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.

Become a Member and get unrestricted access to our data and articles

Full-year memberships are now available for the price of £19.99. Monthly subscriptions also cost just £2.99. A FREE trial is now available during December.

Join now to get the following:

  • Plot your transfer strategies using the fully interactive Season Ticker.
  • Get projections for every Premier League player provided by the Rate My Team statistical model.
  • Use Rate My Team throughout the season to guide your selections and transfers.
  • Get access to over 150+ exclusive members articles over the season.
  • Analyse our OPTA-powered statistic tables specifically tailored for Fantasy Football Managers.
  • Use our exclusive tool to build custom stats tables from over 100 OPTA player and team stats.
  • Enjoy our brand NEW Flat-Track Bully feature which introduces an opposition filter to your tables.
  • View heatmaps and expected goals data for every player.
  • Use our powerful comparison tool to analyse players head-to-head.

ALREADY A USER? CLICK HERE TO UPGRADE YOUR FREE ACCOUNT

NEW TO SCOUT? CLICK HERE TO START A MEMBERSHIP ACCOUNT

1,360 Comments Post a Comment
  1. sergioaguero67
    • 5 Years
    4 months, 12 days ago

    Bertrand Traore or El Ghazi?
    For the DGW
    Please help

    1. Whazza
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      4 months, 12 days ago

      El ghazi, bigger goal threat and pens

  2. Whazza
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 8 Years
    4 months, 12 days ago

    8 BGW players - yes, BUT!
    3 are Villa vs Tot
    2 are City defenders (rotation risk)
    Only Bruno, Son and DCL seem fine... FH time?

    1. Sanchit
      • 5 Years
      4 months, 12 days ago

      How much points do you think your FH team would outscore your normal team by? If it's greater than 25. Definitely go for it!

      1. Whazza
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 8 Years
        4 months, 12 days ago

        Hard to tell, would prolly get Rash, Kane and a couple of Arsenal players in v Palace

        1. Hot Fuzz
          • 4 Years
          4 months, 12 days ago

          Sounds like FH for me imo...

  3. Siva Mohan
    • 8 Years
    4 months, 12 days ago

    bench 2 ..

    Zouma (MANC) | Dias (che) | Bendarek (LIV) | Dallas (tot)

    1. Whazza
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      4 months, 12 days ago

      Bedna and Zouma

    2. DeltaKilo
      • 9 Years
      4 months, 12 days ago

      3 4

  4. Bubbles1985
    • 4 Years
    4 months, 12 days ago

    GTG?

    Martinez
    Cancelo KWP Coufal
    Son(c) Salah(vc) Bruno Soucek KDB
    Bamford DCL

    Forster Ayling Brewster Johnson

  5. tabby98
    • 5 Years
    4 months, 12 days ago

    A) Taylor ---> Balbuena
    B) Taylor ---> Alioski
    C) Taylor ---> Holding

    My TEAM IS:

    Mccarthy, Johnstone
    Robbo, Justin, Coufal, Stones, Taylor*
    Salah, Bruno, Son, Raphinha, Soucek
    Vardy, Bamford, Adams

    Still planning to FH 18 and BB 19

    1. Bubbles1985
      • 4 Years
      4 months, 12 days ago

      B

    2. Dream Killers 2.0
      • 4 Years
      4 months, 12 days ago

      B

    3. KUN+10
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 6 Years
      4 months, 12 days ago

      C. Risk management, dont feel comfortable having 2 from the same team, let alone 3.

  6. sergioaguero67
    • 5 Years
    4 months, 12 days ago

    John Stones nailed?
    Or he can get rotated with Ake or Laporte?
    Please help

    1. Whazza
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      4 months, 12 days ago

      Ofc he can, but played 5 o the last 6 all with CS so willing to take the risk at 4.9

  7. DeltaKilo
    • 9 Years
    4 months, 12 days ago

    Pressers on today? Anyone know?

    1. Whazza
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      4 months, 12 days ago

      So I've heard

  8. Fuddled FC
    • 9 Years
    4 months, 12 days ago

    Antonio a good option now?

    1. Whazza
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      4 months, 12 days ago

      Bit risky fitness wise, nice punt imo

    2. Dream Killers 2.0
      • 4 Years
      4 months, 12 days ago

      I'm waiting to see how he does Vs Everton. Could be a great differential option going into GW19.

