Pro Pundits - Zophar

Analysing the recovery period between matches and its impact on FPL

With the FA Cup fixtures causing a longer-than-usual Gameweek, we finally have some time to take stock of the landscape after a hectic period of three Fantasy Premier League deadlines in 10 days.

This is the longest break we will have for a while, with the next three deadlines coming thick and fast. We only have the TV schedule for Gameweeks 33-35 so far and certain teams have been afforded longer rest periods compared to others as the below table shows:

As mentioned in my earlier piece on the Christmas schedule, “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.

Few teams are afforded the luxury of a 96-hour rest in this period, and the teams closest to that are in green in the table. Teams closer to 72 hours are in yellow and below 72 are in red.

The average total rest period is 265 hours so in the final column, teams around that number are in yellow, below that are in red, and teams well above the average are in green.

The problem with this table is that it exaggerates the total recovery period for the non-FA Cup teams. For example, Burnley have 134 hours of recovery for Gameweek 33+ which makes their total recovery period look favourable (277 hours) despite just 76 and 67 hours recovery for their next matches, but as quoted above, beyond 96 hours the recovery gains are minimal.

Players still ideally need 96 hours to recover for the next match even if they have had 100+ hours of rest prior.

I still wanted to include this table though as it does, however, emphasise how difficult the schedule is for Liverpool (205), Manchester City (210) and Sheffield United (209). Chelsea (231), Newcastle (227), Norwich (229), Spurs (233) and West Ham (227) have it tough as well.

The below chart looks at only the period between Gameweeks 33-35, ignoring the exaggerated rest periods for teams not involved in the FA Cup:

The average total rest period is 163 hours so in the final column, teams around that number are in yellow, below that are in red, and teams well above the average are in green.

Manchester United have 217 hours of rest between their three matches, the most favourable schedule. This is great news for those investing in their assets as rotation should be minimal and performance levels can stay consistent. Wolves also have a relatively relaxed schedule with 183 hours of recovery.

Chelsea, on the other hand, have just 161 hours of rest time. City and Liverpool have extremely compressed schedules with just 141 hours and 139 hours respectively; that’s over three days less than the Red Devils.

Everton and Spurs have reason to be aggrieved as well, with just 132 and 137 hours of recovery time respectively, the lowest in the league. Burnley, Newcastle, Sheffield United and West Ham assets will also need to be monitored with their short recovery periods.

Rotation seems far more likely for these teams in red and drops in performance levels are to be expected as well, especially for teams near the bottom of the table who can’t afford to rotate.

This also makes me ask the following questions:            

1. What to do with Liverpool assets?

Salah stars as Liverpool take advantage of Aké injury

The Reds have now clinched the Premier League title but still have seven league games to play. Klopp has already said that he views the remainder of this campaign as sort of a pre-season for the next one, given the short rest time between the two.

He’s also poured cold water on FPL managers’ hopes that the Reds will play strong line-ups with a view to achieving a record points tally.

In his latest comments, he said:

Getting these types of points tallies sounds pretty nice to me but I’m not sure it’s possible because six or seven of the remaining games we play in a very short period of time. Every three days we will need to make a lot of changes, we need to be lucky and make sure nobody gets injured. We need to be lucky there. If a player gets injured he cannot play the next five as well so that makes it really tricky for all of us.

This makes things a bit tricky for us FPL managers, as well, in terms of owning expensive midfield assets like Mohamed Salah (£12.6m) or Sadio Mane (£12.5m). Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.8m) is a bit less of an issue given his low price. They are all likely to start the Manchester City fixture given the long rest but right after that they play Villa with just 66 hours of recovery, then it’s Brighton with just 74 hours rest and then Burnley with just 65.

If we do hold our Liverpool attackers, we have to be careful with the captaincy. If Salah/Mane get benched in one game, they become captain material for the next game. Such patterns will have to be monitored closely, as well as the substitutions in the City game. Salah will no doubt be hungry for the Golden Boot but it seems unlikely Klopp will risk injury by starting him in all three games.

2. Do we put our faith in Jesus?

Manchester City have the best run of fixtures from Gameweek 33-38 and with Sergio Aguero (£11.7m) ruled out due to injury for that entire period, investing in Gabriel Jesus (£9.6m) is certainly tempting.

