The week in Fantasy Premier League: Replacing Richarlison and the new wave of third strikers

The week in Fantasy Premier League: Replacing Richarlison and the new wave of third strikers

It's never a comfortable feeling being satisfied with your Fantasy Premier League team - something infuriating is always waiting for you just around the corner.

You know the disturbance in the FPL force is particularly strong when Gary Lineker mentions it on Match of the Day, but to say Richarlison (EVE, 6.6) owners were "not happy" was quite the understatement.

The player transferred in by over 700,000 unfortunate managers that week alone proceeded to earn himself a sending off and suspension in possibly the most avoidable, bone-headed way imaginable.

Angry FPL managers dumped him en masse before it became well known that Carabao Cup fixtures meant that he would sit out just two league fixtures rather than three.

If you're reading this and still haven't transferred him out, there's certainly a case for holding tight if you want him long-term - so long your bench can take up the slack!  

Otherwise, there's no shortage of candidates to take his place, each with their own appeal.

Richarlison replacements

Not to be denied upcoming home fixtures against Huddersfield and West Ham, many of Richarlison's owners naturally flocked to his teammate, Theo Walcott (EVE, 6.7).

Mini-leagues have been won and lost on Walcott in seasons past, and it's safe to say not everyone is a believer.

With just four goal attempts and three chances created so far, his underlying stats are a definite worry, although you would imagine he’ll be afforded a lot more attacking freedom by Marco Silva so long his teammates can restrain themselves from picking up another red card over the next few games.

If we looked at stats alone we'd all be buying André Schürrle (FUL, 5.9) after his one-man mission to score a goal last Sunday.

The German took a record 11 shots against Burnley (five on target) and was finally rewarded with a goal. Mind you, if he's actually been given licence to do this by his manager, he'll surely stumble into some points most weeks.

Three wins out of three have understandably seen Watford and their kindly-priced players attract some significant FPL attention, with Roberto Pereyra (WAT, 6.2) chief among them.

His career goalscoring record (24 goals in 268 matches) is nothing to write home about, although his conversion to an inverted left winger could explain his recent renaissance.

You certainly can't accuse anyone doing a #BabySharkChallenge goal celebration of lacking confidence though, and the former Juventus man is bang in form, particularly at home.

However, the fact that he has outperformed his Expected Goals metric by 2.58 - more than any other player - will concern those who care about that kind of thing. With ties against Spurs and (an albeit imploding) Man United coming up next, as well as a trip to the Emirates, it may not be the optimum time to invest.

Goals in successive games saw Pedro (CHE, 6.7) catch the eye before his recent substitution slowed investment. However, Newcastle's dogmatically defensive approach called for the more subtle skills of Willian, so this may yet turn out to have little or no bearing on Pedro's long-term place in the team.

Looking slightly above Richarlison's price point, interest in Lucas Moura (TOT, 7.1) snowballed after his dazzling performance against Man United, prompting a sudden price increase from nowhere. You just can't take a night off in this game.

Owned by less than 10%, he could be an exciting option for those with spare funds and a wildcard in their back pocket, with some awkward fixtures and competition from Erik Lamela (TOT, 6.5) and a returning Heung-Min Son (TOT, 8.3) putting his place in jeopardy in the weeks ahead.

Fortunately for those looking to generate cash for their midfield, as well as their defence, there are some tempting approaches to saving cash at both ends of the pitch.

 

Cheap defenders and forwards

While defensive enablers like Jan Bednarek and Lee Peltier have fallen by the wayside, Ryan Bennett (WOL, 4.0) continues to hang on to his place for dear life. That could all change of course when Leander Dendoncker (WOL, 4.5) is deemed ready to play Premier League football, but Nuno Santo may yet opt to field the Belgian in his more familiar defensive midfield role.

The idea of having two £4m defenders might seem recklessly unbalanced at first, but cash to fund the likes of Marcos Alonso (CHE, 6.7) and Benjamin Mendy (MCI, 6.4) has to come from somewhere.

If it makes it gets easier, try to trick your brain into seeing a £4.5m pricetag next to Aaron Wan-Bissaka's name. There - that's not so bad now, is it?

Elsewhere, Cédric Soares (SOU, 4.4) and Matt Doherty (WOL, 4.4) will get the minutes if you're looking to squeeze that precious £0.1m into your budget.

These guys won't exactly get the pulse racing - those can be found in attack, where two names in the mid-priced category are poised to turn squad structures on their head.

It must have been strange being a Newcastle fan last weekend, watching your former goal-shy lump of a target man darting around as he destroyed the Burnley backline with imperious ease.

Sometimes a move to another club can transform a player, as it appears to have done with Aleksandar Mitrovic (FUL, 6.6).

You would think that his 60% goal involvement is hardly sustainable, but with 15 goal attempts so far (just one shy of Sergio Aguero), it won't be for want of trying.

It was always going to take managers a while to trust Callum Wilson (£6.1m) again after that barren run last season, but when a player has form, fixtures, underlying stats and price all in his favour, it's time to take another look.

Despite pre-season assumptions that Josh King would occupy the lone forward role, Wilson has been stationed so far forward that all 13 of his shots have come from inside the opposition box, with six of these coming from "Big Chances".

He always has a howler in him, but when another chance comes along every 21 minutes on average, it's a price worth paying.

QUICK TIP

With all these wildcards flying around, everyone's looking to save money somewhere. Liverpool's tightening fixtures have prompted a few muted, trembling suggestions that going without Mo Salah (LIV, 13.0) could be a way to go.

Unfortunately, this kind of consistency and captaincy option is what you pay the big bucks for.

 

BUY

His unpredictable spells of bumper points hauls, closely followed by weeks of blanks, has given the aptly-named Eden Hazard (CHE, 10.6) the reputation of a risky acquisition in FPL.

However, we're now in the era of Sarriball - and so far it seems to be getting the best out of the talented Belgian.

Since the start of the season, it has taken less than a minute on average for him to register a touch in the final third, enjoying a Salah-beating 16.6 minutes per goal chance.

He's haunted the dreams of many an FPL manager, and will no doubt do so again this season, but if his most broken of victims is looking to buy, you probably should be too.

TRY

If you're holding off on your wildcard and on the lookout for some cheap clean sheets, Mason Holgate (EVE, 4.5) could be the answer.

With both Phil Jagielka and Michael Keane suffering nasty injuries, there's little reason to think he'll lose his place for the time being at least, and although defence might not be Everton's strong suit, home ties against Huddersfield and West Ham offer cause for optimism.

GOODBYE

When FPL managers bought Bernardo Silva (MCI, 7.6), seeing him play reverse-out-of-position at wing-back or being benched after 61 minutes wasn't exactly what they thought they were signing up for.

Man City always have goals in them, but with just two penalty area touches and a single blocked shot to show for his time against Wolves, the Portuguese midfielder doesn't look particularly likely to be among them.

Top of the League

A 58-pointer was enough to see Sam Gribben and his Gibbers Galacticos to the top of the Official Irish Examiner League (join code: 19990-119302) this week.

Emmett Hickey's FredTheRed team drop to second after a disappointing 43 points, while scores of 69 points each saw Jason Goggin and Colum Dunne jump to third and fourth respectively.


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