FPL: Five talking points ahead of Gameweek 4 Fantasy Premier League return
It has been such a long wait for Gameweek 4 that it almost feels as if FPL has only just returned after the summer break.
Here are five issues fantasy managers should consider before FPL finally returns in earnest on Saturday:
The Aguero conundrum
Ah, Sergio Aguero. We spend countless hours attempting to build a fantasy team around your brutal price-tag only for you to go and do this:
Apart from those fantasy managers supporting Manchester United, fingers were crossed in hope that the Argentinean striker could avoid an FA ban. No such luck as Manchester City's main man will miss GW4 and GW5 (as well as an EFL Cup game).
Now the question becomes stick or twist. Sticking means carrying a pile of FPL cash that is not being used to bring in points for two weeks – an eternity in fantasy terms.
Twisting, for many, means either a points hit or an early-season wildcard. If you can get away with -4 while being happy enough with your team, this might be a decent solution. If other areas of your squad are also troubling you ahead of GW4's 11.30am deadline, the wildcard option will tempt.
Whatever Aguero owners choose to do, one thing is paramount - ensure you have a plan in place to bring the City hitman back in. Despite wearing thin the nerves of managers over the international break, Aguero is the best striker in the Premier League when on his game.
The Argentina forward has netted three goals in three games, in a City side that has averaged three goals a game so far. A GW6 tie away to a leaky Swansea side, when other captaincy options are thin on the ground, means overlooking the 28-year-old on his return could immediately sting FPL bosses.
Arsene Wenger's side finally catapulted themselves onto the fantasy radar by showing their attacking verve in a 3-1 victory away to Watford.
Alexis Sanchez provided two assists while scoring a fairly fortuitous goal, while Mesut Ozil and Santi Cazorla (penalty) both netted following Sanchez' build-up play.
Provisional Bonus Points (90mins) #WATARS FT 1-3— FantasyFooty Updates (@Fpl_Updates) August 27, 2016
3 – Sanchez
2 – Cazorla
1 – Ozil
All three have risen £0.1m in value since, with fantasy managers scrambling to accommodate Arsenal's midfield stars in their teams.
Sanchez (£11.0m) is well known for his explosive returns, Ozil (£9.6m) has been a bastion of FPL consistency in the last two seasons while the cheaper Cazorla (£7.6m) could tempt with penalty-taking duties if he can log 90 minutes each gameweek.
An unbeaten start to Premier League life for Antonio Conte has seen a huge surge in transfers in for Chelsea attackers.
Eden Hazard (£10.2m) and Diego Costa (£9.7m) are the main recipients of fantasy attention, with both having experienced two price rises since the season started.
Costa is an extremely popular replacement for Aguero, though his failure to be recognised by the bonus points system coupled with his propensity for picking up yellow cards make him a risky option.
Hazard looks reborn under Conte, firing in an incredible four shots on target per game in the opening three gameweeks:
The 2014/15 PFA Player of the Year looks to have rediscovered his mojo and could terrorise Swansea's full-backs on Sunday. Any returns in that fixture will likely see Hazard continue his rise up the FPL price charts.
Slaven Bilic has stated his hope that Dmitiri Payet will start for West Ham United against Watford on Saturday:
SB: "I am expecting him to be fit and ready to start the game. We have missed him. It is the same for every club. France missed him.— West Ham United (@WestHamUtd) September 8, 2016
Discarded by a raft of managers after not making the bench in GW3, the France star is now priced at £9.4m ahead of an excellent run of fixtures for the Hammers:
Dimitri Payet's next 6 fixtures:— FPL General (@FPLGeneral) September 6, 2016
West Brom (A)
Michail Antonio (£7.0m) looks certain to be playing in an attacking berth now that Alvaro Arbeloa has joined West Ham, and so offers a good, cheaper alternative to the French playmaker. However, expect a Payet bandwagon to begin rolling the minute the 29-year-old shows any signs of form and full fitness.
While watching your country in action is an irregular pleasure, international fixture lists as a whole are not pleasing on the eye.
Unfortunately, another international break is scheduled in four gameweeks' time, after the end of GW7.
Expect more of this:
Resorted to watching three week old episodes of Match of the Day like some kind of animal. That's what international breaks do to you— Evan Fanning (@evanfanning) September 7, 2016
It's so quiet on here during international breaks...— HLTCO (@HLTCO) September 6, 2016
People without football in their lives must be constantly bored.
Add in a litte bit of this:
International breaks two weeks into the new season are ____.— Liam Canning (@LiamPaulCanning) September 3, 2016
B) Very bad
C) Very, very bad.
With lots of this:
International breaks are the bane of my life.— Alex Shaw (@AlexShawESPN) September 3, 2016
There's no question that an international break three weeks into the season is just plain evil.