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

    Lamptey to
    A) Justin
    B) Holding
    C) Dallas

    Whoever I transfer in has to play really as the rest of my defence is
    James*, Taylor*, Cresswell and Dias

    Leaning towards Holding

    1. jimmyabs1987
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      4 months, 5 days ago

      Dallas

    2. Forgetmeknot
      • 2 Years
      4 months, 5 days ago

      I like this shout as good fixtures next two and I don’t need him for 19. Is he nailed for the next 2 I guess is the pressing qu

      1. Forgetmeknot
        • 2 Years
        4 months, 5 days ago

        Holding that is*

    3. chriscosta
      • 10 Years
      4 months, 5 days ago

      i think holding has the best fixture from the 3. B-A-C in than order i Guess

  2. LewanGOALski
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 9 Years
    4 months, 5 days ago

    Which strategy suits better for the DGW19 here?

    A) BB of this team:

    Martinez - Fabianski
    Robbo - Zouma - Lindelof - Coufal - Dallas
    Salah - Son - Bruno - Raphinha - Soucek
    Vardy - Adams - Bamford

    B) TC on Salah / KDB in this team:

    Martinez
    Zouma - Coufal - Dallas
    Salah - KDB - Bruno - Grealish
    Vardy - Adams - Bamford

    1. AzzaroMax99
      • 4 Years
      4 months, 5 days ago

      BB

    2. Cometh The Aouar...
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      4 months, 5 days ago

      Triple coverage in this climate? Brave

    3. ZAMUNDA
      • 4 Years
      4 months, 5 days ago

      A

    4. chriscosta
      • 10 Years
      4 months, 5 days ago

      I think BB would be then best option, well that what am doing anyway

  3. AzzaroMax99
    • 4 Years
    4 months, 5 days ago

    Help guys!

    1 FT
    4.0 IDB

    DCL to Vardy for free?

    McCarthy
    Robbo Dias Dallas
    Salah Son(C) Bruno Bowen
    Vardy Bamford Watkins

    Forster Cresswell Anguissa Mitchel

    Do it and g2g? Cheers!

    1. Bobby_Baggio
      • 10 Years
      4 months, 5 days ago

      Yep

    2. chriscosta
      • 10 Years
      4 months, 5 days ago

      Yes defo

    3. BERGKOP
      • 9 Years
      4 months, 5 days ago

      Yes

  4. akhilrajau
    • 2 Years
    4 months, 5 days ago

    Amy idea about Taylor injury? Is it ok to save for gw 19

    1. Fulchester's New Centr…
      • 3 Years
      4 months, 5 days ago

      If it is his hammy, probably 3 weeks out and then if Pieters plays okay in that time, he will likely keep the LB spot for a while so I'd sell if you have nothing else to worry about

      1. akhilrajau
        • 2 Years
        4 months, 5 days ago

        M tha k u. This move makes me 4 moves for gw 19 ao onky rhinking k thanks

  5. Disturbed
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 7 Years
    4 months, 5 days ago

    Better option for the next few gws- vardy or kdb?

    1. Fulchester's New Centr…
      • 3 Years
      4 months, 5 days ago

      If there ever was a time for Kev, this is it

    2. chriscosta
      • 10 Years
      4 months, 5 days ago

      KDB

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

      Kdb imo

  6. Bobby_Baggio
    • 10 Years
    4 months, 5 days ago

    Morning all. Looking to FH like most in GW18 & BB in 19. How am i set for this GW? Get Taylor out? Only have 4.7m ITB. Cheers.

    McCarthy
    Justin - Robbo - Alioski
    Bruno (C) - Son - Salah - Soucek
    Adams - Bamford - Kane(VC)

    Johnstone - Raphinha - Coufal - Taylor

    1. JJeyy
      • 5 Years
      4 months, 5 days ago

      where is son captain

      1. Bobby_Baggio
        • 10 Years
        4 months, 5 days ago

        Prefer Bruno and Kane can be my VC

        1. JJeyy
          • 5 Years
          4 months, 5 days ago

          Leeds are worst defence in the league, Villa are top 3

          1. Bobby_Baggio
            • 10 Years
            4 months, 5 days ago

            Cheers I normally like to choose my capt and stick with it. What are your thoughts on my question?

