Fantasy Premier League – Transfer Activity & Captaincy GW8
Written by: FPLijah
In what felt like an eternity, FPL IS BACK BABY! Gameweek 9 should roughly be the quarterly mark of the Premier League and the Fantasy Premier League Season, but as you know, we’ve been playing FPL on ‘Difficult Mode’ ever since Covid arrived with so many unforeseen circumstances popping up, like extremely bad weather, rail strikes, and even the death of a Royal, which has caused chaos with regards to FPL, causing blank gameweeks for some teams, whilst other games continued as normal. If you were on the right end of the straw, well done, but if you weren’t, I completely get your frustration.
It is FPL nonetheless, and even the craziest of events need to be planned for at times, based on rumours, etc. that we may hear in the background. Gameweek 8 saw a ton of managers use their Wildcard, with many opting to use it this Gameweek, which is GW9 (like myself, FPLijah).
Since it’s been a while, let’s remind you of the upcoming fixtures from GW9 onwards. A key note if you weren’t already aware, but GW12 will see Arsenal and Manchester blank, so keep that in mind when thinking of your transfer strategy and/ wildcard team right now.
As the Gameweek 9 Deadline approaches (Saturday, 1 October, 11am UK time), Fantasy Premier League managers are active at present, but as active as we’ve usually seen in previous gameweeks, and that purely comes down to the International Break with many non-engaged FPL managers forgetting that there is a deadline this weekend. The focus of this article, is transfer activity and captaincy, and using the Official Fantasy Premier League website, at the time of writing this article, these are the Top 5 most transferred in and most transferred out players ahead of Gameweek 9:
Just a few comments before we dive straight in. When finalizing your GW1 team, before any of the fixtures took place, the thought process behind your selection of each player was valid, and you planned for a handful of fixtures to start the season with, so don’t be too hasty in making transfers or taking hits after just one gameweek. The sample size is extremely small, and sometimes patience is the optimum decision and transfer strategy. Unless your transfer for Gameweek 2 is to bring Erling Haaland or Mohamed Salah into your team after you took a punt on another premium FPL player, my suggestion is to save your transfer (assuming and hoping you haven’t already blown through your one free transfer, or worse, already taken hits).
Let’s go through each player amongst the Top 5 transfer activity and assess whether we should invest (in the case of transfers in) or jump onto the bandwagon of selling the most transferred out players.
Top Transfers IN this Gameweek:
Maddison (Price: £8.0m; Ownership: 7.8%)
To absolutely no surprise, James Maddison is the most transferred in player going into Gameweek 9, ahead of Leicester’s swing in fixtures.
Whether you’re on a Wildcard or just using your free transfers, everyone seems to be trying to bring in the Englishman, and I don’t blame you. When Leicester performs, it’s almost a certainty that Madders will be involved in the goals.
Leicester’s fixtures can be seen below.
In the 6 Gameweeks that Maddison has featured in, he’s scored three goals whilst assisting once, which shows that although Leicester has underperformed, Madders has still been putting up strong numbers. With a change in fixtures, I personally think that it’s a no-brainer, and you should be trying all you can to get him in. Let’s not forget that at a 7.8% ownership, he is well and truly a differential this Gameweek, despite what social media may make you think. Maddison’s price point of £8.0m is also attractive. In the event that he gets injured, sick, receives a red card or just doesn’t perform, we’re able to jump onto other viable options at the £8.0m price bracket or lower.
Toney (Price: £7.3m; Ownership: 22.3%)
Heading into GW6, Ivan Toney was the most sold player, and I distinctly remember warning you all not to sell; and what happened? He scored a hat-trick. The following Gameweek was against Arsenal, which saw Brentford lose 0-3, but with Arsenal’s current form and topping the Premier League table, that result wasn’t a surprise. In 7 GWs, Toney has scored 5, assisted 2, and is averaging 6.7 points per Gameweek, which included fixtures against Arsenal and Manchester United.
Brentford has an amazing run of fixtures to come, beginning with the juiciest of them all, against Bournemouth. This run extends all the way until GW15, and as you should know, between GW16 and GW17, we have the World Cup, which will allow us all to have Unlimited Transfers (essentially another Wildcard).
If the fixtures and Toney’s PPG (points per game) didn’t convince you enough, he is also Brentford’s dedicated penalty taker. Many FPL managers are opting for the more budget-friendly Solanke over Toney, but I do genuinely think that Toney is worth the extra cash over this run. He’s in my current Wildcard draft at present. Toney was also called up for the England squad for the first time during the International Break but wasn’t given enough minutes to make a mark. With the World Cup approaching, he is going to want to impress, so we could see a flurry of goals coming up shortly. Get the man in your team!