However, as the Chelsea fixture showed, the Brazilian’s starting spot is not guaranteed with Bernardo Silva (£7.7m) and Raheem Sterling (£11.7m) alternatives in that role.

Pep Guardiola has already gone on record stating his priority is the cups going forward and he will not want to risk his only recognised striker picking up a fatigue-related injury in such a busy schedule, so his minutes might be managed very carefully. Kevin De Bruyne’s (£10.7m) pitch-time will no doubt be monitored as well.

3. Could differences in rest periods affect performances?

In Gameweek 34, Spurs play Bournemouth with the former having 68 hours of recovery compared to the Cherries’ 121. Everton will have had just 68 hours rest compared to their opponents Southampton’s 93.

In Gameweek 35, Villa have just 64 hours of rest versus 114 for Palace. Everton have 64 hours to Wolves’ 88. Newcastle have 65 hours to Watford’s 89. Sheffield United have a full 24 hours less recovery time than their opponents Chelsea. Arsenal have nearly two days more recovery time than Spurs.

These differences need to be kept in mind as they will likely have an impact on energy levels and performances.

4.  Could switching between heavy hitters be beneficial?  

Like I mentioned earlier, a benching for a heavy-hitting asset like De Bruyne, Salah, Mane, Sterling etc increases their probability of starting the next game. So switching between them and handing them the armband depending on their minutes in the previous game could be rewarding. It is highly unlikely that any of them will start every match given their schedules.

My Team

Having looked at the schedule, getting a third Manchester United player into my squad will be my priority. They have the ideal motivation and near-perfect fixtures/scheduling.

Dominic Calvert Lewin (£6.4m) and Sadio Mane (£12.5m) will likely be making way for Marcus Rashford (£9.1m) and Christan Pulisic (£7.0m) with my two free transfers. Selling De Bruyne instead of the Senegalese is also an option.

Hope you found this information useful. Good luck and stay safe!


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.

FPL Lessons Learned from Gameweek 32+

Become a Member and access our data

Full-year memberships are now available for the price of £17.50, which will give subscribers access to the end of 2019/20 and the whole of 2020/21. Monthly subscriptions also cost just £2.99.

Join now to get the following:

  • Plot your transfer strategies using the fully interactive Season Ticker.
  • Get projections for every Premier League player provided by the Rate My Team statistical model.
  • Use Rate My Team throughout the season to guide your selections and transfers.
  • Get access to over 150+ exclusive members articles over the season.
  • Analyse our OPTA-powered statistic tables specifically tailored for Fantasy Football Managers.
  • Use our exclusive tool to build custom stats tables from over 100 OPTA player and team stats.
  • Enjoy our brand NEW Flat-Track Bully feature which introduces an opposition filter to your tables.
  • View heatmaps and expected goals data for every player.
  • Use our powerful comparison tool to analyse players head-to-head.

ALREADY A USER? CLICK HERE TO UPGRADE YOUR FREE ACCOUNT

NEW TO SCOUT? CLICK HERE TO START A MEMBERSHIP ACCOUNT

1,170 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Brosstan
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 5 Years
    10 days, 20 hours ago

    Ings

    1. Twisted Saltergater
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 11 Years
      10 days, 20 hours ago

      First the worst

    2. super zlatan
      • 9 Years
      10 days, 20 hours ago

      13 juicy points. 🙂

  2. Giggs Boson
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 8 Years
    10 days, 20 hours ago

    Saint-Maximin is one of my favourite players to watch atm. Wonderful player.

  3. Stoic
    • 3 Years
    10 days, 20 hours ago

    Dings

  4. how now brown cow
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 5 Years
    10 days, 20 hours ago

    These matches without fans are bad enough. Imagine an fa cup final.

    1. Danno - Emre Canada
      • 5 Years
      10 days, 19 hours ago

      Prefer it to nothing!

  5. Giggs Boson
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 8 Years
    10 days, 20 hours ago

    Will definitely be reading this article after the game. Times like these I miss Facer.

  6. Bob_the_builder
    • 3 Years
    10 days, 20 hours ago

    Will wait for the end of GW to take the final decision but if Salah gets subbed early against City, does Auba and Grealish to Salah and Ayew make sense with the intention of playing TC chip on Salah against Villa and Martial as VC?

