goals, but that should not deter you from looking at his prospects. The Burnley defense has been lackluster this season but Joe Hart has made the most number of saves and ranks highest on the bonus points system. After tough games away to Arsenal and Spurs, the next 8 weeks have only Manchester United at a ranking higher than 3 on the FDR. He could be a very steady number 2.
The must have: Kieran Trippier who is just back from an injury looks like the must-have option for the season. He might get rested ahead of Spurs’ huge Champions League game against Barcelona, but post that he has delightful fixtures over the next 10 weeks, much like Hugo Lloris. With Serge Aurier likely to be playing the EFL Cup quarter-final and the early stages of the FA Cup, Trippier might be one that avoids rotation risk. With both Pep and Klopp rotating regularly and with the Spurs full-backs sharing set pieces with Eriksen, if he manages to stay free of rotation, he could be the must-have we’ve been waiting for after diminishing returns from the likes of Marcus Alonso. He ranks 3rd highest for creativity and is 5th on the ICT index despite missing 3 games.
The differential: This option is quite usually populated by Ben Chilwell but Leicester’s torrid fixtures mean we look elsewhere in the direction of Sead Kolasinac with the Arsenal man starting the last 5 since Emery changed the formation. In that time although he has not provided any clean sheets, he has provided 2 assists and 3 bonus points. His ICT is 5.48 per game, compared to highest ICT scorer, Doherty is 6.16 which is a pretty good number. He is ahead of Marcos Alonso’s 5.32. If Emery is to persist with a back 5, Kolasinac might well be a decent option to get in ahead of the curve at a very lucrative 4.9M, owned by less than 2% and some delightful fixtures.
The budget option: Sean Morrison at 4.7M ranks highest for a defender in the bottom half of the table on the ICT index. Over the next 16 weeks, even though Cardiff are not expected to win too many games they have only 3 fixtures ranking above 3 on the FDR. Morrison has already picked up 4 assists this season. He could be a cheap 4th defender option if you cannot afford Matt Doherty.
The must have: Raheem Sterling seems to have got his rest away to Watford and might not feature in the dead rubber against Hoffenheim with City already through to the last 16. Pep Guardiola has praised the Englishman’s fitness and with Aguero’s absence, we might even see him start as a false 9 for City if Jesus is to be ignored. The numbers speak for itself, he has the highest points for anyone across the game, the most bonus points and has 15 goal scoring contributions in his 12 starts. He’s a whole 2 points per game higher than second-placed Eden Hazard. After the game against Chelsea, there is only a home game against Liverpool that would be of some concern in his next 8, also making him a very viable captain option.
The differential: Robert Snodgrass, is owned by less than 1% of the managers and with Marko Arnautovic being ruled out, is set to be a very interesting option. He is priced at only 5.3M and has 3 assists in his last 2 games. With West Ham’s next 6 looking very good and him thriving in the absence of Andriy Yarmolenko, most managers might flock to him very soon so you could get ahead of the curve. His ICT index stats might not be as high due to the poor start to the season for the Hammers, but with him being on set plays as well, he is hard to ignore.
The budget Option: Huddersfield have had a torrid time this season, but they offered a shock as they went to Wolves and won 2-0, courtesy two Mooy goals. If one were to observe the fixtures, after the Arsenal game the next 8 look particularly good with Man United(A) being the only fixture that ranks above 2 on the FDR. On current value(form) he is only behind Armstrong. He’s missed only one game, through personal commitment and is on all of Huddersfield’s set pieces. If they are to find a goal over the next 8 you can be sure he’ll be in and around it. He ranks second on the ICT index behind Townsend of all the teams outside the Top 10.
The must have: Harry Kane. He is the most inform striker in the league with 4 goals and 2 assists in his last 5. He has played more than 85 minutes in every league game this season and is likely to steer clear of rotation over Christmas, something which is as valuable as gold to FPL managers. His fixtures look healthy all the way through to the end of February. He ranks only behind Aguero on the ICT index and it would appear with the City man’s absence, Kane is getting back to his best and a near essential in most of our teams and is also a very sturdy captaincy option.
The differential: Romelu Lukaku. Hold back the giggles and hear us out. Lukaku is the Premier League’s leading scorer away from home behind Harry Kane. His ICT index score per game where he has started is 8.08, in comparison to Harry Kane’s 9.12 and Callum Wilson’s 8.62.
Although the numbers aren’t great, with him getting his rest against Arsenal, United conceding a bucket load of goals and seemingly always having to come from one or two behind, Lukaku could be an interesting way to replace Aguero if you don’t have the funds to move up to Kane and are wary of the rotation threat that the Arsenal front 2 pose. Over the next 11 United face only Liverpool and Spurs from the Big 6 and with them needing points, Lukaku might have a big role to play. It’s a risk, but if it pays off you are looking at good returns.
The budget option: There are two forwards in this category, one for the premium budget forward in Alex Lacazette who has been on the bench in the last few games and the other being Aleksandar Mitrovic.
Lacazette seems ready for a start after being on the bench in the last 2 games and coming on to good effect against Spurs and United helping the Gunners hit the front. He does not risk being played out wide like Lacazette and the Arsenal fixture list looks like a jackpot especially with Europa league football done after this Thursday. He has an ICT index of 9.32 in every game he has started which is higher than everyone else barring Sergio Aguero’s 10.9. A home game against Huddersfield in the week also makes him a great captain option.
Mitrovic leads the line for Ranieri and chipped in with an assist against Leicester in their 1-1 draw at home. After the United home game, Fulham have some very good fixtures and with Mitrovic ranking 4th on the ICT index for all forwards and having two goal-scoring contributions every three games he seems very hard to ignore.
Side notes/tips: Aboubakar Kamara at 4.3M appears to be a great enabler if you are looking to go to 5 in midfield or 4 across the back line. Diop at 4.3M is an excellent 5th choice defender or even a 4th if you don’t have Fabianski.
Lloris image via Wallpaper Cave
Kolasinac image via Squawka
Robert Snodgrass image via Evening Standard
Lukaku image via The Independent