Pro Pundit Teams

What new Blank and Double Gameweek fixtures mean for our FPL teams and chip strategies

Fantasy Premier League managers have been handed some big out-of-the-blue decisions as we head into 2021.

Going into a new year is often a time for reflection and this article was supposed to be a review of the season so far but, as is often the case in this strange new world, there was a spanner in the works.

On New Year’s Eve, we learned that Burnley v Manchester United is joining the Blank Gameweek 18 schedule and Manchester City v Aston Villa has been place in Double Gameweek 19.

At the time of writing this announcement is still very fresh, and I need time to process it but here are some initial thoughts and what this all means.

Blank Gameweek 18

andys-gw17-article 3

Those without chips will likely find this period much easier to navigate now. Burnley and Manchester United now playing in Gameweek 18 brings into play players like Bruno Fernandes (£11.2m) who a lot of people already have in their team.

It also makes other players like Marcus Rashford (£9.5m) and Nick Pope (£5.4m) a little more desirable as they play in Gameweek 18 and then have a Double Gameweek.

It also means some teams will be able to save their Free Hit chip which could be very handy later on in the season when we see more Blank Gameweeks.

A lot of this will be chip dependant, but if you already have a team full of Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City, Manchester United and Liverpool you’re probably in a good place to cover Gameweek 18 and the doubles in Gameweek 19.

Manchester City More Desirable

andys-gw17-article 4

With Manchester City now having one of the best pair of fixtures in Double Gameweek 19, and playing in Gameweek 18, it makes them much more desirable to bring in if you haven’t already.

After Chelsea (away) in Gameweek 17 the fixtures look like this:

  • Gameweek 18 – Brighton (home)
  • Gameweek 19 – Crystal Palace (home), Aston Villa (home)
  • Gameweek 20 – West Brom (away)
  • Gameweek 21 – Sheffield United (home)
  • Gameweek 22 – Burnley (away)

Not only do they cover both Gameweek 18 and 19 well with very good fixtures, but the run continues afterwards. A double or triple up looks ideal.

Who to target from Man City is, as ever, the key question.

The obvious options are Kevin De Bruyne (£11.7m), João Cancelo (£5.6m) and Rúben Dias (£5.7m). I’ll be targeting at least two of this three over this fixture run.

Manchester City have looked extremely good defensively and I don’t know how Cancelo hasn’t gotten more than one assist so far. And despite people losing faith in De Bruyne, he’s still going to be a great option over this run.

It also arguably makes De Bruyne a better captaincy in Gameweek 19 than Mohamed Salah (£12.6m), who faces Manchester United (home) and Burnley (home) although I’d never bet against the Egyptian.

There are other players to consider too. John Stones (£4.9m) looks like an absolute bargain now that he has laid claim to his starting role, and we shouldn’t forget that Raheem Sterling (£11.4m) has two goals and three assists in his last five matches.

Hold Aston Villa?

andys-gw17-article 7

While people were Wildcarding away from Aston Villa players, and ditching the likes of Jack Grealish (£7.7m) it may not be the worst time to hold. You still have to get through a Manchester United (away) match in Gameweek 17 and Tottenham Hotspur (home) in Gameweek 18, but after that they have a Double Gameweek and a decent enough fixture run from Gameweek 20:

  • Gameweek 20 – Burnley (away)
  • Gameweek 21 – Southampton (away)
  • Gameweek 22 – West Ham (home)
  • Gameweek 23 – Arsenal (home)
  • Gameweek 24 – Brighton (away)

At the bare minimum it gives a lot of us a Double Gameweek goalkeeper in Emiliano Martínez (£5.0m). Even if the matches are tricky with Everton (home) and Manchester City (away), only Ederson (£6.0m) has a better save percentage among regularly-starting goalkeepers over the last four matches.

The return of Ross Barkley (£5.9m) may spell the end of a run in the team for Bertrand Traoré (£5.9m) or Anwar El Ghazi (£5.8m) but if either of them continue through to Gameweek 19 they become a great budget enabler, especially El Ghazi while he’s on penalty duty.

Abandoning our chip strategies

andys-gw17-article 5

I was convinced I was going to Bench Boost in Gameweek 19. Even with single Gameweek players I was prepared to play the chips and my initial transfer for Gameweek 17 was to bring in Sam Johnstone (£4.5m) in preparation.

The problem now is the layout has changed and we have to be prepared to adapt. This is likely something we have to bear in mind for the rest of the season, I’m sure there’s more chaos in store.

For some managers it will be easy, they’ll still Free Hit in Gameweek 18, only now there’s more options. And they’ll Bench Boost in Gameweek 19 because they’re already loaded up with enough players.

But for others we still have to change strategies and it’s important not to be rigid in your thinking.

