The Defensive Watchlist – Gameweek 2

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the watchlist

With a renewed vigor in his approach to team value @liambednarski reviews those who returned points in GW2 in the hope of uncovering an early bandwagon.

The Watchlist – Goalkeepers

Tom Heaton’s (4.5) was on hand to save a large amount of long shots. As mentioned last week they concede shots from distance which are easy to save. This saw Heaton collect the 3 bonus points this week. Buy.

Many will look at the shot count and possession count and conclude that Liverpool deserved the win. Heaton was very rarely tested on the day regardless of the amount of shots that Coutinho (and co.) had from long range.

Ben Foster (4.5) put in another strong performance with some outstanding saves. His side has a number of favorable fixtures to come I encourage investment. Buy.

Jakupovic (4.0) was rock solid in goal for Hull City as he continues to offer an outstanding budget option. Buy.

Other performances – Goalkeepers

Adrian (5.0) was on fire, Vorm (5.0) had little to do, Petr Cech (5.5) snagged a clean sheet whilst De Gea (5.5) was perhaps fortunate to obtain one too.

Courtois (5.5) again had to pick a rasping volley out of the net of the left foot variety…

Victor Valdes (4.5) was injured which saw Brad Guzan (4.5) put in an extremely shaky performance. Hold.

Simon Mignolet (5.0) has gone down in stock yet again. His starting position is woeful which often gives him little chances to make saves. The goals were classy this week but his not going to make De Gea like saves all that often. Avoid Liverpool defense entirely.

Steklenburg made some impressive saves but at (5.0) investment in an Everton defender would be better value as the season progresses. Monitor.

Willy Caballero (5.0) should step aside for the incoming goalkeeper from Barcelona. His neither been poor or impressive as the Joe Hart situation has imploded. Avoid.

The Watchlist – Defenders

Gareth McAuley (4.6) is leading the charge for West Brom after collecting a goal in GW2. His security of starts is high and as such he is the preferred option within this defense. With his increase in price both Evans & Ollson are wise investments for those looking to save pennies. Buy.

Manchester United (5.5) are looking formidable at the back with Valenica, Bailly & Shaw all having their merits for selection. It was Luke Shaw’s turn to attack in GW2 with the addition of Paul Pogba to the left hand side of midfield giving Shaw a license to get forward. He remains my optional choice although Valenica is play well too. Buy.

Tottenham Hotspur are just getting out of second gear at 5.6 Kyle Walker is again the man of the moment collecting a bonus point alongside a clean sheet this week. Strong Monitor.

Other performances – Defenders

Kingsley (4.1) and Jordi Amat (4.0) were rather fragile as Swansea conceded some strong chances to Hull City. Both of their cards will be marked after this display. The lack of options within the defense make both of these players a hold this week. That is the risk we take with 5th defenders. Hold.

Matthew Lowton (4.5) & Andrew Robertson (4.5) collected a clean sheet and bonus point each although I recommend investment in both these teams goalkeepers instead. Avoid.

Wes Morgan (5.0) & Robert Huth (5.0) collected their first clean sheet of the season in their first game as a pair. They offer some value at this price, I recommend Huth as a differential with only 2% ownership and a greater goal threat then Morgan. Strong Monitor.

James Collins (4.6) is once again being cheeky in starting the season strongly. His ridiculous goal against Chelsea was followed up with a clean sheet in a meek performance against Bournemouth. With hamstrings made of yarn it is best to avoid the giant ginger. Avoid.

The Watchlist – Eagle Eye

Watford vs Chelsea was an interesting match up with Chelsea conceding to another high class chance. Strongly monitor their defenders for investment.

Watford are playing a 3-5-2 and have an extremely difficult set of fixtures. Some value will appear amongst their defenders so keep an eye on them over the coming weeks as the team settles.

Arsenal will need to conduct business before their defense can be seriously considered whilst Liverpool will need Karius (GK) and Matip (CB) fit before they get a look into an FPL side.

Note Price Changes:

Price changes are starting to pick up speed with Jakupovic (4.0), Snodgrass (5.5), Shaw (5.5), Barkley (7.6), Costa (9.5), Ibrahimovic (11.6) & Sterling (8.0) the most likely to increase within the next 24 hours.

