Pro Pundit Teams

The best teams to target for a hectic FPL schedule

Double Gameweek fever will often take hold of even the best Fantasy Premier League (FPL) managers. Once it hits you it’s hard to think about anything else, and we often forget to plan for the future.

The Gameweek 20 deadline begins on January 26 and we’ll have the Gameweek 23 deadline on February 6. That’s four Gameweek deadlines in just 12 days.

In this article I want to look at which players and teams we should be targeting over the coming weeks, given that we’re not going to have a huge amount of time to react to between deadlines.

Leicester City

The Fixtures: Everton (a) | Leeds United (h) | Fulham (a) | Wolves (a)

With all the talk of the Premier League title race being between Liverpool, Manchester United and Manchester City, we have Leicester casually lying in 3rd place, ahead of Liverpool. Not that it matters much I suppose, Leicester couldn’t possibly win the league could they?

In terms of the upcoming fixtures there’s a lot to like for targeting Leicester attackers.

Wolves, Leeds and Fulham are all in the bottom six for expected goals conceded (xGC) over the last four matches, although it is worth noting that Fulham have played Southampton, Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea in that time.

In terms of players to target, Jamie Vardy (£10.1m) is always an obvious pick, with 10 shots in the box over the last four Gameweeks, you’d expect him to cause these defences problems.

He’s also a great option to swap to Harry Kane (£11.1m) in Gameweek 23 when Spurs play West Brom as well.

Vardy does have this hip impingement which has caused him problems so we should expect his minutes to be managed where possible, and we should be careful between the Leeds and Fulham game where there is about 48 hours between kick-offs.

Harvey Barnes (£6.8m) and James Maddison (£7.1m) are the other considerations in attack.

Barnes isn’t far behind Vardy in terms of shots in the box with eight in his last four, however Maddison comes in at just three, and it’s always his lower goal threat that puts me off.

He’s creative as we know, but if I’m going to take up a valuable midfield spot with someone right now, I want them to be someone who’s regularly threatening the goal.

My only issue with backing their defence right now is trying to find value.

James Justin (£5.0m) is the standout but if you don’t already own him it feels like a big investment when you can get the likes of John Stones (£5.1m).

Now that Ricardo Pereira (£5.9m) has made an appearance in the league, it’s difficult to know exactly how they’ll set up going forward.

It feels like Justin has done enough to keep his place, but whether that’s at right-back, left-back or even a right centre-back in a back three, it’s difficult to know.

Until we see another game I wouldn’t read too much into Pereira playing right-wing as a substitute, I think that might have been to provide a bit more defensive stability to see the game out with Christian Pulisic (£8.2m) and Timo Werner (£9.2m) both playing down Chelsea’s left side.

Manchester City

Stones produces season-high haul as City keep another clean sheet

The Fixtures: West Brom (a) | Sheffield United (h) | Burnley (a) | Liverpool (a)

If you don’t already own a double or triple up with Manchester City players then you’re probably sick of hearing about them. However the fixtures shouldn’t be ignored, and it’s not too late to jump on.

In West Bromwich Albion, Sheffield United and Burnley they face the three lowest scoring teams in the league so far this season.

This is on top of an already impressive defensive record which has seen them keep seven clean sheets in their last nine league games.

With an xGC of just 13.41 so far this season, the number of clean sheets is no fluke for City.

If you want absolute safety in starts (or at least as close as you can get with Pep Guardiola in charge) then Rúben Dias (£5.8m) is the one to target.

John Stones has formed a formidable partnership with the Portuguese centre-back, and looks to be nearly as nailed on.

It would be difficult for Guardiola to break this partnership even if the other centre-backs at the club were fully fit.

There’s always a chance of rotation but for £5.1m Stones is looking like a bargain.

It’s worth noting that he’s only had three shots in the box since Gameweek 10, so don’t expect double-digit hauls too often.

João Cancelo (£5.8m) feels a bit like the forgotten man right now, but in that same time period he’s had eight shots, four of them in the box and created 10 chances as well.

When you watch Manchester City in attack he’s often found in midfield and it feels like a big haul isn’t too far away, but you have to expect him to miss more minutes than the other two defenders mentioned.

In attack, I’m finding it hard to back anyone apart from Kevin De Bruyne (£11.9m) at the moment.

He not only has the most shots out of all the City attackers over the last four Gameweeks, but he’s also created the most chances too. He’s about as nailed on as it gets and the next three fixtures look appealing.

