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. Nay08
    8 months, 18 days ago

    Stones+Woods or Dias+Benteke/McGoldrick

    1. HippY
      • 10 Years
      8 months, 18 days ago

      First one imo

    2. IRBOX ⚽
      • 4 Years
      8 months, 18 days ago

      Tiger Woods? Or Chris Wood?

      1. Nay08
        8 months, 18 days ago

        oh yeah no S in his name lol. it's Chris wood from Burnley

        1. IRBOX ⚽
          • 4 Years
          8 months, 18 days ago

          Wouldn’t touch Burnley mate and don’t like Benteke or Sheffield who are useless. Stones and Watkins work?

          1. Nay08
            8 months, 18 days ago

            already have Watkins.
            I have my reasoning but my comment keeps getting cut. not posted in full, idk why. that's why i settle on the simple question above lol.
            hmm let me try.

            so Wood is just for a cover in dgw19. in case my injury happens or something. plus this week they play FUL.
            Benteke or McGoldrick is just a punt for 17 and 18 (which their fixtures are not bad imo.) to have fund for getting the safer pick in Dias rather than Stones.

            1. Nay08
              8 months, 18 days ago

              oh hey it works haha

  2. funnyoldgame
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 12 Years
    8 months, 18 days ago

    Sorry, can't figure this out.

    If I make a free transfer in wk 17, but then also decide to play my Free Hit in the same game week, will that initial transfer still be in my team in game week 18?

    1. HippY
      • 10 Years
      8 months, 18 days ago

      Nope, gone!

      1. funnyoldgame
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 12 Years
        8 months, 18 days ago

        that's what I thought. I was just trying to work out how many changes I could make before the double.

    2. Hot Toddy
      • 3 Years
      8 months, 18 days ago

      Obviously not. Unreal how often this has been asked 😆

      1. ‘Tis the Season
        • 3 Years
        8 months, 18 days ago

        Crazy after 11 years

        1. funnyoldgame
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 12 Years
          8 months, 18 days ago

          just wanted to be sure. I'm not usually so concerned about the week immediately following my Free Hit.

        2. HippY
          • 10 Years
          8 months, 18 days ago

          Tbh I've played FPL 14 years and still had to ask. I don't recall ever using FH/BB chip before, how many years has it been in? I often set + forget

        3. Hot Toddy
          • 3 Years
          8 months, 18 days ago

          I do sometimes wonder why I ever even bother posting here at all.

  3. ‘Tis the Season
    • 3 Years
    8 months, 18 days ago

    What are the chances of Shaw playing both DGW games?

    1. Whazza
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 9 Years
      8 months, 18 days ago

      Not with Telles fit I'd imagine

    2. Jealous Viper
      • 3 Years
      8 months, 18 days ago

      Think Telles gets a game but Ole could play 5 atb against Pool and Shaw plays as LCB so shaw could start both

    3. ‘Tis the Season
      • 3 Years
      8 months, 18 days ago

      Thanks Both

  4. Jealous Viper
    • 3 Years
    8 months, 18 days ago

    Do I
    A. Go De Gea and Saka in for Mccarthy and Salah for a hit? Feel convinced DDG will outscore Mccarthy over the next 7 to 8 weeks especially given the blank

    Or
    B. Keep Mccarthy and go Salah to Zaha?

    Other move is Welbeck to Kane (c) which I'm settled on for the next 2 but have plans to get Salah back.
    Have 2ft

    1. HippY
      • 10 Years
      8 months, 18 days ago

      Anyone else apart from Salah to sacrifice?

      1. Jealous Viper
        • 3 Years
        8 months, 18 days ago

        Other premium mids are Bruno and KDB so playing the fixtures game. Will bring Salah back in for Kane for his double

    2. FPL_Mou
      8 months, 18 days ago

      Zaha+McCarthy outscores Saka+DDG long term imo

      1. Jealous Viper
        • 3 Years
        8 months, 18 days ago

        Do you think they do so even with the blank factored in

  5. HippY
    • 10 Years
    8 months, 18 days ago

    This could get messy, 1 letter, number and symbol please!

    A)Soucek (eve)
    B)Adams (LIV)

    1)Coufal (eve)
    2)KWP (LIV)
    3)Stones (che)

    @)McCarthy (LIV)
    &) Meslier (tot)

    1. Whazza
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 9 Years
      8 months, 18 days ago

      To start?

      1. HippY
        • 10 Years
        8 months, 18 days ago

        Yes

        1. Whazza
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 9 Years
          8 months, 18 days ago

          B1&

    2. GreennRed
      • 9 Years
      8 months, 18 days ago

      A3&

    3. Rep Poulette
      • 1 Year
      8 months, 18 days ago

      A1&

    4. HippY
      • 10 Years
      8 months, 18 days ago

      For what it's worth I'm currently on B3@ - but it doesn't feel good/right, but very little does with these choices

    5. Bronski
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      8 months, 18 days ago

      A1&

    6. Dark Side Of The Loon!
      • 5 Years
      8 months, 18 days ago

      B1@

    7. Eh, just one more thing ...
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 9 Years
      8 months, 18 days ago

      B 1 @

  6. Disturbed
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 7 Years
    8 months, 18 days ago

    Start soucek or saka?

