While we’d all love to have a full roster of fantasy players who can be consistently excellent game in and game out, Premier League football unfortunately doesn’t work that way. Instead, we generally see ups and downs from even the best players.
Should you add someone who is on fire, or is his fiery form unlikely to continue? Is it worth dropping a player who has turned into a wet blanket, or can things warm up again? Let’s take a look at stand-outs who have been running hot and cold, with predictions going forward for those players.
SCORCHING HOT PLAYERS
Brighton Goalkeeper Mat Ryan
Ryan started out with a clean sheet in the opener, but things quickly went all wet as he conceded eight goals while making nine saves across the first five games, averaging a measly 2.8 ppg in that stretch in the Official FPL game platform.
Despite facing two “Big Six” teams in the past four games, Ryan has picked things up with two clean sheets and a whopping 21 saves against only 2 goals conceded in this recent period, returning 6.0 ppg to the delight of fantasy managers holding the Australian international at his low cost. The strong performance has pushed Ryan to the lofty rank of #2 at his position in FPL for the season so far.
The Gauge: Ryan can keep the hot stretch going for the next two games which are at home (v. Everton, v. Norwich), but things turn trickier after that (at Manchester United, v. Leicester, at Liverpool, at Arsenal), so you’ll surely want to have a decent second keeper to give him a spell then.
Liverpool Defender Andrew Robertson
For those who shelled out big bucks on last year’s top earner at his defensive position, Andrew Robertson was a huge letdown to start the season. The Reds failed to secure a clean sheet in their first three games, and the star left wing back also came up short on the offensive end, averaging a meager 2 ppg in that stretch.
However, he has rewarded the faith since then, with three assists, two clean sheets, and six bonus points, averaging 5.8 ppg from Weeks 4-9. That has brought him up from the hinterlands to the #4 rank at his position overall.
The Gauge: The schedule gets tough with Tottenham and Manchester City among the next three games. However, both of those are at Anfield, and Spurs are reeling. Beyond that, Liverpool does not face a single Big Six team from Weeks 13-21. Let’s just say that if you kept him, there’s no reason to sell Robbo now, especially with Alisson’s return from injury providing a major boost.
Aston Villa Midfielder Jack Grealish
Grealish started slowly, with no goals and only one assist over the first five games for the newly promoted Villans, averaging only 2.8 ppg. But the young talent has shown why he has long been on the radar of major teams with two goals, two assists, and four bonus points in the past four games, returning 7.0 ppg in that stretch.
The Gauge: Unfortunately, the next seven games are brutal for Villa and Grealish (at Manchester City, v. Liverpool, at Wolves, v. Newcastle, at Manchester United, at Chelsea, v. Leicester), so a cool down would seem to be in order.
Southampton Forward Danny Ings
The former Liverpool man started out fairly slowly, with only one goal and one assist in his first six games as he struggled to get a regular run in the XI. He played fewer than 30 minutes thrice, averaging only 2.8 ppg in that spell. However, Ralph Hasenhuttl has turned to Ings as a starter in the past three games, and the streaky sniper has rewarded that faith with a goal per, averaging 8.3 ppg aided by 7 bonus points. Now at 42 points total, he has outscored a bevy of higher-priced forwards including Wolves’ Raul Jimenez and West Ham’s Sebastien Haller who cost quite a bit more.
The Gauge: Southampton’s fixture list is pretty tough in the next four (v. Leicester City, at Manchester City, v. Everton, at Arsenal). But amazingly, Ings has scored this season against Liverpool, Tottenham, Chelsea, and Wolves, not exactly chopped liver in terms of competition! I wouldn’t put any money on his purple patch of form continuing, but I wouldn’t bet against it either. In other words, toss a coin.
ICE COLD PLAYERS
Manchester United Keeper David De Gea
De Gea enjoyed a strong spell for the first five fixtures, posting two clean sheets, making 13 saves, and conceding only four goals as he averaged 4.8 ppg. However, it has been tough sledding since then with no clean sheets and an average of only 2.8 ppg despite a similar saves/goals allowed ratio (12/5) as before. Part of the problem has been tough competition (v. Arsenal and Liverpool), but the Manchester United defense also failed to keep a shutout away at West Ham and Newcastle. That has left the Spanish international ranking 8th in saves and 10th in clean sheets among keepers, both middling marks for the world-renowned De Gea.
