Fantasy football round the table - Gameweek 9's burning questions

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Put your hand up if you’re selecting Romelu Lukaku in your fantasy team this week.
Put your hand up if you’re selecting Romelu Lukaku in your fantasy team this week.
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Each week we will assemble three of the best and brightest from the FPL community to answer the burning questions of the Gameweek.

Our expert panel will give quick fire answers to the burning questions all FPL managers will be pondering going into the start of Gameweek 9, to help make those agonising decisions easier.

Without any further delay, we head over to our panel and boy we have brought you some big hitters!

Yahoo Daily Fantasy UK: Yahoo offers tips and tricks for all fantasy formats and even offer the chance to win money playing football every week.

Fantasy Football Scout’s Jonty: Joe Lepper (aka Jonty) from FFScout is the community manager for the leading Fantasy Premier League presence online.

Who Got The Assist?: Nick and Tom produce a weekly pod and have a website celebrating the first question all managers ask when a goal goes in.

Chelsea have kept only three clean sheets so far and they are missing Kante for the next few weeks, is it time to ditch their premium defenders?

David Luiz and Bakayoko both picked up knocks against Roma in the Champions League and Fabregas is even worse at tracking back or doing anything remotely defensive. I certainly wouldn’t buy any Chelsea defender now but would be hesitant to sell before their good run of games in a few weeks.

With only two tough games from now until the end of the year (Manchester United at home and Liverpool away in November) clean sheets still look very much on the cards for Chelsea assets. Besides, we don’t pay for a premium defender for clean sheets alone. Remember that Cesar Azpilicueta has four assists and Marcos Alonso has two goals this season. 

They will be miss Kante but they signed Bakayoko who looks to be improving and offers defensively solidity in the midfield. With upcoming fixtures of Watford and Bournemouth I would say hold fire for now. Alonso also still remains the defender with most shots – 14 in total so a points haul can come any time.

Spurs have won just one game in their last 10 away to the top six and Harry Kane is yet to score this year at home. Is it time to ditch him ahead of Liverpool (H), Manchester United (A) and Arsenal (A) in the next four?

Spurs may not win games against the ‘top 6′ often but Kane still gets goals. In the 15/16 season, he scored two in five home games and four in five away games. Last year, he got one goal away from home and two goals in four at White Hart Lane. Wembley is a different beast but Spurs’ record following these tricky fixtures makes it worth sticking with Kane.

On present form arguably his toughest match in the next four is the one not mentioned – home to Crystal Palace just before their Emirates visit. After failing to find the net against the likes of Swansea, Bournemouth and Burnley in the league at Wembley this clash with the Eagles could be the trickiest of the next four. No player is essential and arguably there are better options available up front over the next four, in particular City pair Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus and Chelsea talisman Alvaro Morata.

Kane is liable to explode anytime And Palace is a plum home game sandwiched in those fixtures. The guy scored 13 goals in September and a hatrick can come any time. Liverpool don’t have the most reliable defence they conceded the same amount of goals as Bournemouth and more than Brighton so far!

Manchester United have been a fortress at the back with seven clean sheets in eight games. Is it time to double up on United defensive assets?

Phil Jones continues to provide so much value in the United defence. United’s left-back spot is where people should be looking to double-up. Marcos Rojo and Luke Shaw have returned to training and will challenge Ashley Young (sadly classed as a mid), Matteo Darmian and Daley Blind for the LB spot. Mourinho has a history of not rotating his defenders and is just trying to find the final piece for his impenetrable defence.

With a visit from Spurs and a trip to Chelsea in their next three now is the ideal time to double up. When bad fixtures come Jose Mourinho dusts off the biggest bus he can find, as Liverpool found out in last weekend’s Anfield 0-0 snorefest. Phil Jones and Antonio Valencia should be key targets.

United’s defence has been extremely impressive but their upcoming fixtures after Huddersfield are tricky as they play Spurs and Chelsea. Phil Jones is the cheapest way into the defence but aside from him there is only really Valencia and De Gea as options and they come at a premium. One United defender is enough for now.

David de Gea’s save after a shot from Joel Matip was among few highlights in the 0-0 Anfield draw.
David de Gea’s save after a shot from Joel Matip was among few highlights in the 0-0 Anfield draw.
Given the fixtures what do you see as the best formation to play this game week?

4-3-3, The premium defenders will have a comeback week in GW9 and score some attacking returns.

 

This week could be ideal for 4-3-3, with the value offered by defenders allowing for plenty to spend up top.

Chelsea’s Alvaro Morata, Manchester United’s Romelu Lukaku and one of Manchester City’s strikers Gabriel Jesus or Sergio Aguero look good bets for goals against Watford, Huddersfield and Burnley respectively.