    3. Bubbles1985
      • 4 Years
      4 months, 12 days ago

      I'm checking him today before bringing him in for DCL!

    4. Bunk Moreland
      • 5 Years
      4 months, 12 days ago

      Wait until he starts a game

  9. Dream Killers 2.0
    • 4 Years
    4 months, 12 days ago

    Happy New Year everyone!

    I was planning to free hit GW18 as I only have 5 players that play in GW18 and two of them (Son and DCL) have no double in GW19.
    Currently I have 11 GW19 players but no City players. I have two free transfers going into this week so how would you use them?

    Martinez
    Robertson, Chilwell, Allioski
    Bruno, Son, Salah, Grealish
    DCL, Bamford, Adams

    Steer, Bowen, Cresswell, Mitchell

    1. FALSE PROFIT
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 6 Years
      4 months, 12 days ago

      See below: A good example of a WC. Compare your side using your FH chip and Keeping your WC vs mine that keeps the FH chip but loses the WC

      1. Dream Killers 2.0
        • 4 Years
        4 months, 12 days ago

        Do you plan to get Salah or Mane for double gameweek?

        1. FALSE PROFIT
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 6 Years
          4 months, 12 days ago

          Not atm. Costs 2 transfers and creates big hitter imbalance.

  10. FALSE PROFIT
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 6 Years
    4 months, 12 days ago

    WC GW17
    Leno Fab
    Cancello Dias Sais Coufal James
    Bruno Son Rashford KDB Saka
    Wilson Bamford Watkins

    I know, I know; Why use the WC now. LONG STORY!

    1. Tango74
        4 months, 12 days ago

        Why you adding man city players, there match may stil be postponed. They are testing tomorrow and cancelo is rumoured to have it so he be isolating

        1. FALSE PROFIT
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 6 Years
          4 months, 12 days ago

          Thanks for the info. Did not know this. i heard the match going ahead. Cancello? Source?

          1. Flair
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            4 months, 12 days ago

            Sam Lee says he thinks Cancelo is fine but it's not confirmed yet.

            1. FALSE PROFIT
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 6 Years
              4 months, 12 days ago

              Maybe point me in the right direction. So much news. Is it the same as Ederson rumour?

              1. Tango74
                  4 months, 12 days ago

                  Just look on Twitter. Pity I need to get some city players . Grrrrr

                  1. FALSE PROFIT
                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                    • 6 Years
                    4 months, 12 days ago

                    Don't do Twitter. So what have you heard?

                    1. Tango74
                        4 months, 12 days ago

                        There were 5 city players that have Covid but I was wrong.

                        seems only ederson, walker and jesus Were confirmed

                        1. FALSE PROFIT
                          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                          • 6 Years
                          4 months, 12 days ago

                          Cheers. I have looked too. At the moment we have 3 named cases so there are still 2 unaccounted for. That does not make you wrong bud. Thank you

        2. The 12th Man
          • 7 Years
          4 months, 12 days ago

          Grealish on 4 yellows.
          Chance he’ll miss a DGW game?

          Have to hope he gets booked today I suppose so he missses GW 18.

          1. IRBOX ⚽
            • 4 Years
            4 months, 12 days ago

            Needs to do a Diego Costa

          2. aleksaa2
            • 4 Years
            4 months, 12 days ago

            He won't miss gw18, he'll miss the cup game, even better.

            1. Whazza
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 8 Years
              4 months, 12 days ago

              wrong

        3. Nay08
            4 months, 12 days ago

            ok so here is my new options. will do the transfer this week. which go you guys think is better?
            A. Stones and woods in
            B. Dias and

          • Lignja
            • 4 Years
            4 months, 12 days ago

            Who do you think have more cnance for game time Mithcell or Struijk?

            1. Hot Fuzz
              • 4 Years
              4 months, 12 days ago

              I would put my money on Mitchell pva didn't hadn't much of an impact.
              But I am a bit bias towards mich like watching that lad great talent imo

          • George James
            • 6 Years
            4 months, 12 days ago

            Best TC option for the DGW

            A) Salah
            B) KDB
            C) Bruno
            D) save it

            1. S.Kuqi
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 8 Years
              4 months, 12 days ago

              B

              1. George James
                • 6 Years
                4 months, 12 days ago

                If he’s rested in Fa cup or Brighton game I think I will go kdb

            2. IRBOX ⚽
              • 4 Years
              4 months, 12 days ago

              A

            3. Bubbles1985
              • 4 Years
              4 months, 12 days ago

              A

          • Fuddled FC
            • 9 Years
            4 months, 12 days ago

            If I save a hit now, use a FH next gw 18, will I have 2 FT going into gw 19?

