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. Galza
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 3 Years
    1 month, 27 days ago

    Alioski or Cresswell this week?

    I do own DCL, but have no Spurs.

    1. Catastrophe
      • 10 Years
      1 month, 27 days ago

      Not much in it. Alioski more likely attacking return, Cresswell more likely clean sheet. I would probably go Alioski due to Leeds form.

      1. Galza
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        1 month, 27 days ago

        TY

  2. Catastrophe
    • 10 Years
    1 month, 27 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.

  3. abaalan
    • 4 Years
    1 month, 27 days ago

    Lowton or Pieters better option? (to replace Taylor)

    1. Catastrophe
      • 10 Years
      1 month, 27 days ago

      Lowton

  4. Woodpusher64
    • 4 Years
    1 month, 27 days ago

    Have a back line of:
    McCarthy,
    Cancelo, Cresswell, James, Dallas & Taylor.
    Thinking:
    A) Taylor to Justin - for the now and an okay DGW.
    B) Taylor to Dias - thinking more for the DGW.
    Will be Free Hitting GW18.

    1. Woodpusher64
      • 4 Years
      1 month, 27 days ago

      Or maybe C) Maguire

  5. FDMS All Starz
    • 5 Years
    1 month, 27 days ago

    Start 1gk and 3def, out of these lot:

    Johnstone - McCarthy
    Alioski - Justin - Balbuena - Coufal - O’Shea

  6. Ruinenlust
    • 3 Years
    1 month, 27 days ago

    Play Dallas or Adams?

    1. SharkyT
      • 7 Years
      1 month, 27 days ago

      Adams

    2. Patio Kev
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 7 Years
      1 month, 27 days ago

      Adams - Liverpool’s defence are missing a few players now.

  7. SharkyT
    • 7 Years
    1 month, 27 days ago

    Captain:

    A: Mo
    B) Bruno
    C) Kane
    D) Son

    1. Whiskerz
      • 7 Years
      1 month, 27 days ago

      Kane

    2. Jurgen Flopp
      • 7 Years
      1 month, 27 days ago

      D

    3. user.n
      • 4 Years
      1 month, 27 days ago

      Same problem

  8. Wılly
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 7 Years
    1 month, 27 days ago

    For Double GW19

    A. Grealish + Son (current)
    B. Soucek + KDB

    Pro/Con of B, it will give me a heavy midfield of Salah, Mane, Bruno & KDB

    1. The VAR Team
      • 1 Year
      1 month, 27 days ago

      B

    2. SharkyT
      • 7 Years
      1 month, 27 days ago

      B

  9. DAZZ
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 6 Years
    1 month, 27 days ago

    Taylor to who? Justin? Stones? Maguire? Have 1.7itb

    1. Podge
      • 10 Years
      1 month, 27 days ago

      Stones

  10. The VAR Team
    • 1 Year
    1 month, 27 days ago

    Hi, I can get this team in 18 and 10 DGWers the week after without hits. should I still FH in 18?

    Martínez
    Cancelo (4.7 defender)
    KDB Bruno Grealish Zaha Bissouma
    Kane DCL

    1. manu4life99
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 11 Years
      1 month, 27 days ago

      No

    2. elwardio
      • 9 Years
      1 month, 27 days ago

      No

  11. Timothy
    • 3 Years
    1 month, 27 days ago

    Ryan McCarthy
    Targett Taylor Dallas Reguilon Coufal
    Zaha KDB Bruno Son Soucek
    DCL Bamford Kane

    Bank 0.6, 1FT

    Any idea? I think use my FH GW18.

  12. Jurgen Flopp
    • 7 Years
    1 month, 27 days ago

    Lads,

    In a slight predicament and hoping someone can help out. Current team is:

    Martinez (Button)
    Robertson Justin Cancelo (Coufal Mitchell)
    Salah Bruno Son Raphinha (Bissouma)
    DCL Bamford Kane

    Will be free hitting GW18 and TC DGW19. Currently have 8 DGW players. Sceptical about saving a transfer because that will be lost once I free hit GW18. To maximise on DGW players, would you do any of the following to free up funds for Son to KDB in DGW19:

    A) Kane to Vardy
    B) DCL to Antonio

    Cheers

  13. tommo1989
    • 4 Years
    1 month, 27 days ago

    McCarthy Button
    Zouma James Shaw Justin Stones
    Salah Mane Bruno Son Soucek
    Bamford DCL Watkins
    £0.8m ITB
    2 free transfers to use before free hit in GW18.
    Button & James to Fabianski & Coufal?

  14. Cometh The Aouar...
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 8 Years
    1 month, 27 days ago

    Eric Bailly too punty?

