The basis of this revolving door strategy is around captaincy, with the intention of only owning one high-priced asset at a time. Of course everyone wants Salah, Sterling, Kane and co, but with a limited budget and the pricing up of defenders, do we really need more than one at any one time? This article will consider the pros and cons of this strategy in the quest for value.
Part of the logic behind this strategy proposal is due to the array of premium defenders that if purchased, reduce the funds for the remaining positions but if avoided, leave you vulnerable to their high ownership. But that’s not the only reason. Last season, the likes of Alonso, Azpilicueta, Robertson and Van Dijk were all popular at £6.0m+, yet many teams defaulted to a trio of three high-priced options in Aguero, Salah and Mane.
The difference this season is circumstance. The way the fixtures have aligned, Liverpool, Manchester City and Tottenham have almost equally favourable match-ups in Gameweeks 1 and 3, but the latter two sides face each other in Gameweek 2. With Mohamed Salah being the best player in the game having top scored the last two seasons, it is possible to treat the first three gameweeks as a block and captain him in all three. Assuming a bench spend of £17.5m, £70.0m would be available to target value picks in the remaining ten slots.
Like every strategy, there are plenty of counter-arguments to this. Firstly, owning just one high-priced player appears to be a very short-term strategy and this is a very valid concern. However if it all goes wrong, opting out after three weeks by activating the wildcard is a possibility, in order to restructure. In addition, as value players emerge, two £8.0m attacking assets such as Gylfi Sigurdsson and Callum Wilson could easily become a £5.0m midfielder and Kane, for example. Retaining flexibility is vital.
Alternatively, a simple switch from Salah to Raheem Sterling in Gameweek 4 would be a possibility to take advantage of matches against Brighton (H), Norwich (A) and Watford (H) as opposed to Salah’s Burnley (A), Newcastle (H) and Chelsea (A). In this hypothetical situation, just one transfer would be needed out of five available across the opening six gameweeks. Even with a strong supporting core containing another two Liverpool and Manchester City players, four of the other six could still be offloaded for free during this period. By Gameweek 7, a decision would have to be made again, but who is realistically able to plan further than six weeks ahead?
An argument could also be made that ignoring all premium forwards is very risky in case one comes into form. But as with all high-priced players, that is only relevant if they would be your captain. Harry Kane has three excellent home fixtures in Gameweeks 1, 3 and 5 but so does Mohamed Salah, unless Arsenal miraculously tighten up defensively.
Similarly, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang could be viewed as a standout captain against Burnley (H) and Aston Villa (H) in Gameweeks 2 and 6 respectively, but the fixtures around that are not very appealing. At some point, a choice has to be made – hitting a points target upward of 60 on average is more important than catching every haul. Even so, the double £8.0m to £5.0m and Kane or Aubameyang swap could again come into play.
So why not Salah alongside another premium asset like Kane or Sterling? The simple answer is price. There are a plethora of good forward options around the £7.0m mark and midfielders around £8.0m, which provides £4.0m to upgrade other positions in both cases. This is all based on a huge assumption of course, that you would be willing to captain one player for a three or four week period and then switch to an alternative.
Finally, premium options only provide value for money when captained, otherwise they are simply a Mesut Ozil-esque luxury that you would be better off without. And not because they suddenly provide no value whatsoever, but unlocking funds could be more beneficial by facilitating three or four upgrades elsewhere. This again makes it easier to hit the aforementioned 60+ average points target.
This was merely something to think about and is certainly not a fail-safe strategy. Every strategy has its merits, but the best ones are those with the fewest flaws.