The season’s first Double Gameweek, arriving as it did out of the blue, has whipped FPL managers into a veritable frenzy.
Suddenly the community is rife with fevered talk of bringing in three Man City players, despite that dreaded blank, followed swiftly by games against Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea.
Mass hysteria has even led to some FPL managers suddenly seeing John Stones (MCI, 4.7) less like Bambi and more like Franco Baresi.
Contrast them with the more seasoned, cautious FPL bosses, who have been quietly cursing how the DGW has upset their meticulous planning for the blank GW28.
But there is the good news for them - this is one week where you can take a completely guilt-free -4 hit for a player - as long as you captain him. In a DGW, it simply makes complete mathematical sense.
One Man City player to captain is essential for GW27. You could make a case for two, depending on squad depth and bank balance, but three is simply overkill.
I had plenty to say about this on the Fanfeud podcast this week (stay strong Fly!).
Of course, as soon as word got out that City would have a double, one name was immediately on everyone’s lips - but is it as straightforward a choice as many seem to think?
It could be a make-or-break decision for our seasons, so let’s take a look at whether you really need Sergio Aguero or not.
Why you should buy Sergio Aguero
He has explosive potential: No league hat-tricks yet this season, but we’ve all seen what the Argentine is capable of - especially against the likes of Sunderland and Stoke.
He looked pretty good in his last match: Aguero was playing with a smile on his face again and took his goal well against “it’s only” Huddersfield, so there’s some cause for optimism there.
He has a point to prove: There’s nothing quite like a Premier League star playing for a contract, or a move. Right now, Aguero’s kind of playing for both!
You’ll almost cover all those triple-captainers: Have no doubt - there will be plenty of managers triple-captaining Aguero this week. If you captain him and he does go goal-crazy, they won’t outscore you by too much - and you’ll still have your chip to play.
He was feeling the love from Pep: Perhaps bigging-up your only fit world-class forward isn’t much of a stretch for most managers, but the Man City boss was surprisingly effusive in his praise after the Huddersfield match.
— Ben Dinnery (@BenDinnery) March 1, 2017
Why you shouldn't buy Sergio Aguero
He’s unlikely to play 180 minutes: With Man City playing three games in seven days, expect a hefty dose of squad rotation. Iheanacho replaced Aguero after 79 minutes against Huddersfield (and scored!). With those cup games on the horizon, we can expect similar (or worse) in GW27.
He’s not the Aguero of old: Gone are the days of the get-the-ball-to-Sergio strategy at Man City. Should we be so quick to put our faith in someone we were dismissing as overpriced until so recently?
You’ll have to sell a big-name striker to get him: Bloody expensive, isn’t he? Well, somebody’s going to have to make way, and wouldn’t you know it - it’s happening right when all the expensive strikers are scoring for fun! Just promise me you won’t sacrifice Zlatan Ibrahimovic (MUN, 11.5) - he could run riot against Bournemouth.
He probably won’t take penalties: Aguero took his spot-kick well on Wednesday, but the last time both men were on the pitch, it was Yaya Toure who assumed penalty duties.
You’ll have to sell him right away: Even if he does well, you simply can’t have a £12.8m player sitting on your bench, only to face three awful fixtures the week after. Buying Aguero now means you’re committed to selling him later (andprobably replacing him with a player you already own right now!).
It’s a tough call, but whatever you choose, hopefully the rotation risk alone should be enough to convince you to stay patient and avoid using your Triple Captain chip on him this week.
Besides, there’s lots of potential Double Gameweeks on the horizon, when more reliable candidates like Sanchez, Kane and Hazard come into the picture.
The rest of the postponed fixtures would fit into GWs 34+37.
Here's what GWs 34+37 could look like if CHE,MCI,TOT+ARS reach the FA Cup SFs: pic.twitter.com/jZ2rE6eIYd— Ben Crellin (@BenCrellin) March 1, 2017
And maybe - just maybe - the stars could align to deliver that holy grail of a Triple Gameweek…
I think a Triple Gameweek is only a possibility if Man Utd reach the Semifinals of the FA Cup & Europa League.— Ben Crellin (@BenCrellin) February 27, 2017
And if all of that was enough to convince you not to bring in Aguero at all, don’t worry, because there are...
Recent signs of improvement aside, there’s really not much to recommend the Man City defence - but their midfield is another matter entirely.
The more adventurous managers out there may be tempted by left-field choices like David Silva (MCI, 8.6) and Kevin De Bruyne (MCI, 10.5), but neither come close to justifying those lofty pricetags.
