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. Bobby Digital
    • 2 Years
    1 month, 10 days ago

    Exciting Monday with Pope to play.

    1. beric
      • 8 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Ward for me, i cant handle it

      1. Ginkapo FPL
        • 9 Years
        1 month, 10 days ago

        Pope AND Ward for me. Gonna be a great watch.

        1. Hitmonlee
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 1 Year
          1 month, 10 days ago

          Pope, Ward and Ayew for me. Terrible bench boost incoming

    2. HashAttack
      • 3 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Stuck on 0 points until Tuesday - no played today or playing tomorrow

  2. Pep Roulette
    • 2 Years
    1 month, 10 days ago

    Should I plan to downgrade Sterling to Mahrez to upgrade elsewhere?

    1. Bobby Digital
      • 2 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      I'd keep Sterling

    2. beric
      • 8 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      I would

    3. Major League Shocker
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Yes

    4. Freddiebell
      • 3 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      I did sterling to son yetarerday

    5. D.Glynn
      • 1 Year
      1 month, 9 days ago

      I think Mahrez is best city option after KDB

  3. ManUnitedComeBack
    • 3 Years
    1 month, 10 days ago

    If Pulisic is out for a period of time (even if it’s just one week it becomes 3 GWs) would that make you want to get Alonso in more?

    1. sunnyh
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 6 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      No

  4. Netters2018
    • 1 Year
    1 month, 10 days ago

    Need some help please, got 2fts..
    Team is
    Pope
    Taa, Doherty, Lascelles, Holgate,Fermenia
    Son, Salah, KDB, Bruno, Gendouzi
    DCL, Jimi, Rash
    Thinking downgrading taa to vvd or doherty to boly and swapping gendouzi for foden?

    1. Toblerone52 - Hung like a H…
      • 4 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      I would not sell Trent or Doc they will punish you

    2. KDF
      • 3 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      DCL to Nketiah , guendouzi to foden?

  5. Toblerone52 - Hung like a H…
    • 4 Years
    1 month, 10 days ago

    have 2 free transfers and am looking to ditch Lundstram Sarr and jota who have been poor picks for me.

    Could get in Maguire, Mahrez and Nketiah for the following line up.

    Hendo
    Trent Doc Maguire Lascelles
    Salah KDB Fernandes Mahrez
    Rashford Jimmy

    Leno*, Egan, Guendouzi, Nketiah

    Lol at triple arsenl on the bench.

    Another option for me is keeping Sarr and selling Egan to Van dijk or alonso.

    Do these look like decent options at this stage?

  6. Printing Mane
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 8 Years
    1 month, 10 days ago

    Did Bruce mention anything on Ritche?

    1. SADIO SANÉ
      • 5 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      nah

  7. merin
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 4 Years
    1 month, 10 days ago

    How would you use these 2FTs?

    Pope Button
    TAA Doherty Fernandez Robinson Simpson
    KDB Salah Son Fernandes Hayden
    Jimenez Rashford DCL

    2FT, 0.1 ITB

    1. Bobby Digital
      • 2 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Tell me when you figure it out. I'll be waiting for the games to finish.

    2. sunnyh
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 6 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Doherty + Robinson --> Saiss + AWB/Aurier?

  8. DantheManinaPan
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 6 Years
    1 month, 10 days ago

    Foden a genuine option do we think?

    1. potatoace
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 9 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Yep. After this week.

    2. Firminoooo
      • 4 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      I think everybody will get Peped. But for 5m...May be worth it.

    3. sunnyh
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 6 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      I am looking to get him for a BB

  9. wulfranian
    • 3 Years
    1 month, 10 days ago

    Watford or Bournemouth will stay in the league?My guess is Bournemouth.If Brighton lose vs Norwich then things are complicated.

    1. El Presidente
      1 month, 10 days ago

      My bottom 3 are:

      Norwich
      Bounemouth
      Aston Villa

      1. Dthinger
        • 3 Years
        1 month, 10 days ago

        In that order? Seems like Norwich is solidly rooted to the bottom to me

        1. ManUnitedComeBack
          • 3 Years
          1 month, 10 days ago

          In that order from the bottom?

  10. Manani
    • 8 Years
    1 month, 10 days ago

    got 2FT, not sure where to use it:

    Pope Button
    TAA Dohetry AUrier Lascelles Holgate
    Son Salah KDB Bruno guendozi
    Jimenez DCL Ings

    1. potatoace
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 9 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      I would work on stacking up on Mantd players. Maybe even furloughing ings for a few games.

    2. Dthinger
      • 3 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      DCL to greenwood, maybe?

      1. Manani
        • 8 Years
        1 month, 10 days ago

        bit risky though, don't think he will start most games
        could do guendozi>saka for that i suppose

    3. Firminoooo
      • 4 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Son/DCL to Foden/Rash

  11. Sgt Frank Drebin
    • 3 Years
    1 month, 10 days ago

    No shots on target from Watford and McCarthy still conceded. This is frustrating...