            1. Cowboy John
              • 8 Years
              4 months, 12 days ago

              Exactly my question. You lose the transfer on a WC, obviously, but just read the rules and no mention of what happens on a free hit?

            2. Cowboy John
              • 8 Years
              4 months, 12 days ago

              Just this:
              "After playing your Free Hit chip, at the next deadline your bank balance and squad is restored to as they were at the previous deadline".

              1. Fuddled FC
                • 9 Years
                4 months, 12 days ago

                I would expect 2 FT then but not 100 % sure...hmm

                Ideally I'd save this week, FH next and use 2 FT the week after..

                1. NoName
                  • 6 Years
                  4 months, 12 days ago

                  The extra FT is wiped once FH is used.

              2. Hot Fuzz
                • 4 Years
                4 months, 12 days ago

                Nah man last year out I had the same and the 2nd FT got wiped back to one transfer after using freehit

            3. YTH LORD KARIUS
              • 3 Years
              4 months, 12 days ago

              No, you lose your FT after free hit

          • JariL
            • 6 Years
            4 months, 12 days ago

            Would you do anything here or burn 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!

            1. FALSE PROFIT
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 6 Years
              4 months, 12 days ago

              Good side. Brewster devalues your BB chip though

              1. S.Kuqi
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 8 Years
                4 months, 12 days ago

                Son -> Raphinha
                Brewster -> Ings

                Should do the trick in gw19

                1. JariL
                  • 6 Years
                  4 months, 12 days ago

                  Yeah something along those lines was my initial plan, not so sure now after the fixtures arrangements.

                  I could do Vardy to Antonio now and then Son and Brewster to KDB and Watkins for -4 in GW19. What do you think?

                  1. JariL
                    • 6 Years
                    4 months, 12 days ago

                    Oops, triple WHU already of course so would have to be Adams instead of Antonio.

                  2. FALSE PROFIT
                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                    • 6 Years
                    4 months, 12 days ago

                    I would start with that and save -4 maybe

                    1. JariL
                      • 6 Years
                      4 months, 12 days ago

                      Thanks! Still time to ponder. Feels wrong to sell Vardy when so many people are bringing him in! But I guess KDB could justify that.

                2. FALSE PROFIT
                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                  • 6 Years
                  4 months, 12 days ago

                  Fair enough. If you plan to captain Son it makes sense. Not sure about Soton assets though. Not scored in 3

            2. Bubbles1985
              • 4 Years
              4 months, 12 days ago

              Vardy to DCL/Antonio?

          • Ruinenlust
            • 3 Years
            4 months, 12 days ago

            Captain Son or Bruno?

            1. S.Kuqi
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 8 Years
              4 months, 12 days ago

              Son

            2. JariL
              • 6 Years
              4 months, 12 days ago

              I'm going with Son

            3. COUFAL SO GOOD
              • 3 Years
              4 months, 12 days ago

              Sonny

            4. Bubbles1985
              • 4 Years
              4 months, 12 days ago

              Same question but I'm currently on Son

            5. Avery
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 1 Year
              4 months, 12 days ago

              Bruno

            6. Dannyb
              • 4 Years
              4 months, 12 days ago

              Bruno is my captain for the foreseeable unless he gets injured tbh.

            7. Bunk Moreland
              • 5 Years
              4 months, 12 days ago

              I’d go Son. Leeds must be tired from all the games, while Spurs got a bonus rest midweek. These things matters a lot in this period.

          • S.Kuqi
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 8 Years
            4 months, 12 days ago

            Anyone else here wildcarding after deadline?

            1. S.Kuqi
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 8 Years
              4 months, 12 days ago

              Apparently not.

            2. Bunk Moreland
              • 5 Years
              4 months, 12 days ago

              Nope;-)

          • rnrd
            • 6 Years
            4 months, 12 days ago

            If Grealish gets a YC tonight he will have to serve a one match suspension.
            I believe the rule have changed?
            It means the FA cup game on Jan 8 would not count for the ban and he will be out for the GW18 fixture against tot am I right ?

