These Cup weekends really make it difficult to get any momentum going in fantasy leagues (just wait until we add international breaks back into the mix next month). If you need a recap of who is in form, make sure you check out Neal Thurman’s Monday Morning Manager from Week 26.
This weekend will get a bit tricky for those managers who have players in the four clubs not playing in the Premier League this weekend. Due to the League Cup final on Sunday between Liverpool and Manchester City, those two sides along with Everton and Newcastle (their would-be opponents in Week 27) have seen their Premier League match postponed to a later date, which likely means a double gameweek down the line.
That certainly spells trouble for the contingent that relies upon Sergio Aguero, Romelu Lukaku, Ross Barkley, Roberto Firmino etc. But hopefully you have either prepared for this or have a good bench/a couple transfersready depending on your game format.
If you’re in that last group, pay special attention to my midfield and forward picks this week. In Week 26, Emmanuel Adebayor and Andros Townsend each scored to give my confidence a boost, in terms of picking attacking players, and for once I feel like I’m on a roll.
Without much more delay, here are the bargains for Week 27. 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. Great for any format, but especially valuable in the FPL.com game.
GK – Artur Boruc (Bournemouth)
When it gets down to the final months, the keepers start to run thin. But with varying matchups and runs of form, you could see a repeat here and there, like Boruc. The former Southampton man had a string of three clean sheets in five matches during the festive period before running into some tough fixtures. However, Boruc now looks like a good short-term buy with Watford, Southampton, Newcastle and Swansea up next. Maybe not the best for FPL.com formats with limited transfers, but he would be great in draft leagues as Fantrax says he is available on the waiver wire in almost 75 percent of its leagues. If you need a keeper with reliable minutes and some upside, Boruc is a great choice.
DEF – Robert Huth (Leicester City)
Huth is going to be a fantastic, under-the-radar choice for your defense in just about any fantasy format. Let’s start with the numbers: He’s priced at £4.6 in FPL.com and selected in only 33 percent of Fantrax draft leagues. But the real dealbreaker is the fact that Leicester City only has two games against the current top six in the table (Manchester United and Southampton) for the remainder of the season. Huth has also shown that he can score goals—remember his two-goal showing against Manchester City? With the Foxes focused on making history, I expect Claudio Ranieri to double down on his defense and push for clean sheets with such a favorable schedule.
DEF – Kevin Wimmer (Spurs)
Wimmer has done an excellent job filling in for an injured Jan Vertonghen over the past month, which includes two clean sheets in three Premier League starts. I was skeptical about recommending him due to Eric Dier’s ability to play at center-back, but Mauricio Pochettino has preferred Dier in defensive midfield while giving Wimmer a chance. The summer signing has not disappointed and looks set to partner with Toby Alderweireld until Vertonghen’s return toward the end of March. Wimmer is a great short-term option suited best for draft leagues (available in 83 percent of Fantrax leagues) while the club’s weekend match with Swansea provides a good opportunity for a clean sheet for those of you who play week-to-week.
MID – Wahbi Khazri (Sunderland)
Since his arrival at the end of January, Khazri is already looking like a shrewd signing that has revitalized the Sunderland midfield. In just two Premier League starts, the Tunisian midfielder has a goal and two assists against Liverpool and Manchester United, proving not everyone needs time to adapt to the league. Khazri is still available in two-thirds of Fantrax draft leagues (you have no excuse not to pick him up off the waiver wire) and is valued at £6.0 in FPL.com. Either way, Khazri is looking like an excellent short-term buy with long-term potential in any game format.
FWD – Emmanuel Emenike (West Ham)
I’m really buzzing over this pick right now because I think Emenike could be one of the shining fantasy stars of the week. On Sunday, the Fenerbahce loanee scored his first two goals in the club’s rout of Blackburn Rovers in the FA Cup. And with Enner Valencia and Andy Carroll both recovering from injuries, Emenike looks set for his first Premier League start, backed by a renewed attacking spirit in the Hammers’ midfield. In FPL.com he’s priced at just £5.0 while Fantrax says he is available on the waiver wire in nearly 85 percent of its draft leagues (which is definitely worth it if you have Lukaku and/or Aguero in your team). But against Sunderland this weekend, Emenike’s real value lies as a one-week buy suited for your weekly DraftKings lineup.
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