Goalkeepers are rarely the focus of an FPL manager's week by week strategy, with many preferring to pick a decent option at the start of the campaign and stick with him through thick and thin. However, gameweek 29 offers a rare moment in the spotlight for FPL glovesmen.
Our Transfer Score rankings place Leeds United's Illan Meslier second overall, behind only Newcastle defender Jamaal Lascelles. The Toon captain is part of a resurgent defensive unit with recalled stopper Martin Dubravka also playing a part in recent weeks.
Here, FFT takes a look the top transfer picks for gameweek 29 - one which is dominated by defenders.
Top of the stops
A player’s Transfer Score is decided by comparing their form, cost, ownership % and fixture difficulty ratings. They then receive a mark out of 100 for this combo. The highest rated player heading into GW29 is Meslier, who scores 85 (with over 80 in each individual category).
Two clean sheets in his last four games – plus a penalty save in his side's loss to West Ham, helping him to two bonus points – have the Frenchman behind only Gareth Bale in the form charts. He costs only £4.6m and is owned by a mere 6.7% of managers, meaning he has the potential to be a key differential. This leads to an overall transfer score of 85.
Meslier ranks fourth among all goalkeepers across the season, with 122 fantasy points to his name. This puts him ahead of the likes of Kasper Schmeichel and Hugo Lloris, despite costing around £1m less.
Newcastle United's Martin Dubravka has conceded only two goals in three games since returning in place of Karl Darlow, with six saves against Villa helping him to a bonus point.
The Slovakian is our second-ranked keeper this week with a transfer score of 72, ahead of Fulham’s Alphonse Areola on 69, and ranks sixth overall. What's more, two of the players ahead of him appear in the Transfer Score charts appear to be benefiting from his form.
Magpies digging deep
Newcastle’s survival fight has been hampered by injuries to most of their key attacking players, but at the other end of the field they are giving their all for Steve Bruce and his managerial counterparts in FPL.
Lascelles has scored in two of the last three games - with a clean sheet in the other - helping him to a transfer score of 88, while Emil Krafth (78) has taken full advantage of an FPL loophole.
Goals conceded after a player is substituted do not count against him, so as not to punish him for the errors of others, and the Swede was withdrawn after 71 minutes against Wolves and 82 minutes against Aston Villa. The midlands clubs’ goals in those 1-1 draws came after 73 and 86 respectively, leaving Krafth with three straight clean sheets even as his team managed only one.
Fulham once more complete the podium places and indeed provide the next three defenders in the rankings, with Joachim Anderson (75) followed by Ola Aina and Tosin Adarabioyo (both 71). The Cottagers back line is worth consideration in the coming weeks, which is not something you'd have said in the first half of the season.
Bale stands alone
The only attacking player in the top 10 of this week’s rankings is Gareth Bale, classed as a midfielder but playing as part of Spurs’ in-form front four. He looks set to take on an even greater role after Son Heung-min’s injury last weekend.
Averaging a whopping eight points per game over the period covered by the latest form rankings, the Welshman leads the way in terms of performances. Form accounts for 50% of a player’s transfer score, helping Bale to an overall Transfer Score of 79 despite his hefty £9.6m price tag.
Jesse Lingard, available again having missed West Ham’s last game against parent club Manchester United, is the next best midfield choice. His Transfer Score of 69 places him just ahead of another potential beneficiary of Son’s absence in Lucas Moura (68).
There is little to get excited about among the strikers, with Arsenal’s Alexandre Lacazette (63) and the Hammers’ Michail Antonio (62) the top-ranked options, but outside our overall top 30.
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