Guy’s 5 Fantasy Premier League Tips For Gameweek 5

Imagine somebody had told you before this season kicked off that by GW5, Man City and Chelsea would be 1 and 2 in the table. Your first thought would’ve probably been that this season was shaping up to be something rather boring, formulaic. In reality though, it’s been anything but those things.

If I had to think of a single adjective to encapsulate this season it would be “full”. I don’t know, that’s just how I personally view it. I say it’s full because it really has a bit of everything, doesn’t it? It has the powerhouse teams performing like powerhouse teams. It has a team like Everton probably playing above their pay grade simply from a change in coaching and tactics (ok, the new midfielders helped too).

It has traditionally relegation-exempt clubs looking up at the rest of the world from the bottom of the table – Stoke and Sunderland were never true world-beaters, but to think they have 3 points combined through 4 matches is madness. And lastly, this season has that great fantasy element of featuring truly new and unique players that keep us studying for hours trying to find that next gem. Suffice to say, it makes tip writing more enjoyable when things aren’t exactly predictable.

Like the proverb goes, it isn’t work if you love what you do. I actually have no idea if that’s a proverb or not, but it felt right. Let’s just get to the tips.

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

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#1) Will the next Riyad Mahrez please stand up?

(1:52 on the podcast. Click here to start the podcast from this point)

This isn’t actually a slight against Riyad Mahrez – I still think he’ll do fine for himself this season. In fact, Leicester playing Burnley this week is looking to be a great spot for them to get themselves sorted again. But this point goes more to our natural tendency to always find that next true fantasy gem that not only competes with the elite for points, but will also compete with the benchwarmers for price. And in our own lazy way, we try to label this yearly find as the “next (insert name of player who filled this role last year)”. In this case it’s finding the next Mahrez.

The most obvious choice for this yearly role is Etienne Capoue. Having started at just 4.5m when the game opened, he quickly became bench fodder for many owners simply because he was set to start. What nobody could’ve imagined was that this man was going to come out and set the league on fire. Already through 4 matches Capoue has 3 goals and an assist, but he’s also already raked in 8 bonus points through 111 BPS. Honestly, just his bonus points have generated more for owners who dared to start him than the total scores of other mids that cost millions more.

But Capoue can’t be declared the next Mahrez outright yet. I think that Michail Antonio has a chance at the title. What hinders his chance to carry the moniker is that he actually played for his club last year and found some success, but he wasn’t very high on the radar for many FPL owners to start the year. In fact, only 150K managers took a chance on bringing the 7.0m Antonio in for the first week – and he’s still only owned by around 10% of the league.

Another hypothetical: if somebody had told you at the beginning of the year that by this time in the season Diego Costa and Zlatan Ibrahimovic would lead the league in goals scored with 4 each, you wouldn’t have been surprised. Maybe you’d have been disappointed that your favored striker wasn’t up there, but it’s certainly not surprising that the likes of Ibra and Costa have the stats they have. What is surprising is that Michail Antonio is sharing the league lead with 4 goals of his own.

So which is the next Mahrez? Bah, I don’t think it matters. The truth is that you can still own both for a very reasonable 11.9m.

#2) Are Everton the new Arsenal vol. II

(8:17 on the podcast. Click here to start the podcast from this point)

I need to retouch on this point from last week because the Everton mid situation became even more Arsenal-y than we previously thought it could this last Monday. Was it surprising that Lukaku scored a hat trick? It was a welcome surprise, but it was a surprise nonetheless.

Was it a surprise that 3 different mids for Everton got assists in that game? Eh…not so much. We kind of feared that this would be the worst case scenario. As an offense, this type of production and threat is ideal if you plan on singling in on the striker that all of this service benefits, but if you’re chasing points through the Everton mids, you’re going to be playing a bit of roulette I’m afraid.

The first takeaway from this game is that Koeman is a savage strategically. Cries of FPL managers everywhere went out when Koeman had the stones to swap off Barkley at half. But the change was just what was needed to assure the win. And that change also signals that none of the mids are safe from rotation based on the circumstances. Bolasie, Gueye, Barkley, Mirallas and Deulofeu could all see full minutes or no minutes at all. And everyone of this group are capable of assisting or scoring goals on their own, or they could score none at all if assigned to play a bit deeper.

I don’t want to say that buying an Everton mid is a bad idea – because points are going to come. But you’re going to have to treat the mids like you treat your Arsenal mids. You’re going to have to accept the fact that a 14 point performance could be possible wedged between a couple of 2 point performances. The benefit to the Everton mid though is the price. Barkley is the only mid above 7m for this group – so having one of these guys on your squad isn’t going to break your team in any fundamental way.

#3) Who plays Stoke this week?

(11:25 on the podcast. Click here to start the podcast from this point)

This should be one of the first questions you ask yourself before sitting down and trying to figure out your transfers each week. Because in all honesty, the answer to this question could be the tiebreaker if you’re stuck between two prospects for a transfer in.

Stoke have got to be the most puzzling team in the league this year. Like I mentioned above, the fact that they’re in the relegation zone at all is madness. And the fact that they’re very bottom of the table is just unthinkable. I’m not saying that anybody outside of their fan club had them pegged to make European qualification this year – but surely they were good enough for middle of the pack once again? Last year Stoke finished in 9th place – but they were the only club in the top 10 with a negative goal differential (-14). Was the writing on the wall then? Were their results just a bit of a fluke last year? I think it’s still too early in the year to give a definitive diagnosis on where and when the problem started, but things are not looking good right now.

