We’ve updated The Watchlist for Gameweek 8 of Fantasy Premier League (FPL) and beyond.
In this article series, we take a look at the stand-out players over the medium term.
This is in contrast to the Scout Picks, which deals only in the upcoming Gameweek.
We may make further tweaks to both The Watchlist widget on the sidebar and the article itself as the week progresses, as significant injury news could still land on Thursday and Friday.
MORE ABOUT THE WATCHLIST
We rank players according to factors such as club injuries, form (last four Gameweeks), underlying numbers, forthcoming fixtures, Rate My Team’s points projections and whether or not the player in question is likely to be a bargain in FPL.
Arrows before the name indicate whether a player has increased in appeal or fallen in our reckoning since the previous Gameweek or if they are a new entry into the tables.
The key for the factors you’ll see in the below tables is as follows:
THE WATCHLIST: GOALKEEPERS
It’s time to wave farewell to Robert Sanchez (£4.6m), who has been a rare success story at Chelsea this season. He had been towards the top of our Watchlist ever since Kepa Arrizabalaga departed for Spain but with a horrendous run of fixtures coming up after the October international break, he’s now dropped off the list.
There are two new entries, one of which has been boosted by an injury to a positional rival.
The arrival of Dean Henderson (£4.5m) at Crystal Palace kept Sam Johnstone (£4.5m) at arm’s length from our list of medium-term targets, such was the uncertainty over the eventual goalkeeping pecking order.
Not only has Roy Hodgson kept faith with Johnstone in the opening two months, but there is also now assessment ongoing on what seems like a serious-sounding thigh injury to Henderson. The former Manchester United man hobbled off in the EFL Cup tie against his former employers last week and Hodgson said that an initial scan “was not very positive”. While the results of a second scan and a recovery timeframe are awaited, the fact that this looks like a recurrence of an old injury surely points to the Eagles taking their time with Henderson’s rehab.
The matches against Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur immediately after the October international break keep Johnstone relatively low down on the Watchlist but Palace do sit top of our Season Ticker from Gameweeks 8-15 overall.
The Eagles’ very positive underlying defensive numbers, which have carried on from last season, means it’s not just blind faith in the fixtures when it comes to backing Johnstone.
Alisson (£5.5m) also makes a first appearance of 2023/24. Clean sheets have been scarce for Liverpool so far but they have only conceded seven goals in as many matches, so they’ve not been too far away. The Reds are a respectable sixth for expected goals conceded (xGC), despite being lumbered with one of the toughest opening runs of fixtures and having at least one player sent off in three of their games.
The Brazil international, unlike his compatriot Ederson (£5.6m), can also compensate even when a clean sheet is lost: Alisson has 11 save and bonus points already in 2023/24, Ederson just two.
Once this weekend’s trip to Brighton is out of the way, Liverpool embark on a mostly excellent run of fixtures from Gameweeks 9-16.
THE WATCHLIST: DEFENDERS
Liverpool’s fixture swing is a reason why the fit-again Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.9m) gets a big hike in our defenders’ Watchlist.
His cost is a big deterrent but we only need to look at the recent pooh-poohing of the (admittedly cheaper) Kieran Trippier (£6.8m), who was deemed too expensive by many ahead of Newcastle’s fixture swing. Three Gameweeks later, he’s 38 points better off.
Alexander-Arnold produced a sensational display in the match against Aston Villa in Gameweek 4, creating five chances, delivering an assist and maximum bonus, and banking a clean sheet before injury ended his afternoon. That injury has kept him out of the starting XI since but he did come off the bench on his comeback in Gameweek 7.
In the final nine Gameweeks of 2022/23, when Alexander-Arnold was playing in his new inverted full-back role, he was top among all defenders for expected goal involvement (xGI).
He has admittedly since lost some set plays to Dominik Szoboszlai (£7.0m), which is a genuine argument against investment, and FPL team value will mean he’s a no-go for some. But for those Fantasy managers adopting a one-premium set-up, perhaps going without Erling Haaland (£14.1m) until Gameweek 15/16, Alexander-Arnold is a potentially explosive differential: just 3% of the top 100k own him.
Joachim Andersen (£4.8m) and Vladimir Coufal (£4.5m) return to the list ahead of favourable swings for Palace and West Ham United, although the best fixture runs for both players don’t arrive till Gameweeks 11 and 10 respectively.
Andersen almost certainly won’t finish where he is situated now, as FPL’s top-scoring defender. But with Palace’s defensive prowess and their appealing fixtures, as mentioned in the section above, a move for the Dane isn’t just following past points.
With seven goal attempts and eight chances created under his belt, he’s been directly involved in 15 Palace shooting opportunities this season – that’s more than any other Premier League centre-half.
Coufal will struggle to compete with Alphonse Areola (£4.2m) for value but he too carries more than just clean-sheet potential, having assisted in each of the last three Gameweeks. An overperformance, for sure, but he has created an eye-catching seven chances across those fixtures.
There’s a change of Spurs defenders, with just £0.2m now separating Destiny Udogie (£4.8m) and Pedro Porro (£5.0m). It’s more difficult to use the ‘value’ argument with the former as a result, particularly with Porro involved in more attacks (nine shots and 10 chances created) than Udogie (one shot and six chances created) in the six Gameweeks they’ve started together.
Further word is awaited on a potential injury to Pervis Estupinan (£5.3m) but Brighton’s next two fixtures are daunting from a defensive perspective anyway, so there’s no immediate hurry to remove him.
THE WATCHLIST: MIDFIELDERS
Vote for Fantasy Football Scout at the 2023 Football Content Awards by clicking here and selecting our name in the ‘Best in Fantasy Football’ section from the ‘Editorial’ drop-down menu.
You can also vote via Twitter using this one-click Tweet template.
A huge thank you for your continued support!