This was my team before transfers in Gameweek 17:

andys-gw17-article 6

As mentioned above, Johnstone was to come in this week with a Free Hit in Gameweek 18 and Fabián Balbuena (£4.4m) to be my Gameweek 19 transfer. It would have meant some single Gameweek players on the bench, but I was okay with that.

But now there’s the potential of bringing in Manchester City players for Gameweek 18 and 19, therefore potentially meaning I can save the Free Hit. The Bench Boost might have to be abandoned too, but I’m prepared to adapt as necessary.

It’s still too fresh in my mind to make a plan, it looks like my New Years Eve will be way more busy from an FPL point of view than I’d imagined, but I’ll have to think of ways to adapt than to rigidly stick to my plan if it’s not as viable any more.

Final Thoughts

It’s not the ideal time to be processing all of this information. We’re just past Christmas having had two Gameweek deadlines in the space of two days, ahead of what for many is a time of celebration as we enter the new year.

But if there’s some comfort it’s that this chaos usually means those who are willing to plan and create strategies can get ahead of the crowd. So while you’re suffering from the New Years hangover, just keep thinking of the green arrows.

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1,360 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Oldie99
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 2 Years
    3 months, 21 days ago

    Where's Balbuena really at nailedness-wise?

    1. Pukki Party
      • 3 Years
      3 months, 21 days ago

      Less nailed than most think is my guess

  2. SharkyT
    • 7 Years
    3 months, 21 days ago

    Bench 1 out of:

    A) Zouma
    B) Bellerin
    C) Dallas
    D) Coufal

    1. St Pauli Walnuts
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      3 months, 21 days ago

      Tough, Coufal maybe.

    2. COVID-CASUAL
        3 months, 21 days ago

        A or D for me

    3. Ajax Hamsterdam
      • 6 Years
      3 months, 21 days ago

      madness to go without Salah? Have Vardy kane and bruno and cant fit them all. feel like i need kdb with these fixtures

      1. COVID-CASUAL
          3 months, 21 days ago

          It’s not mad, you have good alternatives, just got to accept the occasional spanking.

          I didn’t own Kane the first 10 GWs when he returned basically every game. Still managed to move forward pretty much every week.

          1. Ajax Hamsterdam
            • 6 Years
            3 months, 21 days ago

            cheers

      2. Trovsmash
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 7 Years
        3 months, 21 days ago

        As there is nothing concrete on Cancelo, can someone talk me out of Lamptey & DCL out for Watkins & Cancelo?

      3. g40steve
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        3 months, 21 days ago

        Take 2 🙂

        HNY

        Play three?

        Zouma
        Robbo
        Stones
        Coufal
        Dallas

        Play Martinez or Johnstone?

        1. COVID-CASUAL
            3 months, 21 days ago

            Sweet backline. I’d go Robbo, Stones then maybe Dallas?

            Always Martinez for me

            1. g40steve
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 3 Years
              3 months, 21 days ago

              Zouma was the one I was unsure of & Dallas seems to be getting A?

        2. ace3.1415
            3 months, 21 days ago

            Balbuena or lowton/

            1. COVID-CASUAL
                3 months, 21 days ago

                What are you doing GW18 - If FH, go Balbuena. If not, go Lowton (or Pieters)

            2. FPL Kaka
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 5 Years
              3 months, 21 days ago

              Do you tihnk Pieters is now nailed for the double?

              1. COVID-CASUAL
                  3 months, 21 days ago

                  Too hard to predict how long Taylor is out for? But I like him as a punt - definitely feel he offers more than Lowton.

              2. Oldie99
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 2 Years
                3 months, 21 days ago

                RMWCT:

                McCarthy Johnstone
                Coufal Dallas Stones Cancelo Targett
                Salah Bruno Son Lookman Raph
                Vardy Antonio Bamford

                FH18, then 1FT for BB19 either Salah to KDB, Son to Rash or Vardy to Aguero depending on where the land lies.

              3. FantasyClub
                  3 months, 21 days ago

                  Che-MCI definitely going ahead right?

                  1. Pompel
                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                    • 7 Years
                    3 months, 21 days ago

                    Nothing definite in these times

                  2. Cruyff Turn
                    • 9 Years
                    3 months, 21 days ago

                    90%

                    1. FantasyClub
                        3 months, 21 days ago

                        If it doesn’t go ahead and I keep KDB in preparation for the favourable fixtures I’ll lose it lol

                  3. Goooo Rickie
                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                    • 1 Year
                    3 months, 21 days ago

                    Do we think Swiss place is safe? Is he now a decent option again?

                    1. Hazz
                      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                      • 3 Years
                      3 months, 21 days ago

                      He's played well in the last couple. Would be harsh to drop him.

