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. Gudjohnsen
      1 month, 9 days ago

      Any reason not to do Lukaku to Jesus tonight

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

        A plethora

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

        You aren't on a FH, are you?

        Probably none of them will rise/fall in price tonight, so there's no reason to rush it.

    • St. Joseph
        1 month, 9 days ago

        LOL
        When the actual game are more boring than waiting for the line up.

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

          Been like that for seasons for me now.....lineups are the best bit of the game these days 😛

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

          😆

      • Gudjohnsen
          1 month, 9 days ago

          Sanchez and Pogba benched!

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

            Really?

          2. CALLOFDUTY 1 (2003)
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            1 month, 9 days ago

            You know nothing

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

            Quite likely I think

          4. Effe
              1 month, 9 days ago

              Where’ve you got that from?

          5. mrwinner
              1 month, 9 days ago

              Lukaku/ Pogba in the starting XI but Sanchez on the bench I'm hearing

              1. CALLOFDUTY 1 (2003)
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                1 month, 9 days ago

                From where ?

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

                  His head.

            • Could get Messi
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              1 month, 9 days ago

              Have I missed the first "rate my winter break wildcard" post?

              https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/43812904

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

                Santa
                Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, 4.0
                Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen, 4.4
                4.5, Rudolph, 5.5

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

                  Dasher (c) - playing oop.

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

              As long as JLingz bags a brace I am happy anyway

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

                Hope won't... One of the most annoying players nowadays.

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

                This.....with a mini-dab

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

                  Thisss

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

                Dwight York up front I'm hearing.

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

                  Or is it Yorke? Who cares.

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

                    😆

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

                  😆

              5. ANISH_T28
                  1 month, 9 days ago

                  In my heart I know Lukaku will have an impact even if he is not on the pitch, his presense will be felt, that is enough for me

                  1. Skloppy Kops
                      1 month, 9 days ago

                      From where do you feel him?

                    • Dsmythy
                      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                      1 month, 9 days ago

                      If he's not playing for every 3 of his beautiful smiles on the bench he gets a point.

                  2. VizziJ
                      1 month, 9 days ago

                      James Robson appearantly, journalist from Manchester evening news, saying Lukaku will be rested.

                      1. Top lad DAKES
                          1 month, 9 days ago

                          link

                        • mrwinner
                            1 month, 9 days ago

                            this is the same James Robson who has provided false rumours in the past..

                          • CALLOFDUTY 1 (2003)
                            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                            1 month, 9 days ago

                            Link or shut it

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

                            James Robson is not to be trusted (I hope)

                          • Sailboats
                              1 month, 9 days ago

                              nobody knows who the feck james robson is, therefore it is an unreliable source

                              1. VizziJ
                                  1 month, 9 days ago

                                  I certainly hope so, lets wait and see.

                              2. Holmes
                                  1 month, 9 days ago

                                  :/

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

                                Anyone have any thoughts about who the best candidates of fringe City players to get playing time are/would be?

                                1. Skloppy Kops
                                    1 month, 9 days ago

                                    Gundog.. zinchenko

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

                                      Delph given the rest of the season off. Danilo’s got to be getting some time.

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

                                      Foden

                                    • Top lad DAKES
                                        1 month, 9 days ago

                                        Gundogan, Bernardo Silva, Jesus if you can consider him that

                                      • Alan The Llama
                                          1 month, 9 days ago

                                          Foden and Diaz

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

                                            Good shouts.

                                        • Dsmythy
                                          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                          1 month, 9 days ago

                                          Zin. All you need to know

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

                                            You have the faith?

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

                                        Will be funny if an unchanged team.

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

                                          Not a surprise as C.Wilson is bench fodder.

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

                                          Yeah, cause Utd will get beat again 😛

                                      • Hairy Potter
                                          1 month, 9 days ago

                                          All bound for Mou Mou Land

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

                                          Guys I've just gotten off the phone to my sauce. The guy is 100% legit and owes me one after I traded him my Rashford panini sticker. He's going to call back in 9mins.

                                          Watch this space!

