Putting my faith in Pope

With just ten short weeks to go between now and the end of the season a couple of green arrows has given me renewed optimism that we can better last season’s finishing rank.

I’ve decided to jump early on the second Wildcard with the aim of getting four big hitters into my side and hoping they deliver the large points returns needed to justify the outlay.

But to do this I had to select a number of budget options, this was tough in a number of positions, except between the sticks.

Nick Pope has been in fine form for Burnley since regular number one Tom Heaton picked up an injury all the way back in week 4. In his first 8 starts for Burnley he returned 51 points and became an instant hit amongst FPL regulars.

Obviously I was, as always, late to the party. I picked him up for the last game of that run and then enjoyed three successive blanks before the stopper found some form again with three consecutive clean sheets. From that point the love continues to grow.

Despite Burnley being in the top 7 and more than comfortable they are in deceptively poor form. They’ve gone ten games without a win and only kept two clean sheets in that time but they’re are rewards for those that have stuck with Pope throughout this run.

In the last three fixtures he’s returned 11, 5 & 3 points despite not keeping a clean sheet in that run and having to play Manchester City. This haul could’ve been higher had his side been able to hold on against a remarkably in-form Swansea side.

Because of this run and the remaining Burnley fixtures I’ve decided to put my faith in The Pope until the end of the season. Committing now to playing him in each of the remaining gameweeks allows me to bring in the cheapest available sub keeper and free up as much of my budget as possible for other positions.

However there are risks to this strategy.

The first is, the blank gameweek in 31, he won’t be playing which means I’ll be down a player on a number of rivals. However many other sides will be in the same boat and may already have decided to play without a keeper that week as well so I’m willing to swallow that loss.

Secondly, the return of Tom Heaton. If the regular first choice at Burnley were to return to full fitness it wouldn’t be that much of a surprise to see him reclaim his starting spot. In the past few years he’s been one of the highest regarded keepers around and is usually nailed on at Burnley. I’m banking on the fact that with the end of the season fast approaching and Burnley safe from relegation they won’t take the unnecessary risk of rushing him back and will let Pope see out the season in net.

Stats wise picking Pope is no masterstroke. He’s sub £5m, second in total points among keepers, first in bonus points picked up among keepers and selected by less than 10% of all teams which makes him very attractive.

There are of course Keepers who may have better run ins such as De Gea or Ederson and there are even cheaper options in the shape of Fabianski and Ryan. But I’m hoping that committing to playing Pope every week between now and the end of the season including in the perceived ‘tougher’ fixtures (Chelsea H and Arsenal A) may just give me the slightest edge to climb up that Overall Rank ladder by allowing me to spend a little more elsewhere.

What do you think? Is my strategy soundly thought out or a risk that won’t pay off?

Who’s your Keeper of choice?


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