As the final month of the year begins, the Premier League begins to heat up for the time to separate the men from the boys is here and the English top-flights’ competitiveness is matched only by its virtual counterpart, the Fantasy Premier League (FPL).
For gargantuan numbers are crunched on a daily basis while stats are crunched at an alarming rate as friends turn foes all in a bid to ensure their money gets the desired return of investment.
However, the sea of options can make it a bit confusing for FPL managers as they try a number of plethora of permutations and combinations to get that vital edge. That’s where The Statesman comes in, with a thorough article on who to buy ahead of every gameweek.
The indicators are:
Teams in BOLD are top 4 contenders.
Prices (in £ million) marked in Green indicates a rise in Base Price.
Prices (in £ million) marked in Red indicates fall in Base Price.
Fixtures: Watford (H), Stoke (H), Brighton (A), Spurs (H) and Man United (A)
Why yes: Burnley’s defence may not be as watertight as it was earlier in the season, but anyone from the Clarets backline is still a bargain. Pope is an excellent FPL buy, especially if one considers the next three games Sean Dyche’s men have lined up.
Why no: Burnley have lost two of their last three games to slip down the table and ties against Watford and Stoke, despite being at home, won’t be easy.
Team: Crystal Palace
Fixtures: Bournemouth (H), Watford (H), Leicester (A), Swansea (A) and Arsenal (H)
Why yes: Sakho and Palace have been in decent form of late (unbeaten in their last four games) and the Eagles have a strong chance of registering a shutout against the under-confident Cherries. Overall, they have decent fixtures up ahead. Is a goal threat from set-pieces as well.
Why no: Sakho has a tendency to be rash so don’t be surprised to see him commit a few blunders from time to time. Palace may be improving but they remain in the relegation zone and at this price, most FPL managers would opt for a Watford/Burnley defender.
Fixtures: West Brom (H), Man City (H), Everton (A), Crystal Palace (H) and Liverpool (A)
Why yes: Swansea may be struggling to score, but their defence is quite impressive. The Swans have let in just 18 goals (less than Liverpool and Arsenal) and Naughton is an integral part of their setup. Against goal-shy West Bromwich Albion at home, the Welsh outfit should be able to keep a clean sheet. At times plays in midfield, which makes him an appealing FPL prospect.
Why no: Swansea have the joint-worst attack in the league and their inability to score is the chief reason why they are bottom of the table as their defence is put under undue pressure in most games as a result.
Fixtures: Southampton (A), West Ham (A), Newcastle (H), Liverpool (H) and Crystal Palace (A)
Why yes: Ramsey is among the most in-form midfielders in the Premier League and one should pick him up now before his price skyrockets. Can be a huge differential in the coming weeks as the resurgent Gunners have routine games ahead.
Why no: Fellow midfielder Mesut Ozil (£9.3 m) and Arsenal forward Alexandre Lacaztte (£10.3m) are going great guns (pun unintended) at the moment too. Having several Arsenal players, keeping their fixtures in mind, is an intriguing proposition but a high-risk one for sure.
Team: Huddersfield Town
Fixtures: Brighton (H), Chelsea (H), Watford (A), Southampton (A) and Stoke (H)
Why yes: Mooy has been a standout performer for Huddersfield this season and with a home game against fellow newcomers Brighton in Gameweek 16, the Australian is a relatively safe bet. The Terriers have proved that they won’t go down easily, especially at home and their midfield dynamo is a decent pick, considering his price. A good fourth/fifth choice midfielder at the least.
Why no: Huddersfield are pretty poor away from home and Mooy doesn’t particularly play in an advanced role.
Fixtures: Arsenal (H), Leicester (H), Chelsea (A), Huddersfield (H) and Spurs (A)
Why yes: Austin’s banging in the goals again and as the Saints take on Arsenal at home, the burly striker is this game week’s wildcard pick. As Man United proved last week, the Gunners have a suspect defence and it would be difficult to see them keeping a clean sheet. Considering his differential, an excellent third-choice forward, if nothing else.
Why no: Fixtures on the whole look pretty tough and Southampton haven’t exactly been free-scoring this season.
Team: Tottenham Hotspur
Fixtures: Stoke (H), Brighton (H), Man City (A), Burnley (A) and Southampton (H)
Why yes: Spurs may be misfiring but their star striker has actually been finding the back of the net at a prodigious rate. After being rested for their mid-week UEFA Champions League tie, Kane will be fresh and raring to go against a porous Stoke City defence. Ideal captain pick as well.
Why no: Is monstrously expensive and doesn’t really have much of a differential as close to 40 per cent of FPL managers have him in their squads. They may insist the ‘Wembley Curse’ is over, but the Lilywhites’ home record this season has been nothing short of catastrophic. Spurs midfielder Heung-Min Son (£7.9) is a far more reasonable pick but having both would be an ill-advised stratagem, considering the Lilywhites’ form.
PS: The Gameweek deadline is 11.30 am GMT/5 pm IST.