The Gauge: Manchester United has been unlucky to keep only two clean sheets this season, allowing one goal a whopping five times. The Red Devils have actually turned things around on the defensive side compared to last season, tying for the 4th-fewest goals conceded (after allowing the 10th-most in 2018/19). You can look for fortune to turn for De Gea thanks to a favorable schedule over the next five games (at Norwich, at Bournemouth, v. Brighton, at Sheffield United, v. Aston Villa).
Southampton Defender Jannik Vestergaard
The towering Saints’ central back was a revelation to open the season, with two clean sheets, one goal, and six bonus points to the tune of 5.4 ppg over the first five games. However, he has since turned ice cold with no offensive returns or clean sheets for a team that has conceded six times in his three appearances over the past four game weeks, averaging a meager 1.3 ppg.
The Gauge: The schedule turns brutal over the next four games for Southampton (v. Leicester City, at Manchester City, v. Everton, at Arsenal), so his rough patch will likely continue. The fixture list from Weeks 14-18 gets much friendlier (v. Watford, v. Norwich, at Newcastle, v. West Ham, at Aston Villa), so if you have an eye on adding him you may want to wait until then when you can hope for a return to early season form.
Norwich Midfielder Todd Cantwell
Cantwell became a favorite affordable addition for many FPL managers during his brilliant opening spell when the Canaries’ attacking midfielder scored twice and added two assists in the first five games, averaging 5.4 ppg. Unfortunately, Norwich has hit the skids since then, particularly the offense which has managed only one lonely goal in a stretch that has seen Cantwell’s production cool to the tune of 2.3 ppg.
The Gauge: There’s no shame in Norwich failing to score at Burnley and at Crystal Palace, two defensively minded teams playing at home. However, the Canaries managing only one goal welcoming fellow newly-promoted Villa and failing to score at Bournemouth which does not boast an impressive defense are quite worrying. Cantwell is cheap, and the upcoming fixture list is not particularly daunting (though it is not overly favorable either). There’s no need to sell him, as occasional contributions from Cantwell still make him an attractive 4th or 5th midfielder, but don’t expect him to heat back up like his early stretch.
Norwich City Forward Teemu Pukki
“The Pukki Party” came seemingly out of nowhere, as the Finland international notched six goals plus two assists in the first five games, delighting fantasy managers who got in on him early and enjoyed his brilliant 9.8 ppg in that period. However, a la fellow Canary Cantwell, Pukki has failed to hit pay dirt since, averaging a woeful 1.5 ppg in the last four games.
The Gauge: Pukki and Norwich City have played much better at home than away thus far, as five of the striker’s six goals and both of his assists have come at Carrow Road. However, two of the team’s next three home opponents are “Big Six” members Manchester United and Arsenal, so if you’re hoping for the Pukki Party to find its second wind, you may have to keep waiting a while.
Chelsea Forward Tammy Abraham
The young sensation started brilliantly, scoring seven times and averaging 7 ppg in the first five games. However, he’s managed only a single goal without an assist in the past four games, plunging his FPL rate in half to 3.5 ppg.
The Gauge: While his recent form has been disappointing, there was absolutely no reason to expect Abraham to keep scoring at anywhere close to the outrageous clip when he exploded from Weeks 3-5. Weeks 6-9 came against defensive minded teams (v. Liverpool, v. Brighton, at Southampton, v. Newcastle), providing context for his slowdown. Unfortunately, the next four fixtures are generally going to be tough as well (at Burnley, at Watford, v. Crystal Palace, at Manchester City). Abraham may stay cold in the near future, but look for him to heat up again starting in Week 14 when the schedule gets friendlier. If you’re looking for a reason to stay with him, Abraham has kept on shooting; he is not only tied for the league lead with his eight goals, but that’s also the case with his 30 shots, and he’s top by himself with 17 shots on target.
[NOTE: Statistics used in this article came from the official fantasy Premier League site and the official Premier League site.]
How many purple patch players do you have in your fantasy teams? How many stuck in the muck? Which of the above-mentioned players are you considering adding or dropping? Are there any others who deserve attention? Please let us know in the comments!