Ross Barkley (7.6) is perhaps the most interesting one with favorable fixtures to come. A fair share of set pieces and nailed on status he appears shaped for considerable investment. At a discount price.

Remembering the market tends to favour English players there is a fair likelihood he will be the first significant bandwagon. For those focusing on team value he is a must have otherwise a Strong Monitor.

With Joe Hart being one of those English products one can only hope that his price continues to drop. Approaching the 5.0 mark would be fantastic if a major club within the FPL is able to secure his contract.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan (9.3) was an absolute monster last season his slow start has seen successive price drops. He is a similar creative presence to Ozil yet a much better shot at goal. One hopes his price continues to crash leaving us with a nicely undervalued 9.0 player. Strong Long Term Monitor.

Watchlist Article on Midfielders will be up tomorrow morning a reminder that price changes kick in between 10am-12pm Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST)

28 comments on “The Defensive Watchlist – Gameweek 2

  1. The Swan and Paedo

    Hey Liam,

    At this stage of the year, with so many falling in price and so few rising, how important is it to preserve team value?

    For example, I have Firmino who is likely to fall this week and could easily trade to a Sterling or Barkley who will rise. I’ll be WCing before GW6 anyway so should I consider trading even though I still think Firmino will be just as good as those two?

    • Liam Post Author

      My internet cut out when I hit send so here is my answer a second time 🙁

      Team value is extremely important because the market is highly active, the majority of players are fit, breakout contenders have not become obvious yet.

      Essentially you have little cash flexibility in your team with every price drop lowering the flexibility even further.

      The fact you make 50% on price increase whilst you lose 100% on price decreases is essentially everything you need to know.

      For example my decision not to start with Ibra has not only cost me 20+ points but it made me miss out on the chance to sign Barkley at 7.5.

      I have Tadic who is now 7.4 which would take me two trades to get Barkley when before it was only one. With other issues to attend to I had a tough decision to make and decided to hold Tadic.

      This leads me to have more faith in Tadic’s potential performance because it is extremely difficult to get him out of my team. This lack of flexibility can be poisonous at times putting too much faith in flailing selections.

      Tadic is a fine player and I would say has played better then Barkley over the opening two weeks, he doesn’t have the fantasy points to show for this of course. His also not English or directly in the spotlight so he has been sold by a lot of players. (on Penalties though :P)

      I traded Firmino but his a dangerous player and will score well this season, could do so against Tottenham. He looked a little lost against Burnley but that may have been the way Burnley defended.

      I would choose Barkley over Sterling because of the set piece threat, the price difference and the fixture list.

      If your planning on WC soon I would chase value as best you can. It does depend on what you have missed out on already.

      I must add that you don’t have to game the market early in the season it isn’t essential. I haven’t done it the last few years and finished in the top 1% but to push into the very top places value is helpful because it gives you increased flexibility in your decision making.

      • The Swan and Paedo

        Cheers Liam. Yeah it’s such a dilemma. I play AFL Fantasy games and patience is a huge virtue in these formats and jumping on bandwagons is generally a bad idea that sucks in the weaker players.

        But in FPL it’s kind of like you get rewarded for being a sheep as your TV improves when you chase last week’s points. I’m pretty confident that Firmino will outscore Barkley comfortably this year but at the same time, if he does drop to 8.4 and below I am kind of stuck with him like you described with Tadic.

        My other options are Souare to Valencia who looks great so far or Oscar to Sterling/Pogba/Barkley. Very disappointed in Oscar, only got him because of penalty duties!

        How did you go in GW2 overall?

        • Liam Post Author

          I too play the AFL games and have to agree patience is a very powerful tool.

          The AFL has a smaller sample size with only 23 matches a season, every team doesn’t play every team twice and of course the price change in players is a totally different methodology.

          So in essence its a very different game but the eye for a player remains important, particularly for breakout players or rookies.

          You get rewarded for being a sheep early in the season in FPL as the pool of active players starts to dry up the situation shifts.

