The final Double Gameweek of the season is upon us, and with it comes the opportunity to redeem ourselves. For many, Double Gameweek 34 was a chastening experience. And, as we now contemplate our FPL teams, we are left shaking our heads like bemused journalists at an Eric Cantona press conference – “Seagulls?”
We will forever wonder how so many Brighton players came to be in our teams, not that anyone blames the Scoutcast (Heaven forbid!), the question is now: what do we do with them?
As much as we might like to kung-fu kick them into row Z, there are points hits to consider and, well, maybe the FPL trawler will chuck us a sardine or two this week?
Plenty of FPL managers also have to deal with the consequences of Troy Deeney’s stray elbow. The Watford captain managed to get himself sent-off against Arsenal, landing himself a three match ban and leaving Double Gameweek 35 plans in tatters. Given Deeney’s suspension and Brighton’s horror show, is it still the best week to Bench Boost?
With injuries potentially adding to suspension and poor form, Neale observed that:
A transfer or two (perhaps at the expense of a hit) may fix the necessary issues but those Fantasy managers with a flag-heavy squad may now be mulling over a different strategy.
This would seem especially true for those still holding their Triple Captain chip. However, the effectiveness of using the Bench Boost chip in a Double Gameweek is not in question, as David discovered when researching the points gained on Bench Boost last season.
In our FPL Question Time this week, Ted (aka Rotation’s Alter Ego) thinks the best idea is to stick to the plan:
I wouldn’t overthink it. Fix the problem, play the Bench Boost, enjoy, then focus on nailing the rest of the Gameweeks. You’ve might have been dealt a bad hand but I’d want to put it behind you now and not let it drag into other weeks.
If you are looking to transfer out a Brighton defender, he thinks going cheap is a good idea:
You don’t want too much value sat on the bench post-Bench Boost anyway, so moving to cheaper defenders now could be a blessing in disguise.
For others, like Nick from Who Got The Assist?, it’s just a case of grin and bear it.
There were some positives for FPL managers last week: a dramatic and pulsating Champions League quarter-final resulted in defeat for Manchester City. As the FPL General points out, this could bode well for our FPL assets:
We should see less rotation now from Pep Guardiola as they aim to fight off the challenge of Liverpool for the title.
Their main protagonists, Sterling and Aguero, both make this week’s Scout Picks. The pair are also in contention for the armband despite facing two top-six teams this Double Gameweek. Of the two, Neale revealed in his members’ only article that Sterling actually has the better minutes per goal attempt record over the last six matches.
Meanwhile in his Captain Sensible article, David assessed their credentials along with the other candidates, including Captain Poll favourite Raúl Jiménez.
A guest on the Scoutcast this week, Adam Hopcroft highlighted that Wolves have done very well in their big midweek matches at Molineux, when the crowd creates a good atmosphere. And in the Gameweek 35 Captaincy video, Neale highlighted that Jiménez has four attacking returns in his last five home matches, including three double-digit hauls.
For Spurs, their midweek triumph could prove to be a Pyrrhic victory as the injuries begin to mount. As Neale reported in his Team News Round-up, Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino has hinted heavily at rotation for today’s encounter with Manchester City:
We need to assess the players, we need to assess some players that cannot be possible to play. Some small issues that maybe makes it not possible for some players to play on Saturday again.
The positive aspect for us FPL managers is that the lengthening injury list brings to the fore a few possible differentials. The Chief picked out 1.2% owned Fernando Llorente as a potential beneficiary. At only £5.1m, the Spaniard could prove a canny pick:
With Kane highly unlikely to be involved in Double Gameweek 35 (or the rest of the season for that matter), Llorente is the ideal budget attacking asset from a top-five team.
It’s also worth noting that in-form Heung-Min Son, two goals on Wednesday, picked up a yellow card ruling him out of the first leg of the Champions League semi-final against Ajax. This is good news for FPL managers as it makes him more likely to start the Premier League matches around that tie – in Gameweek 36 and Gameweek 37.
Title-chasing Liverpool should not be ignored either, especially with an encounter at home to already-relegated Huddersfield in Gameweek 36. Salah reminded us of his worth in midweek as he followed up his spectacular strike against Chelsea last weekend with a goal and an assist in his side’s 4-1 win over Porto. He registered seven of Liverpool’s 13 attempts on goal.
