All those gaffers who have Suarez in their team and didn’t have him as the captain in any of the last 3 gameweeks, my sympathies are with you. First thing to do before you read any further- make him captain, NOW! Cardiff visit Anfield next and the Uruguayan is in no mood to lay mercy on opposition defenses. For those of you who don’t have him in their team, BUY HIM! And if somehow God hasn’t showered his kind blessings and wisdom on you and you can’t afford his 13 price tag, only God can save your job this season, because if you can’t afford Suarez now, then you never will. Suarez’ price has skyrocketed from 10.9 to 13 in just over two months. Talk about worldwide economic resurrection and drop in inflation.
FPL conjurers keep a very fascinating event up their sleeves for the second half of the season, their very own version of the FA Cup- the Fantasy Cup! If you’re a first-time manager in FPL, the Fantasy Cup is a knockout tournament in which the top 2 million ranked teams in GW17 are randomly drawn against each other in a knockout format tournament. All you have to do to win against your opponent, and book a spot in the next round, is to score more points than him in that particular GW. After each round (GW), the draws are made to determine your next Cup opponent. Yes, it’s that simple!?
If you’re a seasoned FPL campaigner, you’ve been fascinated by the Cup in the past, but you haven’t been able to make it past January (well, most of you). It’s not your fault to be honest, in 4 gameweeks, the no. of Cup participants are reduced to a mere 125,000 from a whopping 2 million at the start. That’s the charm of knockout and elimination.
So, if you want to take the Fantasy Cup 2013/14 seriously, you have to start preparing now. The FPL techies have announced that the cut-off for this season will be set at 2,097,152 GW17 rank. So, if you’re inside this bracket after GW17 points are added and tables are updated, then you’ll qualify for the first round. Remember, your past performances don’t matter. If you are in the top 2 million or so in the GW17 ranking, you’re thru.
All those managers who’ve been doing well in the last few gameweeks (mostly courtesy Suarez) should look to save their free transfers for GW18. That’ll enable you to make 2 changes for the first round of the Cup and hopefully that should make a world of difference to your score.
For those of you who haven’t been scoring well in the last few weekends, you’re in all probability without Suarez or you’ve patiently persisted with Soldado and Benteke. Folks, it’s time to part company with the drought-inflicted strikers. Buy some players who’ll score you a chunk of points in GW17. Remember your target is to clear that cut-off and make it thru to the first round of the Cup. Here are some picks you can make to guarantee a decent score next weekend:
Luis Suarez (Liverpool) – 13
7 goals, 6 assists, 61 points in the last 3 games. A rampaging Liverpool face Cardiff at Anfield on Saturday. Do you need more reasons to buy this lad?
Alvaro Negredo (Man City) – 9.3
With Aguero out for a month, the Spaniard will shoulder the goal-scoring responsibility from the forwards’ department. Scoring goals hasn’t been a problem for City this season, travelling has been. Fulham will be resilient at home, but City’s momentum and the confidence from the Munich victory should help them score a few at Craven Cottage.
Danny Welbeck (Man United) – 7
Moyes was forced to start Welbeck in the absence of RvP, Chicharito and Kagawa but the Englishman answered his critics in style. He scored a brace against Villa but could have scored 2 more. Welbeck looked menacing in the final third, and at 7, could prove to a fantastic bargain as United take on West Ham at Old Trafford. And if Rooney fails to recover from his injury in time, Welbeck will spearhead the United attack.
Other decent picks- Edin Dzeko, Peter Crouch
David Silva (Man City) – 9.1
Silva seems to have recovered from an injury-ravaged start to the season. He has scored 2 in his last 2 games, against Bayern and Arsenal. The Spanish playmaker is always expected to chip in with a goal or an assist when his team is doing well.
Yohan Cabaye- (Newcastle)- 6.5
Cabaye missed the trip to Southampton after picking up a suspension, but he’ll be an integral member of the team which travels to London to face relegation favorites Crystal Palace. Cabaye has returned an impressive 4.5 points per game, largely owing to the advanced position he has been played in by Alan Pardew.
Raheem Sterling (Liverpool)- 4.9
The Liverpool front three of Sterling, Suarez and Coutinho were the main architects of the Tottenham massacre, with Sterling linking brilliantly with Suarez. He was mighty unlucky to end up with a solitary goal to his name.
Antonio Valencia- (Man United)- 7.1
Valencia is back to his best. His performance at Villa Park was an important aspect of United’s long-awaited victory. He set up a goal, provided a few more clear-cut scoring opportunities and could’ve got on the scoresheet himself. McCartney or Rat will find it difficult to handle Valencia at Old Trafford.
Other decent picks- Adam Lallana, Theo Walcott, Adnan Januzaj
Rafael (Man United) – 5.9
The Brazilian right-back kept a clean-sheet and more importantly proved to be a serious attacking threat. He combined with Valencia well, assisted a goal and gave a good account of himself. He is also known for his screamers from outside the box. At 5.9, he is a very good buy.
Mamadou Sakho (Liverpool) – 5.2
Sakho has finally cemented a place in the starting line-up after his World Cup qualifying exploits. Liverpool’s back-four looks solid, and Sakho has an eye for goal, especially from set-piece situations. Also, Cardiff are short on goals, so a clean-sheet shouldn’t be a tall ask.
Phil Bardsley (Sunderland) – 4.4
The Sunderland fullback overlaps and gets into goal-scoring positions quite often. With an under-performing Norwich visiting the Stadium of Light, a clean-sheet looks highly probable.
Shamus Coleman (Everton) – 6.1
There’s a reason why one million managers have him in their team. The right-back has already scored 3, assisted one and has kept 8 clean-sheets. He’s the highest scoring defender this season. Although the away trip to Swansea won’t be an easy one, you can bet on Coleman to deliver again.
Other decent picks- Luke Shaw, John Flanagan
Simon Mignolet (Liverpool)- 5.5
The Liverpool custodian has been in good form and is expected to keep a clean-sheet against Cardiff at home.
David de Gea (Man United) – 5.8
The United back-four is settling down and de Gea has been solid between the posts in the last few games.
Other decent picks- Tim Krul, Asmir Begovic
My advice to all FPL managers- Don’t make transfers until the weekend when the team news starts coming in. We’ve all seen what happened with Rooney and Zabaleta this week. Be patient and wait for the right time.
For any FPL assistance and scouting, contact me via Twitter!