There's nothing like the restorative powers of an international break - niggling injuries that kept players immobile for a fortnight miraculously disappear as a new round of league fixtures approach.
There was one legit injury that came to spoil our fun, however - and nobody in the game is more fun to own than.
As pleasing as it is to see a player commiserate with his FPL owners whenever he misses out, those who persevered with him through his last injury won't be as patient this time around, with fixtures coming thick and fast over December.
Other knee was jealous but the operation went well and its all good now 😘 be back soon guys u just have to found another FPL captain for some games 😝✌🏾 https://t.co/RD5ZGGkhMS— Benjamin Mendy (@benmendy23) November 14, 2018
Injury doubtis also on the chopping block, as a curiously listless Spurs prepare to face and , meaning defenders are in high demand as we prepare for Gameweek 13.
Let's get the formality of mentioning the two obvious candidates out of the way first.
While the days of's days as a freewheeling makeshift forward seem to be over, his performance against Everton gave plenty of room for optimism, and FPL's top-scoring player was very unlucky not to come away with at least a goal.
A long-threatened assist fromunderlined his appeal, but for those looking for something different, there are cheaper routes into that impressive Liverpool defence.
It's not often you can pick up England's first-choice centre-back for £5.1m in FPL, so the lack of interest inis puzzling, especially when compared to the enthusiastic uptake for teammate .
The latter's superior attacking threat aside, the perception that they are both equally prone to rotation may be flawed. Gomez's greater consistency and versatility, as well as his newly-acquiredpower-up, should see him play more minutes in the long run.
There's a similar picture for a galvanised Leicester squad who have conceded just a single Big Chance over their last two matches. Interest in out-of-positioncooled after his GW10 benching, but his 14 points since then have reignited interest.
stat which surprised me: Ricardo Pereira is on 4.9ppg this season. 0.1 higher than Laporte who has a goal and 7 clean sheets under his belt.— Doug Jones (@apple_bonkers) November 21, 2018
Ever-presentis also an interesting option as he looks to establish himself in the England set-up.
Elsewhere, for anyone who was avoidinguntil and were over with, the timing couldn't be better. Wolves, who face goal-allergic and next, seem to have recovered from their recent wobble and were minutes away from shutting out Arsenal.
Don't let a few missed price rises prevent you from buying this season-keeper - it's still a bargain price for the man who's fired more shots on target than any other defender so far this season.
Matt Doherty (£4.9m) 16.4% 🐺— FPL Nacho (@TheFPLNacho) November 17, 2018
Huddersfield, Chelsea 🏠
Cardiff, Newcastle 🅰️
➡️Leading ‘budget’ FPL defender
➡️7 shots, 8 key passes in last 3 matches 🔥
➡️Playing 3 of the 5 lowest goal scorers
➡️Concede average 10 shots a match, less than Spurs/Arsenal ❌#FPL
Recent games have seen a tentative reassessment of thedefence among those hoping to smash the template.
Everton have only conceded 3 goals in the last 6 games.— FPL Prince (@TheFPLPrince) November 11, 2018
Next 4 fixtures - Cardiff (H), Liverpool (A), Newcastle (H), Watford (H)
Richarlison, Digne and Sigurdsson all looking good for investment...
has attracted massive interest in the community of late - Everton's corner-taker lies second among all defenders for both Successful Crosses (22) and Chances Created (20) so far this season.
Outside of the bubble however, it's actually teammatewho has attracted more transfers in. His table-topping 16 goal attempts in the box (all headers) may look appealing, but he's only managed four in the last four Gameweeks.
Evencan't match 's underlying defensive stats over the past four Gameweeks, but this week's trip to Spurs is hardly the start you'd want for your new £5.6m+ defender.
By contrast,and have the fixtures to attract interest - and being the standout options here.
Of course, the obvious answer all of this is.
So far, his left foot and international exile have made him that most precious of commodities - a guaranteed starter in a Pep Guardiola team.
Manchester City’s defensive record has been sensational this season, conceding only five goals in twelve fixtures. 24-year-old French defender Americ Laporte has been ever present for Pep Guardiola’s side this season, playing all 1,080 minutes of action.🔥🔥#FPL pic.twitter.com/ntgtLZwB5f— FPL Fairy (Steve) (@FPLFairy) November 22, 2018
He's the Volvo pick - safe, reliable, equally unlikely to provoke either frustration or excitement. He'll keep your coverage of the City defence intact, but consider this: if Mendy is the standout player to have in that defence (and clearly, he is), will you be able to stomach making that second "sideways move" of replacing Laporte when he starts tweeting those training videos?
