The week in Fantasy Premier League: Picking forwards based on your league position and all aboard the Man City bandwagon

There’s nothing in FPL quite as gut-wrenching as watching a player you don’t own score a hat-trick.

We even felt it last season as we watched Salomón Rondón proudly take the match ball home from Swansea, before his new FPL owners edged closer to insanity as each game of that frankly heroic run 18 without a goal passed by.

It stings that little bit more though when it’s a player you always knew was capable of it, but you just didn’t believe in enough. Enter Sergio Aguero (MCI, 11.6).

His goals against an injury-hit Watford just served to compound the misery for the 200,000+ managers who moved Heaven and Earth to bring in Harry Kane (TOT, 12.4) in the hope of similar returns.

Unfortunately, it’s just something we’re going to have to get used to this season, so strap in.

Choosing the best two premium forwards

Whether it’s achieved through skill or just dumb luck, swapping premium forwards in and out of your team will be key to success this season.

We can make the best guesses we can, based on form and fixtures, but for the sake of maintaining our sanity, there will come a point where the game-to-game knee-jerking must end.

An important factor to consider when deciding which of these high-priced forwards to put your faith in is captaincy potential.

The reason these players cost so much is because of their ability to transform the Gameweek of any manager shrewd enough to make the right call with that armband - and there’s a lot to recommend each candidate.

This is where factors like ownership and points ceilings come in.

If you’re way behind and looking to make big strides, captaining the 55.8%-owned Romelu Lukaku (MUN, 11.7) probably isn’t going to cut it.

The prospect of consistent, but perhaps less explosive returns from the likes of Gabriel Jesus (MCI, 10.5), Álvaro Morata (CHE, 10.2) and Alexandre Lacazette (ARS, 10.3) are also, on balance, less likely to get you where you want to go.

Conversely, those with mini-league leads may choose to go with the more consistent players and watch as their steady returns help them pull further away from their more desperate rivals.

But if it’s hat-tricks you’re after, it’s Kane and Aguero who have the proven track records in this department.

Despite hitting the woodwork a maddening three times in just five league games, Kane’s recent blank and lack of big chances has had many questioning his worth.

But those considering shipping him out now as he prepares to face West Ham could be setting themselves up for quite a nasty fall.

Two of these six should leave you with a viable choice for captain each week, which is more than enough. Don’t let that sheer terror of missing out on the next big points haul convince you that you need a third.

You only have one armband to bestow each week, and by opting for another £10m+ forward, you dilute all their value as potential captains and saddle yourself with an awkwardly top-heavy squad.

Whatever you go for explosive, consistent, or a mix of the two, such is Man City’s lust for goals and inviting fixture run, neglecting to bring in at least one of their attacking players just seems negligent.

The Man City Bandwagon

The concept of attacking “coverage” has become almost a dirty word in FPL of late (ironically thanks to KDB’s lack of early returns), but it’s difficult to imagine any FPL team that stubbornly ignores City assets for the next while not regretting by GW10 or so.

The logic for avoiding Man City assets up until recently was relatively sound, especially for the more conservative managers amongst us. It went something like this - Pep will rotate, the points will be shared around, and that money is better targeted at nailed-on players from other teams.

However, it seems that the mercurial manager is finally starting to settle on a system and his best 11 - switching between 4-1-2-3 and 3-4-1-2 formations - accommodating both Jesus and Aguero.

Pep is managing their minutes more than starts, but although that may be frustrating, there is some comfort in the presumption that should your City attacker be hooked, he's probably already done the business. If City aren't comfortably in the lead, he’s is less likely to withdraw his main goalscorers (uh… right, Pep?!).

Midfield is an area where our more careful instincts should kick in, however. Both Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sané have the potential to shine, but could really struggle for gametime.

David Silva (MCI, 8.3), on the other hand, is having an Indian summer in his career, and at worst offers a useful placeholder for managers waiting for Paul Pogba’s return from injury.

If you already have your fill of City attackers, their defence is also an area ripe for recruitment.

A reasonable price, security of starts and goal threat has seen Nicolás Otamendi (MCI, 5.6) attract some interest.

The real potential game-changer here though is 1.8%-owned Benjamin Mendy (MCI, 6.5). The Frenchman doesn’t come cheap, but has been terrorising opposition defences since his GW3 introduction and promises assists and bonus points galore.

 

QUICK TIP

When you’ve had a poor start to the FPL season, it can seem like the entire game is out to get you.

But keep the chin up - you’re certainly not alone. Right now, last year's overall winner, Ben Crabtree, is currently on 216 points and ranked a lowly 3,306,175th.

Take a step back from the rage transfers and plan long-term. Even if you’re 100 points behind in your mini-league, that’s still barely over three points per Gameweek to make up - all in a format where a well-played chip can produce massive swings, too.

 

BUY

No surprises this week. Greater security of starts and the confidence of his manager has seen Sergio Aguero (MCI, 11.6) back to his clinical best.

With service from an all-star cast of City teammates to look forward to, the striker we were once happy to pay £14m for could finally be back.

TRY

While his teammate Matt Ritchie (NEW, 6.0) has grabbed our attention with a slew of assists recently, the sheer value offered by Christian Atsu (NEW, 5.0) is hard to ignore.

He’s particularly attractive for those playing 4-3-3. The goal threat he offers compared to the cheaper midfield alternatives is easily worth the additional £0.5m outlay, and as first sub, he’s likely to come off the bench more often than you’re probably prepared to admit right now.

Still owned by less than 5% of managers, a price rise or two is surely only a matter of time.

GOODBYE

He’s been here before, but seeing as Chicharito (WHU, 7.0) is still owned by over 21% of FPL managers, the message doesn’t seem to be getting through.

His two goals in GW2 offered encouragement, but the return of Andy Carroll has pushed the Mexican into a more peripheral role.

Position of passes received by Chicharito since the return of Andy Carroll. Heatmap courtesy of FantasyFootballScout.co.uk

With just two shots and three penalty area touches to show for those two matches - both of which he was subbed off in - the future is grim until Bilic opts for a two-up-front system or Carroll gets injured, whichever happens first.

 

 

Top of the League

This week was always going to see an Aguero captainer at the summit of the Official Irish Examiner League (join code: 158003-520394), and sure enough, Damir TeNay’s faith in the City striker was repaid as his Lallana Land side soared to the top with a stellar GW5 score of 92 points.


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