From the blog that brought you, “Raheem Sterling is just 4.5M in the FPL and classified as a midfielder, if he continues to earn regular starts, he could be the bargain buy of the season,” at the start of the Premier League season in August, we now bring you, “Stewart Downing, yes that Stewart Downing is a reasonable fantasy acquisition, and your Funny Feeling Friday.”
We discussed Liverpool’s double gameweek prospects in our FPL gameweek 26 preview but let’s take a closer look at Downing and his potential:
Downing has started 10 straight league games, returning only 1 goal. That goal came back in December – he has played 7 straight league games without returning a goal since then. He has just 1 goal, 3 assists, and 1 fantasy bonus point the entire season. That’s the bad news.
The good news? Downing is a regular – having knocked Raheem Sterling and Fabio Borini out of the starting XI for the time being, and at just 5.7m, presents an attractive short term option for Brendan Rodgers’ side and for those fantasy managers looking for a budget fifth midfielder or some Liverpool exposure who may not be able to afford a Gerrard or may not want to swap out a Bale or Mata to land Gerrard – who has been in great FPL form but has been operating in a deeper role “in real life” recently.
Downing is playing high up the pitch as part of a front three that includes Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge – and while his other two partners have been racking up the goals and assists, he has been doing the dirty work – up and down the wings – controlling the tempo and providing valuable crosses – but has yet to be rewarded from a FPL perspective. That is soon to come. Jordan Henderson’s prospects are obvious as well – we have mentioned them on this blog in recent weeks – but he has proven his worth with two goals and an assist in his last few games. Downing is owned by just 0.8% of fantasy managers and comes in priced at just 5.7m.
With Daniel Sturridge a potential doubt for Monday’s game against West Brom with a thigh injury, Luis Suarez could return to his central striking role with Downing flanking Suarez and providing the ammunition. Even if Sturridge does play, Downing should find himself flanking the young new recruit from Chelsea. Just 1 goal in 52 games for Liverpool, Downing scored 9 in 63 for Aston Villa – a return of a goal in every 7 games – or about 5 in a Premier League season. Couple with his crossing ability and assists potential, he is bound to put up a big gameweek score in the coming months.
They’ve been heavily criticized in recent years by Liverpool fans for their performances – but really just for the stigma that came with their multi-million pound transfer fees, perhaps a bit unfair, but Downing and Henderson have a major part to play in Liverpool’s success and their outside chance at a Top 4 position.
There you have it. Your Funny Feeling Friday, Stewart Downing. With his teammate Jordan Henderson (1.8% owned) as the honorable mention.
Good luck to all fantasy managers.