Friday Foreplay

Friday Foreplay – Gameweek 23

Gummi Fantasy Football Tips, Gameweek Previews

Watch the mind run far away,
way ahead of us
and everything that will be and was
here and now.

It’s Wildcard time for oh so many coming into Gameweek 23. So sit in the silence, devour all the ATFPL material you can and make the changes that will propel you to victory in your mini-leagues. But to focus on this Gameweek let us dive into All Things FPL’s (ATFPL) Gameweek 23 Fantasy Premier League (FPL) preview and its captain picks, heavy hitters, clean sheets, punts, and the big ol’ rumbling gut.

Captain Picks

With the news that Alexis Sánchez is not fit to start for Arsenal, ATFPL turns to Santi Cazorla and Olivier Giroud as captain picks from Arsenal’s home game against Aston Villa.

Cazorla has been excellent of late, playing in the middle for Arsène Wenger. Since Gameweek 15, the diminutive Spaniard has scored five goals, provided two assists, and racked up an impressive 11 bonus points—he has outscored Sánchez by 59 points to 51 in the last eight Gameweeks. Problematically, Cazorla is averaging just 3.11 points per home game in the last four Gameweeks despite fine underlying shots and key passes number—there is a reason to believe the average should be higher. Wenger has lavished praise on Cazorla so we are inclined to believe he’ll start in the hole for a little while longer, but it is yet to be seen how Arsenal’s midfield shapes up with all of Sánchez, Cazorla, Ramsey, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Özil and Rosicky fit.

That’s where Giroud becomes a viable choice. He’s clearly Wenger’s striker of choice and offers a relatively cheap entry into an Arsenal team firing on all cylinders. Amazingly, he played his first full game last Gameweek in a season that has been riddled with injuries (and a red card). However, he has scored an impressive six goals in 620 minutes, a little under a goal per game. He’s a solid pick this Gameweek.

Despite a low Fantasy point return since his comeback from injury, Ángel Di María offers the best route into a frustrating Manchester United attacking unit. With the talent in the side Louis van Gaal’s men are brimming with Fantasy potential, especially with the upcoming favourable fixtures. At least Matej’s Opinion and Tommy’s Captain Foresight pieces agree on Di María as a good option this Gameweek. Whether he’ll hold up as an elite pick going forward remains to be seen.

Heavy Hitters

Raheem Sterling continues to show flashes of brilliance, provides a fantastic threat up front, but ultimately frustrates with his lack of clinical finishing and sometimes poor choices. Nevertheless, he remains on ATFPL’s Watchlist, mostly due to decent output in the last five Gameweeks (a goal, two assist, and three bonus points). He’s stretching the definition of a heavy hitter facing a solid West Ham team and coming off a 120 minute battle against Chelsea, but is still included.

If any player in the league is fixture proof, it’s Sergio Agüero. He will be transferred in en masse this Gameweek, especially following the news that Diego Costa is likely to be banned for his stamps in the Capital One Cup semi-finals. He was clearly off the pace in Manchester City’s loss against Arsenal but has had an FA game and two weeks to get up to speed. Don’t expect a glut of goals from the nifty Argentinian, but he’s still the likeliest to get Fantasy points in the clash against Chelsea.


Highlighted as an under the radar fantasy option in Stoosher’s What We LearnedJason Puncheon is benefiting from Alan Pardew’s increased focus on attack as Crystal Palace have had 22 shots inside the box (the most in the league) since the former Newcastle manager arrived.

As pointed out in Darsh’s DifferentialsVictor Moses is a differential budget pick with a fine record of goal attempts and key passes this season. With Bojan out for the season, Mark Hughes will have to rely more on Moses for attacking thrust; what better way to start than welcoming the worst away team in the league, QPR, to Britannia?

This Gameweek’s Risk v. Reward pick, Graziano Pellè faces a Swansea team that has lost their last four outings, conceding 11 goals in the process. Pellè averages 6.09 points per home game in a Southampton team that now looks likely to push for fourth.

Clean Sheets

The ATFPL Clean Sheet Consortium likes the look of…

Laurent Koscielny, Arsenal’s best defender. When he plays for the Gunners, they have an excellent clean sheet record. With Arsenal coming into a great set of fixtures, an investment in Koscielny could prove a shrewd one.

…Southampton’s Nathaniel Clyne, a staple of a Southampton defence that must be considered an elite one.

…West Brom’s Ben Foster as ATFPL keeps riding the Tony Pulis clean sheet bandwagon.

Big ol’ Rumbling Gut Pick

Owned by less than 2% of Fantasy Managers, James Ward-Prowse offers the cheapest route into a high-flying Southampton team. He’s cheap, can function as a fifth Fantasy midfielder, and has registered seven assists already this season. Add that he’s part of ATFPL’s official Wildcard team and it is clear that ATFPL’s gut rumbles for the young midfielder.

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