Pro Pundit Teams

How to navigate the FPL fixture congestion over Christmas

Six-time top 5k finisher Utkarsh Dalmia – aka Zophar –  talks us through the recovery time for Premier League players over Christmas in his latest Pro Pundits piece.


The busy Christmas period is almost upon and, for us Fantasy Premier League managers, it’s a fortnight we look upon with great excitement but also some fear of the dreaded ‘R’ word: rotation.

Of course, the schedule is not the same for every team and certain clubs have fixtures better spaced out than others between Gameweeks. As managers, the best we can do is take note of these differences and try to prepare our squads accordingly, predict benchings and see what teams we should target.

Managers often complain about having less than 72 hours to recover between matches and this is backed up by medical data. Recent research has shown that muscle injury risk increases by almost 20% when recovery time is reduced from six to three days.

It concluded that fixture congestion and insufficient recovery time between matches are two of the major risk factors associated with injuries and suggested that players should have at least 96 hours between matches in order to recover fully. Beyond the 96-hour period, there were no significant gains observed.

Keeping this in mind, I have listed the festive schedule for all Premier League teams below, with the respective gaps in hours between fixtures.

Gameweek 19 recovery (column B) does not appear to be a major issue, with most teams having well over 96 hours to rally themselves from their last league game. The clubs with the shortest rest periods are marked in yellow.

Liverpool’s fixture gap is calculated assuming they make the Club World Cup final. Manchester City and Wolves have the longest gap after West Ham, who have a mini-winter break due to their Gameweek 18 fixture postponement.

As you can see in column C, Gameweek 20 is where it gets a lot trickier. No team is afforded the ideal 96-hour recovery period, with Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Sheffield United (all in green) enjoying the longest rest periods.

Watford, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur stand out as the only three teams to be shaded yellow in both columns B and C, which is a potential flag for rotation. However, it is worth nothing that both the matches are at home for Spurs, so there is less time spent on travel etc.

All the teams in yellow are potential rotation concerns but the ones in red have it particularly difficult.

Bournemouth, Leicester, Manchester City, Newcastle and Wolves have less than 48 hours between their Gameweek 19 and Gameweek 20 matches, with Wolves being the lowest at 44.75.

Another factor we have to consider apart from rotation is fatigue, and with such a short recovery period there is naturally going to be a dip in performances for teams who cannot afford to rotate.

This looks like a perilous week for Manchester City assets in particular as I don’t see Pep Guardiola risking the likes of Kevin De Bruyne (£10.3m) in both games.

In comparison, Gameweek 21 (column D) is more forgiving with 12 teams enjoying a minimum of 96 hours of recovery time.

The teams in yellow all have at least 88 hours (except Arsenal with 78), so they should be fine too.

However, the teams in red (Chelsea, Man City and Wolves) have less than 72 hours recovery and again this is something that we need to take note of. Rotation can again be expected at Chelsea and Manchester City given the depths of their squads, while Wolves might be forced to ring the changes as well.

Column E reflects the total number of hours between games over the festive period and it can be seen that Chelsea (236), Spurs (238.5), Watford (241) and Man Utd (246) have the most congested schedules.

All other teams have at least 261 hours, with Liverpool (290.5) and Sheffield Utd (293) having the most relaxed schedule. West Ham’s total is inflated by their blank week in Gameweek 18.

Gamweek 20 and 21 look tricky in particular, so the final column F disregards the gap between Gameweeks 18-19 (column B) and focuses more on those two weeks.

The teams in red, Manchester City and Wolves, have it significantly harder than the rest, with both sides afforded less than 120 hours recovery for two matches combined. The fact that they had longer rest periods in Gameweek 19 does not really help from a recovery standpoint.

Liverpool and Sheffield United’s recovery period again stands out with 168 and 173 hours respectively.

With regards to my team, I have two free transfers and £0.4m in the bank.

Watching the last few games as a Chelsea fan has been soul-crushing and I definitely want to reduce my emotional investment in the Blues. Christian Pulisic (£7.4m) will be making way for Son Heung-min (£10.1m), and, as I need to raise £2.2m to fund it, I’ll either be downgrading Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.3m) or Tammy Abraham (£8.0m). I could swap Raul Jimenez (£7.5m) to Abraham the following week but I’m not sure I will given how badly Chelsea have slumped.

Captaincy is up in the air, with Jimenez, De Bruyne, Jack Grealish (£6.1m) and Son all decent options.


