Heading into game week 31 it’s the most wonderful/stressful time out there for most FPL managers and that’s wildcard time! Looking to divest from Leeds United and take advantage of fixture runs, this is a critical time of the season from chasing your mini-leagues as well as keeping your foot on the gas if you’re leading the way. I’m in an interesting situation sitting at 349k because it pays to be a little riskier. I also am planning on using my bench boost chip in game week 32 so that plays a large part in my planning too.
Going “template” with Chelsea and Manchester City investment won’t gain me much ground so I’ve gone without both teams at the moment in my Wildcard, reluctantly so in the case of Mason Mount. With City, I couldn’t get them out of my team fast enough as while I got good points from Raheem Sterling, Rúben Dias, and Phil Foden it was time for them to move on as picking when they would start isn’t worth it with better fixtures and higher priorities in the league elsewhere.
When it comes to teams that have good fixtures, I shied away from Wolves and West Ham the most. Watching West Ham concede five goals over their last two games knocked me down to their cheapest regular starting defender instead of a Vladimir Coufal plus Lukasz Fabianski double up. For Wolves, their team form isn’t good enough for me to get anyone outside of a speculative punt. Their inconsistent scorers and inconsistent defenders which doesn’t bode well.
This week, Top Transfer Targets will be a detailed look at my wildcard team position by position.
Let’s look at this week’s schedule:
Friday 09 April
Fulham vs Wolves
Saturday 10 April
Manchester City vs Leeds United
Liverpool vs Aston Villa
Crystal Palace vs Chelsea
Sunday 11 April
Burnley vs Newcastle United
West Ham United vs Leicester City
Tottenham vs Manchester United
Sheffield United vs Arsenal
Monday 12 April
West Brom vs Southampton
Brighton vs Everton
Fraser Forster was basically the first name in my wildcard as a starting 4.0 keeper with a double game week coming. Southampton hasn’t been great but they’re getting healthy and Forster makes a lot of saves due to their playstyle. Sometimes it’s the simple choice that is the best choice. Leno took a little more thinking to get to. I don’t love the fixtures for Emi Martínez so he was left out leading me to Hugo Lloris for Spurs’ double. Then Spurs went and did that vs Newcastle destroying any fragile faith in their defenders…
That led to looking at Lukasz Fabianski to watch West Ham forget how to defend without Declan Rice before a tricky tie with Leicester City followed by a Newcastle team that is getting healthier. Arsenal has some of the same defensive worries as these first two sides but they’re playing worse teams over the next two weeks in Sheffield United and Fulham giving Leno a very narrow edge.
Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool 7.3m, 14.4%), Nathaniel Phillips (Liverpool 4.0m, 1.9%), Luke Shaw (Manchester United 5.3m, 15.6%), Arthur Masuaku (West Ham 4.3m, 0.4%), Liam Cooper (Leeds United 4.3m, 0.4%)
4.0 defensive starter klaxon! Similar to Forster, it’s hard to build a wildcard and not include Phillips looking at Liverpool’s fixtures. Continuing that route, Trent Alexander-Arnold has taken a lot of criticism this season but it’s hard to ignore that his eye for a pass hasn’t gone anywhere and that he will have a much easier time with Fabinho back in midfield these days. This is a weird time where TAA is an FPL differential and I would say to thank your lucky stars and accept the gift. He’s in for a few double-digit returns before the season is out.
I finally caved and added Luke Shaw as he’s been too good to ignore this season at both ends of the pitch. While he was withdrawn at half in Europa League play, don’t let that deter you as Shaw was on a yellow so it was tactical, not injury-related. Masuaku and Cooper are both budget-plays with an eye to the future but David Moyes couldn’t have picked a better time to toss Masuaku in to offer wildcarders a cheap option of entry into the West Ham defense. While Masuaku isn’t an explosive offensive option, you don’t have to do much but get the ball to Jesse Lingard and Michail Antonio for a chance at an assist.
Midfielders: Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United 11.6m, 58.1%), Heung-Min Son (Tottenham 9.4m, 42.4%), Jesse Lingard (West Ham 6.3m, 20.0%), Diogo Jota (Liverpool 6.9m, 12.8%), Raphinia (Leeds United 5.6m, 15.2%)
Bruno requires no introduction. I’ve had him since my wildcard in game week seven and I have no intentions of shipping him out anytime soon even if it’s the only way to add Mohamed Salah to my team (more on that later). With Son, while Spurs have struggled and he has been injured but with the double and his overall goal involvement, I’m still backing him. I’ve been reluctant to back Jesse Lingard but all he’s doing is scoring so it’s time to suck it up and pay the cash. While Michail Antonio’s injury is a concern that only makes West Ham more reliant on Lingard so he could be in for some big scores coming up.
Jota is the budget Salah cover and can score no matter how many minutes he’s on the pitch for while Raphina has been Leeds United’s best performer since January so he survives cutting my investment in their assets.
It really sucks that Harry Kane is the only nailed forward choice but it also means that there is more room for creativity in team building after writing in the Spurs talisman in sharpie. Jamie Vardy hasn’t scored in a while but he also hasn’t had James Maddison behind him in far too long. While I like what Kelechi Iheanacho has done so far, I’d still rather back Vardy to close out the season. Finally, with the lack of production that Wolves have gotten up top combined with their fixtures, I’m rolling the dice on Fabio Silva as he’s looked bright in his cameos so far and will get another starting run sooner than later.
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