While Fantasy Premier League has scant relevance compared to what else is happening in the world at present, it’s still worth acknowledging that we’ve just had a Gameweek – and a very odd one at that.
Not one Premier League match was played in the weekend just gone but the Gameweek 30 deadline came and went as originally scheduled, with many Fantasy managers seeing green arrows despite scoring zero in this Blank Gameweek to end all Blank Gameweeks.
As recently as last Thursday, all ten top-flight fixtures in Gameweek 30 were set to go ahead as intended.
Mikel Arteta’s positive test result for COVID-19 four days ago was the first in a chain of events that led to the Premier League making a swift U-turn on their decision to proceed as normal, however, with play suspended until after the March international break at the earliest.
An emergency Premier League meeting this Thursday will hopefully firm up plans for the remainder of the season but the forecasted spread of coronavirus over the coming weeks and months may make a Gameweek 32 resumption difficult to achieve.
What happens in that upcoming conference will in turn shape FPL’s strategy for the 2019/20 run-in but we do anticipate that Gameweek 31 will likely be exactly the same as Gameweek 30, in there being a fixed deadline (19:00 GMT on Friday) and no fixtures played whatsoever.
At least we know the full extent of Blank Gameweek 31 well in advance.
We had less than 48 hours notice of the Gameweek 30 wipeout and there were plenty of Fantasy managers who had made an early transfer (perhaps to beat a price rise/fall) ahead of the cessation of play.
In all, over 2.3 million moves were made in the run-up to the Gameweek 30 deadline – although some of those trades may have been tactical ones after Friday’s announcement in order to burn an allotted free transfer.
Similarly, there were a significant number of us Fantasy managers (76,958 in all) who deployed a chip in Gameweek 30, with the Wildcard and Free Hit unable to be cancelled once activated.
The full breakdown was as follows:
Amongst the top 10,000 managers in FPL, just over 0.5% used a precious chip.
One solitary Fantasy boss from this group used their Free Hit, while two deployed their Triple Captain chip (both on Mohamed Salah (£12.7m)) and six played their Bench Boost.
Forty-two of the top 10k activated their second Wildcard of the season, meanwhile.
All of which leaves the top 10,000 managers in contrasting shape should there be a resumption of play in Gameweek 32 or beyond – and that does remain a question mark at present.
Just under 10% of this elite group, for example, have all four chips intact going into what could be a series of Double Gameweeks in the final stretch of the campaign.
By contrast, over one in five of the top 10k will have one chip or fewer with which to navigate the run-in.
If the Premier League grinds back into action in Gameweek 32 (and again, that’s a big ‘if’), then Liverpool will clinch their first title in 30 years with a win at the Etihad.
Fantasy managers are certainly well-stocked with Liverpool players at present: three of the top eight most-owned FPL assets in the top 10k are on the Reds’ books, while Andrew Robertson (£7.0m) also sneaks into the ‘template’ squad below.
Owners of Raul Jimenez (£8.1m) and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£11.1m) at least have the consolation of knowing that their FPL forwards have favourable Gameweek 32 fixtures if the top flight gets back underway in early-April, with Aston Villa and Norwich City providing the opposition for Wolves and Arsenal.
Bruno Fernandes (£8.5m) and Anthony Martial (£7.9m) were the two most-bought midfielders ahead of Gameweek 30 and their new and existing owners will be encouraged by the fixture schedule from Gameweek 32 onwards, should play happen to recommence then.
Kevin De Bruyne (£10.6m) was by some distance the most-sold FPL asset of last Gameweek, meanwhile.
Manchester City have four outstanding top-flight fixtures to rearrange and there exists the prospect of multiple Double Gameweeks for Pep Guardiola’s side should the hiatus not last too long – although COVID-19, the UK government, the Premier League and UEFA may between them have other ideas as to when we’ll see a ball kicked again.
Gameweek 30 – Most Transfers In
Gameweek 30 – Most Transfers Out
|De Bruyne||Man City||155,526|
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