Saturday, December 15, 2018

Best Picks for FPL Gameweek 15

Dan Steeden in Editorial, English Premier League 1 Dec 2017

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Premier League managers are in the midst of a gruelling fixture schedule, and for FPL managers that converts to a nightmare few weeks as rotation and injury decimates fantasy teams everywhere. Luckily the Best Picks series returns just in time for you to pick your team for this gameweek, and there are some great matchups to take advantage of after midweek Premier League football threw up some surprises. 


Budget Option: Jordan Pickford (4.8m) 

Everton are conceding two goals per game on average, which isn’t necessarily conducive to starting their goalkeeper. However, the Toffees may just have turned a corner this season after a 4-0 destruction of West Ham in midweek, and their clash against Huddersfield this weekend represents Sam Allardyce’s first game in charge. If there is one thing that Big Sam won’t stand for it’s conceding goals, so the Everton defence should become slightly tighter from now on. Luckily their opponents have scored just nine times this season, and are without a goal in their last six away games. Fire up Pickford, and be confident about it for once.

Premium Option: Thibaut Courtois (5.4m)

The Chelsea keeper was my suggested premium option for the midweek game against Swansea, and he rewarded owners with a clean sheet. The Blues host Newcastle in the early game on Saturday, and the result should be similar. The Magpies have generally struggled away from home, winning just once, while Chelsea have kept four clean sheets at Stamford Bridge. Don’t expect many save bonus points from Courtois here, but all you want is a reliable clean sheet from the big Belgian shot stopper.


Budget Option: Ahmed Hegazi (4.5m) 

West Brom are usually a go-to option for FPL defenders, but they have been disappointing this season, registering just three clean sheets. Luckily they face the worst team in the league in Crystal Palace this weekend, giving them the perfect opportunity to increase their tally. This will be Alan Pardew’s first game in charge of the Baggies, and he has a decent history of keeping teams up. Pardiola will shore up the defence, and maybe inject some life into what has long been a relatively boring team. Hegazi grabbed a goal on the opening day of the season, so maybe he can do the same here to impress his new boss.

Premium Option: Kyle Walker (6.7m) 

Who would have though two seasons ago that an injury to John Stones would end Manchester City’s run of clean sheets, but that is exactly what has happened. The defender will be side-lined for a while, but that doesn’t really matter when you find out that City face West Ham this weekend. The Hammers are simply awful. Any team that loses 4-0 to Everton this season doesn’t deserve a spot in the Premier League, but the silver lining is that the Citizens should get back on track defensively in this game. Walker has the biggest upside with assist potential, but you can start any of the City defenders.


Budget Option: Xherdan Shaqiri (6.1m)

The Alpine Messi has flown very much under the radar this season, but has quietly grabbed three goals and five assists in the midst of Stoke’s struggles. The Potters aren’t scoring too many, but at least they’re averaging over a goal per game. Their opponents Swansea meanwhile are conceding over a goal per game, which suggests that the home side might be able to find the back of the net in this fixture. Given the lack of talented players amongst Stoke’s ranks, Shaqiri looks the most likely to grab that goal.

Premium Option: Raheem Sterling (8.2m)

The Manchester City juggernaut rolls inexorably on, and will not be stopped as long as Raheem Sterling keeps scoring late winners. The winger now has nine goals and four assists on the season, which is making it really difficult for Pep Guardiola, the rotation master, to bench him. The England international is behind only the legendary Mohamed Salah in FPL midfielder rankings, and a home clash with diabolically bad West Ham provides the perfect opportunity to grab a few more goals.


Budget Option: Wayne Rooney (7.2m) 

England’s all-time leading goalscorer is not done yet. A sensational hat-trick against West Ham in midweek has fired Rooney back into FPL relevance, and reminded the world that he is actually quite good at football. This weekend he faces Huddersfield, who have conceded 24 times this season. Could another hat-trick be incoming? Probably not, but now Everton actually have a bit of confidence he should get his name on the score sheet here.

Premium Option: Harry Kane (12.8m)

It doesn’t really matter what happens to Tottenham this season, Harry Kane is still going to keep scoring goals. He now has 10 for the season, second only to Salah who is rudely making an attempt to win the Golden Boot. The England striker gets a juicy matchup against a Watford side that has conceded a whopping 25 times this season, including shipping four at home to Manchester United in midweek. Kane is due an explosive game…

Bonus Tips

If you have Mohamed Salah, start him and captain him this week. If you don’t have him, get him. Now.

Pay attention to team news right up to the deadline. With midweek games lots of managers will consider rotation and resting some of their better players. Keep on top of the news and you’ll be fine, but don’t overreact and make a stupid transfer based on rumours, especially if those rumours come from your mates in your WhatsApp group.


Dan Steeden

Dan is a recent graduate of the University of Birmingham and an often frustrated Wigan Athletic fan. When not despairing at events unfolding at the DW Stadium he can be found fangirling over Antoine Griezmann or staying up into the early hours of the morning to cheer on the Seattle Seahawks.



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