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. Eliano
      6 months, 24 days ago

      Hi lads first time posting

      Team

      McCarthy meslier

      Dallas Justin chillwell (rhys Williams Mitchell)

      Son salah Fernandes Zaha ( stephens )

      Calvert lewin Kane Bamford

      Looking to freshen up the back line and maybe free up some funds to change zaha to grealish ahead of dgw any thoughts

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

        Top of the page straight away! Team is looking good.

        1. Eliano
            6 months, 24 days ago

            Cheers mate I’m starting to pull it back after a shaky start, any suggestions for low priced defenders who will play and maybe an upgrade on stephens preferably for similar price

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

              Coufal and Balbuena seem popular. Could you stretch Stephens to Saka?

              1. Eliano
                  6 months, 24 days ago

                  Could downgrade chilli to James or cancelo to free up funds as I only .2 in the bank but city fullbacks a gamble longterm imo

                  1. Eliano
                      6 months, 24 days ago

                      Coufal seems a good option

            2. DA Minnion (In Bielsa we tr…
              • 9 Years
              6 months, 24 days ago

              You're good to go this week. Save and reassess before next game week.

              1. Eliano
                  6 months, 24 days ago

                  Cheers mate

            3. CROYDON DE BRUYNE
              • 4 Years
              6 months, 24 days ago

              Leno or Martinez?

              Leno (wba, CPA, NEW, sot)

              Martinez (mun, TOT, EVE/mci, bur)

              1. Eliano
                  6 months, 24 days ago

                  I would go Leno for the run of fixtures

                • King Drogba11
                    6 months, 24 days ago

                    Leno easily across those 4 games.

                  • SharkyT
                    • 7 Years
                    6 months, 24 days ago

                    Leno short term & Mart long term

                    1. SuperG
                      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                      • 2 Years
                      6 months, 24 days ago

                      This

                • King Drogba11
                    6 months, 24 days ago

                    Start one:

                    A. Smith-Rowe
                    B. Coufal
                    C. Dallas

                    1. ZLATAN'S PONYTAIL
                      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                      • 5 Years
                      6 months, 24 days ago

                      Today? Smith rowe

                      1. King Drogba11
                          6 months, 24 days ago

                          For this GW yes. Thanks for the response.

                    2. ZLATAN'S PONYTAIL
                      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                      • 5 Years
                      6 months, 24 days ago

                      A lot of folks understandably are trying to make transfers now with Gw 18+19 in mind. Gw 19 is 2 weeks away and going by how unpredictable this season has been I'm hesitant to make early moves. How is everyone dealing with that possibility? I'm tempted to make transfers much closer to the deadline.

                      1. Lindelol
                        • 3 Years
                        6 months, 24 days ago

                        i thinking of keep the FT but not clear about FH 18 though

                        1. ZLATAN'S PONYTAIL
                          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                          • 5 Years
                          6 months, 24 days ago

                          Sounds like most are in the same boat

                      2. g40steve
                        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                        • 3 Years
                        6 months, 24 days ago

                        I am still planning FH18 & BB19

                        1. ZLATAN'S PONYTAIL
                          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                          • 5 Years
                          6 months, 24 days ago

                          I'm likely going to save both chips but wish you the best!

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

                        I think you have to play what is in front of you, not some hypothetical situation that might occur. Saving my transfers until right before the deadline though.

                        1. ZLATAN'S PONYTAIL
                          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                          • 5 Years
                          6 months, 24 days ago

                          Fair enough. Makes sense that you're saving the transfers until deadline and not chasing prices rises and drops.

                      4. King Drogba11
                          6 months, 24 days ago

                          I’m playing a FH next week so only having 1 FT because of that so have had to move a bit early unfortunately.

                          Might have to take a hit or two come GW 18 to sort it all out.

                          1. ZLATAN'S PONYTAIL
                            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                            • 5 Years
                            6 months, 24 days ago

                            That makes sense to me. To me that seems to be a prudent approach to wait until right before gw18 to make your moves.

                      5. Lindelol
                        • 3 Years
                        6 months, 24 days ago

                        martinez
                        Dias taylor*
                        Grealish Son Burke
                        DCL
                        I have these players for GW 18 at the moment. 1 FT
                        Sould I go for FH then?

                        1. g40steve
                          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                          • 3 Years
                          6 months, 24 days ago

                          I am playing FH

                          A to get it out the way & I think the covid situation will get worse before we see any sunlight?

                          1. Lindelol
                            • 3 Years
                            6 months, 24 days ago

                            should I prepare my team for BB then if go for FH 18?

                            1. g40steve
                              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                              • 3 Years
                              6 months, 24 days ago

                              Yes that’s what I am doing see below, only got Kane & Son vs Sheffield as SGW players might get Vardy?

                      6. g40steve
                        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                        • 3 Years
                        6 months, 24 days ago

                        Woke up with team looking like this!

