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+

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1,170 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Tony Martial
    • 1 Year
    10 days, 18 hours ago

    Sterling Goal

  2. Ask Yourself
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 4 Years
    10 days, 18 hours ago

    Great goal sterling

    1. Ask Yourself
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      10 days, 18 hours ago

      Foden A

  3. 1912 F.A Cup Winners
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 2 Years
    10 days, 18 hours ago

    Beautiful strike Raheem!!!

  4. SuperMane Returns
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 3 Years
    10 days, 18 hours ago

    Sterling effort!

  5. g40steve
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 2 Years
    10 days, 18 hours ago

    Ster G

    1. michudagawd
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 7 Years
      10 days, 18 hours ago

      Foden A.

      1. Giggs Boson
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 8 Years
        10 days, 18 hours ago

        Laporte AA

        What a ball from him

  6. Ajax Hamsterdam
    • 5 Years
    10 days, 18 hours ago

    What to do with Sarr ?
    A pulisic
    B William
    C foden
    D keep

    Thanks a lot

    1. Tony Martial
      • 1 Year
      10 days, 18 hours ago

      C

      1. Ajax Hamsterdam
        • 5 Years
        10 days, 18 hours ago

        Tempting

    2. The Mighty Hippo
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      10 days, 18 hours ago

      ABDC

      1. Ajax Hamsterdam
        • 5 Years
        10 days, 18 hours ago

        Thanks

  7. ZimZalabim
    • 3 Years
    10 days, 18 hours ago

    razmataz swazzz

  8. NoSalah’d
    10 days, 18 hours ago

    Thoughts on my FH draft?
    DDG, Martin
    TAA, VVD, Doherty, Lascelles, 3.9m
    Mane, KDB, Martial, Mount, 4.2m
    Jesus, Rashford, Maupay

  9. g40steve
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 2 Years
    10 days, 18 hours ago

    Kev rested

    1. HuttonDressedasLahm
      • 10 Years
      10 days, 18 hours ago

      Nice

  10. Pep Roulette
    • 2 Years
    10 days, 18 hours ago

    KDB rested

  11. Wild Rover
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 9 Years
    10 days, 18 hours ago

    KDB rested

  12. ⭐ Bemba_Da ⭐
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 10 Years
    10 days, 18 hours ago

    BBC Commentator says "When sterling is in that position you kind of just know what's going to happen next with him now"

    😆 yep 99 out of 10 not a goal

    1. Collie01
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      10 days, 18 hours ago

      "You expect him to score in those areas"

      Casuals

  13. ⭐ Bemba_Da ⭐
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 10 Years
    10 days, 18 hours ago

    KDB subbed

  14. how now brown cow
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 5 Years
    10 days, 18 hours ago

    Terrible footballer sterling with a terrible goal.

    1. Tinkermania
      10 days, 18 hours ago

      Love your sarcasm.

  15. Wild Rover
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 9 Years
    10 days, 18 hours ago

    Anyone know if KDB has been rested?

    1. Bury94
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      10 days, 18 hours ago

      KDB rested

    2. g40steve
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      10 days, 18 hours ago

      Yes

    3. Wild Card this...
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 10 Years
      10 days, 18 hours ago

      🙂

  16. Daniel S.
    • 11 Years
    10 days, 18 hours ago

    Foden is worth the risk. he delivered today again. I am getting him in as part of the bench boost plan after the Liverpool game

    1. Flynny
      • 5 Years
      10 days, 18 hours ago

      I'm debating getting him and starting either him or nketiah each week...

      Kane enabler

    2. ONGO GABLOGIAN
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 9 Years
      10 days, 18 hours ago

      Certainly interests me. Trying to pick 3 City assets for my WC is going to be tough.

  17. riot
    • 9 Years
    10 days, 18 hours ago

    Yikes, you can't swear anymore?

    I guess the advertisers matter more!

    1. TorresMagic™
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • Has Moderation Rights
      • 11 Years
      10 days, 18 hours ago

      You should know with a 9.

      1. riot
        • 9 Years
        10 days, 18 hours ago

        I don't find the need often but I'm not sure who the pg13 is for, the gambling site ads that litter the site?

  18. Original Pirate Material
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 1 Year
    10 days, 18 hours ago

    The young fullback for Brighton, Lamptey - he played very well last game I see, reckon he will nail that spot down?

    1. TorresMagic™
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • Has Moderation Rights
      • 11 Years
      10 days, 18 hours ago

      A shocker vs United would change that.

      1. Original Pirate Material
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 1 Year
        10 days, 18 hours ago

        Best 4.1 or under options TM?

        1. TorresMagic™
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • Has Moderation Rights
          • 11 Years
          10 days, 18 hours ago

          No idea tbh

      2. Tony Martial
        • 1 Year
        10 days, 18 hours ago

        Even if he does 4.0 how can you go wrong

  19. antoinehude
    • 3 Years
    10 days, 18 hours ago

    Best goalkeeper:

    A) Pope
    B) De Gea
    C) Lloris
    D) Henderson

    ?
    Alexander-Arnold / Doherty / Saiss
    Salah / De Bruyne / Martial / Bruno Fernandes
    Ings / Vardy / Jimenez

    Button / Hanley / Williams / Saka

    1. Bobby Digital
      • 2 Years
      10 days, 18 hours ago

      Pooo

    2. Original Pirate Material
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 1 Year
      10 days, 18 hours ago

      Ederson.

      1. antoinehude
        • 3 Years
        10 days, 18 hours ago

        Would be nice but I have only 5,3 millions

  20. The Mighty Hippo
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 3 Years
    10 days, 18 hours ago

    Kev exhausted and hooked off.

