- LazyFPL | The FPL Newsletter
- 🚑 GW17: how to navigate this mess 📈
🚑 GW17: how to navigate this mess 📈
Brace yourself. This one's a doozy.
🚨 The stuff you should know 🚨
⏰ Gameweek 17’s deadline is Friday 15th December, 18:30 GMT.
🤕 Haaland missed Gameweek 16. Was due to be assessed on Thursday but that might not have happened.
🤦♂️ Gordon forced off with a tight hamstring midweek.
🚑 Maguire off injured against Munich. James out for at least 3 months.
🔴 Trippier suspended and withdrawn vs Milan with “unspecified” injury.
Read on for an absolutely incredible example of how stalking can yield insight into the fitness of an FPL asset.
A long intro on a week like this feels akin to starting a COBRA meeting by talking about the parking situation outside of 10 Downing Street.
There’s serious business to get into, so please accept a rhyming haiku instead:
December is shit.
Forcing yet another hit.
Had enough of it.
Grab a scalpel. Don your scrubs. We’ve said it before and we’ve said it again: chaos brings opportunity. Let’s have a dig around to find it in Gameweek 17.
The Professor’s Journey.
The Professor has had one red arrow since Gameweek 8.
Sure, he’s still outside the top 1m at the moment, but this is a manager who has never finished outside the top 100k. In eight seasons. Would you bet against him this time around?
He lays it all out - his thoughts, his logic, his decision making - in his extra gameweekly emails. They’re excellent.
If you want to follow his attempts to claim a 9th consecutive top 100k finish, subscribe to LazyFPL Premium. You’ll also get access to our WhatsApp groups, invites to exclusive mini-leagues and ad-free LazyFPL.
Haaland injured…what we know so far.
When news of Erling Haaland’s absence broke during Gameweek 16, a mad scramble ensued.
Millions of managers - clammy of palm and dry of mouth - opened their FPL teams in unison, desperate to find an answer to a simple but crucial question: who had they flippantly vice-captained?
Those same managers now await concrete news from a man who is notoriously bad at giving it.
Will Haaland play in Gameweek 17? Pep has only said that he’ll be assessed on Thursday.
But there’s been an update. At 17:00 on Thursday evening, FPLMate posted this tweet.
It’s long, but it’s worth a screenshot.
TL;DR: It doesn’t bode well for Haaland owners.
Does it matter if Haaland is fit?
With a blank in Gameweek 18, there’s an argument that regardless of whether Haaland plays on Saturday, we should get rid of him now anyway. The mere presence of doubt is enough, particularly given how thin our benches likely are (because of all the other injuries).
All of this is further complicated by the fact that Haaland’s record against Crystal Palace is exceptional. He’s scored four goals against them (including a hat-trick at home) in his last two games against the Eagles. If he does play, he’s the bookies’ favourite to score and it ain’t even close.
But if that cocktail of fuckery wasn’t enough, why not garnish it with the fact that Haaland’s own Dad has transferred him out. No, seriously:
Shoutout to @FPLFocal for this gem.
Pending news from Pep, plenty of top managers appear to be eyeing a transfer out for the Norse God. The logic is thus:
Haaland will need to be benched in Gameweek 18 either way because Man City don’t play.
We might as well swap him for a forward who we know will play in Gameweek 17/18.
He plays Everton away in Gameweek 19 - hardly a juicy fixture these days.
Gameweek 20 is Sheffield United at home - the perfect game to bring him back.
If you like this logic, your next question will likely be “fine, but who comes in as a replacement?”.
The best Haaland replacement.
Given Haaland’s price-tag, you can have your pick of the bunch.
So it’s all the more surprising that £6.6m Dominic Solanke is the most popular replacement for Haaland (not a sentence we imagined writing back in Gameweek 1).
He has Luton (H), Nottingham Forest (A) and Fulham (H) across Gameweeks 17, 18 and 19.
Also, look at this graphic shared by u/Haythemovic on Reddit:
Honestly, it’s hard to find a reason not to back the Bournemouth man. He has the fixtures and the form. If you’re after a differential, Gabriel Jesus and Nicolas Jackson are our picks.
Decent stats in his last six games.
The finances of moving Haaland out
A quick note on FPL finances. Riveting, I know.
We’re lucky because Haaland is the same price now that he was in Gameweek 1, meaning a swap won’t lose us any money.
Still, at current prices, making the move from Haaland to Solanke frees up £7.4m. It will be tempting to allocate these funds elsewhere.
Unless you’re happy to go without Haaland or spaff your second Wildcard on getting him back in, we’d recommend you strongly resist that temptation. Keep those funds safely locked away in a high-interest ISA so that, when the time comes, you can make the swap straight back without the need for a hit.
The other flags.
There are an unprecedented number of injury and suspension flags at the moment. Your FPL team probably looks like the outside of an embassy.
