In our Watchlist series, we pick out the Fantasy Premier League (FPL) players who are the best medium-term targets in each position based on fixtures, form and value.
So unlike the Scout Picks, we’re not just focusing on the upcoming Gameweek with these articles.
The week-to-week changes are typically minimal but after Gameweek 7 passed by without a ball being kicked, and with more postponements to follow in Gameweek 8, there’s been more tinkering than usual during our latest refresh.
Fixture swings for a number of clubs have also intensified the adjustments.
ABOUT THE WATCHLIST
Our regularly updated Watchlist, which is visible on the sidebar, ranks players in each position for the medium term.
The main focus is on the next four Gameweeks, but we factor anything up to six weeks ahead where necessary. For example, we can’t completely ignore the Gameweek 12 blank for Manchester City and Arsenal despite it being outside of the initial four-Gameweek window.
Players are selected according to factors such as form*, club injuries, club morale, forthcoming fixtures and whether or not the player in question is likely to be a bargain in FPL.
The table displays the player name and club, along with the abbreviation for the factors that played a part in their ranking. A key for these factors can be found below the player in the table and looks like this:
Arrows before the name indicate whether a player has significantly climbed or fallen in our reckoning since the previous update or if they are a new entry into the tables.
*Points divided by a club’s matches played over the last 30 days, with allowance given for non-appearances
THE WATCHLIST: BEST FPL GOALKEEPERS
Underscoring what we wrote in the introduction, the goalkeeper rankings have been shaken up after a period of stability in the opening month.
Gone are the likes of Alisson (£5.5m), Aaron Ramsdale (£4.9m), Robert Sanchez (£4.7m) and Edouard Mendy (£4.9m), who have various combinations of blanks, tricky fixtures and underwhelming form as well as black marks against their names. There’s also an injury of undetermined severity in Mendy’s case, which gives Kepa Arrizabalaga (£4.4m) the chance to impress new boss Graham Potter initially.
Top of the pile now is Nick Pope (£5.1m), the in-demand Newcastle United shot-stopper who has been bought by more FPL managers than all other goalkeepers combined ahead of Gameweek 8. Heading the FPL points table among players in his position, he has a great chance to consolidate that lead when the team with the lowest expected goals (xG) total in the division, Bournemouth, head north this weekend. Fulham, Brentford and a revitalized Manchester United may present stiffer tests beyond that but only Liverpool and Manchester City have kept more clean sheets than the Magpies (10) over the last 23 Gameweeks – a period that started with Eddie Howe’s savvy recruitment in the January transfer window.
With Tottenham Hotspur allowing the fewest number of big chances this season, Hugo Lloris (£5.5m) takes Alisson’s place as the main premium threat to Ederson (£5.5m). Spurs have bottom-of-the-table Leicester City, managerless Brighton and Hove Albion and goal-shy Everton to come in the next four Gameweeks.
There’s a bit of an underwhelming feeling to this crop of goalkeepers, in truth, as budget picks like Dean Henderson (£4.7m), Bernd Leno (£4.5m) and Danny Ward (£4.0m) make appearances by virtue of their fixtures and affordable price tags rather than any great conviction in the defenses in front of them. FPL royalty Henderson is third in the goalkeepers’ points table but two penalty saves have massively helped on that front and Gameweek 6’s loss to Bournemouth was a real confidence-shaker.
Lukasz Fabianski (£5.0m) isn’t a name being talked about much by Wildcarders or anyone else, for that matter, but West Ham United’s schedule is looking more appealing now after a tricky start: Everton, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Southampton and Bournemouth, four of the league’s nine lowest scorers, are to come in Gameweeks 8-13. The Hammers are among the top five sides for fewest shots in the box, big chances and efforts on target conceded in their last four matches, despite facing Chelsea, Spurs and an in-form Brighton at that time.
THE WATCHLIST: BEST FPL DEFENDERS
Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.5m) and Reece James (£6.0m) take a temporary tumble down the defender standings because of their Gameweek 8 blank and, in Alexander-Arnold’s case, some tough-looking fixtures beyond the September international break. These two premium picks are too good to forget about completely, however: despite their so-so starts to 2022/23, they are still first and second respectively for expected goal involvement (xGI) among players in their position.
João Cancelo (£7.1m) becomes the go-to premium defender for the time being, then, with City’s defense in slightly better shape than those of Liverpool and Chelsea. City have the lowest expected goals conceded (xGC) total in the league, although an injury to Kyle Walker (£5.1m) and an abundance of choice at centre-half – Aymeric Laporte (£5.8m) is nearing full fitness, while the capture of Manuel Akanji (£5.0m) has increased Pep Guardiola’s centre-back quota to five – means Cancelo stands alone on our defenders’ Watchlist.
A month is a long time in FPL: where ‘big at the back’ was once en vogue, now there is only one defender – Diogo Dalot (£4.5m), who you can expect to see appear on these pages in the future – to be found in the top 20 of FPL’s admittedly limited form table.
Ivan Perisic (£5.6m) stays rooted to fourth in the above list with ongoing concerns about rotation risk so the biggest riser is Kieran Trippier (£5.3m), who has returned in every home match this season and who has meetings against Bournemouth, Brentford and Everton to come on Tyneside in the next five Gameweeks. Newcastle, indeed, have kept clean sheets in six of their last 10 home fixtures.
Our top four, in fact, happen to be Rate My Team’s four projected highest scorers among defenders from Gameweeks 8-11.
Three £4.5m-and-under buys prop up the rear, with Neco Williams (£4.1m) definitely more selected for his low cost and attacking threat than clean sheet potential: he’s still top among defenders for goal attempts in 2022/23.
Vladimir Coufal (£4.4m) follows Fabianski into consideration from the slowly improving West Ham backline, with the unknown extent of an injury to Aaron Cresswell (£4.8m) not just costing the left-back a potential place here but also that of bargain positional rival Emerson Palmieri (£4.0m). Coufal hasn’t particularly wowed so far this season with just four chances created but is seventh among defenders for crosses, and has some Fantasy pedigree with 13 assists across the last two campaigns.
THE WATCHLIST: BEST FPL MIDFIELDERS
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