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FPL watchlist: Balbuena a big threat

The Scout 5 Jul 2019
Fabian Balbuena, West Ham United

The Scout says West Ham centre-back has early schedule to profit at both ends of the pitch

As Fantasy Premier League managers can now select their 15-man squads, The Scout analyses standout budget and premium players in each position.

Fabian Balbuena (WHU) £4.5m

A kind opening run of matches raises the West Ham United centre-back's prospects in FPL.

Manuel Pellegrini's men have a tough opening weekend encounter against Manchester City but then face only two of last season's top-10 sides in the next 11 Gameweeks.

West Ham schedule, GW2-12
GW Opp FDR GW Opp FDR
2 BHA (A) 2 8 CRY (H) 3
3 WAT (A) 3 9 EVE (A) 4
4 NOR (H) 2 10 SHU (H) 2
5 AVL (A) 2 11 NEW (H) 2
6 MUN (H) 4 12 BUR (A) 2
7 BOU (A)  3    

Those occur in Gameweek 6, when the Hammers host Manchester United, and in Gameweek 9, when they visit Everton.

Indeed, according to the Fixture Difficulty Rankings (FDR), six of those matches over Gameweeks 2-12 score only two.

Balbuena's attacking threat at set-pieces highlights his all-round potential for FPL points.

The centre-back was limited to only 23 appearances due to injury last season.

Aerial presence

Yet his 19 shots and 15 headed shots from set-pieces were more than any team-mate.

Balbuena was a big presence prior to sustaining an injury against Watford in Gameweek 18.

Indeed, the Paraguayan's 13 headed shots were second only to the 19 of Michael Keane (£5.5m) in FPL over that period.

He is priced at £4.5m to the £5.0m of Hammers' goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski.

That suggests Balbuena's potential for points at both ends of the pitch can make him a big value pick for initial squads.

SeeThe Scout's 2019/20 FPL watchlist

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