Selection

Selection Strategies – Gameweek 35 – The Defence

After checking out the machinations behind the Free Hit chip ahead of Gameweek 35, we now delve a little deeper into the approaches open to Fantasy Premier League (FPL) managers for the reduced slate of fixtures.

First, a reminder that, with the FA Cup semi-finals taking place this weekend, we are limited to the following fixtures:

Gameweek 35 Schedule

West Brom vs Liverpool
Watford vs Crystal Palace
Arsenal vs West Ham
Stoke vs Burnley
Man City vs Swansea
Everton vs Newcastle

As discussed in our previous article, many managers had therefore pinpointed this Gameweek as the best time to play their Free Hit chip.

This tactic involved Wildcarding in either Gameweek 32 or 33 to load up on the sides who play twice in both Double Gameweek 34 and 37.

That affords the freedom to freshen up their squads temporarily to take advantage of this weekend’s reduced slate.

However, we are also aware that, by this point, other FPL managers may have already wielded their Free Hit chip and we have therefore factored that into our thinking when considering the strategies available.

In the first of two further articles, we look at the targets in defence, both for those with and without their Free Hit chips.

The Free Hit Chip Targets

The Free Hit chip already gives Fantasy managers a distinct advantage for Gameweek 35 given that they have total freedom with unlimited transfers right up until the deadline.

But those with the chip active can also seek to maximise this scenario by pinpointing players with very favourable weekend fixtures who are likely to be ignored by non-Free Hit chip rivals.

With five of the 12 teams to feature in this weekend’s slate set to play twice in Double Gameweek 37 – Arsenal, Man City, Newcastle, Swansea and West Ham – those without Free Hit chips can focus extra trades on form players who they expect will start three matches over those Gameweeks. In doing so, they can spend points on transfers in the hope that the extra fixture will help repay the investment.

Obviously, there will be some crossover in terms of targets for the Free Hit manager and the “chipless”.

Taking Man City as an example, the likes of Nicolas Otamendi and Kyle Walker may well be named on Pep Guardiola’s teamsheet from this point onwards, starting with a very favourable home encounter with travel-sick Swansea.

Both offer considerable attacking upside as routes into the league’s most resilient rearguard – only Marcos Alonso has scored more goals than Otamendi’s four, while Walker’s tally of six assists is just one off the summit for defenders.

Similarly, for Arsenal, Shkodran Mustafi remains seemingly immune to rotation at a time when Arsene Wenger has swapped his full-backs due to their ongoing Europa League campaign. The German international has played all but 18 minutes from Gameweek 20 onwards and has chipped in with three goals and an assist ahead of a visit from West Ham.

Arguably, though, outwith that trio, the appeal of most defenders with considerable upside in Gameweek 35 will mainly be exclusive to those with the Free Hit at their disposal.

Man City captain Vincent Kompany is expected to start Sunday’s title party at home to the Swans but, given his injury history, Pep Guardiola could well manage the Belgian’s minutes over their subsequent four league fixtures. Kompany has a goal, an assist and two clean sheets in his last five league outings.

Rested for last week’s loss to Newcastle, Hector Bellerin is another short-term option who looks likely to start Gameweek 35 but not necessarily every league fixture that follows. A total of two first-team outings in the previous five league matches is likely to deter those without Free Hit chips from taking a punt on the Gunners’ right-back.

Elsewhere, teams without a Double Gameweek 37 are the ones most likely to be overlooked by non-Free Hit chip managers.

With that in mind, the likes of Liverpool, Crystal Palace and Burnley can offer in-form solutions across the positions for those set to play their Free Hit chip.

Priced at just 4.0, Kevin Long benefitted from Ben Mee’s absence to claim a double-digit haul in the first of the Clarets’ two Double Gameweek 34 matches. Ragnar Klavan is likely to come in for Liverpool’s trip to West Brom given that Dejan Lovren is a minor doubt for next midweek’s Champions League encounter with Roma.

The Reds have conceded five times in their last 12 in all competitions, which could also promote Loris Karius and Virgil van Dijk in some managers’ Free Hit plans if Jurgen Klopp shuffles his full-backs. The Dutchman offers a goal threat to increase his points ceiling and, given Lovren’s fitness issues, may well start at The Hawthorns.

