Whether you are religious or not, you probably are familiar with the saying about the Prince of Darkness and idle hands. As the days and days have slowly passed by over this long international break, oh how tempting it has been for our bored hands (and minds) to get to work making a slew of swaps in our fantasy teams!
If you only hold one free move, you really want to make two, right? If there are two freebies burning a hole in your pocket, you have to fight the temptation to make three. And if you’ve still got your wildcard handy, hoo boy, I can just sense it calling out to you like a lovely siren near a rocky shore to a lonely sailor on the cold, dark seas. However many moves you are planning on making, which players beckon like a beach beauty in Week 9?
Ederson and the Citizens have kept five clean sheets so far this season. Burnley’s offense could be called mediocre at best, and it’s really going to be an uphill climb for the Clarets at the Etihad.
Yes, the Reds are on the road. But Liverpool has only conceded three goals in four games away from Anfield thus far, and the Terriers amazingly have failed to score yet at home. Do you really expect that streak to end?
David has talked up Bernd Leno, and with good reason. Sure, Leicester’s offense is not too shabby with speedy Jamie Vardy and young star James “Madd Man” Maddison always posing a danger. But with the Gunners on fire and at home where they have kept two successive clean sheets, Leno has a pretty good shot at a nice return.
Patricio and Wolves have kept three clean sheets in the past four games, and Watford enters in horrible form having failed to score in its past pair of affairs.
I rarely peg Bournemouth defensive options, but this is one of those special weeks! Begovic has kept two clean sheets so far, only three teams have scored fewer goals than Southampton, and the Cherries are in the comfy confines of the Vitality Stadium.
Andrew Robertson (Liverpool at Huddersfield, £6.3)
With two assists in the first four games but none in the last quartet, Robertson seems due for some offensive joy. Add to that a strong shot at a clean sheet.
Benjamin Mendy (Manchester City v. Burnley, £6.2)
Mendy finally was able to put a “Back in Business” sign up following three games out due to injury (amidst other controversy), and he played extremely well in the nil-nil draw at Liverpool.
Dejan Lovren (Liverpool at Huddersfield, £4.9)
Lovren had a wonderful World Cup with Croatia, but unfortunately was injured for the first seven games of the season. Now after ticking down in price, the confident central defender showed what he can do in his first game back with 9 fantasy points thanks to a clean sheet plus all three bonus.
Matt Doherty (Wolves v. Watford, £4.7)
The right back who plays more like an attacking midfielder has been absolutely on fire recently, with a goal, two assists, four clean sheets and an astounding 41 fantasy points in the past five games. His ownership level has crept up recently, but only to a criminally-low 12% at the moment, so if you’re part of the other 88%, get in on Doherty before it’s too late!
Ryan Bennett (Wolves v. Watford, £4.2)
If you missed the boat on Matt Doherty before his price shot up, but still find yourself in the market for a Wolves defender, Bennett isn’t a terrible consolation prize. He won’t give you much on the offensive end, but at least he can pitch in with clean sheets. And this week he’s probably a better option than the similarly-priced Aaron Wan-Bissaka whose Crystal Palace heads to Goodison Park.
Hazard is up to 48% ownership at the moment; can he get to 50%? More importantly, how has he not gotten there already?! After all, he has scored 74 points, comfortably the most in the FPL fantasy competition. The Belgian superstar leads the league in goals scored and is tied for 7th in assists. Put that together and has failed to notch a goal or assist in only one game so far. Normally, you might worry about a player facing the Manchester United defense, but the usually airtight unit has been quite leaky this season, having conceded 14 goals, tied for fourth-most in the Premiership. On top of that, this game is at Stamford Bridge.
Raheem Sterling (Manchester City v. Burnley, £11.1)
Burnley’s defense (and keeper Joe Hart) have gotten their mojo back following a poor start. But Manchester City’s league-best (and home-best) offense is at the Etihad, so while the Sky Blues fans should give plenty of respect to Hart upon his return, the Citizens’ offense will surely not be as welcoming. You could argue that Sterling didn’t do anything against Liverpool, but cut him a break, neither did anybody else! He scored three goals and added two assists in the prior four games, and is by far the highest fantasy scorer in midfield among City’s many weapons at the position. Coming off injury earlier than expected, Kevin De Bruyne offers an intriguing option as well, but it may be better to wait one more week for the rust to shake off.
Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal v. Leicester, £7.4)
Ramsey has generally been a starter this season, and while he did not crack the XI against Fulham, he still contributed with a goal and an assist, giving him one score and three helpers in the past three games. Unai Emery will be expected to turn back to Ramsey as the Emirates Stadium welcomes Leicester, so there’s a good shot that the Welsh international will keep his form going.
