Just when you think there won’t be any more curve balls coming along the way of Fantasy Premier League managers this week. Ten Hag has confirmed that Luke Shaw, will be missing out due to injury for weeks to come. He is the latest star to fall from grace.
Popular players in FPL this season have all had a hard time staying fit or maintaining their place in the starting eleven. Defenders especially, with Mings, Timber, James, Stones, and now Shaw all out injured and Gabriel struggling for playing time.
Shaw’s unexpected injury comes at a time when there are already other fires to put out for FPL managers. Many have indeed pulled the trigger on transfers given the weeklong debates and rebuttals of Jackson Alvarez or Foden as assets. One would have to be forgiven if they did not wait for the last second to make the transfers. There is always anyway the risk of an FPL site crashing involved with that strategy.
So, what to do with Luke Shaw?
Don’t take a negative four.
If you have any sort of playing bench for defenders, remember you need to have three defenders to play in your starting eleven at all times. That is the Fantasy Premier League rule. If the four million defenders are starting and you have no other option other than to rely on them or take a negative four. Playing them is wiser than taking a hit. It is simply because in a week when most teams have players coveted with good fixtures, taking a hit is starting two yards behind on the race.
The negative four essentially means you’re banking on a clean sheet on your newly transferred defender just to break even the points. Negative hits for defenders are always seen with scrutiny and rightly so. Another Fantasy Manager without taking a hit will buy the player you have brought in for a hit and you need to break even the negative deficit from elsewhere again just to break even. The urge is to always take a negative hit and make a solid team on paper. Hold on and tamper with that urge, you will be surprised what fewer hits can potentially do to your rank.
Ruben Dias / Jasko Gvardiol
For the lucky managers without much fire to throw water at or with transfers in hand, they will be looking at newer shores to transfer defenders. If you are amongst the very unlucky ones without three defenders in your starting lineup, you will be perhaps categorized under this searching for new defenders’ category as well.
Manchester City has been by far the best defensive team in the league. The champions not only do it with the goals, but they are equally solid at the back as well. Ederson’s plethora of Golden Gloves is evidence of that. The problem with Manchester City is to nail down a defender you can Manchester City defender completed the season with one hundred points in the Fantasy Premier League.
The case of City defense is perhaps like a golden goose hidden inside eggshells away from plain sight. The task of the Fantasy manager is to identify the right personnel from the defense. Gvardiol made his debut against Newcastle and had a fine showcase of his abilities with the ball. He certainly looks like a major upgrade on Ake and maybe even on the departed Laporte. I say maybe because there has only one game for now, but it is unlikely he will sit many matches on the bench.
Gvardiol played almost as a wide center-back against Newcastle, with Akanji starting alongside Rodri in the Stones position. It will be highly unlikely when Stones comes back from his injury, he will take up the Gvardiol position. Akanji is rather playing makeshift for Stones. At five million he could be an absolute steal. The same applies to Ruben Dias as well. At half a million more in price, he is perhaps the most nailed defender from Manchester City. Dias or Gvardiol might be expected to play four out of every five games but given the history and importance of the team. Dias might be that small percentage more nailed than someone like a Gvardiol.
Manchester City plays Sheffield away followed by Fulham at home, and West Ham away, with Forest at home after that, and Wolves away in the next five fixtures. There are plenty of clean sheets to be had in each of these games. The way Manchester United had started transferring out Shaw for a City defender could be an absolute blessing in disguise. You will want a part of that City defense cake eventually.
Managers have looked at Gusto after James failed to start a string of games again. His injury worries must feel like a cure for the Chelsea captain. Pochettino has announced the injury to James won’t keep him out for long with the England right-back expected to be back after the international break. This makes Gusto a non-option. He will maybe get a one-pointer in most games as an impact substitute for James. Given Chelsea’s fixtures and their low prices in FPL, the play is to maximize the three players’ spot in FPL.
Colwill therefore becomes a prime option. He looks nailed and is a million cheaper than Shaw allowing investments elsewhere like in midfield where the options are in abundance and the real differentials with the potential to impact ranks greatly, lie.
Chelsea has looked like a team in desperate need of playing time together with another season at the Bridge of the influx of fresh faces. Caicedo, despite his less-than-convincing debut against the Hammers, will be expected to have a positive impact on the defense. The Ecuadorian along with Lavia, are both excellent signings that will surely bolster Chelsea as a defensive unit. Their next five fixtures include Luton at home, Forest at home, Bournemouth away, Aston Villa at home, Fulham away, Burnley away.
There is no team with a better fixture run during this period. A double-up of Chilwell along with Colwill is an excellent option with all the signs of being a source of points.
Rico Henry/ Destiny Udogie
Rico Henry might have performed the best of the budget lot. Brentford have started their season phenomenally with Henry having an assist and a clean sheet registered to his name. He sits ninth in the defenders list for the season with 1.5 chances created per ninety and an xGi non-penalty of 0.36. The fixtures are still great for Brentford with the Bees facing Palace, Bournemouth, and Everton at home and Forest away in their next five. Henry has already acquired a price rise in FPL given his steady rise in ownership. He could be the perfect budget blend of a defender with attacking outputs while keeping a steady flow of clean sheets.
To talk about Udogie, it must be started with a cautionary note, Spurs fans forums expect Davies to get a game in the coming fixtures. It will come at the expense of Udogie when it does. In the opening two games, Udogie has created 1.1 chances per ninety with an xGi non-penalty of 0.12. Spurs did not have the best of the fixtures with Brentford away and United at home.
Their fixtures take an upturn from game week three starting with Bournemouth away. Spurs’s attacking forays under Ange Postecoglou have allowed the license to Udogie to play as an attacking defender linking up play. Given the fixtures and the new style of play implemented by the Australian Udogie have all the making of a potential points haul in the coming weeks.