                  4. Goooo Rickie
                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                    • 1 Year
                    3 months, 21 days ago

                    Saiss*

                  5. BigKeith
                      3 months, 21 days ago

                      Taylor, Ward-Prowse and DCL> Cancelo, Grealish and Brewster?
                      Team
                      Martinez (steer)
                      Dallas, Coufal, Taylor, (Mitchell, Dunne)
                      Salah, KDB, Son, Ward-Prowse (Soucek)
                      Kane, Bamford, DCL
                      2ft 0.6itb

                    • Oldie99
                      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                      • 2 Years
                      3 months, 21 days ago

                      Bench 2:

                      A. Stones
                      B. Lookman
                      C. Coufal
                      D. Dallas
                      E. Raphinha

                      (Playing Bamford and Cancelo)

                    • Winston.
                      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                      • 7 Years
                      3 months, 21 days ago

                      Do we know if Stones has covid or not? Any rumours? Is it safe to get Stones now, preparing for DGW19? Two weeks for that GW to start...

                    • BobbyDoesNotLook
                      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                      • 3 Years
                      3 months, 21 days ago

                      2ft, fh18, bb dgw19. 0.1itb. Going to lose ine ft due to fh.

                      A) Kane, Dier > Vardy, Dias

                      1. BobbyDoesNotLook
                        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                        • 3 Years
                        3 months, 21 days ago

                        Mcc, Johnstone
                        Robbo Dallas Coufal Justin Dier
                        Salah Bruno Son Raphinha Soucek
                        Bamford Adams Kane

                      2. HMC
                        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                        • 10 Years
                        3 months, 21 days ago

                        Depends who your captain choice is this week
                        Confident vardy starts both in dgw?

                        1. BobbyDoesNotLook
                          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                          • 3 Years
                          3 months, 21 days ago

                          Not gonna captain Vardy or Kane at least. Vardy might only start ine if them is true.

                    • The Riders of Mohan
                      • 6 Years
                      3 months, 21 days ago

                      No love for Gundogan? Started the last 3 with 24pts. Must be worth the punt?

                      1. janlu0
                        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                        • 3 Years
                        3 months, 21 days ago

                        I'm thinking he must be a good shout surely?

                    • FantasyClub
                        3 months, 21 days ago

                        Current team

                        Martínez/Forster
                        Coufal/Kilman/Chilly/Dallas/Taylor
                        Salah/Fernandes/KDB/Grealish/Son
                        Adams/Bamford/Decordova-Reid

                        0.7 ITB
                        2 Free Transfers
                        All chips in hand

                        Suggestions/advice wanted and a much appreciated in advance members thank you!

                        Was procrastinating about getting rid of KDB but fixtures are extremely favourable, especially now with the DGW, if I get rid of him for just GW17 it could get messy to get him back in unless I leave quite a bit of cash sitting in the bank after his transfer...

                      • FantasyClub
                          3 months, 21 days ago

                          Contemplating using the 2 FT on Grealish and Reid as Villa fixtures aren’t the best for the next 4 GW’s

                        • Wicked Weapon
                            3 months, 21 days ago

                            Cancelo price rise really mean anything ? Any indication who will start in defence for Man City or if the game will even be played ?

                            1. Hazz
                              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                              • 3 Years
                              3 months, 21 days ago

                              If he's fit & City play, then chances are he'll be starting. City will want to keep Walker has/had COVID and is probably best kept out of the limelight at the moment...

                          • janlu0
                            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                            • 3 Years
                            3 months, 21 days ago

                            HNY everyone. Any love for Gündogan and Sigurdsson, they have decent form? Looking for inspiration for differentials. Any ideas gratefully received.

                          • Do I Not Like Orange
                            • 8 Years
                            3 months, 21 days ago

                            How does this look for DGW? Only issue is who to bench - pick 1 from Chilwell/Grealish/Coufal?

                            Martinez
                            Robbo Dallas Coufal
                            Salah KDB Bruno Grealish Soucek
                            Bamford Watkins

                            Forster Adams Chilwell Mitchell

                          • KAPTAIN KANE
                            • 4 Years
                            3 months, 21 days ago

                            What time is Dyche press conference?
                            Need news on Taylor

                          • Phlajo
                            • 2 Years
                            3 months, 21 days ago

                            Any news on Maddison? He's flagged, but I thought he was just missing the last game due to a rest..

                          • Sif
                            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                            • 8 Years
                            3 months, 21 days ago

                            Can get out 9 players with one FT for GW18
                            Tempted to risk it.

                          • GuenDoozy
                            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                            • 1 Year
                            3 months, 21 days ago

                            A) Wilson + Son
                            B) Kane + Saka

                            Thanks

                          • mrpink32
                            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                            • 6 Years
                            3 months, 21 days ago

                            1.Zouma, 2. dias, 3. Che Adams .
                            Play which two?

                            1. CBonci
                              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                              • 5 Years
                              3 months, 21 days ago

                              1 2

                          • eddy1
                              3 months, 4 days ago

                              what is the lets talk fpl telegram code