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

                                            * moves to transfer page

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

                                            Rashford ain't worth shite. This is fake!

                                        • Rata - Team Mauritius
                                          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                          1 month, 9 days ago

                                          Just like Kane brought an out of jail card last night, it would be good to see Lukaku replicate same or even better tonight!

                                          1. Skloppy Kops
                                              1 month, 9 days ago

                                              If he even get ame pitch time u mean?

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

                                            Which site provides the lineups fast & clean in 7 minutes?

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

                                              Instagram

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

                                              Official PL website/app

                                              1. CALLOFDUTY 1 (2003)
                                                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                                1 month, 9 days ago

                                                Nope always late

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

                                              Twitter

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

                                            Gonna be some almighty screaming , vomiting and whooping soon

                                            1. St. Joseph
                                                1 month, 9 days ago

                                                Noooooookakuu.

                                                Just practising though..

                                                🙂

                                            2. Skloppy Kops
                                                1 month, 9 days ago

                                                Too much resting in this PL.
                                                Thats why there is no consistency in the players.. bet utd will get beaten by Spurs.

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

                                                You could cut the tension in here with a knife!

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

                                                  HAHAHAHA

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

                                                Barthez, Neville, Blanc, Stam, Silvestre, Beckham, Scholes, Veron, Keane, Giggs, Sheringham

                                                1. Skloppy Kops
                                                    1 month, 9 days ago

                                                    Fid they won the CL this bumch?

                                                  • Sánchez
                                                      1 month, 9 days ago

                                                      Lol @ Irwin owners

                                                    • Jonny HOW SON?
                                                        1 month, 9 days ago

                                                        drunk a bit?

                                                    • ANISH_T28
                                                        1 month, 9 days ago

                                                        DDG "its a real chance to get back to winning ways" sounds like hes got a point to prove and will play

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

                                                          Late push for the title?

                                                      • St. Joseph
                                                          1 month, 9 days ago

                                                          3 mins injury time....

                                                        • nevins84
                                                            1 month, 9 days ago

                                                            Ive never rage quit.. Tonight could be the night..

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

                                                              Fingers crossed 😉

                                                          • Taking the Mkhitaryan
                                                            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                                            1 month, 9 days ago

                                                            T minus 3 mins

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

                                                            FA Cup tie in three days, only chance of silverware....

                                                            1. Skloppy Kops
                                                                1 month, 9 days ago

                                                                Will get knocked out anyway..

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

                                                                  Not before resting key players....

                                                              • Sánchez
                                                                  1 month, 9 days ago

                                                                  Bring back the Tennant's 6's

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

                                                                    Ha, at the Kelvin Hall? Went to that a couple times....

                                                                    1. Sánchez
                                                                        1 month, 9 days ago

                                                                        Might give Sevco a chance at silverware again

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

                                                                          😛

                                                                • melvinmbabazi
                                                                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                                                  1 month, 9 days ago

                                                                  PLEASE START LUKAKU

                                                                  1. Taking the Mkhitaryan
                                                                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                                                    1 month, 9 days ago

                                                                    That'll help

                                                                • Dsmythy
                                                                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                                                  1 month, 9 days ago

                                                                  Hope United Twitter person is quick today.

                                                                • mrwinner
                                                                    1 month, 9 days ago

                                                                    LUKAKOUT!

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

                                                                        Lol ban

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

                                                                            Humble pie shoved down throat

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

                                                                          Bye

                                                                      • Dsmythy
                                                                        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                                                        1 month, 9 days ago

                                                                        Is there another team playing tonight or something?

                                                                        1. Taking the Mkhitaryan
                                                                          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                                                          1 month, 9 days ago

                                                                          No they are playing against nobody

                                                                        2. Skloppy Kops
                                                                            1 month, 9 days ago

                                                                            Yeah a whole team playing on the bench it seems

                                                                        3. Zilla
                                                                            1 month, 9 days ago

                                                                            Apparently everyone is itk

                                                                            1. Taking the Mkhitaryan
                                                                              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                                                              1 month, 9 days ago

                                                                              Source?

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

                                                                                You're lucky to have found this site