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. Pommie22
      5 months, 22 days ago

      Evening guys choices,choices!!!
      Robbo
      Coufal
      Zouma
      Dallas
      Stones
      Initially thinking Robbo,Coufal plus ?
      Any advice greatly appreciated

      1. g40steve
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        5 months, 22 days ago

        Stones, Robbo, Zouma

    • Super Saints
      • 4 Years
      5 months, 22 days ago

      Is the Burnley v Fulham game on? Need to bring in Lowton for Taylor.

      1. PlayPercentage
        • 10 Years
        5 months, 22 days ago

        Looks like we won't find out before the deadline. Frustrating.
        If BUR vs FUL and CHE vs MCI are postponed, that is another two games to be rescheduled somewhere.

    • Galza
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      5 months, 22 days ago

      Happy 2021!!

      Fancy a bit of a captain punt before my FH GW18 and TC KDB GW19.

      McCarthy
      Trent/Dias/Cresswell
      Salah/KDB/Bruno/Barnes(c)/Raphinha
      DCL/Bamford

      Button/Alioski/Brewster/Ferguson

      0 FT, 1.1 ITB

      I’ve got a plan that suits my team and barring any unforeseen cancellations, I intend to see it through... 🙂

    • Weeb Kakashi
      • 5 Years
      5 months, 22 days ago

      Is Lindelof fine?

      1. Whazza
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 9 Years
        5 months, 22 days ago

        Presser today

    • tom2224
      • 3 Years
      5 months, 22 days ago

      Bottomed:
      Start Raphinha TOT (A) or Grealish MUN (A)?

      1. The Tinkerman
        • 5 Years
        5 months, 22 days ago

        Toss a coin

    • arndff_
      • 9 Years
      5 months, 22 days ago

      a) Chilwell + Soucek
      b) Dias/Cancelo + Raphina (-4)

      1. The Tinkerman
        • 5 Years
        5 months, 22 days ago

        Tough, probably A

      2. King Drogba11
          5 months, 22 days ago

          B. Cancelo is an amazing asset

      3. The Tinkerman
        • 5 Years
        5 months, 22 days ago

        Quite a few mediocre options for me this week, all with away games, bench two of these:

        A) Raphinha (tot)
        B) Brewster (cry)
        C) Kilman (bha)
        D) Coufal (eve)

        Already starting Soucek and Bamford...

        1. Camzy
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 11 Years
          5 months, 22 days ago

          Raphinha in, Brewster out for sure.

          That leaves the other two. I'd probably play Coufal for attacking threat.

          1. The Tinkerman
            • 5 Years
            5 months, 22 days ago

            Cheers, that is my current feeling though Kilman tempts as he is unlikely to come off the bench if he doesn’t start, and Everton are on form. Leeds attacking double worries me vs. Spurs who will probably slaughter them on the break with Son. But only Fernandes in my squad has a home fixture, so expecting it to be a bit rubbish this week.

        2. BobbyDoesNotLook
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 3 Years
          5 months, 22 days ago

          Bc

      4. Tango74
          5 months, 22 days ago

          After careful analysis I have 4 nailed GW18 starters , so that 2FT leFt

          I have to FT ?

          Dog poo

          1. Tango74
              5 months, 22 days ago

              That free hit I mean

            • Galza
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 3 Years
              5 months, 22 days ago

              I only have 4 1/2..
              I don’t think I can count Brewster 😆

              1. Tango74
                  5 months, 22 days ago

                  What’s the strategy SIR?

                  1. Galza
                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                    • 3 Years
                    5 months, 22 days ago

                    I’ve outlined my plans above mate.

            • Alisson WondHaaland
              • 5 Years
              5 months, 22 days ago

              Would you save a FH with this? 8 in total but Taylor is a doubt

              Taylor* Holding
              Bruno Grealish Saka Bissouma
              Kane Watkins

              Could also take a hit to bring in Stones bringing the total up to 9

              Thoughts?

              1. CRO KLOPP
                • 3 Years
                5 months, 22 days ago

                Try to make FH team draft,compare two teams and see how much points can you get more. Of course it's a prediction but it helped me to decide

            • Ruinenlust
              • 3 Years
              5 months, 22 days ago

              Captain Bruno or Son?

              1. Sid07
                • 7 Years
                5 months, 22 days ago

                Son

              2. Bleh
                • 4 Years
                5 months, 22 days ago

                I’ve got it on Son, Bruno vice

                1. Tango74
                    5 months, 22 days ago

                    Spurs not won in last 4 abs son has blanked

              3. Sid07
                • 7 Years
                5 months, 22 days ago

                Have 2 ft
                1) kdb to son
                2) dcl to vardy
                3) kdb + dcl to son+ kane
                4) taylor + dcl to lowton + kane

              4. tbhogal
                • 11 Years
                5 months, 22 days ago

                Start Raphina or Welbeck ??

              5. Feedtheyak
                • 11 Years
                5 months, 22 days ago

                Is Hause first choice CB for Villa now? Great value and started a couple in place of Konsa before Mings red card

                1. Boyd to Sven
                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                  • 6 Years
                  5 months, 22 days ago

                  Definitely not. He started while Konsa was injured, he'll be back out and first sub once everyone is available again.

              6. DAZZ
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 6 Years
                5 months, 22 days ago

                So we wont hear from Dyche before the deadline? Great

                1. ⚔★Vibudh★⚔
                  • 4 Years
                  5 months, 22 days ago

                  🙁

              7. ⚔★Vibudh★⚔
                • 4 Years
                5 months, 22 days ago

                Play Rodrigo or Holding?

                1. Dark Side Of The Loon!
                  • 4 Years
                  5 months, 22 days ago

                  Always the attacker. Holding owner here.