Elsewhere, Stoke’s Jack Butland is the number one keeper for saves (102) and BPS points (419) since Gameweek 15. That suggests save points will be on the menu at least for the visit of in-form Burnley and, if the Potters can earn a shut-out, Butland’s potential points may even push double-figures. Along with Everton’s Jordan Pickford (4.9), he arguably has the highest points ceiling of any Gameweek 35 active goalkeeper.

Toffees left-back Leighton Baines is another target likely to be the exclusive of Free Hit managers. He has 19 points in his three home matches since returning from injury in Gameweek 30 ahead of a visit from Newcastle.

Similarly, Patrick van Aanholt has the attacking threat to reward short-term investment. Palace go to Watford in Gameweek 35 but, like Everton, do not offer a double to come, which could see the Dutchman largely ignored by those without the Free Hit active. Over his last six matches, Van Aanholt has scored twice and fired eight attempts on goal, with five shots on target – more than any defender.

The Non-Free Hit Targets

As mentioned above, players such as Otamendi, Walker and Mustafi will appeal to managers regardless of the Free Hit being active.

Crucially for those without the chip, both Man City (SWA whu HU & BHA sot) and Arsenal (WHU mun BUR & lei hud) are ranked as the top two defences for points potential in our season ticker. This boosts the chances of gaining a refund on any transfer “hits” taken to acquire them.

Investment in the other three teams with a Gameweek 35 and Double Gameweek 37 – Newcastle, Swansea and West Ham – has less immediate appeal, with all set to hit the road this weekend.

Of those three, the Magpies’ remaining schedule (eve WBA wat & tot CHE) is rated as the most favourable and fourth overall defensively.

Away to Everton on Monday night, Jamaal Lascelles has found the net three times this term and is their likeliest source of points from the back. At 4.2 to the centre-half’s 4.8, though, Paul Dummett is the cheaper option.

Lukasz Fabianski (4.7) is sure to deliver save points at least for Sunday’s trip to the Etihad and will then offer three home matches (CHE bou & SOT STK) in the final three Gameweeks.

If you’re not in the market for a keeper, though, at 5.1, Alfie Mawson (two goals and an assist) is the attacking option in defence, with Federico Fernandez (4.5) the budget-friendly pick.

West Ham’s remaining schedule (ars MCI lei & MUN EVE) hardly looks conducive to clean sheets.

But Angelo Ogbonna (4.2) could appeal as a squad filler, particularly for those with a Bench Boost chip planned for Double Gameweek 37. Meanwhile, Aaron Creswell (4.9) is the luxury item in David Moyes’ backline, having produced seven assists over the season, a tally matched only by Ben Davies among defenders.

In the final part of this series, we will move to assess the attacking options appealing ahead of Gameweek 35, again attempting to cater for both Free Hit managers and those using transfer hits to reinforce their squads.

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1,736 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Carcaju
    1 month, 9 days ago

    How's this FH team?

    Ederson - 3.9

    Lejeune - Tomkins - Lowton - Mariappa - 3.9

    Salah - Mane - Sterling - Arnautovic - King

    Jesus - Firmino - Auba

    1. The Nuttman
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      1 month, 9 days ago

      Seems solid, I'd probably come up with options in case the Liverpool players are not involved, other than that it looks solid to me.

      1. Carcaju
        1 month, 9 days ago

        Yeah, I'll wait for more Liverpool news as the days go by, and if I need to I'll change some of them.

    2. Top lad DAKES
      1 month, 9 days ago

      mane --> silva/sane/kdb(if possible) imo.
      idk.
      if all 3 pool start, it is good

      1. Carcaju
        1 month, 9 days ago

        My main concern is, now that City are officially champions, that Pep rotates a lot more than usual...

  2. panda07
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    1 month, 9 days ago

    Will Joel Pereira start tonight? He's a bargain at 3.9m!

    1. The Nuttman
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      1 month, 9 days ago

      Could do, doubt he'll get much more game time even if he does though.

    2. Rainer
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      1 month, 9 days ago

      Even in this DGW, I think that'd be a step too far from Jose!

