For many in the FPL community, GW8 has come round as the best time to activate the wildcard. Fixture swings, injuries and form have all prompted many to pull the trigger. Below, I’ll be putting together a draft that I would pick if I were on wildcard this week.
I have deliberately chosen this draft where, fixtures dependent, there are up to 13 players you’d be happy to start in any of the approaching gameweeks. This is in the main due to the fact that there are a couple of players in the squad who are maybe prone to rotation, so having this backup could be necessary.
At the time of writing, this draft costs £100.2m. I’m going off the assumption that most people’s team value excedes this mark. You may already own some of the players who have gone up in price. For example, most will have had Mo Salah (£12.7m) since the start of the season when he cost £12.5m so his current price of £12.7m will be irrelevant.
Aaron Ramsdale (£4.6m)
It may have come as a surprise to some to see Aaron Ramsdale usurp Bernd Leno (£4.8m) as Arsenal’s number one, but he has certainly justified Arteta’s decision thus far. He is therefore likely to continue to keep Leno out of the side so selecting a keeper priced that low playing in one of the best defenses in the league feels like a sensible option. Arsenal have conceded only once in their last four contests and have a prolonged period of fairly kind matches.
Ben Foster (£4.0m)
The 39 year old is almost a no-brainer if you’re opting for the £4.5m/£4.0m combination. He displaced Daniel Bachmann (£4.4m) in the Watford team as of Gameweek 5. Even if new manager Claudio Ranieri decides to reintegrate Bachmann into the starting 11, at £4.0m you’re hardly expecting much anyway.
Trent Alexander Arnold (£7.5m)
Over the past couple of weeks, the idea of wildcarding without TAA has been gathering pace. Many have sacrificed him in order to afford three premium attackers. I still, however, believe that there is nobody in the game who represents as much value as him and this is the primary reason for his inclusion in this draft.
Another thing to consider is the fact that Liverpool have the early kick off slot in GW8. This potentially bodes well for team leaks before the deadline which could be significant for those seeking clarity on his fitness.
If the right-back is ruled out of the Watford game, it might be worth punting on a player for one week with enough in the bank to buy him back. If this is the case, a Brighton defender might be the best option for this week, as they play Norwich before embarking on a pretty difficult run.
Joao Cancelo (£6.2m)
Once again, the Man City defender has been attracting plenty of attention because of his early season exploits. Two 12 point returns as well as three six pointers is impressive by any standards, yet Cancelo often gives the impression that he could provide even more. His creative numbers throughout last season and at the start of this one have been frankly ridiculous.
Given that he started on six points more often than not due to how strong City’s defence is gives more credence to the idea of selecting him. As if any more reason were needed, an assist almost certainly results in him taking three bonus points home.
Thus, there is little reason not to go with the Portuguese player on wildcard. The only slight concern is that, like most City players, he is a rotation risk. Ironically Burnley might be the exact type of game he is left out in after playing every game so far but the potential points gain far outweighs this worry. The odd rest is inevitable, but chances are he will more than make up for that in the matches he plays.
Andreas Christensen (£5.0m)
As expected, Chelsea have been one of the most reliable defenses in the league. A record of four clean sheets in seven appears even more impressive when you consider the fact that they have already played Liverpool, Arsenal, Man City and Spurs in that run.
What some may not have expected, is that Christensen would play the majority of games. Although he has missed two of Chelsea’s seven league matches, at only £5.0m, he still represents incredible value.
Furthermore, whenever he doesn’t start, he has never been brought on. If you have a strong enough bench, then Christensen may well be worth the saving over some of his team mates. If you do rather the luxury of a high team value, then going for somebody like Antonio Rudiger (£5.8m) maybe wise but I have chosen Christensen in order to maximise this draft.
Rico Henry (£4.5m)
Including the Brentford fullback may well raise a fey eyebrows. Henry has had a fairly inauspicious start to the season and isn’t even the highest scoring Brentford defender. Both Ethan Pinnock (£4.6m) and Pontus Jansson (£4.6m) have scored 38 points in comparison to his 24. Despite this, Henry presents the higher upside out of all of the bees’ defenders.
Although Thomas Frank adopts a 352 formation with Henry and Sergi Canos (£5.5m) as wingbacks, the pair often play in a front 4 with Ivan Toney (£6.3m) and Bryan Mbeumo (£5.5m). Having a player effectively out of position as a forward at this value who plays in a team which has had a sturdy defence seems too good an opportunity to ignore.