    1. manu4life99
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 11 Years
      1 month, 27 days ago

      Made of glass

      1. Cometh The Aouar...
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 8 Years
        1 month, 27 days ago

        Yeah his fitness is a worry

    2. Crouching Tiger
      • 8 Years
      1 month, 27 days ago

      Rotation risk and don't see ManU having many clean sheets.

  15. George Agdgdgwngo
    • 11 Years
    1 month, 27 days ago

    Happy new year,

    Suggestions on how to get more gw18 players in?

    Martinez*, Johnstone,
    Dias*, lewis*, Coufal, Dallas, Robbo,
    Kdb*, son* bruno*, salah, Soucek,
    Dcl*, bamford, Brewster*

    At best Brewster & Lewis are 2 pointers!

  16. Super Nashwan
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 3 Years
    1 month, 27 days ago

    Bottomed, chances of max kilman starting in gw18?

    1. Over Midwicket
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 9 Years
      1 month, 27 days ago

      Hi I'd say.

    2. Gobigorgohome
      • 9 Years
      1 month, 27 days ago

      high

    3. Galza
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      1 month, 27 days ago

      Wolves defence is a bit of a minefield atm.
      I’m not even convinced Nuno knows this question...

  17. manu4life99
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 11 Years
    1 month, 27 days ago

    Start Soucek or Adams

    1. Jet5605
      • 6 Years
      1 month, 27 days ago

      Soucek

  18. G00D3
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    1 month, 27 days ago

    1 FT, 0ITB
    Martínez Forster

    Robbo Dallas Coufal Taylor Mitchell

    Salah Bruno KDB Son(c) Burke

    DCL Bamford Welbeck

    Looking to take a -4 to bring in a DGW player ahead of FH18. Which move looks the best?

    1) C Taylor + Welbeck > Antonio + 3.8
    2) Welbeck + Burke > Raphinha + 4.3
    3) Welbeck + Burke > Soucek + Brewster (0.2 ITB)

    1. elwardio
      • 9 Years
      1 month, 27 days ago

      Not too keen on any of those tbh. You would be taking a hit two game weeks in advance and it could all go wrong. Also leaves you with no bench at all (except maybe Mitchell).

      IMO Do one transfer now and save the hit for later when you have more info. Downgrade wellbeck is a good call but I think you will bring in a better player by upgrading Taylor - you could get Justin, McGuire, alioski, stones...

  19. Hryszko
    • 3 Years
    1 month, 27 days ago

    Pick 3 defenders to play from these 5...

    1. Dier
    2. Dallas
    3. Holding
    4. Stones
    5. Coufal

    1. Pukki Party
      • 3 Years
      1 month, 27 days ago

      234

  20. Pukki Party
    • 3 Years
    1 month, 27 days ago

    Martinez
    Robbo Cancelo Ayling
    Salah SonC Bruno Soucek
    DCL Adams Bamford

    Ramsdale Anguissa Lewis Taylor

    A) Lewis to 4.5
    B) DCL to Vardy

    Will do the other transfer next week anyway i think.

    1. Pukki Party
      • 3 Years
      1 month, 27 days ago

      Other transfer 19* FH18

  21. fpork
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 5 Years
    1 month, 27 days ago

    I currently have Dias, Fernandes, Kane and Grealish for 18. I can bring in Martinez this week to get 5 playing. Is it obvious that i need to FH, or should I try to take some hits to e.g. bring in KDB/Watkins/Stones? Would require me to maybe downgrade Salah...

    1. Pukki Party
      • 3 Years
      1 month, 27 days ago

      FH

    2. Lucky Z
      • 3 Years
      1 month, 27 days ago

      FH IMO

    3. elwardio
      • 9 Years
      1 month, 27 days ago

      FH in that situation - could net you very big upside compared to where you are at the moment. Taking hits to bring players in will be too expensive and still leave you a long way behind the best free hit teams anyway

  22. Merlinho
    • 11 Years
    1 month, 27 days ago

    Who is best for DGW19 3.9 lads - Struik or Johnson?

    1. Lucky Z
      • 3 Years
      1 month, 27 days ago

      Struijk is more nailed with injury situation

      1. Merlinho
        • 11 Years
        1 month, 27 days ago

        Yeah agreed - any idea how long Cooper is out for?

  23. Shark Team
    • 3 Years
    1 month, 27 days ago

    Martinez
    Dias Taylor
    Bruno(C) Son Stephens
    Kane DCL

    Would you FH this or not?

