Happy New Year and welcome to the Fantasy Football Scout Guide to Gameweek 17 ahead of today’s 16:00 GMT deadline.
As Fantasy managers, 2020 certainly kept us on our toes and its 366th day was no exception with the announcement of additional fixtures for Gameweeks 18 and 19.
Those with assets from both Manchester clubs, Aston Villa and Burnley now have more players available for the upcoming blank and double.
But are you leaping for joy or simply scratching your head wondering what to do?
As Pro Pundit Andy was at pains to point out when talking through the implications of the fixture changes yesterday, the ideal solution will depend on your team and chip situation.
Step forward the innovative FPL Community with two tailor-made graphics.
The first, by Legomané, helps us plan transfers by using a traffic-light colour code to highlight the rest periods between matches:
(click on graphic to enlarge)
And the second, by FPL Zh0u, is a handy flowchart on strategy, which can steer our teams in the right direction.
(click on graphic to enlarge)
Andy wondered if it was time to abandon our plans for Double Gameweek 19, especially with Manchester City now having arguably the most attractive fixtures, at home to Crystal Palace and Aston Villa.
The Pro Pundit, who leads the Mods & Cons mini-league, originally wanted to play his Bench Boost chip but is debating whether targeting his transfers to bring back Kevin De Bruyne (£11.7m) is perhaps the better course of action.
Liverpool also enjoy two home fixtures in the upcoming Double Gameweek and Mohamed Salah (£12.6m) had been the default captain choice for many, however two frustrating blanks has dampened our enthusiasm.
But reporting on the match against his beloved Newcastle United, Neale emphasised that it could have been very different for those who backed the Egyptian:
This was one of those games when the margins between double-digit haul and a three-pointer were slim … But Salah has historically had a profligate side to his game and occasional frustrating afternoons come with the territory.– Neale
Something our Captain Sensible writer Jan Sienkiewicz does when making his recommendations for the armband, is to consider how the games will unfold.
Often Fantasy managers like to target teams thought of as ‘whipping boys’, but sides frequently adapt their approach based on the opposition – and Newcastle are no exception:
The Magpies resemble a solid outfit in a backs-to-the-wall 5-4-1 but look less so in a 4-4-2/4-2-3-1, conceding goals against the likes of Burnley, Fulham, West Bromwich Albion and Brighton and Hove Albion – all at home – this season when playing without a third centre-half.– Neale
Leeds United, however, take a different approach: employing the same style of play no matter who they are facing.
The open end-to-end nature of their games means that no team has conceded more big chances than the Whites this season and, at the same time, no team has taken more shots in the box.
On the Scoutcast, Joe and Az both identified the trip to a rested Tottenham Hotspur as the standout fixture for captaincy. And Jan agreed, making Harry Kane (£11.0m) and Son Heung-min (£9.7m) his top candidates for the armband, despite their recent poor attacking form.
But it was the attacking displays of Marcelo Bielsa’s side that caught the attention of Pro Pundit Zophar. Considering their budget options, the seven-time top 10,000 manager noted:
Raphinha’s numbers, in particular, are excellent as he is second for shots in the box (nine) and joint-top for chances created (10).– Zophar
And like Zophar in his column piece, David picked out a cheap midfielder whose displays have impressed recently for Aston Villa:
His total of 24 attempts on goal is the highest in the league between Gameweeks 12 and 16, at least 10 more than any other midfielder at the time of writing. El Ghazi is also top of the league for big chances (six) and shots on target (15)– David
However, it remains to be seen if Ross Barkley (£5.9m), returned to fitness and available for selection, will dislodge El Ghazi from the starting XI.
Moving up in price, the recent performances of Christian Pulisic (£8.2m) have been encouraging. In his Scout Notes on the match at Stamford Bridge, David observed:
It was noteworthy to see Christian Pulisic start a second game in two days and manage to last 90 minutes each time – perhaps suggesting he can offer a robust route into Chelsea’s attack for matches against Fulham (away) and Leicester (away) in Double Gameweek 19.– David
Finally, Harry Maguire (£5.4m) is the headline differential pick for the New Year. Pro Pundit Tom is impressed by his attacking threat with no defender having taken more shots in the box, and Manchester United sitting top of the ticker from a defensive perspective until Gameweek 25.
Community Competitions and Head-to-Head Fixtures
RedLightning rounded-up the Community mini-leagues and competitions in a hot topic yesterday.
As mentioned, the Manager of the Month in the Community Members mini-league is Josh Paulin. Josh wins a £50 Amazon voucher. Josh, please contact Geoff (firstname.lastname@example.org) to claim your prize.
The Manager of the Month winners in 2020 were:
And for those interested in the Head-to-Head Leagues, the main page can be linked to here. The fixtures for Gameweek 17 can be found below:
Use the drop-down menus to show your league and division. To find out which league and division you are in, follow the instructions on the main Head-to-Head page.
Once the Gameweek starts, if you click on your opponent’s name you will be linked to their team on the FPL website.
May your arrows be green!
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