    1. Whazza
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 9 Years
      8 months, 18 days ago

      Saka

      1. Disturbed
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 7 Years
        8 months, 18 days ago

        Cheers Whazza

    2. Salan
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 11 Years
      8 months, 18 days ago

      I don't trust Arsenal (players).

  7. Chelsea91
    • 2 Years
    8 months, 18 days ago

    Premier League release statement as Burnley vs Fulham Premier League fixture plunged into doubt

    1. IRBOX ⚽
      • 4 Years
      8 months, 18 days ago

      Link?

        1. IRBOX ⚽
          • 4 Years
          8 months, 18 days ago

          Old article

    2. Eh, just one more thing ...
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 9 Years
      8 months, 18 days ago

      Think this is a few days old.

    3. Dark Side Of The Loon!
      • 5 Years
      8 months, 18 days ago

      Written on 30th Dec

  8. Mr Ozil
    • 6 Years
    8 months, 18 days ago

    Taylor > Justin for FT yes or no?

    Current defense: Mitchell Dallas Coufal and Stones

    1. Bronski
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      8 months, 18 days ago

      Yes too many doubts over ful/bur fixture

  9. Vazza
    • 1 Year
    8 months, 18 days ago

    Repost due to no response

    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. FPL_Mou
      8 months, 18 days ago

      No. You have all the main options. Can you get kdb/rashford using a FT?

    2. Scots Gooner
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      8 months, 18 days ago

      Honestly, I'd rather hang ontobthe free hit and just play what you've got. I doubt I'll put out a full XI in 18.

  10. Dont_Win_Friends_With_Salah…
    • 3 Years
    8 months, 18 days ago

    Thoughts on Grealish and DCL to Rashford and Antonio? Team currently is

    Martinez
    Robbo Holding Dias
    Son Bruno Zaha Grealish
    DCL Bamford Kane

    Mccarthy Justin James Podence

    1. Bronski
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      8 months, 18 days ago

      I say its a good shout (based on you not needing Antonio for GW18 blank)

  11. King Kohli
    • 8 Years
    8 months, 18 days ago

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

    Will look to 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

  12. Von Lipwig
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 3 Years
    8 months, 18 days ago

    How'm I looking lads? GTG?

    Any other Son cappers?

    Martinez
    Zouma Dallas Cresswell
    Salah Bruno Son(c) Soucek
    DCL Bamford Vardy
    (Forster Raphinha Kilman Taylor)

    1. Bronski
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      8 months, 18 days ago

      Son(c) for me

  13. tinear
    • 2 Years
    8 months, 18 days ago

    Help needed guys.

    Martinez
    Zouma, Stones, Taylor
    Salah, Son, Bruno, Raphinha
    Kane, Bamford, DCL

    Steer, Ayling, Bissouma, Mitchell
    2ft 3.3itb

    Planned to ship Taylor and Mitchell to Pieters and Robbo.

    Leaving me with
    Robbo, Pieters, Zouma, Ayling, Stones

    Who to bench?
    Or only Taylor to Robbo and start Robbo, Zouma, Stones?

  14. Flynny
    • 6 Years
    8 months, 18 days ago

    Happy new year!. 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

    1. HippY
      • 10 Years
      8 months, 18 days ago

      Looks good, only negative is no spurs vs SHU, I know they only play once that GW but it's a possible cricket score kind of game

      1. Flynny
        • 6 Years
        8 months, 18 days ago

        You can't have them all!!

  15. estheblessed
    • 6 Years
    8 months, 18 days ago

    What to do here? 1FT and £0.2m

    Martinez
    Cancelo, Dier, Balbuena
    Son, Grealish, Bruno, Salah
    Kane, Bamford, DCL

    Nyland, Taylor, Anguissa, Kilman

  16. Cahill
    • 11 Years
    8 months, 18 days ago

    so lost 🙁

    1. Vazza
      • 1 Year
      8 months, 18 days ago

      Me too mate

      1. Cahill
        • 11 Years
        8 months, 18 days ago

        was all set until city/villa fixtures got thrown in!

        1. Vazza
          • 1 Year
          8 months, 18 days ago

          Me too

    2. Bronski
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      8 months, 18 days ago

      I know! Just remember another big DGW planned for around GW26/9 so if you can i would take odd hits to get you through at mo as too many doubts to plan long term

  17. Vazza
    • 1 Year
    8 months, 18 days ago

    Repost due to no response-

    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. Van der Faart
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 9 Years
      8 months, 18 days ago

      No, 2 or 3 transfers and you'll be ok

      1. Vazza
        • 1 Year
        8 months, 18 days ago

        This already is after 3 transfers with a 4 point hit

        1. funnyoldgame
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 12 Years
          8 months, 18 days ago

          you still have one more transfer before 18 so I'd stick with 8.