            1. JJeyy
              • 5 Years
              4 months, 5 days ago

              have no thoughts

              1. Bobby_Baggio
                • 10 Years
                4 months, 5 days ago

                Lol thanks

    2. Fulchester's New Centr…
      • 3 Years
      4 months, 5 days ago

      I'd guess Taylor's done. City def?

      1. Bobby_Baggio
        • 10 Years
        4 months, 5 days ago

        Would love to but 0.3 out from stones. Double up and get balbuena or lowton?

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

      4.7 itb damn thats some coin dude,
      You could buy anyone for that money after selling Taylor hahaha just kidding . I think heaps of people on here changing their minds about the FH and BB approach but I am still going for it. So I guess not a bad plan to ship Taylor out for Dallas maybe up to you dude gl man

  7. Cometh The Aouar...
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 8 Years
    4 months, 5 days ago

    Hope Maddy is fit at least for Newcastle!

  8. Pep Roulette
    • 3 Years
    4 months, 5 days ago

    Antonio or Rodrigo?

    1. Fulchester's New Centr…
      • 3 Years
      4 months, 5 days ago

      Antonio IF 100% fit, so probably Rodrigo

  9. QUEN
    • 2 Years
    4 months, 5 days ago

    Dallas or maguire for dgw

    Who gets more points

    1. ⚔★Vibudh★⚔
      • 4 Years
      4 months, 5 days ago

      Don't see CS for Leeds so Maguire

  10. Cahill
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 10 Years
    4 months, 5 days ago

    any reason why people are put off by BB19?

    still a decent plan with a hit or 2?

    1. Whazza
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      4 months, 5 days ago

      Yes I'm loving it! 15 DGW players the plan

      1. Whazza
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 8 Years
        4 months, 5 days ago

        Sorry reason is people plan to save FH and navigate GW18. Huge mistake imo getting 8-9 players out in covid times

        1. Cahill
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 10 Years
          4 months, 5 days ago

          cool thanks mate! annoying feeling I need KDB 🙁 gonna take a few hits to get him

          1. Whazza
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 8 Years
            4 months, 5 days ago

            You will get KDB for all his good games if you FH18 then hit him in 🙂 My plan is Son and DCL to KDB and Rodrigo -4 after FH.

    2. TheDragon
      • 3 Years
      4 months, 5 days ago

      People now want city for the double. Add to that a few injuries (ie Taylor) - I’d now need a -12/-16 to get there (whisky having Son this week and KDB in 19) which I think is too much

      It’s still a great plan if you can get to it in -8 or less with the big hitters you want

      Triple captain KDB in DGW19 could be absolutely huge given his low EO

      1. Make United Great Again
        • 8 Years
        4 months, 5 days ago

        But surely he needs to start showing some sort of form. People keep getting burned with KDB (C) in the hope that City will turn into the City of 2 years ago.

        Risky game.

    3. Mr Arsenal
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      4 months, 5 days ago

      It’s mostly because they will need to use transfers to get 2-3 DGW players and therefore then take more hits than planned to get a decent 15.

      Also KDB (TC) looks a great option now.

  11. Lazaretti
    • 3 Years
    4 months, 5 days ago

    Any presser today. Klich knock worrying might swap him to Soucek

  12. ⚔★Vibudh★⚔
    • 4 Years
    4 months, 5 days ago

    How crazy is it to consider using BB without a 2nd keeper?
    It would need a hit to bring the keeper and a transfer to sell him after DGW, also takes up 1m budget when he'll barely play after DGW(It's Martinez and the other keeper is Mendy)

    1. Fulchester's New Centr…
      • 3 Years
      4 months, 5 days ago

      You've answered your own question

    2. Whazza
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      4 months, 5 days ago

      There are cheaper than Martinez whose fixtures are meh. And you can WC out of it in 5-6 GWs if you plan to WC like most for DGW26 so won't require a transfer out. Depends if you need to strenghten your team in more important places ofc that comes first

  13. wolves_simmo
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 10 Years
    4 months, 5 days ago

    Who to captain?

