Guy’s 5 Fantasy Premier League Tips For Gameweek 4

After what seemed like a lengthy break, we’re finally back in action for another round of FPL play. It’s not that we have a problem with the international breaks – it’s just that right as we’re warming up to the new season they go ahead and put the brakes on and force us to switch gears for a bit. And so much happened over the break that it makes coming back into the game almost a bit daunting.

For starters, the Sergio Aguero situation got resolved – and that’s going to have huge implications in the game that we’ll get into later. And then the summer transfer window closed up, and we have to weigh whether these new additions are going to have an immediate impact in league play or not. And no matter which way you choose to go, you’re always going to feel like you missed out on a hunch play in one form or another. And hey, I’m all about hunch plays, but you have to mix that in with some logic and some hard math. Let’s get to it.

Guy’s 5 Fantasy Premier League Tips For Gameweek 4:

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#1)  The Meta Team Reborn (bye bye Kun)

(0:42 on the podcast. Click here to start the podcast from this point)

In case you’ve been living under a rock, let’s start by stating the obvious: Sergio Aguero is banned from league play until September 24th.  That’s huge.  It completely changes the game and disrupts the meta pairing we talked about last round.  Many people didn’t think that this ban would be handed down based on Aguero’s star status, but fair play to the FA for enforcing the rules across the board.  The elbow that Aguero threw was absolutely out of line and he should have been punished for it.  And just like that, the most expensive player in the game is taken off the board for the next couple of rounds.

Now there have been people online openly wondering if they should just bench Aguero and try to make their best team without him for a while.  This is something you absolutely should not do.  Aguero needs to be sold and should be sold as quickly as possible.  You can’t have 13.0m just sitting on your bench and expect to stay competitive.  And it’s not like we’re looking at Aguero in GW18 here after he’s already gained 1-2m in price and you’ve had him since the start. If there were some type of severe sell-on penalty to offloading him, the discussion would be different.  But the truth is that Aguero can be sold and repurchased at the same price to you.

This means that the meta pairing has already gone in a different direction.  Now instead of Aguero/Ibrahimovic, it looks like the ownership percentages are saying that the wildcard template is going to have to shift to Ibrahimovic and Hazard.  As this site pointed out in an earlier article, nearly 90% of all players own either Hazard or Ibrahimovic or both.  Those are staggering stats that you can’t ignore.  And this is something that we can all get behind because it creates the meta tandem across two positions instead of front-loading the forward spot.  If you still feel like getting creative and being a rogue pioneer, you can do that while still covering yourself with Ibra/Hazard to keep pace with the rest of the pack.

#2)  Are Everton the new Arsenal?

(4:53 on the podcast. Click here to start the podcast from this point)

No seriously, don’t laugh at that.  What I mean is, Everton seem to be buying up all available midfielders in hopes that something will stick.  Even though they didn’t need more midfielders after a point, they seemed to find money to buy just one more.

Everton have one of the best schedules coming up (SUN (A), MID (H), BOU (A) and CRY (H)), and you’re going to want some of their attack.  But that’s the problem isn’t it?  And in that way it’s kind of like Arsenal – do you take Ozil, Sanchez, Walcott, Ramsey…Cazorla for PK’s?  After the dust has settled, we find that Everton now have Barkley, Mirallas, Bolasie, Gueye and Deulofeu as the probable starters – but they also have old-man Gareth Barry (already scored a goal this year) and Aaron Lennon on the bench that will get occasional minutes to maintain fitness.  Everton also have brought in Enner Valencia to aid Romelu Lukaku up top, and if Everton really switch to a system with two forwards, it could spell even more trouble for those trying to get a smart Everton midfielder in at a good price.

But this isn’t an article simply for posing problems and asking hypotheticals, it’s a tips article – so here’s what we’re recommending.  If you have the funds, buy Ross Barkley at 7.7m.  He really is the premier talent in that group and given his bargain price this year, he should be in more squads than he currently is given Everton’s extremely favourable schedule.

If you’ve already gone and spent your money elsewhere though and you’d still like to get in on the Everton gamble to get big points this month, buy Yannick Bolasie for 6.0m.  Bolasie was a rather purposeful buy on part of Koeman and Co., so he should start to figure into the attacking plans sooner rather than later.  Gueye may look to be the better value, but I think Bolasie holds the advantage over him and Mirallas as far as potential moving forward.