  7. TorresMagic™
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • Has Moderation Rights
    • 11 Years
    10 days, 20 hours ago

    Last Man Standing Update (141 teams)

    Current safety score = 11
    Top score = 29
    LMS average = 12.18 (-0.26) = 11.92
    Players played = 3.14/12.03
    Captain played = 52.48%

    8 games + autosubs to go.

  8. SADIO SANÉ
    • 5 Years
    10 days, 20 hours ago

    very stupid question incoming, is the crowd noise coming out of speakers or added to the broadcast?

    1. how now brown cow
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      10 days, 20 hours ago

      Added to broadcast. It's done by EA sports fifa 20 I believe.

    2. Forza
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      10 days, 20 hours ago

      Added to the broadcast; you can watch without the noise.

    3. OleGGMU
      • 1 Year
      10 days, 20 hours ago

      I believe it is added to the broadcast rather than being played in the stadium, but i stand to be corrected. Apparently the sounds were ripped from the Fifa game ?

    4. SADIO SANÉ
      • 5 Years
      10 days, 20 hours ago

      nice, cheers guys

  9. OleGGMU
    • 1 Year
    10 days, 20 hours ago

    Hi lads
    Trust you are all well and enjoying the footie
    Looking for an RMT for gw33+ onwards

    Pope
    TAA, Doh, AWB
    Mane, KDB, Son, Martial, Foden
    Rash, Jimi
    Bench: martin, Lasc, Robinson, Ings

  10. SHOOTER MCGINN
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 4 Years
    10 days, 20 hours ago

    Only got Saka for the Norwich game but based on these turnarounds and the fact he played 90 today, what a pointless transfer.

  11. Jet5605
    • 5 Years
    10 days, 20 hours ago

    Sarr owners holding for Norwich and Newcastle at home?

    1. super zlatan
      • 9 Years
      10 days, 20 hours ago

      Don’t own him bbt my advise is to ship ASAP

    2. Magic Zico
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 1 Year
      10 days, 20 hours ago

      Time is up for him Bowen in

    3. A Fat Spanish Waiter
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      10 days, 20 hours ago

      I have him and he looked awful today. It’s a tough call. Norwich and Newcastle are tasty fixtures.

  12. Tinmen
    • 6 Years
    10 days, 20 hours ago

    Evening folks?
    How does this look as a bit of a differential?

    DCL and Jimmy to
    Jesus and Greenwood

    Martinez
    Trent Saiss Lascelles
    Mane KDB Son Bruno
    DCL Jimmy Rashford

    1. OleGGMU
      • 1 Year
      10 days, 20 hours ago

      no go for me mate, 2 more or less guaranteed starters for two guys on rotation roulette. Of course in the ideal situation it would work but defo a high risk high reward and is dependent on your plan B should it not work out as to whether the risk is worth short term,

      I'd stay stick, unless you have a worthwhile 5th mid or a good bench def to cover should either(Jesus or Green) not play

      1. Tinmen
        • 6 Years
        10 days, 20 hours ago

        Ok thanks buddy, will reconsider

  13. Ask Yourself
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 4 Years
    10 days, 20 hours ago

    Mahrez looking essential. Bye bye, Bruno, hello shiny new thing

  14. Leif Erikson-Formerly of La…
    • 7 Years
    10 days, 20 hours ago

    So this is what owning Ings is like? Pretty rad.

  15. Gravless are for Kinnear
    • 7 Years
    10 days, 20 hours ago

    Honestly, this Man City could outplay Newcastle with only 9 players.

    1. Nightcrawler
      • 1 Year
      10 days, 20 hours ago

      Harsh on city

  16. Nightcrawler
    • 1 Year
    10 days, 20 hours ago

    Ings FPl player of the season

  17. JohnRoss
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 9 Years
    10 days, 20 hours ago

    So Foden s okay we reckon...?

  18. Fred54
    • 5 Years
    10 days, 20 hours ago

    Ashley Out chants already from Newcastle fans.

  19. -GK22-
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 8 Years
    10 days, 20 hours ago

    Worth switching out McCarthy?