    1. Original Pirate Material
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 1 Year
      10 days, 18 hours ago

      Done his job for tonight.

  21. ...al
    • 11 Years
    10 days, 18 hours ago

    Foden looks golden

    1. Original Pirate Material
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 1 Year
      10 days, 18 hours ago

      Between him or Mahrez for my third City spot. Sticking with Riyad at the minute but Foden good value.

      1. ...al
        • 11 Years
        10 days, 18 hours ago

        Stick with Mahrez

        Foden nice cheap 5th mid differential

  22. Coys96
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 2 Years
    10 days, 18 hours ago

    Out first:

    A) Sarr
    B) Auba
    C) Both (-4)

    Probably would go to Kane & Pulisic

    1. Coys96
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      10 days, 18 hours ago

      Or Foden

      1. Tony Martial
        • 1 Year
        10 days, 18 hours ago

        C

  23. Twisted Saltergater
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 11 Years
    10 days, 18 hours ago

    Mount to Foden next week

  24. Bobby Digital
    • 2 Years
    10 days, 18 hours ago

    Had Ings for 2 months and he got me one goal.... End rant.

  25. Collie01
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 2 Years
    10 days, 18 hours ago

    ASM rested

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

    When did Newcastle sign Snoop Dogg?

  27. Maximus Bonimus Pointimus
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 10 Years
    10 days, 18 hours ago

    Ings is going to be a popular GW1 pick next season the way things are going

    8.0-ish?

    1. Original Pirate Material
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 1 Year
      10 days, 18 hours ago

      Yep i reckon so.

    2. Coys96
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      10 days, 18 hours ago

      Spot on

    3. Collie01
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      10 days, 18 hours ago

      Closer to 9 I reckon.

      1. Ron_Swanson
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 9 Years
        10 days, 18 hours ago

        8.5 then

    4. ...al
      • 11 Years
      10 days, 18 hours ago

      Too rich for me

    5. Collie01
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      10 days, 18 hours ago

      Wilson was 8mil after his 14 goal season. Ings could get to 20 goals. Only Vardy has more points this season. 8mil would be too cheap imo

    6. The Mighty Hippo
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      10 days, 18 hours ago

      A bit like Callum Wilson in gw1 this season.

  28. Bam Bam Bigelow
    • 4 Years
    10 days, 18 hours ago

    KDB, Mahrez & Foden...

    1. Magic Zico
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 1 Year
      10 days, 18 hours ago

      Salah Bruno Martial Pulisic headache only 5 allowed

    2. ONGO GABLOGIAN
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 9 Years
      10 days, 18 hours ago

      + Martial & Fernandes. Looks like this may be the template WC team.

      1. RamaJama
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 7 Years
        10 days, 18 hours ago

        No Salah or Son?

        1. ONGO GABLOGIAN
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 9 Years
          10 days, 18 hours ago

          My WC drafts all have Salah in, but Klopp's recent comments are making me think otherwise. Think he'll probably make the cut and may get transferred out in a couple weeks.

          Son is a trap IMO.

  29. Bury94
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 2 Years
    10 days, 18 hours ago

    If Salah plays 90 mins on Thursday will you captain him vs Villa on Sunday?

    1. ...al
      • 11 Years
      10 days, 18 hours ago

      Depends what happens. Gota go game by game

    2. Original Pirate Material
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 1 Year
      10 days, 18 hours ago

      No.

    3. FOO FIGHTER
      10 days, 18 hours ago

      Yep

    4. Corgzzzz
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      10 days, 18 hours ago

      Yes of course, first game at Anfield as champions......try keeping him off the pitch......

    5. Maximus Bonimus Pointimus
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 10 Years
      10 days, 18 hours ago

      I have the TC activated on him at the minute

      But a full 90 vs City would cause me to think twice, as the old Celine Dion song goes

      1. Corgzzzz
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 4 Years
        10 days, 18 hours ago

        yes, me too.........lets hope he gets no more than 60 mins v City............but first game back at Anfield as champions I would still expect him to start.........

      2. Maximus Bonimus Pointimus
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 10 Years
        10 days, 18 hours ago

        But also have the (c) on him for this week so a full 90 could have benefits of its own

        So I’m torn on which would be best, just like Natalie Imbruglia

  30. Stormbringer22
    10 days, 18 hours ago

    Do you guys see Foden as more of a 4th playing mid or 5th bench mid? Contemplating doing Sarr to Foden

    1. RamaJama
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 7 Years
      10 days, 18 hours ago

      5th

    2. Ajax Hamsterdam
      • 5 Years
      10 days, 18 hours ago

      4th possibly

    3. ...al
      • 11 Years
      10 days, 18 hours ago

      5th

      4 mids need to be guaranteed 90 and/or big hitters

    4. Collie01
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      10 days, 18 hours ago

      I have him as my 5th mid, will start him in 3-5-2 if I think he is going to start

    5. Bam Bam Bigelow
      • 4 Years
      10 days, 18 hours ago

      5th playing mid to rotate with 4th playing def

    6. Original Pirate Material
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 1 Year
      10 days, 18 hours ago

      If he starts, great. If he is a sub coming on normally its when the game is won and he can run at players who have given up. More I think about it the more I may go with him over Mahrez.

    7. riot
      • 9 Years
      10 days, 18 hours ago

      5th, no guarantee of minutes

    8. Twisted Saltergater
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 11 Years
      10 days, 18 hours ago

      4th with Nketiah