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. unitednations
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 9 Years
    4 months, 16 days ago

    Which two to start from these, not ideal i know.

    A: Dallas (tot)....will be having Son (c)
    B: Coufal (eve)....will have Dcl
    C: Stones (che).....already have Cancelo starting so this would be a dbl up

    Leaning towards A and B for attacking potential

    1. Piksau
      • 6 Years
      4 months, 16 days ago

      Coufal will start after being rested last GW
      This could end up being a cagey affair with not many goals....but still a better option than doubling up on the city defense this GW

  2. Fero1905
    • 1 Year
    4 months, 16 days ago

    Sorry for my english guys, but und have one question.

    I want to use my free hit on gw 18. The rules says that when i use the free hit i will loose the 1 free transfer for gw 18 and i will have normal 1 free transfer for gw19. Can i make my normal transfer on gw18 before i use the free hit? I Would do one transfer for prepare to gw19 and after that i would use my free hit, would it work?

    1. Vazza
        4 months, 16 days ago

        No, you lose the transfers you made

      • Whazza
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 8 Years
        4 months, 16 days ago

        NO

      • Alopex
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 10 Years
        4 months, 16 days ago

        That is how I understand it

    2. Piksau
      • 6 Years
      4 months, 16 days ago

      Taylor-> ?
      A) Dias
      B) Cancelo

      1. Tango74
          4 months, 16 days ago

          I have dame dilemma but I may keep Taylor for DGW. But not cancelo as he’s rumoured to have Covid

          1. Piksau
            • 6 Years
            4 months, 16 days ago

            - City have a good run of fixtures after Chelsea...and Dias is due for a price rise...Cancelo is a more attacking threat in open play but only 1 assist so far!) with Dias mainly a scoring/assisting threat on corners and set pieces...
            - Not confident about Burnley and Aston Villa fixtures....its a tough period for these 2 teams....

          2. Follyfarmer
            • 3 Years
            4 months, 16 days ago

            City play play thier first game on the dgw on the 17th. Cancelo would be clear by then.

      2. jdp219
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 4 Years
        4 months, 16 days ago

        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)

      3. Mr Arsenal
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 8 Years
        4 months, 16 days ago

        How about 3 Leeds attackers for the DGW. They’re all cheap enablers too.

        Imagine if they score 5-6 over two games...

        1. Van der Faart
          • 9 Years
          4 months, 16 days ago

          Definitely looking at one other along with Bamford

      4. Sol
        • 6 Years
        4 months, 16 days ago

        Any news about Reece James is he going to start ?

        1. Whazza
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 8 Years
          4 months, 16 days ago

          Got rid for a hit, you will ask yourself this every gw for a while

      5. Van der Faart
        • 9 Years
        4 months, 16 days ago

        Lamptey to Justin for free?

        Martinez/McCarthy
        *Justin Dias Taylor (James, Cresswell)
        Son Salah Soucek Bruno
        Kane Bamford Adams

        1. Bleh
          • 4 Years
          4 months, 16 days ago

          Either Justin or Dallas.

      6. klopp2567
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 1 Year
        4 months, 16 days ago

        Cap Son or Bruno?

        1. Van der Faart
          • 9 Years
          4 months, 16 days ago

          Sonny

        2. GreennRed
          • 9 Years
          4 months, 16 days ago

          Bruno for me, Son VC.

        3. Booked4Dissent
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          4 months, 16 days ago

          You decide

          1. klopp2567
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 1 Year
            4 months, 16 days ago

            bruno as per me

        4. Mr Arsenal
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 8 Years
          4 months, 16 days ago

          Son.

          I think Villa will beat ManU 1-0.

          1. klopp2567
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 1 Year
            4 months, 16 days ago

            naa united bracing it for sure

        5. Hot Fuzz
          • 4 Years
          4 months, 16 days ago

          Son imo he loves this fixture I think even better if biesla goes full throttle

      7. Lucky Z
        • 3 Years
        4 months, 16 days ago

        Guys do you think that Martial is no more a long term option with Cavani threat?

        1. Booked4Dissent
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          4 months, 16 days ago

          He’s starting for next two at least with Cavani suspension

        2. stu92
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 1 Year
          4 months, 16 days ago

          He hasn’t been a threat of any sort for about six months, big risk to be thinking about him in the long term.

