Mr Hankey, The Christmas Poo
Small and Brown, he comes from you
Sit on the toilet, here he comes
Squeeze him tween your festive buns!
Apologies for the thought I just put in your mind, but it was the best analogy to the Gameweek many a Fantasy Manager experienced last time out. In the hope that Mr. Hankey doesn’t show up again, let’s dive into ATFPL’s Gameweek 17 preview and its captain picks, heavy hitters, clean sheets, punts, and the big ol’ rumbling gut.
Yaya Touré’s currently sits third in ATFPL’s captain poll, with only just over a two percent difference between first and fifth. This is indicative of the lack of obvious captain picks, mostly because of Sergio Agüero’s injury and Diego Costa’s recent lack of output and attractive underlying stats. For City, things got even worse with Edin Džeko warm-up injury and Stevan Jovetić continued absence, leaving Manuel Pellegrini with possibly only Jose Pozo upfront. What is more likely is that Pellegrini will push some his talented midfielders upfront, with Touré a prime candidate for the role in the hole against Neil Warnock’s Crystal Palace. Think about that: a home game against Palace where Touré probably has limited defensive duties? He’s captain material for sure.
Andy Carroll’s attraction this Gameweek, as covered in Captain Foresight, stems from a fantastic matchup against Leicester who have been dreadful defensively away from home. Not that Carroll has been a slouch, third in goal attempts and second for shots in the box in the last four Gameweeks. It’s just that Leicester look defensively inept, going by the numbers. Check out the Foresight for a more detailed analysis, but suffice to say that it’s unlikely West Ham will go scoreless in Gameweek 17 and likely that Carroll will be involved.
Christian Eriksen, a somewhat controversial pick, rounds out the Captain Picks as a rare Tottenham representative—Spurs welcome Burnley to White Hart Lane. Highlighted in What We Learned as being worthy investments, the Danish midfielder is the third highest scoring midfielder in 2014, showing comparable numbers in key passes and shots as Eden Hazard in the last six Gameweeks.
Robin van Persie tops ATFPL’s Forwards Watchlist after three consecutive double digit Gameweeks and seems to have found his form under Louis van Gaal. With Wayne Rooney being moved into midfield, Radamel Falcao still starting on the bench, and James Wilson surely not a threat, Van Persie is United’s safest forward pick and a relatively strong pick yet again. However, he is expensive and could be rotated for some of the festive games, but if he’s back to his lethal best he’ll get you points.
Stewart Downing is boasting the highest number of key passes over the previous six Gameweeks, an encouraging sign as West Ham enter an run of three home games in the next four. As with Carroll, this Gameweek’s Leicester game offers the most attacking potential so get him in now if you intend to keep him during December and January.
Although much more dangerous at home, Eden Hazard is still Chelsea’s best FPL bet with an average of 7.0 points in the last four Gameweeks. He’s Chelsea’s most talented player—his dribbling and movement in and around the penalty area is magical. Even if Chelsea play poorly, Hazard is the most likely to conjure up a goal out of nothing.
Charlie Austin, this Gameweek’s Risk vs Reward pick, has five goals and two assists in his last four appearances at home. This bodes well for the forward who should benefit from a revitalised QPR attack, in fourth in goal attempts at home in the last six Gameweeks—96 goal attempts for an attempt every 5.97 minutes.
Nasri, more of a creator than a finisher at Manchester City, could be deployed as a false nine for a strikerless Pellegrini system, boosting his Fantasy value tremendously for a limited time. And with the January wildcard coming up this could be just the time to gamble a little.
Not only annoyingly handsome, Olivier Giroud is also a fine forward and certainly worthy of Fantasy consideration. Third on ATFPL’s Forwards Watchlist, he’s the Gunners’ default striker from now on with Danny Welbeck being too versatile for his own good. Despite three away games in the next four, Giroud is still a decent pick as Arsenal are rarely held scoreless.
David Silva is a focus of this Gameweek’s Differentials, due to low ownership (currently at 5.9%) and fantastic FPL potential. The Spaniard, who is one of the best midfielders in the league, is a known quantity in the Fantasy game with an average of 5.67 goals and 13.67 assists per season for the last three Premier League campaigns. With the Differentials piece highlighting his sound underlying numbers this season, despite the injury lay-off, there are several reasons to add him to your lineup.
Graziano Pellè is the forgotten man for Fantasy Managers as Southampton continue to struggle after a brilliant beginning to the season. But Pellé was back on the scoresheet in the loss against Manchester United and is one to consider.
The ATFPL Clean Sheet Consortium likes the look of …
…Newcastle’s Paul Dummett, now a regular for the Magpies who host Sunderland the Tyne–Wear derby—Sunderland only have five goals away from home. And things don’t seem to be getting better with Sunderland without a win in the last six games having scored only three goals in the process.
…Pablo Zabaleta for Manchester City who are starting a run of fantastic festive fixtures with three home games in the next four (CRY/wba/BUR/SUN).
…West Ham’s Carl Jenkinson based on the Leicester matchup. Nigel Pearson’s men are third worst in minutes per goal attempt away from home.
Big ol’ Rumbling Gut Pick
Liverpool are going through a tough time and their players are being ruthlessly dumped by Fantasy Managers. In this mass hysteria, it has been forgotten that Raheem Sterling is actually posting fine attacking numbers and could be due a big Gameweek if he starts finishing his chances. A game against Arsenal is perhaps not the best game to start gambling, but ATFPL’s gut still grumbles strong for the Liverpool attacker.