We’re already approaching the halfway point of the Virtual FPL season, with the Gameweek 17 deadline set to pass this evening at 19:00 BST.
We look ahead to Thursday’s simulated matches and recap Tuesday’s virtual action in our regular round-up below.
READ MORE: How to sign up and play Virtual FPL
The highest-scoring player of Gameweek 16 was Anthony Martial (£8.0m), who hit a hat-trick and registered a 20-point haul in Manchester United’s 3-1 win at Watford.
Martial is second only to Mohamed Salah (£12.7m) for form over the last five Gameweeks (despite blanking in the first two of those matches) and has scored six goals in his last three appearances.
A trip to Aston Villa in Gameweek 17 looks appetising on paper for the Frenchman, who may be among the leading captaincy candidates tonight.
It should be said that Villa have been far from calamitous at the back, however, ranking joint-11th for fewest goals conceded and sixth for fewest attacks allowed.
The forthcoming triple-header against United, Spurs and Chelsea could change all that, of course, but the Villans were only beaten 2-0 in their previous home encounters with free-scoring Liverpool and Manchester City.
INGS COULD BE MARVELLOUS
Danny Ings (£7.1m) won’t be on many managers’ shopping lists ahead of a trip to Arsenal but he is an option to consider for Southampton’s upcoming games, for those who don’t already own the mid-price forward.
Ings scored for the tenth time in this simulated season on Tuesday and is one of only nine players to hit double figures for goals, as well as being the cheapest asset to do so.
He has accomplished this feat despite having missed three matches through suspension, meaning that his points-per-90 minutes average of 6.2 is better than those of Marcus Rashford (£8.8m) and Raul Jimenez (£8.1m).
Ings has yet to blank in a home game and four of the Saints’ fixtures from Gameweeks 18-23 are on their own turf.
Three of those half-dozen matches are against sides in the bottom four for goals conceded, too.
Adama Traore (£5.7m) was benched for the first time this season in Gameweek 16 as Wolverhampton Wanderers defeated Aston Villa 3-0.
The hitherto ever-present Diogo Jota (£6.4m) had also been reduced to a substitute’s role in the two matches before that as Wolves’ frontline was shaken up after a long period of calm.
The form of Pedro Neto (£5.0m) seems to be the issue at present, with the budget midfielder having racked up four attacking returns and 28 points over the last three Gameweeks.
Before that, Neto had effectively taken the place of Ruben Neves (£5.2m) and has now started the last nine of his side’s matches.
Neto is now among the top five best-value players in TopMarx’s ‘Pts/£/90’ metric (see below for links).
It’s two goals in as many matches for Son Heung-min (£9.8m) after his strike in Tuesday’s draw with Burnley.
That has coincided with Harry Kane‘s (£10.8m) enforced absence, with Son now presumably assuming the striker’s role giving that he has been the last name on the teamsheet in Gameweeks 15 and 16.
Son has doubled his season tally for double-digit hauls in those two fixtures and matched his goalscoring output for the previous eight Gameweeks in doing so.
Auba (c), He Scored One, Life Goes on, Bra
A seven-point return for the most-captained vFPL asset of Gameweek 16 may have felt a little underwhelming but it kept up Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang‘s (£11.1m) sequence of not having blanked in one home match this season.
Around a quarter of Virtual FPL managers handed the armband to the Gabonese forward, who scored Arsenal’s opener in their 2-0 win over Bournemouth.
More encouragingly, Aubameyang also happened to register more attacking involvements (14) than any other player in Gameweek 16.
A home match against Southampton is up next, with the Saints having gone eight games without a clean sheet and ranking third-bottom for attacks conceded this season.
In even better form than Aubameyang is Nicolas Pepe (£9.2m), who has returned a goal and/or an assist in each of the Gunners’ last eight matches.
On Thursday, Chelsea could potentially go level with Liverpool for clean sheets in this virtual 2019/20 campaign.
The Blues are one behind Jurgen Klopp’s simulated side for shut-outs (seven versus eight) and they stand an excellent chance of increasing their tally when they play Newcastle United in Gameweek 17.
The Magpies have scored only once in the last five Gameweeks and are averaging less than seven attacks per match this season, the worst figure in the division.
Depending on the result in the Merseyside derby, the ever-present Marcos Alonso (£6.1m) could potentially leapfrog Liverpool’s two full-backs on Thursday to become the highest-scoring vFPL defender of the campaign so far.
While one of the better sides from a defensive perspective in the bottom half, Newcastle have nevertheless allowed more team attacks (29) in “red” fixtures (i.e. the tougher ones) than any other club – which should also encourage attack-minded options like Alonso and the in-form Christian Pulisic (£6.9m).
VIRTUAL FPL PREMIER LEAGUE TABLE
TopMarx’s spreadsheet that details team attacks (for and against, home and away) has been updated after Gameweek 16 and can be viewed here.
The fixture difficulty rating colour (according to Ragabolly’s ticker) is reflected in the relevant Gameweek.
The interactive player stats spreadsheet has also been refreshed after Tuesday’s matches, meanwhile.
The stand-alone spreadsheet can be accessed via this link, with Fantasy managers able to make their own copy by selecting “File>Make a copy”.
We will no longer be embedding these tables into our articles as several users have reported that they were causing pages to jump upon loading.
INJURIES AND BANS
Abdoulaye Doucoure (£5.6m) returns from a three-match ban in Gameweek 17, leaving only Kasper Schmeichel (£5.4m) on the suspended list.
There are no returnees from injury on Thursday but there are plenty of new additions to the above table since our last article went out.
Jorginho (£4.9m), Ben Johnson (£3.9m), Neal Maupay (£5.7m), Bukayo Saka (£4.6m), Junior Stanislas (£5.9m), Matt Ritchie (£5.3m) and Will Hughes (£5.3m) have picked up new injuries, with all bar two of them being of the “midweek” variety.
All of them will be out for at least four weeks, with the injuries to Ritchie and Maupay the most severe: they will be sidelined for 11 and nine weeks respectively.
Basil1977 stays at number one in both the overall Virtual FPL standings and in our Fantasy Football Scout mini-league, with MCR Reds 21 points further back in second in both.
The top four leading managers above indeed are signed up to our mini-league.
Greyhead stays as the top of his very own Great and the Good league, meanwhile.
Legomane remains first in the Mods and Cons mini-league, although elfozzie has reduced the gap to a single point.
You can join the Fantasy Football Scout mini-league by entering the code 9RV4A via the below link.