Another gameweek, another round of differential delight. With two of the three favourites (De Bruyne and Bruno Fernandes) for a decent haul all blanking and Salah getting “just” a goal, the FPL Team of the Week was once more dominated by a majority of differential assets in gameweek 13. Marcus Rashford, owned by just 7.6% of managers, closed the midweek round with 2 goals to match Mason Holgate’s (0.2% ownership) 14 FPL points. Of the remaining nine players, an incredible seven boast an ownership of less than 3.4%, while four are part of less than 0.4% of all teams. According to FPL’s official ownership indicator, Fulham’s Tosin Adarabioyo is actually in exactly 0.0% of all teams.
Having said that, gameweek 14 looks like a complex one where many a manager’s eye will once again be on the premium assets. No fixture really stands out, with Spurs and Chelsea up for difficult home games against Leicester and West Ham respectively, Liverpool and Man City travelling to potential banana peels Crystal Palace and Southampton respectively, and form team Aston Villa facing Sam Allardyce for his first game in charge of West Brom. In theory, Manchester United at home to Leeds should result in plenty of goals and therefore interest in Bruno as captaincy option, while Everton could deepen Arsenal’s all-out form crisis at Goodison Park. Brighton against Sheffield United and Burnley versus Wolves have all the makings of becoming low-scoring affairs, which leaves Newcastle at home to an improving Fulham side. In other words, it’s going to be an interesting one once again, in the middle of the festive fixture pile-up.
Don’t forget: the deadline for gameweek 14 is set for 11h00 (UK time) on Saturday, December 19th. Do check out the Predicted Line-Ups for the Premier League clubs as well as the latest injury news (click on ‘Team’ to sort per club rather than the default ‘date’) before finalising your transfer(s).
Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per December 18th, 2020)
|TRANSFERS OUT||TRANSFERS IN||POSSIBLE REASONS|
|GK||Ryan (BRI), Mendy (CHE), Leno (ARS)||Martinez (AST), Lloris (TOT), McCarthy (SOU)|
|DEF||Gabriel (ARS), Kilman (WOL), Bellerin (ARS)||Vestergaard (SOU), Zouma (CHE), Chilwell (CHE)||Arsenal bad form, Kilman rotation risk, good form for Chelsea and Southampton.|
|MID||Jota (LIV), Mahrez (CIT), Rodriguez (EVE)||Neto (WOL), Salah (LIV), Son (TOT)||Injuries to Jota and Rodriguez, Mahrez rotation risk.|
|FOR||Werner (CHE), Vardy (LEI), Watkins (AST)||Bamford (LEE), Kane (TOT), Calvert-Lewin (EVE)||Form strikers being brought in, strikers failing to deliver (apart from Vardy) being transferred out.|
Despite their up-and-down form, Manchester United look like the go-to team in gameweek 14, which means that Bruno Fernandes (£11.0m) will be (one of) the go-to fantasy assets. The Portuguese midfielder surprisingly was not directly involved in any of United’s goals against Sheffield United on Thursday night, but don’t expect that to happen too often. With 7 goals and 5 assists, he has had a direct involvement in 12 of United’s 22 Premier League goals so far, and he could very well further improve those tallies when Leeds visit Old Trafford on Sunday. The Whites impressed against Newcastle as they stuck to their usual all-out attack approach, something manager Marcelo Bielsa won’t change for the encounter with the Red Devils. This match has all the making of a goal bonanza, which is why Bruno Fernandes is our premium fantasy pick for gameweek 14.
With West Brom and Leeds being the last two opponents he faced, just a single assist in return seems a bit disappointing for Callum Wilson (£6.6m), but we shouldn’t forget that he plays for Newcastle, a side that does not often dominate games, especially not for larger stretches. That’s also a main reason behind his kind price tag of just £6.6m. The England man is simply not expected to deliver every single game. Having said that, he already has an impressive 7 goals and 4 assists to his name from just 11 appearances and we think he’s due a goal rather sooner than later. The Magpies, though far from a free-scoring footballing unit, have shown some decent football at times and when they threaten the opposition’s goal, you just know that Wilson will be involved. That’s a very valuable trait for a fantasy asset to have, which is why we went with him as our first non-budget pick for the home game against Fulham. Scott Parker’s men seem to have improved considerably over the past few weeks, conceding just 4 goals in their last four games, but in a complicated gameweek, Wilson looks one of the best bets, especially at his current price.