An FPL veteran of 10 seasons, Utkarsh Dalmia has been a member of the site right since 2009 and has finished in the top 5k in six of those campaigns, with a best finish of 17th in 2010. A Chelsea fan based in India, he relies heavily on statistics for his FPL decision-making process.



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1,208 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Daghe Munegu
    • 3 Years
    6 months, 21 days ago

    Probably not good to go but who would you cap?

    Martial Kdb Son Grealish
    Vardy Kane Ings

    Thanks for your replies

    1. waldo666
      • 9 Years
      6 months, 21 days ago

      Son, Martial if you're feeling punty.

    2. elchilangles
      • 1 Year
      6 months, 21 days ago

      Ings

    3. panda07
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 7 Years
      6 months, 21 days ago

      KDB

    4. osceola31909
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 7 Years
      6 months, 21 days ago

      Kane

  2. Boberella
    • 3 Years
    6 months, 21 days ago

    KDB for me.

    1. Boberella
      • 3 Years
      6 months, 21 days ago

      RF to Daghe

  3. wulfranian
    • 3 Years
    6 months, 21 days ago

    What should i do with Sterling?Do you think he'll start on Saturday?

    1. dunas_dog
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      6 months, 21 days ago

      Yes - City need to have best team to keep up with 2nd place Leicester

    2. Boberella
      • 3 Years
      6 months, 21 days ago

      Depends on rest of your team. I’d be getting rid. If you don’t have KDB, then I’d swap Sterling for him.

      50/50 will start Sat.

    3. wulfranian
      • 3 Years
      6 months, 21 days ago

      thanks both.

  4. Pep Roulette
    • 2 Years
    6 months, 21 days ago

    GTG?

    Schmeichel
    Aurier Lundy Kelly Rico
    Son Martial Zaha
    Kane(C) Vardy Wesley

    Button Dendo Mane TAA

    1. waldo666
      • 9 Years
      6 months, 21 days ago

      Personally don't like Kane and even less so as captain, in saying that if you're happy there then yes you are GTG

      1. Pep Roulette
        • 2 Years
        6 months, 21 days ago

        Now you've made things more difficult for me

        1. waldo666
          • 9 Years
          6 months, 21 days ago

          Sorry, mate!

  5. checkit_j
    6 months, 21 days ago

    Same dilemma as everyone else.
    Keep or sell Liverpool boys?

    2ft 0.8itb

    Gazza

    Soy Rico Lund
    Kdb pulisic maddi dendo
    Rash (c) vardy Ings

    Mcg - Taylor - TAA- Mane

    What do you suggest? Missing spurs?

    1. waldo666
      • 9 Years
      6 months, 21 days ago

      Mane to Son and play over Dendo

      1. checkit_j
        6 months, 21 days ago

        Son over Ali?

        Also I could upgrade bench?

        1. waldo666
          • 9 Years
          6 months, 21 days ago

          Yeah, upgrade Taylor too if you can and play over Soy

  6. Lingard’s Shin Guards
    • 1 Year
    6 months, 21 days ago

    Gtg to pull the trigger on Tammy, Pulisic, TAA -> Rash, Alli, Aurier (-4)?

    1. Young Lingard
      6 months, 21 days ago

      I’ve taken a hit myself but forced with injured defenders
      Problem is it’s an automatic rank drop ; the other added danger is because of circumstance you’ll have a rival that keeps their chelsea assets. If Chelsea get the result that’s a huge swing. I have Son and Abraham playing and also own Rashford so I’m lucky in this instance.
      Maybe role that dice spurs look good going forward I like aurier for sure if you need to cover a Liverpool defender

    2. Graham Zusi's Hair is …
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 9 Years
      6 months, 21 days ago

      prob worth it. i dont want to lose Tammy yet though.

    3. waldo666
      • 9 Years
      6 months, 21 days ago

      Not sure I'd want to lose Tammy as part of a -4 as tempting as Rashford is. Just Pulisic and TAA to Alli and Aurier?

      1. Lingard’s Shin Guards
        • 1 Year
        6 months, 21 days ago

        Have funds for Pulisic -> Alli, that look better?

        1. waldo666
          • 9 Years
          6 months, 21 days ago

          Looks good.