Elsewhere, you’re trying to bank on minutes and it’s difficult.

Even when playing, the likes of Gabriel Jesus (£9.1m) haven’t impressed.

I thought we might see a resurgence from Raheem Sterling (£11.4m) as well but he hasn’t quite been at it recently. Just four shots in the box over the last four Gameweeks, and two chances created. It’s not a lot of potential with such a high price to pay, at a time where we’re already struggling to fit premium players into our squads.

The only other attacker I think I’d look at right now is Ilkay Gündogan (£5.5m). At his price he doesn’t pose much of a risk, although he does take up a potentially valuable Man City slot. He’s had the same number of shots in the box as De Bruyne for less than half the price, and has created a few chances as well. We should forget thinking about him as a deep lying player, he’s getting into the box as much as anyone else right now. It’s just whether you want to take the risk over him being guaranteed minutes, but right now he seems to be.

Aston Villa

andys-gw17-article 7

The Fixtures: Burnley (a) | Southampton (a) | West Ham (h) | Arsenal (h)

It’s quite easy to forget about Aston Villa right now considering they haven’t played in the league since New Year’s Day where they lost to Manchester United 2-1.

They’re a bit of an unknown right now, not in terms of how good they’ve been, but how good they’ll continue to be.

This whole season is setting new precedents and giving us new challenges. Seeing how a team copes with forced lockdown and training ground closures has still only happened a handful of times.

Luckily we’ll get to see their fitness against Manchester City and then how good of a performance they can put in against Newcastle before we have to start buying their players again ahead of a fairly good fixture run in Gameweek 20.

It’s also worth noting that like Manchester City, they have fixtures they still need to rearrange, so at some point they’ll have more Double Gameweeks, although we can’t say exactly when yet.

In terms of value I think they still offer lots. At the back their defensive numbers are some of the best in the league. Their average expected xGC per match is 1.14. To put that into perspective, Manchester City have 0.79 and Chelsea have 0.94.

Matt Targett (£4.6m) is the cheapest way into the defence, however he’s only created two chances in his last four matches, compared to Matt Cash (£5.0m) who’s created six. If you want to back the clean sheets though and save some money you could do worse than Targett.

In attack Jack Grealish (£7.7m) is still the standout. Even after missing Gameweek 18 he’s still the fourth highest scoring midfield by both total points and points per match this season.

No player has created more chances so far this season (55), nor has higher expected assists (xA) at 5.02. This includes De Bruyne who has played just one minute less than Grealish. Even for shots in the box, he stacks up with 31 so far. That’s 11th out of all FPL players.

Anwar El Ghazi (£5.8m) is another player that was popular before the enforced break for Villa, but I do worry about what might happen once Ross Barkley (£5.9m) is back.

Barkley was a mainstay in the team until injury and if he comes back into the side it could be El Ghazi who misses out.

We will likely get some kind of indication of this in the Manchester City or Newcastle games. If El Ghazi did miss out, Villa will be looking for another penalty taker and unless Watkins has found some confidence from somewhere they could fall to Barkley, although this is only speculation on my part.

Up front I still think Ollie Watkins (£6.1m) provides lots of value. With some doubts over Dominic CalvertLewin’s (£7.6m) fitness we are perhaps starting to run a little low on cheap forwards, with Patrick Bamford (£6.7m) and Michail Antonio (£6.3m) being some of the other popular ones.

Watkins has provided plenty of frustration to owners after missing some decent chances, but his movement is key, being able to get into great positions so consistently and having Grealish behind creating those chances. In fact, Watkins’ expected goals (xG) per 90 is 0.51 so far this season, that’s the same as Kane and higher than Danny Ings (£8.3m) and Timo Werner (£9.2m) who are 0.41 and 0.40 respectively.

Who Else?

Mitchell benefits from Palace's first clean sheet since Gameweek 1

Crystal Palace face West Ham (h), Wolves (h), Newcastle (a) and Leeds (a) over the next four weeks. With Tyrick Mitchell (£3.9m) looking to have won the left-back spot back, he provides great value for our squads and potential good cover when needed to be called upon.

While a lot of FPL managers are likely loathe to invest in the Chelsea attack, we shouldn’t ignore their defence. As mentioned above they have some of the best defensive numbers in the league.

They’re not going through a great period right now but they do have some fixtures which should see defensive returns. They play Wolves (h), Burnley (h), Spurs (a) and Sheffield United (a) over the next four. Apart from Spurs, the other sides are all in the bottom seven for xG this season.

