This article is part of our FPL Transfer Watch series.
After last week saw the top four face off against each other and the two London sides (Spurs and Arsenal) come out on top against Manchester City and Leicester City, respectively, there's a week off for everyone to catch their collective breath. This breather comes by way of the fifth round of FA Cup play that sees 11 Premier League teams occupying the 16 remaining places, but only three matchups of Premier League sides. For some, these extra fixtures are hardly a break as Spurs have two Europa League matches against Fiorentina plus an FA Cup match against Crystal Palace between Premier League fixtures.
The upcoming gameweek is highlighted by Chelsea's trip to Southampton on Saturday (Feb. 27) and Arsenal heading to Old Trafford to face off against Manchester United on Sunday (Feb. 28). This week also has two postponed matches: the Merseyside derby in Liverpool vs. Everton and Newcastle vs. Manchester City. With those four teams playing double gameweeks in the future, we are going to ignore players on those teams in this week's column, as they can be moved to your bench if you're running low on transfers or moved off your team as they are not playing this week.
This accounts for the top four transfers out: Bacary Sagna (knee) and Sergio Aguero of Man City and Romelu Lukaku and Ross Barkley of Everton. Surprisingly enough, four players from the clubs who are off in Gameweek 27 have still managed to crack the top-30 of transfers in: Liverpool's Coutinho, Roberto Firmino and Daniel Sturridge as well as Everton's Barkley. With no incentive to hold onto players on those four teams, let's take a look at three players who are being added left-and-right as well as three that are being dropped like Chipotle's customers to see if they're worth a roster spot.
Jamie Vardy (FWD)
89,000+ transfers in (as of Feb. 18), most overall
After Vardy broke Ruud van Nistelrooy's goal-scoring streak by scoring in a whopping 11 consecutive matches from Aug. 29 to Nov. 28, Vardy ran cold for a while, scoring just one goal in his next eight matches. While he was far from totally barren over that span, still picking up three assists, many jumped ship from the Englishman. However, since he broke duck once again, he's been on another rampage. Against Stoke, Liverpool, Man City and Arsenal, as tough a stretch as any will face all season, Vardy put four in the back of the net.
With 19 goals in 26 matches and five assists for good measure, Vardy is as close to a must-own as exists right now. Couple that with a £7.5 price tag -- more than £6.0 cheaper than Sergio Aguero -- and a matchup against Norwich, who have allowed 50 goals this season (tied for the most in the Premier League), owning Vardy is truly a no-brainer.
Diego Costa (FWD)
36,000+ transfers in, third-most for forwards, seventh-most overall
This is more about the matchup than about Costa himself. Few have been in the kind of form that Costa has been of late. He has eight goals and five assists in his past 11 matches across all competitions with just two matches featuring neither a goal nor an assist in that span. However, Costa is about to run into as tough a defensive matchup as he'll face against a Southampton side that's yet to allow a Premier League goal in 2016, a span of seven matches.
While one could say their clean sheet streak has to end eventually, aside from Costa, Chelsea's attack hasn't really shown its teeth this season, making this not the best time for one to pick up Costa. Since hitting this rich vein of form, Costa's price has actually dropped, so even if he can break through the Saints' back line, you should be able to snag him for a similar price tag next week.
Dimitri Payet (MID)
51,000+ transfers in, most for midfielders, third-most overall
Here are a few definitive statements: Payet is West Ham's best player without question. His seven goals are nearly double the next highest goal scorer. His five assists gives him two more than the next best figure. Payet scored the last time the Hammers played Sunderland. And despite all of these things, I don't think picking up Payet against Sunderland is a good move.
While he had a goal and an assist last week, prior to that, he scored just one goal in his previous nine. Furthermore, while Sunderland may be mired in the relegation zone, they've conceded just four goals in their past three matches, which came against Manchester City, Liverpool and Manchester United. With a commitment to packing it in at the back, Payet will find little room to roam. Furthermore, with a fixture against Spurs right after that, there are better options and matchups this week.
Marko Arnautovic (MID)
35,000+ transfers out, fourth-most for forwards, seventh-most overall
While Arnautovic was out of the squad against Bournemouth and the Austrian hasn't scored a Premier League goal in 2016, there is plenty of promise on the 26-year-old's boots. Prior to this cold-stretch, he had four goals in five matches, all against top-half sides. On the season, he has seven goals and four assists in 23 Premier League matches. With a matchup against Aston Villa on the horizon, a team he scored against back on Oct. 3, now is not the time to be cutting the big winger loose. The cellar-dwelling Villa have conceded the fourth-most goals this season at nearly two per match and make for a prime opportunity for Arnautovic to break duck.
Wayne Rooney (FWD)
28,000+ transfers out, fifth-most for forwards, ninth-most overall
This is an easy one. With Rooney on the sidelines for up to two months, he has no business being in your squad as this is too long of a layoff to merit keeping. While he was on a strong run of form to open 2016, scoring five goals and adding three assists in his first seven games of the year, his £10.0 price tag will only drop.
Chris Smalling (DEF)
17,000+ transfers out, second-most for defenders, 10th-most overall
A pair of United players crack the top-10 most dropped list this week as they play host to Arsenal on Feb. 28. Smalling has cracked double-digit points just once, has one assist on the season and United's record of clean sheets has slowed to a crawl of late, picking up just two in seven matches since the turn of the calendar. At £6.7, Smalling doesn't represent good value, nor does he provide the attacking thrust that one should look for in high-cost defenders. While Arsenal have been shut out seven times this season, their 41 goals scored is fifth in the Premier League. Smalling can be dropped and the savings can be used to find a cheaper defensive option to improve the midfield.