The moment we’ve all been waiting for is finally here! FPL is back! For most of us it’s a relief to finally settle on a squad of 15, as the tinkering became an unhealthy obsession. Every pre season game, every article read, every insightful tweet was another 30 minutes spent butchering the side you were happy with the previous day.. This inevitably lead to plenty of regret as you agonisingly watch the players you had for weeks bring home the hauls (I’m looking at you Mounie..).
GW1 is usually a complete minefield, no one really knows who’s going to play, never mind who’s going to get points. All you can hope for is a solid week and go from there!
For me a big hitter has to be someone who gets into double figures. An impressive 14 players managed that this gameweek, 3 Defenders, 5 Midfielder and 6 Forwards. Little known Hegazi (15pts, 5.6% Owned) top scored, with the golden 15 for a goalscoring defender. Looks like we have another WBA defender to hate.. (Still not forgiven McAuley).
Most big hitters have relatively low ownership with only 4 boasting above 10%. Liverpool’s strike force wasted no time getting up and running spreading the points around the attack, giving Salah (11pts, 25% Owned) and Firmino (12pts, 22.8% Owned) big hauls. Making going without Liverpool cover a very dangerous game to play! Erisken’s (12pts, 14.9% Owned) two assists punished those who overlooked him for Spurs cover elsewhere. Alli grabbed a goal, but those who went for Kane, myself included, will be very disappointed. United’s attacking assets saved many a manager this week, with a rampant display to demolish West Ham. Lukaku (13pts, 49% Owned) being the key beneficiary. His ownership on its own makes him an essential pick, going without him will be a painful ride.
Bonus points are always a source of intrigue. Scoring a few goals or bagging some assists should always guarantee a share of the spoils, but the real worth comes from those who go under the radar. Those players who have little output, but beast the BPS system. Defenders are usually the main culprits here. This week we saw a fair few clean sheets,so we get a good indicator of the defenders most likely to pick up the 3 points when their teams register a shut out. Southampton v Swansea, rather unsurprisingly, finished 0-0 with all the bonus points going to defenders as you would expect. The surprise BPS champ was Federico Ferndandez (9pts, 0.9% Owned). I’m not sure many of us will be stocking up on the Swansea backline anytime soon, but at 4.5m he could be a decent shout to warm the bench. Bertrand (8pts, 15.9% Owned) picked up Southampton’s max bonus, much to the annoyance of us managers who couldn’t stump up the extra 0.5m for our Saints backline cover. Everton’s clean sheet BPS battle was won by new boy Michael Keane (8pts, 13.1% Owned). The ex Burnley man was used to having Tom Heaton sneak in ahead of him in the queue for BPS, but maybe Everton’s actual willingness to play football will give Keane the BPS boost he needs to consistently claim those golden 3 bonus points. Although be warned, Everton’s next 4 fixtures are terrible. Otamendi (8pts, 4.8% Owned) is also worth a mention as an unlikely source of BPS points. He’s not the first, probably not even the 3rd, city defender you’d go to for cover, but the Argentinian has shown early doors that he could be the best asset compared to his more expensive rivals. I’m not sure on this one long term, but he’s one to add the watch list!
Now to the real BPS machines.. 2 players caught my eye this GW, the first being Sead Kolasinac (5pts, 13.2% Owned). In a game that finishes 4-3, for a defender with only an assist to his name to pop up with a BPS point is a big win. The Bosnian had an all action performance, and looks like he could be FPL royalty with BPS claims to boot. Definitely one to keep an eye on! The final player that deserves a mention is the biggest anomaly for me. Nathan Ake (3pts, 8.6% Owned) picked up a solitary BPS point in Bournemouth’s 1-0 loss at the Hawthorns. It’s only a point, but for a defender on the losing side of 1-0 loss to pick up a bonus point is incredible! We know of his FPL potential from last season’s little run of goals, but his underlying stats point towards a BPS machine.
Every season we see a flurry of bandwagons kick off early. To jump on or to stubbornly resist can make or break a season. Personally I like to see Bandwagons roll for a few weeks rather than acting on a solitary performance. However, it seems many managers think differently..
The biggest bandwagon this week is Granit Xhaka (10pts, 8.7% Owned). He’s been transferred in by over 100,000 manager already! His 2 quick fire assists have seemingly wiped out a season of ineffective performances and basic logic that CDM’s make bad FPL assets.. I see the argument, based on his price and his occasional set piece, but I for one am not sold. I’m happy to be stubborn on this one, and will look elsewhere for Arsenal attacking coverage.
Hegazi (15pts, 5.6% Owned) has unsurprisingly attracted a lot on interest with his chart topping GW1. I’m sure there were many smug owners, who did their research previously, but the Egyptian looked like he could be the real deal. He had 3 shots during the match, and scored highly in the BPS metrics. I hate WBA defenders but this bandwagon may be one to take seriously. His attractive price and strong fixtures appease the logical part of the brain, making it an easy decision to make if you’re in the market for a cheap defender.
Vardy’s (13 pts, 8.2% Owned) Friday night exploits have attracted a lot of attention, earning him over 60,000 transfers already. At only 8.5m, he could represent a great value alternative to the big hitting strike force many of us have plumped for. Leicester’s fixtures are cause for concern, but as Vardy has shown in the past, he can score goals against anyone. Firmino will probably attract more attention for now at the same price point, but Vardy could prove an interesting differential. A few more goals in the coming games and his value will start to rocket.
Of course the other big hitters like Lukaku and Salah are up there on the list, but as they already boast a high ownership, they can’t really be classed as bandwagons. The numbers are sure to increase, as only the really eager managers have transferred so early. However I’m sure the patterns will largely stay the same.
Things you should know
Big point to consider before making any changes for GW2 is Everton and Liverpool play midweek in their european qualification games. So unless you have no representation from either team, a wise man would wait. 0.1 isn’t worth having to waste 4 points on another transfer!
Hope this article is of some use!