I’m gonna close my eyes
And count to ten
I’m gonna close my eyes
And when I open them again
FPL will make sense to me then
Going from one Gameweek with scores topping 100 to a Gameweek where Fantasy Managers pushing 40 points where almost satisfied. It’s maddening, but sometimes the fastest way to get there is to go slow. So simmer down and stroll along for the Gameweek 10 preview and its captain picks, heavy hitters, clean sheets, punts, and the big ol’ rumbling gut.
Despite the continued question marks over the availability of Diego Costa, his talent is such that we have to feature him in our Captain Picks. Despite missing the last two games he’s scored nine goals, joint top with a certain lethal Argentinian — more on him later — and remains a top candidate. His 72.73% shots on target ratio isn’t much of a surprise, considering that 19 of his 22 goal attempts have been in the box; consequently, his 16 shots on target puts him second in the league despite trailing four players in total shots. Chelsea face QPR at Stamford Bridge, with Harry Redknapp’s team sporting the worst defence in the league by goals conceded. Letting in two goals on average and three away from home does not bode well for the Hoops, but gives Fantasy Managers a great captain pick in Costa.
Alexis Sánchez was impressive against Sunderland, recording five goal attempts and two key passes, and took his brace well — although both were gift wrapped and delivered by Sunderland’s awful defence and goalkeeping — to go to five goals for the season. He’s been fantastic for Arsenal and was the spark last Gameweek. The Chilean is register a key pass and a goal attempt every half an hour so the is the Arsenal player of choice at the moment.
Sometimes patience is needed, as is the case with last Gameweek’s performance by Sergio Agüero. Stoosher’s What We Learned pointed out several chances Agüero missed that would normally result in goals. What is important to look for a proven finisher is the rate of shots (and key passes, if you are looking for assists) and Agüero’s seven shots were only bettered by a certain Southampton striker who is a Fantasy favourite. The Manchester City striker tops ATFPL’s Watchlist and is a fine pick in the derby fixture against Manchester United, who haven’t kept a clean sheet since Gameweek’s 4 home win against QPR.
Arsenal welcome Burnley to the Emirates Stadium which should give Danny Welbeck a great chance to add to his two goals and an assist this season. The inconsistent striker faces likely the worst team in the league who have conceded the fifth most goal attempts (130) and fourth most goals (16) so Arsenal’s offence should get a glut of chances; the former Manchester United striker surely has to get his share.
Despite being held at bay by Marouane Fellaini and being outplayed by both Eden Hazard and Oscar, Cesc Fàbregas’s still delivered thanks to a fine corner finished off by Didier Drogba. That is the major bonus of being on set-pieces, having chances to pick up Fantasy points in the most dire of situations. Given the Spaniard’s production, we need more indications his influence is on the wane so play him if you have him.
At the other end of the spectrum, Eden Hazard’s performance against Manchester United was fantastic. He sliced the Red Devils’ defence open on several occasions and would have scored if not for David de Gea’s fantastic performance. His underlying numbers are fine if not fantastic, but his talent is obvious when you watch Chelsea.
Romelu Lukaku scored his second goal in two games last Gameweek and is one to watch out for, considering his past two seasons have returned 15 and 17 goals, in addition to assists. Roberto Martinez seems to have revitalized Everton after their loss against Manchester United as the Toffees have scored three in their last two games, which could be related to them having both their fullbacks fit and playing.
Graziano Pellè has earned the right to be considered a heavy hitter, even playing away from home against a Hull side in decent form. Second only to Agüero on the striker’s Watchlist, he’s also second in minutes per goal attempt behind the Argentinian in players that have played eight or more games. Counting the two goals in Southampton’s League Cup win against Stoke, the Italian revelation has bagged eight goals in 12 club games. The only worrying sign is his low shots on target ratio which could indicate lower Fantasy point returns when Southampton’s fixtures take a turn for the worse.
Tottenham’s best attacking option Christian Eriksen, has scored twice in the last two Gameweeks but, surprisingly, hasn’t assisted yet this season. However, a record of 16 key passes, five through balls, and being heavily involved with little over a minute per touch he’s bound to record assists soon which adds to his Fantasy arsenal.
Comparing the goal threat of Chelsea’s midfielders, Oscar tops both Fàbregas and Hazard. The Brazilian who normally plays behind the striker in a more attacking role than Fàbregas and sometimes Hazard. His 18 goal attempts trumps Hazard’s 12 and Fàbregas’s 11, despite playing two fewer games and he’s taking over twice the shots, comparing his minutes per goal attempt. He’s started the last four games, is considerably cheaper than his compatriots, is owned by only 3.2% percent of Fantasy Managers, and considering Chelsea’s upcoming fixtures he’s a valid differential option.
An oft overlooked player, West Brom’s Chris Brunt has produced four assists in his last five league appearances. Priced at only 5.4 million, the midfielder has a bullet of a shot in him and, considering his nine goal attempts, should score sooner rather than later.
The ATFPL Clean Sheet Consortium likes the look of…
…Everton’s Leighton Baines who by now should be a household name to all Fantasy Managers. One of the few defenders that doesn’t need clean sheets on a regular basis to deliver Fantasy points, he’s more of a sixth midfielder in the Fantasy game, although at a hefty price for a defender.
…Chelsea’s Gary Cahill as a solid clean sheet option with set-piece threat against a QPR team not likely to trouble José Mourinho’s men . You could also opt for a cheaper route into the Chelsea defence in Filipe Luis at 5.4 million, but it could be a short term buy with Cesar Azpilicueta nearing return from suspension.
…Arsenal’s Calum Chambers as a budget pick in an elite defensive team that has delivered near 15 clean sheets for the last couple of seasons.
Big ol’ Rumbling Gut Pick
Ross Barkley tickles ATFPL’s fancy for Everton’s home game against Swansea. He’s on a key pass every 18 minutes since his return and has been involved in the most goal attempts (9) for Everton — tied with Lukaku — in the last two Gameweeks. He is far from a safe pick but still had solid production last season. ATFPL’s gut rumbles for the skilful midfielder.