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

      Plenty of saves vs City incoming.

  12. Firminoooo
    • 4 Years
    1 month, 10 days ago

    0.1 from Son and Greenwood to Foden and Rash. Arrrrgvhh

    1. Dthinger
      • 3 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      I don’t think you want to do that anyway

  13. Dont_Win_Friends_With_Salah…
    • 2 Years
    1 month, 10 days ago

    2FT and nothing feels too urgent. Would you do Saka and Ayew to Foden and Nketiah?

    Patricio
    TAA Doh Aurier
    Mane KDB Son Bruno Saka
    Rashford Jiminez

    Button Lascelles Ayew Robinson

    1. Hitmonlee
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 1 Year
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Yeah looks good

  14. DeadStar
    • 9 Years
    1 month, 10 days ago

    Will Bruno Fernandes play on Tuesday or should I prepare for disappointment?

    1. jtreble
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Suspect he’ll be rested. Owner.

    2. sunnyh
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 6 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Doesnt matter, nothing you can do now

    3. diesel001
      • 3 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Prepare for disappointment

    4. Magic Zico
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 1 Year
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Pogba can take care the midfield

  15. sunnyh
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 6 Years
    1 month, 10 days ago

    Is Auba + Doucoure --> Ings + Martial as no brainer as it looks to me?

    Not too fussed about Ings' fixtures and would keep for the rest of the season most likely. Other option is to Mahrez but fancy a United attack double up.

    Could also get in Rash + Pulisic but not sure on Pulisic's availability

    1. sunnyh
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 6 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Any thoughts? 🙁

  16. Nightf0x
    • 5 Years
    1 month, 10 days ago

    Which? (Have sais)

    A) Taa guendozi vardy -4 to boly puli jesus, gw after bruno martinez to martial & upgrade martinez
    B) martinez guendozi vardy -4 to ddg/patricio mahrez conoly/grenwod
    C) guendozi bruno vardy -4 to puli martial ings

    1. sunnyh
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 6 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      B out of those but not great options

    2. Manani
      • 8 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      i think pulisic got a slight injury?

  17. UnitedRthebest
    1 month, 10 days ago

    Brought Pulisic in for a hit this week. Very scared now with the knock. Thoughts on if he starts?
    Cheers!

    1. sunnyh
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 6 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Nothing you can do now - 50/50 me thinks

  18. diesel001
    • 3 Years
    1 month, 10 days ago

    Burnley vs Palace on Amazon Prime tomorrow.

    Wonder how much they paid to show that. Not exactly a box office match.

    1. pablo discobar
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 10 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      I believe they are airing it for free. Just need the app

    2. Maximus Bonimus Pointimus
      • 10 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Going to be one of those edge of he seat games counting pope’s every save

  19. Evasivo
    • 10 Years
    1 month, 10 days ago

    Thoughts on Sarr & Grealish to Fleck & Martial with my 2FT?

    1. The Senate
      • 2 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      If Fleck will be on your bench then yes. otherwise I'd punt on Foden in the same price range

      1. Evasivo
        • 10 Years
        1 month, 10 days ago

        Would have to play one of Cantwell or Fleck tbf, though hoping he's gained some confidence after scoring last night

        1. sunnyh
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 6 Years
          1 month, 10 days ago

          Id still go with Foden - would rather Foden for a 30 minute cameo over 90 minutes of Fleck

          1. Evasivo
            • 10 Years
            1 month, 10 days ago

            Just realized 0.3 short 🙁

          2. Evasivo
            • 10 Years
            1 month, 10 days ago

            Maybe Dendonker instead

      2. Evasivo
        • 10 Years
        1 month, 10 days ago

        Cheers mate

  20. LIARS POKER
    • 3 Years
    1 month, 10 days ago

    Liverpool have 2 days rest between Man City and Villa. Was planning on using my TC on Mane that game but could be very risky....

    1. Maximus Bonimus Pointimus
      • 10 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Is it not 3 days...

  21. Pia06rc
    • 2 Years
    1 month, 10 days ago

    Do people think that triple city Mid (KDB, Mahrez, Foden) is overkill for the rest of season? I'd play them in midfield 5 alongside Mane and Martial, with Rash and jimi up top. Transfer would be Barnes to Foden. Bench is Lund, Egan and Nketiah. Cheers

    1. Pat Bonner
      • 9 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Looks good to me. Thinking I might do similar

    2. fr3d
      • 2 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      I'm going Foden only

    3. Manani
      • 8 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      is Foden a starter now?

      if he's not start, you will be palyting either Foden/Nekitah every week and I am not sure about that. (and it's fairly possible that both might get benched in a GW and you get just 1 point)

  22. Vazza
    1 month, 10 days ago

    Looks like Pulisic will sit out of the WHU game..

