Aston Villa were the second most-owned team in the Fantasy Premier League (FPL) last weekend with over 10 million selections, so it’s safe to say that the postponement of their match against Newcastle will be causing some headaches in the run-up to Gameweek 11.
For those who had been planning to bring in some Villa assets this week or want to jettison their existing ones, one club in particular stands out as a source of replacements.
There’s a Southampton player among the top three recommendations in our Transfer Score rankings for all four playing positions.
A player’s Transfer Score is made up of his recent form, which counts for 50 per cent of the rating, with further marks for low cost, ownership and upcoming fixture difficulty rating (FDR).
As the only regular starter in the Saints defence whose price has yet to rise, Jan Bednarek is our top outfield recommendation this week.
His low ownership makes him a cheap differential option and with three of his next five fixtures having an FDR of just 2 he’s got a good chance of bagging some clean sheet points.
Chelsea were the only club with a higher combined ownership than Villa in gameweek 10. The average manager owned 1.5 Blues players and that figure is still creeping upwards as the next transfer deadline approaches.
Ben Chilwell remains a smart choice despite being the most popular defender thanks to his reliable returns and absence of tough fixtures in the weeks ahead.
James Ward-Prowse may have stolen the headlines last week with his third double-digit haul in five matches but there is at least one more efficient way into the Southampton midfield.
While those with money to burn should consider snapping up in-form duo Bruno Fernandes or Riyad Mahrez before their stock rises any higher, the reinvigorated Theo Walcott could prove a value pick.
His return to the south coast began on the bench, which saw his price drop to just £5.8m, but four attacking returns in just five starts means that his ownership may soon climb from a meagre 0.8%.
Danny Ings’ injury would probably have derailed Southampton’s attack a year ago, but the improvement made by his strike partner Che Adams since then have helped to keep things ticking over.
Adams tops the forward recommendations this week thanks to his low price and those aforementioned gentle fixtures, edging out two other Englishmen whose stock is rising.
Tammy Abraham must have wondered how much playing time he would be getting with so many big names arriving at Stamford Bridge this summer.
However five attacking returns this season have made it difficult for Frank Lampard to drop him and after four successive starts he’s a viable alternative for managers who need an affordable route into the Chelsea attack.
An even more surprising name on our list is Danny Welbeck, who suffered relegation as a bit-part player for Watford last term but has earned a spot in the starting 11 of an impressive Brighton side.
At just £5.5m and owned by just 0.4% of managers despite back-to-back attacking returns, he could prove to be one of the bargains of the season.
The increasing popularity of owning just one first-choice goalkeeper and filling the second slot with a cheap ‘junk’ player to free up funds elsewhere is backfiring on anyone who opted to adopt this strategy with Emiliano Martinez.
Again a Southampton player is the best option for switching out Villa’s custodian with a single transfer, with Alex McCarthy costing a shade less than the Argentinian.
For those who aren’t back into as tight a corner, the form of Lukasz Fabianski and Hugo Lloris makes them hard to ignore despite some tougher fixtures ahead.
One more thing to consider
While it may be tempting to ditch your Villa and Newcastle assets to avoid blanks this week, don’t forget that their fixture will be replayed – meaning a double gameweek at some point in the future.
Not only that, but Villa also missed Gameweek 1. That means there are potentially two double gameweeks coming, or even the mouth-watering possibility of one triple gameweek should fixture schedules be so unkind to them.
And to give you even more cause to think twice, before the Newcastle game was cancelled, Villa also had the most attractive run of fixtures in the league coming, according to our analysis of the FPL’s Fixture Difficulty Ratings (FDR).
So if you do swap out your Villa players, just be prepared for the fact you may want them back before too long.
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