        3. Mr Arsenal
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 8 Years
          4 months, 16 days ago

          No Cavani threat for the next two PL games..

          1. Lucky Z
            • 3 Years
            4 months, 16 days ago

            I mentioned 'long-term' knowing that

        4. Piksau
          • 6 Years
          4 months, 16 days ago

          Cavani is only missing 1 GW due to his suspension....so mostly he and martial will be sharing minutes

        5. GreennRed
          • 9 Years
          4 months, 16 days ago

          Cavanis's suspended until 12th but Martial is less nailed on when Cavanis's available.

        6. Party time
          • 2 Years
          4 months, 16 days ago

          If he goes big in the next 2 gws, then he will be a nailed starter for the dgw

          1. Lucky Z
            • 3 Years
            4 months, 16 days ago

            Good point

      8. stu92
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 1 Year
        4 months, 16 days ago

        Who should I start here? Not sure any will keep a clean sheet but leaning towards A.

        A) Zouma (MCI)
        B) Targett (mun)
        C) Alioski (tot)

        1. Bleh
          • 4 Years
          4 months, 16 days ago

          Yep A of those

      9. Bleh
        • 4 Years
        4 months, 16 days ago

        Forward thinking never a good idea in this climate but thoughts on these two teams for the next few? Not using any chips.

        GW18
        Martinez
        Dias, Stones, Holding
        KDB, Bruno
        DCL, Kane

        GW19 (-4)
        Martinez
        Dias, Stones, Dallas, Cresswell
        KDB, Bruno, Salah, Soucek
        Bamford, Vardy

        1. stu92
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 1 Year
          4 months, 16 days ago

          That looks like a decent 18 squad without any chips, go for it.

          1. Bleh
            • 4 Years
            4 months, 16 days ago

            Thanks mate.

        2. Don Kloppeone
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 3 Years
          4 months, 16 days ago

          Very decent. You think you’ll have a better opportunity with all chips later? GW19 is a great opportunity imo

          1. Bleh
            • 4 Years
            4 months, 16 days ago

            Yep thinking I can get the most out of BB if I played it in a DGW directly after using my wildcard (after building lots of TV). TC always an option for GW19 though.

      10. estheblessed
        • 6 Years
        4 months, 16 days ago

        G2G or change something? 1FT and £0.2m

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

        Nyland, Taylor, Anguissa, Kilman

        1. stu92
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 1 Year
          4 months, 16 days ago

          Bench isn’t great, I’d maybe upgrade there if nothing else to do. Also if you are planning on using the FH next week, you can’t carry any transfers so you are as well doing something to the bench/Nyland.

        2. Don Kloppeone
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 3 Years
          4 months, 16 days ago

          Depends on your chip plans. The first XI is fine but the bench needs sorting

      11. trasbash
        • 3 Years
        4 months, 16 days ago

        Best mid under 5.5 to get in now and keep until at least GW 20?

        A) Soucek
        B) Raphina
        C) Harrison
        D) Saka

        Any others?

        1. stu92
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 1 Year
          4 months, 16 days ago

          I’m enjoying Raphinha. Soucek will get 8/9 every month or so, but Raphinha looks like he could haul every game if it falls to him right way.

      12. Nightcrawler
        • 1 Year
        4 months, 16 days ago

        PVA Worth a 1 week punt? (Have mitchell for cover)

        Bascially FHing next week so cant save a transfer...and cant get robbo this week without selling son or kane

        So will turn PVA into Robbo before DGW19 when i sell one of Kane/Son

        1. Hot Fuzz
          • 4 Years
          4 months, 16 days ago

          Nah not for me not in a good shape atm way better options in that bracket imo

      13. S.Kuqi
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 8 Years
        4 months, 16 days ago

        Thoughts?

        Will probably pull the trigger after deadline and use my second wildcard. Bench boost in gw19.

        10 players in gw18
        15 players in gw19

        Martinez (Johnstone)
        Dias-Cancelo-Lowton (Balbuena,Coufal)
        Kdb-Fernandes-Son-Rashford (Raphinha)
        Dcl-Watkins (Bamford)

        Gw19 Dcl&Son -> Antonio& Salah for -4

        1. Whazza
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 8 Years
          4 months, 16 days ago

          Looks great but that's what WC does. Are you really in such a bad spot you need to use WC?

