As plenty of FPL managers around the world celebrate Halloween this week, I was struck by a rather harrowing thought. The scariest thing in our lives isn’t the monster under our bed or the zombie in the graveyard: it’s our Fantasy Football team. Will my captain return? Who will Pep play upfront this week? Is my bench going to outscore my starting 11 again?
Fear isn’t just a part of the FPL experience, it’s a driving force. Fear forces us to make transfers we wouldn’t usually make. Fear persuades us to captain the player we don’t actually think will return. Fear is often more compelling than reason, logic and even hope.
At FantasyBet, rather than hanging a garland of garlic around our necks or sharpening our wooden stakes, we use the bookies’ odds to banish our demons.
Welcome to the cold, fearless domain of watertight data, underlying stats and logical decision making. A place where the only unnerving thing is the amount of faith still invested in Sebastien Haller.
It’s time for the Bookies’ Advantage for Gameweek 11.
Gameweek 11 Clean Sheet Odds & To 2.5+ Goals Odds
It’s time for Lundstram
Spoiler alert: Lundstram is once again pretty high up there for defenders most likely to score in Gameweek 11. But, unlike most weeks, he’s also up there for clean sheet potential too.
Sheffield United are a masterclass in how to defend in the top flight. I’m reluctant to use the term “new Burnley” but, heck, I might just do it anyway (it is Halloween, after all). It’s about time the bookies started to acknowledge United’s capabilities at the back, and they’ve done so by giving them a 40% chance of keeping a shutout against Burnley.
If you’ve got Lundstram (and if you don’t, stop reading this article and go and buy him), now would be a great time to give him a run out.
Liverpool doomed to concede
The bookies have seen it fit to give Liverpool a decent chance of keeping a clean sheet in Gameweek 11. As we all know by now, whenever they do that, Liverpool find a way to concede. It’s a rookie error by all accounts.
Liverpool’s defensive record this season has been remarkable in a uniquely frustrating kind of way. Klopp’s men are amongst 10 teams to have kept just 2 clean sheets or less so far this season, despite conceding a measly 8 goals (the joint best in the league). In other words, they haven’t conceded more than 1 goal in a Premier League match yet, but have still managed to concede in 80% of them.
Villa, meanwhile, may have considered themselves unfortunate not to score against Man City last gameweek. The likes of Grealish, McGinn and Wesley certainly have the weaponry to do some damage to what has, at times, looked like an exposed Liverpool backline.
Brighton up there with the big boys
What are Brighton doing so high up? Is this an alphabetical list? Nope. Is Harry’s weird-uncle-Graham paying off the head-honchos at FantasyBet? Possibly.
Oh, hang on. They’re playing Norwich. Right, that makes sense now: they’re playing the worst defence in the league. Plus, let’s face it: Brighton have been pretty good lately, haven’t they?
Norwich at home is a game you want to win. You don’t want to draw it. You certainly don’t want to lose it. You want to win it, and you want to win it comfortably. Popular picks in Maupay, Connolly and Gross will be looking to do just that, with a 33% chance of scoring over 2.5 goals on Saturday. The Seagulls have a respectable 36% chance of keeping a clean sheet too.
Gameweek 11 Anytime Goalscorers By Position
Vardy’s Party on the brink of a lull
Every party peaks and troughs. If you’ve ever managed to peel yourself away from understat.com, you may have even been to one yourself. For those who haven’t, let me explain an intriguing phenomenon that a reliable informant once told me about: the party dip.
The party dip usually comes at about 01:30am, after the initial enthusiasm has drained away and all that’s left are some half-empty tins of supermarket-brand lager, a cereal bowl filled with cigarette butts and the unmistakable stench of shame.
At that point, one of two things will happen: either people will go home (“I’ve got work tomorrow/my other half is waiting up for me/Chilwell is about to go up in price”) or the party will surge back into life with more gusto than ever before.
In the party that is Jamie Vardy’s FPL appeal, it’s currently about 01:00am. We are on the precipice of a lull, but it hasn’t happened yet. At the moment, this is still the best party there’s ever been. Strangers are snogging one another, the food is actually edible and, you know what? After 5 or 6 cans, that Tesco-value lager tastes just like unrefrigerated Kronenbourg.
But give it time. The lull always comes, and the bookies reckon there’s a more than 50% chance it’ll come against Palace. When it does, how many of us will go home before it has time to kick back into gear?
Martial back in the spotlight
It’s good to have Martial back. Earlier in the season he was a near-essential: an out-of-position midfielder wearing a number 9 on his back, playing for the free-scoring, revitalised Man United.
How things have changed.
The thing is, Martial might have been the reason they changed all along. As FPLGeneral pointed out on this week’s Fantasy Weekly pod, United’s win percentage is 77% with Martial playing. It’s just 28% without him.
Essential? Not yet. A great differential with huge potential? Certainly. The bookies have backed him at 43% to bag against Bournemouth.
Van Dijk back where he belongs
If bonus points were awarded every time a player was shown strolling into the box before a corner was about to be taken, Van Dijk would surely top the BPS tally every match.
He is the quintessential target man, hewn from the same giant redwood that birthed the likes of Peter Crouch, Harry Maguire and Salomon Rondon.
Though he hasn’t scored since Gameweek 1, the bookies are backing him to produce the goods against Villa after seeing a powerful header well saved by Gazzaniga last week. His colleague, Trent Alexander-Arnold, is one of 4 defenders with a 15% chance of scoring in Gameweek 11 too.