It's a sad state of affairs when we're looking to defenders for our FPL thrills. It just hasn't been a season for the forwards so far in FPL, and GW12 was quite possibly the worst of all time.
The continued slide in their fortunes has seen our attention switch to the growing number of enticing midfield options, with one name chief among them.
Time to trust Anthony Martial?
The perception of Man United as an uninvestable proposition in FPL has deep roots at this stage of the season, but now with six goals and an assist in his last five matches, the reasons not to ownare looking more tenuous by the week.
First, there was concern over his security of starts. Since then,, perhaps realising how precarious his position has become, is adopting a more pragmatic approach to team selection, with players' form now seemingly paramount.
Certainly, Martial's place seems assured for GW13, given that the main rival for his position, a jet-lagged, seems more likely to play centrally now.
Martial’s stats look pretty good considering United’s average attacking performances this season.— FPL Académica (@FPLAcademica) November 22, 2018
The Frenchman ranks 3rd best in terms of touches in the box, 4th best on shots on goal.
No midfielder had more shots on target or scored more goals than him over the last 4 weeks. pic.twitter.com/0XmUDGO6vL
This week, the concern is that Martial's shot conversion rate is unsustainable and that he is massively overperforming his.
Certainly, his conversion rate won't be 44% by season's end, but he has always outperformed his underlying stats and is in some pretty impressive company in that regard.
Selected players v xG - past 5 PL seasons only (including this season)— Adam Hopcroft (@ahopcroft13) November 19, 2018
D Silva 0%
However, this reluctance to shoot just for the sake of it, far from being a liability, actually makes him extremely bonus-friendly - including 11 in just four recent matches. He's the anti-Salah.
A look beyond the stats reveals yet more reasons to make the switch.
He appears to be United's second-choice penalty taker now, and given that's primary ambition when taking them is to convince EA Sports to introduce a new PlayStation button combo for his run-up, don't be surprised to see that could change very soon.
The prospect of facing City curtailed sales last week, but should Martial continue to score in the weeks ahead, you're almost guaranteed price rises galore as United's sizeable support happily jump on the bandwagon.
Finally, and those supporters won't like hearing it, but Martial is blatantly playing for a move away from Old Trafford. Contract negotiations have stalled, and after reportedly rejecting the chance to sign him in the summer, the Frenchman is highly motivated to become a more attractive proposition when the money men atopen their not inconsiderable chequebook in January.
If you're looking to catch up in your mini-league and partial to a bit of mind games, try casually mentioning how awful's next fixtures are, followed soon after by an ostensibly unrelated comment on just how emphatically an in-form took his two goals against Bournemouth last week.
You'll need to keep a straight face throughout, but with any luck, he'll connect these two equally misleading statements, and you'll be quids in.
Well, would you look at that Everton midfielder - off scoring goals for Brazil again!
Richarlison goal 👌🐦 pic.twitter.com/7BZ938h8Od— Ged (@Ged_1878) November 20, 2018
His conversion to a centre-forward has endured a few bumps along the way, and there'll be a few more, butis there to stay and can only get better, starting with home ties against , and in the next four.
He may seem to prefer assisting than scoring, buthas now become the default third striker for those determined to play a full complement up front.
There's a big upside of being one of the first to bring in these young, inexpensive starlets who we hope to burst on to the scene. The only problem is that they hardly ever do - at least not at first. This week, step forward.
Looks like Grady Diangana another in a long line of West Ham attacking youngsters who can only tease us from an #FPL point of view. Who remembers Zavon Hines? Freddie Sears? Ravel Morrison? Hands up if you owned one... Fool me once, twice, but not 3 times. Glad I passed. #whufc pic.twitter.com/2HNiShrQvX— Knish on Footie (@KnishOnFootie) November 10, 2018
We'd all like another £4.5mor £5.0m , and one day we will - but don't go derailing your season in search of them.
Top of the League
A slew of eerily similar points totals meant that there was no change at the top of the Official Irish Examiner League (join code: 19990-119302) this week.
's stay top on 858 points, followed by 's on 841, with 's just one point behind in third.