It’s Wednesday the 17th of June and FPL is BACK!
There are nine Gameweeks to go, all matches will be televised, and we begin with a Double Gameweek. After the famine of the last three months get ready for a feast of football.
You have until the 5pm BST deadline to finish tinkering with your squads, as many Fantasy managers take advantage of the unlimited transfers ahead of the restart. The first match this evening then kicks off at 6pm.
All eyes will be on Neale’s team news reports – are the rumours of Sheffield United injuries true? Will John Lundstram be in the starting XI?
Our intrepid Geordie could well have his work cut out over the next few weeks with injuries potentially increasing, as Pro Pundit Zophar observed happening in both the Bundesliga now and after the NFL lockout back in 2011.
With two fixtures in Gameweek 30+ much of the debate in the last few days centres around which Manchester City trio to own.
Pro Pundit LateRiser set the scene with an ever-insightful piece on Pep’s troops. One of the main beneficiaries of the unprecedented break could be Raheem Sterling. An underperforming player so far this season, the return of Leroy Sané could have a positive impact on the England winger. It’s a theory many are advocating.
TheFantasyFreÆK points out that “No midfielder has recorded more big chances than Raheem Sterling this season”, Pep Pig – currently top of RedLightning’s January to July mini-league – is handing him the armband, and the definitely-not-an-FPL-virgin FPL Virgin hopes he will be “freed from the confines of the left touchline.”
Speaking of captain selection, does our Captain Sensible writer and editor-in-chief David agree?
When he wasn’t explaining to a despotic leader hiding in a bunker why unlimited transfers are a good thing, David appeared alongside Joe on the captaincy video. For him it’s a choice between Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Agüero:
For me De Bruyne is the safe bet and Agüero is the explosive bet.– David
While Joe summarised the decision as:
A straight choice between the guy who scores the most versus the guy who assists the most.– Joe
In the conclusion to his armband piece, David reminded us that it was Kevin De Bruyne who stepped up to take a penalty against Real Madrid in the Champions League. Could that hand the Belgian a potential edge should he retain spotkick duties?
While De Bruyne, Agüero, and Sterling may look like the ideal City trio, others are finding reasons to look elsewhere.
Impressed by his dedication to training over the lockdown – and hoping Pep will be too – Pro Pundit Az has picked Jesus as his City forward.
The Scoutcast this week debated different strategies for the remainder of the campaign. Az favours a Bench Boost followed by Gameweek 31+ Wildcard, with Joe and Pro Pundit Andy ignoring the unlimited transfers on offer and instead deciding to use their Free Hit chip.
Having benefited from the ‘slow Wildcard’ – the free transfers on offer between Gameweek 30 and 38 – Andy has a team that he is very happy with beyond the Double Gameweek.
Andy feels that Az wouldn’t be opting for Jesus if it wasn’t for the Bench Boost chip. By spreading the funds to his bench, Az is arguably hurting his first XI.
Rotation – a potential impediment to picking Manchester City players – is so synonymous with the team that the term ‘Pep Roulette’ is well known to all Fantasy managers.
However, perhaps counterintuitively, Andy is hoping that the temporary five substitute rule may actually help teams like Manchester City have a more consistent starting XI. The reasoning goes that it will allow Pep to manage the minutes of his players more easily.
Andy – another manager who is backing the potential of Raheem Sterling – has opted for his own slightly controversial pick up top.
Oliver McBurnie is not a name frequently mentioned as a potential pick but Pro Pundit Tom Freeman joins Andy in promoting his inclusion. Tom notes that, pre-lockdown, only four forwards took more shots in the box between Gameweeks 22-29.
Couple that with a Double Gameweek, a favourable price, and a match against Aston Villa, and it’s perhaps not such a bonkers idea afterall. As TheFantasyFreÆK observed:
No team in the history of the league (since Opta records were kept) has conceded as many shots in the box over the first 29 Gameweek’s as Villa.– TheFantasyFreÆK
So while Jack Grealish seems a popular pick with almost all Fantasy managers – ProPundit Ash (aka FPL Hints) highlighted his talisman status for the Villains – there’s also an argument to be made for their second opponents Chelsea, despite the Blues only playing once in Gameweek 30+.
Indeed Mason Mount has emerged as a candidate for our teams, especially with teammate Jorginho serving the second of a two-match suspension for reaching ten yellow cards.
Single Gameweek players have their appeal, as Pro Pundit Sam pointed out as she aims to get back into the top 1,000 overall.
Like Ash, she is well aware of the motivation factor for players from teams facing relegation or competing for Champions League places. Not forgetting Liverpool who look set to clinch their first ever Premier League title.
For that reason both Mohamed Salah and Trent Alexander-Arnold are included in her Gameweek 30+ team.
In other news, Community competitions are set to resume.
We even have a new mini-league called the The FFScout Charity Shield with the top five places receiving a free membership for next season. Fantasy Football Scout will also be making a donation of £300 towards the NHS and has set up a JustGiving page should others wish to make a contribution.
A lot has happened on the site over the enforced break, with LegoMané’s excellent entry winning the HG Sportswear shirt design competition, Neale keeping us entertained with quizzes, Ragabolly filling the void with VirtualFPL, David publishing his first novel (and what exactly did you do over the lockdown?), we had the FPL World Cup, ChampManFPL, and in-depth members articles.
We’ve also been nominated for the best Fantasy Football editorial award by the Football Content Awards – there’s still time to vote.
So here we go! Many questions are set to be answered over the next month – will empty stadiums have an affect? Will teams benefit from returning players? Will injuries take their toll with the quick turnaround between matches?
Whatever decisions you have to make before the deadline, I hope you find the conclusion of the season enjoyable and entertaining. It’s good to be back.
Nominated for ‘Best in Fantasy Football – Editorial’ at the Football Content Awards 2020
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