Immediately, he doesn’t massively appeal as they play Chelsea and Leicester in their next two. Following this, they face all of the current bottom three between gameweeks 10 and 12. His ownership is also next to nothing so he has the added bonus of being a huge differential.
Tino Livramento (£4.2m)
Similarly to Foster, Livramento is a bit of a no-brainer on wildcard if you’re playing three or four at the back. Having broken through into the Southampton team at the start of the season, he has impressed hugely.
His attacking play has been particularly outstanding and he has looked like returning on multiple occasions. To add to his appeal, Southampton’s run of Leeds, Burnley, Watford, Aston Villa and Norwich in their next 5 is as good as any so he could quite conceiv be a starting option even at his price.
Mohamed Salah (£12.7m)
There’s little we can say about this man that hasn’t already been said. Simply put, he’s probably the in form player on the planet at the moment and as he proved with his 13 pointer against Manchester City, is a legitimate captaincy option in any fixture. One blank all season and six goals in seven is the type of consistency that just cannot be ignored. Going without him could be FPL suicide.
Heung-Min Son (£10.1m)
This maybe another play whose selection may seem a bit strange. In the immediacy, Tottenham’s fixtures aren’t the best on the face of it. Following their assignment at Newcastle, they face West Ham, Man United and Everton all of whom have an FDR of four on the the Premier League website. However, none of these sides have been brilliant defensively and Son has regularly shown that he can score in any game.
Moreover, Whenever he scores, he generally ends up in double figures due to bonus points of which he has already picked up six from four returns. With Harry Kane (£12.1m) misfiring, there is added impetus on him to perform and I believe that he could be a superb investment going forward. Between GW12 and 15, his run is such that he presents a genuine captaincy option in all of them.
Phil Foden (£7.9m)
Trying to pick a a Man City midfielder besides Kevin De Bruyne (£11.9m) is an impossible task, just ask owners of Ferran Torres (£6.9m). Despite this, I feel that selecting Foden is a risk worth taking.
He has started against both Chelsea and Liverpool arguably their 2 most difficult games of the season. This shows that he is increasingly looking like one of Pep’s main men. Yet, there is always the risk of rotation.
There is a theory that Foden plays more often in the harder matches than the easier ones which may reduce his minutes over the coming weeks. In spite of this worry, he is now such an important cog in City’s team he will start the vast majority of games.
Bryan Mbeumo (£5.5m)
Mbeumo has appeared on the radars of managers after putting in some excellent performances recently. Perhaps the aspect of Mbeumo’s play that is most promising from a fantasy perspective is the fact that he is playing in a front two alongside Toney. Having a player listed as a midfielder of such a cheap price for a team playing so well is the stuff of FPL dreams and should therefore be pounced upon.
Josh Brownhill (£4.4m)
I’ll try and keep this one as brief as possible. Essentially, the selection of Brownhill comes down to the fact that he is the cheapest playing midfielder in the game. The structure of this team probably sees him 3rd on your bench every week. He’ll probably tick over with regular 2 pointers and the odd 3 which is all you can really ask for from someone at that price.
Romelu Lukaku (£11.7m)
At the start of the campaign, many had pinpointed this period as the time to bring in Chelsea’s front man. A run of three league games without scoring has people questioning whether he is actually worth the premium price. Regardless of this concern, Chelsea’s upcoming run is still far too good to ignore.
If there’s one criticism that Lukaku, rightly or wrongly, has faced throughout his time in the Premier League previously, its that he is a flat track bully. If this is the case, then one suspects that there’ll be plenty of bullying on show in the coming weeks.
Moreover, Lukaku appears the best captaincy option in many of the upcoming fixtures. In GW9 for example, Lukaku comes up against Norwich whereas Liverpool and Man United play each other and Tottenham go to West ham so he is by far the standout option. As such, its difficult to argue against Lukaku being the second premium pick on wildcard.
Ivan Toney (£6.3m)
On the surface, having three Brentford may seem like putting too many eggs in a not very secure basket, however their upcoming fixture run along with how cheap their players are significant decreases the risk.
Hee-Chan Hwang (£5.6m)
With scores of eight points and 13 points in GW5 and GW7, he looks set to retain his place in the side. Wolves’ matches are pretty kind for a prolonged period. Before Liverpool in GW15, they don’t face any of last season’s top six.
There are a couple of concerns with this draft. No Man United coverage might be a worry but the nature of their imminent fixture run suggests that there are far better options out there so they are avoidable for the foreseeable. As previously stated, having three Brentford may seem like overkill but for the potential value they represent, I feel that it is a viable play on wildcard.