            1. Vazza
                4 months, 12 days ago

                Yes, that’s correct

            2. Trovsmash
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 7 Years
              4 months, 12 days ago

              Any reason not to do DCL & Lamptey to Watkins and Cancelo?

              Sets me up nicely for the DGW with two city defenders

              1. COUFAL SO GOOD
                • 3 Years
                4 months, 12 days ago

                Is cancelo covid free? Heard some rumours he might have it

              2. HurriKane
                • 8 Years
                4 months, 12 days ago

                Cancelo has covid

                1. Trovsmash
                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                  • 7 Years
                  4 months, 12 days ago

                  is this confirmed by an official source anywhere?

                2. Bubbles1985
                  • 4 Years
                  4 months, 12 days ago

                  I hope not as just brought him in!

            3. COUFAL SO GOOD
              • 3 Years
              4 months, 12 days ago

              Chances of Antonio starting against Villa?

              1. Bubbles1985
                • 4 Years
                4 months, 12 days ago

                I think he will start today against Everton

            4. King Kohli
              • 8 Years
              4 months, 12 days ago

              Can I get away with saving FT this week to see which of my defenders start this week?

              Will get in double city defence for gw 18

              Martinez Meslier
              TAA Konsa* Coufal Taylor* Mitchell*
              Salah Bruno Son Raphinha Anguissa
              Kane Bamford Adams

              1FT 1.7 ITB

            5. Vazza
                4 months, 12 days ago

                Here are the players I could have for BGW18 -

                Stones, Dias, Saka, Bruno, Son, Kane, Watkins

                Would you suggest that I just use FH to bring in more/enhanced players?

              • aleksios
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 5 Years
                4 months, 12 days ago

                Captain Son or Kane?

                1. COUFAL SO GOOD
                  • 3 Years
                  4 months, 12 days ago

                  Kane

              • akhilrajau
                • 2 Years
                4 months, 12 days ago

                Whats thought on Taylor to wan-bissaka?

                I think Taylor is out injury and united have good fixtures afyer gw 19 also.

                If possible include ederson so didn't looked city def. All r hit only please suggest

                1. Hot Fuzz
                  • 4 Years
                  4 months, 12 days ago

                  I love and and would think it's a good move but oles rotation over this crazy period will be nuts could easily just play only one game so for me is a no go there but up to you gl

                2. Hot Fuzz
                  • 4 Years
                  4 months, 12 days ago

                  Sorry the first are meant to be awb *

              • Oggle22
                • 4 Years
                4 months, 12 days ago

                Any advice? 1ft 0.5m in the bank

                Martinez
                Konsa Holding Mitchell
                Salah Son Bruno Saka
                Bamford Kane Firmino

                Steele Soucek Kilman Taylor

                Cheers

                1. Hot Fuzz
                  • 4 Years
                  4 months, 12 days ago

                  It's super hard like this to give advice don't know your strategy over this period or is it only for this gameweek?

              • NoName
                • 6 Years
                4 months, 12 days ago

                Which defender and midfielder to start?

                A) Adams
                B) Bowen

                1) Dallas
                2) Mitchell

              • Dannyb
                • 4 Years
                4 months, 12 days ago

                Lamptey to Holding? Already have Bellerin lol

                1. Vazza
                    4 months, 12 days ago

                    Don’t like any of these, sorry. Why do you have Belolerin?

                    1. Hot Fuzz
                      • 4 Years
                      4 months, 12 days ago

                      I can see the appeal of bellerin but can't see the double up with holding..haha to much gunners imo

                2. Nay08
                    4 months, 12 days ago

                    ok so here is my new options. will do the transfer this week. which go you guys think is better?
                    A. Stones and woods in
                    B. Dias and

                    1. Nay08
                        4 months, 12 days ago

                        wait why did my messages keep getting cut like that

                        1. Hot Fuzz
                          • 4 Years
                          4 months, 12 days ago

                          You mind used some dotes or to many spaces happened to me before aswell proper reason I don't really know

                    2. Siva Mohan
                      • 8 Years
                      4 months, 12 days ago

                      captain..

                      A. Kane
                      B. Son
                      C. Bruno
                      D. Salah

                      1. Aubamewho
                        • 3 Years
                        4 months, 12 days ago

                        Kane