              8. Dark Side Of The Loon!
                • 4 Years
                5 months, 22 days ago

                Play Coufal vs Everton or Ampadu vs Palace?

              9. Saka_me_sideways
                  5 months, 22 days ago

                  Was all set to FH 18 but not I think I might just do Salah to KDB and try and get away with this team...

                  Martinez
                  Maguire Canelo
                  KDB Bruno Son
                  DCL

                  Reckon it’s enough? Or still worth the FH?

                  1. Konstaapeli
                    • 4 Years
                    5 months, 22 days ago

                    I think thats decent. Not worth to FH. Maybe take one hit if you feel like it.

                    1. Saka_me_sideways
                        5 months, 22 days ago

                        Thanks, appreciate it.
                        Don’t wanna break my team too much though as I’m all set for the BB in 19.

                  2. giroudsgirlfriend
                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                    5 months, 22 days ago

                    Start one

                    A: Zouma (MCI)
                    B: Kilman (bha)
                    C: Dallas (tot

                    1. The Frenchie
                      • 4 Years
                      5 months, 22 days ago

                      C

                  3. Little Red Lacazette
                    • 4 Years
                    5 months, 22 days ago

                    Pressers to decide last minute transfers...have a Matip/Taylor problem.

                  4. The Frenchie
                    • 4 Years
                    5 months, 22 days ago

                    I was going on DGW19 without any single player of City.. Should I change this strategy?

                    Do we know which City player get the covid?

                    1. Whiskerz
                      • 7 Years
                      5 months, 22 days ago

                      If you can do it for free then yes, include them. I don't think we know for sure who the players were, but people have made some educated guesses.

                    2. Galza
                      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                      • 3 Years
                      5 months, 22 days ago

                      City do have a couple of nice home games GW19, should all go ahead...

                    3. Pukki Party
                      • 3 Years
                      5 months, 22 days ago

                      1:30 Pep presser, not sure it will tell us anything though

                  5. Whiskerz
                    • 7 Years
                    5 months, 22 days ago

                    All set for today? Bench order right? Captain right?

                    Martinez
                    Robbo . Justin . Taylor
                    Soucek . Salah . Son(vc) . Bruno . Raphina
                    Vardy(c) . Bamford

                    Mccarthy. Coufal . Dallas . Brewster

                  6. Weeb Kakashi
                    • 5 Years
                    5 months, 22 days ago

                    Am i safe here . Need 3 to start.

                    Cancelo PVA Dier Dallas

                    1. Whiskerz
                      • 7 Years
                      5 months, 22 days ago

                      Yeah they all start imo

                      1. Whiskerz
                        • 7 Years
                        5 months, 22 days ago

                        Oh read cancelo as coufal. The other 3 start though

                  7. Jet5605
                    • 6 Years
                    5 months, 22 days ago

                    Which GK starts? Think Big Sam will be looking to tighten up WBA after the last mauling and can Liverpool blank two games in a row?

                    A - McCarthy (LIV)
                    B - Johnstone (ARS)

                    1. Whiskerz
                      • 7 Years
                      5 months, 22 days ago

                      B

                  8. chaser123
                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                    • 3 Years
                    5 months, 22 days ago

                    Best Taylor replacement:
                    A) Balbuena
                    B) Lowton
                    C) Other

                    1. Forgetmeknot
                      • 2 Years
                      5 months, 22 days ago

                      C) I’m looking at holding

                  9. Konstaapeli
                    • 4 Years
                    5 months, 22 days ago

                    So... what's todays twist then?

                    1. Holmes
                      • 7 Years
                      5 months, 22 days ago

                      Things to go smoothly

                      1. Konstaapeli
                        • 4 Years
                        5 months, 22 days ago

                        That would be the ultimate one 😆

                  10. Milkman Bruno
                      5 months, 22 days ago

                      Which 3 of my defence should I play?

                      A) Cresswell
                      B) Mitchell
                      C) Amartey
                      D) Dias
                      E) Taylor

                      1. Pukki Party
                        • 3 Years
                        5 months, 22 days ago

                        DE plus Mitchell if you think he starts, otherwise A

                    • Pukki Party
                      • 3 Years
                      5 months, 22 days ago

                      Quite a lot of options for that 4.5 defender spot. Best one? Doesnt need to have a double 19 as i have 3 playing that week already.

                      1. Konstaapeli
                        • 4 Years
                        5 months, 22 days ago

                        Whats your current lot?

                        1. Pukki Party
                          • 3 Years
                          5 months, 22 days ago

                          Lewis Taylor Robbo Cancelo Ayling

                      2. Hazz
                        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                        • 3 Years
                        5 months, 22 days ago

                        4.5m is tricky. Alioski & Lowton/Pieters (in absence of Taylor) would be my shout. Holding too perhaps.

                        1. Pukki Party
                          • 3 Years
                          5 months, 22 days ago

                          Holding has a good fixture this week and a good tun after 19 too.

                    • Jet5605
                      • 6 Years
                      5 months, 22 days ago

                      Who to captain?

                      A - Bruno
                      B - Son
                      C - Kane

                      Have a hunch that Spurs will score a few.

                      1. Whiskerz
                        • 7 Years
                        5 months, 22 days ago

                        B or c. I'd probably go kane if I had them both.

                    • BobbyDoesNotLook
                      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                      • 3 Years
                      5 months, 22 days ago

                      Argh I hate this City twist for dgw19.

                    • Lindelol
                      • 2 Years
                      5 months, 22 days ago

                      Who is more important (have bamford)
                      1. Raphina
                      2. Rodrigo

                      1. Whazza
                        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                        • 9 Years
                        5 months, 22 days ago

                        1 as more template