We're just one gameweek until the World Cup interruption, and now is not the time to evaluate and think; we must act.
So, for the remaining fixtures, there will be no Ones to Watch… Be bold, take risks and tinker with your team, as we all have an additional Wildcard to use during the enforced break.
FPL GW16 Transfer Tips:
This is the final round of fixtures before we break for the World Cup, so why not have some fun with your transfers? Any mistakes will be short-lived, and this seems like the perfect opportunity for a Differential Dinnery switch-up where you can move away from the template guilt-free and follow some of my fantasy Premier League tips.
Go on, be brave, be different
Now is the time to go with a differential lineup. With only one game week before the World Cup, why not roll the dice and take a chance on a few under-owned options? Don't forget to use your wildcard if it's still in play; otherwise, target players using your free transfers because you will have unlimited moves during the break to help you prepare for the resumption of play on Boxing Day.
This is a time when variance will be high. In Round 15, we saw lots of goals, and I expect similar outcomes this weekend as the first half of a long and weary season draws to a close. Players are physically and psychologically drained due to the congested fixtures, and whether players are looking forward to the break or the World Cup, their minds will wander, and mistakes will be made. With so much going on, your focus should be higher up the pitch with three at the back and an all-out attack (budget permitting, of course!) Game week sixteen could bang!
The Holy Trinity
The trio of Manchester City, Newcastle and Arsenal is a must for all FPL Managers. They are undisputed essentials on current form, but make sure that you bring in assured starters. Now is not the time to be taking a chance on Phil Foden – you need a strong XI to finish on a high.
At City, look no further than Joao Cancelo, Kevin De Bruyne and Erling Haaland, who are all pretty much locked in when fully fit. Cancelo will be clear despite his dismissal against Fulham thanks to a midweek Carabao Cup tie against Chelsea. De Bruyne is likely to be rested midweek, as he often is in the Champions League, and Haaland came through his cameo on Saturday unscathed. Messrs Arteta and Howe are a lot more forgiving to fantasy managers, with Arsenal and Newcastle lineups far easier to predict.
Tottenham continue to disappoint, with Harry Kane proving to be the one shining Spurs' light.
The England skipper was once again the star man against Liverpool, and over the last five, he has managed 1.4xGI per 90, the highest average of all Premier League players.
For all their problems, Tottenham will be somewhat optimistic about getting a result on Saturday against Leeds. It could be an open attacking game, with opposition manager Jesse Marsch suggesting his side would play on the front foot and take more chances. 'We're being too passive and not aggressive enough.'
This could play into the hands of Antonio Conte, with Spurs sitting back and playing on the counter. With ten goals conceded in their last five matches, it is no surprise that Kane is ranked second overall for a potential return (74%) while he has a better than 1-in-2 chance of scoring (59%). He is one of my top FPL Captain Picks of the round.
The Reds, despite their win, were exposed at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, and looking at the data, they can consider themselves a little fortunate to leave with all three points.
Liverpool had less xG than their hosts (1.19xG versus 1.07xG), and better finishing on the day would have seen Spurs share the spoils.
Talk post-match was all about the apparent return of Mohamed Salah, and although his performance was worthy of note, you can't help thinking this is another false dawn designed to sucker-punch FPL managers into making a hasty, incorrect judgement call. For me, Darwin Nunez is the most attractive asset, having averaged 7.73 FPL points per 90 since game week nine with an impressive 1.4xGI.
The Uruguayan has come into his own, and with 8 per cent ownership, he is a differential punt. However, to reiterate, I'm not advocating any of their assets due to their indifferent form and the fact that Southampton will have a new manager at the helm.
United flatter to deceive despite points on the board. Many fantasy managers were lured into buying their assets for game weeks 15 and 16 based purely on the premise that the fixtures looked easy, but you know what they say about the best-laid plans with the Red Devils falling at the first.
Marcus Rashford, who has fewer FPL points than Granit Xhaka, is owned by almost 20 per cent of teams… go figure!? Too much focus has been on United's opponents and not the actual team, and after a humiliating defeat to Aston Villa, a team that have underperformed their paltry xG this season, you wouldn't back them to beat Fulham.
A clean sheet appears unlikely, as does significant success in front of goal, with the side sitting in the bottom half of the table for xG (9) over the last six matches while underperforming this with just seven goals.
The Seagulls are fancied in their final game before the World Cup, with their fixture against Aston Villa flagged as green on the difficult rating. But I am very wary, given the bounce under new manager Unai Emery.
Brighton have improved recently following a post-Potter drop-off, but the visitors will be buoyed by a great result on Sunday, and confidence is high.
Against Manchester United, Villa only conceded 0.44xG, which is a considerable improvement on their 1.6 season average, and with a whole week on the training pitches, Emery will look to continue his pragmatic approach as Villa look to pull away from the drop zone.
Best FPL Tips This Week:
FIRST PUBLISHED: 16th August 2021