Saliba (Price: £4.9m; Ownership: 22.4%)
This one is slightly surprising. Saliba and Arsenal face Tottenham, Liverpool, and Leeds, followed by a Blank Gameweek in GW12, and yet Saliba finds himself as the 3rd most transferred in player. I see the appeal as a 4th of 5th defender, but not part of your back 3.
To be fair to Saliba and everyone transferring him in, he is always involved, scoring 2 goals, assisting 1 and even scoring an own goal as well. He is one of those exciting FPL assets, and to put that into context, in the first 3 Gameweeks, he had 8, -1, and 14 points.
I’d say those bringing him in right now is down to points chasing after racking up 15 points in Arsenal’s 0-3 win against Brentford. Saliba is at quite a nice price point, sitting him just under £5.0m.
To round up on Saliba, I personally would not be bringing him in if going for back 3, but as a 4th or 5th defender as a back-up option, he’s a great option, especially if you have another cover for Blank GW12.
Zaha (Price: £7.2m; Ownership: 16.1%)
Just like Leicester and Brentford, Crystal Palace are yet another team with a swing in fixtures, but unfortunately, that swing only begins in GW10 since Palace will face Chelsea in GW9. Fortunately though, the amazing run of fixtures extends all the way until GW18, as seen below.
To no surprise, Zaha has made his way into many a FPL team in GW9 due to so many active Wildcards at present, without the hassle and wasted transfer of trying to get him in in GW10. Zaha has always been fixture-proof, and with Chelsea not looking at their best defensively, Zaha scoring in GW9 wouldn’t be all that crazy, if we’re being honest.
Unlike in previous seasons, Zaha seems to have added a bit of consistency to his game FPL-wise. He’s always been tremendous, but his output in terms of FPL was never consistent enough for a longer period of time. In the past, you’d have to time it perfectly to get him in for a short spell before his form fell off.
31 points in 5 games played for Zaha, scoring 4, just shows the new element to his game. Zaha being in the top 5 most transferred in players for GW9 is completely justified.
Trippier (Price: £5.4m; Ownership: 45.6%)
Trippier has undoubtedly been an FPL favorite thus far this season. Three cleansheets, 1 goal, and 1 assist from 7 games is remarkable, and with the next two games against Fulham and Brentford, there is an appeal to get him in.
After the next two fixtures, Newcastle faces Manchester United, Everton, and Tottenham.
In my opinion, if you have him, keep him, but if you don’t already own him, I wouldn’t buy him. I feel like both Fulham and Brentford are very capable of scoring, especially with Mitrovic and Toney on the hot form. Thereafter Trippier and Newcastle have difficult games on paper. My suggestion is to go for Schar, who is cheaper, with underlying numbers in the box similar to Isak, who is Newcastle’s striker.
Top Transfers OUT this Gameweek:
Jesus (Price: £8.0m; Ownership 70.7%)
Jesus being the most sold player was always a very realistic possibility at some point this season due to his extremely high ownership at the start of the season. Any fall-off of any kind, missed games, etc., would’ve always resulted in this.
At one point, Jesus was the highest owned player ever in FPL history, and to be fair to him, a 70.7% ownership is still scary high for those of us FPL managers that will be going without the Brazilian from GW9 onwards. To put his ownership into perspective, it is currently more than double of Mohamed Salah’s ownership.
The reason for the mass sales of Jesus comes down to Arsenal’s upcoming fixtures against Tottenham, Liverpool, and Leeds, followed by a Blank Gameweek; as well as strikers such as Toney, Mitrovic, and Solanke being cheaper, in form, and a swing in fixtures.
Does this mean he won’t score in GW9? Absolutely not! Arsenal are top of the Premier League, and Jesus is their top scorer. GW9 will see Arsenal play a London Derby against their rivals Spurs, which is always such a tasty fixture, and let’s not forget that Arsenal are at home.
Salah (Price: £12.9m; Ownership 35.2%)
Look, I get it. We all expect so much from The King of FPL, that not even two goals and three assists in 6 games is enough to warrant him being in our teams. Haaland has come in and has replaced our perma-captain in Salah. It also doesn’t help that Salah will face Arsenal and Manchester City in GW10 and GW11, but just like in Gameweek 8 with Son, where I had a gut feeling that he’d do well, so I brought him into my team and he scored a hattrick, I have that exact feeling again about Salah in GW9.
