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. The Frenchie
    • 5 Years
    8 months, 24 days ago

    Is it possible to add the Wildcard and the Triple Captain in the same GW (DGW19 obviously)

    1. The Frenchie
      • 5 Years
      8 months, 24 days ago

      Thats a question 🙂

    2. DeltaKilo
      • 10 Years
      8 months, 24 days ago

      Nope

    3. OptimusBlack
      • 8 Years
      8 months, 24 days ago

      Drunk ?

      1. The Frenchie
        • 5 Years
        8 months, 24 days ago

        Still yes 😉

    4. Galza-The Wanton Trader
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      8 months, 24 days ago

      That would be the dream...

    5. Patio Kev
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 7 Years
      8 months, 24 days ago

      Sadly only one chip can be in play at any one time so would need to WC GW18 to play TC GW19.

      TC ain’t much of a chip anyway to be honest, you do well to get an extra 10 points.

  2. Shark Team
    • 4 Years
    8 months, 24 days ago

    No press conference for Sean Dyche?

    1. Pukki Party
      • 4 Years
      8 months, 24 days ago

      Not today

  3. DeltaKilo
    • 10 Years
    8 months, 24 days ago

    If money was no issue who are the 2 best keepers to own in GW19

    Martinez and ?

    1. Ginkapo FPL
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 10 Years
      8 months, 24 days ago

      3.9

      1. DeltaKilo
        • 10 Years
        8 months, 24 days ago

        Assuming I’m Bench boosting 🙂

    2. Catastrophe
      • 10 Years
      8 months, 24 days ago

      Money is never no option 🙂

      Ederson if he doesn't have COVID.

    3. LewanGOALski
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 10 Years
      8 months, 24 days ago

      Fabianski

    4. FDMS All Starz
      • 5 Years
      8 months, 24 days ago

      Martinez won’t keep a CS that week, I’d say Fabianski & Ederson/Meslier

    5. Podge
      • 10 Years
      8 months, 24 days ago

      Fab

  4. LewanGOALski
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 10 Years
    8 months, 24 days ago

    Which strategy suits better for the DGW19 here for me?

    A) BB of this team:

    Martinez - Fabianski
    Robbo - Zouma - Lindelof - Coufal - Dallas
    Salah - Son - Bruno - Raphinha - Soucek
    Vardy - Adams - Bamford

    B) TC on Salah / KDB in this team:

    Martinez
    Zouma - Coufal - Dallas
    Salah - KDB - Bruno - Grealish
    Vardy - Adams - Bamford

    1. Crunchie
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      8 months, 24 days ago

      BB

  5. Chillers
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 1 Year
    8 months, 24 days ago

    Charlie Taylor and Firmino out for Cancelo or Robertson and Antonio or Ings thinking about double game week and beyond

    1. BENOIT
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      8 months, 24 days ago

      Wouldn't ditch Firmino for those guys this week

  6. The Tinkerman
    • 6 Years
    8 months, 24 days ago

    Start...

    A) McCarthy (LIV)
    B) Martinez (mun)

    1. Little Red Lacazette
      • 4 Years
      8 months, 24 days ago

      B

    2. Catastrophe
      • 10 Years
      8 months, 24 days ago

      Close. A for me.

      1. The Tinkerman
        • 6 Years
        8 months, 24 days ago

        Currently on B, but Liverpool don’t look overly sharp at the moment. Could come down to a coin toss.

        1. Catastrophe
          • 10 Years
          8 months, 24 days ago

          Thats why I'm on A. I wouldn't lose sleep over it, I'm sure both teams will concede.

          1. Catastrophe
            • 10 Years
            8 months, 24 days ago

            Note I assumed this GW only. Prefer Martinez long term (season keeper for me...)

    3. LewanGOALski
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 10 Years
      8 months, 24 days ago

      Martinez

    4. Whiskerz
      • 8 Years
      8 months, 24 days ago

      Gone for b myself

      1. The Tinkerman
        • 6 Years
        8 months, 24 days ago

        Probably will also, but I have C Fernandes too 😀

    5. dunas_dog
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 6 Years
      8 months, 24 days ago

      B for me. Can see Liverpool backlash after last 2 results

    6. BobbyDoesNotLook
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      8 months, 24 days ago

      B

  7. Little Red Lacazette
    • 4 Years
    8 months, 24 days ago

    Get Dias or Dier?

