While Week 10 threw me for a bit of a loop as the new Bargain Hunter, Week 11 was much kinder as I’ve started to settle in. But I really feel as though Week 12 will be my breakthrough week in my 2014/15 Harry Kane-esque rise (minus the sophomore slump, hopefully).
Speaking of Kane, last week I tried to convince you to avoid the hype after a hat-trick and wait things out to see if Kane can reignite that goalscoring fire. He scored a late insurance goal against Villa, but his FPL price still worries me.
In Week 11 news, Arouna Kone announced himself to the world with a hat-trick against Sunderland, but you’ll see at the end of this column why it isn’t the best idea to spend an FPL transfer on him even though he might be a good short-term buy in salary cap and draft leagues.
Without much more delay, here are the bargains of Week 12. I’m welcoming all suggestions and debates on Twitter (@gastelumEPL) and hopefully I can include your thoughts here in this column.
One Week Buys (OWB) – When a regular is suspended for a match, ineligible to face his parent club as a loanee, or his fill-in looks to deputize for only a week while the regular nurses a minor injury, this is where to find some replacements. They should only be looked at when you really need help at a position that week alone, and not looked at as long term plays. Best for salary cap leagues with unlimited transactions.
Short-term Buys (STB) – When a regular faces a multi-game suspension, an injury layoff lasting 2-5 weeks, international commitment, etc., this is where you look for players that can offer more beyond one week but do have a limited shelf life in most cases. Worth using a waiver claim or spending a bit more of your free agent budget (FAAB) than the One Week Buys. Can be useful in Fantasy Premier League format as long as you are comfortable with possibly needing to transfer them out in a few weeks.
Long-term Buys (LTB) – When a regular is either facing a month or more out or has lost his spot seemingly to someone better, these are the players that emerge as potential long-term investments and are therefore the most valuable of the group and worth paying up considerable FAAB for. Great for any format, but especially valuable in the FPL.com game.
GK – Tim Howard (Everton)
While Howard is owned in most draft leagues (94 percent according to Fantrax), the Everton keeper is a good long-term buy in salary cap leagues and Fantasy Premier League. Howard is selected in just 7.2 percent of FPL teams at a value of £5.1, cheaper than Petr Cech, David De Gea and Joe Hart. While the Toffees’ defense is a bit battered, they have a favorable schedule through the rest of 2015 that is sure to result in a handful of clean sheets (West Ham, Aston Villa and Bournemouth in the next three weeks is especially promising).
DEF- Nathan Ake (Watford)
I’m absolutely obsessed with this pick at the moment. Ake suits any fantasy format that interests you. Buoyed by five clean sheets already this season, Watford has taken a purely defensive approach to staying out of the relegation zone. In more stat-based draft leagues (like Togga), Ake is a very promising pick who has far more interceptions and tackles than the more popular Vincent Kompany (Ake has played half as many minutes). In FPL, the on-loan Chelsea left-back is priced at just £4.4 and selected in 0.1 percent of teams. Meanwhile, Fantrax tells us he is owned in just 7.1 percent of leagues. Ake has started each of the past four matches and picked up his first assist this weekend, making him a reliable short-term, and potentially long-term, option.
MID – Jordan Veretout (Aston Villa)
Bear with me on my reasoning with this pick, but I am confident Veretout will play a major part in the rest of Aston Villa’s season. The midfielder is owned in just 4.2 percent of Fantrax leagues (while that figure is zero in FPL), but the midfielder who has not played a single minute in the last three matches will have his moment. That’s because former Lyon coach Remi Garde, a Frenchman like Veretout, is now manager. Garde is renowned for his work with young talent, and the 22-year-old Verertout arrived from Nantes last season after recording seven goals, six assists and (wait for it…) 72 chances created, which put him near the top of Ligue 1 last season behind Dimitri Payet. In FPL and salary cap leagues, I would wait to see him get some steady playing time. But Veretout could be a hit in the stat-heavy, draft-style leagues like Togga, so pick him up on the waiver wire while he is still available.
MID – Dele Alli (Spurs)
Alli is a good option for any type of league. He was praised by Mauricio Pochettino after Spurs’ 3-1 win Monday, when he scored his second goal of the season. Alli has played the full 90 in the last six league fixtures, making him a reliable staple of the lineup, and is taken in 56.4 percent of Fantrax leagues, making him available in a good amount of leagues. In Togga, Alli averages a solid 9.6 points a week, on par with Willian and Coutinho and has more tackles and interceptions than Chris Smalling. Lastly, Alli would be a good FPL addition to your bench because he is cheap (£4.9) and gets consistent minutes.
FWD – Joel Campbell (Aresnal)
This is purely a one-week buy for those of you in salary cap leagues. Campbell scored his first Premier League goal against Swansea over the weekend after Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain were each ruled out with injuries sustained in the League Cup (after this column was published). For this weekend against Spurs, Campbell is a great option to get some unique points (what I like to call points that very few other players will get) and separate yourself from the pack. But then comes the international break, when Oxlade-Chamberlain and Aaron Ramsey are likely to be fit before Campbell gets shipped off to some remote corner of Europe on loan in January.
SELL OF THE WEEK:
FWD – Arouna Kone (Everton)
I’m not buying Kone as a consistent point-getter at the moment. While it wouldn’t be too big of a risk to take him in a draft league or salary cap style (the problem is he’s owned in 77 percent of Fantrax leagues), formats like FPL put a value on transfers, where Kone is not worth the risk. At £4.8 he’s cheap, but that could potentially ruin your side as the influx of extra money will make you spend more elsewhere, which makes transferring out Kone in a couple weeks extremely difficult. Everton has so many wingers that Roberto Martinez clocks them in and out on a whim. Steven Naismith is still the best example of how a player can go from hat-trick hero to lucky to make the team-sheet, and I would bet it happens to Kone soon enough, considering it already happened to him earlier this season when he started strong only to be benched within a few weeks. I’d stay away, unless he’s the only way to clear up some cash to fund a move for Sergio Aguero for the December run.
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