There is a great argument in the FPL community: to invest in a premium goalkeeper, or not. So far it has been twenty seven weeks and the only certainty is that you never know when the next shock will happen. The Hype Train investigates the goalkeeping situation in an unpredictable season, the best options, and whether or not managers are right to leave out a top keeper to fund the rest of their squad.
Changing goalkeepers this season seems to be almost a redundant affair with so many outfield changes to make due to the inconsistency of player performances; normally a goalkeeper never gets a proper look in.
Some FPL managers will choose a better defender than goalkeeper due to attacking returns, which is why Jack Butland has been very popular this season. Examples can include choosing Aaron Creswell over Adrian, choosing Alderweireld over Lloris, choosing Chris Smalling over David De Gea, choosing Charlie Daniels over Artur Boruc, Seamus Coleman over Tim Howard, you get the idea. But we sat down and mapped out the areas of defence (GK & DEF) that we trusted the most, some of it may already be very familiar with you. Depending on where the individual priority rests, but this list compacts where the strongest areas of consideration are for each team in the Premier League.
ARS: Likely both GK & DEF
CRY: GK & DEF
EVE: DEF (but not essential)
LEI: GK or DEF
LIV: DEF (Clyne)
MCI: GK or DEF
MUN: GK or DEF
SOU: GK & DEF
TOT: GK & DEF
Arsenal, Crystal Palace, Leicester, Manchester City, Manchester United, Southampton, and Spurs are the only teams that The Hype Train would recommend doubling down on both goalkeepers and defence. These are teams that have the potential to consistently deliver points if you were to have both defence and goalkeeper available.
Trust in ‘Top Four’ Keepers
Last season most people kept faith with a top four keeper, especially because Joe Hart, David De Gea, and Thibaut Courtois were reliable options in goal for the whole season for three of the top four teams. The only exception was Arsenal who had two keepers for each half of the season. This season only two of these teams are present in the top four which may have caused some disappointment among the FPL community seeing as Chelsea and Manchester United’s options have changed. We will look at some of the best options from the top four this season.
Since making his move from Chelsea the Blues must be cursing under their breath, the Czech has been in fine form and has obtained the most bonus points for any goalkeeper in the league. Does not get rotated, makes plenty of saves, and picks up plenty of extra bonus points.
The big Dane has been reliable between the sticks for Leicester who have tightened up at the back this year. Does not get rotated, makes lots of saves, and is the top placed team.
Joe Hart plays most games for the Citizens; he can be an option to defeat full-back rotation which happens a lot at Manchester City. Downside is that he doesn’t normally make many saves.
There is also Hugo Lloris who has been a fantastic option to have, the only downside to his inclusion is that many players have chosen faith in the Spurs defence with Eric Dier and Big Toby proving to be reliable options, leaving open to have a different keeper. Faith in the Spurs defence is still questionable, even if they have changed dramatically since last season. He may miss the next gameweek so there is uncertainty of his inclusion.
The big talking point is that you don’t need to be a top four keeper to ensure clean sheets as many teams have proven so far, and we look at some of them now.
Outside the Top Four
Turning our attention to best goalkeepers outside of this season’s top four there are plenty of options to choose from, most are also cheaper than Petr Cech which is a plus. We’ll let you make your own mind about who you think is trustworthy out of these keepers, most have patchy fixtures, games you know they can keep a clean sheet and others that you know it is impossible.
In this stage of the season there are goalkeepers who have returned from long standing injury, and those who have massively improved and have replaced the former number one. The England manager will be happy to see some of his own options return, whilst Tim Howard will be wondering where it all went wrong. We look at three keepers to keep an eye out for.
Ben Foster – West Brom – £4.9mil
Games Started: 4
Clean Sheets: 2
Saves Made: 18
Bonus Points: 1pt
The return of Albion’s first choice keeper has seen some decent returns for the defence; the England international has made a considerable amount of saves in just four games and has racked up 21pts, averaging just over five points a game since his return.
Fraser Forster – Southampton – £5.0mil
Games Started: 6
Clean Sheets: 6
Saves Made: 16
Bonus Points: 3pts
The ‘Beast’ as he is known everywhere has settled the nerves of the Saint’s defence and propelled them into the upper echelons of the league table. Serving up 42pts in just six appearances the good times look to keep rolling at Southampton who have majorly benefited since his return. Perhaps if you put faith in the giant stopper then he can bestow points on your team too.
Joel Robles – Everton – £4.3mil
Games Started: 3
Clean Sheets: 2
Saves Made: 6
Bonus Points: 0pts
Despite Tim Howard making an unbelievable amount of saves this season the confidence in the American is low at the moment among the Merseysiders, opting instead to have faith in the Spaniard Robles who has done a fine job at keeping his place in the team, and it looks set to continue too. With few budget options the technical number one at Everton could be a great back up option that you wouldn’t threat about playing if Everton are having one of their better days.
Goalkeepers that come under £4.5mil are hard to come by because some of the cheaper options have elevated in price such as Kasper Schmeichel, Jack Butland, and Heurelho Gomes have rose to premonition in the Premier League. Here are the keepers who will play minutes for their teams.
