Which Tottenham outcast will have the biggest fantasy impact this season?
You may have heard the news that Newcastle acquired the "out of favor" winger Andres Townsend from Tottenham Hotspur for £12 million pounds. Townsend could do no wrong under Tim Sherwood in the 2013-14 EPL season and was capped ten times for England by Roy Hodgson, scoring three goals. Following a touchline argument with the Spurs fitness coach, he was dropped from the senior team and never played again for Mauricio Pochettino. Now, he will get a chance to play regularly for the Magpies, most likely on the left wing, which means that Ayoze Perez may become an odd man out in the Steve McClaren's offense.
Crystal Palace have brought in their own former Spurs man with the loan signing of Emmanuel Adebayor, who has not played competitively since last season (though he does look to be in incredible shape). K2 (blast from the past alert!) will almost certainly earn the starting spot ahead of the Eagles' crew of injury-plagued strikers and the out-of-form Connor Wickham. While Adebayor has made a habit of starting very hot at a new club, he also tends to burn out just as quickly.
The question, then, is which player will be the better pick-up from a fantasy perspective over the course of the rest of the season?
Was Arsene Wenger's decision to take off Olivier Giroud last weekend a mistake?
Shortly following Per Mertesacker's sending off for a last-man challenge on Diego Costa in Arsenal's match against Chelsea in Week 23, the Gunners boss gave the French striker the hook in favor of putting on another defender, Gabriel Paulista. The former league leaders subsequently struggled to create chances against the Blues and suffered a damaging 1-0 defeat.
Many fans and casual observers criticized Wenger for taking off his sole aerial threat and his best option for holding possession to give his defenders a break, when he could have instead removed the ineffective Joel Campbell. Hindsight is 20/20, of course, but do you think the outcome may have been different had Giroud been left to lead the line?
Is this the last chance for Louis Van Gaal's managerial career at Manchester United?
There have been conflicting reports over this short break that the Red Devils manager tried to resign from his post following the home defeat against Southampton in round 23, but those rumors appear to be false for the time being. However, with frustrations growing at his inability to get his side scoring goals (especially at Old Trafford) and with a title challenge looking increasingly unlikely, a change could at the very least restore some faith with the fans heading into the summer.
A home match against Stoke City could be the last straw if LVG fails to inspire his side to earn 3 points, though it has been widely publicized that Van Gaal will be calling time on his career at the end of the season regardless. Is it a good idea to let him go now, or should he be given the rest of the season to close out his career?
If Kevin De Bruyne is out long-term, who will you replace him with in your teams?
Despite a match-changing performance off the bench in Manchester City's Capital One Cup semi-final victory over Everton, it looks like KDB will be spending more time on the sidelines after suffering what appears to be a serious knee injury in the closing minutes. If initial fears are confirmed and the Belgian will be out of action for a long time, fantasy managers who have picked him up will need to find a replacement.
In the official game, the return of Alexis Sanchez could be a case of perfect timing, though many managers will already have Mesut Ozil as one of their Arsenal representatives taking up a midfield spot. David Silva could see his fantasy stock rise as the primary creator in the City midfield and could be worth a look as well.
For Fantrax, there is a bit more of a challenge as many managers hold De Bruyne at a significant discount. With new signings arriving and a number of bargain options available, will you be replacing him in your team? If so, who are you looking at as an option? If you're considering hanging on, how many weeks of zeros are you willing to take to keep your discount until he returns to fitness?
Is this the week that you should use your Wildcard in the Official FPL game?
You are afforded two chances to change your entire team without penalty during the course of the season in the official game, one in each half of the season. If you haven't used your second wildcard yet, there are a number of factors suggesting this could be the time to use it. With the Euro 2016 competition scheduled for this summer, there isn't as much time available for Premier League fixtures to be rescheduled around the Capital One Cup final and later rounds in the FA Cup. That could lead to a double-week in Game Week 25, while Liverpool and Manchester City will also have blank weeks in round 27 for the League Cup final. That means a further double game week for those two teams at least.
Add in the aforementioned injury to Kevin De Bruyne, the close of the January transfer window (and subsequent addition of more new players to the game), and further injury and rotation woes for some of the top performers to date, and it's entirely possible your team could use a reshuffle to set yourself up for success for the remainder of the season. So, will you be using your wildcard ahead of Week 24, or will you hold out? What about the three new "chips" - have you used them, or are you holding onto those for a particular occasion as well?