    2. funnyoldgame
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 12 Years
      8 months, 18 days ago

      A FT and possibly a hit would get you 9 players. I'd be very happy with that. I only have 5 playing in GW18 so a Freehit is much more beneficial for me.

  18. Pointless
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 5 Years
    8 months, 18 days ago

    What chances Balbuena gets back in West Ham team? I brought him and Taylor in two game weeks ago!

    1. Vazza
      • 1 Year
      8 months, 18 days ago

      100% in. He was only rested as WHU had games quick at succession

    2. estheblessed
      • 6 Years
      8 months, 18 days ago

      I bought the same two and they both blanked!

  19. tabby98
    • 5 Years
    8 months, 18 days ago

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

    Johnstone | Soucek, Alioski, Coufal

    Whats the right starting 11 here guys??

  20. House Frey Wedding Planner
    • 3 Years
    8 months, 18 days ago

    Would a projected GW19 team of 12 playing Double Gameweekers plus Holding, Smith-Rowe and Son (all whom have kind fixtures that week) be worth using a BB chip for?

    Would also have to take a -8 hit for this

    1. Van der Faart
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 9 Years
      8 months, 18 days ago

      Yes. Good single GWs are always good on BB IMO,

  21. wolves_simmo
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 11 Years
    8 months, 18 days ago

    Any pressers today?

  22. Don Kloppeone
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 4 Years
    8 months, 18 days ago

    Happy New Year all

    G2G? Unsure re who I’m benching. Armband is a toss up. Keep switching between Son and Bruno!

    Martinez
    Robbo, Dias, Dallas
    Salah, Bruno (v), Son (C), Raphinha, Soucek
    Kane, Bamford
    (Forster) (Coufal, Adams, KWP)

    Plan to FH in 18 and BB in 19. Will either bring in Vardy and Rashford for Kane and Son or find a way to get in KDB depending on how he looks.

    Cheers and GL!

    1. Bronski
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      8 months, 18 days ago

      I think Son/Bruno capts in that order for next 2 but there is a case for Permabruno

  23. diesel001
    • 4 Years
    8 months, 18 days ago

    Tough fixtures this GW. A lot of top-half teams playing each other:

    Everton (4th) vs West Ham (10th)
    Man Utd (2nd) vs Aston Villa (5th)
    Chelsea (6th) vs Man City (8th)
    Southampton (9th) vs Liverpool (1st)

    Might be a good week for Arsenal, Wolves, Leicester, and Burnley.

  24. FFSbet.com
    • 5 Years
    8 months, 18 days ago

    Transfers on FH count for price rises or they are like WC transfers?

    1. rokonto
      • 6 Years
      8 months, 18 days ago

      I think u lose the profit

    2. rainy
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • Has Moderation Rights
      • 6 Years
      8 months, 18 days ago

      Same as WC

  25. rokonto
    • 6 Years
    8 months, 18 days ago

    What's happening with Saiss? Plays the first 6 games, then misses 5 games, then plays the next 5!
    Is he nailed now or whar?

    1. rokonto
      • 6 Years
      8 months, 18 days ago

      *or what?

    2. Bronski
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      8 months, 18 days ago

      In superb form attack and defence, cant believe hes not nailed

  26. Disturbed
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 7 Years
    8 months, 18 days ago

    Bench one of these.

    A. Dallas Tot a
    B. Coufal eve a
    C. Zouma mci h

    1. Piksau
      • 7 Years
      8 months, 18 days ago

      Punt: Dallas
      Stable Choice: Coufal
      Pure attacking return potential: Zouma

  27. Pep Roulette
    • 3 Years
    8 months, 18 days ago

    Happy New Year Fam!

    Seriously don't know what to do with this team! 1 FT 0.1 ITB FH18 BB19

    McCarthy Johnstone
    Dallas Coufal Taylor Justin Balbuena
    Salah Mane Bruno Son Soucek
    Adams Bamford Wood

    Please suggest something!

  28. akhilrajau
    • 2 Years
    8 months, 18 days ago

    Martinez, Johnstone
    Robortson, Coufal, Dallas,Taylor, Mitchell
    Bruno, Son, Salah, Podence,Soucek
    Adams, Kane, Bamford
    bank: 1.7m, FT: 0

    Based on gw 19 which is the best one -4 hit

    A. Mitchell -> Stones ( rotation risk but nixe fixtures after gw 19 also)
    B. Taylor -> Wan-bissaka
    V. Any other

    1. akhilrajau
      • 2 Years
      8 months, 18 days ago

      Sorry bank is only 1.0

  29. S.Kuqi
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 8 Years
    8 months, 18 days ago

    Maguire better option than Cancelo?

    Both have good fixture before and after dgw but Harry is probably more likely to play.

    1. Whazza
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 9 Years
      8 months, 18 days ago

      You're forgetting City have a great defence and United a meh one

      1. S.Kuqi
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 8 Years
        8 months, 18 days ago

        True 😀

    1. CONNERS
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      8 months, 18 days ago

      Thanks