Chaos is imminent.
The range of permutations and combinations of different strategies that are in play right now is quite a sight in the Fantasy Premier League eco-system.
Despite (previously) chipping away beautifully and finishing seasons strongly due to Blank and Double Gameweeks, I much prefer the simple part of analyzing the FPL pedigree of a player in the first part of the season compared to this chaos.
For me, judging a football player is much more fun than sitting with the fixture ticker and wondering how I can use my chips to get the optimum quantity and quality of players. But it is what it is and as one of my favourite characters from Game of Thrones, Petyr ‘Littlefinger’ Baelish rightly says:
“Chaos isn’t a pit. Chaos is a ladder and the climb is all there is.”
There is a definite opportunity here to make some strong gains and my thinking is that even if I don’t enjoy it, I must indulge. It still involves the basic principle of picking good FPL players, offers more upside than normal and once you can accept that this is how modern FPL works, you start to enjoy it. Personally, though, I try to find a good balance between the quantity and quality of players as it is rather foolish to just focus on one.
Keeping this in mind, I’m going to look at two things in particular in this article. I’m going to touch on a lot of important factors you need to consider while deciding your chip strategy. What I’ll try doing is lay down some foundations which might help make you arrive at a few decisions. Then I’m going to look at players on offer from Manchester City and Arsenal and let you know my thoughts about them.
DOUBLE GAMEWEEK 29 PLAYERS
When it comes to Manchester City, I’ve noticed that in general the community is not always keen on indulging in some ‘Pep-Roulette’. Personally I always fancy a flutter.
I’m always up for a roll of the dice and as my good friend from the boards FPL Rhinos says, ‘we don’t always get it right but when we do, the rank boosts are huge’. And why wouldn’t they be?
We’re talking about a team that has scored the most league goals this season and when it comes to offensive statistics, they’re considerably higher than second place for all the important stats (short and long term).
My analysis of Manchester City will be more subjective than the Arsenal analysis since all of us know about the statistics when it comes to the city assets.
The Citizens play Manchester United and Arsenal in this Double Gameweek and afterwards, they host Burnley in Gameweek 30 and Real Madrid. These four games all come inside a 10-day period so we could absolutely see a fair amount of rotation.
That said, if you’re not Free Hitting in Double Gameweek 29, I think the presumption is hoping for two out of three starts from the next three games for your Manchester City assets.
Even De Bruyne could part of that now we know that he has been dealing with a shoulder problem this week, so it will be important to pay close attention to Guardiola’s next press conference.
The big upside punt, in my opinion, is Raheem Sterling (£12.2m). He played the Carabao Cup final and was rested in the FA Cup game against Sheffield Wednesday so I think there is a high probability of him starting at least two out of the next three league games.
Despite Sterling’s obvious lack of form, I still rate him as a player and he will continue to get chances as a result of the team he plays for.
His effective ownership in the Top 10k will be very low so I think he’s a huge upside gamble that could pay off big time if you’re in the mood to roll the dice. Sterling is worth a captaincy shout if you’re chasing a huge total in your mini-league too.
His wing counter-part Riyad Mahrez (£8.4m) has looked dangerous every time I’ve seen him and is another high-upside punt for the Double Gameweek.
The former Leicester man did play in the FA Cup game against Sheffield Wednesday so the threat of rotation is probably higher for him than it is for Sterling, although that is purely my guess.
If De Bruyne is definitely out or not playing, Mahrez and Ilkay Gündogan (£5.2m) will likely share the corners and free-kicks, which is something to consider. Mahrez took a lot of them in the FA cup tie and at his price, I like him as a punt.
Another one that falls in the cheap-enabling-high-upside punt category that not many will go for and one that I’m considering is Phil Foden (£5.1m).
The youngster put in a man of the match performance in the EFL Cup final against Aston Villa and looked extremely threatening based on the eye-test.
Given what was said in the post-match press conference, I like the upside of this cheap punt because I think Foden has goals and assists in his locker. I also believe he could get the Burnley game at home in Gameweek 30 given most of the big-dogs will see a rest before all-important matches in the Champions League and FA Cup.
When it comes to the strikers, I mentioned on my Twitter that Sergio Aguero (£11.9m) has an uncanny tendency of staying under the radar when it comes to a Double Gameweek.
Let’s not forget how overlooked he was last year before scoring a hat-trick against Arsenal in a Double Gameweek.
If De Bruyne is out, I would expect Aguero to be back on penalties and his goal scoring record and stats are known to everyone.
