Naturally, as usual, the majority of FPL chatter and content is focussed on the big hitters and the key movers and shakers, but as always, in the background there are players that are doing well or showing signs of promise, so I wanted to highlight a few of those that have caught my eye.
I’ve tried to look at players who have less than 10% ownership, so those players that were you to move on them quite early could make a big difference to your rank, if they’re able to continue this form/promise. This list isn’t extensive, but I’ve tried to cover a couple from each position.
Fabianski (5m; 1.5% owned)Embed from Getty Images
West Ham’s defensive form, particularly given their incredibly difficult run of fixtures to start the season, has been really good. Despite playing Man City, Tottenham, Arsenal, Wolves and Leicester already, they have only conceded 8 goals in 6 games, with 3 of those coming in 15 minutes away at Tottenham. They have conceded the fourth fewest shots in the box (fifth fewest shots against, overall), and the second fewest big chances (8) of all teams.
In GW7 they go to Anfield for another tough game, but then comes their big fixture swing, where from GW8-20 they only face Man Utd (GW11) and Chelsea (GW14) of the traditional big 6.
Fabianski has a proven pedigree, and is a solid choice if you’re looking for a GK option.
Darlow (5m; 1.6% owned)Embed from Getty Images
When the player prices were released, there was much derision at Karl Darlow having a 5m price tag. Yet after 6 gameweeks, he is the second highest scoring goalkeeper following Dubravka’s early season injury. That total is obviously helped by his penalty save against Man Utd, but to have 30 points so far given Newcastle’s form is very good.
As a team Newcastle have conceded the most shots (102), but just 8 big chances (joint second best), showing there is some resistance there. Darlow has 31 saves so far, five more than any other goalkeeper, and these combined stats lead to a comparison with Pope at Burnley, whereby they concede a lot of chances but a large amount of these are from distance, leading to easy saves being racked up by the GK. To back this up, Newcastle have conceded 47 shots from outside the box, 13 more than any other team.
C Taylor (4.5m; 3.6% ownedEmbed from Getty Images
Burnley had an uncharacteristically poor start, conceding 7 goals to Leicester and Newcastle, with a home defeat to Southampton thrown in too, but since then they have stabilised with a clean sheet away at West Brom and a solid performance, despite the lack of a clean sheet, against Tottenham.
Looking at expected data they have been a little unlucky too. They have the lowest xGC of all teams with 5.12, yet have conceded 9 goals. That’s the third worst xGC delta, behind only Brighton and Liverpool, and while their fixtures aren’t incredible, they are certainly worthy of consideration. Following the Chelsea fixture in GW7, other than Man City (GW10) they have a very solid run of matches all the way up until GW18 when they play Liverpool.
I own Taylor myself and personally think Burnley are being overlooked due to their first couple of results, but he could be a great option. He has 25 crosses (5 per game) so far, which is sixth among all defenders, and four of those above him (Trent, Robbo, Digne, Cresswell) have all played a game more.
Cancelo (5.4m; 0.8% owned)Embed from Getty Images
Now, Pep roulette is always a dangerous game to play and you never know what will happen with his selections, but Cancelo has started the last two league games, and was rested again this week in the CL match, which hopefully leads to another start vs Sheff Utd.
In those two games he has created 5 chances (joint second among defenders), has received the ball 35 times in the final third (fourth among defenders), and has made 7 take-ons, with 6 being successful – from the eye test he has looked great too, at times twisting defenders inside out.
City have also improved defensively. A clean sheet followed by just 1 conceded to Antonio is not bad, and those two games generated an xGC of just 1.18 (third best of all teams), and I’m sure we’ve all heard about their fixture shift from GW10 onwards. At 5.4m, and with many managers potentially looking to move down from Liverpool defenders, I think Cancelo is a good option.
Notable mentions: Zouma (5.1m; 5.4% owned) and Vestergaard (4.5m; 2.2%). Zouma has seemingly nailed that position in the Chelsea back line, and as they settle down and gain more stability, he could be a cut price option into that defence. Vestergaard is hard to justify given the Walker-Peters is also 4.5m, but provides goal threat from set pieces and is an alternative option.Embed from Getty Images
Bowen (6.3m; 2.2% ownedEmbed from Getty Images
Last year was a bit of a transition season for Bowen as he adjusted to the pace of the Premier League, but during the restart he looked really good and his early season form has been good too. Of midfielders 7m or below he has the second most penalty box touches (behind Harvey Barnes), and has the second most goal attempts with 12, 8 of which have been in the box.
As above with Fabianski, we need to get this week’s fixture out of the way, but after that I think Bowen is a great option. He definitely has an eye for goal with 3 already this season, although his assist potential (so far) has been lacking. Again looking at mids 7m or below, he has the second highest xG (2.27) and the second highest xGI (2.6) behind only Jorginho who obviously benefits from penalties in that stat.
Foden (6.6m; 8.3% owned)Embed from Getty Images
I honestly think across the season Foden will prove to be one of, if not the best, value asset in the game.
So far he has started 4/5 games, and came on at HT in the game he didn’t start. He has 2 goals and 1 assist, and is the second highest point scorer (behind Sterling) of all City assets. Of midfielders 7m or below, he has the most touches in the final 3rd, the third most touches in the box, and 9 of his 11 shots have been in the box.
This backs up the eye test of what we’ve seen from Foden, where he is very much playing as part of the front three, rather than – as suspected by many – that he would take the David Silva role slightly further back. In my opinion, he’s an easy buy.
Adams (5.8m; 1.9% owned)Embed from Getty Images
Adams struggled last season and it often felt like he just wouldn’t make it, or adapt enough to be a PL striker, but towards the end of the restart, and continuing into this season he has looked great, and his partnership with Danny Ings is going from strength to strength.
His place in the starting XI is now nailed and he’s now starting to return points, with 11 and 8 in the last two games. In those games he has matched Ings for goal attempts and shots in the box, as well as xGI, giving us an indication that he can indeed be a value asset in the game.
Southampton have a good fixture run until GW14 when they face Man City, and Adams could well prove to be a great differential.
There are LOTS of good options out there, and many of them have really low ownership. Take a look around – particularly if you’re struggling to fit in that extra premium or don’t have the cash to get to a player you want – there are plenty of great differentials available who could do a great job in your squad. But I’m not advocating for these players because they have low ownership, it’s because they are good. Low ownership is just a bonus.
I hope that’s useful, or as a minimum, gives you some food for thought.
Good luck this gameweek, everyone.