Our next premium pick is quite budget-friendly as well. Brighton’s Tariq Lamptey (£4.8m) has been something of a revelation this season at right-back as he has slotted right into the Seagull’s backline. The England U21 international has repaid that confidence so far with a goal and 3 assists on top of his team’s 3 clean sheets, one of which came in gameweek 13 at home to Fulham. Up next is a team that looks in real trouble, namely Sheffield United. The Blades have taken just one point from the 20-21 campaign’s 13 opening matches, which represents the worst start to a Premier League season by any team ever. Manager Chris Wilder’s men did show a little sign of life by scoring twice against a less-than-solid Man United defence, but Brighton will be hoping for a victory and a shut-out at the AmEx on Sunday. That would mean a clean sheet for Lamptey and who knows, maybe even a fourth assist.
The budget enabler
Liverpool are currently plagued by an injury crisis that seems to have no end, but like the late great Johan Cruijff used to say, every disadvantage has its advantage. In the case of the Reds, it means that they are kind of forced to rely upon their young players, one of them being Curtis Jones (£4.4m). The youngster from Toxteth seems to have grabbed the opportunity with both hands, considering he has played the full 90 minutes in Liverpool’s last five Premier League outings. On top of that, he was also part of the latest few starting lineups in the Champions League and what’s more, he has impressed in all of these games. At a domestic level, the only thing that is missing still, at least from an FPL point of view, is an attacking return. He does get into the box quite a lot though, as can be seen from his penetrating run that led to Mo Salah’s goal against Spurs, and he seems to be the most advanced Reds midfielder most of the time. On Saturday, he looks set for another start as they visit Selhurst Park. Against a Palace side that has not kept a clean sheet since gameweek 1, Jones might even get his first attacking FPL return.
A differential pick or two
With five points from the last three games and 2 clean consecutive clean sheets in their last two, Burnley are slowly recovering from their bad start to the season. Since their 5-0 defeat at the hands of Man City in gameweek 10, the Clarets have conceded just 1 goal, which should put their defensive fantasy assets back on our watchlists again. Personally, we have our eye on left-back Charlie Taylor (£4.4m), who is a nailed-on part of manager Sean Dyche’s starting lineup and who has rather quietly brought in 33 FPL points over the last six games, courtesy of 4 clean sheets and 3 bonus points. Up next are Wolves without their star man and main source of goals Raul Jimenez. They have scored just 2 goals in their last three games, which is why an improving Burnley side at Turf Moor in December might just end up being a very tough nut to crack for them. We wouldn’t be surprised to see the 3.8%-owned Taylor record his sixth clean sheet of the campaign on Monday.
For the real differential hunters, Fulham’s Ivan Cavaleiro (£5.3m) could be an interesting one. The mere fact that we’re including a Fulham asset in our weekly gameweek preview is already a good sign, but the thing is, it’s deserved. Manager Scott Parker’s men had a horrid start to the season, but with 5 points from their last four games, which included encounters with Leicester, Man City and Liverpool, they are showing signs of improvement with a rejigged defence. It’s not that they are suddenly considered a form team boasting a plethora of appealing budget-enabling differential fantasy assets, but Cavaleiro does have some FPL-positive attributes. He is listed as a midfielder, but deployed up front and he is on penalties as well. On top of that, they are visiting a Newcastle side this weekend that has shipped 8 goals in the last four games, including 5 against Leeds in GW13. With an ownership of just 0.2%, Cavaleiro could end up being the ultimate differential.
We feel the GW14 FPL captaincy will be between Bruno Fernandes at home to Leeds and Mo Salah at Selhurst Park, though Spurs duo Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son have shown that they should never be left out of the discussion. We have ended up going with Mo Salah as he faces Crystal Palace, but it was a close call between him and Bruno. Both have been incredibly consistent so far, in part thanks to their penalty duties, and we predict these two aces to be the most-captained fantasy assets for gameweek 14.
Should you for whatever reason not own either of them, then the previously mentioned Spurs stars look like the way to go. Kane and Son have been nothing less than phenomenal so far this season, and they are facing a strong Leicester side that has nevertheless conceded 8 goals in the last 5 games. For those managers chasing in their mini-leagues and looking for a major differential haul, putting the armband on Marcus Rashford, Patrick Bamsy Bamford or Dominic Calvert-Lewin could pay off handsomely.