‘Forget the glamour – boring is best’

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November 26, 2021
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    Alistair Bruce-Ball

    It's that time of the season again when you need to set the reminders on your phone for all the gameweek deadlines and make sure your squad is strong as the fixtures come thick and fast.

    It's no good having a sparkling starting XI if your bench players aren't playing regular football. It will only take a couple of injuries or a bit of inevitable rotation to leave your team looking very exposed.

    For example, in my starting line-up for gameweek 13, which kicks off on Saturday, I have yellow warning flags over four players – Ben Chilwell, Kai Havertz, Raphina and Diogo Jota.

    Now hopefully at least a couple of those will be passed fit to play – but if not I've got Conor Coady, Ivan Toney and Michail Antonio sitting on my bench and you'd expect all three to start for their clubs this weekend.

    The point I'm making is maybe now is the time to prioritise the more run-of-the-mill transfers to improve your squad depth rather than going for the glitzy, glamorous moves, which might tempt you with the promise of the occasional huge points haul but also carry far greater risk.

    I can hear my Fantasy 606 colleague Chris Sutton screaming at how boring that is as he reads this and he's probably right but we've seen plenty of managers leaving lots of points on their benches so far this season and now's the time that those points could prove crucial.

    So let's have a look at gameweeks 13 and 14, which come right on top of each other with the midweek round of Premier League fixtures next week – make sure you don't forget your 18:00 GMT deadline on Tuesday 30 November for gameweek 14.

    Signing Kane gives you lots of options

    Tottenham forward Harry KaneIs it time to bring Harry Kane back into your fantasy football team?

    Last week I opted for form over fixtures by picking Jota over Son Heung-min and, for the fourth game in a row both, Son and Harry Kane failed to provide an attacking return – but the signs against Leeds were that it's coming.

    Son is still owned by more than double the amount of managers Kane is, but I think the Englishman could be the move even if it's for the short term.

    Tottenham are away to Burnley in gameweek 13 and then have home games against Brentford and Norwich. After that you could easily switch from Kane to Cristiano Ronaldo or Romelu Lukaku as Tottenham's fixtures get a little tougher, or stick with Kane if you feel he's rediscovered his best form under Antonio Conte. Signing Kane right now gives you plenty of options.

    Ben Chilwell owners are waiting to hear how long he could be out for after injuring his knee against Juventus on Tuesday night. You can make a straight swap with Marcos Alonso, who racked up 38 points in the first five gameweeks, or you won't go far wrong with any of Reece James, Joao Cancelo, Antonio Rudiger and Ruben Dias in the same price bracket.

    If you wanted to go for something with a little bit more differential then it's worth considering the Tottenham pair of Sergio Reguilon (£5.1m) and Emerson Royal (£4.9m), or a couple of other attacking full-backs in Brentford's Rico Henry (£4.5m) and Brighton's Tariq Lamptey (£4.4m).

    Crystal Palace have a nice run of form and fixtures at the moment, unbeaten in their past seven games and scoring 13 goals in the process, and I do feel Christian Benteke is worth a look at £6.3m if you're getting fed up with misfiring forwards.

    On that note, the resolve of Jamie Vardy owners is being severely tested right now after just six points in his past four games. Leicester are at home to Watford in gameweek 13 so maybe give him one more chance with the thought of possibly making that switch to Kane in gameweek 14.

    And you know what I'm going to say about the captaincy for gameweek 13 don't you? It has to be Mohamed Salah again for me, given he's still only blanked once this season and has a home game against Southampton. Yes I know it's boring, Chris, but it works.

    Alistair Bruce-Ball presents the Fantasy 606 podcast alongside former Premier League winner Chris Sutton and Statman Dave. The latest episode is available via the BBC Sounds App and you can get in touch with the pod by sending an e-mail to fantasy606@bbc.co.uk.

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    November 26, 2021
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