          1. S.Kuqi
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 8 Years
            4 months, 16 days ago

            Currently 5 players for gw18 and 9 for gw19.

            Ranked around 700k. Just have a feeling that I have to act now if I want climb in rankings. No use to wildcatd when there is 10 gws left this season.

            1. Whazza
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 8 Years
              4 months, 16 days ago

              FH18 and transfer for full DGW19 team? TC Salah if you can't reach BB? Wildcard will come in handy in gw 24-25 to prep for the big DGW26 and BGW29.

              1. S.Kuqi
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 8 Years
                4 months, 16 days ago

                Thats other option but not sure if I want to go for dgw without ManC players. Will be huge swing if they keep two cs.

                1. Whazza
                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                  • 8 Years
                  4 months, 16 days ago

                  So transfer in City? I was City-less so just got two in for this week -4

                  1. S.Kuqi
                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                    • 8 Years
                    4 months, 16 days ago

                    Pretty much yes. You got me thinking, thanks. Need to see if I could field decent team for gw19 with few hits and fh in gw18

      14. IRBOX ⚽
        • 4 Years
        4 months, 16 days ago

        Don’t know why more people aren’t talking about Salah for captain. Cannot remember the last time he blanked three times in a row and he loves smashing in goals against the Saints, who love to play that high line and are asking for trouble against Liverpool imo

        1. Nightcrawler
          • 1 Year
          4 months, 16 days ago

          Saints are bad defensively against good attacks

          Conceded 5 to spurs
          3 to chelsea
          3 to utd
          Only 1 to city who missed countless chances

          Easy salah(c)

        2. Party time
          • 2 Years
          4 months, 16 days ago

          Salah(C) here although there are other good options too

        3. Vazza
            4 months, 16 days ago

            Salah is still a great option

          • Don Kloppeone
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 3 Years
            4 months, 16 days ago

            He’s definitely a good option. I just feel like defences that have it in them to perform have learnt how to stifle Salah a bit.

            I have Salah, Son, Bruno, Kane and it’s a massive headache!

            1. IRBOX ⚽
              • 4 Years
              4 months, 16 days ago

              Like Palace? That was tipped to be a difficult fixture for the Reds. Nek minute slaps them for 7

              1. Don Kloppeone
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 3 Years
                4 months, 16 days ago

                It’s true.... argh mate don’t make my headache worse!

            2. GreennRed
              • 9 Years
              4 months, 16 days ago

              If Spurs score first I'm not expecting much after that from Son (VC) or Kane, recent games just Happy to sit and try and hold a lead. Though it has cost tgem. Need Leeds to score a few for Spurs to chase goals.

              1. Don Kloppeone
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 3 Years
                4 months, 16 days ago

                Agree with this.

                We just don’t know what will happen and no guarantee that form or fixtures will translate into results.

                Who’s your pick from Salah, Son and Bruno?

                1. GreennRed
                  • 9 Years
                  4 months, 16 days ago

                  Bruno, Son VC.

          • GreennRed
            • 9 Years
            4 months, 16 days ago

            Yeah, he didn't play badly against Newcastle, Darlow was inspired. But I've seen Salah sharper.

        4. Vazza
            4 months, 16 days ago

            Repost due to no response

            Here are the players I could have for BGW18 after using the free transfers available this week and next week -

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

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

            1. Don Kloppeone
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 3 Years
              4 months, 16 days ago

              That’s v tough as id say that’s borderline!

              It may be worth holding it tbh but could go either way!

              Sorry not so helpful

            2. Whazza
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 8 Years
              4 months, 16 days ago

              Yo! I'm contemplating FH with one more player if that helps...

            3. stu92
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 1 Year
              4 months, 16 days ago

              Agree with Don as it’s pretty tight. I’d be more tempted to take a -4 or -8 maybe to avoid using the FH as unless you’re making major changes it’s maybe not worth it.

            4. JabariParkersEyelid
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 1 Year
              4 months, 16 days ago

              Build a free hit team & compare how many points you think it gets to what you have.

              Then if you're happy the points loss isn't too great save the free hit.

