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. Aubamewho
    • 3 Years
    2 months, 11 hours ago

    What to do with Mahrez?
    - Keep
    - Downgrade mahrez + N.Williams >.. ?.. + Dias

    Mccarthy
    Chilwell | KWP | Justin
    KDB | Bruno | Son | Grealish | Mahrez
    Bamford | Kane

    ( Steer, Kilman, Brewster, N. Williams)
    0.1 itb, 2FT

  2. Siva Mohan
    • 8 Years
    2 months, 11 hours ago

    captain...

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

    1. Jet5605
      • 6 Years
      2 months, 11 hours ago

      I went Bruno with Kane as VC. Kane could easily smash it tho

    2. Aubamewho
      • 3 Years
      2 months, 11 hours ago

      Have A, B, C going with A

    3. Christina.
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 11 Years
      2 months, 11 hours ago

      Kane.
      Villa a tough nut to crack.

    4. Siva Mohan
      • 8 Years
      2 months, 11 hours ago

      cheers all.. on Kane(c) atm

    5. S.Kuqi
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      2 months, 11 hours ago

      I'd captain Kane if I had him but Son for me

    6. Pukki Party
      • 3 Years
      2 months, 11 hours ago

      A

    7. Bronski
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      2 months, 11 hours ago

      B i feel Leeds will leave space behind perfect for runners like Son

      1. Hot Fuzz
        • 4 Years
        2 months, 11 hours ago

        Same I do believe son will love that space

  3. Jet5605
    • 6 Years
    2 months, 11 hours ago

    Which GK do I start this week?

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

    1. IRBOX ⚽
      • 3 Years
      2 months, 11 hours ago

      A

    2. Redranger
      • 6 Years
      2 months, 11 hours ago

      I’m going A. Mainly cause I’m a Liverpool fan so he’ll probably generate a ton of points.

    3. Bronski
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      2 months, 11 hours ago

      B

  4. IRBOX ⚽
    • 3 Years
    2 months, 11 hours ago

    Who has done the KDB > Son transfer? I’m debating whether it is worth it. Want KDB straight back next GW

    1. FALSE PROFIT
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 6 Years
      2 months, 11 hours ago

      I am more inclined to go the other way round. KDB vs Chelsea not such a bad fixture.

    2. Party time
      • 2 Years
      2 months, 11 hours ago

      I did it this gw

    3. The 12th Man
      • 7 Years
      2 months, 11 hours ago

      I did KDB > Raphinia to afford DCL > Kane.

      Kane will be going in 19 to fund getting KDB back, probably for One of Soucek,Raphinia or Grealish.

  5. Bunk Moreland
    • 5 Years
    2 months, 11 hours ago

    If I have 2 free transfers, then use free hit. Do I then have 1 or 2 FTs next week?

    1. FALSE PROFIT
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 6 Years
      2 months, 11 hours ago

      No

      1. Fuddled FC
        • 9 Years
        2 months, 11 hours ago

        No?

        1. FALSE PROFIT
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 6 Years
          2 months, 11 hours ago

          Sorry, used to another question. My bad. (1FT next week)

  6. NoName
    • 6 Years
    2 months, 11 hours ago

    Bottomed.

    Which one of each to start?

    A) Adams
    B) Bowen

    1) Dallas
    2) Mitchell

    1. Bronski
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      2 months, 11 hours ago

      A1

      1. NoName
        • 6 Years
        2 months, 11 hours ago

        Thanks

    2. Lucky Z
      • 3 Years
      2 months, 11 hours ago

      A2

      Reasonings:

      • Adams is starter and Liverpool does not keep much cleanies recently
      • Mitchell does not make cameos usually and has good fixture on paper if he starts

      1. NoName
        • 6 Years
        2 months, 11 hours ago

        Thanks for your reasonings. Leaning that way as well. Dallas' attacking potential is what's giving me pause.

        1. Lucky Z
          • 3 Years
          2 months, 11 hours ago

          Yes, I understand. Dallas is a safer option in this terms.

          1. NoName
            • 6 Years
            2 months, 11 hours ago

            Cheers.

  7. Lucky Z
    • 3 Years
    2 months, 11 hours ago

    Guys, how to improve that existing squads with current 2FTs and 0.5 ITB?

    GW18
    Sanchez
    Dias | Targett | Reguilon | Lewis (Dallas)
    KDB | B.Fernandes | Grealish | Son (Salah)
    DCL | Brewster (Bamford)

    GW19
    Sanchez
    Dias | Dallas | Targett (Reguilon | Lewis)
    KDB | Salah | B.Fernandes | Grealish | Son
    DCL | Bamford (Brewster)

  8. akhilrajau
    • 2 Years
    2 months, 11 hours ago

    Which goal keeper to play

    A. Martinez
    B. Johnstone

    1. King Kohli
      • 8 Years
      2 months, 11 hours ago

      B

  9. sneif4
    • 8 Years
    2 months, 11 hours ago

    1 week benching issue. Any help choosing one?
    A) Wilson (LEI)
    B) Grealish (mun)
    C) Bamford (tot)
    D) Zaha (SHU)

    1. FALSE PROFIT
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 6 Years
      2 months, 11 hours ago

      SHU one of the games at risk

    2. Here's Tom with the We…
      • 9 Years
      2 months, 11 hours ago

      Tough. Probably A

    3. sneif4
      • 8 Years
      2 months, 11 hours ago

      Thanks both. Think I'm leaning towards A.

