Fantasy Premier League managers are starting to ponder how best to handle Blank Gameweek 27.
Manchester City, Chelsea, Everton and Brighton all have no fixture on the weekend after next, which will affect our transfer plans.
We’ve asked our panel what their plans are…
Who’s on the panel this week?
Simon March – Former FPL champion who won the title in 2014/15. Has regularly contributed to these pages ever since.
Ben Crabtree – Another FPL title winner, who secured the crown in the 2016/17 campaign.
David Munday – editor of Fantasy Football Scout, a man who spends too much time in the
Question 1 – Simon
David Peter: With Mane matching Salah outcome, is it time to jump ship?
Simon: “It’s easy to see the appeal of switching Salah to Mane given that the latter is a lot cheaper and, on a points-per-million basis, offers greater value for money.
“At the same time though, there is a feeling that we’ve ‘been here before’ with these two and, the last time at least, it ended up being a fairly decisive victory for Salah.
“He’s more expensive, definitely, but he’s also scored almost 50 points more than Mane already this season.
“In fact, from a pure points-scoring perspective, Salah isn’t just the best Liverpool asset but he is, arguably, the best option of any player full stop.
“However, it would be wrong to say that there aren’t potential advantages to be gained in switching Salah to Mane, it really depends on what you do with the extra money.
“For example, for me, it would allow an easy upgrade of Richarlison to Sterling and it’s hard to argue that this wouldn’t offer a better combo in the aggregate.
“But would I be more confident in captaining Mane or Sterling over Salah long term? Probably not. Salah’s consistency in terms of starts and returns gives him an almost unique advantage in that respect.
“Also, with so many good budget or mid-priced options currently available, and so few heavy-hitters demanding our attention, it’s debatable whether we even really need the extra money right now.
“If managers can achieve the same key player upgrades with Salah as they can without him, and without severely weakening their teams, then there isn’t as much of an advantage in making the switch.
“Of course, this will be different for every manager so the key question anybody considering this move needs to ask themselves is whether, for their team, the potential advantage is big enough to justify the risk of getting rid of the current highest-scoring, highest-owned player.”
Question 2 – David
David: “I’d be lying if I said the Free Hit chip hadn’t crossed my mind for Blank Gameweek 27.
“Like many Fantasy managers, I am currently in possession of Richarlison and Lucas Digne, while Leroy Sané is my Manchester City asset of choice.
“On current form, none of these options is hugely appealing in the short-term at least and I’m keen to offload them.
“However, I’m also faced with the dilemma of having to field four key players in one unpredictable match, with Andrew Robertson, Mohamed Salah, Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford all in action at Old Trafford.
“The first obvious problem is that I don’t have a stand-out captain candidate with Liverpool away from home and Manchester United going up against that mean Reds’ defence.
“If I was playing the Free Hit, I’d be looking to get in maybe Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang or Alexandre Lacazette for Arsenal’s home match with Southampton.
“However, I have to remember that while my squad doesn’t look in fantastic shape for the next round of fixtures, I still have 10 active players, which for a Blank Gameweek is a decent amount. I’d be surprised if the vast majority of Fantasy managers weren’t in a similar situation to that.
“Looking ahead to Blank Gameweeks 31 and 33, I could not be confident that I’ll be able to guarantee 10 active players, with more than four teams expected to miss games at that stage of the season.
“For that reason, I think the best course of action is to use my Free Transfers to plug the gaps in terms of players who Blank in Gameweek 27 and holding the Free Hit chip for a later date when it could have a bigger effect on my squad.”
Question 3 – Ben
Tom: With Richarlison not producing the goals anymore and an upcoming Blank Gameweek, who would you look to in the mid-price midfielder market, around the £7.0m mark?
Ben: “I’m in the boat with many other frustrated managers who own Richarlison and would have sold five weeks ago if the Double Gameweek had not been on the horizon.
“After the disappointment of Gameweek 25, the early sub against Watford and now a Blank Gameweek there’s no excuses to delay disposing of him any longer.
“From my watchlist, I have three main contenders to don the FC Crab Dogg colours.
“Felipe Anderson has a great immediate fixture in Fulham where they seem very weak down Anderson’s side.
“His fixtures after that are very good bar Manchester City away which comes immediately after but it’s not a game in which he can’t get attacking returns.
“His playing form is maybe a little better than his points form but West Ham have had a few harder games recently in contrast to their four easy games in the next five.
“I’d feel hard done by with less than 20 points over the next five games with potentially 30-35 possible if West Ham click again.
“Diogo Jota is the second of my main three candidates. His immediate fixture in Bournemouth away is decent.
“It wouldn’t surprise if Wolves don’t score and it wouldn’t surprise me if they score three. After that, they have two good fixtures but this is followed by a run of games that may mean you want to take him out, so potentially Jota is a short term option.
“He looks a bit stronger and like he’s adjusted to the Premier League, so I predict Jota’s points range to be 12-25 points over the next five games.
“Option number three is James Maddison at Leicester. Crystal Palace at home is next up which is quite a good fixture but the Eagles are quite strong defensively, especially if James Tomkins is back from injury for the game.
“After that, his fixtures offer strong potential to keep in until Gameweek 34 or 35.
“Performance-wise, Maddison rarely disappoints me but for FPL points he only has 11 in the last five games.
“Claude Puel appears to be the only person who believes he deserves rotation but as his opinion directly affects Maddison’s points, it is a concern.
“Leicester are playing well enough in my opinion and with their fixtures, I can see an upturn in points for Maddison.
“My current line of thought is to go for Anderson but I may switch to Maddison before the deadline.
“Ryan Fraser and Pascal Groß could come into my thinking but tricky upcoming fixtures for one and team form plus minutes issues for the other is tempering interest at the moment.”
Question 4 – David
Sam: What should we do with our Man City assets from GW27 onwards when they have no fixture?
David: “I think the right call on each Manchester City option depends on which player we’re talking about.
“For example, I think if I had Sergio Aguero right now I’d be benching him for Gameweek 27.
“No player has had more shots on target than Aguero in the last four Gameweeks, and his regularity of starts even across all three fixtures in Gameweeks 25 and 26 show he is the number one forward at Manchester City once again.
“I know that you could do an easy switch for Aubameyang for the Blank, but you are going to want Aguero straight back the following week.
“Booking in a future transfer could leave you with problems if you end up with injuries or bans elsewhere in your squad after Gameweek 27.
“With Raheem Sterling, it’s another judgement call as he has the potential to be important for you after the Blank Gameweek, so could be worth benching.
“However, his underlying statistics don’t quite compare to Aguero, with just four accurate shots in the last four Gameweeks. For that reason he doesn’t feel quite as essential for a transfer back in after Blank Gameweek 27 if you wanted to move him out.
“Outside of that, I think you can get away with ditching Manchester City options this week, especially if it involves moving on Leroy Sané.
“With the Champions League returning for the defending
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