The RealFF Gaffer’s potential pickups
It’s always good to plan ahead in RealFF. The squad based format gives you enough spots to stash players returning from injury or suspension, ready to burst into life once they take up a starting spot at their clubs.
Most managers will have a good idea of what’s going on week to week in the premier league. A lot of the time you’re all fighting to pick up the same players at each game week transfer window, based on who’s in form and who’s got good fixtures coming up. This is fine and you will get some form players for a short term gain, but to benefit long term you need to anticipate a few weeks ahead.
Think of RealFF like a game of chess. It’s great to knock off an opponent’s key piece, but not if your opponent is planning several moves ahead. You’ll win the battle, but not the (38 week) war.
With this in mind I’ve put together a little list of the players currently out or recently returned who’ll be strong fantasy options, but may be sat as freebies in your leagues currently:
- Sofiane Boufal, Soton midfielder: The Saints picked up this guy from Lille in the summer for £16m, a club record, knowing that he had a knee injury which would keep him out early doors. After making his brief debut last night at Inter Milan he’s nearing fitness, and will be a key piece of Southampton’s attacking threat going forward. The Saints have had a horrible run of fixtures, these ease in a few weeks just as this Moroccan magician is back up to full speed. Definitely worth picking up as a fifth midfielder to stash for now.
- Andre Ayew, West Ham midfielder: The situation for Ayew is a perfect storm. Soon to return from a long running thigh injury, he will be a regular starter. The Hammers have been woeful thus far but are starting to turn the corner, albeit without a firing striker. Step forward Ayew, handily listed as a midfielder, to make the most of Payet’s magic.
- Aaron Creswell , West Ham defender: Another Hammer sidelined for the first part of the season, Creswell recently returned and showed all his attacking threat of old. He’s suspended for this week after a soft red card in game week 7, and may well still be sat on your league’s free transfer heap. A guaranteed starter and strong source of attacking threat from defence, absolutely one to pick up and keep.
- Andre Gray, Burnley striker: Currently in the middle of a 4 game ban due to some highly debatable tweeting, showed his potential with a great performance against Liverpool earlier in the season. The Claret’s attack will be solely focused around Gray, and he also has penalty duties. Gray is a great option for a third striker in RealFF, play him for all Burnley home games.
- Borja Baston, Swansea striker: Similar to Boufal, another record signing that was out injured up to now. He’s a proven striker in Spain, and showed his potential with a goal against Arsenal last week. Forget Llorente, Baston is Swansea’s striker going forward. A great option for your third striker spot, he’s got enough quality to feed off Siggy in any game.
- Kurt Zouma, Chelsea defender: A couple of weeks ago I’d have said this one was an absolute must as Chelsea’s ageing defence continued their poor form from last season. The addition of Luiz and Alonso does seem to have steadied the ship somewhat however. I do still expect Zouma to take the regular spot from Cahill once fit, but he’s been out a long time and so we’ll need to see how he fares once fit. If you have 4 strong, dependable defenders then add Zouma and stash him, just don’t expect regular output for some time yet.
- Henrik Mkhitaryan, Man Utd midfielder: Huge things were expected from the unpronounceable one, but we’re yet to see them due to several niggling injury issues. I feel at this stage we can’t expect any guaranteed output for this season, but there is definitely big potential there. I’d see this one as similar to Zouma above, if you can afford to take him and hold until he’s a regular then do so, but be willing to drop him again should it not happen for him a la Memphis Depay last year.