I completely understand why people don’t indulge though, given his price and rotation threat.
The good news here is that I already own him and I don’t think I’m going to sell. He’s scored two goals in the last two games and has looked his dangerous self.
At the back of my mind, I was hoping that Pep would play Aguero and Gabriel Jesus (£9.5m) together in one of the double Gameweek games but unfortunately, that happened in the FA Cup.
Either way, an assured 90 minutes of Aguero is more than enough in most cases and if I don’t end up getting a noteworthy Double Gameweek asset, I might just put the armband on him and see what happens.
Jesus played a blinder against Real Madrid in the away tie so I’m optimistic about an Aguero start in Gameweek 30 against Burnley at home.
The game suits his skill set more of playing in tight spaces in a game City will dominate in possession so I’m looking to captain him in Gameweek 30 as well.
Jesus is a nice punt as well and his ability to play on the wings increases his chances of getting minutes in my opinion. When he is on the pitch, his goals to minutes ratio is absolutely outstanding.
Amongst the defenders, apart from the nailed-on Ederson (£6.0m), I do like Nicolas Otamendi (£5.0m) as a pick.
Laporte is injured and Otamendi’s goal threat from set-pieces is well documented. The Argentinian is well worth a punt in my opinion.
Based on the structure of your team, I think it is well worth throwing one high-end Manchester City gamble in there and just see what happens. It all depends on your plans for the Chips, Blanks and Double Gameweeks though, so I’ll give you some insight into what I am thinking right now.
My Chip Strategy
It is difficult to cover the various kinds of chip strategies in a single article since it is all very specific to your team. What I will do though is list a few important factors that could help you make a few decisions.
There are a lot of variables at play right now and there is no right or wrong strategy in my opinion.
While looking at how to use your chips, what I’ve seen a lot of people do is just look for opinion and read without actually sitting down with their own team. Take note of the fixtures, sit with a pen and paper and list down 2-3 options of your own. What you will learn after looking at two to three scenarios is what compromises you’re making and what you’re gaining in each scenario.
After that, you have to decide for yourself which one has the most gain for your team, because how different Fantasy managers see different Gameweeks is very subjective.
Some people might look at a Manchester City rotation-heavy Double Gameweek as poor Double Gameweek whereas some see it as a Double Gameweek with massive upside. Some might see Spurs vs West Ham as a fixture with a lot of goals while others might see it as a not so exciting fixture.
From what I understand, the concise and relevant information is this:
- We could have 0 to 4 teams with a Double Gameweek in Gameweek 34. We could have a few Blanks or no Blanks in Gameweek 34. The rest will all obviously be single games.
- We are likely to have a Monster Double Gameweek in Gameweek 37.
- We could maybe have a triple Gameweek or another small Double Gameweek in the future (maybe for Sheffield United and Aston Villa).
- The likelihood of the same team having a Double Gameweek in both Gameweek 34 and 37 is low.
- We will find out a lot more about Gameweek 34 and Gameweek37 after Gameweek 31.
Do the opportunity cost Analysis
So many people are asking if they should Free Hit in Blank Gameweek 31 or save it for later. In such scenarios, what I recommend is to do an opportunity cost analysis. You need to weigh what you are gaining against what you may potentially gain in the future.
The way I look at it, most of us have three Liverpool players and anywhere between one to three Wolves players – and the two stand-out fixtures in Gameweek 31 are Liverpool vs Crystal Palace and Wolves vs Bournemouth. A lot of people own Nick Pope (£4.8m) as well.
If you can get six to eight of these players in Gameweek 31 for free then it might be worth saving the Free Hit for later.
Also note that if you are bringing additional players for non-playing players in Gameweek 31 for a hit, it is a two-point hit and not a four-point hit.
Now the analysis that you need to do here is make a potential Free Hit Gameweek 31 team and judge that the gain that you make getting three to six players out of Aurier, Alli, a goalkeeper, Antonio, Sarr (and not losing points in hits) is going to be bigger than the advantage you gain by Free Hitting in Gameweek 34, 37 or 38.
While doing the opportunity cost Analysis for transfers in Double Gameweek 29, it is worth noting that a lot of our Single Gameweek assets have really good fixtures and teams like Wolves, Watford and Liverpool have good fixtures in Gameweek 29 and Gameweek 31 so be careful before losing them depending on your plan.
Wolves have good fixtures till the end of the season and a really good run until Gameweek 32. This makes me think that buying them for a hit even this week is not a bad option as it gives a greater run of fixtures for them to repay it.