    3. Debauchy
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      1 month, 9 days ago

      Yep- 3.9 will be 3.9 next year too

  3. ⭐ Bemba_Da ⭐
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    1 month, 9 days ago

    F off mourinho, really needed lukaku to start

    1. TorresMagic™
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • Has Moderation Rights
      1 month, 9 days ago

      Mark doesn't have him so you know the deal.

      1. Rash
        1 month, 9 days ago

        Lol

      2. Rainer
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        1 month, 9 days ago

        With Hazard earlier in the season too... Its all starting to make sense!

        1. TorresMagic™
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • Has Moderation Rights
          1 month, 9 days ago

          He probably would have sold him before the DGW.

          1. Rainer
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            1 month, 9 days ago

            😆

      3. The Nuttman
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        1 month, 9 days ago

        😆

    2. Weasel Boy
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      1 month, 9 days ago

      LOL

  4. tsintisin
    1 month, 9 days ago

    Do you think atleast 2/3 of these will start? DDG, Smalling and Lingard

    1. The Nuttman
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      1 month, 9 days ago

      No.

    2. Weasel Boy
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      1 month, 9 days ago

      Lingard probably

    3. TorresMagic™
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • Has Moderation Rights
      1 month, 9 days ago

      At least 1/3

    4. Debauchy
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      1 month, 9 days ago

      Yes

    5. Hazard is an FPL legend
      1 month, 9 days ago

      Lingard 100%
      Smalling no
      Ddg maybe

  5. ANISH_T28
    1 month, 9 days ago

    Thoughts on my FH team for GW35

    Pickford
    VanDijk Kompany Baines
    Salah Sterling Mane Milivojevic
    Wood Jesus Aubameyang

    Nordfieldt Long Cresswell Arnautovic

    0itb

    1. The Nuttman
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      1 month, 9 days ago

      Not a fan of getting Arnie but benching him, feel he needs to start if in your squad.

  6. Gudjohnsen
    1 month, 9 days ago

    Go De Gea, Sanchez and Lukaku.

    So DDG is the only one who starts....

    1. ⭐ Bemba_Da ⭐
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      1 month, 9 days ago

      If you are very lucky yed

    2. Top lad DAKES
      1 month, 9 days ago

      Unconfirmed.

    3. TorresMagic™
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • Has Moderation Rights
      1 month, 9 days ago

      Might be 0 starters.

      1. Witty Pun: The Casual
        1 month, 9 days ago

        You're enjoying this

        1. TorresMagic™
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • Has Moderation Rights
          1 month, 9 days ago

          Out of our control. I own 2 of them.

          1. Witty Pun: The Casual
            1 month, 9 days ago

            Good philosophy to have. I have one, and would have had more if it was feasible. Good luck!

    4. Hazard is an FPL legend
      1 month, 9 days ago

      Other 2 no chance. Ddg maybe

  7. Hazard is an FPL legend
    1 month, 9 days ago

    So its a Lingard Rashford martial frontline for Utd right??

    1. Witty Pun: The Casual
      1 month, 9 days ago

      According to MEN, the king of reputable sources

  8. Jafooli
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    1 month, 9 days ago

    Wilson to start?

    1. Witty Pun: The Casual
      1 month, 9 days ago

      Would love if Mou just played his U23s tbh

    2. ⭐ Bemba_Da ⭐
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      1 month, 9 days ago

      Instead of lukaku?

      1. Jafooli
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        1 month, 9 days ago

        Rather he started for Bournemouth as they’re more attacking.....

    3. Rainer
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      1 month, 9 days ago

      Yes.

      Probably for United at this rate!

    4. Deulofail
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      1 month, 9 days ago

      On loan at Sheffield United, unfortunately.

  9. Jafooli
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    1 month, 9 days ago

    Any pics from the team hotels? Or coach?

    1. Witty Pun: The Casual
      1 month, 9 days ago

      Arbitrary link to a BDSM site disguised as a meme of Mourinho

    2. The Nuttman
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      1 month, 9 days ago

      probably best to look up user reviews if you want to stay there, pictures don't tell the whole story.

  10. Veezeeboy
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    1 month, 9 days ago

    More possible team news: The leaked midfield is Paul Pogba, Ander Herrera and Marouane Fellaini. So the suggestion is the five players who were omitted from the West Brom squad will start this evening in a much-changed line-up which could feature eight changes.

