Friday Foreplay

Friday Foreplay – Gameweek 20

Gummi Fantasy Football Tips, Gameweek Previews

One, two, three, four, five, six, nine, or ten
Money can’t buy you back the player that you had then
One, two, three, four, five, six, nine, or ten
Money can’t buy you back the team that you had then

As we count down to the new year we’ll all be lost in mindful thoughts of gratitude and thanks to family and friends. Right? Who are we kidding? We’ll be lost in deep pondering about the state of our Fantasy Premier League (FPL) teams and selection headaches for the next game. Not to mention when and how to use the January wildcard. We understand oh so well, so here is our food for thought in All Things FPL’s (ATFPL) Gameweek 20 preview and its captain picks, heavy hitters, clean sheets, punts, and the big ol’ rumbling gut

Captain Picks

Sporting the best Captain Foresight score this Gameweek, Charlie Austin is again a fine captain pick with Swansea looking ripe for the pickings based on their dire performance against Liverpool. Not only are the Welsh side conceding a lot of goal attempts away from home—with too many of them coming inside the box—Austin is also recording an impressive 4.50 goal attempts per game. Put those numbers together and it is hard to argue against handing the QPR striker the armband.

Fantasy Managers will be hoping Manchester City bounce back from the Burnley debacle with a commanding perfomance at home against Sunderland in the first game of 2015. Key to that will be a rejuvenated David Silva, currently pulling all the strings in the City attack. He has four goals, an assist, and six bonus points in the four games since coming back from injury in the middle of December and looks likely to add to that tally in Gameweek 20. He isn’t the best pick based on the numbers but offers a solid pick in an elite team.

This Gameweek’s Risk v. Reward player, Raheem Sterling, is the last name in the captain pick trio. As pointed out in What We Learned, the speed and fluidity among Coutinho, Lallana, and Sterling was reminiscent of last season’s Liverpool—poor Ashley Richards was destroyed at right back, not helped by the complete lack of defensive effort from Jonjo Shelvey. Since moving upfront in Brendan Rodgers’ new 3-4-3 system, Sterling’s underlying numbers have impressed. In the last four Gameweeks he tops the player charts for shots on target (8) and is second in total goal attempts (17). He is the ideal ATFPL captain pick: showing great numbers without the FPL rewards. While not the best of finishers, these kind of goal attempts numbers are bound to reward his owners—this Gameweek could be perfect for an outside captain pick.

Heavy Hitters

Eden Hazard surprisingly tops ATFPL’s Captain Poll, despite ranking last in all goal threat stats in the Captain Foresight comparison. He is, however, playing for likely the best team in the league, is supremely talented, and is registering over two key passes per game in the last four Gameweeks. Tottenham, Chelsea’s opponents, are without a loss in their last five outings but are allowing an uncomfortable amount of goal attempts in their box (as well as big chances), a chance for the tricky Belgian to score or register an assist.

Yaya Touré missed last Gameweek with a groin injury but should be back against Sunderland. The towering Ivorian has three goals in his last four games for City, averaging 7.75 Fantasy points per game, and has the goalscoring history to suggest it is no fluke.

In a tough Gameweek to pick out exciting players, Andy Carroll sneaks into the last Heavy Hitter spot. While Stewart Downing would be a decent pick, ATFPL is counting on Carroll’s threat in the box to come to the fore against tired West Brom legs. Currently without a manager—caretaker Rob Kelly will manage the team, assisted by fellow assistant head coach Keith Downing—the Baggies will likely be organised and compact, forcing West Ham to rely on crosses; it’s just where Carroll could have an impact.


Adam Lallana comes in third in the ATFPL’s Midfielders Watchlist after securing a run of starts and a brace last Gameweek. Rodger’s new system suits the former Southampton player as he has been charged with keeping the ball flowing, pressing from the front, and is free to roam around and get into goalscoring positions. While not the cheapest of options (8.3 million), he is a differential and a fine punt ahead of Liverpool’s decent schedule in January (LEI, sun, avl, WHM).

The lure of Christian Benteke is dampened by Aston Villa’s dreadful attack—the Villans have managed only 11 goals in 19 league games this season. However, Benteke has looked dangerous since his return so a punt on him is a bet not only on the player but also the hope that Villa up their shots on goal. A striker can not score, no matter how good he is, if he doesn’t get any chances. The next two games will be revealing; if Villa can not muster shots on target at home against Crystal Palace and away at Leicester, Fantasy Managers would be wise to look elsewhere for attacking points.

Danny Ings, a focus of this Gameweek’s Differentials, is a looking a better punt now with Burnley facing an attractive fixture list in January. Despite not scoring in six fixtures, Ings is still registering goal attempts and presents great value at 5.6 million if he starts scoring again.

Clean Sheets

In a goalkeeper themed clean sheet section, the ATFPL Clean Sheet Consortium likes the look of…

…Aston Villa’s Brad Guzan facing a Crystal Palace team not blessed with goalscorers. Aston Villa have kept six clean sheets already this season and look great value at the back, with Ron Vlaar a bonus point magnet and Alan Hutton the cheapest pick.

Adrián for West Ham who welcome West Brom to Upton Park. Although the Hammers have conceded a lot of goal attempts lately, the last two games have been against Arsenal and Chelsea so a home game against the Baggies should provide Sam Allardyce’s men a great chance for a clean sheet.

Joe Hart for Manchester City playing at home against Sunderland. It’s the best clean sheet bet of the Gameweek.

Big ol’ Rumbling Gut Pick

The Gut normally doesn’t feature players that scored last Gameweek, but Ayoze Pérez is a player ATFPL wanted to highlight, both as an interesting short term value pick and simply for this week’s home tie against Burnley. Don’t expect miracles from the Spanish striker, but he could deliver a goal (or even two) so ATFPL’s gut rumbles for the 4.7 million forward.

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