  10. Fuddled FC
    • 9 Years
    2 months, 11 hours ago

    Not an overly helpful answer FP 😉

    1. Hot Fuzz
      • 4 Years
      2 months, 11 hours ago

      What was the question?

  11. The_FF_King
    • 8 Years
    2 months, 11 hours ago

    Is Grealish to El Ghazi a good move to free up some funds?

    1. Chelsea91
      • 2 Years
      2 months, 11 hours ago

      yes

    2. Bronski
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      2 months, 11 hours ago

      I would say so El-Ghazi on fire and Grealish 1 YC away from a suspension

  12. Here's Tom with the We…
    • 9 Years
    2 months, 11 hours ago

    Happy New Year Guys!

    Best defender for this gw only?

    Not including TAA or Robbo

    Thanks

    1. King Kohli
      • 8 Years
      2 months, 11 hours ago

      Holding

      1. Here's Tom with the We…
        • 9 Years
        2 months, 11 hours ago

        In my thoughts. Not prefer Tierney?

  13. CONNERS
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 2 Years
    2 months, 11 hours ago

    Morning

    Can anyone confirm whether Holding is nailed for Arsenal, or will he lose his place to Luiz?

    1. Lucky Z
      • 3 Years
      2 months, 11 hours ago

      Probably even Arteta cannot

    2. CONNERS
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      2 months, 11 hours ago

      Assume not then, ha.

      Thanks

  14. Nay08
      2 months, 11 hours ago

      last try. my comment keeps getting cut, not posted in full. idk why.

      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
          2 months, 11 hours ago

          damn it. idk why this happened. sorry for the spam folks

        • Tango74
            2 months, 11 hours ago

            Man City match could be called off still

          • Hot Fuzz
            • 4 Years
            2 months, 11 hours ago

            Try without the paragraph at the top clean your cage maybe ?... you could ask a mod for help. Gl nay08

            1. Nay08
                2 months, 9 hours ago

                even without the paragraph up top, it still ends at "Dias and". thanks anyway mate.

          • jdp219
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 4 Years
            2 months, 11 hours ago

            McCarthy, Forster
            Chilwell, Targett, Coufal, KWP, Kilman
            Salah, KDB, Bruno, Grealish, Soucek
            DCL, Bamford, Wilson

            2FTs, 0.3itb -- FH in gw18
            1) McC, Wilson > Fabs, Dec-Reid (dgw19 prep + funds)
            2) Grealish, Wilson > Son(c), Brewster (352 + big 4 mids, but weaker bench)
            3) Grealish, KDB > Son, El Ghazi (keep funds itb for KDB return)

          • Flynny
            • 5 Years
            2 months, 11 hours ago

            Morning. G2g here? 2mitb 0ft.

            Planning to free hit 18 and kane and soucek to kdb and adams / antonio for bb19

            Johnstone (martinez)
            Robbo dias dallas (coufal balbuena)
            Salah bruno grealish raphinha (soucek)
            Kane (c) Bamford Watkins

            Thanks

          • Lignja
            • 3 Years
            2 months, 11 hours ago

            Lowton or Pieters as Taylor replacement?

            1. Lucky Z
              • 3 Years
              2 months, 11 hours ago

              Lowton of course. Pieters will go back to the bench once Taylor is recovered.

              1. Lignja
                • 3 Years
                2 months, 11 hours ago

                Ty

            2. CONNERS
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 2 Years
              2 months, 11 hours ago

              Pieters and Taylor both started before he came off injured.

          • tabby98
            • 5 Years
            2 months, 11 hours ago

            Mccarthy
            Robbo, Justin, Stones
            Bruno, Salah, Son, Raphinha
            Bamford, Vardy, Adams

            Johnstone | Soucek, Alioski, Coufal

            Whats the right starting 11 here guys?

          • Vazza
              2 months, 11 hours 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?

              1. Vazza
                  2 months, 11 hours ago

                  Any thoughts please guys? I’m really struggling here

                  1. Whazza
                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                    • 8 Years
                    2 months, 11 hours ago

                    6 is too low mate

                    1. Whazza
                      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                      • 8 Years
                      2 months, 11 hours ago

                      7 even. I'm on 8 and contemplating FH

              2. Little Red Lacazette
                • 4 Years
                2 months, 11 hours ago

                1 FT. 0.7ITB.

                Martinez
                Dallas Coufal Bednarek
                KDB Bruno Salah Son
                Bamford Adams DCL

                Johnstone Bissouma Taylor* Matip*

                Matip -> Dias the best move? Y or N?