                        A play Johnstone or Martinez?

                        B is Son correct Captain?

                        C bench look correct, I have Zouma vs Stones on the pitch?

                        Johnson,
                        Zouma, Robbo, Stones,
                        Bruno, C,Son, Grealish, Salah
                        Kane, Bamford, Watkins

                        Martinez, Soucek, Coufal, Dallas

                        1. Lindelol
                          • 3 Years
                          6 months, 24 days ago

                          A. I am playing Martinez
                          B. No one knows this GW (I am switching between Son, Bruno and Salah)

                        2. Eliano
                            6 months, 24 days ago

                            Captain choice a toss up between fernandes Kane and son... go with your gut

                          • g40steve
                            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                            • 3 Years
                            6 months, 24 days ago

                            Cheers guys

                        3. Shark Team
                          • 3 Years
                          6 months, 24 days ago

                          For gws 17 & 19 do you prefer:
                          A) Dias DCL Taylor (Coufal coming from the bench for this gw)
                          B) Robbo Watkins Lowton (-4)

                        4. Dark Side Of The Loon!
                          • 4 Years
                          6 months, 24 days ago

                          Pick one:

                          A) Ampadu vs Palace
                          B) Coufal vs Everton

                        5. timPgoodwin
                          • 6 Years
                          6 months, 24 days ago

                          I want Vardy as Vice Captain, is he sure to start?

                          1. g40steve
                            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                            • 3 Years
                            6 months, 24 days ago

                            See what Sean says

                            1. timPgoodwin
                              • 6 Years
                              6 months, 24 days ago

                              Sean who?

                              1. IRBOX ⚽
                                • 4 Years
                                6 months, 24 days ago

                                The sheep

                                1. timPgoodwin
                                  • 6 Years
                                  6 months, 24 days ago

                                  He's says rangers are rubbish

                                2. g40steve
                                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                  • 3 Years
                                  6 months, 24 days ago

                                  The Leics lad with mates in the squad

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

                                A numpty on Twitter, he had an inside source at the club at one point, but no longer does.

                          2. Hazz
                            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                            • 4 Years
                            6 months, 24 days ago

                            Highly doubt he doesn't start given he mostly rested last GW.

                            1. timPgoodwin
                              • 6 Years
                              6 months, 24 days ago

                              That's what I'm hoping, can't see him not at least getting an assist and 90 minutes if he does start. Safe bet for a vice.

                        6. George Agdgdgwngo
                          • 11 Years
                          6 months, 24 days ago

                          Start which one?

                          A. Dallas
                          B. Coufal

                          1. Martinez
                          2. Johnstone

                          1. SharkyT
                            • 7 Years
                            6 months, 24 days ago

                            A1

                        7. Jet5605
                          • 6 Years
                          6 months, 24 days ago

                          Best C Taylor replacement with a budget of 4.9

                          A - Lowton
                          B - Stones
                          C - Targett
                          D - Other suggestion?

                          Johnstone
                          Dallas - Robbo - Justin
                          Salah - Bruno - Kane - Raphina - Soucek
                          Kane - Bamford

                          McCarthy - Adams - Taylor - Balbuena

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

                            I went Stones

                          2. SharkyT
                            • 7 Years
                            6 months, 24 days ago

                            A

                        8. Oldie99
                          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                          • 2 Years
                          6 months, 24 days ago

                          With Coufal and Antonio already in my team, i don't want 3x West Ham (Soucek) so I'm going Lookman instead for BB19 - good call?

                          1. timPgoodwin
                            • 6 Years
                            6 months, 24 days ago

                            I have him and I'll keep him doesn't score enough but always looks lively. Safe bench option.

                        9. The Train Driver
                          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                          • 6 Years
                          6 months, 24 days ago

                          Bottomed..

                          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.

                        10. yLLacs
                          • 10 Years
                          6 months, 24 days ago

                          I have 6.3 to replace 3rd ST, i will be Free Hitting bgw18 so preferably a dw19 player..

                          Antonio
                          or
                          Wood

                          *already have 3 Leeds

                          1. g40steve
                            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                            • 3 Years
                            6 months, 24 days ago

                            Watkins, Adams

                            Antonio coming back from injury, unsure of Wood

                          2. Cabra
                            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                            • 6 Years
                            6 months, 24 days ago

                            I am really tempted på Antonio. But Moyes has said he will be careful with him going forward.

                        11. AK_FC
                          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                          • 6 Years
                          6 months, 24 days ago

                          Bench one:

                          A) Soucek
                          B) Dallas
                          C) Stones (already playing Cancello)

                          1. Casual Player
                              6 months, 24 days ago

                              B for me

                          2. Lindelol
                            • 3 Years
                            6 months, 24 days ago

                            Stones or Baily? have Dias

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

                              I went Stones

                            2. The Train Driver
                              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                              • 6 Years
                              6 months, 24 days ago

                              Stones more nailed even though I personally think Bailly should start over Lindelöf. Also Bailly injury record not that great...