              For what it's worth, I'd probably have 5 of the players you've listed in a free hit team.

          • Don Kloppeone
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 3 Years
            4 months, 16 days ago

            Lost on last page

            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!

          • Dele
            • 4 Years
            4 months, 16 days ago

            Johnstone still worth getting for a bench boost?

            1. Dele
              • 4 Years
              4 months, 16 days ago

              Or more, is a goalkeeper essential for bench boost?

              1. Piksau
                • 6 Years
                4 months, 16 days ago

                if even 1 fixture is decent between the 2 then yes.
                Problem is that we need to see if any further suspensions happen in the next 2 GWs...that could make the bench boost irrelevant.

          • karpuzz
            • 3 Years
            4 months, 16 days ago

            Happy New year, everyone!

            Captain:

            A: Rashford
            B: Salah
            C Wilson

            Thanks

          • ⚔★Vibudh★⚔
            • 4 Years
            4 months, 16 days ago

            Play Holding or Rodrigo?

            1. Whazza
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 8 Years
              4 months, 16 days ago

              Rodrigo if you love football

            2. Hot Fuzz
              • 4 Years
              4 months, 16 days ago

              Rodrigo by a mile imo as whazza said for the love of football hahaha

          • Alisson WondHaaland
            • 5 Years
            4 months, 16 days ago

            Best trio for a GW 19 BB?

            A) Vardy Harrison Bowen
            B) Rodrigo KDB Bissouma

            1. Whazza
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 8 Years
              4 months, 16 days ago

              A

          • unitednations
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 9 Years
            4 months, 16 days ago

            Do we know which 3 city players got Covid last week? In addition to Walker and Jesus.

            Ederson is def one of them, who are the others

          • C_Manan
            • 1 Year
            4 months, 16 days ago

            Safest City Defender to get ? Money no issue, downgrading Robbo

            1. Whazza
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 8 Years
              4 months, 16 days ago

              Seems to be Dias but wait for presser

          • OptimusBlack
            • 8 Years
            4 months, 16 days ago

            Pick two to play with Robbo
            A- James
            B- Stones
            C- Coufal
            D- Dallas

          • Lindelol
            • 2 Years
            4 months, 16 days ago

            1.Che Adams to Watkins?
            2. improve bench by replacing Taylor with Coufal?
            3. None

            1. Whazza
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 8 Years
              4 months, 16 days ago

              1. Luxury transfer
              2. Do it
              3. I misunderstood this

              1. Lindelol
                • 2 Years
                4 months, 16 days ago

                Thanks - 3 is saving the FT

            2. Piksau
              • 6 Years
              4 months, 16 days ago

              i would say keep Che....AV have a bad run of fixtures...
              transfer Taylor with any defender that you can afford...

          • Messien
            • 8 Years
            4 months, 16 days ago

            4 captain blanks in a row, help me not make it 5. Bruno, Kane or Salah for the C?

            1. C_Manan
              • 1 Year
              4 months, 16 days ago

              Pls go with Kane and make him blank

            2. Hot Fuzz
              • 4 Years
              4 months, 16 days ago

              Then probably salah he loves scoring vs saints.gl

          • Fantasydreamer
            • 3 Years
            4 months, 16 days ago

            Is maguire an upgrade on Dallas for the DGW?

            And is aguero an option for the double? Not sure on the fitness situation

          • Jinswick
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 10 Years
            4 months, 16 days ago

            Reckon I can avoid using the FH chip here? Have 10 starters for the GW18 blank (*), 8 starters for the GW19 double (CAPS) and 2FTs this week:

            MCCARTHY, Forster
            CANCELO*, TARGETT*, Bellerin*, Dier*, Douglas
            SALAH, KDB*, BRUNO*, Son*, Martinelli*
            WATKINS*, BAMFORD, Wilson*

            Bank 0.1m, 2FTs

          • The 12th Man
            • 7 Years
            4 months, 16 days ago

            For the double.
            A) Vardy + Raphinia + 4 points
            B) KDB + Rodrigo/Adams/Antonio

            1. Whazza
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 8 Years
              4 months, 16 days ago

              A

            2. CONNERS
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 2 Years
              4 months, 16 days ago

              Probably A but no KDB risky with those fixtures.