              3. altomfredrik
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 3 Years
                2 months, 11 hours ago

                What to do??!

                1ft, 1m

                McCarthy
                Zouma-TAA-Dallas-Mitchell-Lamptey
                Bruno-Son-Salah-Soucek-Raphinha
                Bamford-Kane-Adam

                Thinking Lamptey out?

              4. Forgetmeknot
                • 2 Years
                2 months, 11 hours ago

                Is Bur v Ful at risk do we speculate or is it just guessing games (as a comparison with city back training I would think their game v Chelsea likely to go ahead)?

              5. Tango74
                  2 months, 11 hours ago

                  Man City match could still be calmed off?

                  1. IRBOX ⚽
                    • 3 Years
                    2 months, 11 hours ago

                    Highly unlikely

                  2. Whazza
                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                    • 8 Years
                    2 months, 11 hours ago

                    Any game could?

                    1. Tango74
                        2 months, 11 hours ago

                        True but we know there has been a case there. If rumours are true on Twitter the 5 players willl be isolating for 10 days?

                        WAlker , Jesus,Ederson, Cancelo and Torres.

                        Chunk of defence and costly defenders?

                          1. Tango74
                              2 months, 11 hours ago

                              Thanks for that. Still undecided. Would you risk a city DEF?

                    2. The 12th Man
                      • 7 Years
                      2 months, 11 hours ago

                      To get KDB back without losing Salah,Fernandes or Grealish is:-

                      Raphinia,Kane >> KDB,Rodrigo worth a -4 in gw19?

                      Or forget KDB and do Kane > Vardy for free.

                      1. Hot Fuzz
                        • 4 Years
                        2 months, 11 hours ago

                        Oh tough call imo I know Kane got only a single in 19 but it's a massive one. I would stick with Harry and go with option 1 imo

                    3. Tango74
                        2 months, 11 hours ago

                        “Called

                      • sentz05
                        • 4 Years
                        2 months, 11 hours ago

                        What do we think is the minimum amount of BGW players one should have if not using FH?

                        1. Chelsea91
                          • 2 Years
                          2 months, 11 hours ago

                          8

                        2. IRBOX ⚽
                          • 3 Years
                          2 months, 11 hours ago

                          8-9

                        3. gogs67
                            2 months, 11 hours ago

                            6

                          • Kane and Ablett
                              2 months, 11 hours ago

                              6 with a few big hitters or an average 8

                          • Bronski
                            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                            • 2 Years
                            2 months, 11 hours ago

                            Any idea as to whether City and Fulham games are likely to go ahead this GW17?

                          • Alisson WondHaaland
                            • 5 Years
                            2 months, 11 hours ago

                            Better chip strat?
                            A (FH18 BB19) or B (TC19)

                            A) FH18:
                            Darlow
                            Holding Dias Maguire
                            Son Bruno KDB El Ghazi
                            Laca Wilson Kane

                            BB19:
                            Mccarthy Johnstone
                            Robbo Chilwell Coufal Taylor* Alioski
                            Bruno Salah Grealish Bowen Harrison
                            Watkins Vardy Bamford

                            B) No FH18:
                            Holding Stones Taylor*
                            Saka Grealish Bruno Bissouma
                            Watkins Kane

                            TC19:
                            Mccarthy
                            Robbo Chilwell Stones
                            Bruno Grealish Salah KDB(TC)
                            Watkins Bamford Rodrigo

                            Both require 1 hit. Any thoughts advice would be appreciated

                            1. Vazza
                                2 months, 11 hours ago

                                I really like option B

                                1. Alisson WondHaaland
                                  • 5 Years
                                  2 months, 11 hours ago

                                  Cheers

                            2. akhilrajau
                              • 2 Years
                              2 months, 11 hours ago

                              Taylor to wan-bissaka is worth -4. I am planning for ederson in gw 19

                              1. Chelsea91
                                • 2 Years
                                2 months, 11 hours ago

                                Taylor to Stones look good.

                                1. akhilrajau
                                  • 2 Years
                                  2 months, 11 hours ago

                                  Yea good one but rotation?

                                  1. akhilrajau
                                    • 2 Years
                                    2 months, 11 hours ago

                                    Laporte and dias is first possible options than stonws correct?

                              2. Kane and Ablett
                                  2 months, 11 hours ago

                                  Stones has rotation and COVID risks so you need a good sub if you go that way

                                  1. akhilrajau
                                    • 2 Years
                                    2 months, 10 hours ago

                                    Any good.options? For dgw

                              3. C_Manan
                                • 1 Year
                                2 months, 11 hours ago

                                Prefer Robbo (UTD, BUR) or Ings (LEI, LEE) for GW 19 ?
                                Will have to make 1 transfer now as I'm FH GW18