Wayne Hennessey – Crystal Palace – £4.2mil
Rob Elliot – Newcastle - £4.0mil
Joel Robles – Everton - £4.3mil
Vito Mannone – Sunderland – £4.3mil
Mark Bunn – Aston Villa – £4.3mil
Declan Rudd – Norwich – £3.9mil
The frustrating thing about budget options is that they are suspect to constant changes, dilemmas, and huge risk. If any of these teams receive a drumming they could change up their goalkeeping options. Jordan Pickford for Sunderland is a prime example, he came into contention because Mannone dropped form, and John Ruddy has recently played in the last gameweek for Norwich because confidence is Declan Rudd was wearing thin. The obvious thing about most of these teams is that at any point you can imagine them concede, so confidence in them is always a gamble if at any stage they could end up in minus points.
Out of all the budget options in the league only two are feasible, and they would make great back-up options to a main keeper, and they are Rob Elliot and Wayne Hennessey. Newcastle at home games are usually better performers, and when Yannick Bolasie returns to save Crystal Palace they will be a better team again and Hennessey will benefit from his team returning to an attacking focus.
Average Points per Game
Before we do our verdict on the best options we analyse the points per games ratio for the best goalkeeping options. We will only include keepers of legitimate interest to fantasy teams.
The table will let you see the goalkeepers with the best average points per game score.
*apps = appearances
1. SOU: Fraser Forster, 7pts (6 apps, 42pts)
2. EVE: Joel Robles, 5.3pts (3 apps, 16pts)
3. WBA: Ben Foster, 5.3pts (4 apps, 21pts)
4. AVL: Mark Bunn, 5.2pts (6 apps, 31pts)
5. ARS: Petr Cech, 4.8pts (26 apps, 125pts)
6. STK: Jack Butland, 4.3pts (26 apps, 113pts)
7. WAT: Heurelho Gomes, 4.3pts (26 apps, 111pts)
8. MCI: Joe Hart, 4.1pts (24 apps, 98pts)
9. MUN: David De Gea, 4pts (22 apps, 89pts)
10. TOT: Hugo Lloris, 4pts (25 apps, 100pts)
11. EVE: Tim Howard, 3.6pts (23apps, 83pts)
12. LEI: Kasper Schmeichel, 3.5pts (26 apps, 91pts)
13. BOU: Artur Boruc, 3.5pts (21 apps, 73pts)
14. WHU: Adrian, 3.4pts (23 apps, 79pts)
15. NEW: Rob Elliot, 3.4pts (17 apps, 57pts)
16. CHE: Thibaut Courtois, 3.3pts (15 apps, 50pts)
17. CRY: Wayne Hennessey, 3.3pts (20 apps, 65pts)
18. LIV: Simon Mignolet, 3.1pts (25 apps, 77pts)
19. SWA: Lukasz Fabianksi, 3.1pts (26 apps, 80pts)
20. SUN: Vito Mannone, 2.42pts (7 apps, 17pts)
Based on this table you can see that by picking an elite keeper you can actually be guaranteed points if you were to leave them in, sooner or later they will return for you which is why Butland and Cech have been reliable options. Mark Bunn’s inclusion surprised The Hype Train considering the number of goals they have leaked in, but it also a testament to form, many of the keepers who have come into a team such as Bunn and Forster have gone on good runs of form, so these are worth keeping an eye out for.
We have also supported some more statistical graphics for the goalkeeping options.
In many ways we believe that a premium goalkeeper is worth it, notably because you don’t have to worry about making a transfer out for them. Injuries and outfield player form is a huge factor as to this reasoning, as an FPL manager you know you have a safe option in goal at all times. FPL managers have to remember that the quality of the keeper is a legitimate factor to this selection, budget keepers are regarded as budgetary because they may not have the talent to keep clean sheets or make saves. Many FPL managers have played it smart by having Petr Cech in from day one of this season, and in the long run they have been rewarded with some stellar performances from the Arsenal keeper, and since Jack Butland came into form many players jumped onto his bandwagon and haven’t looked back since.
The expectation for keepers is low, but you want someone who at some point will create an advantage for your team, in some weeks your keeper can separate having a poor or mediocre week to a good or great week. They are considered to be the sixth defender, so you have to believe that they actually are going to keep clean sheets even if you select them to be a budget option. With double gameweeks coming around the corner and weeks where they won’t be present then you may lose out if you are left with no options, so having a keeper that is consistent will mean your teams transfer policy is retained to outfield players. Nearly half the FPL who have Butland and Cech will already know this benefit…it means you may not have to drop points that could win you head to head or cup fixtures.
There seem to be no solid options that are budget, and this is the ace in the sleeve for this argument because at normally a small increase in price you can improve a goalkeeping option that will leave you no concern. The best option we believe for the next five games is Kasper Schmeichel, and beyond that too. Leicester look to be defensively sturdy and reliable, and Kasper is also chipping in with plenty of saves too. You can even double down on Leicester defensive options by adding Huth, Morgan, or Fuchs to create a deadly combination. There are no signs that anything is slowing down for the Foxes so why not cash in on what is promising FPL returns? Jack Butland and Petr Cech also remain strong options, and if you may be one of the many with either of them you may have already made the executive decision to stick faith with proven quality so far this season. Fabianksi might also come back into some form with Swansea looking to get back to winning ways.
As mentioned you should only want to stick faith with goalkeepers who have played every minute, are un-droppable in their respective teams, and are capable of getting points. There are four such keepers and they are The Hype Train’s recommendations. Our last, and fifth recommendation is to try out one of the emerging keepers, in particular Fraser Forster who has been unbelievable since his return.
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