Arsenal have good fixtures until Gameweek 32 with the exception of a blank in Gameweek 31. They have Norwich at home in Gameweek 32, so buying them is not a bad idea at all.
What if I Wildcard now?
As mentioned on the most recent Scoutcast which you can see here, if you Wildcard now, there are a couple of ways in which you can approach this.
The now famously known Jarvish Strategy is a high-risk approach that could pay off. There are two approaches here. Go heavy on Gameweek 29 with four to six players, Get seven to 10 Blank Gameweek players so that way you attack both Gameweek 29 and 31 in one go. That leaves you with a Free Hit and a Bench Boost for Gameweek 34 and Gameweek 37.
But you should know that this will require a keen eye on Gameweek 37 fixture announcements and a fair amount of forward planning.
Also, you don’t need to be ultra-aggressive in Gameweek 29 or 31 but have fairly good teams for the same if you want to keep a keener eye on Gameweek 34 and 37. The balance here is for you to decide. What fixtures to anticipate can be found in the article here.
The opportunity cost analysis here is going aggressive in 29 and 31 at the cost of not having more information for Gameweek 34 and 37 (one of which you will have a Free Hit for).
Another inverse approach here is to Wildcard in Double Gameweek 29, Free Hit in 31 and load up on options that are likely to have a Double Gameweek in 34 and 37 through some predictive planning.
By the law of averages, players that blank in Gameweek 31 should have a Double Gameweek in the future. Thanks again to Jarvish from the FFS boards for this strategy.
If I don’t Wildcard now, when do I Wildcard?
If you’re not Wildcarding right now, the best time to Wildcard is post-Gameweek 31(either in 32/33 or 35/36 It depends on when you decide to play your Bench Boost and Free Hit chips).
I think you can decide when to Wildcard having more information in Gameweek 31 and then taking a call on when to play your Free Hit and Bench Boost chips. It is worth considering here that a lot of players could be irrelevant in Gameweek 37 depending on the ‘Beach’ or ‘Spartan’ status of their team so definitely keep an eye on that.
Is Gameweek 34 Navigable without a Free Hit?
If Gameweek 34 is going to be a small Double Gameweek and you want to Bench Boost in Gameweek 37, I think Gameweek 34 is fairly navigable with a Wildcard in Gameweek 32/33. It won’t be optimal but definitely navigable as you don’t always need to have a full quota of Double Gameweekers. If you Wildcard post-Gameweek 31 without a Free Hit, it’s worth looking at Gameweek 32-Gameweek 38 as a full block of fixtures based on which you will decide your team. Do note that you will have three free transfers to convert three Double Gameweeks from Gameweek 34 to Double Gameweekers in 37.
What if you don’t have a Wildcard?
If you’ve already used your Wildcard, I would look at making sure you have a decent captain in Gameweek 29, like Mohamed Salah (£12.8m). I’d also focus on Wolves and Liverpool players who have good fixtures right until Gameweek 32 and then take it from there once you have more information with regards to Gameweek 34 and Gameweek 37. Arsenal players who have good fixtures till Gameweek 32 with the exception of a blank in Gameweek 31 might be a good investment too. Might be worth getting a decent number in Gameweek 31 (six to nine players), then focusing on either Gameweek 34 or 37 with transfers and Free Hitting in the other Double Gameweek.
Is Free Hitting in Double Gameweek 29 a good idea?
If you are chasing and don’t have a good bunch of Single Gameweekers for 29 as well, Free Hitting in Gameweek 29 is not a bad idea at all. But for this to work, you need to have four or five players already in place for Gameweek 31. You then have two free transfers and a few hits to get more players in Gameweek 31. Then depending on your team and how post Gameweek 31 plays out, you can decide when to Wildcard.
What if Gameweek 34 is a Single Gameweek?
If Gameweek 34 is a single Gameweek and if you’ve not Free-Hitted earlier, it might be worth using the Free Hit in Gameweek 38 as it will be a good re-distribution of funds from Gameweek 37 and we could get some relevant information in the form of ‘beach teams’ vs ‘spartan teams’, likely starters and early team news.
I promised a shorter article last time around, but given the nature of the Gameweek, I’m hoping this is useful for you. Play your own game, don’t be too afraid of gambles or hits and enjoy the chaos! For those interested, I’m currently sitting at overall rank 1614. Thanks to my friends Jairzinho and AK for reviewing this article and to Marz and Heskibo from twitter for being a soundboard.
Good luck and hope you enjoyed this!
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