                              1. ZLATAN'S PONYTAIL
                                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                • 5 Years
                                6 months, 24 days ago

                                Also Bailly makes some swashbuckling/moronic/high risk tackles and always seems to be a red card risk. If he could curtail injuries and temper his zealous approach he'd be some defender.

                            3. Whazza
                              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                              • 9 Years
                              6 months, 24 days ago

                              Stones

                          3. tbhogal
                            • 11 Years
                            6 months, 24 days ago

                            Start Balbuena or Dallas??

                            1. Captain Haddock
                              • 6 Years
                              6 months, 24 days ago

                              Balbuena

                            2. BobbyDoesNotLook
                              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                              • 3 Years
                              6 months, 24 days ago

                              Dallas every week.

                          4. fpork
                            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                            • 5 Years
                            6 months, 24 days ago

                            Martinez or Fabianski? Own Johnstone.

                            1. fpork
                              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                              • 5 Years
                              6 months, 24 days ago

                              And will FH 18.

                            2. Captain Haddock
                              • 6 Years
                              6 months, 24 days ago

                              Fab

                          5. CRO KLOPP
                            • 3 Years
                            6 months, 24 days ago

                            I have this team for gmwk18 atm

                            Martinez
                            Mitchell
                            KDB Son Bruno Grealish

                            I can Save FT and for a hit get Rashford and double City defence (so 3 more) and lose Salah and bring him back in 19
                            A) do this
                            B) FH

                          6. cutch
                            • 6 Years
                            6 months, 24 days ago

                            Bench Boost in GW 19. What's the best replacement for Steer? (McCarthy my other GK)

                            Martínez?

                            Thanks in advance!

                          7. FCRS BGD
                            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                            • 3 Years
                            6 months, 24 days ago

                            Who would you play this week?
                            1) Dallas
                            2) Coufal
                            3) Thiago Silva
                            Thanks

                            1. Captain Haddock
                              • 6 Years
                              6 months, 24 days ago

                              3

                              1. FCRS BGD
                                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                • 3 Years
                                6 months, 24 days ago

                                Thanks

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

                            so are you changing your strategy in view of these extra fixtures ?

                            1. DA Minnion (In Bielsa we tr…
                              • 9 Years
                              6 months, 24 days ago

                              No. I don't have a strategy.

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

                              No, it's trap!

                          9. Captain Haddock
                            • 6 Years
                            6 months, 24 days ago

                            A) Dias
                            B) Cancelo

                            1. DA Minnion (In Bielsa we tr…
                              • 9 Years
                              6 months, 24 days ago

                              Wait on Peps presser.

                              1. Captain Haddock
                                • 6 Years
                                6 months, 24 days ago

                                When? Ty

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

                                  3 hours

                              2. DA Minnion (In Bielsa we tr…
                                • 9 Years
                                6 months, 24 days ago

                                1.30 today. See tweets

                          10. DA Minnion (In Bielsa we tr…
                            • 9 Years
                            6 months, 24 days ago

                            McCarthy
                            Coufal Dallas Dier
                            KDB Salah Grealish Bruno
                            Kane Bamford Watkins.

                            Kilman Stephens Taylor

                            Could I save transfer and have two for next week.First 11 should start.

                          11. Puncheon Guly
                            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                            • 10 Years
                            6 months, 24 days ago

                            Are expecting the usual FA Cup QF/SF blanks and doubles later in the season? I was planning on BB in GW19 but I'd have to take massive hits and lose a lot of value on certain players.

                            1. IRBOX ⚽
                              • 4 Years
                              6 months, 24 days ago

                              Yeah should be around GW26

                          12. BobbyDoesNotLook
                            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                            • 3 Years
                            6 months, 24 days ago

                            You who used wc about a week ago, what are you changing in your (transfer) plan for dgw19 (and 18)?

                            I have no City at the moment as the biggest downside. Also one Villa could be good.

                          13. SharkyT
                            • 7 Years
                            6 months, 24 days ago

                            Bench 1:

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

                          14. Shark Team
                            • 3 Years
                            6 months, 24 days ago

                            Is the Taylor to Lawton move worth 4 pts?

                          15. akhilrajau
                            • 2 Years
                            6 months, 24 days ago

                            Which combination good from gw 19 onwards (considering doiblw gane also)

                            A. Maguire, Cancelo
                            B. Dias, Cancelo

                            May be wan- bissaka also considerable if no rotation risk. Please suggest

                          16. g40steve
                            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                            • 3 Years
                            6 months, 24 days ago

                            HNY

                            Play three?

                            Zouma
                            Robbo
                            Stones
                            Coufal
                            Dallas

                            Play Martinez or Johnstone?