    1. Pukki Party
      • 3 Years
      1 month, 27 days ago

      FH

  24. Klopp it
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 3 Years
    1 month, 27 days ago

    Is martial a good captain pick, yes I'm chasing lol

    1. Pukki Party
      • 3 Years
      1 month, 27 days ago

      Differential enough without captaining him. I'd go Spurs player or Bruno

    2. Galza
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      1 month, 27 days ago

      I like the idea of a punt this week.
      I’m on Barnes. 😛

      1. Klopp it
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        1 month, 27 days ago

        Posted below by accident lol

        If I had a Leicester player I'd defs be captaining him, thank Vardy will haul against Newcastle, no harm Liverpool should have scored at least 3 against them, fernandes is the safe bet, and also likewise kane or maybe son as Leeds defensively imo are there for the taken, really fancy martial just hope he decides to show up, I feel like I could regret this, it's a must win for united you'd thank

        1. Galza
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 3 Years
          1 month, 27 days ago

          I like Martial as a punt.
          I can’t see Ole starting Cavani in this game and any Martial returns should mean a decent rank rise.

          GL with it...

          1. Klopp it
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 3 Years
            1 month, 27 days ago

            Yea my thanking is hel naw start cavani, fingers crossed, gl with Barnes hope it pays off for you

          2. Jurgen Flopp
            • 7 Years
            1 month, 27 days ago

            Cavani is banned

            1. Galza
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 3 Years
              1 month, 27 days ago

              He got a ban?
              I knew he was in trouble...

            2. Klopp it
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 3 Years
              1 month, 27 days ago

              That's even better

  25. Jet5605
    • 6 Years
    1 month, 27 days ago

    If I don't use this week's transfer and FH in 18 does that mean my 2 FT will carry into DGW19?

    1. G00D3
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      1 month, 27 days ago

      You can't carry transfers on free hit. Have to use them now.

    2. The Tinkerman
      • 5 Years
      1 month, 27 days ago

      No you will lose it after FH, so use it now

    3. The Train Driver
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      1 month, 27 days ago

      You will only have 1FT.

    4. Klopp it
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      1 month, 27 days ago

      If I had a Leicester player I'd defs be captaining him, thank Vardy will haul against Newcastle, no harm Liverpool should have scored at least 3 against them, fernandes is the safe bet, and also likewise kane or maybe son as Leeds defensively imo are there for the taken, really fancy martial just hope he decides to show up, I feel like I could regret this, it's a must win for united you'd thank

    5. Podge
      • 10 Years
      1 month, 27 days ago

      No

    6. Cruyff's Eleven
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      1 month, 27 days ago

      No

  26. The Tinkerman
    • 5 Years
    1 month, 27 days ago

    Start one:

    A) Kilman (bha)
    B) Coufal (eve)

    Leaning to A, as if he doesn’t play he is unlikely to be subbed on and Everton are on form, don’t see WHU cleanie there.

    1. Whazza
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      1 month, 27 days ago

      B for assist potential Kilman could get subbed on for a 1

    2. SharkyT
      • 7 Years
      1 month, 27 days ago

      B

  27. Catastrophe
    • 10 Years
    1 month, 27 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!

  28. The 12th Man
    • 7 Years
    1 month, 27 days ago

    Think my transfer this week is going to be Ferguson >> Cancelo.
    Doubling up on City defence with Dias ready for 19 onwards.

    Then look to get KDB back in 19. Giving me something like this for the double.

    Martinez
    TAA,Dias,Cancelo
    Salah, KDB,Fernandes, Grealish,
    Watkins,Bamford,Rodrigo

    Johnstone,Soucek,Dallas,Coufal

    1. Trovsmash
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 7 Years
      1 month, 27 days ago

      lots of baseless info going round that cancelo has covid, its putting me off bringing him in as well :/

      1. The 12th Man
        • 7 Years
        1 month, 27 days ago

        I don’t need to play him this week but need to use this weeks transfer up.
        Thinking Cancelo will be ok by 19. Would prefer him over Stones.

  29. dunas_dog
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 5 Years
    1 month, 27 days ago

    I have 6 probable week 18 starters as below plus Mitchell and Brewster

    I cannot see a way to bring in any others without disrupting team being set up for 19 (0.4 in bank)- thinking should probably still FH to try and gain advantage but not sure

    Best option
    A FH as planned
    B Play this team with 7 probable starters

    Martinez (Johnstone)
    Dias Mitchell ( Robertson Dallas Coufal)
    KDB Bruno Son ( Salah Raphinha )
    Watkins Brewster ( Bamford)

    1. The Tinkerman
      • 5 Years
      1 month, 27 days ago

      I’d FH that

  30. The Train Driver
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 5 Years
    1 month, 27 days ago

    GW19

    A. BB with a couple of sgw players (Holding, Son, Dier, DCL).

    B. TC KDB

    Leaning towards B because of all the uncertainty with covid and games risking to be postponed.