    1. Giggs Boson
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      10 days, 20 hours ago

      Think so. Not a player likely to get many save points to soften the tougher games.

      Pope looks a good option.

  20. Jet5605
    • 5 Years
    10 days, 20 hours ago

    What is going on with Andy Carroll's facial hair?

    1. Fred54
      • 5 Years
      10 days, 20 hours ago

      Captain Caveman might sue.

    2. super zlatan
      • 9 Years
      10 days, 20 hours ago

      Designer stubble

      1. Fred54
        • 5 Years
        10 days, 20 hours ago

        Just seen it, its an inverse goatee.

  21. 1912 F.A Cup Winners
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 2 Years
    10 days, 20 hours ago

    These crowd noises are like on a game of FIFA!!!! Haha

    1. Fred54
      • 5 Years
      10 days, 20 hours ago

      Well that is exactly where they are from...

      1. 1912 F.A Cup Winners
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 2 Years
        10 days, 20 hours ago

        Ah is it really?? Didn’t know that one!! Haha

        1. 1912 F.A Cup Winners
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 2 Years
          10 days, 20 hours ago

          More of a Football Manager sort of guy!!

  22. Nightcrawler
    • 1 Year
    10 days, 20 hours ago

    Very good chance kdb gets rested next sunday now

    1. SADIO SANÉ
      • 5 Years
      10 days, 20 hours ago

      practically guaranteed

    2. Right In The Stanchion
        10 days, 20 hours ago

        How come?

        1. Nightcrawler
          • 1 Year
          10 days, 20 hours ago

          90 last thursday

          Starts today

          Starts on thursday again surely

          1. Nightcrawler
            • 1 Year
            10 days, 20 hours ago

            Reckon ill wait for the game after soton to get him back

    3. Bruno FC
        10 days, 20 hours ago

        Which is better? ( I have no Liverpool Mid) Leno,DCL,Vardy TO Rashford,Jesus,Martinez= -4 Or Leno,DCL,Vardy,Lund,TO Rashford,Jesus,Lowton,Pope=-8

        1. TorresMagic™
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • Has Moderation Rights
          • 11 Years
          10 days, 20 hours ago

          Tough one Tony
          Let the games play.

      • Forza Papac
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 4 Years
        10 days, 20 hours ago

        Asked Lampard about the fitness of Pulisic and Christensen:
        "Pulisic felt tightness in his calf. Hopefully it is nothing that puts him out because we are seeing how he is playing at the minute.
        "Andreas had a small problem around his hip."
        #CFC #LEICHE #FACup

        -@NizaarKinsella

      • Right In The Stanchion
          10 days, 20 hours ago

          Deflected cross from Kyle Walker the curb crawler

        • TorresMagic™
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • Has Moderation Rights
          • 11 Years
          10 days, 20 hours ago

          Mahrez out of form.

        • JohnRoss
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 9 Years
          10 days, 20 hours ago

          It's fine and all to talk about the big players getting rested and rotated but the question is who would you replace them with? I think I would prefer 60 minutes from Salah or KDB than the likes of Richarlison getting 90. And there's no guarantee they will play full minutes either so think I will just hang on for dear life and have a half decent bench

        • A Fat Spanish Waiter
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 5 Years
          10 days, 20 hours ago

          Wonder how many people benched Ings (or transferred him) after seeing the Predicted lineups on this site.

        • La Roja
          • 8 Years
          10 days, 20 hours ago

          4 years ago today sadio mane signed for Liverpool and he is yet to lose a premiership game at anfield

          1. james 101
            • 8 Years
            10 days, 20 hours ago

            That’s a ridiculous stat. Nice.

          2. Nightcrawler
            • 1 Year
            10 days, 20 hours ago

            Thats not true

            1. Nightcrawler
              • 1 Year
              10 days, 20 hours ago

              Nevermind thought he played in sotons defeat to pool at anfield the year he signed

            2. bench boost for every gamew…
              • 3 Years
              10 days, 20 hours ago

              It is

        • -GK22-
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 8 Years
          10 days, 20 hours ago

          Swap...McCarthy and Ritchie (Out)

          For Pope and Aurier (In)

          ? Or anyone better than Aurier?

          1. super zlatan
            • 9 Years
            10 days, 20 hours ago

            Looks good