Fantasy football tips: Mason Mount for Kai Havertz one of many knee-jerk calls to resist

Fantasy football tips: Mason Mount for Kai Havertz one of many knee-jerk calls to resist

by Emily Smith
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I have to admit I awoke on Sunday morning with a cloud of fantasy football despondency looming over me.

I had a total of just 20 points from seven players, having also taken a four-point hit to bring Kai Havertz into the squad, who somehow managed to be the only Chelsea player not to provide a return in the 7-0 thrashing of Norwich!

Then Mohamed Salah did his Mohamed Salah thing against Manchester United and, along with more than 3,000,000 other managers who captained him, I benefitted to the tune of a whopping 48 points.

Listen to the latest edition of Fantasy 606 hereNow the only justifiable knee-jerk reaction here is to get Salah in if you haven’t already got him, but I feel like a stuck record saying that in this column.

I would advise against other emotional, knee-jerk reactions though, which I would definitely have been tempted by had Salah not come up with the goods.

Take Havertz for example.

The seemingly obvious thing to do is switch him out for Mason Mount after his hat-trick and 24-point haul against Norwich, saving yourself £0.6m in the process.

Now don’t get me wrong, Mount is an excellent player who gets into lots of attacking positions and takes some of the set-pieces. And Chelsea are in a very nice run of fixtures at the moment.

But we brought Havertz in for a reason, he’s playing in that forward role in the absence of Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner and who’s to say he won’t be the one who’ll pop up with the goals away to Newcastle this weekend?

It’s very easy to chase the form in fantasy football but it’s also important to give players enough time to make an impact in your squads. I’m sticking with Havertz this week but obviously with an eye on removing him once Werner and/or Lukaku become available again.

Burnley’s Max Cornet and Watford’s Joshua King would be another couple of players to come into the potential ‘knee-jerk’ category.

Both put in standout performances in gameweek nine and both offer good value at £6m and £5.6m respectively, but how likely is it they can repeat that in the coming weeks given that Burnley and Watford both have relatively difficult fixtures on the way?

Emile Smith Rowe might be a better bet in the budget midfielder role at £5.5m, although you could also argue that is a slightly reactive pick given that his 13 points against Aston Villa was only his second attacking return of the season, but I hope he will be able to produce more consistently if Arsenal become more consistent as a team.

Southampton’s Armando Broja has certainly caught the eye up front with two goals in his first two Premier League starts and it might well be worth jerking your knee to get him.

He’s an absolute bargain at just £5m, with games against Watford, Aston Villa and Norwich on the way, but we need to check that he’s going to be fit for gameweek 10 as he has a yellow warning flag by his name at the moment.

His team-mate Tino Livramento is definitely not a knee-jerk selection and has real John Lundstram vibes about him this season as a brilliant budget pick.

A £4.4m defender who loves to get forward down the right and is unlucky to only have one goal to his name so far. Lots of managers frustratingly left his nine points on the bench last week but he is an excellent first sub option to come in when your Chelsea or Manchester City defenders don’t play.

Let’s give the final word to Salah though, whose incredible form seems to have changed the entire fantasy narrative this season, as Statman Dave was pointing out on the Fantasy 606 podcast this week.

A couple of weeks ago it was all about how find a way to squeeze the ‘big three’ of Salah, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lukaku into our teams. Now it’s just trusting in Salah as our only premium player. Give him the captain’s armband every week and let him get on with it.

It means we can also strengthen the depth of our squads with more high-performing, mid-price players such as Ben Chilwell, Phil Foden and Diogo Jota, which also helps us to deal with the dreaded squad rotation.

That narrative will undoubtedly change again though when Lukaku gets fit, or if Harry Kane finds form as Tottenham’s fixtures look to get easier from gameweek 12, and certainly when Salah goes off to represent Egypt at the Africa Cup of Nations in January.

If it was just about captaining Salah all season that wouldn’t be much fun would it?

Alistair Bruce-Ball presents the Fantasy 606 podcast alongside former Premier League winner Chris Sutton and Statman Dave. The latest episode previewing gameweek 10 is available by subscribing to the 606 feed on the BBC Sounds App.

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