2017/18 is fast turning into one of the more memorable fantasy football seasons.
From Manchester City’s wonderful attacking options who can be benched/rested at any moment to a Manchester United side whose defensive options outweigh their attacking versions. The league’s top two sides frustrate and elate in equal measure.
Then we have the injury hit list that just 10 weeks into the season has Harry Kane, Alvaro Morata, Eden Hazard, Paul Pogba, Mesut Ozil, Jermain Defoe, Sadio Mane and Sergio Agüero amongst its victims.
From there we have the players whose summer temptations left them mentally unable to play at times, while a number of simmer signings have yet to work out (most of which wear blues shirts).
We have had three managers lose their jobs, and one in Slavin Bilic hanging onto his, pending a visit from Klopp’s Liverpool.
Picking a team in Togga and Fantrax has been a little more forgiving with the unlimited transfers available, but in FPL it’s been a constant challenge.
Onto week 11 and the challenge continues.
Hugo Lloris’s Replacement
Facing a Palace side who have failed to score in 7 away games, you could worry that run has to end at some point. Logically that isn’t this week, so
Lloris* any starting Tottenham keeper is this game-week’s premium pick.
*Lloris is out for two weeks with a strain from the midweek CL clash vs Real Madrid.
Huddersfield v WBA looks a game where defending will be on top. Huddersfield create a great atmosphere at home, which may be the edge they need in this one.
Serge Aurier / Danny Rose
We know Mauricio Pochettino likes to rotate his full backs/wing backs due to the role they are given in his system. That theory brings us to Aurier and Rose who could both find themselves starting against Palace.
I’d avoid all 4 of Davies, Trippier, Aurier and Rose in FPL and Fantrax, but consider whoever starts in Togga and any daily play game you play.
Swansea are showing themselves as a well organized side. Facing a Brighton team on a nice little run, it looks a 0-0, 1-0, 0-1 type of game, so the right back offers a good clean sheet chance for a decent price.
At 4.6m in FPL, his next three opponents are Brighton (h), Burnley (a) and Bournemouth (h), making him a player with more than just this week in his favour.
Chilwell is a bright prospect at Leicester, expected to be the long term solution at left back. In the short term, he is potential fantasy gold as an out of position player. In his first game as manager, Puel played Chilwell in a role on the left hand side of midfield.
Priced at 4.3m in FPL he offers a great value pick as long as you have bench cover until we know if his midfield role is permanent.
Note: Puel also confirmed Chilwell felt a little pain in his knee but it’s not too bad.
Wesley Hoedt / Van Dijk
Southampton are a decent side defensively, even if they do not return the clean sheets as often as we my like. The manager seems to be trying out the various central defenders at his disposal.
Of all the Saints options, VVD seems safe to start at least until the January transfer window opens. The second spot was taken by Hoedt last week, and he sits with a great Fantrax price of 3.97m
VVD is a very good defender, even outstanding at times. He is due a goal and I will take the view this is the week he returns one.
Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen
Both were excellent in the win over Real Madrid and will be brimming of confidence going into the weekend. You will want at least one in FPL this week, with Erisken being the favorite in Fantrax/Togga.
He isn’t back to his title winning form, but there are flickers in his recent performances. Three assists and a goal in the last three league matches has provided fantasy returns that make him a temptation.
Mahrez is certain to start and is a great differential this week.
Raheem Sterling / Leroy Sane / David Silva / KDB
Manchester City look irresistible in attack right now, and Arsenal look far from water tight. Guessing Peps team is difficult, but the form of this quartet suggest they should all start.
In Fantrax/Togga, Kevin De Bruyne has been excellent at racking up the phantom points. In FPL though, his 3 midfield clubmates offer better value for your money so far. KDB will have his explosive game week at some point. After all, in this city attack they take it in turns.
Sterling / Sane are rotation risks, but as we have seen, they can score well even from the bench.
David Silva is safest to start and has been getting further forward this season than in recent years. He can’t keep getting into such positions and not score, so it may be his turn in week 11.
Ritchie has been behind much of the Magpies’ creative play. He holds corners and shares free kicks. We assume he holds penalty duties.
Ritchie has yet to score this season, but the good old “playing against his former club” rule (along with Bournemouth’s wretched defending) may end this run.
The 20 year-old Brazilian has become a 2017/18 fantasy favorite, a star in my squads so far. A great talent, Richarlison faces an Everton side who don’t know their tactic or shape and are low on confidence.
The fans are not completely behind the Everton caretaker manager’s chances to become permanent, so it won’t take much to create an atmosphere that’ll hurt the home side.
Richarlison misses too many chance at this stage of his career, but he has provided fantasy returns on the road. His next three targets are Everton (a), West Ham (h) and Newcastle (a), a great run for a striker with his potential.
When I saw Kane holding his hamstring and leaving the pitch against Liverpool, I doubted he would be fit for the following game week’s trip to Old Trafford. Pochettino confirmed that, offering everything from not-a-major-injury comfort to comments so vague that I wonder whether it was worse than feared.
My logic was that it if it was an injury bad enough to see him miss the United game, then it’s likely to be factor for the week that follows. Despite the result at OT, Tottenham are not a side that are completely reliant only on Kane. They were unbeaten in the 8 games he missed in 2016/17, but they are a side much more effective (and frankly quite frightening) with him in the side. I understand why you would want him against Real Madrid, I don’t get why they would feel he is needed against a Palace side who have lost seven away games in a row without scoring in any of them.
With Kane coming back from a hamstring injury, Spurs need to be cautious with their star man. Hamstring strains can reoccur if tested too far too soon. As we have seen with Pogba in particular, they can cause a long period out. Tottenham have a two week break for international friendlies following the Palace game, a game they should be able to win without him.
Kane played against Madrid midweek, so the $19.50 question is, with him showing a weakness in his hamstring, would Pochettino bring him back into the side and immediately play him twice in a week when he doesn’t need to?
I’m rambling. What will I do should Mauricio Pochettino confirm he is fit to play Palace? What do you think?! Have you already replaced Kane with Alexis Sánchez and aren’t looking back?
I tipped him for a good season, and he is having just that. So of course that’s why I picked Joselu over him in my FPL squad!
Tammy has often played better than he has returned fantasy points, certainly in Fantrax and Togga. In FPL he is a better player to own and the top budget forward in the game at this moment.
With a great run of fixtures and an enabler’s price, he should be in your thoughts.
Gabriel Jesus / Kun Agüero
Back to the Pep guessing game: We have no idea who will start, orif both will. Jesus himself talked of a dip in his form before the last international week, then he came on to bag a brace. However, his overall play supports his point, and I get the impression Pep is keen to protect his young superstar a little.
On the other hand, Jesus was benched midweek, so the obvious thought is that he will play against Arsenal. On the other other hand, he is first choice for Brazil and will play during the international week, but Kun isn’t a certain Argentina starter, so Kun is likely to see less pitch time before week 12.
I wonder with those point if Pep will go with the form of Kun, Sterling and Sane as his front three against Arsenal.
Rotation doubt has me avoiding both forwards in FPL/Fantrax, but in Togga I’d use news to take whoever starts.
Vardy has scored in the debut game of each of Leicester’s last three managers, and he went on a goal scoring run for each in the weeks that followed.
I will repeat it often, but being a World Cup season he will need to stay in the thoughts of Gareth Southgate, so we can look to a sharp of mind and body Vardy adding to his goal tally.
What on your mind? What match-ups, bargains and rotation risks are you weighing? Let us know, and ask you questions in the comments below!