Ahead of gameweek 4 of Fantasy Premier League, we give our tips on who is the best bet for returns, a cheeky differential pick, and who are the best candidates for captaincy this weekend.
On the latest episode of The Fantasy Faithful podcast, Ste McGovern was joined by our own Harry Diamond and Fulhamish contributor Dara Curran to get their thoughts on second week of FPL action. Here are some of the key points we made on the show.
FPL Gameweek 4 Preview:
Lock of the Week
I previously suggested Heung-min Son (£9.0) and Riyad Mahrez (£8.5) as Lock of the Week in the previous two episodes of the podcast, and both made double digit returns to make me sound really smart, but did I buy either of them? Of course not.
This week I will (likely) back myself properly and bring in my pick, who is Danny Ings (£8.4). There has been a rush on bringing in Raul Jiménez (£8.6) ahead of Wolves’ clash with Fulham, even though the Mexican blanked against West Ham United.
But that means most managers are overlooking Southampton’s clash with West Brom, statistically the worst defensive team in the league. No team has conceded more goals (11), shots (52), shots inside the box (34), shots on target (24), or expected goals against (8.46 xGA).
Ings has scored three goals in his last two games, making him the most prolific striker in the Premier League since Project Restart with ten goals in 12 games. The Englishman has only taken six shots, but all of them have come from inside the box and three of them were considered big chances. He will surely continue his terrific form against the Baggies this weekend.
Under The Radar Differential
Harry Diamond suggested a bit of a leftfield differential pick on the podcast this week, offering up Crystal Palace’s Andros Townsend (£6.0) as a viable option with low ownership.
Although the winger has never been consistent enough to be a dependable FPL pick in the past, he has provided a goal and two assists to the Eagle’s good start to the season and has the fourth most expected assists (1.12 xA) in the league. Palace have decent fixtures upcoming, so Townsend could make for a shrewd, cheap transfer.
“He’s returned in all three games so far. He’s sitting on only 3.3% ownership so far. Crystal Palace play Chelsea next, before facing Brighton and Fulham. Ordinarily I would say Chelsea looks like a difficult game, but the way they’re backline is playing it could be tailor made for Palace,” says Harry.
“The pace they have got, if Zaha is on form, I think they could get some joy, so I think Townsend is an interesting one to look at.”
Who is the best choice to be captain in Gameweek 4?
In a week where there isn’t one really obvious pick for captaincy, but a lot of pretty good ones, sometimes the answer is just the most simple one: Mo Salah (£12.1). The Liverpool winger already has three goals and an assist to his name this season and, as pointed out by football analyst Michael Caley, he is perhaps the most active footballer in the final third:
the Premier League leader in complete passes into the penalty area is Mo Salah (14)
the Premier League leader in passes into the penalty area received is… also Mo Salah (13)
the Premier League leader in carries into the penalty area received is <checks notes> yup Mo Salah (8)
— Michael Caley (@MC_of_A) October 1, 2020
Sadio Mané (£11.9) is also in great form with three goals in his last two games, and arguably passes the eye test more than Salah. But the fact that the Egyptian is on penalties might put him over the top. Aston Villa have started the campaign well, winning both of their opening fixtures while keeping clean sheets, but have only faced weak opposition thus far. Both players are good bets to do well this weekend.
Meanwhile, Manchester City were caught cold by Leicester City last week, but considering the fact that Leeds United have conceded eight big chances – only West Brom have conceded more – then you would expect their attackers to get returns on Saturday.
Kevin De Bruyne (£11.6) is a reliable pick, has already completed nine key passes in just two games and is on penalties. But if you’re looking for an explosive option who could potentially make big returns, then Raheem Sterling (£11.5) is your man. The English winger has only made one assist in two league matches, but he did score a midweek brace against Burnley in the League Cup. Sterling will also be playing as either a striker or false nine for City as both Gabriel Jesus (£9.4) and Sergio Aguero (£10.4) are out injured.
Dara also suggested Jiménez as a potential option. The Wolves striker has scored twice in his first three games so far, with nine of his ten shots coming from inside the box. Up next are Fulham, who look like they could concede any number of goals at the minute.