    It is important to reiterate the fact some leaked teams have turned out to be completely wrong in the past

  11. Sun Jihai
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    1 month, 9 days ago

    Fellaini repeat of GW7 16 pointer incoming?

    1. Moss
      1 month, 9 days ago

      I sold him for Ramsey before that gameweek..

  12. VizziJ
    1 month, 9 days ago

    Matteo Darmian, Eric Bailly, Daley Blind and Luke Shaw.
    Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard. No Lukaku... Ahhh there goes my season...

    1. Witty Pun: The Casual
      1 month, 9 days ago

      Nothing confirmed dude chill out

      1. VizziJ
        1 month, 9 days ago

        Im chill, just annoying as my mini league leader (C) Kane. Im currently sitting at 5stacks, and this is a big blow, boi.

        1. Witty Pun: The Casual
          1 month, 9 days ago

          Fairs. Gl my dude

    2. Jafooli
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      1 month, 9 days ago

      Only playing seven and no keeper.....interesting tactic.

      1. Witty Pun: The Casual
        1 month, 9 days ago

        To sub on the other 4 for maximum impact

        1. Jafooli
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          1 month, 9 days ago

          That could be fun 😀

    3. ⚒Jay⚒ Hungary Neville
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      1 month, 9 days ago

      Pogba, Herrera, Feillani the other 3 outfielders apparently. Just leaves a GK

      1. Jafooli
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        1 month, 9 days ago

        Crikey, massive changes.....

  13. Jafooli
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    1 month, 9 days ago

    They should put Daniels back on penos ffs.....

  14. TheTinman
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    1 month, 9 days ago

    To be fair the front 3 stories could mean this:

    Rash-JLingz-TonyM
    Big Rom

    I mean Utd don't play with 3 up front at all, so when the front 3 are mentioned they may be referring to the 3 behind Lukaku

  15. Rainer
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    1 month, 9 days ago

    20 minutes till tears!

    1. Jafooli
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      1 month, 9 days ago

      Cutting onions?

  16. Deanobakedbeano
    1 month, 9 days ago

    Resisting these leaked Man U lineups for now... can someone remind me of the Livepool leak source mentioned several times on the ScoutCast... ?

    1. ANISH_T28
      1 month, 9 days ago

      Anfield Express

    2. Alan The Llama
      1 month, 9 days ago

      Anfield Express

    3. UnitedFan
      1 month, 9 days ago

      Anfield Express

      1. Deanobakedbeano
        1 month, 9 days ago

        Thanks all.

  17. Sun Jihai
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    1 month, 9 days ago

    So the suggestion is...

    DDG
    Darmian, Bailly, Blind, Shaw
    Pogba, Herrera, Fellaini
    Lingard, Martial, Rashford

    Not convinced it's AnfieldExpress like reliability..!

    1. Rainer
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      1 month, 9 days ago

      Forgot Pereira.

  18. VK - BLINDIAN
    1 month, 9 days ago

    Lukaku not starting? TC wasted 🙁

  19. ZoumasBloomers
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • Has Moderation Rights
    1 month, 9 days ago

    I have Kaku captain and no one else near the top of my ML has him. I hate this.

    1. Witty Pun: The Casual
      1 month, 9 days ago

      Good luck.
      If it goes well, congrats!
      If it goes badly, unlucky pal, he was a very convincing nostalgia pick.

    2. Debauchy
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      1 month, 9 days ago

      Have him too , confident he starts

  20. Debauchy
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    1 month, 9 days ago

    Why in hell would Lukaku be rested ? he hardly moves in a game.

    1. TorresMagic™
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • Has Moderation Rights
      1 month, 9 days ago

      No goals in 2.

      1. Debauchy
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        1 month, 9 days ago

        unlucky last game . he starts imo

    2. Jafooli
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      1 month, 9 days ago

      World Cup, Belgium are favourites....

      1. Debauchy
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        1 month, 9 days ago

        ahh damn forgot WC

  21. TorresMagic™
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • Has Moderation Rights
    1 month, 9 days ago

    Nothing is official regarding Man Utd team news so just relax 🙂

    1. TheTinman
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      1 month, 9 days ago

      LOOOOUUUUDDD NOISES

      1. Witty Pun: The Casual
        1 month, 9 days ago

        U N I N T E L L I G I B L E S C R E A M S

    2. Rainer
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      1 month, 9 days ago

      So you're saying there's a chance?

