This article is part of our Fantasy Premier League Rankings series.
I began last week's rankings lamenting two moves I made to my FPL team in which I decided to transfer in Harry Kane and Wilfried Zaha while transferring out Sergio Aguero and Alexandre Lacazette. A big part of that decision was to replace the injured Aguero with Kane, who has a very good holiday fixture list, and I needed the subsequent salary drop from Lacazette to Zaha to make it happen. I ended up choosing Zaha over Callum Wilson, only to see the latter score one goal and assist another in his first game after I could have had him, while Zaha blanked for the seventh consecutive week.
However, I didn't make that move just for one game, and I still felt okay with Zaha, a feeling that got even stronger when Wilson was ruled out of last weekend's match against Liverpool because of a hamstring injury. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't happy about Wilson getting hurt, but I can be honest and say that I at least felt like I might have dodged a bullet. In reality, I may have not even started Wilson against Liverpool anyway, so the match he missed wouldn't have changed my lineup considerably, but his absence at least allowed Zaha to begin proving my decision right.
Unfortunately, Zaha did the opposite, picking up his fifth yellow card of the season while blanking again, thereby earning a suspension for this Saturday's home match against Leicester City. It's not the easiest matchup, but it's certainly one I would have started Zaha in. Making matters worse, I still have Marko Arnautovic on my squad, and with Wilson's status for this weekend's match (away to Wolves) still up in the air, transferring Arnautovic out to bring Wilson in isn't as easy as it seems.
Even though they have absolutely nothing to do with each other, I will compare Zaha and Wilson to each other for the rest of the season because that's what people who play fantasy Premier League do: they lament bad decisions that smolder in their brains for weeks or months, and brag to anyone who will listen (and even those who don't) when we make the right decisions because we are FPL geniuses!
We're also deep enough into the season where people start deciding what their new goals are, as there are likely 100,000 or 1,000,000 or 4,000,000 fantasy teams ahead of you in the standings that you decide to give up on trying to win the whole thing, or even win your mini league(s), and start to actually have fun with fantasy Premier League! My newest favorite is from Leo Howell, who has decided to play the rest of the season without a player from the big six clubs. Upon seeing his new team I was furious I didn't try this earlier, as my team is currently 343,697th overall after never getting higher than 147,235th, which happened back in Gameweek 9. I mean, what am I really trying to accomplish? Is finishing 98,671st really that much better than 734,138th? On the surface, of course it is, but does it even really matter? In all honesty, last season was the first time I took FPL seriously and I finished 75,155th overall. What did I win? The same prize as the season before when I finished 1,134,604th: nothing!
It's also doesn't help that my occasional podcast co-host Mike Gottlieb is currently 23,474th, and he was as high as 15,012nd, which is pretty impressive for a person who thinks FPL is the worst fantasy game in the world.
Sorry, back to the fun of FPL! I played all of last season without Kane, Aguero and Romelu Lukaku (people actually wanted him last year!) and I had my best finish, so maybe playing along with Leo's plan could get me even higher. Or at least I'll actually have fun...maybe. Here's Leo's team (of course it has Callum Wilson):
I'm not in the FPL cup. I had my worst gameweek despite trying to do my best. So it's time to have fun.Inspired by @FantasyGaffer, here's my challenge team. The challenge? No Big 6 players.Rate my team. @hailcheaters@RotoWireAndrewpic.twitter.com/gIKbK13Uza— 🎄In Excelsis Leo🎄 (@LeoHowell8) December 12, 2018
On first glance, I love it. And I love it on the second glance, too. There were a few players I thought could maybe get a spot, but I think Leo made the right choices. Robert Snodgrass came to mind first, but I think Felipe Anderson is better and I don't think the former is better than the four non-West Ham midfielders. In defense, I'm a big Jose Holebas apologist because I just love fullbacks who take set pieces, but he's also a walking yellow card. And while Richardo Pereira has actually outscored him slightly, I have a personal preference for Ben Chilwell or even Harry Maguire.
The forward pool is always interesting because you can certainly do well without a top-six forward, as my friend Mike Gottlieb can attest, as he's in the top 25,000 and hasn't had a top-six forward since Gameweek 5 when he dropped Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Instead, he's relied on Wilson, who he's had since the beginning, Raul Jimenez and Salomon Rondon, who replaced the injured Danny Ings. What a group. If there's anyone else worth considering, it's probably Glenn Murray, who has more goals than every forward except Aubameyang and Kane, but then you have to, you know, root for Glenn Murray. Either way, I think this is a really strong team and for anyone who actually wants to have fun with FPL, I'm all ears on a fun challenge.
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