If Reece James (£5.1m) can prove his fitness he still looks to be a bargain, although right now Ben Chilwell (£6.1m) possibly provides a more reliable option, especially with the risk that Kurt Zouma (£5.8m) may have now lost his regular centre-back spot.

With fixtures to rearrange we shouldn’t completely forget about Fulham. They face Brighton (a), West Brom (a), Leicester (h) and West Ham (h) in the next four.

We have seen some signs of defensive improvement from Scott Parker’s team, although given the difficulty of fixtures over the last four, we will have to wait and see exactly how that plays out in the next few weeks.

Alphonse Areola (£4.5m) offers a cheap back-up goalkeeper opportunity and Ademola Lookman (£5.0m) offers a very cheap midfield option as a 4th midfielder or more likely a bench option.

He does have some competition from Bukayo Saka (£5.3m), Tomas Soucek (£5.3m) and Raphinha (£5.5m), but with Double Gameweeks at some point in his future he may be the one to opt for, especially with West Brom to play soon.

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1,029 Comments Post a Comment
  1. MoSalad
    • 7 Years
    2 months, 26 days ago

    Salah benching ouch!! Mane has played more minutes recently so makes 0 sense to me.

    1. Bushwhacker
      • 1 Year
      2 months, 26 days ago

      Three games in a few days ; Mane will sit out Sunday more than likely. Origi over Minamino is puzzling mind.

    2. Bookkeeper
      • 4 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      it makes every sense. Mane played very well against Man Utd. fwiw, Salah will play in the 2nd half.

  2. Super Saints
    • 4 Years
    2 months, 26 days ago

    Na this can't be happening

  3. Bookkeeper
    • 4 Years
    2 months, 26 days ago

    Salah & Firmino benching- it was coming. Both have been poor. I'm not surprised.

    1. tuturututu
        2 months, 26 days ago

        And Shaqiri was excellent

      • Bushwhacker
        • 1 Year
        2 months, 26 days ago

        They're being rested. Three games in a few days . . . can't play them all.

      • Super Saints
        • 4 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        Love this

      • Do I Not Like Orange
        • 8 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        Origi is garbage.

      • Salan
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 11 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        A poor Salah is still better than a good Origi

    2. Tommy Tynans Left Shin Pad
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 9 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      Shocking week. 55-4 now Salah benched. Please come on and score!

    3. Top Lad Dakes. - WC/TC left
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      Well you know what, despite a fail I’m glad BB is over with so I can take some money off my bench and focus on XI and 1/2 good subs the rest of the season.

      Silver lining I suppose. But Pieters Salah benchings were uncalled for

    4. Gobigorgohome
      • 9 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      my cup now will he decided by

      me -- Robo
      opponent - Jolintan

      1. Would Ed Woodward
        • 2 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        There's always next year.

    5. JONALDINHO
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      2 months, 26 days ago

      The Zambian Witch Doctor will be feasting tonight

      1. Party time
        • 2 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        Feasting like a Lion on a Gazelle

      2. Rupert The Horse
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 8 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        Indeed. I wonder what he’ll have.

    6. Bielsa Murderball
        2 months, 26 days ago

        Now does this mean that Salah won't blank in the next game according to the curse?
        Salah (C) locked in!!

      • UpTheCherries
        • 2 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        Dont count your chickens yet everyone!

        Remember what happened the last time Salah was benched... 🙂

        1. Salan
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 11 Years
          2 months, 26 days ago

          It can't repeatedly happen.

      • Ze_Austin
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 2 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        Sorry Camzy 🙁

      • Top Lad Dakes. - WC/TC left
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 4 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        Pieters Salah sub goals needed here then

      • S.Kuqi
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 8 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        Thankfully Kdb didn't do much damage

      • KAPTAIN KANE
        • 4 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        Tonight is the night Mr Trent Alexander Arnold comes back into people’s mindsets

        1. Warby84
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 5 Years
          2 months, 26 days ago

          Robertson 21 pointer is needed..

      • COK3Y5MURF
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 4 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        Salah dropped for being garbage. No surprises. He's overrated

        1. Do I Not Like Orange
          • 8 Years
          2 months, 26 days ago

          He's been replaced by a total donkey in Origi

      • Duke Silver ☑
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 6 Years
        2 months, 26 days ago

        Seriously Klopp is turning into Pep more and more each day.

