Gameweek 8 was a wakeup call for many GAFFR managers as we witnessed significant rotation in the midweek fixtures and some fantasy stalwarts benched. This week saw hell freeze over, swine take to the skies and – most surprisingly of all – a Wycombe point at home to Watford!
Gasps were heard across Twitter as we saw the highest-ranked defender Jake Bidwell (6.8m) replaced on the Swansea left by Ryan Manning (6.3m). It was a possibility we highlighted last week and it will be a concern for all the Bidwell owners out there if he becomes a rotation risk. Astonishingly, Bidwell came on, played ONE pass and got an assist. He ended up with 3 bonus points in a clear system glitch and rescued a lot of relieved owners.
Watford controversially – and unwisely – opted to rest Jeremy Ngakia (5.7m) and Ben Wilmot (5.7m) against lowly Wycombe Wanderers who picked up their first point of the season and were unfortunate not to win.
The much-maligned Chairboys have been steadily improving in recent weeks and are no longer the whipping boys they were made out to be. Having said that, Watford were poor, undermotivated and have not looked fluent in front of goal. The much-captained João Pedro (7.7m) blanked and looked off the pace for The Hornets.
Watford’s solid defence has been their constant so far but take that away and you’re left with very little at the moment.
This may be the time to look at Nottingham Forest players, their next four fixtures include Wycombe, Coventry and Barnsley. They’ve had a rough time of it lately with three consecutive 1-1 draws against ordinary sides but we have faith the Chris Hughton will turn this around and he’ll surely target this sequence of games to unleash the talents of Joe Lolley (7.8m), Anthony Knockaert (7.5m) and Sammy Ameobi (6.8m). Lewis Grabban (8.9m) is struggling for confidence and has lost his place for the moment. Is this the time to get him on the pitch?
Brentford have a huge series of games against unfancied teams with five of the next seven appearing as straight-forward as you can get in this league. Ivan Toney (9.4m) is pretty much a necessity in the game at this point. If you don’t have him yet, get him in ASAP!
Bryan Mbeumo (9.1m) is returning to form after a slow start and is picking up assists regularly. Looking at differentials, Saman Ghoddos (6.4m) made his first appearance in a crucial match against Norwich which suggests the winger may be close to getting regular game time.
Looking ahead to GW 9, the Friday evening matchup sees leaders Reading visit a Coventry side coming off a run of four defeats in their last five. The Sky Blues are struggling after a promising start to the season, injuries and suspensions have hit a decidedly thin squad and they’re now struggling at both ends. Matt Godden (5.2m) is the only Coventry asset worth considering at the moment as the only real goal threat but we don’t expect returns against this obdurate Reading defence. The Royals are 6 points clear at the top of the table and have conceded just three goals in eight games so far.
Michael Morrison (5.8m) leads the way on points in the Reading defence while Omar Richards (4.4m) and Liam Moore (4.8m) are the budget alternatives guaranteed to remain first choice. There’s a high likelihood of clean sheets here and we’d also expect to see opportunities for Lucas João (6.3m) and Yakou Méïté (6.2m) to get on the scoresheet. 18-year-old Michael Olise (4.7m) scored last week, a regular starter and by far the best value midfielder in the game.
One word of caution, 27% of Reading’s shots have resulted in goals this season and those figures are surely unsustainable. Either they’re overperforming or their strikers are among the best in Europe.
The standout fixture of the gameweek may well be Swansea v Blackburn on Saturday. The Swans come in as favourites having convincingly dispatched an improved Stoke side 2-0 in their last fixture and they have only tasted defeat once this season.
The loss of Morgan Gibbs-White (7.2m) has impacted their attacking threat but Jamal Lowe (7.0m) has replaced him as their dominant midfield asset.
Rovers have one win in their last five and have dropped to 12th despite their exciting brand of football and the unstoppable Adam Armstrong (7.9m) buzzing around up front.
The Swans are still going about the league in an underwhelming, business-like manner and they haven’t lost to Blackburn in their last four meetings. If Jake Bidwell (6.8m) has become a rotation risk – and it may be early to come to that conclusion – Connor Roberts (6.6m) is the obvious choice on the other wing for skittish managers looking for a no-brainer replacement.
It’s defence against attack in this match and we expect it to be tight.