Fresh from a 108-point score in Double Gameweek 25, Az looks at the optimum squads for those on a Wildcard, Free Hit or Bench Boost and assesses the leading Triple Captain candidates.
This is it. It’s the big one. Double Gameweek 26: the biggest Double Gameweek we’ve ever had.
Are you excited? Nervous? Do you feel like your entire season is resting on this six-day period that sees 14 teams play twice? Hopefully, you’ve all known that this day was coming and it hasn’t taken you by complete surprise.
If you’re struggling, I’m here to help you with your planning. I imagine your strategy will depend on how your current team is set up and what chips you have remaining, so I’m going to look at it from all angles.
No chips planned
Now if you’re like me, you’re not planning on using a chip this week.
Maybe you’ve already used your Bench Boost and Triple Captain earlier in the season. Perhaps you have your Free Hit earmarked for the Blank Gameweek in 29. Some of you might be holding on to your Wildcards until later in the season – or perhaps you played it early.
Anyway, if you’re in this camp, it’s a case of making do with what you’ve got and playing tactically to make the best of it. With the number of teams playing, it’s very likely that you have a good crop of Double Gameweekers anyway.
The absolute minimum I’d feel comfortable taking into this Gameweek would be nine – but 10 or 11 looks the most sense due to the potential for huge returns right across the board.
It’s good to target players from Spurs, Fulham and Villa because they also have fixtures in Blank Gameweek 29.
It’s one of the reasons why I think Harry Kane (£11.1m) is almost a “must get” this week. Not only does he have a good double-header against Fulham and Burnley, he immediately goes into a game against Crystal Palace – before playing Arsenal – and then Aston Villa when so many other teams blank.
The question is, who do you drop for him? Danny Ings (£8.5m) is the obvious player to make way for Kane if you have him but if you’ve held on to Patrick Bamford (£6.9m) and Michael Antonio (£6.5m), I can understand if you are reluctant to get rid of one of them.
I will probably lose one of them for Kane, although I’m undecided at this point. Both have a pretty tricky run of games up until Gameweek 29 when Bamford plays Fulham, which looks slightly better than Antonio at home to Arsenal. However, when Leeds and West Ham play each other, I fancy West Ham to win – so it is a toss-up.
An easier route into the Spurs’ attack might be to just grab Son Heung-min (£9.5m) if you haven’t already. I don’t think the double-up is a must-have but one of the two Spurs attackers does look quite important for this week and beyond. In a straight shoot-out between Son and Kane going forward, I fancy the latter due to his penalties and how impressive he looked when Gareth Bale (£9.3m) got on the pitch.
Aside from Spurs, I like the look of Leicester with games against Arsenal and Burnley followed immediately by matches against Brighton and Sheffield United. Harvey Barnes (£6.9m) is on fire at the moment and James Maddison (£7.3m) has plenty of ways of getting points with an improved eye for goal and set pieces in his locker.
Aside from these two, I think Çaglar Söyüncü (£5.3m) could be an inspired pick given that Leicester will almost certainly bank some clean sheets over the next four games. If you’ve got a bit more cash to burn, why not plump for Ricardo Pereira (£5.9m), who could line up in an advanced role and be an unbelievable differential at just 0.7% ownership.
Whoever you decide to get, remember that every “hit you take, every move you make” means that you’ve got more ground to make up. I’d advise trying to limit the number of hits you take once you hit 10 Double Gameweekers and plan for the Gameweeks ahead accordingly.
If you’re Wildcarding then you’re going for it this week and I salute you.
I’ve put together a rough draft of something I’d consider if I was playing this chip. Just don’t forget that you need to take into account Blank Gameweek 29 – unless you have the Free Hit in your pocket of course!
If I was Wildcarding, I’d be torn between Mohamed Salah (£12.6m) and taking a punt on Kevin De Bruyne (£11.8m). Going for the Belgian would target City’s four home fixtures in the next fortnight. While I don’t think De Bruyne is completely immune to rotation during this spell (especially given that he’s just back from injury), his low ownership makes him a perfect differential. I fancy City to score lots of goals over the next couple of weeks no matter what team they put out.
