With another Fantasy Premier League (FPL) deadline hurtling into view, we’ve swiftly updated The Watchlist for Gameweek 15 and beyond.
If you’re new to this article series, we attempt to pick out the stand-out FPL transfer targets over the medium term.
This is in contrast to the Scout Picks, which deals only in the upcoming Gameweek.
In this case, our lookahead goes up to Gameweek 20 – the final round of fixtures before the winter break.
There could be further tweaks to our rankings in the next 24 hours, if any of the featured players are ruled out in the pre-match press conferences.
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: GAMEWEEK 15 RANKINGS
THE WATCHLIST: NOTABLE CHANGES
DUBRAVKA UP, AREOLA DOWN
No surprise to see Martin Dubravka (£3.9m) enter high up the Watchlist, with Newcastle United boasting one of the division’s best defensive records and enjoying some excellent fixtures in Gameweeks 17-19 especially.
We’ve yet to hear a timeline on Nick Pope‘s (£5.5m) recovery from his dislocated shoulder, and we might not get it before Tuesday’s deadline as Eddie Howe may be facing the media on the following day.
Media reports suggest Pope could be out for 4-5 months but there’s nothing official as yet.
Just keep an eye on those David de Gea rumours…
Dubravka’s availability at such a low price is another nail in the coffin of erstwhile budget favourite Alphonse Areola (£4.3m), who still only has one clean sheet to his name in 2023/24.
West Ham United’s fixtures are about to get tough, too, with matches against four of the teams above them in Gameweeks 15-20. Free-scoring Wolverhampton Wanderers are another opponent during this time.
However, it should be noted that Dubravka and Areola’s fixtures intertwine pretty well in the coming weeks and months, should you venture down the rotating goalkeepers route:
The only reason why Dubravka isn’t top of the goalkeepers’ standings is that Chelsea’s fixtures are better for longer.
The Blues don’t face any of the current top six before Gameweek 22, with Manchester United not exactly a formidable foe: The Red Devils have lost all five matches against top-half teams in 2023/24.
It’s the reason why FPL siren Reece James (£5.4m) is luring us back to the rocks, despite his well-documented injury record. Now free from suspension, he’s among the top three fit first-choice defenders for minutes per expected goal involvement (xGI) this season:
There’s no need to hit the panic button with Cole Palmer (£5.3m), meanwhile, with Mauricio Pochettino confirming that his Gameweek 14 benching was fitness-related.
…AS DO SPURS
Also on the up are Tottenham Hotspur players, now that the trip to Manchester City is out of the way – not that any fixture is daunting for Ange Postecoglou’s side.
Son Heung-min (£9.6m) now faces the wobbly defences of West Ham, Nottingham Forest, Brighton and Hove Albion and Bournemouth in the next six Gameweeks, after which he’ll depart for the Asia Cup.
For those who pay heed to Rate My Team (RMT), he’s comfortably above Bukayo Saka (£8.9m) in the points projections from Gameweeks 15-20.
Pedro Porro (£5.3m) will also benefit from that more favourable fixture run, with Spurs’ clean sheet prospects now lifted slightly by the return of Cristian Romero (£4.9m) from suspension.
Porro is ranked third for shots and second for big chances created among defenders this season.
A couple of low-cost new entries at the low end of the midfielder and forward lists.
Fulham and Wolves are near the very top of our Season Ticker for ease of fixture over the next five Gameweeks.
The penalty-talking Willian (£5.3m), nicely rested at Liverpool on Sunday, enters the differential radar, having had 10 shots in his last three starts.
And you know you’ll be getting plenty of starts with Matheus Cunha (£5.5m) over the busy festive period, with not much waiting in reserve in Gary O’Neil’s squad.
He’s fourth among forwards for goal attempts over the last six Gameweeks.