    4. All about the galacticos
      • 5 Years
      6 months, 21 days ago

      i'd keep tammy, the only chelsea to hold for good fixtures ahead

  7. Pep Roulette
    • 2 Years
    6 months, 21 days ago

    Have Son, Aurier & no City

    Get
    A. Alli
    B. KDB

    1. Graham Zusi's Hair is …
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 9 Years
      6 months, 21 days ago

      I'm deciding on Pulisic & TAA to Kelly and Son or KDB (Have Alli)

      i dont know....i don't know!

    2. Boberella
      • 3 Years
      6 months, 21 days ago

      B

    3. waldo666
      • 9 Years
      6 months, 21 days ago

      B

    4. jia you jia you
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      6 months, 21 days ago

      KDB but prefer your initial plan of getting rid of Jesus

      1. jia you jia you
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        6 months, 21 days ago

        sorry, no city, confused, did you not do Jesus to Kane?

        1. Pep Roulette
          • 2 Years
          6 months, 21 days ago

          Haven't done anything yet! Very confused atm!

    5. osceola31909
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 7 Years
      6 months, 21 days ago

      KDB

  8. Graham Zusi's Hair is …
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 9 Years
    6 months, 21 days ago

    come on Tomori, dont drop tonight.

  9. HD7
    • 3 Years
    6 months, 21 days ago

    who to C mates?

    KDB Rashford Alli?

    1. Crunchie
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      6 months, 21 days ago

      KDB>Alli>Rashford

    2. Boberella
      • 3 Years
      6 months, 21 days ago

      I have all 3, and I'm on KDB.
      Order would be as you have it.

    3. All about the galacticos
      • 5 Years
      6 months, 21 days ago

      out of those Alli, whose my vc. I'm captaining jimi

  10. Crunchie
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 2 Years
    6 months, 21 days ago

    I don't know whether to drop TAA to a 4.5(to 4.7) defender and use Maupay or get Digne and use a Greenwood fodder.

    5 midfielder way to go unless Abraham steps back up.

    Guaita
    TAA,Kelly,Rico,Lunds,Aurier
    Alli,Son,KDB,Zaha,Grealish
    Tammy, Jiminez, Vardy

    Looking to get Salah back in in a couple of GW's, and will drop Zaha to Salah, just thinking ahead.

    0FT 1.4m in bank.

    Need a good defender or good forward?

  11. Disturbed
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 6 Years
    6 months, 21 days ago

    Better option to get in this gw. If money not an issue.....

    A. Richarlison
    B. Grealish

    1. All about the galacticos
      • 5 Years
      6 months, 21 days ago

      nothing in it. i'd go grealish if pushed

  12. HUATSHOOTER
    • 3 Years
    6 months, 21 days ago

    Abrahm to calvert?

    1. Young Lingard
      6 months, 21 days ago

      Nooooooooo

    2. Young Lingard
      6 months, 21 days ago

      Look at Everton’s fixtures
      And the countless better options

      1. HUATSHOOTER
        • 3 Years
        6 months, 21 days ago

        Everton fixtures is good, what are u even seeing? Lol

        1. Boberella
          • 3 Years
          6 months, 21 days ago

          Only "bad" fixture is City in next 9... looks pretty good to me!

          1. Boberella
            • 3 Years
            6 months, 21 days ago

            ** But Richarlison would be the only pick from Everton I'd go for. Wouldn't touch Calvert Lewin

        2. Young Lingard
          6 months, 21 days ago

          Ha you’re not actually wrong ; December gone way to fast
          I guess their awful run is over (ish) with a bounce from the new manager.
          Huge differential if you do it and good luck to you if you do.
          It clears up after next few might have to look at richalison myself.
          Best of luck

  13. Young Lingard
    6 months, 21 days ago

    G2G ? Ryan
    Targett lundstram rico
    Son zaha cantwell Sterling
    Rashford Abraham jiminez

    IL scouse defence x 2
    Bench : mount

    -4 hit enforced

  14. wulfranian
    • 3 Years
    6 months, 21 days ago

    What a goal from the biggest fpl legend of all time!!!

    1. UTD - HATED, ADORED, BUT NE…
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      6 months, 21 days ago

      Rashy?

  15. _Ninja_
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 9 Years
    6 months, 21 days ago

    Best option from these longer term? Cheers

    A. TAA Ings
    B Aurier Rashford

    1. iL PiStOlErO
      • 1 Year
      6 months, 21 days ago

      B

    2. Boberella
      • 3 Years
      6 months, 21 days ago

      B should be good long term

  16. Boberella
    • 3 Years
    6 months, 21 days ago

    So I've decided to keep Tammy.

