Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Gameweek 8 Review: The GW of Budget Buys

With the big-hitters failing to produce big points and the obvious clean sheets not turning out as such, it was not so much about the usual suspects of FPL point-scoring but the cheapies that brought home the points this gameweek. There were very few viable midfield options below 7.0 until the last few gameweeks. Nacer Chadli has so far scored regular points in his new role for West Brom after coming to prominence as a fantasy option at 6.4 in gameweek 5. Since then there have become even more good value fantasy propositions from midfield.

Junior Stanislas (5.5) was the top-scoring player in FPL this gameweek. His two goals and two assists took him up to 3 goals and 3 assists in his last 3 games. He is certainly one to watch in an impressive attacking side that cruised to a resounding 6-1 victory against Hull.

Joe Allen’s price dropped to 4.8 earlier in the season when he was a substitute for Liverpool, but now transformed into an attacking midfielder his price looks like rising. Allen’s brace at home to Sunderland makes it three consecutive games in which he has scored. Despite not being a renowned goalscorer but more of a defensive midfielder, Mark Hughes has so far deployed Allen further forward. His rise to goalscoring form coincides with a good run of fixtures, with Hull, Swansea and West Ham next up for Stoke.

Take Note of Attacking Defenders

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Whilst writing these reviews, every week I wonder how to assess defensive options with so few clean sheets. The 0-0 at Anfield on Monday is the exception that disproves the rule that clean sheets have been in short supply. After the last gameweek I pointed out premium options such as Bellerin (6.5) and Walker (6.0) were worth their cost for their clean sheet potential and attacking points. This may be true, as Bellerin made an assist and very nearly scored despite neither claiming clean sheet points, but it is also worth looking elsewhere for players in other price ranges who are capable of attacking returns and bonus points.

The stand-out cheap defender before this gameweek was Brad Smith of Bournemouth. He had risen to 4.7 on Saturday after another assist, but it was his teammate Charlie Daniels who scored and assisted to pick up two bonus points. Daniels also takes penalties, so is a great option for your defence at 4.9. Alternatively, Steve Cook proved his aerial threat by scoring v Hull, a game where all of the Cherries’ players showed their full attacking potential.

Even more affordable than the Bournemouth defenders is Middlesbrough’s George Friend (4.5), who created 2 chances and crossed the ball 5 times on Sunday. 4.5 Holebas, also a defender, scored in the same game for Watford. This contributed towards his 2 bonus points even though his side lost 1-0, but ‘Boro’s fixtures are tricky. They go up against Arsenal, Man City and Chelsea in the next 4 games, including an in-form Bournemouth. Erik Pieters (4.4) has much more favourable fixtures and collected 2 bonus points in Stoke’s first win of the season. Will their form continue? I certainly think so.

Kyle Norbury,
Stoke fan and fantasy football nerd,

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