It’s the most wonderful time of the year, a time of hope and joy for many. That’s right, the Double Gameweeks are upon us!
With the fixtures coming thick and fast, fantasy managers are starting to prepare their sides for the blanks and Double Gameweeks approaching in Gameweek 18 and Gameweek 19. I still have my first Wildcard to use so my strategy is to Wildcard in Gameweek 16, Free Hit in Blank Gameweek 18 and bench boost in Double Gameweek 19. Whatever your chip strategy may be over this period, if you intend on attacking the Double Gameweek then the budget options will be important to help balance our squads.
It’s important not to disregard the games in and around the doubles, so the best low cost options can give us that flexibility to bench them in not so favourable fixtures whilst maximising our squads with as many Double Gameweek players as possible.
I’m not particularly interested in any Fulham assets, so the teams most likely to provide me with cheaper options are Burnley, Leeds, West Ham and Southampton. Let’s take a look at their fixtures over the coming weeks. For the purpose of this research I have ignored Gameweek 18 as I, and I expect many others are planning on free hitting that week. Apologies to those with different strategies.
Gameweek 15 – Gameweek 17
- Burnley (lee, SHU, FUL)
- Leeds (BUR, wba, tot)
- West Ham (BHA, sou, eve)
- Southampton (ful, WHU, LIV)
Double Gameweek Fixtures
- West Ham (BUR, WBA)
- Leeds (BHA, SOU)
- Southampton (lei, lee)
- Burnley (whu, liv)
As you can see, Leeds rank high in the Season Ticker tool in both the fixtures preceding blank Gameweek 18 and Double Gameweek 19 itself. This, for me, makes them the perfect team to target for budget enablers in preparation for the Double Gameweek. Interestingly, the fixtures after the double aren’t bad either (new, lei, EVE, CRY) making them a great investment in the long term thinking also.
The attacking intent from this Leeds side is clear to see. Even in the 6-2 defeat to Manchester United they managed 17 attempts (14 in the box and 3 big chances). Patrick Bamford (£6.4m) is still undoubtably the standout option of their assets.
Nailed in Marco Bielsa’s side and at the top end of all key metrics across forwards this season, he is arguably must-have for me currently, given his price and fixture run.
Those looking for a differential may look to Raphinha (£5.4m). He has been displaying some eye-catching stats of late. Looking at the last four Gameweeks, he has made 14 attempts (11 in the box) and created 12 chances for his teammates.
End-product is letting him down right now, but he may consider himself unlucky to only return twice in the last four outings (two assists). Bamford would be the man to hang your hat on and transfer in early if you don’t own already, but it’s worth keeping an eye on the Brazilian over the coming games as the Double Gameweek 19 approaches.
Defensively, Leeds don’t fill me with much hope for clean sheets with their ‘We’ll score more than you’ mentality. I will probably stay clear of their defensive assets but for anyone wanting to invest, Stuart Dallas (£4.7m) is the one with an eye for goal who might pop up with an attacking return.
He has made 18 attempts on goal this season and no defender has had more big chances than the Northern Irishman (three).
In a stark contrast to Leeds, it’s only really defensive assets that appeal from the Clarets. Despite a 2-1 win over Wolves in Gameweek 14, Burnley have still only registered eight goals all season and at 11.65, only West Bromwich Albion have a worst expected goals (xG) score than them.
However, as we have come to expect from Sean Dyche’s men, they look assured defensively and have already produced five clean sheets.
Looking at the fixtures, Burnley have a fantastic run up to Double Gameweek 19 which should provide a great platform to further their clean sheet tally, but the Double Gameweek isn’t particularly appealing for them which is a shame.
Away matches at West Ham and Liverpool in Gameweek 19 is unlikely to result in clean sheets in my opinion. Therefore, the best route into their defence could be Nick Pope (£5.4m), who has the capability to rack up save points in any fixture. The shot-stopper has already acquired 66 points and is well on his way to replicating last seasons heroics.
Those looking to bench boost may find his £5.4m price tag a little to high and may prefer to look for two sub £5.0m Double Gameweek goalkeepers. But those not planning on using the chip should seriously consider Pope in my opinion as the best long-term option to pair with non-playing bench fodder.
Elsewhere Charlie Taylor (£4.5m) is still good value at £4.5m.
WEST HAM UNITED
Arguably the pick up the bunch for the Double Gameweek fixtures (BUR, WHA), West Ham will provide us with good value ahead of this run of games.
The standout budget options for me are Vladimir Coufal (£4.6m) and Tomas Soucek (£5.1m).
I have spoken about a lot about Soucek in previous articles and he continues to pass the eye test for me. I have owned the midfielder all season and at £5.1m, I am happy to leave him on my bench when I do not need him, and fancy him to provide returns when called upon.
Coufal is a player I am currently planning on bringing in when I Wildcard in Gameweek 16. Over the last four Gameweeks he has put in 26 crosses and created 10 chances for his teammates.
Only Liverpool’s Andrew Robertson (£7.3m) can better those numbers. Still only £4.6m, the favourable Double Gameweek fixtures bodes well for returns at both end of the pitch.
While the fixtures for the Saints aren’t fantastic, I feel their performances on the pitch can make us start to realistically consider their assets in any match. Jannik Vestergaard (£5.0m) is perhaps the best defensive asset with his presence in the box resulting in three goals already this season, although does have a knee problem to overcome right now.
Kyle Walker-Peters (£4.7m) is also a good option for anyone who has a little value tied up in him or does not want to stretch to the 5.0 price tag.
From an attacking perspective, Che Adams (£6.0m) is the possibly the best option currently for anyone looking for a forward in this price bracket. His all-round play has resulted in four goals and five assists this season. As a Saints fan who watches most games, it is clear that his confidence continues to grow.
Thanks for reading. Christmas will certainly be different this year but hopefully we can at least enjoy the football. Good Luck all.
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