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Hi, and welcome to The Kitsman’s weekly Fantasy Premier League segment. Today marks Gameweek 18, and we are now moving into the second half of the Premier League season, and thus, the business end of the FPL timetable. I will be using OPTA, understat.com, fantasyfootballhub.co.uk, and other stat-based FPL resources to collate a comprehensive summary to advise you in your quest for Fantasy dominance.
This week precedes a double Gameweek, and for many Fantasy managers, it might have presented an opportunity to make use of the Fantasy chips. FPL enthusiasts earmarked Gameweek 18 for the Free Hit chip, as only half of Premier League teams will be involved, catching up for lost fixtures in the early season. Spurs were originally due to face Aston Villa, but after Villa’s recent COVID outbreak, they have been replaced by Fulham.
Kevin De Bruyne (11.7m) – With only a 27% ownership rate, Kevin de Bruyne might represent the most in-form and high-profile differential on FPL. Fresh off a dominating display versus an out-of-sorts Chelsea team that saw him score 13 points, there is a hope from FPL owners that the Belgian might be hitting the heights of last season. With 9 big chances created in the 20/21 season, KDB is the Premier League’s most devastating creator, and if he can find proficiency in front of goal (3 goals from 6.27 xG), there is every chance that De Bruyne will become a must-have FPL asset. With no Mo Salah and Sadio Mane in Gameweek 18, he is a shoo-in for an expensive midfield slot versus Brighton in this Free Hit Gameweek.
Bukayo Saka (5.3m) – Saka has proved himself to be Arsenal’s talisman from midfield, missing only one match all season. At only £5.3m, he is an easy choice in Gameweek 18. Arteta’s star man has leapt ahead of Aubameyang, and now leads Arsenal midfielders in big chances created and shots on target. Arsenal’s recent upturn in form is supported by underlying stats, as they are top in xG and goals scored throughout the league in the past three Gameweeks. Combining this with a leaky Crystal Palace defence who have only kept two clean sheets in 20/21, Bukayo Saka is a must-pick for your Free Hit.
Marcus Rashford (9.6m) – Of course Bruno Fernandes (11.3m) is a lock, but if you are looking for a differential, I think Rashford is your man. With 5 goals in his last 7 Premier League games, Rashford seems to have found the added clinical ingredient in front of goal. Over the past eight Gameweeks, he is among the top 5 in the PL for xG (4.00), inflated by devastating performances away from home, where he leads the league in big chances per 90.
Callum Wilson (6.6m) – Wilson is probably the most attractive attacking asset for Newcastle’s away fixture versus the historically poor Sheffield United. However, Wilson’s production dramatically decreases away from home, as Steve Bruce tends to favour a more defensive approach, only averaging a big chance every 131 minutes, compared to one every 90 minutes at home.
Edinson Cavani (7.8m) / Anthony Martial (8.8m) – There is a chance that I could live to eat my words here. With Manchester Utd in action three times throughout the next two Gameweeks, there is a potential that these strikers could score significantly. However, considering the likelihood for rotation, Martial and/or Cavani are both fairly likely to miss at least 90 minutes of action, rendering a game for either asset, scoreless. Undoubted upside potential, but unwise, given the circumstances.
JURY IS OUT
Andrew Robertson (7.4m) – Will not feature in Gameweek 18, but looking beyond, it is not clear whether Liverpool’s defence is stable enough to justify a hefty 7.4m outlay. He is a proven offensive contributor and will consistently deliver assists throughout the season, but until Liverpool can prove they can stop leaking goals, the jury is out.
The Kitsman’s RECOMMENDATION
John Stones (5.0m) – Manchester City have the league’s in-form defence. Over the past seven Gameweeks, they have kept five clean sheets and have only conceded two goals, and against Brighton, who are averaging just over one goal a game in the 20/21 PL season, I wouldn’t bet against City keeping another one. John Stones is easily the least glamorous of the City back four, Ruben Dias (5.8m) carries the greatest goal threat (0.15 xG), and Joao Cancelo (5.7m) is City’s second most proficient chance creator in the squad. But, at only 5.0m, the England international presents the best value. Stones’ recent form in City’s impressive defence has rendered him undroppable.
Author: Elias Burke