Fantasy Premier League Gameweek 17: tips, price rises and Erling Haaland dilemma as Liverpool face Man Utd

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Our high-flying FPL manager offers strategies and transfer tips ahead of Gameweek 17 - should you keep Erling Haaland, and what do with Newcastle United players

Welcome once more to our weekly Fantasy Premier League advice column, this time offering up all the hints and transfer tips you’ll need to go flying up the rankings in Gameweek 17, courtesy of the head coach of our Top 1,000 team. Or, more accurately, our Top 1,213 team, because sadly a slight underperformance last week has knocked us down a peg or two. Still, not bad at all, and hopefully our ranking proves that we know what we’re talking about…

This week we’re going to mull over some of the trickiest decisions that managers are being presented with over the next couple of weeks – what to do with Erling Haaland? When should we start thinking about AFCON and the Asian Cup? Do we still trust Newcastle United players after three defeats on the bounce? All of that is coming up, but first we must sound the Friday Deadline Klaxon – get all of your transfers done by 18:30 BST on Friday 15 December, or you’ll miss out.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Haaland and other headaches

Let’s start at the top – a foot injury has seen Haaland, the most popular player in the entire game, miss two matches in a row and may well render him unavailable for the home game against Crystal Palace this Saturday. After that, the Club World Cup means he will miss Gameweek 18 entirely, along with every other Manchester City player. Is transferring him out unthinkable, or is it a necessary sacrifice?

The first response is a stock piece of advice we’ve offered many times before in this column – wait for the press conferences. Guardiola will talk to the media on Friday and may well drop hints about Haaland’s availability or just straight up tell us that he’s in or out of the side. If it looks like he’s going to play, keep him in. Missing GW18 isn’t, in our estimation, worth missing out on the potential for points against Crystal Palace.

If, however, he seems likely to be missing in action for two weeks on the bounce, we think it’s absolutely fine to transfer him out – but make sure you know exactly what your double transfer plan is to bring him back in a fortnight’s time, and don’t kid yourself into thinking you can do without him beyond that. Whoever has to go to make space, get them gone and bring the blond Norwegian behemoth back. Haaland, like Mohamed Salah, is just too good to leave out of your team for any length of time.

Secondly, let’s consider the awkward case of Newcastle. Just last week we were debating which Magpies were must haves given that triple ownership seemed like simple common sense between Kieran Trippier, Anthony Gordon, Alexander Isak and everyone else – but after a series of defeats including a pair of abject hammerings at the hands of Everton and Tottenham Hotspur, we may have to take stock of how much damage that injury crisis has done. Their players look dead on their feet.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

That makes it look tempting to move players like Trippier and Gordon on, because there’s a big chance you’ll be making a profit from them – but looking at their coming fixtures, they have Fulham, Luton Town and Nottingham Forest as their next three before things toughen up considerably. We’d start considering selling Newcastle assets but don’t think we need to panic just yet, no matter how poor they’ve been for the last two gameweeks – but plan out some possible moves before it’s too late.

As we’ll discuss later, we’re wildcarding this week so that means some tougher calls for us to make, especially on Trippier, who has hit a bit of a personal nadir recently having been one of the best assets in the game not so very long ago. One thing to note is that he will most certainly miss the next match through suspension and as a result, his price is likely to start dropping very soon, which makes moving him on more tempting, especially as his high value can open up a lot of space elsewhere in the team. Do we really think Trippier is worth keeping over Pedro Porro and a profit? Probably not just now. We don’t blame anyone for moving on.

We also need to consider the implications of the Asian Cup and AFCON, both of which are coming up in January and both of which could see key players vanish for a maximum of four Gameweeks – specifically GWs 21-24. Players who will miss at least some time and likely more include Mohamed Salah, Son Heung-Min, Hwang Hee-Chan and Bryan Mbeumo.

