The international break is over and nothing but a distant memory, it saw England move forward heading their groups, a buoyant Scotland getting a cracking result in Austria, and Wales somehow failing to beat lowly Estonia in Cardiff. We did have some since Euro nostalgia on Fanteam with some favourites from the summer helping a number of players pick up UCL entries.
In the Premier League, chaos! Ronaldo signing for Utd has really put the cats amongst the pigeons, Argentinian players getting deported, and the Brazilian football powers asking FIFA to ban Brazilian players from participating in this round of league fixtures. Alongside a number of injury doubts to key players (DCL), left a lot of fantasy managers wondering if they would have any players come deadline.
I’ve been calmer, I pressed the Wildcard button on the First XI team early doors. I did so on FPL last year after the first international window to great effect (GW5 from memory), it really kick started my season. I’m hoping for a similar result this time around. Enough spoilers, lets check in on how GW3 went down first.
An average week in GW3, which was expected. When I put the three teams through points prediction models for GW1-5 at the beginning of the season, GW3 was highlighted as a week I would struggle for points, and we did. The First XI and Differential teams managed to keep the ship steady, but the Algo team really struggled.
Not much to report on, no clean sheets and little returns. Salah and Ings chipping in with some points. It was a week where the right captaincy decision papered over the cracks. Antonio again bossing it. With the introduction of Ronaldo and Lukaku to the game, and some key fixtures swings we’ll be Wildcarding this team in GW4.
I’m super happy still with the Differential team, I would never run with this group of players as a main team and it’s performing well. Another + 60-point score, DCL & Bamford also look like nice long-term picks away from the premium striking assets with the Midfield more than coping without Salah or Fernandes currently. I’ll need to keep an eye on the rotation risks of Mahrez and Greenwood, but plenty of options to switch around. I’ll be addressing the Werner issue for GW4.
I’ve seen a few models struggling at the beginning of the season and our Algo team seems to be following suit. A captaincy return could have helped, but it wasn’t to be. Fernandes has been struggling since the opening day hattrick and now with the return of Ronaldo he’ll find himself off Pens and Freekicks. The GK issue remains so I’ll address this in GW4 as we’ll have a transfer to burn. I still plan on running this core team into GW5-6 and jump on board with the GW7 Wildcard. Hopefully the larger data sample will help from this point onwards.
GAMEWEEK 4 – PREVIEW
With our First XI leading the way, I really wanted to attack the fixtures post Transfer Window closing and post International Break. Throw in the fact that GW7 has been widely discussed as the wildcard window, I wanted to get ahead of the crowd. The addition of Ronaldo also changes the dynamics in the Man Utd attacking assets. It’s true we don’t have a lot of data to go off yet, but I don’t feel like waiting and sitting back for the crowd. We also have a 57-point gap to claw back on that £200k!
The wildcard has also allowed me to re-structure the team, with a premium in mid and up front rather than two premiums in midfield. Logically I’ll be switching between Salah & KDB based on fixture swings in the midfield spot and Ronaldo/Lukaku/Kane up front.
I’ve upgraded in defence with Shaw, for the short-term gains against Newcastle and the easy switch to a Chelsea defender, all while keeping TAA. I’ve taken the favourable fixtures of Wolves, Chelsea, Arsenal and Leeds into account. DCL is a short-term introduction, I’ll be looking to jump on Bamford in GW6 or GW7, alongside a Ronaldo to Lukaku move. I’m hesitant on the Leeds midfield at the moment until I know more on the role Dan James brings to the team.
The team feels nicely balanced to deliver in GW4-6 and still being set up for the medium to long term post GW7. We’ll see if I’m as confident in a couple of weeks!
The Differential team keeps ticking over, couple of free transfers actioned. I’ve solved the Werner problem by bringing in Kane, off the back of a strong international break, no Premier League goals yet, up against Palace who he has a great record against. This means I had to take money out from somewhere, and with Son’s injury doubt this was an easy decision. Not a lot of options at the lower price point, Raphinha is the hype template man at the moment, so Harrison seems to tick the box for this team.
Solly March is flagged and may or may not return, one of the Leicester lads should be in we’ll take it on the chin and revisit this defence spot next week. Then there is DCL, I don’t really feel he’s differential enough, so will be looking at moving him on once we know what is going on in our defence.
The Algorithm remains unchanged and will wildcard in GW7, in order to not burn a transfer, I’ve switched out one of the GKs and running double Arsenal. I don’t know which Arsenal keeper will start and with the fixture swing we could start seeing the returns from the original Leno pick. I’ll double check with the captain decision ahead of deadline.
Looking across the teams we seem to have all bases covered, Ronaldo, Kane, Bruno, Salah, Shaw, TAA etc. etc. all feature across the board. I’m looking for a 70+ points score from the First XI and for the Diff and Algo to plug on in the 50-60 points area and tick along. Hopefully we start to finally see some upwards momentum in the rankings!
Let me know if your on Wildcard, rolling, or doing something a little different to the template I’d love to see some options out there.
Feel free to reach out to me on anything Fanteam, FPL or Football related on Twitter @FPL_Harriers I’m always up for a chat!
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