- LazyFPL | The FPL Newsletter
- 🎄 GW19: The Christmas Special 🎁
🎄 GW19: The Christmas Special 🎁
Yup, we're emailing you on Christmas Day. This is happening.
🚨 The stuff you should know 🚨
⏰ Gameweek 19’s deadline is Tuesday 26th December, 11:00 GMT.
🤕 Tsimikas has broken his collarbone and will be out “for a long time”.
🚑 Haaland still a doubt. Lascelles injured too.
🔴 Palmer, Sterling, Cash and Havertz suspended for Gameweek 19.
🔄 City and Brentford return to the roster.
Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, keep reading for a slightly-more-festive-than-usual breakdown of Gameweek 19’s biggest talking points.
It’s Christmas Day, so if you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you’re seeking refuge. Probably in a toilet.
Our advice? Take your time. Make yourself comfortable. You deserve this.
As far as everyone else is concerned, you’re taking a moment to pour through the proper rules of monopoly (it turns out you don’t get cash for landing on free parking, who knew?).
Or maybe you’re sampling the Lynx Africa duo gift set that Santa has inexplicably decided you need for the eighth consecutive year, even though you smell perfectly passable.
But nobody has to know the truth: that you’re doing what you need to do to survive Gameweek 19.
FPL didn’t exist in 1984, so don’t believe Geldof and his assorted mix of disingenuous cronies: there’s definitely a need to be afraid.
Let’s step into Gameweek 19; the admission’s free.
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This Gameweek’s fixtures.
We figured that we probably ought to start including the Gameweek’s fixtures in each newsletter. All fixture times in GMT.
What are the top managers doing?
Last Christmas I punted on March.
But the very next day, he didn’t even play.
This year, to save me from tears, I’m trying to roll a transfer (transfer).
The Boxing Day gameweek is notoriously difficult. As with any December gameweek, rotation is rife, injuries are likely and FPL woe feels as inevitable as Grandad nodding off during Strictly Come Dancing.
Most top managers are sticking to the festive memo: you don’t sprint to the finish line in December, you tourniquet your bloody stumps and hobble your way through.
Roll a transfer if you can. Otherwise, use your transfers on the players that have to go.
Don’t get rid of suspended players like Cole Palmer; you’re better than that. Focus on the long-term absentees. For managers like The Professor, that means the likes of Tsimikas are under serious scrutiny. We’ll get to his team shortly.
Is Haaland out?
At the time of writing, we still haven’t had an update on Erling Haaland’s status.
For reasons unknown to us, Pep Guardiola has selfishly decided not to spend his Christmas morning providing an update that would almost certainly handicap his side tactically.
The thing is, I’m not sure it matters too much. Most top managers aren’t bringing Haaland in this week: in fact, he’s one of the most transferred out players ahead of the deadline.
Vanquishing the Norse God from your team now if you’ve kept him this far is inadvisable. You might as well play him if you own him because if he’s fit, he’ll probably start.
But the sentiment speaks volumes: Haaland might not play, and even if he does play, he’s away to Everton. Everton, folks.
Only five teams have a better statistical defensive record at home this season, and the Toffees have kept a clean sheet in their last two home games too.
We’ve always held the controversial view that the most prolific goalscorer the Premier League has ever seen is probably worth having in your fantasy team, so this isn’t a case against owning Haaland.
But given his ambiguous fitness and his challenging fixture, it is a tentative suggestion that owning Haaland ahead of Gameweek 19 might not be essential.
Defenders that aren’t Tsimikas, Cash or Lascelles.
Kostas Tsimikas has broken his collarbone after colliding with Jurgen Klopp who is, apparently, that bloke from Fantastic Four.
Jamaal Lascelles was also subbed off in his Gameweek 18 fixture. Thankfully, Eddie Howe was on hand to provide some much needed clarity: “I’m not sure. I haven’t spoken to him.” Right. Cheers m8.
Matty Cash is suspended for Gameweek 19, but has also only played 90 minutes in three of his last nine games.
Tsimikas and Cash are the two most-transferred out players this week. But who are their best replacements?
The three most transferred in defenders this week are Trent Alexander-Arnold, Pedro Porro and Gabriel.
All of these are fine alternatives, though anyone who has owned Gabriel this season still bears the scars of the surprise rotations of gameweeks past.
You don’t need us to tell you that Alexander-Arnold is a fantastic pick, but his inclusion eats into the funds you might’ve been saving to bring Haaland back.
It’s hard to find an issue with Porro, whose stats remain exceptional. Still, it’s worth noting that Spurs have only kept one clean sheet in their last nine games, so he’s very dependent on attacking returns.
Let’s look at some alternatives if those three aren’t hipster enough for you.
Malo Gusto (£4.1m)
Gusto once scored 14 points in Gameweek 3; enough to ensure that 16 gameweeks later, managers are still looking at him as a serious option.
Look, he’s £4.1m, he’s likely to start for a relatively decent team and he has Palace (H), Luton (A) and Fulham (H) in his next three.
Nobody is ridiculing you for bringing in Gusto.
Destiny Udogie (£4.8m)
Having served his one-game sentence, Udogie is once again a free man.
Udogie is one of those rare players that you enjoy owning even if he isn’t always scoring you points. He just looks good.
He’s in the top 10 most productive defenders for expected goal involvement this season too, and shows enough promise to be worth serious consideration.
An honourable mention
Over the last four gameweeks, no player - defender or otherwise - has scored more FPL points than Bournemouth’s Marcos Senesi.
The thing is, he’s on four yellows. They reset next gameweek, but if he gets booked against Fulham, he’ll have to serve a ban nonetheless.
After Fulham, he has Spurs, Liverpool and West Ham. Not the best of runs.
We’d hold fire for now.
The best captain for Gameweek 19.
After his Gameweek 18 hat-trick, Dominic Solanke is picking up some captaincy suitors. My Dad, whose decision making is admittedly influenced by an abundance of Sloe Gin and novelty Christmas ale, is one of those suitors.
But most competent managers will be going for Mohamed Salah. He’s away at Burnley.
It’s easy to see “Burnley” and immediately think of that Dychian robustness that used to strike fear into the loins of FPL managers.
But under Vincent Kompany, Burnley are a different outfit. Indeed, only two teams have a worser expected goals allowed (xGA) this season. They’ve conceded 10 goals in their last five home games to boot
For us, Salah should get your armband.
The key stats.
Transferred in Almiron,
Got benched and just scored one.
I’ve got a feeling,
This gameweek’s rubbish too.
The Professor’s team.
Last week, a reader asked us to include The Professor’s rank in these updates. Which we thought was absolutely fair.
Current rank: 930,278th
Rank 10 gameweeks ago: 4,640,116th
The Professor has enjoyed an excellent run of green arrows. This week his transfer has already been made:
Tsimikas > Gusto
Here’s what his team looks like post-transfer, courtesy of Fantasy Football Hub’s MyTeam.
If you want to treat yourself this Christmas, Fantasy Football Hub are running a 30-day free trial, with 30% off after that. You’ll get access to MyTeam, plus loads more. Try it here.
Other stuff we found interesting.
Fleck, Sa, Hall, Wood, Bell and Boly,
Salah-lah-lah-lah, Jota, Cunha.
We’ll be back on the morning of the 29th ahead of Gameweek 20.
Have a very Merry Christmas if that’s your thing, but above all, stay lazy, ya filthy animals.
The LazyFPL Team.
How did we do?