Hot or Not - Gameweek 18

4:27pm Dec 20 2016

The Premier League fixtures schedule is set to test the skills of Fantasy Premier League bosses, so it could be worth noting which players are HOT or NOT ahead of Gameweek 18

So, the Fantasy Premier League festive schedule is upon us – a period in the footballing calendar which traditionally provides us with some Christmas crackers, but also disappointment as Lady Christmas leaves us with several unwanted gifts…

With Diego Costa and Jamie Vardy both suspended for Gameweek 18, I’ll be looking at possible alternatives for you to consider as replacements, as well as accessing which of your FPL star-names are going cold turkey head of the Christmas schedule.

As always, I wish all Fantasy Premier League managers the very best of luck for the upcoming gameweek and hope that the selections below offer you plenty of food for thought – and I wish you a very, Merry Christmas.

HOT

Zlatan Ibrahimovic – Manchester United

Admittedly, a rather obvious choice some might say – however, the Swede’s current form for Manchester United is too good to ignore. If you haven’t jumped on the Zlatan bandwagon yet, now is the time to climb aboard. With Diego Costa suspended for Gameweek 18, the former PSG man is your ideal replacement – if you can spare the extra £0.4m.

Sunderland visit Old Trafford on Boxing Day in what should be a home-banker, as David Moyes returns to The Theatre of Dreams for the first time since his ill-fated stint in 2013/14 – although I doubt it’s going to be a memorable return for the Sunderland boss.

I think it’s safe to say that Man United have now hit form, winning each of their last 3 games. Having found the net 7 times in his last 6 outings, Zlatan’s popularity among FPL players is unsurprising.

Over 34% of FPL managers are already on-board the Zlatan bandwagon, with a staggering 260,000 transfers IN for Gameweek 18 at the time of publishing this article, making him the 6th most popular player in the game.

Scoring 12, 11, 2 and 7 in his last 4 gameweeks and with upcoming fixtures against Sunderland (H), Middlesbrough (H) and West Ham (A) in his next 3, it’s clear to see why FPL bosses are rushing to sign the Big Swede up before his price makes him affordable to some.

Ignore at your own peril.

Andy Carroll – West Ham

Having chalked up crucial yet unconvincing home wins against Burnley and Hull, West Ham travel to Swansea on Boxing Day where they will be eyeing another three points.

The return to fitness of Andy Carroll will boost the Hammers’ chances at the Liberty Stadium, as goals have been a big problem for Bilic’s side this season so if you’re looking for a cheaper option upfront, Andy Carroll could be your man.

At £6.2m, the former Liverpool striker could prove to be a shrewd transfer, as the Swans have struggled defensively, conceding 15 goals in their last 5 Premier League outings.

Middlesbrough’s Alvaro Negredo netted twice against Bob Bradley’s men in Gameweek 17 and I’m backing Carroll to cause Swansea similar problems. Currently selected by just 2.6% of FPL players, this could be a great opportunity to steal a march on your rivals and help boost your overall rank.

Michy Batshuayi – Chelsea

With Diego Costa suspended after picking up his fifth booking of the season in Gameweek 17, a rare start for the young Belgian looks likely. Chelsea have a Boxing Day clash with Bournemouth at Stamford Bridge, where they will be looking to record an astonishing 12th win in a row.

Bournemouth have been involved in some high-scoring games of late but have managed only 1 clean sheet in their last 5. Chelsea, however, have kept 3 clean sheets in a row, so a home win looks highly probable with all 3 points going to Conte and co.

Batshuayi will be eager to impress in Costa’s absence, however this transfer does carry some risk. At £8.5m he is pricey, especially considering he has only registered 18 FPL points all season. A straight-swap with Costa (just for Gameweek 18) is all I would recommend to try to grab some quick-fire points.


NOT

Patrick van Aanholt – Sunderland

So far, the Sunderland full-back has been a useful and relatively cheap option for FPL players. Having racked up an impressive 15 points in Gameweek 17 (goal, clean sheet, 3 bonus), the Dutchman is perhaps not someone you should be looking to transfer out, but a move to the safe-haven of the substitutes bench could be a wise move for Gameweek 18.

Sunderland face a tough looking trip to Old Trafford, where I struggle to see them keeping a clean sheet – especially with the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic in such scintillating form. Sure, there’s a chance he’ll grab something from the game as he’s a continual attacking threat for the Black Cats, but I cannot see that happening this weekend.

For the mere 4.3% of FPL boss who own PVA, my advice would be to drop him to the bench for this one and bring in one of your substitutes – preferably one who isn’t up against the league’s most in-form striker.

Riyad Mahrez – Leicester

Whilst he isn’t having a terrible season by any stretch, the Algerian is struggling to replicate his form and consistency of last season, with only 3 goals, 3 assists and 4 bonus points to his name so far this campaign.

At £9.0m, last year’s PFA Player of the Year is an expensive luxury in my opinion. Raheem Sterling (£7.1m), Adam Lallana (£7.4m), and Theo Walcott (£7.8m) are all out-scoring Mahrez and are considerably cheaper.

What’s more, the aforementioned choices all have very winnable looking games over the festive period, making them all the more tempting over the Leicester City attacking midfielder.

Featuring in almost 10% of FPL teams at the time of writing, the Leicester man remains a relatively popular choice, but now’s the time to sell and bag more bang for your buck, with Arsenal’s Theo Walcott (£7.8m) looking like a worthy replacement.

Harry Kane – Spurs

The Spurs striker is seriously struggling to justify his sky-high cost. At £11.3m, he’s in the same price-range as Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who has bagged 29 more points to date.

It appears many FPL bosses were hoping for more from Kane in the previous 2 gameweeks, as Spurs had home-bankers against both Hull and Burnley.

However the England forward racked up an incredibly underwhelming 4 points in those 2 games, much to the disappointment of those who made him their captain (triple captain) in hope of a much higher points haul.

I suspect many of the 19% of players who have Kane in their sides will be looking elsewhere for points for Gameweek 18 and I would recommend  you do the same as his TSB% and price begin to plummet ahead of Monday’s 11:30am deadline.

There are a number of cheaper options available to you, which would free up some serious funds to give other areas of your team a face-lift, with Zlatan, Lukaku and Nedgredo each catching the eye of ten of thousands of FPL bosses already this week.

If you haven’t already read on Twitter, we have teamed up with our good friends at Footie Survivor once again to bring you a FREE TO PLAY weekly survival game, with a copy of FIFA 17 for PS4 or Xbox going to the winner.

It’s completely free to play – simply click the Football Survivor banner below and register a username, email address and then pick which Premier League team YOU think will win each week, starting 26th December for Gameweek 18.

It’s quick and easy to play and great fun so please spare yourself 30 seconds to register, submit a team and help us get over 1000 users in our league.

Thank you for reading ‘Fantasy Premier League Tips: Hot or Not – Gameweek 18′ which was written by @DannyBryan27

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