      • REDMOND IN SANDALS
          2 months, 26 days ago

          season rescued!

        • Warby84
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 5 Years
          2 months, 26 days ago

          Just need Liverpool to score.. haha

        • Egg noodle
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 11 Years
          2 months, 26 days ago

          I knew I should have TC Stones

        • Salan
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 11 Years
          2 months, 26 days ago

          Disaster.

          Captain Stones wins.

        • Freshy
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 10 Years
          2 months, 26 days ago

          Interview with Klopp sounds like the rain is coming down in buckets

        • jason_ni
          • 5 Years
          2 months, 26 days ago

          #salahgate

          Suppose its not a massive surprise, klopp obviously concerned about the fa cup game.

          1. Qaiss
            • 5 Years
            2 months, 26 days ago

            Idk all that rest they had recently, it’s a bit of a strange one.

        • ZEZIMA
          • 4 Years
          2 months, 26 days ago

          Had a dream a few weeks back that Salah would be benched for this fixture. That is why I chose Mane

        • ZimZalabim
          • 4 Years
          2 months, 26 days ago

          I posted on here that I think Salah and Bobby are likely to be dropped or at least one of them would be and most replies didn't want to agree but Liverpool needed a change and as I said yesterday I'm not surprised.

        • HonestBlatter
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 10 Years
          2 months, 26 days ago

          Salah against tired legs...always a HAUL!

          1. Saka_me_sideways
              2 months, 26 days ago

              He did also say in those comments that KDB was gonna get some good fortune in the next game... that one didn’t work out too well lol.

          2. Rainer
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 4 Years
            2 months, 26 days ago

            Salah benched as City have the league won and Klopp is focusing elsewhere this season.

          3. Hybrid.power
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 11 Years
            2 months, 26 days ago

            Pieters and Salah benched. Let's go Wood I guess.

          4. Duke Silver ☑
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 6 Years
            2 months, 26 days ago

            Anyway he could do another Palace performance when he comes on.

            1. Rupert The Horse
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 8 Years
              2 months, 26 days ago

              Yeah he could do.

            2. Muchentuchel
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 2 Years
              2 months, 26 days ago

              he won't come on tonight.

              1. Niho992
                • 2 Years
                2 months, 26 days ago

                this

              2. Egg noodle
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 11 Years
                2 months, 26 days ago

                Then he wouldn't have been on the bench. He's not some BS bench filler kid

                1. Bushwhacker
                  • 1 Year
                  2 months, 26 days ago

                  He'll come on if the game requires chasing ; no question. If it's 4-0 then no.

                  1. Egg noodle
                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                    • 11 Years
                    2 months, 26 days ago

                    He will come on no matter what. When was the last time he didn't come off the bench? I believe the answer is never.

                    1. Duke Silver ☑
                      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                      • 6 Years
                      2 months, 26 days ago

                      Yeah the only way he doesn't come on tonight is due to injuries at the back causing forced subs. Otherwise he comes on even if they're 4-0 up.

          5. diesel001
            • 4 Years
            2 months, 26 days ago

            To put the Zambian Witch Doctor's curse into perspective:

            Salah generally has percentage chance of greater 50% to get some sort of return in an average PL game (assist or goal). So to blank for 5 PL games straight the percentage chance = 0.5^5 = 0.03125 = 3.125%

            1. AC/DC AFC
              • 5 Years
              2 months, 26 days ago

              He's got potential for minutes tonight still.

              Hurt me the first 2 then i transferred premium picks but Bruno has been off too.

            2. Nightcrawler
              • 1 Year
              2 months, 26 days ago

              Not to mention a run that included newcastle and west brom

              1. diesel001
                • 4 Years
                2 months, 26 days ago

                Indeed. His percentage chance of a return in those games would have been higher than 50%.

            3. Rupert The Horse
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 8 Years
              2 months, 26 days ago

              I understand.

            4. JONALDINHO
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 3 Years
              2 months, 26 days ago

              The easy fixtures too and the fact the call was made after his biggest haul of the season at peak form. Probably under 1%

            5. IN SANE IN DE BRUYNE
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 4 Years
              2 months, 26 days ago

              I would hate it if the Zambian Witch Doctor turns out to be right.

          6. CROYDON DE BRUYNE
            • 4 Years
            2 months, 26 days ago

            Anyone But Liverpool! Come on Burnley, Salah(c) ugh