    A) Salah - sou
    B) Bruno - AVL
    C) Son - LEE

    1. ⚔★Vibudh★⚔
      • 4 Years
      4 months, 5 days ago

      C for me

    2. Lazaretti
      • 3 Years
      4 months, 5 days ago

      C

    3. Make United Great Again
      • 8 Years
      4 months, 5 days ago

      C

  14. TheDragon
    • 3 Years
    4 months, 5 days ago

    Defence this week is:

    Robertson, Mitchell, Taylor, Dallas, KWP

    Dallas & KWP terrible fixtures and Mitchell & Taylor likely won’t start.

    A) Good to go (and hope at least Mitchell starts)
    B) Taylor -> Dias (-4) [id likely do this move for a hit in 19 anyway)

    1. Fulchester's New Centr…
      • 3 Years
      4 months, 5 days ago

      B

    2. Whazza
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      4 months, 5 days ago

      B but start Mitchell!

  15. Wiking Warrior
      4 months, 5 days ago

      2 ft.

      Taylor, Klich > Soucek, Cresswell.

      FH GW18
      BB GW 19

      Team
      Mccartney
      Dallas, Coufal, Cancelo, Justin, Taylor

      Salah, Son, De Bruyne, Bruno, Klich

      Adams, Wood, Bamford

      1. Wiking Warrior
          4 months, 5 days ago

          Gtg?

      2. Slim25
        • 5 Years
        4 months, 5 days ago

        Happy new year gents!
        Looking to set up for the double gwk in 19, what option would be best? (2 ft's)
        A: Grealish, Lewis & Mitchell - Raphinha, Chilwell & Phillips
        B: Lewis, Mitchell & DCL - James, Phillips & Bamford

        Current team
        Martinez (Button)
        Stones, Ayling, Coufal (Mitchell, Lewis)
        KDB, Bruno, Salah, Grealish, Soucek
        Kane, DCL (Brewster)

        1. Wiking Warrior
            4 months, 5 days ago

            B

        2. chriscosta
          • 10 Years
          4 months, 5 days ago

          Happy New Year to All, Hopefully we are have a much better 2021 !!

          So i have be planning for BGW - Using my FH (as am missing 8 players)
          DGW-19 I will have 13 from 15 players (so i will be playing BB Chip)

          Now my team need a little fixing , so i dont miss my FT as i will be playing FH next week and would like to try and add an extra city players

          Current Team :

          Mendy (martinez)

          C.Taylor, Coufal,Justin (Ayling KWP)

          Maddison Salah Bruno Son(C) KDB

          Bamford Adams (brewster) (- ITB 0.7)

          Options

          Maddison For

          A) Torres (City)
          B) Jones (LIV) - Help me replace Brewster or Add Dias to squard
          C) Keep as they are playing newcastle

          if C then option B would be to replace Mendy i Guess
          also i Could add maybe an West Ham player.

          Trying to use my FT wisely as i dont like taking hits
          Any Idea's Are more than welcome

          1. chriscosta
            • 10 Years
            4 months, 5 days ago

            OK i Think am convinced myself with new option after reading a few comments here lol,

            C.Taylor will give me 5.2 ITB

            A) Stones
            B) Dias -4 and mendy to johnstone
            C) any other idea
            D) Mee
            E) Lowton

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

              Probably a punt on stones that's my plan anyway gl

              1. chriscosta
                • 10 Years
                4 months, 5 days ago

                thanks mate,
                yeah minimised my options between stones or lowton.
                just holding out uness there another postpoment

        3. 17legend85
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 3 Years
          4 months, 5 days ago

          Is anyone else thinking like me! Now the news of added games to gw18/19
          I can play with 9 players gw18
          10 players playing twice gw19
          This allows me to hold my FH chip for later in the season.
          Good plan or pointless?

          1. Sarri-ball
            • 11 Years
            4 months, 5 days ago

            Im doing similar luckly got 11 for gw18 ss plan was gw18 then 19 free hit.

            I think withntjat numbers id save chips till later in season

          2. Fantasydreamer
            • 3 Years
            4 months, 5 days ago

            Same as me - I think if you have de Bruyne/Man City def/Fernandes/spurs boy as part of those 9 for GW18 I think we should be ok

            Big decision will be whether to TC in 19 or hold

          3. tisza
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 6 Years
            4 months, 5 days ago

            If it's 9 decent players it could be a strong option. Going to be a lot of players outside FFS not playing a chip then and having less than 11 starters.

