Champions League and Europa League football are back and with it, they bring a fantasy manager’s biggest problem, rotation. With seven major Premier League clubs playing, it is a concerning factor and one that will see a few managers make a panic moves to change teams before the transfer deadline.
Last Minute heroes
Tottenham may have played in the mid-week Champions League but Son did not. Well, he did, but it was more of a here I-will-help-you-run-the-time-down-and-score-if-you-need-me-to. Because while Olympiacos did manage to produce a comeback, Son walked on and played to the best of his abilities, which was comparatively rather good. He did not get a lot of time to show what he can do, but that's a boon for fantasy managers. It means that he is in contention to start this weekend.
And he managed to pass the eye test and then there is the fact that Son did manage to net two goals last time around. Priced at a decent 9.6m, Son is the perfect player. Why you ask? It’s because he’s now somewhat nailed down at Tottenham but instead because he’s double trouble. In just 5.7% of FPL teams, he’s a differential pick and a man who has always consistently provided attacking options.
The South-Korean did it last season, the season before that and the season before that, averaging 13 goals a season across the three-season. Not a bad result and if history does repeat itself, then he’ll come close to that amount this season.
Norwich City have worldwide admiration now. They may have had fans before they handed Manchester City a defeat they will never forget, but now they have admiration. And that admiration includes an influx of Norwich players into FPL manager’s teams. Teemu Pukki has already dominated teams, but slowly bit by bit, the rest will follow. There's Emiliano Buendia, Tim Krul, Max Aarons and maybe even a few midfielders.
But they will all miss out on the young and looking rather impressive Dereham Deco. Who is that, you ask? Why it's young Todd Cantwell. And the great thing about Cantwell is that’s he’s worth only 4.8m. Peanuts when compared to Emi Buendia (6m), Marco Stiepermann (5.4m), Mario Vrancic (6.3m) and a few others. Then there is the tiny fact that he’s managed to score 27 points so far in the season.
A 27 point haul that includes 2 goals and 2 assists against pretty good opposition, opposition that play a semi-big role in the Big Six. Less than either Emi Buendia or Teemu Pukki, but higher than anyone within his bracket and by higher, it’s the standard that players aim to achieve. It’s the standard that players above his bracket dream to hit and it’s just why he should be a budget superstar.
Burnley are a joy to watch, especially defending. Their physical football is also rather nice to watch, but their defending is what makes them stand apart. Old school, no-nonsense stuff and for a fantasy manager, it's a boon. In Sean Dyche, they have a defensive master who somehow dragged this side (with a few other players) to a seventh-place finish a few seasons ago. It was a performance-based solely on their defensive nuance and their ability to rough up opponents, working wonders when needed.
Yet that was nearly two seasons ago, and this season Burnley have done well. Well enough to provoke an FPL rise, with Ashley Barnes and Eric Pieters leading the charge. Pope, with Alisson still injured, is the man who should be leading the race. With Tom Heaton at Villa Park, Pope has taken over the number one and has kept Joe Hart at an arms’ length, but clean sheets have been far and few.
That will change with the Clarets on a rather impressive run, one that includes fixtures against Norwich City, Brighton, Aston Villa, Everton and Leicester City. Not the worst and even if he does concede goals, Pope averages 4 saves a game.
The Ones to Drop
Oh Wolves, the burden of exploring Europe has sent them plummeting down the Premier League table this season. And to think, we believed they would topple the top six!! It does question our decision making but yet at the same time, why they have a problem. That is something that Nuno Espirito Santo has to solve and for us, it means getting rid of Wolves assets.
Not the easiest job, but former bargain star Diogo Jota has to be at the top of that list, especially when at around the 7ishm mark, there are better options. He has struggled immensely this season, with Wolves’ Europa League adventure yet to truly start. They played their first Europa League fixture alongside Arsenal and Manchester, but the result doesn’t matter.
Jota in the Premier League has managed just 9 points so far in five appearances, without a single goal contribution and with your mini-leagues opponents charging ahead, dropping Jota could give you that boost.
If there is one man who should be worried about the streak of recent injuries at Manchester City, it’s not Pep Guardiola but his right-back Kyle Walker. As a marauding right-back, Walker has done well as an FPL asset over the years averaging just about 120 points a season. From a defending, that’s really not the worst total but things are changing at Manchester City.
The lack-of-center-back-crisis could see Fernandinho play as a center-back but it could also see Walker play as a center-back. It will see his attacking contributions plummet, it will see Joao Cancelo become the main right-back and furthermore, with City looking for stability, Walker will stop attacking as much, often becoming the third center-back.
Not just that Manchester City’s clean sheets will plummet, especially with the error-prone Nicolas Otamendi as a first-team star and then there is the fact that Joao Cancelo will eventually prove to be the better option. It may turn out to be the worst time for Kyle Walker and given the sheer options available, fantasy managers really won't care.