Picking the right trio of Liverpool players for Gameweek 36 will not be easy. Referring to the difficulty of Salah’s strike against Chelsea, and its corresponding low xG of 0.0395, David pointed out that:
There are two ways of looking at that statistic; either it proves the goal was a fluke and non-owners can worry less about his chances of doing the same again, or it demonstrates his exceptional quality as a finisher.
According to the Wisdom of the Crowd and G-Whizz’s DS stats, fixtures and clean sheet odds two more teams with double Gameweeks are worthy of our attention: Watford and Arsenal. The problem with both teams, perhaps, is identifying the right players.
Arsenal look set to rotate following their win away to Napoli in the Europa League, which sees them advance to the semi-finals of that competition. And who will start up front in place of Troy Deeney for Watford – Gray or Success? There are also fitness concerns surrounding Deulofeu and Pereyra. At the moment, Gray is proving popular among veteran managers.
The sideways transfer of Deeney to Gray could also be the popular transfer for The Great and The Good. There were only a handful of green arrows for this elite bunch, but given that the template for this group included three Brighton defenders and Deeney, it’s easy to understand why.
Deeney was also a thorn in the side for Pete Beswick, currently ranked 115 overall, and professional footballer and FPL manager Jordie van der Laan.
Pete, with three top 5,000 finishes in the last four years, featured in a Meet The Manager video with Joe. Unlike many FPL managers, Pete played his Wildcard in Gameweek 23. It’s a strategy that proved very successful taking him from 5,000 overall to the verge of the top 100.
Jordie, who finished 55th overall a couple of seasons ago, plays professional football in the Netherlands. He has first-hand experience of teams being ‘on the beach’ as revealed when he shared some of his insights to football and FPL with me in a community article.
Elsewhere on site, the Scandinavian fantasy games were covered in a selection of community articles. Thank you to Sebin and frfotballben for reviewing and previewing Norwegian Eliteserien, and to Meltens and scottmitchell92 for previewing Gameweek 4 in Fantasy Allsvenskan and discussing potential replacements for the high-scoring defender Aslak Fonn Witry who is injured.
If you’re a member and are yet to get to grips with the custom statistics tables, you can view this movie for an explanation of how they work. Also, remember to tag them so that people can find the tables with ease.
We are at the quarter-final stage in the Fantasy Football Scout Cup. Neale brought us all the drama from the sixth round in his cup round-up. In an open competition, the Quarter Finals feature three teams outside the top 100k along with three teams in the top 10,000. The final is scheduled for Gameweek 37.
In TorresMagic’s Last Man Standing competition the safety score in Gameweek 34 was 47, this saw 32 managers eliminated. 44 teams are through to Gameweek 35, when the threshold for elimination moves up to 50%, a minimum of 22 managers will depart. The final will take place in Gameweek 37.
Adam needs 338 points to beat the record points total set by FFS member Jon Reeson (aka Westfield Irons) in the 2009/10 season. That’s an average of 85 points per Gameweek. He still has his Bench Boost chip available.
Mark and Rotation’s Alter Ego remain first and second respectively in the FFS Mods & Cons after both played their second Wildcard. Mark’s successful move to bring in Nathan Redmond was tempered slightly by Deeney’s sending off. Although thankfully Deeney remained on his bench.
Andy Sullivan held onto his lead in RedLightning’s Top 10k Any Season mini-league and is up another four places to 37th overall. Grey Head remains in second place, 22 points behind Andy.
Phil O’Connor (aka ‘jia you jia you’) is the new leader RedLightning’s January to May League. Like Pete Beswick, he played his Second Wildcard in Gameweek 23 and his Triple Captain chip in Gameweek 25. He decided to take an 8-point hit ahead of Gameweek 34 but he still outscored most Wildcarders! This is his seventh FPL season, his highest previous finish being 4,467 in 2016/17. Eight green arrows in the past 10 Gameweeks have taken him from 42k in Gameweek 24 to his current position just outside the top thousand (1,061).
Karen Goh moved 21 points ahead of Rotation’s Alter Ego in RedLightning’s The Last Ten Gameweeks mini-league. Karen used her second Wildcard in Gameweek 29, which would appear the better strategy compared to Rotation’s Alter Ego, who played his in Gameweek 34. Karen has risen from 112k in Gameweek 28 to 6,096 since playing her Second Wildcard.
Most of the mini-league leaders are expected to play their Bench Boost in Double Gameweek 35, the exception being ‘jia you jia you’ who played his in Gameweek 1 for a score of 100.
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