          One of the keys of the game is to transfer in a player at the right time. Too early and you eat low point scores on your bench too late and you are paying over the odds relative to everyone else.

          Ozil started at 9.0 last season and maxed out at about 10.2 I think, similar situations with Alli, Mahrez, Vardy etc. they had even more differences in price.

          You can’t always jump on the players you want when you want because of either budget, not wanting to take minus points for extra trades or the fact it might have to change your teams whole structure.

          I too am confident but I must disclose I am not the biggest fan of Barkley which makes me view him in a lesser light without properly evaluating him as a player. On that note I shall have a look at him more deeply this week to see if I am about to get stung for not bringing him in.

          I recommend getting off Souare his nailed on for starts but Crystal Palace are really struggling at the moment. They really lack a cutting edge with the signing of Benteke you would think that would solve a lot of those issues.

          Interestingly Delaney the CB came out and said Benteke won’t solve all the issues, of course reading through the lens of the press he sounded a little annoyed. They have been woeful since last November.

          Valenica is a good move.

          Oscar I wish you had of said you were on him I got stung by him in draft last year. Not one I would recommend starting with. Hmm Pogba is a very good player is he an 8.5 fantasy player I am not sure.

          Barkley is good value for what he can produce I would lean towards him due to the price difference and the likelihood of his price going up. Pogba is the better player though and Mourinho said penalties is a decision on the day between Rooney, Ibra & Pogba…

          I got 67 points which I was rather happy with considering I didn’t have Ibra on board. With 26 points on the bench it was a week to use the bench boost.

          • The Swan and Paedo

            Yeah Oscar is one of those guys who just appeared in my team in the last 24 hours before lockout almost as if I had been taken over by evil spirits who edited my team without my consent. I don’t really know how it happened but i’m pretty pissed off! He’s such a non-event of a player. And I’ve now missed the Hazard price rise and he looks the only appealing Chelsea option so that sucks.

            I really like Bojan this year, their fixtures don’t clear up for another few weeks yet but would consider going early as he’s OOP and dirt cheap. I’m a bit annoyed he got that penalty, I was hoping to get him for 5.9 or lower in a few weeks.

            I’ve narrowed my trade options down to:

            Souare – Valencia/Shaw

            Firmino – Ozil/Mahrez

            Oscar – Sterling/Bojan

          • MCWizards

            A lot of Palace’s problem in attack is coming from the isolation Wickham is in, we have some quality players but they arent working as a unit and there seems to be no real plan in attack other than send it long to Wickham who is always in a 1v2, or run it down the wings and cross to Wickham who is again, in a 1v2.

            Im hoping we can complete the signing of Remy (who has said he wants to stay in London) and play a two striker formation, it removes the isolation completely in a formation that hasnt been working for us since last November. It also adds another dynamic to our attack which I have to say is boasting some decent talent atm but we are lacking a good central attacking midfielder which I think is another reason why we would suit a 2 striker formation.

            In defence, it isnt the worst but its shocking at set pieces, the two goals we have conceded have come from set pieces that Hennessey couldnt reach. With our kind run ahead I would be inclined to keep Souare if I was you, but Shaw/Valencia look like a must.

          • boges11

            Top stuff Liam
            Pogba is being reported as playing deeper in midfield so may not get the points.
            Shaw has better job security and is solid but Valencia offers better attacking returns. Risk vs reward.

            I am desperately trying to work out how to afford Aguero. It’s really doing my head.

          • Liam Post Author


            Why does Valencia offer better attacking returns?

            Its a genuine discussion question, it is something I have pondered myself without a definitive answer.

            Valencia appears a better option to me because he is less injury prone yet when Europa comes around I expect Darmian to challenge for his position. Yet Mourinho doesn’t tend to rotate…

            He is 31 though which is generally the wrong side of the mark for cross production and goals for a winger. His playing right back though and could be an outlier.

            A couple of goals with up to say five assists could be expected in my eyes.

            I think Shaw can match that on the opposite side, well for assists at least. Valencia is a better shot at goal.

          • boges11

            Watching a video the other day they showed where Valencia’s and Shaw’s touches were. Shaw only had a couple over halfway. This was due to Martial playing very wide and taking the space on the left. Valencia however had even touches both sides of the half and quite a few near the opposition box. This was due to Mata coming infield more, so Valencia could overlap.

