West Ham Players Now an Option in FPL?
West Ham had truly horrendous fixtures to start the season. They do face Tottenham in Gameweek 9 but beyond that their fixtures are finally looking better. As a result we can start to consider West Ham players in Fantasy Premier League.
West Ham Fixtures
Next 5 fixtures: Tottenham (H), Leicester (A), Burnley (H), Huddersfield (A), Man City (H)
West Ham Defence
That FPL favourite Fabianski (£4.5m) was priced so low at the start of the season was nothing short of criminal. Then again, West Ham’s opening fixtures have been murderous. 1 clean sheet in 8 doesn’t sound great, but that was against Chelsea – they’ve also played Liverpool, Man Utd and Arsenal in that time. Once the Spurs game is out of the way, bar a visit from City in GW13, there’s strong potential for clean sheets in every game right up until GW22! Moreover, the former “Flappyanski” has conceded no more than 1 goal in each of the last 5 league games. Add to that at least one save points in all 8 games so far, and you’ve got yourself a prized set-and-forget goalie!
I didn’t know much about Balbuena (£4.4m) before this season. I didn’t know much about him before this week. But 2 stats I’ve seen puts him firmly on my watchlist. First, he’s leading the way for shots in the opposition area (7) for any defender priced £4.5m or under. Second, he’s got the most baseline bonus points (124) amongst defenders not just in that bracket, but for any defender under £5.5m. Which means he’ll be a BPS magnet when the Hammers start keeping clean sheets! (Exhibit A: he got 2 bonus points in the 0-0 draw with Chelsea…)
Year in, year out, FPL managers seek the cheapest playing defenders. Usually they’re cheap for a reason: playing in an awful team, rookies thrown in at the deep end. But in Zabaleta, down to £4.3m, we have a title winner who bombs down the wing for fun. (At 33 I’m the same age as him, but the guy is relentless!) As well as an assist against Man Utd, he’s picked up 4 BPS in just 5 games he’s started. Benched when the Hammers were hammered by Liverpool and Arsenal, Pellegrini seems to have realised his mistake and he’s an integral part of West Ham’s defence now.
West Ham Midfield
1 goal, 1 assist and 3 bonus points is relatively underwhelming for an Out Of Position midfielder playing in a front 3. But like most new recruits to the Premier League, Anderson (£6.8m) needed time to adapt. And unlike, say, Keita or Fabinho at Liverpool, he has. Between gameweeks 5 and 8, Anderson has made the 2nd highest number of key passes among midfielders, creating 13 chances. Starting every game so far, now that he’s found his feet in the league, the double-digit haul against Man Utd doesn’t look to be a one-off…
Equal for points (26) and price (£6.8m) with Anderson, Yarmolenko had to bide his time to get starts in the league. But 2 goals, an assist and 2 bonus points outscores his Brazilian counterpart in two-thirds of the pitch time. He’s started the last 4, though only completed 90 minutes once. But a brace away to Everton shows his potential as another OOP mid, and his track record at International level (36 goals in 79 games) for Ukraine speaks for itself! Update: Yarmolenko is out injured.
West Ham Forwards
It’s a shame that the Official FPL decision-makers rectified last season’s mistake of having Arnautovic (£7.0m) as a midfielder. They may take away our OOP players, but they’ll never take away our talismen! And Arnie is the very definition of talisman. Almost everything at the Hammers goes through him. Of all the West Ham players you want in your FPL team, Arnautovic leads the way. 4 goals, 1 assist and a healthy 6 BPS so far against 6 top-ten teams (as well as Everton, sitting just outside in 11th). Imagine what he can do against weaker opposition! What’s more, he’s had 9 more touches in the penalty box than his nearest rival among forwards in the last 2 gameweeks, with a combined 22 against Man Utd and Brighton. A few words of warning, though. He is carrying an injury, although it’s well looked after by West Ham’s medical staff. And while he took the penalty against Bournemouth, regular taker Mark Noble said that was a one-off to give the striker confidence early in the season.
West Ham Players On The Up
Still, I’ll put money on the line to bet the Hammers won’t remain flirting with the relegation places for much longer. These West Ham players I’ve highlighted should help your FPL team fly up the tables, too!