Fantasy Premier League managers must bide their time as the Double Gameweek 19 situation continues to swirl around them like a hurricane.
I have laid my plans for the bumper round of fixtures but am always keeping one eye on my shoulder.
In this article, I will go over my current set-up in light of the upcoming fixtures and my response to Leeds v Southampton getting postponed.
In the last week Fantasy managers have had to deal with the uncertainty surrounding potential fixture postponements and rearrangements and I must admit, it came as a relief to finally see the Blank Gameweek 18 deadline approach to take any further decisions out of my hands.
However, further chaos is just around the corner with the first Double Gameweek of the season starting just two days after the final fixture of the current Gameweek.
I have been preparing for this bumper Gameweek since I played my Wildcard back in Gameweek 16, so I thought now would be a good time to go through some of my selections and plans looking ahead.
My plan has always been to activate my Bench Boost in Double Gameweek 19, but I think it’s worth mentioning that in this ever changing environment it’s important to remain flexible and open minded to any potential changes to the football scheduling. I certainly won’t be activating any chips or making transfers until as late as possible. Information is far more important than catching any price rises for the time being.
I also believe that now more than ever there is a fair amount of luck involved, so don’t get too downbeat if any fixture amendments go against you.
The situation has changed somewhat since I prepped my squad in anticipation of Bench Boosting in Double Gameweek 19. The biggest problem I am faced with is the lack of Manchester City assets. Not only have City been handed a tasty looking Double Gameweek, with home matches against Crystal Palace and Aston Villa, but they have arguably returned to their brilliant best.
After brushing Chelsea aside in Gameweek 17, and a great performance at Old Trafford in the Carabao Cup, a nice run of fixtures means City assets are well and truly back in our thinking.
Like many others, I decided to triple up on Manchester City as part of my Free Hit in Gameweek 18, so I am hopeful for big returns in tonight’s match against Brighton. However, since welcoming back my Gameweek 17 team I don’t see a single light-blue shirt in the squad, and this is something I am keen to address with my transfers this week.
Looking ahead, Manchester City’s favourable run continues in the three fixtures following Double Gameweek 19 as they travel to West Bromwich Albion, host Sheffield United and visit Burnley. I am not rushing into any decisions but I feel multiple hits could be on the cards in order to get two or three Manchester City players in prior to the Double Gameweek and as part of my long term thinking.
So, let’s go through some of my selections and how I may decide to use my transfers.
I wanted to pick Sam Johnstone (£4.5m) as my goalkeeper going forward after the arrival of Sam Alladyce at West Bromwich Albion. I felt sure he would come in and tighten up their defence but heavy defeats against Leeds and Arsenal do not bode well for my decision.
Hopefully, two weeks on the training ground since their last fixture will help improve clean sheet potential for the Baggies.
I paired Johnstone up with the cheapest of the Double Gameweek 19 goalkeepers in Fulham’s Alphonse Areola (£4.5m). My expectations are low here but Im hoping with a combined four fixtures between them, they can at the very least rack up some save points for me.
My main issue I need to address in this area is the out of favour Fabian Balbuena (£4.4m). With two favourable fixtures in Double Gameweek 19, home matches against Burnley and West Bromwich Albion) I felt the Paraguayan could prove good value.
It seems, however, Craig Dawson (£4.5m) has firmly locked down a place in the West Ham back-four, so Balbuena is almost a certainty to make way for me this week. This spot could be ideal to bring in the likes of John Stones (£5.0m) or Ruben Dias (£5.8m).
MIDFIELDERS AND FORWARDS
On paper, my selections back in Gameweek 16 still look alright for Double Gameweek 19.
Harry Kane (£11.1m) was my only current single Gameweek player, although Patrick Bamford (£6.6m), Raphinha (£5.5m) and Che Adams (£6.0m) have joined that list now.
Either way, with a difficult fixture run on the horizon from Gameweek 20, when Spurs host Liverpool and Chelsea either side of a trip to Brighton, Kane could be the fall-guy for me in order to fund signing the Manchester City assets.
The flag on Adams is also something I need to keep an eye on too, especially as he only has one Double Gameweek 19 match now. The possible replacement players in my thoughts for forwards are Michail Antonio (£6.2m) and Ollie Watkins (£6.1m). Although I will be hoping for assurances on both Antonio’s match fitness and the COVID-19 situation at Villa Park before bringing in either player.
My current plan is to take a minus-eight or minus-twelve to bring in Antonio, Kevin De Bruyne (£11.8m) and one or both of Dias and Stones. I feel this would leave me with a very strong bench boost side and in good shape going forward. I’m not usually a big advocate for taking hits but the beauty of rebuilding my squad within a Double Gameweek is I feel there’s a good chance the hits will be paid back with interest over the course of the two games.
Having said all that, the situation has changed once again following my initial plans with Leeds and Southampton down to one match in Double Gameweek 19.
My first response to that is probably to bench my Saints assets and consider the Triple Captain chip instead but there is still plenty of time for this Gameweek to change again before Saturday’s deadline so I don’t want to commit just yet.
Thanks for reading and good luck with your plans.