For a full list of injuries and suspensions, click here. Here are a few of our selected favourites:
Howe had this to say on Thursday morning:
"He said he had an awareness of something in his hamstring. We’re not sure if it’s an injury because he could still sort of play, but he couldn’t play to the very high level that he has played for a long time."
Totally subjective take here, but with so much fixture congestion, it’s hard to trust that Howe will risk a player who isn’t 100% for a home against Fulham.
Trippier was withdrawn in Newcastle’s midweek fixture against Milan. Here’s what Howe said:
“I think he [Trippier] picked up something in the first half, I don't quite know what it is at this moment in time. He wanted to carry on at half time, but then he signalled that he couldn't.”
He’s suspended for Gameweek 17 anyway, and is one of the most-transferred out players this week as a result.
Maguire was subbed against Bayern Munich after a suspected groin injury. At the time of writing, we don’t know how serious it is.
James is out for at least three months.
He wasn’t exactly a popular FPL asset, but his absence opens the door for a few cult-favourites, including the £4.1m Malo Gusto who, as chance would have it, returned to training this week.
So…WTF do we do this week?
As we said up top, chaos brings opportunity.
Let’s break down our planning into its constituent parts. For the first time ever in this newsletter, I’ll plan my moves in real time by way of illustration.
Task number 1: see where the land lies before any transfers.
Here’s how my team looks before any transfers:
Look at the state of it.
If two of Haaland, Martinelli and Gordon are fit, I can field a starting XI. It’s not going to win team of the week, but it’s 11 men playing football.
I don’t love these odds, particularly given that Evans is one of those 11, and he’s not guaranteed a start. It’s obvious I’m not going to roll a transfer this week - and I could well end up making two.
Task number 2: find your biggest vulnerabilities.
It’s tempting to focus on Haaland, Martinelli and Gordon for my transfers, but they’re not the biggest priority at the moment. As things stand, all three of those guys could start.
I’ve got an injured Tomiyasu to deal with and Branthwaite is suspended. These guys aren’t playing regardless of what happens in Friday’s pressers.
Branthwaite has been excellent and I know he only misses a game, so he can stay. But Tomiyasu? He has to go. I can’t afford to have two ruled out players at the moment. Pedro Porro is my preferred replacement.
Task number 3: wait for more news.
We could well get clarity from Friday’s press conferences on the status of key players like Haaland and Gordon.
If, for example, Haaland is confirmed OUT, I’ll likely take a -4 to remove him. It feels worth it given his replacement will feature for at least two gameweeks that Haaland will miss.
If Gordon is ruled out but only for a short time, I’m happy for Adingra to come in as a replacement whilst he recovers. The same goes for Martinelli.
Every team is different but here are some universal truths:
taking a hit shouldn’t be the default option, even on a week like this. Consider how your bench can cover you first.
your transfers should be left until the latest possible point.
What’s the Professor doing?
And with that cautionary advice noted, let’s see what the Professor is planning this week.
Oh look, he’s taking a -4 hit. Here are his moves:
Cash -> Porro
Archer -> Solanke
He hasn’t made those moves yet, but here’s what his team will look like once he has:
Salah gets the armband.
I asked him specifically about Haaland, to which he said:
“Outside chance he plays on the weekend and I value the free transfer I would have to use to bring him back in over getting Archer off the bench this week.”
Btw, The Prof is using Fantasy Football Hub’s MyTeam. It’s a highly powerful team planner that provides a rating, suggested transfers, fixture difficulty and loads more.
Fancy trying it? They’re running a 30-day free trial over Christmas, with 30% off after that. It’s a beast. Try it here.
The Best Captain for Gameweek 17
If Erling Haaland plays, he’s the best captain for Gameweek 17.
But who wants to captain a player that might not play? Or worse, might only feature for part of the game?
Salah, meanwhile, hosts an injury-stricken Manchester United. He has 10 goals and four assists from 11 Premier League meetings with Man United, and is in the sort of form to continue that ridiculous record.
There are differential punts too (like Son away at Forest or a Saka at home to Brighton), but Salah provides the best combination of:
✅ reliability that he’ll start and play 90 mins.
Captaining Haaland means putting a lot of weight on your vice-captaincy pick. As some of us learnt the hard way in Gameweek 16, that doesn’t always work out.
Salah gets the nod for us. He’s also the last to play this weekend, which is always nice.
The key stats.
Over half a million managers have already sacked off Haaland. We’d expect that number to increase dramatically between now and the deadline, unless Pep confirms he’s alright (like that’s ever going to happen).
Other stuff we found interesting.
Dan Burn returns from injury against Milan, cameos for 28 minutes. Barnes back too.
Salah, Trent, Van dijk and Alisson all out of Thursday’s dead-rubber Europa League tie.
A reminder that Man City and Brentford will blank next gameweek.
This excellent article from our sister website about who to sell and keep this week.
We appreciate you’re lazy, so apologies for the chunkier-than-usual email this week. Hopefully it was useful.
The LazyFPL Team.
We work hard on these, and it'd be great to have your feedback.