Who is the best replacement for Ferran Torres in FPL? With the Spaniard rested for the last two Premier League games, Jian Batra analyses a multitude of good FPL alternatives.
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Should you Replace Ferran Torres (£7.1m)?
I’ll start by acknowledging that he’s a top player, and will be successful throughout his career.
The problem isn’t anything to do with his ability. It’s not to do with his FPL price either, because a player of that quality at £7.1m is a steal. It’s not the fixtures: as we saw against Chelsea, Manchester City are practically fixture proof.
It lies in his lack of minutes. A theory I discussed in my first preseason article, “Lessons Learnt“, is that you only really want players who are the talismans for their team, and certainly not players subject to rotation. Not only do you miss out on the individual’s points, but restructuring the squad to have a stronger bench to accommodate this will inevitably lose you points as well.
Ferran Torres Minutes From Last Season
Total Premier League appearances – 24 (1307 minutes, average of 34.4 minutes for the 38 games)
Total Cup appearances – 12 (804 minutes, 38% of total minutes from 33% of the games).
This highlights Pep’s preference to play him more in the cup tournaments, rather than the league.
In Fantasy Premier League terms, City don’t have a talisman and their attackers haven’t been good value for money for a considerable length of time. Most assets in your team should have the capability to provide some sense of longevity to ensure a lack of micro-managing is needed.
The Best Ferran Torres FPL Replacements
Before stating which midfield replacements would be best, it’s important to consider where we should reallocate the funds. For me, my ideal strategy would be to downgrade Torres, enabling me to reinvest the money elsewhere.
In particular, the Chelsea and Manchester City defences look worthy of investment.
Many of the current popular midfielders face fixture swings for the worse in the next few weeks. In comparison, the defences listed above could provide better value for money.
Nonetheless, I understand that not everyone will agree or be in such a flexible position, so here are my favourite midfield replacements for Ferran Torres in order of preference.
1. Raphinha (£6.5m)
Fixtures: WAT, sou, WOL, nor
The next four fixtures are close to being as good as they come. With Marcelo Bielsa persistent in his approach of “chaos”, including the extremely intense press and Raphinha being nailed on, he’s a steal at £6.5m.
He’s returned 8 points and scored in both his last two games, but has only completed 66 and 68 minutes. He was nursing an injury previously, and should get closer to completing 90 minutes as time goes on.
This heightens his ceiling hugely, as not only can he acquire a greater amount of attacking returns but is also more likely to receive maximum bonus.
A injury depleted defence isn’t actually a bad thing for him either. It could mean a more open, free-scoring game; conditions under which Leeds tend to thrive . The result doesn’t matter to FPL managers, but the attacking freedom Raphinha might be afforded during this fixture run certainly does.
Norwich (12.7 xGC) and Watford (10.1 xGC) particularly boast poor defensive underlying stats as well.
Apart from his injury, there’s very little downside to Raphinha.
2. Bukayo Saka (£6.2m)
Fixtures: bha, CRY, AVL, lei
After a very good performance against Spurs, Saka looks set to be one of the few Arsenal attackers who is likely to be free of rotation for the most part.
From Gameweek 7 – Gameweek 20, Arsenal have a good fixture run ahead of them. Bringing in Saka is essentially a set and forget transfer, and at that price gives you more funds to spend on the rest of the squad.
Over that period you can’t expect him to return double figure hauls every single week, but he certainly should return a solid amount of FPL points per 90. He’s a facilitator with the occasional high ceiling game: those players are needed in FPL to achieve an extremely good rank.
Arsenal only look to be getting better going forward, and he could form a good partnership with the new signing; Takehiro Tomisayu (£4.5m).
3. Jack Grealish (£8.0m)
Fixtures: liv, BUR, bha, CRY
You wouldn’t be transferring him in for the Liverpool game, but the three fixtures after are brilliant. This would most definitely be a punt, but as with all City players, there’s a high reward too.
City attackers have extremely high ceilings against low blocks (Brighton are not included in this), so if Grealish has just one very good game, the transfer will have paid off.
The thing I like about Grealish is he’s affordable and the most nailed on City attacker at the moment. He’s formed a fantastic relationship with Joao Cancelo (£6.1m, a fantastic option himself), and, from a tactical perspective, Pep clearly has a preference to play a left footed Number 8 and right footed Left Winger to create constant overlaps.
Raheem Sterling and Phil Foden, the other left wing options, both seem to be preferred as a false 9.
Grealish has been unfortunate with his attacking returns, but I’m sure with his brilliant performances and positive underlying numbers they will come to fruition.
4. Demarai Gray (£5.8m)
Fixtures: mun, WHU, WAT, wol
This is a difficult one. Gray is in brilliant form, however his fixture run coming up is mixed. Having watched Everton, I’ve come to the conclusion that he’s quite integral to their attack, especially due to his ability to carry the ball on the transition.
It means he’ll constantly be involved and he’s direct in his approach. That’s a benefit for FPL managers, as it leads to a likely higher attacking output. At his price he’s difficult to ignore: he allows you to spend so much money on the rest of the squad and has a relatively high ceiling.
Finally, I don’t think the fixture run is as bad as as the FDR shows. All five defences are suspect at times, which should mean points for the taking.
5. James Ward-Prowse (£6.4m) and 6. Wilfred Zaha (£6.9m)
I couldn’t split the two, quite similar in terms of points potential, hence combining them.
Ward-Prowse’s fixtures: che, LEE, BUR, wat
Zaha’s fixtures: LEI, ars, NEW, mci
For the last two seasons they have both returned a similar amount of points, at a similar price point and also accumulate points in a similar way (they tend to go on a run of blanks before securing a double digit haul).
Ward-Prowse has the simpler fixture run. Zaha’s is more of a sandwich.
Both will get at least some returns, but the Palace attack is flowing better currently. Zaha edges it for me if you are willing to persist with the option for a longer period of time. He’s more integral to the Palace side, and they seem to have found their attacking rhythm when compared to Southampton.
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