Going into the fifth week of action, Stoke have only scored 2 goals and have conceded 10 for a league worst -8 GD. This same team that had Arnautovic, Bojan and Shaqiri are now struggling to find any traction. And you can’t blame this all on Shaqiri picking up an injury, because the team added a decent striker in Bony.

In any event, to answer the initial question, Crystal Palace play Stoke this weekend – and if there’s one team that looks like it was fully ready to embrace their new striker, it was Palace. So if you’re trying to decide between adding in that cheap Everton mid or…Zaha?, I’d go with the option against Stoke this week.

#4) (Heung-Min) Son of a….

(15:03 on the podcast. Click here to start the podcast from this point)

Every year it happens that some player comes out of nowhere and puts all of your plans at risk. That would have to be Heung-Min Son right now, right? I mean, the dude doesn’t even sniff the pitch for the first three weeks, and then he comes on and plays 90 while racking up 19 points (2G, 1A, 1CS, 3BP).

It’s not like he came on and just kind of had a good game. He had an absolute monster of a game. He had the kind of game that kids dream of. Hell, he contributed to more goals than Stoke have all season. It was special. By definition, Son would be the quintessential differential player right now if you were desperate to move up the ranks by betting against the meta. Not even 1300 people in the world own Son right now.

But there’s the rub. Do you gamble on this kid knowing that he’s obviously not Tottenham’s first choice at that position? Will his performance be enough to ensure that he at least gets another start? It’s hard to say. So this tip is two-fold. First off, don’t pick him up yet. Capoue and Antonio are guaranteed starters and should be owned first. But the second part of the tip is to not lose track of this guy. Keep an eye out for him. Last year Tottenham’s attack was really opened up with the addition of Alli, maybe Son will be that guy for them this year.

Oof, I just did it to myself, didn’t I? “Is Son this year’s Alli?”  Well he could be, let’s leave it at that.

#5) The cost of being expensive

(18:31 on the podcast. Click here to start the podcast from this point)

Here’s an interesting wrinkle for you to ponder: Man City are the highest scoring team in the league (only team in double digit goals with 11) and yet they are one of the most sparsely owned. Sergio Aguero is still owned by nearly a quarter of all players in the game (baffling to me, but OK), but outside of him, only one attacking/mid player of theirs is owned by more than 10% of owners (Sterling at 14.6%).

It really just boils down to how much you can stretch and afford players, and I get that. But it’s still a bit puzzling considering that City have yet to score fewer than 2 goals in any game they’ve played this year, so you know that points are going to come from them in some fashion. When you consider that City’s next two games are going to be against Bournemouth and Swansea, you have to figure that with or without Aguero, goals are going to come.

I guess the point is this, we all look really hard for value – but we tend to try to maneuver our big money players around several clubs. Maybe sometimes the most obvious solution is the best solution – pick up more Man City players as long as they lead the league in scoring. It may sound simple, but I’m sure somebody out there is making it work for themselves.

Those are just my thoughts. Thanks for reading and for listening to the podcast each week. Your support is appreciated.

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2 Comments
  1. Really like the pod & look forward to hearing what you have to say. Keep up the good work. I agree with you that having a mid from Everton is a rotation risk given the number of mids they have to pick from. I started the season with Deulofeu but dropped him in favor of Bolasie when I played my WC GW4. I just have a feeling that Bolasie will turn out to be the mid. to have from Everton long term.

    As for Capoue, I also picked him up with my WC, not because I think he will continue to score like he has been although that would be great. I got him to be my 5th mid given his low price combined with his potential to produce more than 2 – 3 pts/game as well as his potential to help increase my team value. Not sold on him being a 4th mid & don’t mind having his points on the bench as long as he keeps increasing in value. But it is nice to have a 5th mid with his potential to score that I can start if needed especially at his price.

    I think your point about Man City’s mids is spot on but speaking as someone who does not have anyone from City atm since I dropped Aguero with my WC (who I will get back GW6), but have not picked up a City mid. The reason I have not is the same reason I don’t have a Liverpool or Man United mid, which is due to not knowing who will be rotated and who will score . I decided to wait and see which mids from the teams above will become the must have players before picking one up. This is the main reason I started the season with Aguero & Ibrahimovic up top which is what I will have again for GW6 with Benteke as my 3rd striker who took the place of Gray when I played my WC. But I digress, I believe the low ownership of City’s mids is due to a combination of their high price, rotation risk & the fact that it may be impossible to know which mid will score the most.

    Looking forward to your next pod.

  2. Hey Joe, thanks for the comment. As a fan, I’d be happy if any of Everton’s mids really left their mark and took over the position on an elite level. Bolasie is a good pick to do that – but I am also keeping an eye on Mirallas. Before Martinez came in and soured him, he was a decent player. Now that Koeman is there it looks like he might be getting back to old form again. Frustrating pegging them in fantasy, but a joy to watch as a fan.

    Capoue could be a flash in the pan, and after only four weeks, I’ll concede that point. But he’s at that prime age, surrounded by a capable group of attackers…I think he could really do something this year. Plus I think we ‘need’ him to do well if we’re all going to start to fit in Ibra and Aguero again. He really opens up funds which is critical.

    I assumed that Man City mids would be a bit lower in the ownership percentages – but to see it be drastically lower did surprise me. If they continue to average 2+ goals per game over a longer stretch, it will be interesting to see how the meta team shifts to accomodate having at least one pricey mid from them.

    But thanks for listening, Joe. Much appreciated!

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