A Manchester City attacking triple up also looks profitable, given they have scored an average of 3.5 goals a game. This means the two of the three midfield slots should go to the likes of Raheem Sterling, David Silva, Leroy Sane or Kevin de Bruyne.   

I have been playing a 4-3-3 most the season and it has worked effectively for me. I will continue to play this way and hope attacking wing backs like Alonso finally deliver.

Which big players are at risk of rotation?

Aguero has been on the bench the last two games and you would expect him to get a run out this week. David Silva, Gabriel Jesus and Raheem Sterling were all withdrawn early in midweek so Leroy Sane looks like he could make way for the the Argentine, should he start.

Manchester City are awash with talent so Pep Guardiola can afford to bench any of his stars and still emerge with a handsome victory. Their title challengers – Chelsea, Spurs, Manchester United and Liverpool – appear to have far thinner squads in terms of quality and can ill afford to rest their big names for fear of losing further ground.

There is a clamour to bring in City players right now with six of the top eight transfers in being City players, however they can’t all start so rotation could be prevalent and is to be expected.

READ MORE: Will Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s return hurt Lukaku’s fantasy prospects?

Who is the must have player this week?

Raheem Sterling was withdrawn early in midweek and has developed into an elite poacher.

 

Romelu Lukaku is a nailed on starter for Manchester United, travels to a Huddersfield side that shipped four goals to Spurs in their last home game, and has seven goals to his name in the league. Jose Mourinho’s bus will be parked back at Old Trafford, allowing the Belgian to run riot against the Terriers’ backline.

Raheem Sterling, despite being mentioned above as a rotation risk is on fire right now. The substitution early in the Champions League tie is a good sign he will start at the weekend. He has six goals and two assists from only 477 minutes of football whilst priced modestly on all fantasy formats.

READ MORE: Is Lukaku just a flat-track bully?

Lukaku’s record vs the top six and vs the rest of the league
Lukaku’s record vs the top six and vs the rest of the league
Which player should everyone be keeping an eye on over the next few games?

Anthony Martial will now start every game on the left wing if Marcus Rashford’s knee injury keeps him out for the next few weeks. Rashford previously took up a forward slot but Martial is categorised as a midfielder and has been directly involved in five goals in just 202 minutes.

Wilfried Zaha impressed on his return from injury in Crystal Palace’s surprise victory against Chelsea and is one to keep an eye on as the Eagles prepare for fine fixture run – with just one tough clash, away to Spurs on November 5, from now until Christmas. His seven goals and 11 assists last year prove he has the pedigree to impress.

Tammy Abraham is emerging as a very decent option as a cheap third striker. Swansea’s fixtures remain decent and the man who scored 23 goals in the Championship last season has made a roaring start to his premier league career.

Which player will eat the poisoned pre match lasagne this week (deliver a flop performance)?

Watford have scored two or more goals in every game but one this year and Chelsea are struggling to contain opponents. I can see Chelsea defender’s losing their clean sheet by one o’ clock in the early kickoff.

I fear for Harry Kane again at Wembley. Whether caused by a dodgy Italian meal, pitch size or a lack of Ben Davies, the fact remains – he just can’t shake the hoodoo at Spurs’ temporary “home”.

Eden Hazard has had a poor start to the season and has looked very off the pace considering the standards we expect from him. Marco Silva has improved Watford dramatically and they could prove a tough test.


Who is the best Gameweek captain choice?

From a captain you want assured minutes and explosivity. Raheem Sterling ticks all the boxes this week in a Manchester City side that have scored five or more at home in their last three.

With seven goals, Lukaku is the safe bet against Huddersfield but I think Chelsea’s Alvaro Morata could outgun the Belgian. The Spaniard has already scored six this season and his side will be desperate for a win following their humbling by Palace last time out.

I am opting for Lukaku, can see goals in that Huddersfield game. Many will prefer and opt for a City player but Lukaku is more likely to be the stand out player for United whereas City’s star performances will be shared around.

Looking at the fixtures which teams are nailed on for a clean sheet?

Manchester United, Manchester City and Newcastle look the three most likely clean sheets in Gameweek 9.

 

Huddersfield have scored just one goal in their last four, which should hand Manchester United their eighth shut out of the season. This looks a tough week for clean sheets and the Red Devils defence is the only one I’d bet on.

Has to be United, seven clean sheets in eight and Huddersfield up next. Elsewhere I can see Newcastle keeping a clean sheet at home to Palace with their backline looking fairly solid .

Which alcoholic beverage would you recommend to see you through Gameweek 9?

Any drink that helps you forget that you have Joselu in your starting XI. I’m definitely not speaking from experience though.

 

A Belgian beer to drink as Romelu Lukaku torments the Huddersfield defence. Those backing his countryman Eden Hazard may also require a glass or two to drown their sorrows should he fail to find the net for the sixth time this season.

Halloween is coming up so how about a pumpkin ale.

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