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Pro Pundits - Andy

Debating the BGW29 Free Hit and what to do with injured FPL players

Six-time top 20k FPL finisher Andy Mears is currently inside the world’s top 1k with 10 Gameweeks left of 2020/21. He reveals his plans for Blank Gameweek 29...


The next few weeks feel pivotal for our Fantasy Premier League seasons. We have Blank Gameweeks to navigate, the knowledge of Doubles still to be rearranged, and everyone has different chip combinations.

I only have the Free Hit left, with a few injuries to contend with in Gameweek 29 and some thoughts around key players and fixture swings over the next few weeks.

I thought I would use this article to think out loud.

Is the Free Hit viable for Blank Gameweek 29?

This is how my current team is set for Gameweek 29.

andy-article-gameweek-29

I thought I was sitting pretty with eight players and two free transfers, but there are now some injury concerns that I am waiting on news for.

With potentially just five players fit, I have started thinking about deploying the Free Hit, even though previously I was set on using it in Gameweek 33.

The obvious advantage is I could get to 11 players without taking any hits. I think we sometimes underestimate appearance points, let alone the potential for extra on top of that. A Free Hit allowing me to get out an extra six players is already worth 12 points, before anyone gets a clean sheet or attacking return.

It also unlocks some flexibility over uncertain players. If we’re still not sure that the likes of Patrick Bamford (£6.7m) and Heung-Min Son (£9.6m) are guaranteed to start then you can include them with good bench options as money isn’t tight for Gameweek 29.

That said, I am still tempted to hold the Free Hit. If any of those players end up being long-term injuries then I can use my two free transfers to change them, rather than waiting until Gameweek 30 when I would only have one transfer and less flexibility.

Additionally I have my eye on the Everton vs Aston Villa fixture that still needs to be rescheduled. I only own one player from this fixture, and the Free Hit would let me react nicely to this as needs be, without having to hold any of their players I am not particularly interested in long term.

Selling Salah?

Salah blanks against bottom-half club again as Fulham's defence continues to impress

With yet another blank against Wolves in Gameweek 28, Mohammed Salah (£12.4m) has now failed to return 11 times in 15 matches, and yet I am still tempted to hold.

I am telling myself there’s good reasons for this, although subconsciously I do wonder if I’m just holding out hope for the good old days.

There have been circumstances affecting Liverpool with injuries, but does this go past that? I have had a look at the statistics for the first 14 Gameweeks compared the last 14 as there was a clean distinction in total attacking returns within those Gameweek ranges. It is also worth noting there were 14 matches from Gameweek 1 to 14, and 15 between Gameweeks 15 and 28.

  • Gameweek 1-14: 13 goals, 4 assists = 17 returns total
  • Gameweek 15-28: 4 goals, 0 assists = 4 returns total

The right time to remove him from our squads was obviously in Gameweek 15 looking back with hindsight. But is there anything in the underlying statistics that can tell us whether we should hold?

  • Gameweek 1-14: 7.58xG, 11 big chances, 10.33xGI
  • Gameweek 15-28: 6.15xG, 11 big chances, 8.21xGI

We can see from that the numbers are slightly down outside of big chances, but probably not enough to warrant a drop in goals. This tells me Salah may have overperformed a little in the first 14 weeks, and has underperformed in the last 14.

Overall he has 21 returns from 18.54xGI which isn’t anything out of the ordinary. As long as he keeps getting these chances I am confident the returns will come, but for others they may want to swap to a different big hitter which is fair enough.

Just the last thing on Salah for me. In the final nine Gameweeks he plays Aston Villa, Leeds, Newcastle, Southampton, West Brom, Burnley and Crystal Palace.

Five of these teams make up the bottom seven for expected goals conceded over the season. The fixture run doesn’t get much better and I’m going to (perhaps naively) continue to back Salah. That doesn’t mean I don’t trust other options such as Diogo Jota (£6.6m), but I am more likely to have both rather than either or.

Longer Term Thinking

I am fully aware that a lot of FPL managers are busy getting excited about their Gameweek 31 Wildcard. It would be silly not to think about which players they might be targeting, after all there’s a reason that week is being so hotly tipped for Wildcard activation. These are some of the players/teams that I’m looking to target with my strategy being to try and roll a transfer in Gameweek 30.

Diogo Jota (£6.6m)

the-case-for-diogo-jota

As mentioned above, Jota’s fixtures are excellent, so it really doesn’t get much better from an attacking perspective. He also offers the value that Salah and Sadio Mané (£11.8m) don’t. He once again showed his goalscoring threat against Wolves, and at a time where Liverpool look to be struggling for goals he’s surely going to be good for game time, with a goal shy Roberto Firmino (£9.1m) still not yet fit.

Edouard Mendy (£5.1m) and/or César Azpilicueta (£5.8m)

I already own Antonio Rüdiger (£4.6m) but that doesn’t feel like enough with fixtures against West Brom, Crystal Palace, Brighton, West Ham and Fulham to come. The Chelsea defence is almost as good as Manchester City at this point and there are plenty of points to come. I don’t feel like I’ve missed the boat. Mendy and Azpilicueta represent the best chance of a lack of rotation, and I haven’t completely ruled out a triple up as I don’t foresee me opting for any Chelsea attackers.