    1. Catastrophe
      • 10 Years
      8 months, 24 days ago

      Dias

    2. THFC4LIFE
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      8 months, 24 days ago

      Dias

    3. The Tinkerman
      • 6 Years
      8 months, 24 days ago

      Dias for me, but pricier

    4. LewanGOALski
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 10 Years
      8 months, 24 days ago

      Dias

  8. Catastrophe
    • 10 Years
    8 months, 24 days ago

    Happy new year! Best option for DGW19?

    A) Zouma, Alioski, Vardy (-4)
    B) Robertson, Cancelo, Rodrigo (-4)
    C) Cancelo, Balbuena, Vardy (-8)
    D) Dallas, Balbuena, Vardy (-4)
    E) Cancelo, Alioski, Vardy (-8)

    Thinking E for balance (will have 2 City, 2 Leeds, 2 Liverpool + Vardy).

    Cheers

  9. Mesh
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 7 Years
    8 months, 24 days ago

    Bench 1.
    A. Dallas
    B. Coufal

    1. Catastrophe
      • 10 Years
      8 months, 24 days ago

      B

    2. The Tinkerman
      • 6 Years
      8 months, 24 days ago

      B

    3. LewanGOALski
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 10 Years
      8 months, 24 days ago

      A

  10. Inazuma X1
    • 4 Years
    8 months, 24 days ago

    Who are the rumoured City players who have Covid?

    1. Konstaapeli
      • 5 Years
      8 months, 24 days ago

      Ive read here that Cancelo could be one. But thats just speculation

    2. Ruinenlust
      • 3 Years
      8 months, 24 days ago

      Eddie, Gabbie, Canc

  11. Sausage
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 2 Years
    8 months, 24 days ago

    I thought there was going to be a 2 week circuit breaker for football, meaning no football. Is this not happeneing..?

    1. Hazz
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      8 months, 24 days ago

      Nope

    2. Patio Kev
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 7 Years
      8 months, 24 days ago

      Not at the moment but it’s still possible if things deteriorate further.

  12. Whazza
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 9 Years
    8 months, 24 days ago

    Parker - 1pm
    Hodgson - 1pm
    Lampard - 1pm
    Guardiola - 1:30pm
    Mourinho - 1:30pm

  13. FPL Kaka
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 5 Years
    8 months, 24 days ago

    So there is no Burnley presser today then?

  14. Corgzzzz
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 6 Years
    8 months, 24 days ago

    Morning Guys. What do we think of this.
    Chilwell, Grealish out for.......Maguire, El Ghazi and £2.5m for next week to upgrade Adams. ? Would prefer Cancelo but rumours of COVID make me nervous and have Dias

    1. Hazz
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      8 months, 24 days ago

      Surely wait till Pep's presser at 1.30pm at least.

      1. Corgzzzz
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 6 Years
        8 months, 24 days ago

        Yes of course...............but what do you think assuming all is OK

  15. BullDogTevez
    • 11 Years
    8 months, 24 days ago

    So long Salah.

    1. Hazz
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      8 months, 24 days ago

      He just can't get over that Zambian Witch Doctor's curse.

    2. Whazza
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 9 Years
      8 months, 24 days ago

      Famous last words

      1. BullDogTevez
        • 11 Years
        8 months, 24 days ago

        Need to propel myself into the top 1k. Or sink into the 50s

  16. aapoman
    • 7 Years
    8 months, 24 days ago

    Happy new year! Thoughts on what to do here? 1ft and 0.7itb.

    Martinez
    Coufal Cancelo Stones
    Salah KDB Son Grealish
    Kane Bamford Watkins

    Forster; Bissouma, KWP, Ayling

  17. Ruinenlust
    • 3 Years
    8 months, 24 days ago

    Play Dallas or Soucek?

    1. Whazza
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 9 Years
      8 months, 24 days ago

      Sou

  18. Ajax Hamsterdam
    • 7 Years
    8 months, 24 days ago

    Who is everyone captaining today?