          • Liam Post Author

            I just had a look at the positional maps for GW2 and Shaw got forward a lot more.

            Those maps are from GW1 and they are correct. Valencia was the main threat on the day.

            I can’t include a picture (something we will work on the site in the future) but imagine those images flipped for the match against Southampton.

            It will be something to keep an eye on.

          • boges11

            Yeah I tried to just put the images on, but couldn’t. I don’t like to link other sites on here, even if it is the actual FPL site.

          • Liam Post Author

            It’s fine if you do other sources are great as well I’m opened minded. We have a great Australian site here but there are many other sites around the world. Links tend to be moderated out automatically it’s something we will work on in a site upgrade.

          • Liam Post Author

            As for Aguero good luck. I would advise activating your wildcard after this week if you want to bring him in. Just so tough to do otherwise, generally have to restructure your side.

          • Liam Post Author

            Hennessey for me is a mistake waiting to happen. I don’t like him as a goalkeeper at all, he spills the ball in poor locations. Made good saves last season but he is always going to cost you points (not save them like a good GK).

            Thanks for the information on Crystal Palace. They are a hard team to get a read on at times so this type of input is excellent. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts.

            I would like to see Cabaye play as more of a CAM his range of passing is superb. His lack of pace in a team that translations quickly is a negative though. Probably why he doesn’t play that role.

            It will be interesting to see what happens before the transfer deadline. Palace have been on a rather bad run this calendar year to my knowledge (FA Cup aside) they need to find some answers to the questions you presented us with here.

          • MCWizards

            I have to agree with you re Hennessey, his form went with the teams form, was pretty good up until last season, November, after that he just made too many mistakes, just like the eest of the team. Manadanda I think is a good signing, as a keeper at 31, he still has a few years left in him, it should help the problem in defence a bit once he is ‘match fit’.

            Cabaye is similar to Fabregas, good holding mid, great passer of the ball and with a good box to box midfielder who is more defensive minded (like Ledley/Macarthur) he will do really well. I think he suits the centre mid/defensive mid role that he has been playing, pace is also an issue.

            I think we’ve won just the two games this season in the PL this calendar year, really bad to watch.

          • Liam Post Author

            I think he will prove an essential signing once match fit.

            Thanks for the thoughts on Cabaye. I read some detailed analysis on his time at Newcastle where he contributed a lot of goals. It was his best attacking season by some margin with the amount of long shots going in being extremely high.

            Over the course of his career he has tended to be more of a central midfielder. It never really worked at PSG (I never thought it would) and the move to Palace was convenient for all parties.

            Palace got a player Pardew was familiar with, he had a big profile which could attracted other decent players (would Benteke got to Palace with Cabaye having made the move earlier?).

            In statistical talk we talk about ‘regression to the mean’ what is meant by that in football is that a team can overperform significantly and then have a period where they underperform significantly.

            Palace over performed at the beginning of last season and then returned to an expected level with a really bad run of form (so they ended up positioned in the ladder where expected at the start of the season, just a rough journey for a fan to get there).

            Pardew is a complex character, his teams seem to be able to go on good winning streaks and bad losing ones. Noticeable at Newcastle and Crystal Palace anyway.

            He has a real understanding of the region and can obtain certain players at good prices but with the extra windfall of money into the Premier League times are changing. There is a shift of power towards London clubs (ever so slowly) within some reading I undertake. This increases clubs like Palaces buying power significantly so they can purchase higher quality players.

            Is Pardew the right manager to lead Crystal Palace into a new age?

            I think Palace will undergo a good run of form at some point with Souare being a great consideration at that time. When that will be I am not sure with the good fixtures coming up perhaps now?

            I really like your opinions on Palace.

            I would love to have you as a contact on Twitter @liambednarski or even better Facebook – Liam Bednarski (I am the only one) to bounce opinions of you from time to time if you are interested.

          • MCWizards

            Im hoping Mandanda can come in and help defensively, especially at set pieces!

