Premier League fantasy football tips: Should you captain Mohamed Salah?
There is a hectic schedule of Premier League football on the way with eight FPL deadlines in the next five weeks.
Try not to have any dead weight on your bench because it’s almost certain you will need to call upon all 13 outfield players in your squad during this time.
You should also have gameweek 18 in mind when you make any transfer from now on as neither Manchester City nor Brentford have a fixture that week.
At the moment my plan is to bench Erling Haaland and Bryan Mbeumo then, taking the risk of having just one playing substitute, but another way around it would be to play your Free Hit chip.
Equally, if you haven’t already used your wildcard then you could gradually lose your Manchester City and Brentford players in the run-up to gameweek 18 and bring them back in again on the wildcard in gameweek 19.
It’s thought both clubs might have a double gameweek soon after that to catch up on the missed fixture so using the wildcard could be a clever way to attack it.
My first choice this week would be Haaland for Manchester City’s game at home to Liverpool, but there is a slight concern with his ankle injury.
Mohamed Salah has scored in six of his last eight Premier League games against City so he’s an obvious fallback if you don’t want to take the risk on Haaland, but there are other enticing options to consider.
Tottenham versus Aston Villa looks like it could be full of goals so Son Heung-min or Ollie Watkins would be the top two candidates there, and Jarrod Bowen is worth a look as well for West Ham’s trip to Burnley depending on what David Moyes says about the injury that saw him return early from international duty.
Fixtures to target
It’s difficult to predict where the clean sheets might be coming this week with Manchester City facing Liverpool and the Newcastle and Arsenal defences having to try and keep out Chelsea and Brentford.
Luton versus Crystal Palace might be a game for the defenders and I would happily start assets from either team in that one.
Personally, I’ve been toying with the idea of selling Matty Cash and doubling up on the Arsenal defence by signing William Saliba, but I’m torn because I still feel there could be attacking returns for Cash in his next two games against Tottenham and Bournemouth. Aston Villa are also at home to Sheffield United in the all-important gameweek 18.
If I opt for the double Arsenal route then I like the look of the games against Wolves and Luton for potential clean sheets in gameweeks 14 and 15, but after that they face three of the most dangerous attacking teams in Villa, Brighton and Liverpool.
Other managers might be wondering what to do with Kaoru Mitoma after he withdrew from the Japan squad. He’s heavily owned at 35% with Brighton away to Nottingham Forest on Saturday, but if he remains an injury doubt then an early move for Mbeumo could be a sensible choice. His price will start to climb over the next couple of weeks as Brentford embark on a run of games against Luton, Brighton, Sheffield United and Aston Villa before their blank in gameweek 18.
There are plenty of in-form midfielders to choose from, though, and if you’re looking for the slightly less popular picks then James Ward-Prowse, Cole Palmer, Gabriel Martinelli, Raheem Sterling, Hwang Hee-chan and Eberechi Eze are all still under 10% ownership.
I like Palmer and Sterling in particular as long-term options to hopefully bring you in the points in that fast-improving Chelsea team.
On the subject of Chelsea, Statman Dave was getting very excited about Reece James in this week’s Fantasy 606 podcast. James has started their last two games, had a rest during the international break and currently comes in at the price of just £5.3m. That does seem a bargain when you consider Kieran Trippier is £7m and Trent Alexander-Arnold is £7.9m, and we’ve certainly seen that James is capable of delivering the big scores like those two if he gets a run of games.
It goes back to the point, though, about having a strong bench in your FPL squad as you know he’s unlikely to start three games in the space of seven days when those midweek fixtures come along, so you’ll need someone to step in when he’s left out.
Gamble of the week
Going against Haaland and Salah with the captaincy didn’t pay off last week, but if you’re the type of manager that fancies a gamble then I’ve got a feeling that Everton might produce a bit of a performance against Manchester United at a pumped-up Goodison Park on Sunday and Dominic Calvert-Lewin could be your man.
Alistair Bruce-Ball presents the Fantasy 606 podcast alongside former Premier League winner Chris Sutton and Statman Dave. You can find the podcast by searching for ‘Fantasy 606’ on the BBC Sounds app, then just click subscribe.