    1. Pumpy Pro
      • 11 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Source?

      1. baps sniffer
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 2 Years
        1 month, 10 days ago

        Today's match?!?

        1. Vazza
          1 month, 9 days ago

          Haha.

        2. Pumpy Pro
          • 11 Years
          1 month, 9 days ago

          He felt tightness in his calf during the second drinks break so I took him off straight away,’ said Lampard. ‘We’ll see in the next day [or so].’

          Ok, so where does it mention he will sit out ?

  23. Champ
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 10 Years
    1 month, 10 days ago

    How was Hayden today anybody? Any concerns on fitness etc

    1. Vazza
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Don’t think so. Might be tired after that Man City game though

      1. Champ
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 10 Years
        1 month, 10 days ago

        Cheers bench filler...

        1. Vazza
          1 month, 9 days ago

          I gathered. Lol

  24. Corgzzzz
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 5 Years
    1 month, 10 days ago

    Did Lord Lund get injured today ?? I see he was subbed off early ??

    1. Dr. Agabuse
      • 7 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      yes, shoulder.

    2. Freddiebell
      • 3 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Shoulder injury apparently

    3. Dreaming of glory
      • 4 Years
      1 month, 9 days ago

      Looked like possible dislocated shoulder

  25. Manani
    • 8 Years
    1 month, 10 days ago

    what's with the Foden hype recently? Is he a starter now?

    1. Pat Bonner
      • 9 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Not guaranteed (who is at city) but costs 5.2 or whatever and plays in front 3. High ceiling and cheap so low risk punt - I’ll likely have him for bench boost

      1. baps sniffer
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 2 Years
        1 month, 10 days ago

        My 5th mid. i will try use him when I expect him to start.

        1. Pat Bonner
          • 9 Years
          1 month, 9 days ago

          Exactly my plan

  26. Firminoooo
    • 4 Years
    1 month, 10 days ago

    Going nowhere. Last year finished 549th, now 567th OR. Status Quo 🙂

    1. Dr. Agabuse
      • 7 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      nice. still way to go.

      whats your transfer targets? whats your midfield?

      1. Firminoooo
        • 4 Years
        1 month, 9 days ago

        Thanks. My team is linked. Thinking about playing aggressive: -4. Son, Greenwood, DcL to Pulisic, Nketiah, Rash.

    2. Pat Bonner
      • 9 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Don’t complain that’s great going! Well played

      1. Firminoooo
        • 4 Years
        1 month, 9 days ago

        I know. Just bragging.

    3. baps sniffer
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      1 month, 9 days ago

      Well done! Good BB. Congrats!

      1. Firminoooo
        • 4 Years
        1 month, 9 days ago

        Thanks. Almost new personal record with 140 on BB.

  27. Dr. Agabuse
    • 7 Years
    1 month, 10 days ago

    Ok, just once.
    Foden will be in and out-
    Saka and esp Nketiah still the better option.
    Rotation is a killer.
    More than you think. It leads to 1pointers and points on the bench.
    look for solid players, CBs STs that have stamina and your big guns.
    Dont go all maverick and try to Foden Mahrez it bc of fixtures ESPECIALLY cause they have an extra game in 37 which makes 36 and 37 an extra doubt.

    Mahrez is an option as third fourth midfielder bc hes explosive but Foden will hurt. Save the 0.9 and put Guendouzi last on your bench.

    1. Pat Bonner
      • 9 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Foden is so cheap is it really that big a deal. Can be your 5th mid so don't even have to play him if it looks like he’s getting rotated. He can score double figures

  28. matiakez
    • 9 Years
    1 month, 10 days ago

    Pope McCarthy
    TAA Maguire Boly Lascelles Holgate
    Barnes KDB Salah Cantwell Bruno
    Vardy Ings Jimi

    Vardy and Barnes the big issue and I've two frees but no real idea where to go?

    1. Freddiebell
      • 3 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Vardy > Rashford
      &
      Barnes > Foden or Saka

    2. mrodgers91
      • 2 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Rashford and foden or maybe pulisic depending on injury news?

  29. Pat Bonner
    • 9 Years
    1 month, 10 days ago

    All this chat of rotation at Liverpool but I’ve not heard sporting integrity mentioned! That always comes up as an argument and given they play teams fighting relegation in next 2 gws then will we really see wholesale changes. Reckon Burnley game might be the one to look out for though

  30. mrodgers91
    • 2 Years
    1 month, 10 days ago

    Got to use BB next week with this team right?
    Henderson pope
    Taa robbo boly azpi lascelles
    Kdb bruno martial traore saka
    Kane rashford jimi