        4. chaser123
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 3 Years
          4 months, 5 days ago

          Any updates on Reece James?

        5. The_Fish
          • 3 Years
          4 months, 5 days ago

          Any news on when Lamptey and Taylor will be back?

          1. Super Saints
            • 4 Years
            4 months, 5 days ago

            This so bad! I have both and 0 ITB, teampted on Taylor to Lowton

        6. AzzaroMax99
          • 4 Years
          4 months, 5 days ago

          Anyone going for Antonio?
          Maybe Watkins to Antonio for me, but not sure yet.

          1. tisza
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 6 Years
            4 months, 5 days ago

            That's a GW 19 transfer once he's proved his fitness

        7. IRBOX ⚽
          • 4 Years
          4 months, 5 days ago

          What’s the rationale behind Son (C). Leeds defensively poor? Correct, however, Spurs have been abysmal with the lowest xG in the league over their last four aside from West Brom. Would not be surprised if Leeds do them here in a tight 1-0 or 2-1

          1. tokara
            • 6 Years
            4 months, 5 days ago

            Nobody has crystal ball

          2. CroatianHammer
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 5 Years
            4 months, 5 days ago

            Leeds will attack, allowing Spurs to play that full game. If Spurs go forward, Leeds counter, and vice versa. Spurs go for a tight game at 1-0, but they won't get that. Leeds attack.

          3. Make United Great Again
            • 8 Years
            4 months, 5 days ago

            End to end match. Leeds games are crazy open.

            Lots of space in behind for Son.

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

            The conclusion that I've come to is this. Leeds force you to get involved in an entertaining game. They WILL attack throughout the game and can hurt you if you just sit back. And the opposing team you have no choice but to follow suit. They will make Spurs' team attack the Leeds goal. Thats just how Leeds impose their playing style. True entertainers. They'll force Mou to attack them; no matter how much he tries to resist.

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

            Yeah I am with makes United great again opinion on this, son will love this

        8. Super Saints
          • 4 Years
          4 months, 5 days ago

          With 0 ITB and Taylor and Lamptey in my squad who should I transfer one of them too? Already have Coufal KWP Dallas.

          1. Fulchester's New Centr…
            • 3 Years
            4 months, 5 days ago

            Lowton?

        9. Jinswick
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 10 Years
          4 months, 5 days ago

          Any obvious transfer moves here?

          McCarthy
          Cancelo, Bellerin, Dier
          Salah, KDB, Bruno, Son
          Bamford, Wilson, Watkins

          Forster, Martinelli, Targett, Douglas
          Bank 0.1m, 2FTs

        10. Pep Roulette
          • 3 Years
          4 months, 5 days ago

          Any news on Burnley vs Fulham?

        11. Nightf0x
          • 5 Years
          4 months, 5 days ago

          Johnstone forster
          Dias dier dalas kilman target
          Salah son bruno lokman grealish
          Bamford vardy dcl

          2 ft, 0.2 itb, didnt plan anything for upcoming gws, this gw plan is grealish lokman johnstone/kilman out with a hit, might play FH in dgw19, whats your thoughts ?

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

          Please help

          A. WC
          B. -4 or -8 to get 14-15 dgw players

          McCarthy-Steer
          Chilwell-Justin-Lindelöf-Coufal-Taylor
          Salah-Bruno-KDB-Son-Grealish
          Bamford-Adams-Brewster

        13. George James
          • 6 Years
          4 months, 5 days ago

          Reece James >>

          A) Alioski
          B) Holding
          C) Someone else 4.7 or under to allow other moves

        14. Over Midwicket
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 9 Years
          4 months, 5 days ago

          Anyone considering FH19 to get 3 City, 3 United, 2 Leeds and 3 WHU defence (or something)?.

          1. Jinswick
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 10 Years
            4 months, 5 days ago

            That was my original plan, but can now get 11 out in 18 and 19 without hits so thinking that probably makes sense. Also opens the door to a TC in 19 - Salah or KDB look good candidates

            1. George James
              • 6 Years
              4 months, 5 days ago

              Same

        15. Enrico Palazzo
            4 months, 5 days ago

            With Edersen now out for today’s game and maybe the next, who’s the best keeper to take a punt on?

            My defence is chilwell, coufal, Dias, reguilon, Justin