We are still in the midst of that turbulent time when players aren’t sure whether they’ll still be at their current club by the end of January, and cases of ‘Transferitis’ pop up all over the league. Until the transfer window slams shut there will always be uncertainty, which makes management of your fantasy team even more important. Luckily the Best Picks series is here to make the difficult choices for you, this time with midfielders and forwards for gameweek 24.
Budget Option: Theo Walcott (7.1m)
Everybody loves a player that switches clubs and has the potential to achieve great things when actually given the proper chance. Walcott falls into that category for me, and after years of stagnation at Arsenal it is finally time to see what he can do when made one of the key players in an Everton shirt. At £7.1m he remains quite pricey, but that price range is filled with players who haven’t quite justified the figure this season. The England international has always been able to find the back of the net, and the Toffees get a plus matchup against West Brom in which he can brush off the cobwebs.
Budget Option: Marko Arnautovic (7.0m)
The turnaround in Arnautovic’s season after the arrival of David Moyes has been phenomenal, and the Austrian now has six goals in his last eight games from midfield. Unsurprisingly his upturn in form has coincided with success for the Hammers, who now face a struggling Bournemouth side this weekend. The Cherries have conceded a whopping 35 goals this season, including 12 in their last six league games. A 3-0 defeat to the mighty Wigan Athletic in midweek also won’t help their confidence, and Arnautovic should be a safe bet to continue his impressive spell.
Premium Option: Mohamed Salah (10.2m)
While Salah has been overtaken by the increasingly unbelievable Harry Kane in the race for the Golden Boot, he still has his own remarkable tally of 18 Premier League goals this season. The Egyptian leads all other FPL midfielders by over 30 points, and is a weekly threat for both goals and assists. Liverpool have bagged a crazy 54 goals in this campaign, and that number should increase as they face bottom of the league Swansea. The Swans are having an awful season, and have now conceded 35 times while racking up 14 losses. Salah should feast against what is a side that doesn’t look long for the English top flight.
Budget Option: Laurent Depoitre (5.5m)
With all the conventional top teams having favourable matchups this week, many FPL managers will be looking to squeeze in a cheap option somewhere in order to accommodate the big names. Look no further than Depoitre, who has registered five goals and two assists this season. The Huddersfield forward is just two fantasy points behind Marcus Rashford, and the Terriers get to take on a Stoke defence that is frankly laughable at this stage. The Potters have leaked an almighty 50 goals in this campaign, so if Huddersfield don’t score in this game it will be a shock to say the least.
Premium Option: Sergio Aguero (11.7m)
There’s nothing like a crazy 4-3 loss to Liverpool to jolt you back into action, and that is likely what will end up happening with Manchester City. Pep Guardiola’s side are undisputedly the best in the league by some margin, and Aguero leads their devastating forward line. The Cityzens host a Newcastle side that is in turmoil due to the change in ownership, and has let in 31 goals this season. Aguero has 13 for the season, as well as five assists, and at least one of those tallies should increase in this clash. There aren’t many superlatives left for this City team, you just have to ride their success.
Premium Option to AVOID: Romelu Lukaku (11.3m)
The Belgian scored last week after I advised you to start him, which makes me look great, but this week I’m leaning the opposite way. The Belgian is unreliable at best this season, especially in tricky matchups, and that is exactly what Manchester United have this weekend. Burnley away is one of the tougher games in the fixture list, and the Clarets are living up to their own high standards, boasting the fourth best defensive record in the league. United have had a number of uncharacteristic draws lately, and I could see this match heading the same way, perhaps even down the 0-0 street.
The aforementioned January transfer window can cause all sorts of problems to your fantasy team, not least because your star players could leave or find themselves mysteriously injured. Keep an eye on the team news, and, as always, have backup plans.
In a similar vein this time of year is when people start using their second Wildcard, especially as injuries hit and players depart. I would advise you wait until the end of the month however, because the last thing you want is to plan the perfect team only for half of them to transfer to China.
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