Lucas Torreira. Matt Doherty. Felipe Anderson. All three were hotly tipped differentials in last week’s feature and over the weekend they came good.
In the case of Doherty and Anderson, I’ve banged the drum for them on more than one occasion. But Arsenal’s Torreira, hot on the heels of consecutive MOTM awards was the star of the show.
A curveball captain, he was among the top point scorers in the game for the week and completed a hat-trick of MOTM awards and a goal for good measure. At less than two per cent ownership, still, the Uruguayan is beginning to look unfairly short of backers.
The MOTM run will not last forever – but if he can begin to contribute regular tackle or passing bonuses, a lot more will surely be shortlisting him for their team.
And in Anderson (5.4%), it is a similar tale. With Marko Arnautovic ruled out for West Ham, the Hammers will be even more reliant on Anderson for attacking returns in what is an extremely enticing next five (Fulham, Watford, Southampton, Burnley and Brighton). The problem for me will be that he looks set to become the most popular Hammers asset this week, leaving me to look elsewhere for my XI.
How the XI performed
Key: G = goal, A = assist, CS = clean sheet, MOTM = man of the match, T1T/T2T = tier-one/two tackles, T2P = tier-one/two passing, TI/2S = tier-one/two shots, TI/2SA = tier-one/two saves (c) = captain YC = yellow card
Lukasz Fabianski (£6.5m/2%) – 1
Matt Doherty (c) (£6.5m/7.32%) – 16 – G, YC
Hector Bellerin (£8.9m/2.08%) – 7 – CS
Yerry Mina (£8.1m/0.7%) – 0 – YC
Lucas Torreira (c) (£8.4m/1.4%) – 26 – G, MOTM
Andre Gomes (£9m/0.11%) – 5 – A
Gylfi Sigurdsson (c) (£9.1m/8.64%) – -1 – Missed penalty
Leroy Sane (£10.3m/9.2%) – 2
Felipe Anderson (£8.7m/4.3%) – 11 – G, A
Raul Jimenez (£7.9m/6.4%) – 1
Salomon Rondon (£9.5m/0.6%) – 5 – A
Looking ahead to GW19: Thirteen unlucky for some?
According to my rules, I should not select a team’s most-popular player for my differential XI. While he will be in breach of this, Felipe Anderson is still clearly a differential for you to strongly consider over the coming weeks.
But looking elsewhere, two 13-point returns in a row for Robert Snodgrass (£7.1m/0.8%) makes him an in-form prospect. At the weekend, it was a goal and a MOTM, the gameweek before it was a MOTM and two assists.
Looking back a week earlier, Snodgrass added another assist to his rapidly growing tally.
Beyond the last three weeks, there was nothing to suggest Snodgrass should even be on the radar. Security of starts was a major alarm bell – but currently over that, the Scot is a good bet, at least in the short term, ahead of a strong run of fixtures.
Given the choice, we would favour Anderson. But if you have transfers in the bank, and already have Anderson, a West Ham double would not be a bad bet.
Tripling up on Spurs
The standout fixture for me on Saturday is Spurs hosting Burnley. The Clarets last won on the road back in gameweek eight and that was against Cardiff.
In fact, by my reckoning, that is the only away win for Burnley this season so far. Buoyed by a smash-and-grab draw against Barcelona midweek, surely only a comedown of epic proportions would lead to an upset?
Our first pick is Son Heung-Min (£10.6m/2.7%), who gets my vote based on recent returns. Son took until gameweek 16 to fire in the way we know he can, with a goal and a shots bonus against Chelsea.
Since then, it’s been a story of two goals, two assists, a MOTM and a shots bonus (he also got one in GW16) and a minimum of seven points managed per week.
Rotation may be a factor but on the numbers, Son appears to be the evidence-based pick. I will pair him with Lucas Moura or another Spurs attacking threat, as well as Jan Vertonghen (£10m/1.83%). Injury free and avoiding suspension, Vertonghen I feel can challenge the more popular premium defenders long term. Clean sheets and bonus points are in his capability.
Still relatively low ownership
Why do Willy Boly and Ruben Neves command higher ownerships than attack-minded Matt Doherty (£6.5m/8.5%) when it comes to picking Wolves players?
I can see the argument for Boly – and he’s in my regular team as well as Doherty – but he has hardly been a regular outlet for bonus points. It’s the same for Neves, who has managed just a tackle bonus since gameweek 13 goal.
For a mere £0.4m more than Boly, you can have Doherty. And for £6.5m, you arguably have a cheap Marcos Alonso, in much better form.
With Wolves, there is a chance of the odd clean sheet – and many will have at least one, maybe two or even three of their defenders because of their low price point.
Doherty offers something a bit different. None of the others – aside from perhaps Johnny Otto before his injury – offered a realistic chance of regular bonuses, including goals and assists.
With most defensive players, a goal conceded signals the end of meaningful fantasy returns. With Doherty rampaging forward, I always feel like there’s more to come.
Differential XI (Under 10% ownership at the time of writing, not team’s most popular player)
Lukasz Fabianski (£6.5m/2%)
Hector Bellerin (8.9m/2.17%)
Jan Vertonghen (£10m/1.83%
Matt Doherty (£6.5m/8.5%)
David Luiz (£8.8m/5.45%)
Christian Eriksen (£11.2m/5.5%)
Robert Snodgrass (£7.1m/0.8%)
Lucas Torreira (c) (£8.4m/1.9%)
Abdoulaye Doucoure (£8.7m/3%)
Roberto Firmino (£12.2m/8.7%)
Son Heung-Min (c) (£10.6m/2.7%)
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