While we’re still a few weeks away, it does make sense to start moving affected non-essential assets on. If you’ve made a profit on Hwang, for instance, we’d say this is a great time to cash out, while Mbeumo’s injury means he should be gone anyway. But don’t shift Son or Salah just yet – we’ll go into this in more detail at the time, but we may well end up advocating for hanging onto Salah regardless of how long he’ll be out, while we’d sell Son at the last possible minute.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Lastly, a quick word on goalkeepers. Alphonse Areola, one of the most popular starting goalies in the game, remains a doubt with a wrist injury while Robert Sánchez, the Chelsea man whose popularity has exploded thanks to a favourable run of fixtures, is also yellow-triangled with a knee problem. To compound the issue, a lot of people brought in Newcastle’s Martin Dúbravka, but there are now concerns over both illness and a lingering shoulder injury.

We wouldn’t be too worried about the latter – the Slovakian stopper was well enough to play against AC Milan in midweek and while this weekend’s opponents Fulham are suddenly scoring for fun, that doesn’t justify a goalkeeper trade in our view. As for Areola and Sánchez, again it’s a case of waiting for the press conferences, but with neither liable to miss many games, we’d not mess up our team value balance to bring someone else in. Goalkeeper scores have been pretty low this year, so if you draw a big fat zero one week, you’ll often only be missing out on a couple of points anyway. Matt Turner getting promoted back to the Nottingham Forest starting XI last weekend should settle a few jitters, too.

Price changes, suspensions and captain picks

Most of the price movement has already happened for the week, with a couple of dozen players shifting up or down including the likes of Sánchez and Porro, who are becoming very popular assets indeed. Trippier will probably drop by Saturday, and Malo Gusto might too, while goalkeepers Emiliano Martínez and Neto are both trending upwards, as is Aston Villa’s Leon Bailey.

There aren’t too many fresh injuries to worry about outside of the goalkeepers – Gordon might have a minor knock but will likely play, while Mbeumo will be out for a few weeks. Tyrick Mitchell is another, with a hip injury very likely ruling him out for a couple of games at least. His price could drop too as a consequence. There are, however, no shortage of suspensions. Trippier joins Jarrad Branthwaite, Bruno Fernandes and Douglas Luiz in missing one game for picking up five bookings.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

For the captaincy this week, we can only recommend Haaland if Guardiola gives us an absolutely unequivocal thumbs up on his fitness. Right now he’s viewed as less likely to start than to be rested, so we’d not even think about it until proven otherwise. Instead, we think the best options are Son Heung-Min, with Spurs away to clean-sheet-shy Forest and Mohamed Salah, who will face a distinctly up-and-down Manchester United on Sunday.

3 Added Minutes FC

Normally, we’d end each week by showing you how we did last week with our high-flying example team, but this time around we’re instead going to show you our workings on our wildcard – although with pressers to come, it’s very much a work in progress. You’ll just have to take our word for it that we earned 57 points last week, which made up for a very tough midweek set of games and pushed us to the fringes of a swift return to the top 1,000.

Fantasy Premier League

Now, the astute among you will immediately notice that we’re a frustrating £0.1m away from being able to afford this set-up. Our plan is that if Sánchez and Haaland both seem likely to play, we’ll move Pau Torres to Ezri Konsa to fix that – but there’s a whole ton of variables in play. If Haaland is injured, we’ll likely take Isak instead and have Alexander-Arnold in over one of the defenders for now, with the plan being to switch them right back around in a fortnight. Alternatively, we don’t hate swapping Bukayo Saka out, as he doesn’t score many more than, say, Jarrod Bowen, and we would make a healthy profit on trading him away. If we do that we could either upgrade our goalkeeper situation to have Areola as a back-up and swap Amari’i Bell out for someone else, or… well, do any number of things, really.

The key decisions will be in goal and whether to keep Haaland or not, which we can’t decide until the eleventh hour – but otherwise, this should give you a pretty good idea of what we think the ideal team looks like right now, although teams who haven’t played the transfer market as well may struggle to afford all of it. Hopefully it provides the outline of a good-looking team for your own decision, anyway.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

That’s all for this week – we’ll speak again next week ahead of the pre-Christmas run of fixtures, which starts on Thursday. Good luck until then, and may all of your goalkeepers actually play this weekend.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.