#3)  The Southampton experiment is over

(9:17 on the podcast. Click here to start the podcast from this point)

Many players, myself included, loaded up on the Southampton mids to start the year due to their great perceived value and due to Redmond being played as a forward.  But how’s that working out for us now?  Maybe it’s Koeman’s leaving the club, maybe it’s Pelle getting shipped off to China, but the team is currently not a valid fantasy target in mind.  Starting out with two draws and loss, Southampton are just above the relegation zone sitting in 15th on 2 points.  And yet even with those results, Southampton still have Redmond owned by 12%, van Dijk owned by 10.5% and Shane Long owned by 9%.  Seriously?  Let’s just take a moment here to inform you that Shane Long has truly done nothing this year and the fact that he’s even close to 10% ownership is absurd.  Through three games his BPS production totals 14.  You read that right, 14 BPS combined through 3 matches.

And it’s not going to get any better for Southampton in the short-term.  Three of the next four fixtures they’ll play will be away fixtures – and they start that stretch on the road to Arsenal this week.  I get it, we all try to find value where we can, but this club just doesn’t have the goods right now.  And that’s too bad.  At this time last year Southampton would’ve been the one of the last clubs in the league that you would’ve predicted to be in such a dire situation.  But it is what it is, and it’s time to let it go.  

Also, I’m not proud to say that I’ve had Dusan Tadic on my team since week 1.  So if this tip seems a bit feisty, a lot of it is just me chewing myself out for not seeing this coming sooner.

#4)  Have you also lost faith in Mahrez?

(13:16 on the podcast. Click here to start the podcast from this point)

If I told you that Sergio Aguero has the most transfers out for a forward this round, you’d think that makes perfect sense with his suspension.  If I told you John Stones has the most transfers out for a defender this round, you could even find a bit of sense in that.  But if I said that the most transferred out midfielder this round is Riyad Mahrez… that should give you a bit of pause.

I know that it’s fun to get on a hot hand and try some new players in that position, but seeing the mass exodus from Mahrez is a bit surprising.  Leicester have sputtered to start the year, there’s no denying that; but now that the transfer window is closed, there’s really no more ambiguity over what the identity of this team still is.  Aside from missing Kante, this team is still pretty much intact, and in my mind it’s not a matter of ‘if’ they turn it around, it’s ‘when’.  

Is it hypocritical then of me to single out Southampton as losers after three weeks but to not pass the same judgement on Leicester?  Absolutely not.  Leicester still have the core team that won the league last year, and if this three game spell had happened to them mid way through the year, we wouldn’t have batted an eye at it.  Southampton are an entirely new creation that is simply lacking – and they don’t look like they have the goods to turn it completely around at this point.  

I’m actually excited for Leicester’s schedule coming up.  Leicester will have to play Liverpool and Man U away in the next four matches, and they’ll get Burnley and Southampton at home.  I think that Leicester will get up for the big games.  I’m not sure they’ll win them, but I do believe they’ll give a better accounting of themselves when the stakes feel higher.  And then to interject a couple of lesser clubs at home between those big away matches?  I just like the feel of that.

But to the point of this tip, I probably wouldn’t argue a whole lot if Vardy or the Leicester defense was being shopped out to find a better replacement.  But I’d be wary about following the trend and shipping off one of the best midfielders in the game.  I think Mahrez will make those owners regret their decision in short time.

#5)  Time to burn the wildcard?

(17:27 on the podcast. Click here to start the podcast from this point)

It’s funny when you think about it, but if you get into a casual conversation about fantasy football with somebody, they’ll inevitably refer to using their wildcard at some point as, “burning the wildcard.”  Maybe it’s just an American thing, but just stop a moment to ponder how many times you’ve heard somebody say ‘burn the wildcard’.

Why is that?  Because it’s damned dangerous and you always feel like you got it wrong.  The truth is that there’s never a perfect time to use the wildcard because you can’t possibly know what your injury situation will look like in ten weeks time – just like you can’t know if your Champions League players will be rotated out after European play.  Thus, whenever you fully commit to turning over your team, you just burn that wildcard and hope for the best.

I will say as a matter of tactics this is the most opportune week to use the wildcard.  No more transfers to worry about, and all league participants have been assigned.  This year is just a bit better because of Aguero’s injury.  In most years using the wildcard is about bringing a certain player in, but in this case it’s to ensure you get a player out and spread those funds elsewhere.

If you’re one of those rare players who can manage to ship Aguero out by himself and have an extra transfer handy to upgrade a mid?  By all means, save the wildcard for future advantage.  But personally, I think it’s better to get your team just right early on and then make those transfers one by one later as needed.  Whatever you decide, good luck to you.

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