This team has six players already in place for Gameweek 29 and Barnes can easily become someone like Raphinha (£5.4m) further down the line. Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£7.6m) could also become Antonio to give yourself a bit of extra firepower.
I’d also be sure to target Everton with arguably the best Double Gameweek 26. Lucas Digne (£6.1m) has the potential to be the highest-scoring player with fixtures against Southampton and West Brom – and Calvert-Lewin could be a shrewd captain pick for those going against Kane or Bruno Fernandes (£11.6m).
If you’ve decided to play your Free Hit this week (and I would strongly advise you to make sure you are covered for the Gameweek 29) then I’m very envious. Using this chip in a Double Gameweek looks a lot of fun.
My squad wouldn’t be a lot different to the one I suggested as a Wildcard team, but obviously, you can free up some cash with some of your bench players to strengthen your first XI.
This means that I could double up on the Leicester attack with Barnes and Maddison while keeping a ‘strong and stable’ backline of premium defenders without much compromise. Possible bad news on the Maddison injury front would, of course, force a rethink.
Salah is the only player who I’d really fear not owning here but with Liverpool struggling and what looks like a difficult game against Chelsea following their away game against bottom-of-the-league Sheffield United, I’d fancy De Bruyne to outscore him if he sees the minutes that I think he’ll get.
Ah, the Bench Boosters. It looks like this chip is going to be the most popular this week and I understand the reasoning.
Someone explained to me (after it went completely over my head), that this is perhaps the best time to use it as it’s the most likely time that you won’t need to use your bench due to injuries or sickness from your first XI.
For most people, given that we’ve just emerged from Double Gameweek 25, I expect this means a Bench Boost of at least two Leeds players against Aston Villa.
I’m not completely sold on this idea and if you are willing to take a bit more of a risk, you could wait until Gameweek 30 and Bench Boost when Leeds have Sheffield United at home, which to me, looks much more attractive.
That said, it does seem like a good time to play Villa with Jack Grealish (£7.7m) and Matty Cash (£5.0m) both potentially out. I certainly wouldn’t be making transfers to take Leeds players out just to target Double Gameweekers and would just hope for the best.
I could use the Bench Boost this week, but with Antonio and Coufal up against Man City and three Leeds players facing Villa, I think I’ll hold for now and assess until later in the season. Good luck to anyone that goes for it.
I plumped for Patrick Bamford as my Triple Captain in Gameweek 25 so this isn’t an option for me this week, but it looks like a great time to use it.
To me, the standout options for the chip are Calvert-Lewin and Kane.
I have seen some people saying that while they think Kane is a good captain option, they think Calvert-Lewin is a better Triple Captain option. I just can’t see the logic here. Captain – or Triple Captain – the player who you think will do best.
Everton have been quite an unpredictable team in the league over the last few months, losing to the likes of Newcastle and Fulham but beating Liverpool comfortably in their last game. I don’t think there’s any doubt that Southampton and West Brom will give up chances to them and I do think Calvert-Lewin should be at least considered by anyone looking to play this chip.
However, while Spurs have faltered, Kane has flourished against the bottom eight.
Twitter user FPL_Swede pointed out that in 10 games against the bottom eight teams in the Premier League, Kane has delivered in every game, averaging 9.2 points a match. That’s an unbelievable record. He seems a great option for the chip and I think you would be very unfortunate to come away from games against Fulham and Burnley with nothing. He’s almost certainly going to be my captain this week.
I hope this has in some way been useful in helping you make decisions no matter what strategy you are adopting.
For my team, I think I’m going to reluctantly take out Marcus Rashford (£9.6m) and one of Bamford/Antonio and bring in Kane – just because I do believe he is the best captaincy pick. It would mean that I’d have to grab myself Ademola Lookman (£5.0m) to free up the funds, but I believe he could turn out to be quite a shrewd acquisition as he plays two quite porous defences in Double Gameweek 26 and then can sit on my bench until I need him in Gameweek 29.
Whatever you decide, enjoy this bumper Gameweek and see you on the other side!
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