There’s never a moment to rest in the second half on an EPL/FPL season. With the ridiculously crammed festive period out of the way, we’ve now moved into the ridiculously attention-grabbing and rapid-reaction January transfer window period.
With player movement afoot, we have to deal with previous fantasy gold turning to dust (Philippe Coutinho), previous dust turning to something that shines like gold (Theo Walcott), and everything in between -- from the disgruntled (Alexis Sanchez) to the newly settled (Virgil van Dijk).
As the great poet Bob Dylan reminds us, the times they are a-changin’.
Let us go then, you and I, to look at who’s hot and who’s cold in the world of Togga, See who is front of mind for my Togga Perfect XI squad!
Hotter than Phoenix in July
Any and all of Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Heung-min Son and Christian Eriksen are racking up the fantasy points, baby! Yes, you could argue that their double GW 22 has distorted their numbers somewhat, but any peek under their hood will reveal nothing but greatness. I promise! The one concern with Spurs is that, following this weekend’s promising visit to Southampton, their subsequent fixtures stiffen (home to Manchester United followed by a visit to Liverpool).
Over the past three games, the Bournemouth youngster has flown under the fantasy radar. Per Togga statistics, he’s owned in only 37% of leagues, presenting canny owners with an easy way to buy into a highly prospective fantasy goldmine. Over the past four matches, Mr. Ibe has earned 17, 11.5, 28.5 and 17.5 points, including his first goal of the season in GW 23. This may or may not last all term, but who’s to say it can’t last for at least the next six weeks (@West Ham, @Chelsea, Stoke City, @Huddersfield, Newcastle, @Leicester). With Junior Stanislas and Joshua King getting healthier by the day, the one worry with Mr. Ibe going forward is playing time and whether he can retain his spot in the starting XI.
The Ox is putting up a spirited fight to confirm his seat on the England plane to Russia this Summer. Over the past four weeks he has gifted his Togga owners 14, 3.5, 13.5 and 32 points on the back of two goals and an assist. That’s Coutinho-esque production right there! And the coming schedule augurs well for future returns if the Ox retains his starting job (unfortunately Yuck, Jordan Henderson, Yuck is getting healthy): @Swansea, @Huddersfield, Tottenham, @Southampton, West Ham and Newcastle.
Colder than a Scottish Shower
We’ll give a pass to their schoolboy keeper (Jordan Pickford) as, owing to saves, his numbers haven’t cratered. However, we must not let the defenders slide. They’ve been gag-inducing ever since bargain hunters started scooping them up following a run of clean sheets fueled by the “new manager bounce”. I want no part of Jonjoe Kenny, Ashley Williams, Phil Jagielka, Mason Holgate or the spectacular flaming pile of rubbish known as Cuco Martina. Keep out, it’s toxic.
Not to pick on Everton or anything, but... ewwww! At first glance, the team possesses an unusually high number of “Togga-relevant” forwards such as Wayne Rooney, Oumar Niasse, Yannick Bolasie and Dominic Calvert-Lewin. However, with each passing day of this transfer window, Big Sam Allardyce appears intent on bedding in a new forward to muddle the waters. First Turkish striker Cenk Tosun arrived, and it now appears that Arsenal castoff Theo Walcott will join the band. That’s too many forwards and not enough starting jobs (or play-makers to supply them). Theo Walcott is worth a flier because he’s only 34% owned and could turn into a somewhat useful player, but there are no guarantees.
Mame Biram Diouf
The Stoke forward-turned-wingback was a bit of a Togga darling over the first 15-20 weeks. Even on games when he didn’t score, he was still a good bet for 8-12 points off phantom stats. No more. He’s lost his starting job and with it, his right to exist on any of our Togga rosters. It remains to be seen what plans new manager Paul Lambert has for Diouf, so the situation certainly bears monitoring. He’s owned in 63% of Togga leagues, so act fast if he gets a start or two. He could be a viable second or third forward on deep leagues with 10-12 teams.
GW 24 Perfect XI Player Picks
Goalkeepers: David de Gea (@Burnley) or Jack Butland (Huddersfield)
Both keepers are able to accumulate the saves points, and both face teams that struggle to find the back of the net. This choice comes down to how intensely you like to chase those clean sheet bonus points (in which case, go with deGea, duh!)
Defenders: Nicolas Otamendi (Newcastle); Virgil van Dijk (Swansea); Marcos Alonso and Cesar Azpilicueta (@Brighton); Ben Davies and/or Kieran Trippier (@Southampton)
If I were choosing today, I’d go with Otamendi, VvD (or Matip if Virgil doesn’t start), Alonso and Trippier (or Davies if Trippier doesn’t start).
Midfielders: Paul Pogba (@Burnley); Kevin De Bruyne (Newcastle); Christian Eriksen/Dele Alli/Heung-min Son (@Southampton); Manuel Lanzini (Bournemouth)
Burnley concede a ton of shots, so I expect Pogba to be the play-maker on show. Manuel Lanzini has been hot with a rash of goals and assists recently, and Bournemouth’s defense could struggle to contain him. I’m also back in on Eriksen as an every-week Togga PXI pick.
Forwards: Mohamed Salah (Swansea); Harry Kane (@Southampton); Sergio Aguero (Newcastle); Marko Arnautovic (Bournemouth)
Salah is in 100%; the question is who pairs him given Togga’s strict 4-4-2 requirement in the PXI game. Arnautovic is white hot but it’ll come down to him or Lanzini. Depending on how many Spurs midfielders I select, I may or may not triple stack with the HurriKane, so it could come down to Kun, who has a good history of averaging about a million-goals-a-game versus Newcastle (except in GW 20 this term).
So that’s that, a brief and hopefully informative look at who’s hot, who’s cold and who looks tasty ahead of GW 24. What do you think? How are you rating the new transfer window arrivals? Let us know in the comments below!