We are now entering the home straight of the January Transfer Window for Premier League clubs, and for Fantasy Premier League managers that also means time is nearly up for playing their January Wildcard. The January Wildcard needs to be played before Gameweek 23 ends on the 7th of February at 11:30am GMT. For those managers waiting on last minute transfers, for the completion of the Asian Cup or simply or waiting for the right time, we’re put together an overview of options & considerations for when playing that wildcard.
The winter wildcard will be a time when most managers look load up on Chelsea players. In fact 6 of the top 11 points scorers this season are Chelsea players, and all 6 have more that 100 points. But the goalkeeper position is one that has not been dominated by any one player this season.
The biggest decision for Fantasy Premier League managers is to decide weather or not to pick a premium goalkeeper, rotate two cheaper keepers, or opt for a cheaper keeper and a throw away. In terms of ownership, Manchester United David de Gea leads the way with 22.6% of FPL Managers selecting him, followed by Southampton’s Fraser Forster with 14.7% at £5.5. Both of these fall into the ‘premium’ category, with at least a third of FPL managers opting for this route. Those two players also have the highest points score so far. On the cheaper front, Bradley Guzan seems to be the favoured keeper of choice, likely in partnership with a long tail of combinations including Krul, Heaton, Pantilimon and Foster.
Top 10 Goalkeepers
At the back, it’s no surprise that the top four points scorers are from Chelsea & Southampton, who have conceded the fewest goals in the Premier League this season with 19 and 16. Players from both of those defenses have benefited from less rotations, rather than the likes of Manchester City defenders who consistently sit gameweeks out. Southampton have been hit by a few injuries at the lack lately, but with Japan crashing out of the Asian Cup early thanks to the UAE, Maya Yoshida’s return should prove a boost. In terms of clean sheets, it’s West Bromwich Albion who is perhaps the surprise package here. They have the third most clean sheets in the league (equal with Swansea) with 8, more than some of their more expensive alternatives from Manchester City, Arsenal or Manchester United. Certainly the arrival of Tony Pulis, who has guided West Brom to two clean sheets in a row, will make West Bromwich Albion defenders a good cheap options for FPL Managers. On load defender Andre Wisdom (£4.5) looks the pick of the bunch, Chris Baird (£3.9m) is also back in favour and a dirt cheap option at the back. The biggest disappointment at the back this season has been the usually resilient Everton. Everton have let in 34 goal in their 22 matches this season, and managed only 4 clean sheets. Despite that, Leighton Baines (£7.1m) is still the 5th highest points scorer in defense, thanks to his 8 assists and 2 goals. Still, Everton look a risky investment at the back this season.
Top 10 Defenders
In the middle of the park, it has been a season for the new boy Sánchez and Fabregas so far. Between those two, they have amassed 14 goals and 21 assists in the league this season, and there are still another 15 rounds to play! Their consistent flow of goals and assists means they are both nailed on for the majority of FPL Teams. Gylfi Sigurdsson has been a front runner for bargain of the season so far, but after picking up a 3 match ban in the FA Cup this weekend and Swansea selling Bony, things are not looking great for his selection in any wildcards. There are plenty of mid-priced options to fill out your teams, with the likes of Downing, Chadli, Henderson, Puncheon all in good form and coming in will under £7mil. Unlike Sanchez & Fabregas, Manchester United have yet to get the most out of their marque summer signing Angel Di María. Di María along with Yaya Toure, Ozil and Ramsey – have yet to justify their price tag this season. If you’re a gambler, then these are expensive risks they may or may not come good by the end of the season.
Top 10 Midfielders
Refreshingly there is an abundance of forward options this season, covering all budget requirements. Many FPL Managers will be toying with the idea of loading up on a front 3 strike force of cheaper options like Austin, Kane, Berahino, Ings, who have all had purple patches of form this season and all come in under £6.5m. But doing so would be looking past Chelsea’s Diego Costa who has the most goals in the league so far this season with 17 – so most managers will be looking to blend a combination of premium and cheaper strikers up front. In terms of ownership, there has been a flurry of early winter wildcard activity for Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero, this is most likely to in an attempt to beat any price increase. Aguero’s scoring record speaks for itself, but he will take a few weeks build up match fitness, and another poor display by City in the FA Cup to Middlesbrough on the weekend means Aguero hasn’t scored in his last 3 matches, all of which City did not win. While most feel it’s only a matter of time till Aguero comes good, you may want hold off in this transfer until he’d back to his best. One premium striker who has been disappointing this season so far has been Wayne Rooney. At £10.7m he is premium priced striker, yet a points score of 83 is less than say Jordan Henderson of Liverpool who has 88 points at a price of just £6.1. One of the contributing factors to this is Rooney’s deployment deeper on the field in the center of midfield, as well as the arrive of Falcao & Di Maria who add extra competition for the forward positions along with Mata and RVP. Yet with 19.4% ownership, many managers are hoping gambling on Rooney to come good during the second half of the season.
Top 10 Strikers