Gylfi Sigurdsson (Everton v. Crystal Palace, £7.4)
Sigurdsson, Richarlison and Theo Walcott always offer a chance for fantasy returns from Everton’s midfield, which can make it a tough choice for fantasy managers. But with Siggy absolutely on fire to the tune of four goals (and 33 fantasy points) in four games, you’ve got to keep riding the hot hand.
Ryan Fraser (Bournemouth v. Southampton, £6.0)
Fraser has enjoyed a breakout season, finally seeming healthy following two campaigns interrupted by injury. Of course, he suffered a knock recently, and is now a slight injury doubt for the game, so be sure to check team news ahead of this appetizing fixture.
Josh Murphy (Cardiff City v. Fulham, £4.8)
It’s generally not the best strategy to go with anybody from Cardiff, which has only managed four goals on the year, tied with Huddersfield for least in the league. But Murphy has looked extremely bright for the Bluebirds, leading the team in shots (15, their only player in double digits) and showing an eye for goal, cracking the net against Burnley in Week 7 after scoring 7 times in the Championship last season. Especially attractively, Cardiff City Stadium welcomes the EPL’s worst defense to town. There aren’t too many beckoning budget options out there at midfield, so if you need one in order to free up funds to enable a double switch, Murphy could be a solid solution who you can actually start once in a while if needed, including this week.
Sergio Aguero (Manchester City v. Burnley, £11.3)
The only player who is owned by more FPL managers than Hazard, Aguero should be a popular captain choice at home to the Clarets. After all, Pep Guardiola will be loath to remove the league leader in shots (38) early as he did with Kun at Anfield in case another penalty kick beckons!
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal v. Leicester City, £10.7)
Following PEA’s brilliant output of 10 goals and 4 assists in less than half a season after coming over from Borussia Dortmund as a winter transfer, hopes were extremely high for a wonderful 2018-19. While Auba started out cold with nothing from the first three games, he has heated up with four goals and two assists in the past five contests.
Alexandre Lacezette (Arsenal v. Leicester City, £9.6)
Of course, with more points (48) than Aubameyang (43) despite not starting the first three games, and at a lower price, Lacazette is probably a better option than his strike partner. That includes even more production recently, with four scores and four assists in the past five games, spearheading a red-hot Arsenal side that has won nine straight games across all competitions.
Roberto Firmino (Liverpool at Huddersfield, £9.3)
Bobby F. has not exactly been in the best form lately, failing to do anything in the past three games. But this fixture should be the answer to his woes. After all, he scored a goal in Liverpool’s 3-0 home win against the Terriers last season, just as he also cracked the net in the Reds’ 3-0 away victory at Huddersfield.
Aleksandar Mitrovic (Fulham at Cardiff, £6.9)
There is no shortage of wonderful budget forward options, and fantasy managers may have soured on Mitrovic who has only scored once in the past four games after netting four times in the opening quartet. I certainly would not blame anyone for switching from the Fulham striker to Bournemouth’s Callum Wilson or Joshua King, Brighton’s Glenn Murray, Southampton’s Danny Ings or Wolves’ Raul Jimenez who have all been about as productive as Mitrovic — some even moreso — for cheaper. Especially with the Cottagers headed on the road, where they have only scored three times. However, if you really want to drop Mitrovic but have more pressing needs elsewhere in your line-up, you can afford to hold off and give him another shot. Why? Because he travels to Cardiff, where the Bluebirds have conceded 10 goals (2.5 gpg), leaving me hopeful that the Serbian international can rediscover his scoring touch.
Joshua King (Bournemouth v. Southampton, £6.4)
The Cherries and their offense are in fine form, but with King coming off a brace in the 4-0 win at Watford, and being on PK duty, he’s got to be at the top of the list.
Callum Wilson (Bournemouth v. Southampton, £6.4)
Then again, King’s strike partner Wilson is looking pretty sharp as well, with a goal and three assists in the past pair of games. You probably can’t go wrong with either.
How many moves are you going to make now, and which players are you adding and dropping? Whom else other than those listed above are must-haves for this week and in the future? Take the wildcard poll below and share your thoughts in the comments section!
When did you, or will you, use your first half unlimited transfer Wildcard chip?
This poll is closed
Already used it before Week 8
Am playing it now ahead of Week 9
Will put it into action later sometime in Weeks 10-19
My team is so brilliant, I probably won’t even use it