Goalkeepers are often a Fantasy Premier League afterthought but gameweek 29’s transfer recommendations offer a rare moment in the spotlight for the glovesmen.
Leeds’ Illan Meslier ranks second in the PA news agency’s Transfer Score rankings behind only Newcastle captain Jamaal Lascelles – part of a resurgent defensive unit with recalled stopper Martin Dubravka playing his part.
Here, PA looks at the top picks in a week dominated by defence.
Top of the stops
A player’s Transfer Score is awarded by collating FPL’s form, cost, ownership and fixture difficulty ratings into a mark out of 100 – and Meslier scores over 80 in each category this week.
Two clean sheets in his last four games – plus a penalty save in the loss to West Ham, helping him to two bonus points – have him behind only Gareth Bale in form, while he costs only £4.6million and is owned by 6.7 per cent of managers, leading to a transfer score of 85.
He ranks fourth among all goalkeepers over the season as a whole with 122 fantasy points, just ahead of the likes of Kasper Schmeichel and Hugo Lloris while costing around £1m less.
Dubravka has only conceded two goals in three games since returning in place of Karl Darlow, with six saves against Villa helping him to a bonus point.
He is our second-ranked keeper this week with a transfer score of 72, ahead of Fulham’s Alphonse Areola (69), and sixth overall – with two of the players ahead of him benefiting from his form…
Magpies digging deep
Newcastle’s survival fight has been hampered by injuries to most of their key attacking players but at the other end of the field they are giving their all for Steve Bruce and his managerial counterparts in the fantasy game.
Lascelles has scored in two of the last three games to sandwich a clean sheet in the other, helping him to a transfer score of 88, while Emil Krafth (78) has taken full advantage of an FPL loophole.
Goals conceded after a player is substituted do not count against him, so as not to punish him for the errors of others, and the Swede was withdrawn after 71 minutes against Wolves and 82 against Aston Villa. The midlands clubs’ goals in those 1-1 draws came after 73 and 86 respectively, leaving Krafth with three straight clean sheets even as his team managed only one.
Fulham once more complete the podium places and indeed provide the next three defenders in the rankings, with Joachim Anderson (75) followed by Ola Aina and Tosin Adarabioyo (both 71).
Bale stands alone
The only attacking player in the top 10 of this week’s rankings is Bale, classed as a midfielder but playing as part of Spurs’ in-form front four and set to take on even more of a key role after Son Heung-min’s injury.
Averaging eight points per game over the period covered by the form rankings, the Welshman leads the way in that category – which accounts for 50 per cent of a player’s transfer score, helping him to a mark of 79 despite his £9.6m price tag.
Jesse Lingard, available again having missed West Ham’s game with his parent club Manchester United, is the next best midfield choice at 69, just ahead of another potential beneficiary of Son’s absence in Lucas Moura (68).
There is little to get excited about among the strikers, with Arsenal’s Alexandre Lacazette (63) and the Hammers’ Michail Antonio (62) the top-ranked options but outside our overall top 30.