ARE we really only 9 weeks into the season?
Surely, we should be at least halfway through it; what with Ronald Koeman and Craig Shakespeare being sacked already, City handed the title, Liverpool being written off and Jose Mourinho resorting to parking the bus soon as he comes up against a team not residing in the bottom ten of the league.
Oh, and numerous players being ‘rotated’ or ‘rested’ even when they might have just had a rest or returned from international breaks.
For me personally, managing 6 fantasy ‘football’ teams (one standard, one draft fantasy, two of the dire official FPL draft – which I only vaguely pay attention to – and then two NFL ones) is also pretty tiring, I could almost do with a rest myself.
In fact, unless they dramatically improve the format and introduce trading, I’ll definitely be binning off the offal (sic) draft offering and focusing on one of each FPL game format. Quality not quantity, lads.
Anyway, talking of offal, which players are in danger of stinking up your team this week? I’ll give you the big four in a minute – with a couple of controversial ones thrown in – but here’s two for free.
Anyone who, for some reason, happens to own Simon Mignolet or even more bafflingly Dejan Lovren, get rid ASAP. In case you have been on another planet for the last week, both had absolute Westons* last weekend in the 4-1 thrashing by Spurs and if Jurgen Klopp has any common sense are set for extended spells on the bench for the foreseeable future.
Both should be dropped in all formats with the main beneficiaries likely to be one of either Danny Ward or Loris Karius; Joe Gomez who is set to play CB; plus either Trent Alexander-Arnold/James Milner or maybe one day the totally AWOL Nathaniel Clyne (where HAS he gone?!)
First, see what Klopp does this weekend as, with a full week since the thrashing at Spurs this is likely to be what he sees as his ‘A’ team trotting out against Huddersfield.
Now, who else’s future should you seriously be considering? The first two for the slaughterhouse aren’t highly-owned but I had to include them purely for how astronomically bad they were last week, some of the others here are such large pieces of the FPL anatomy that even the mere thought of removing them will probably bring a large tear to your eye.
1. Sergio Aguero
Yep, I said it.
I thought it was just me, as I was going to say that for starters he doesn’t seem quite as explosive as he used to be, when he was a threat for multiple goals in every single game. Then I checked out his stats and they do actually back up this ridiculous assertion of mine.
Take out his three-goal, assist and clean sheet explosion against Watford in GW5 (20 points standard, 21 draft) and he hasn’t actually scored more than one goal in any other game to date. Which ordinarily would be nitpicking, but we’ve come to expect more from Super Sergio over the years.
Compare that with someone in the same price bracket like Harry Kane, who has four multiple-goal games already (or teammate Jesus who has two in fewer minutes) and you can see that maybe Aguero owners should temper some of their lofty anticipations of the regular huge weeks that have been his hallmark in the past.
Especially, given (and this is my main point here) Pep’s hair-pullingly frustrating random rotation ‘system’.
In fact, the only City attackers you can really trust to play every week in the league are David Silva and KDB, both of whom are the only two of the group to start every match this season.
Aguero is also an above-average injury risk (and not just from Dutch taxi drivers, either) and with City likely to go deeper into the Champions League this season, it all makes him, in my opinion, not worth the hassle in standard FPL this season.
2. Gabriel Jesus
Yep, I said it again.
He costs £10.6m and has scored 48 points but out of 9 games the guy has 3 one-point finishes and one total doughnut? Sure, he’s got you an average return of 9 PPG over 5 games but that’s a return rate of only 56% and an overall average of 5.3 PPG – for £0.3m less, you can have Alvaro Morata who, when fully fit, is averaging 8 PPG, or for a whole £2m less the due-a-goal Jamie Vardy on 42 total points and 4.7 PPG.
Especially if you are in a head-to-head league, players like City’s two South American strikers are week-killers due to the fact you have a lot of money invested in them – and with the glut of premium striking options this season you most likely have a weak bench with, at best, someone like 2-point expert Tom Carroll to come in next time Guardiola opts to draw straws to decide which attackers play.
I actually own Jesus myself at the moment but am only keeping him for one more weekend as, with the aforementioned Kun having played 120 minutes midweek, I’m betting Pep maybe relies on the Brazilian wonderkid away to a poor West Brom side.
Saying that he usually shafts me, so bank on Jesus being benched and coming on in the 89th minute for a ‘Pep special point’.
In smaller draft leagues, if you have a stronger bench then you can handle the roller-coaster slightly better but it’s still not ideal having a big hitter who isn’t a nailed on starter every week.
As with Aguero, Champions League football muddies the waters even further with Jesus particularly as – true to his league tactics – Guardiola has shown little indication of favouring certain players in one competition over another.
3. Ben Davies
Ahh, it was a nice run while it lasted. Mauricio Pepettinho has apparently caught the fatal rotating full-backs bug from Guardiola and it seems to be incurable. Danny Rose isn’t even fully fit yet and he’s still playing Serge Aurier out of position instead of Davies; when the England left-back is up to speed too you can expect a nightmare game of ‘guess whose turn it is this week’ between those three and Kieran Trippier.
Given Pep senior likes playing defensive midfielders at full-back as well, don’t rule out Pep junior sending Eric Dier or Dembele out wide to show everyone how clever he can be, too.
I mean, if Fabian Delph can do it anyone can, right?
Unless Pochettino shows some sort of pattern in the full-backs he picks for the Champions League and league, all four of Davies, Aurier, Trippier and Rose are to be avoided for now.
4. Henrikh Mkhitaryan
To save my keyboard/fingers/eyes, you’ll excuse me referring to him as ‘Mkhi’ for the rest of this article.
Anyway, it’s time for the Armenian to go, too.
He got off to a hot start with 26 points in standard FPL and 31 in Draft Fantasy but has cooled off with the weather, returning a measly 2.5 PPG over his last four and even being dropped by Mourinho for their last game.
Mkhi still has only one goal to his name from back in GW5 and his 5 assists all came in the first three weeks, not a good trend.
With some tougher fixtures on the horizon, United’s free-flowing early season football a distant memory and his manager seemingly losing patience as well, the signs aren’t boding well for our Henrikh.
And to make it even worse, he didn’t even vote for Mourinho in the FIFA Best Coach Awards last week.
In standard FPL you can do better at his £8.3m price tag (another City rotation risk Raheem Sterling is £0.1m cheaper provided you have a decent first sub, Watford revelation Richie Richarlison would give you a very handy £2m extra in the bank and Brighton’s Pascal Groß or Richarlison’s buddy Doucouré would also give you spare cash), and in draft games he should retain enough ‘name’ value to get you someone in better form or even two players if you package him with someone else.
In some draft leagues you may have a stronger bench to ride out the rotation of some of the players above; but in bigger leagues I whole-heartedly recommend trading them for someone you at least know is a week-in, week-out starter.
Trust me, it ain’t worth the excitement and anticipation of captaining Jesus or Aguero with dreams of hat tricks, assists and bonus points galore; before being filled with a raging desire to smash your phone through the window as you do your usual 2pm Saturday team check on Twitter and see that Pep is playing silly buggers yet again.
At least he’s keeping a few screen repairers in business, I guess. One more here near the Don’s Mansion at least, if he doesn’t start Jesus this week…