The Scout Debate #7: Double Gameweeks

With the first double gameweek of the season on our horizon, some of the scout contributors have taken their time to share with you how they plan to tackle them…

Akers: “Double GW’s are, in my opinion, big events in an FPL season. How big depends on a few obvious factors that determine how I approach them. I could list these factors and how each factor affects another, but that would be tedious and unrealistic because ultimately, I make my decisions on gut-feeling as much as anything else.

The basic process I do when deciding whether to bring a double GW player in, is I first look at both fixtures and ask myself whether I’d pick the player in my first eleven if they only had the first game, and then if they only had the second game. Because if you wouldn’t be prepared to pick a player in one of those games, then transferring them in in the hope that they will prove you wrong is seems unwise.

When it comes to spending points, guess what, I’m generally dead against it. The reason being that after you’ve spent points getting loads of double GW players in, you are stuck with them the following week unless you spend points to get them out.

My advice would be to plan ahead, know exactly who has double GW’s coming up, and when specifically they are. Have an idea of which players you want to back and how you can get them in your squad. If you can do it at zero cost, then you put yourself at an advantage.

The thing I’ve learnt is that double GW’s are not the be all and end all, but they should in no way be ignored. Last season I manoeuvred my squad in such a way that I wasn’t over exposed (having far too many double GW players) and didn’t spend many points prior to the double. Was I successful? Yes, I think I was. I didn’t get massive point hauls but by preparing properly I out-pointed my rivals comfortably as they either didn’t know about it, was unconcerned about it or spent a load of points trying to benefit from it.

The way I see it is that a worst it might only give you an additional 4-6 points, but by having effectively extra players on the pitch, you give yourself a better chance of striking it lucky because, after all is said and done, we all know luck plays a major role in your fantasy returns.”

greek fan: “I have never been obsessed with double game-weeks; I don’t think it’s something special, something over the game’s regular excitement or whatsoever. Planning ahead is my strategy and only my tactics could be slightly altered because of some clubs having two fixtures in a week. I try to keep reshaping my squad, following a rolling six-seven weeks plan, so all that could happen is an alternation in selection. I mean, I would never pick players just because of this, but a player whom I‘d like to anyway have in my team will likely be preferred to someone whom I also want but has one fixture less. Of course, the season ticker excludes many before the final selection; at the same time, it is rather the 6-7 weeks’ games that weigh more than how difficult the two legs of the game-week are. There is no discussion that two favorable ones in the double and a highway to hell just after them would make me look elsewhere.

It’s pretty difficult to imagine taking a point hit, even for a possible “twinner”, someone who has a chance to score big in the twin fixtures. There is plenty of time to bring him in prior to that day. Nevertheless, I keep some fond memories from a couple of previous occasions. And if having Cristiano Ronaldo and Nemanja Vidic in a Man U double game-week is nothing like a genius, original revelation, Robbie Keane proves my words: A player I had brought in for a double game-week, luckily he did more than good in it, but I was happy having him long after too. Unluckily, the plan doesn’t always work. “Easy” fixtures can betray you – alas! I just passed through this – and trying to avoid “hard” ones you can miss out on points. My targets for these following doubles have been David Dunne and Geovanni. I already have my Everton contingent, so I waited for Blackburn’s hard string of games to pass, monitoring Jimmy Bullard’s fitness. Jimmy looks okay now, I guess Big Sam will breathe a sigh of relief after Old Trafford, but I lost the points haul and am looking at Robinson and Bullard now.”

SUPERIOR BEING: “Double Gameweeks are a great source of points and provide an opportunity to inflict some damage to some of your less studious mini league opponents. They have been profitable for me in the past and I am certainly looking forward to the coming weeks. It is not just the big point hauls I am excited about however; my excitement is more about the potential damage my opponents will cause to their teams by playing the double Gameweek incorrectly. When I say incorrectly, I mean failing to plan ahead.

This lack of planning is two fold: Firstly, they might not realise it is a double Gameweek until the last minute then panic and take multiple points hits. Secondly, they could invest in too many double Gameweek players which could leave them with an inferior team for the following fixtures and perhaps having to take further point hits to put their team right. From experience I have realised that over investment in any one team is a big mistake. Seeing 2 easy games can be very tempting to buy a player you wouldn’t normally consider. Too many times they end up getting 2 lots of 2 points when the player you sell would’ve actually outscored them! In my recent memory it is only Manchester United who have really delivered in the double Gameweeks. I would therefore only fully invest in the maximum quota of 3 players if the team in question was one of the Big 4. I might extend this to Everton, City, Tottenham or Villa but only if they had extremely favourable long term surrounding fixtures.

How long in advance I prepare is totally dependant on how many players I plan to get in. This number will depend on 4 things: quality of fixtures before, during and after the double Gameweek plus how strong I rate my subs to be (in case I need to play them for the fixtures following the double Gameweek). A good example to get the cogs ticking is Everton … they have great fixtures before the double Gameweek, average fixtures during and difficult fixtures after. I rate my subs pretty poorly. All things considered, investing in 3 Everton players is probably a risky move for me. I will probably stick with Distin and Baines.

I hear you ask, “What are your thoughts on the other Gameweek teams?” Well I’m sorry but that would be telling!”

I hope this gives you something to think about and consider next time a double gameweek rolls around. As no doubt we’ll get more double gameweeks further into the season, I’m sure this will be a topic we revisit this season. If you have anything you’d like us to discuss, then please email me at akers@fantasyfootballscout.co.uk.

Akers Richard or Akers, as he is known, has been regularly haunting this site since July 2008. He is young and foolish, take what he says with a pinch of salt. Follow them on Twitter

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