Managers need to make themselves aware of how best to handle the Eliteserien Fantasy 2019 fixture schedule.
In this final article of our preview coverage, we will have a look at the strategy for handling the early Double Gameweek, and any we might get in the future, as well as picking apart a rather helpful season ticker.
Double Gameweek 2 strategy
There seem to be two different approaches to the start of the season in Eliteserien.
The first option is setting up a team that ignores Double Gameweek 2, and uses the new “rich uncle” chip during that week to allow unlimited spending on it.
This allows you to build your team around the teams with the best opening fixtures outside of the Double, as well as planning for the long term.
It will also give you an optimal team for the Double Gameweek too, as you can get all the best, expensive options from Molde, Brann and Vålerenga, as well as Rosenborg.
The downside of this strategy is with the early Double Gameweek you can set your team up pretty well for the doubles from the start anyway. So is it a waste of this brilliant chip using it so early?
You can fit in more heavy hitters than you can without Rich Uncle, so you need these extra premium players to do well in the Double Gameweek and with Eliteserien being an unpredictable league, there are absolutely no guarantees.
So, the second option is to build a team from the start with Double Gameweek 2 in mind.
This could be a viable strategy as Molde, Brann and Vålerenga all have options that will be popular picks regardless of the double Gameweek.
Vålerenga have good fixtures on either side of the double. Brann and Molde don’t have the best fixtures in Gameweek 1 or 3, but they still have some solid options that potentially could do well regardless of the fixtures.
The big upside of this strategy is that it allows you to use Attack! Attack! or Two Captains in the Double Gameweek.
Vilhjalmson has looked good in pre-season, and Ohi will most likely be the first choice at Molde.
Sadly, there are question marks around Bamba. He’s been struggling with a back injury in pre-season, and he doesn’t seem to be as nailed-on as the first choice as some seem to think. There are rumours he might be benched in Gameweek 1 against Odd.
Kastrati is a doubt for Kristiansund as well, so I’m not sure there’s a good enough third striker pick for Attack Attack!
Two captains could be a better alternative, with Eikrem arguably as the standout captaincy pick.
Other Molde attackers like Hestad and Ohi could be the second captaincy choice, as well as Wormgoor from Brann or one of the Vålerenga attackers.
The downside of this strategy is that it is likely to require an early Wildcard, assuming you’re loading up on alternatives from the four teams with a Double Gameweek.
Rich Uncle could come in handy later in the season though, and if you can nail your Two Captains (or Attack! Attack!) it might be an equally good strategy.
This approach could also leave you with a worse team for Gameweek 1 and 3 compared to those using Rich Uncle.
What about later Double Gameweeks?
The Norwegian Football Association allow the clubs to ask for up to two game to be moved due to European involvement.
Molde and Brann have taken advantage of this possibility, while Rosenborg and Haugesund have not bothered.
This is the reason for the early Double Gameweek, and this means Brann, Vålerenga and Kristiansund experience Blanks in Gameweek 15.
If any of the four teams advance to the third qualifying round of the Europa League (or Champions League in Rosenborg’s case), they can ask for their GW17 fixtures to be moved.
Molde have already done this, which means their home meeting with Sarpsborg has been moved to Gameweek 15. This means Sarpsborg have two fixtures in Gameweek15, while Molde have a blank in Gameweek 17 instead of Gameweek 15.
Brann have already confirmed that their home game against Stabæk in Gameweek 17 will be moved if they advance in the Europa League qualifiers, presumably to round three.
They enter in the first round, and because of their low seeding, they will probably get a tough draw in round two. I don’t think Haugesund can realistically reach round three as they will have the same low seeding as Brann and have even less quality in their squad.
Rosenborg have not asked for their games to be moved in recent seasons, but we can’t rule it out this year.
There is a chance they didn’t ask for their Gameweek 15 fixture to be moved because they’ll most likely be drawn against a lesser team due to their decent UEFA club coefficient.
It’s more likely that they will face tougher teams in round three of the Champions League qualifiers, as well as in the playoff round.
Could this mean their Gameweek 17 home fixture against Tromsø and their Gameweek 19 home meeting with Stabæk could be moved? It’s an option, but I wouldn’t put too much into it at this stage.
There is also the Under-20s World Cup, which most likely will lead to Stabæk blanking twice in Gameweeks 9 and 10. Three of Stabæk’s key players are likely to be involved for Norway Under-20s during the tournament, and as a result, they can ask for these games to be moved if all three are indeed called up.
The matches at risk are with Vålerenga at home and against Odd away. If Stabæk vs Vålerenga is put into Gameweek 15 it would be the same case as with Sarpsborg and Molde. Vålerenga would blank in Gameweek 9 instead of Gameweek 15, and Stabæk will be the only team having a Double Gameweek in Gameweek 15 out of those two.
Who has the best fixtures long-term?
- Credit to MTPockets for creating the season ticker
- Right click and select ‘View Image’ for a closer look
Vålerenga stand out with their early fixtures. They face newly promoted Mjøndalen in Gameweek 1 and Tromsø in Gameweek 3, as well as having two fixtures in the early Double Gameweek. Regardless of what strategy you are looking at, a triple-up on Vålerenga players seems to be justified.
Another team with an interesting opening schedule is Odd. They have three home games in the first four fixtures, with the away game against Rosenborg being played in Gameweek 2. For those considering the Rich Uncle strategy, you’ll get three straight home games from Odd players and avoid the away fixture against Rosenborg.
The defending champions also have a favourable opening program, with Bodø/Glimt away in Gameweek 1, Odd at home in Gameweek 2, Stabæk away in Gameweek 3 and Strømsgodset at home in Gameweek 4. All of those are fixtures you’d expect them to win, and there should be chances of both clean sheets and goals.
Molde start the season with three away games in the first four Gameweeks, as well as two favourable home games in the Double Gameweek. Their opening fixture at Sarpsborg is expected to be a really tough game for them. They also have to face Rosenborg at home in Gameweek 5, which is expected to be the toughest home game of the year.
Brann also have a tough start with Odd away, as well as an away game in the Western Norway derby against newly promoted team Viking. They do have two very favourable home games in Gameweek 2 though, like Molde.
Sarpsborg are expected to be one of the top teams this season and have some favourable fixtures in the middle of tough games versus Molde in Gameweek 1 and Rosenborg in Gameweek 6.
With home games versus Lillestrøm and Mjøndalen, as well as away games to Bodø/Glimt and a Haugesund team in a defensive crisis there is hope for returns from the Sarpsborg players.
Ranheim have been given a kind run of games to open the season. They are expected to struggle at the bottom of the league this year and have to get the most out of these opening fixtures to stay out of trouble.
They have home fixtures to Tromsø, Haugesund and Viking in the first five Gameweeks, as well as away games at Lillestrøm and Kristiansund. There could be some differential bargains to be had there.