Salah was sent back to Liverpool early from the International Break, as his National manager felt he didn’t need to risk him playing, and we thank him for it. A rested Salah, and a Salah that surely wants to prove to everyone that he is still The King of not just FPL, but the Premier League as well, will come good.
Many of you know that I am a Liverpool fan, and I assure you that this isn’t club bias. I wouldn’t be as successful as I have been with FPL (28k, 7k, 86k, 58k, 7k, 7k), if I made decisions based on bias. Some players like Salah are too good to not kick-on, just like what happened with Son in GW8, and that was my exact reasoning for bringing him in.
Both Salah and Trent have made my current Wildcard draft.
Rashford (Price: £6.6m; Ownership 14.4%)
Marcus Rashford is currently flagged with a muscle injury and has a 75% chance of playing in GW9, according to the Official FPL website. Until we get further injury news from the manager pressers, that’s all we can go on for now, and with a game against Manchester City in GW9, I’d likely be selling him as well if I did own him (despite his 18-pointer in the last Gameweek).
Odegaard (Price: £6.5m; Ownership 15.7%)
After his 26 points in 2 GWs in GWs 3 and 4, Martin Odegaard has slightly underperformed in terms of FPL output, with a combined 3 points in the following 2 Gameweeks. Much like Jesus, due to the fixtures and the upcoming Blank Gameweek, Odegaard finds himself as part of the most players, and that is justified. Jesus still has the form to warrant being kept, but Odegaard is a definite sell.
Zinchenko (Price: £5.1m; Ownership 12.8%)
Zinchenko is flagged with a calf injury and has a 50% chance of playing, according to the Official FPL website. I don’t foresee that changing, and is a definite sell, in my opinion.
Captaincy is the single most important aspect of Fantasy Premier League. A captaincy fails will, more often than not, ruin your gameweek to the point of a red arrow. A good captaincy return can improve an average week into one that is amazing or change your gameweek from bad to somewhat decent, as we’ve seen throughout the history of FPL.
Gameweek 9 is a little tricky as our perma-captain in Haaland will now play in his first Manchester Derby. I will present you with a few options, ending it with my order of preference for captaincy.
Let’s begin with Erling Haaland, the guy is simply not human. He has now scored 11 goals from 7 games in the Premier League, and that’s without us speaking about his goal scoring in the UEFA Champions League and Nations League at present. Another aspect to put into this is that Haaland will undoubtedly have the highest effective ownership in GW9, seeing as his ownership alone is at a record-breaking 81.1%… WHAT?! That stat alone is insanity. Not captaining him is scary at present, and any point that he scores without you captaining him will see your rank plummet.
Seeing as this is the first Manchester Derby, will Manchester United completely mark him out of the game? I doubt it, but I do think they will make it a little more difficult for him. Can he score? OF COURSE! Will he score? Likely. Will he haul? I am having some doubts, which is why I present my captain for GW9, Mohamed Salah.
I personally think that in GW9, we will see the return of The King. His ownership is a joke at present, and I do not recall it ever being this low since his return to the Premier League with Liverpool. Just a reminder that his ownership is 35.2%. Liverpool faces a Brighton team that has just lost their manager to Chelsea. How will Brighton get on? I guess we’re going to have to wait and see, but the one thing that we do know is that Liverpool needs to have a strong comeback following their draw against Everton in GW6, if they are to challenge for the Title this season. Liverpool did not play in GWs 7 and 8, with most players being fresh and ready to go.
Next up is James Maddison. He is the most transferred in player for a reason this Gameweek, and is already a differential. If you’re feeling extra ballsy, don’t own Salah, and not happy with your rank, taking a punt on captaincy with Maddison isn’t the worst idea. Leicester have underperformed and need a strong comeback, and with a game against Nottingham Forest at home in GW9, it could be the perfect haul potential type of game for Maddison.
Harry Kane has always been Mr Consistent, scoring 6 goals and 2 assists in 7 games. Kane always has a knack of scoring in the London Derby as well, hence his inclusion in the captaincy chat. I am personally even considering bringing him in for Haaland on my Wildcard, but I’ll take that decision down to the wire, as Haaland’s likely EO will just be too scary to ignore.
Finally, I end off with Ivan Toney. With a point to prove and to try make his way into the England squad for the World Cup, he will be looking to go big. He’s on penalties and has the form to warrant a captaincy shout, especially with the best game amongst all standout players, against Bournemouth.
My Captaincy Order:
That sums up my thoughts on the Top 5 Transfer Activity and Captaincy for Gameweek 9. Look out for more articles by myself (FPLijah).
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