    1. Whiskerz
      • 8 Years
      8 months, 24 days ago

      Vardy

  19. KUNingas
    • 5 Years
    8 months, 24 days ago

    A) Meslier + Soucek
    B) Johnstone + Raphinha

    1) Cancelo + Rodrigo
    2) Justin + Antonio

    1. Ruinenlust
      • 3 Years
      8 months, 24 days ago

      A2

  20. AD2110
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 4 Years
    8 months, 24 days ago

    Those of you not FH’ing in GW18....how many players do you have??

    1. Black Panther
      • 6 Years
      8 months, 24 days ago

      11 and 10 DGW players in GW19 for a 1 hit.

    2. BullDogTevez
      • 11 Years
      8 months, 24 days ago

      8, happy with that. Will FH in 19 or later on in season.

    3. JabariParkersEyelid
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 1 Year
      8 months, 24 days ago

      Matters more which players rather than how many surely.

  21. hazza44
    • 9 Years
    8 months, 24 days ago

    Hey guys, any recommended transfers for this week with 2 free transfers. Thinking possibly getting rid of KDB for Son/Rashford and moving on Matip for Robbo, or another defender. Any suggestions appreciated.

    McCarthy
    Maguire Cresswell Dias
    Salah Bruno KDB Grealish Neto
    DCL Watkins

    Martinez James Matip Brewster 0.0mil ITB

    Cheers guys

    1. JariL
      • 6 Years
      8 months, 24 days ago

      Don't lose KDB with the upcoming fixtures and a double.

    2. IRBOX ⚽
      • 4 Years
      8 months, 24 days ago

      KDB > Son then reverse next week, or Salah to KDB next week and Salah back in for Son for the DGW

  22. Johnny too hotty
    • 9 Years
    8 months, 24 days ago

    Thinking Ferguson to maguire for this ganeweek and then make my decision next week on whether to use chips or not. This transfer is a good one in terms of me not knowing what to do yet ? Covers all bases ?

    Martini
    Dallas coufal Dias
    Salah Bruno son grealish
    Dcl bamford Adams

    Chilwell bissouma Ferguson

    Or would you do another transfer instead of mags?

  23. Cahill
    • 11 Years
    8 months, 24 days ago

    alioski or lowton for DGW19?

    have dallas

  24. JariL
    • 6 Years
    8 months, 24 days ago

    Would you do anything here or burn a transfer? FH18, BB19. 0.0ITB.

    McCarthy // Johnstone
    Cancelo // Justin // Coufal // Balbuena // Alioski
    Salah // Bruno // Son // Rashford // Soucek
    Vardy // Bamford // Brewster

    Ideally I'd like to downgrade someone in order to afford KDB in GW19, but hard to justify downgrading anyone!

  25. Shark Team
    • 4 Years
    8 months, 24 days ago

    Can't have Robbo and KDB for the DGW without losing one of Son/Kane this gw... Do you think despite having a single gw Spurs assets are gonna go big?

    1. Patio Kev
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 7 Years
      8 months, 24 days ago

      Ordinarily probably not but you cannot really ask for a better fixture than Sheffield United at the moment.

  26. Patio Kev
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 7 Years
    8 months, 24 days ago

    Am now just looking forward to the game actually updating post deadline tonight so can see what exactly what horrors I have for GW18.

    Once the game updates it makes it so much easier to visualise any changes.

    1. Shark Team
      • 4 Years
      8 months, 24 days ago

      FFM app allows you to know from now what players are you gonna have next gw

      1. Patio Kev
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 7 Years
        8 months, 24 days ago

        Didn’t know that, will have a look, cheers.

  27. FPL Kaka
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 5 Years
    8 months, 24 days ago

    What is the absolute minimum time a player is out for with a hamstring injury?

    1. Mr Arsenal
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 9 Years
      8 months, 24 days ago

      3 weeks

  28. Fergymac
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 2 Years
    8 months, 24 days ago

    Would this team be good enough going into GW18? Trying to avoid using FH.

    -
    Cancelo Stones Holding
    Grealish Bruno Son Neto
    Kane Brewster

  29. Super Nashwan
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 3 Years
    8 months, 24 days ago

    Chances of max kilman starting in gw18?

  30. HeinrichWalker
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 1 Year
    8 months, 24 days ago

    start Mitchell or Coufal?