Welcome to the Fantasy Football Scout Guide to Double Gameweek 19 ahead of today’s 11:00 GMT deadline.
The fixture schedule has shifted once again. Like a surreal game of Grandmother’s Footsteps, it’s moved every time you turn to look at it.
Aston Villa lost and regained their Double Gameweek in a matter of hours, although they now face Newcastle United instead of Everton in addition to Manchester City. But the clever fixture juggling did not extend to Leeds United and Southampton, with their upcoming midweek game postponed to accommodate Southampton’s rescheduled FA Cup tie.
During these testing times, we can expect further changes with little warning.
In a letter sent last week, Premier League chief executive Richard Masters alerted clubs that they should plan for more matches being postponed or rearranged at short notice. And a joint statement from the Premier League, FA and EFL, restated the desire to complete the season in May.
So, who knows what twists and turns await? Could we yet see Leeds vs Southampton rearranged for Gameweek 19?
Shrewsbury, already without their manager Steve Cotterill for Tuesday’s tie, may suffer more ill-effects from coronavirus (COVID-19), or, by some miracle, could the Shrews beat Southampton on Tuesday? However unlikely, Leeds and Southampton would then both have a free weekend slot.
But that might be taking ‘Fantasy’ football a step too far. Sticking with what we know, here’s Legomané’s updated fixture ticker:
|‘TBA’ fixtures||Possible Gameweek Slots|
|Aston Villa v Everton||24-to-28, 30-to-34, 37|
|Aston Villa v Tottenham Hotspur||26, 32, 37|
|Burnley v Fulham||24-to-28, 30-to-34, 37|
|Everton v Manchester City||24, 26, 27, 32, 37|
|Fulham v Tottenham Hotspur||26, 32, 37|
|Leeds United v Southampton||24-to-28, 30-to-34, 37|
|Manchester City v Southampton||24, 26, 27, 32, 37|
Triple Gameweek Scenario
Future Double Gameweeks, and possibly Triple Gameweeks, await Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City.
The two sides contest the EFL Cup final (coinciding with Gameweek 33), and are both still in the FA Cup and European competitions: should they progress to the latter stages, Spurs will potentially have to squeeze five matches into three available Gameweek slots, and Man City would have to fit five games into five free slots.
So no COVID-19 leeway and additional fixture shenanigans could lie ahead.
To Bench Boost or not to Bench Boost?
After the latest changes, a question facing many managers – and one tackled by our Scoutcast trio of Joe, Seb, and Karam – is now that Leeds and Southampton don’t have two matches in Gameweek 19, is it still worth using the Bench Boost?
The thing is, if you already Wildcarded in Gameweek 16, and you set up your team to Bench Boost, you need something bigger than this to back out from it. Because it’s one of the chips that if you don’t do it now, you will wait for another chance [and] you might have a lot of funds remain on your bench.– Karam
Leeds-fan Seb added:
Ideally I want to be Bench Boosting all 15 players for double, unless someone crazy has got a great fixture, [but] often they might be more expensive, so typically you’re going to have medium to cheap assets on the bench, that’s the goal … On Leeds, so I think if you’ve been forced into this a little bit and you still want to use that Bench Boost, it’s not terrible. They’re playing Brighton at home … if you’ve got Bamford, Dallas, and Raphina on your bench maybe that is a Bench Boost – Bamford could score three!
However not all managers feel the same. Pro Pundit Az has been reduced to eight Double Gameweek players, scuppering any hopes he had for using the chip.
So, with fixture rescheduling putting any plans I had for a Bench Boost on hold, I am considering which chip I should use if any.
Instead the co-host of FPL BlackBox is contemplating using his Triple Captain. But Manchester United go to Liverpool with Bruno Fernandes (£11.3m) a booking away from a one-match ban, and Mohamed Salah (£12.5m) is out of form. Although both sides have favourable second fixtures against Fulham and Burnley respectively.
Buying Manchester City Players
The other challenge facing Az and those like Pro Pundit Darren Wiles, who used their first Wildcard late to set up a Gameweek 19 Bench Boost, is how to accommodate Manchester City players?
The Citizens didn’t feature in Darren’s original plans, given that they had just a single Gameweek before their fixture with Aston Villa was rearranged.