Having sat out the FA Cup, penalty-taker Yaya Toure (MCI, 7.3) should get plenty of gametime - but the days of seeing that “C” symbol next to his name in FPL are long, long gone.
The two standout candidates here are undoubtedly the in-form pair of Raheem Sterling (MCI, 7.9) and Leroy Sané (MCI, 7.5).
The main attraction of getting one of these two is that you don’t have to sacrifice one of your big-money strikers to do it.
Need to buy back Ibra and somehow keep Kane, Lukaku and Costa.
Oh yeah and get Aguero...February 26, 2017
Also, with their lower price and points expectation, the idea of keeping one of them in your squad during GW28 and beyond seems perfectly viable, so you’re essentially saving yourself a transfer here.
Sure, they lack the explosive potential of Aguero, but they’ve both been consistent points scorers over the last four weeks and will probably play more minutes than their Argentine teammate.
Sterling in particular has been in impressive form, and he just edges it over Sané, for me.
And with all the excitement about City, nobody’s talking about little ol’ Stoke. They have a Double Gameweek too, you know!
It’s probably not worth bringing one in of course, but owners of the likes of Lee Grant (STO, 4.4), Joe Allen (STO, 5.1) and Peter Crouch (STO, 4.9) should consider themselves blessed, and definitely play any and all Potters in GW27.
The forgotten Blank Gameweek
Those blank fixtures haven’t gone away you know, and all those FPL managers drunk on the power of a Double Gameweek could well wake up with a nasty hangover when they take a look at their GW28 teamsheets.
Walked into work. Turned laptop on. Logged into FPL. Looked at my team. pic.twitter.com/2XtfWYEBEh— FantasyFootyGuru (@FPL_Guru_) January 10, 2017
So what better time to snap up all those sneaky under-the-radar players that have emerged in the last couple of weeks (and there’s been a few) and stock up for GW28 in the process?
Marco Silva has been quietly transforming Hull City lately, and looks to have uncovered some real gems.
The Tigers have looked relatively solid at the back with Eldin Jakupovic (4.1) and the marauding Harry Maguire (HUL, 4.4) offering FPL managers a level of value-for-money rarely seen in game.
If Maguire’s knock is worse than first feared, keep your eye on Omar Elabdellaoui (HUL, 4.5) - the defender has been playing in midfield, with his “average position” shifting further forward in each of his last four games.
In midfield, Polish winger Kamil Grosicki (5.5) played higher up the pitch than any of his teammates and ran Burnley defence ragged, taking five shots and drawing the penalty.
With corners and free kicks in his locker, he might just be the new Snodgrass.
The same could be said for our own Robbie Brady (BUR, 5.5), who has effortlessly adapted to life back in the Premier League with a goal and assist in his last two.
Of course, if you’re not feeling adventurous and have a bit more cash at your disposal, great fixtures and scoring returns in his last five matches means Gylfi Sigurdsson (SWA, 7.6) remains the no-brainer option here.
If you’re the type who really likes to plan ahead, then have a strategy in place to shake up your forward line once the relative calm of GW29 arrives.
A frankly ridiculous eight goals in his last six games has made Manolo Gabbiadini (SOU, 6.7) the form striker in the league right now, and don’t bank on 20.4%-owned Harry Kane staying at £11.3 for too much longer.
A decent Man City attacker. Or, failing that, a nice new one of these to hide behind on Wednesday.
Five starts in a row should really be enough to finally convince us that Josh King (BOU, 5.4) is now a regular on the Bournemouth teamsheet.
Josh King pinching Stanislas penalties, who used to pinch them off Callum Wilson, who succeeded Charlie Daniels as Bournemouth pen taker— FPLPriceChanges+ (@FPLPriceChanges) February 25, 2017
You don’t find many out-of-position midfielders playing as lone strikers these days who aren’t from Chile and cost £11.2m - maybe it’s time to snap this one up?
Everything seemed perfect for Christian Benteke (CRY, 7.2) to thrive at Crystal Palace, but with such an abysmal scoring record this season, it's time for those last remaining FPL owners to jump this particular sinking ship.
Top of the League
We’ve a new name at the top of the Official Irish Examiner League (join code: 251768-521616). A whopping 96 points has seen Hauzinho's Harriers, managed by Brian Haugh, open up a 20-point lead - and all without captaining Kane! Look out too for Darragh Keane's Pats Bakers, whose 101 points has seen him catapulted to sixth place.
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