            I didnt catch the game on Saturday night but it seems Cabaye was more attacking when he came on, not sure if it was situational or not brcause of the game but he had a clear cut chance that he missed which is a decent sign, but with Benteke & Townsend, plus possibly more attacking signings to come, it looks like he may be released of any dead ball duties. If a couple more signings do come in, Id expect Cabaye to play more defensive but with an offensive out look to release other players, these things might dry up the goal tally. As you said though, Pardew probably does know how to use him either way.

            I expected a similar finish to the two seasons before where we finished 10th & 11th in all honesty, the reression to the mean does make sense however.

            I think youre right as well, Loic Remy (a Palace target) stated he wants to stay in London, aside from the Manchester clubs, all the other power in English football comes from London, hopefully that translates to some decent signings. A billionaire take over from some American investors dis go ahead last season some time for Palace, I think theyre still being a bit cautious, given the state of he club recently.

            We’ve shown sigs of the form in the two games this season, but our poor is very poor which worrying going forward, letting Mile go was a poor bit of business I think.

            Thanks man, youre replies are so in depth, I love it! Just sent you a friend request on facebook, Jerome Ghattas (everyone can see it on the FPL sight anyway!) You can bounce opinions TO me any time, the ones of me… ;o. Haha 😉

          • Liam Post Author

            Those evil spirits were responsible for Ibra parting ways with my squad. I can relate.

            Just finishing up my midfielders article and I did not mention Bojan. His reclassification as a midfielder is interesting, he is rather injury prone and they tend to rotate penalty takers.

            I think he is slightly overpriced. He is a Monitor for me.

            I would consider Ross Barkley amongst those selections as well don’t overlook him. He had 8 goals and 8 assists in the first half of last season before Martinez died a slow death as manager.

            Good options otherwise. Ozil yet to get started yet I expect him to take a little while to get going again.

  2. Cityzens_Blue

    I just used a wildcard!!cant afford not to own ibra and in form negredo
    foster jakupovic
    shaw walker soure collins amat
    hazard sterling barkley redmond hojgerg
    ibra kun negredo
    do u wanna suggest anything??

    • Liam Post Author

      I would go Maloney over ‘Hojgerg’ if wildcarding or even Capoue.

      When wildcarding you want to get the maximum amount of price rises in your team.

      I would get someone other then ‘Soure’ if you are using your wildcard there are much better 4.5 options. Crystal Palace are going to have a limited amount of clean sheets for now.

      Otherwise looks good.

  3. ed24f1

    I’ve had a disappointing start. Whereas in the last couple of years starting with a half-fit player (e.g. Aguero) worked out, this year a couple of gambles for me have really backfired such as with Payet and Lukaku. And yet with their fixtures I don’t want to get rid of them as they could end up being great differentials and I have a feeling they will score as soon as I get rid of them. But of course do need to monitor team value.

    • Liam Post Author

      My gambles backfired on me this season too. That is how it goes sometimes.

      You are in a bit of a pickle there with both of those players situations relatively unknown.

      Lukaku should have scored on the weekend coming off the bench for a moment. I am not sure if he is going to be sold. They can’t sell him unless they get a replacement. It seems unlikely but with that hanging over his and the clubs head I can’t see him hitting the ground running.

      Payet is essentially ‘West Ham’ the fact they have lost so many strikers to injury / couldn’t buy the striker they actually wanted puts a lot of questions on this team.

      They were horrid against Chelsea and fortunate to play against 10 men vs Bournemouth.

      Payet is a very good player and FPL player but off the back of a long summer with France I can’t see him hitting the ground fast.

      You have tough decisions to make. As always I advise to go with your gut and consider the strengths in the reminder of your team.

      Also go with your gut in regards to who you think the bandwagon is going to be. I present a multitude of options yet I can not be certain myself. Judgment required.

      • ed24f1

        Thanks, yes I think in the end I will remove Payet due to those doubts but hold Lukaku. He is confirmed to be staying now and Everton has an unbelievable run of fixtures.

    • Liam Post Author

      Evans & Ollson are top of the list with Friend third. I would be looking at 5.0 options for the best defenders for fixtures (Everton, Leicester).

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