    Dilemma #2: Is it better to use the FT on Mane to Son this week, or save and have 2 FTs next week?

    Guiata
    Lund Rico Kelly
    KDB Alli Grealish Sissoko
    Vardy Tammy Rashford

    Button Soy TAA Mane

    Want Mane longer term, but Son's home form is generally very good and CHE are looking average.

    GTG or pull the pin?

    1. iL PiStOlErO
      • 1 Year
      6 months, 21 days ago

      Gtg

      1. Boberella
        • 3 Years
        6 months, 21 days ago

        Cheers

    2. jia you jia you
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      6 months, 21 days ago

      team is interesting and if Sissoko manages to get something could be a canny one GW punt... in saying that a good few on here at least plan on capping Son. If you're in no rush to get Mane back go for it, if you want Mane for GW19 prob not worth it.

      1. Boberella
        • 3 Years
        6 months, 21 days ago

        Thanks mate.

      2. Boberella
        • 3 Years
        6 months, 21 days ago

        To be honest, bar injuries, I don't think I've got any pressing issues with my team, so could literally do Son to Mane then straight swap back again next week. Although if Son hauls it would be hard to get rid.
        Agree to an extent re: Sissoko. Could easily get a goal, and hed be on my bench if I got Son.

        Not sure. Will mull it over. Price rises don't matter too much.

        1. jia you jia you
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 3 Years
          6 months, 21 days ago

          yeah the hokey cokey could work but you can never predict what might happen, injury etc. There's always hits in worst case scenario anyway and it's a game so go with your gut

          1. Boberella
            • 3 Years
            6 months, 21 days ago

            Good advice.. Thanks mate. I am not averse to the odd hit here and there. Gut definitely saying do it.

  17. Nightf0x
    • 4 Years
    6 months, 21 days ago

    My def. (Ryan Taa kely lund soy aurier)
    WC gw20, a def. For next 2 gw, taa to:

    A) wilems
    B) baldock
    C) tarko/pieters
    D) targett
    E) dann
    F) roll ft, play 2 of soy aurier dendo

    1. Boberella
      • 3 Years
      6 months, 21 days ago

      F) Roll

  18. dunas_dog
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 4 Years
    6 months, 21 days ago

    Thoughts on Lucas Moura as differential to double up with Son or Alli?

    A Son Alli
    B Son Lucas Moura
    C Alli Lucas Moura

    1. Boberella
      • 3 Years
      6 months, 21 days ago

      A

    2. yakirh
      • 4 Years
      6 months, 21 days ago

      A

    3. UTD - HATED, ADORED, BUT NE…
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      6 months, 21 days ago

      Lol

  19. Maddamotha
    • 3 Years
    6 months, 21 days ago

    Was Lindeløf rested or injured?

  20. jia you jia you
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 3 Years
    6 months, 21 days ago

    Captaincy is loose as a goose for me this week and the armband could end up anywhere! It had already been on Rashford, Jimenez, Vardy, Son, Lundstram, Alli, Richarlison and KDB lol.
    If I'm in doubt I often go for the last game of the GW.
    But this might be a GW to go for a captaincy lucky dip (draw from a hat)
    🙂

    1. Boberella
      • 3 Years
      6 months, 21 days ago

      Lundy a good punt!!!
      I've been between KDB, Rash, Alli ,Grealish and now Son in the mix.

      KDB is winning so far I think, as I think its a massive game for City.

  21. SHOWSTOPPERRR
    • 2 Years
    6 months, 21 days ago

    Guys any injuries during last night's carabao matches?

    1. Jainica
      • 3 Years
      6 months, 21 days ago

      None of note

  22. arndff_
    • 8 Years
    6 months, 21 days ago

    For next 2 GWs:

    A) Alli
    B) Richa
    C) Other — who?

    Front 7:

    KdB Son Grealish PULISIC
    Vardy Tammy Ings

    1. Boberella
      • 3 Years
      6 months, 21 days ago

      Rich a good pick seeing as you have Son.
      Alli great Home form though and has turned a corner, so tough choice.

  23. Boberella
    • 3 Years
    6 months, 21 days ago

    City vs Leicester is a really huge game for City.
    Surely Pep will field his best team possible and if KDB is positioned favourably like last GW, City should school them.