But they’ve since come into form with an eye-catching 3-1 win away to Chelsea, and Pep Guardiola’s side have now kept six clean sheets in their last eight matches, giving them the best defensive record in the league.
Ahead of enticing homes matches against Crystal Palace and West Brom, Jan Sienkiewicz sides with the captain poll in backing De Bruyne with the armband:
De Bruyne is a truly world class player and it should be only a matter of time before he matches his outstanding underlying statistics. With two home games against non-top-six sides, Manchester City should continue their winning run and De Bruyne is expected to be at the heart of the action.
All this leads Darren, in his latest article, to contemplate a minus 12 to bring in Kevin De Bruyne (£11.8m), Rúben Dias (£5.8m), John Stones (£5.0m) and Michail Antonio (£6.2m) for Harry Kane (£11.1m), Marcus Rashford (£9.6m), Kyle Walker-Peters (£4.8m) and Fabián Balbuena (£4.4m).
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.– Darren
But the Live Hall of Fame No 2 remains undecided on whether to use the Bench Boost as it would include players like Che Adams (£6.0m), who is available for selection after recovering from concussion.
In direct contrast to Darren’s multiple hit, Former FPL Champion Simon March used Marshmallows to demonstrate that patience is a virtue.
A graduate in behavioural economics, Simon referred to the Stanford Marshmallow Experiment in which children were given the choice of eating a marshmallow now or instead being given a second marshmallow in 15 minutes.
When they followed up 10 years later, the scientists found that the children who delayed gratification and waited for the second marshmallow, had scored better in their SATs, performed better in school generally and even had healthier BMIs.
Pro Pundit Simon likened this to wise FPL managers who save their chips for later in the season (traditionally the better time to play them), and the benefits of rolling a transfer.
Aside from giving you more flexibility in who you can sign, potentially shifting funds to different areas of your team, it also buys you an extra Gameweek of information and more thinking time.
A player both Darren and Az are tempted by is Michail Antonio. West Ham enjoy an appealing pair of fixtures in Gameweek 19, at home to Burnley and West Brom, but the question mark, as ever, is over Antonio’s fitness.
Ted Talks FPL offered some encouragement, observing that:
With Haller joining Ajax, West Ham must be confident that 1.9% owned Antonio must be back to full fitness, certainly in the short-term. He looks to be an excellent pick for Double Gameweek 19.
Pro Pundits Tom and Andy agreed, giving the Hammers striker the nod:
Michail Antonio is a bit of a favourite of mine and now he’s fit and got through 90 minutes I can’t leave him out. He’s averaging 0.47xG per 90 minutes so far this season. It’s down on 2019/20, but still excellent given his price. – Andy
I’m also backing Michail Antonio. Though he looks short of match fitness, he needs games, and as West Ham United’s only recognised striker, should see enough minutes across the two fixtures. – Tom
But is it too soon to take the plunge?
Frustratingly, as Colm Hayes noted in his press conference round-up, David Moyes did not provide a specific update on his injury-prone centre-forward, leaving Fantasy bosses wondering what to do.
In other news, Anthony Martial (£8.8m) and Pedro Neto (£6.0m) are doubts after suffering knocks in Gameweek 17. But both may still feature this weekend.
And Joel Matip (£5.4m) could return to Liverpool’s backline depending on how well he does in the next two training sessions.
Finally, new Fantasy Football Scout writer Jamie, ran the rule over Manchester United’s latest signing Amad Diallo and assessed the impact Robert Snodgrass (£5.7m) could make under Sam Allardyce at West Brom.
Community Competitions and Head-to-Head Fixtures
RedLightning rounded-up the latest Community mini-leagues and competitions in a hot topic yesterday.
The January to May League, which started scoring in Gameweek 17, remains open for those who want to track their progress until the end of the season. The code to join is h62bh1. The current leader is Denville Tyrell, who has risen from 29,903rd to 5,121st in the last two Gameweeks.
For those interested in the Head-to-Head Leagues, the main page can be linked to here. The fixtures for Gameweek 19 can be found below:
Use the drop-down menus to show your league and division. To find out which league and division you are in, follow the instructions on the main Head-to-Head page.
Once the Gameweek starts, if you click on your opponent’s name you will be linked to their team on the FPL website.
May your arrows be green!