  22. Rash
    1 month, 9 days ago

    If the rotation is as bad as reports say then I hope for early Bournemouth goals so the cavalry are brought on at HT

  23. Magic Bean
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    1 month, 9 days ago

    This place has gone into meltdown :lol:....Rashford Lingard and Martial front three means behind Lukaku

    1. Witty Pun: The Casual
      1 month, 9 days ago

      Read the link dude. It doesn't according to that site. Probably wrong anyway though

      1. Magic Bean
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        1 month, 9 days ago

        As in the one that says "Mourinho's sure starters are De Gea Matic and Lukaku"?

        1. Witty Pun: The Casual
          1 month, 9 days ago

          Is that the one from MEN? That one had a 433

    2. TheTinman
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      1 month, 9 days ago

      Copier

      1. Magic Bean
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        1 month, 9 days ago

        Or great minds 😉

    3. TorresMagic™
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • Has Moderation Rights
      1 month, 9 days ago

      Lewis Cook 3 pointer 🙂

    4. MTPockets
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      1 month, 9 days ago

      Not if 4 at the back + 3 midfield as they're also suggesting.

    5. Debauchy
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      1 month, 9 days ago

      Exactly Bean

  24. arndff_
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    1 month, 9 days ago

    One lad here told me that he had gone Chambers over Mustafi.

    Could anyone explain me why Chambers might be the better option (GW35 only)?

    1. Witty Pun: The Casual
      1 month, 9 days ago

      Cheaper

      1. arndff_
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        1 month, 9 days ago

        If that's the main thing, I prefer to go with Mustafi. Simply because money aren't an issue on FH.

    2. ANISH_T28
      1 month, 9 days ago

      More goal threat off late

      1. arndff_
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        1 month, 9 days ago

        Didn't know that. Thanks, mate!

    3. Debauchy
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      1 month, 9 days ago

      If Chambers plays Arsenal concede, thats a given

  25. Gudjohnsen
    1 month, 9 days ago

    Was there a leaked lineup

    Everyone saying Lukaku wont start.

    1. arndff_
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      1 month, 9 days ago

      Doesn't matter. Just wait 15 more minutes. 🙂

  26. Salarrivederci
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    1 month, 9 days ago

    Thanks FFS for making me emotionally unstable + giving me nervous tics...

    1. arndff_
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      1 month, 9 days ago

      Why FFS and not FPL? 🙂

  27. ZoumasBloomers
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • Has Moderation Rights
    1 month, 9 days ago

    4 point hit to get in Pogba and Captain Lukaku is stinging right now

    1. arndff_
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      1 month, 9 days ago

      It's not your fault that United weren't able to win even those easy (at least on paper) games.

    2. RECKLESS
      1 month, 9 days ago

      Getting Pogba was bonkers as he is very erractic. He is way too hyped as its Manutd. Granted he has potential but he needs to perform in every match like Kdb did this season to match the hype. Captaining lukaku was caluculated risk. Hope it pays off 🙂

  28. mrwinner
    1 month, 9 days ago

    Lukaku starts, everyone chill out.

    1. Rainer
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      1 month, 9 days ago

      Starts where?

    2. Skloppy Kops
      1 month, 9 days ago

      Sauce?

      1. TerryVenables
        1 month, 9 days ago

        Hot sauce?

        1. Skloppy Kops
          1 month, 9 days ago

          Chilled sauce..

          1. Witty Pun: The Casual
            1 month, 9 days ago

            Raw sauce

    3. Debauchy
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      1 month, 9 days ago

      this, no source

  29. Sailboats
    1 month, 9 days ago

    Alonso owners on suicide watch

    1. arndff_
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      1 month, 9 days ago

      Not exactly... Could change my plans a bit but it's not the end of the world. At least, I hope so. 🙂

    2. RECKLESS
      1 month, 9 days ago

      He is my antidote for vardy to kane so happy can hold som for dgw 37

    3. The Nuttman
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      1 month, 9 days ago

      Not any more than usual, can just sell him.

  30. nevins84
    1 month, 9 days ago

    Lukaku has tolled me for years and i still put the TC on him..
    Angry at myself, shoulda known he's a jinx...