    Predictions?

    1. HMC
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 9 Years
      6 months, 21 days ago

      City 2-1
      scorers though could come from Mahrez/Silva/Jesus
      i'll predict Vardy blank though

      1. Boberella
        • 3 Years
        6 months, 21 days ago

        You mean Bilva or Dilva?
        Dilva flagged.
        Think Bernardo could shine in this fixture

    2. Niho992
      • 1 Year
      6 months, 21 days ago

      Leicester will win easily this one and then get smashed by Liverpool 3-0

  24. fylde2022
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 4 Years
    6 months, 21 days ago

    Would you do...
    A) Tammy -> Rashford?
    B) Save
    C) Other

    Ryan
    Rico Lundstram Kelly
    KDB Alli Grealish Son Maddison
    Abraham Vardy

    Button, Soyuncu, Connolly, TAA

    5.8m itb

    1. Boberella
      • 3 Years
      6 months, 21 days ago

      I'd definitely do A

  25. osceola31909
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 7 Years
    6 months, 21 days ago

    I feel like I may need to do something but not sure what. Last year I was doing well and then things went south during the Christmas period. I have a lot of value tied up in Mane and Maddison, so I don't want to lose them, especially since they will score a lot of points over the course of the season.

    Ryan - Button
    TAA - Chilwell - Lundstram - Aurier - Kelly
    Mane - KDB - Maddison - Son - Cantwell
    Vardy - Abraham - Ings

    2 ft.. 0.9 in the bank.

    The only thing I can think of would be:

    A. Chilwell, Cantwell --> Rico, Grealish (0.5 left itb)
    B. TAA, Ings --> (>5.1 Defender), Rashford (0.1 left itb)
    C. TAA, Cantwell --> Rico, Richarilson (0.3 left itb)
    D. TAA, Cantwell --> Rico, Grealish (2.0 left itb)
    E. Hold and keep the team I have.

    Any thoughts?

    1. Boberella
      • 3 Years
      6 months, 21 days ago

      I like A from those.
      TAA is a season keeper for me, but the funds would be well used upgrading Ings or Cantwell. Grealish got some great fixtures incoming.
      Could do Chilwell, Tammy to Rico, Rashford too?

      1. osceola31909
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 7 Years
        6 months, 21 days ago

        I've thought about that, but I am not sure I am ready to give up on Tammy yet.

  26. Niho992
    • 1 Year
    6 months, 21 days ago

    Who to C

    A:Jimenez
    B: Kane
    C : Martial

    1. waldo666
      • 9 Years
      6 months, 21 days ago

      A

  27. De Gea is GOAT
    • 3 Years
    6 months, 21 days ago

    Chances of Mount getting a return this GW guys? Really tempted to swap to Grealish or Traore for a -4.

    Need to catch up in mini league.

  28. rainy
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • Has Moderation Rights
    • 4 Years
    6 months, 21 days ago

    Price Changes - 19th December 2019

    🔺  Traoré (5.3), D.Henderson (4.8)

    🔻  Wickham (4.4), Walker-Peters (4.4), Ruddy (4.3), Ayew (5.0), Heise (3.9)

    1. waldo666
      • 9 Years
      6 months, 21 days ago

      Cheers Rainy.

    2. Skid Vicious (wonkee)
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 9 Years
      6 months, 21 days ago

      Nada for me. Thanks Rainy.

    3. G-Whizz
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • Has Moderation Rights
      • 2 Years
      6 months, 21 days ago

      1-0 thanks Rainy!

  29. dunas_dog
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 4 Years
    6 months, 21 days ago

    Best goalie on WC

    A Ramsdale
    B Ryan
    C Guaita

    1. Niho992
      • 1 Year
      6 months, 21 days ago

      B

    2. Boberella
      • 3 Years
      6 months, 21 days ago

      C. Beast form

    3. Richard Richard (AKA: Anzhi…
      • 4 Years
      6 months, 21 days ago

      All good. C for form. A for fixtures. B for set and forget.

  30. Pep Roulette
    • 2 Years
    6 months, 21 days ago

    Pick one for the Christmas period

    A. Jimmy & Aurier
    B. Tammy & Dunk

    1. Niho992
      • 1 Year
      6 months, 21 days ago

      B

    2. Boberella
      • 3 Years
      6 months, 21 days ago

      A