My Gameweek 29 Plans

As I talked about earlier, I have eight players for Gameweek 29 and I’m hopeful that at least one of Bamford or Son will be available. I’m likely to use both free transfers with one or two hits thrown in.

 1

Craig Dawson (£4.5m) has an outside shot at a clean sheet against Arsenal, and longer term I think West Ham’s fixtures look great. He’s cheap enough to bench as needed but also has goal threat when called upon. In fact with 10 shots in the box since Gameweek 16, he’s joint-second out of all defenders.

If Dan Burn (£4.2m) is confirmed out, then I may just go sideways to Joël Veltman (£4.3m), because although Lewis Dunk (£5.0m) is probably the better pick, I don’t want that much money left on my bench.

As for captaincy I can’t look past Harry Kane (£11.4m). I think when it comes to differentials you have to pick your battles. I captained Kevin De Bruyne (£11.8m) in both Gameweek 27 and 28 as he was somewhat of a differential. But in Gameweek 29 it feels risky to be looking elsewhere as no-one stands out to me.

I’m looking forward to getting Gameweek 29 out of the way where the business end of the season starts, and the chance to break the template a little further. Good luck everyone!

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192 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Xabatlea
    • 3 Years
    6 months, 7 days ago

    1FT . Team has only 7 starters.
    Options:
    A) Sterling to AUBA
    B) Salah to BALE
    C) DCL to LACA
    Should I do 1, 2 (-4) or 3 transfers (-8)? And wich transfers?

    Wildcarding on GW30 or GW 31

    Thanks

    1. jason_ni
      • 5 Years
      6 months, 7 days ago

      If wc-ing id be tempted to do b for free.
      Maybe A next for -4, but would leave c.

    2. AC/DC AFC
      • 6 Years
      6 months, 7 days ago

      B

    3. waltzingmatildas
      • 11 Years
      6 months, 7 days ago

      A

  2. LC1
    • 6 Years
    6 months, 7 days ago

    Keep DCL if wildcarding in 31 and he'll have SHU in 30.

    I'd go for just B

    1. LC1
      • 6 Years
      6 months, 7 days ago

      Reply fail to above post

  3. jason_ni
    • 5 Years
    6 months, 7 days ago

    Salah "The right time to remove him from our squads was obviously in Gameweek 15"

    Looks back at my transfers, brought salah back into my team in 15.( had sold in 9 when he had covid)

    He had been killing me the 5 games without out, kept getting scrappy goals(coady handing the ball on a plate) and his 30 min cameo against palace was the final nail in my coffin, so had to react and get him back in. Been a rough ride since.

    I should have held firm. 50 points for me in 12 weeks off ownership, compared to the 5 weeks without where he got 51 in 5. Thanks mo.

    1. pingissimus
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      6 months, 7 days ago

      Thing is of course only Bruno and Kane of the 10 mill plus brigade have done any better really since Gw15

      Mo 56 points
      Kdb 60 points
      Sterling 67 points
      Vardy 46 points
      Auba 57 points
      Mane 51 points

      It's the death of the premium this season

      1. jennmenn
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 6 Years
        6 months, 7 days ago

        Nettopp!

      2. pingissimus
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 2 Years
        6 months, 7 days ago

        Moving one step down

        Rashford 72 points
        Son 63 points
        Bale 44 points
        Werner 37 points
        Jesus 61 points

        So the smart move was to go Rashford and upgrade elsewhere . Didn't expect to find that out.

        1. jason_ni
          • 5 Years
          6 months, 7 days ago

          This is a good point, its just the fact that every week I was thinking surely he can't keep getting these hauls, and he did, then literally as soon as I get him, he stops.
          I'm pretty sure I took a hit to get him back in 15, so that just add salt to the wound!

          1. jason_ni
            • 5 Years
            6 months, 7 days ago

            And obviously it was those 5 weeks without that did the serious damage to my or.
            The fact most have failed maybe just means that its not even worse than it could have been!

          2. pingissimus
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 2 Years
            6 months, 7 days ago

            It was fair enough really if you were expecting consistent returns

            I remember breaking down consistency of returns last season. He was already in decline then but still consistent just with fewer hauls. He and Jim were streets ahead of everyone for consistency in returns - iirc neither had blanked 3 in a row more than once in two seasons. No one else came close really.

  4. jamie1972
    • 5 Years
    6 months, 7 days ago

    Best one week punt for the BGW?

    a) Auba
    b) Bale
    c) Lookman
    d) Trossard

    1. AC/DC AFC
      • 6 Years
      6 months, 7 days ago

      B

    2. El Presidente
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      6 months, 7 days ago

      C

    3. Nedvěd11
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 6 Years
      6 months, 7 days ago

      D

    4. Little Red Lacazette
      • 4 Years
      6 months, 7 days ago

      A

      1. AC/DC AFC
        • 6 Years
        6 months, 7 days ago

        It's a full house!

        All on a FH.

    5. waltzingmatildas
      • 11 Years
      6 months, 7 days ago

      Hmm, A

      1. jamie1972
        • 5 Years
        6 months, 7 days ago

        lol

        That's settled it then...

        1. AC/DC AFC
          • 6 Years
          6 months, 7 days ago

          Who do you favour?

  5. AC/DC AFC
    • 6 Years
    6 months, 7 days ago

    Nice article but now would be the time to deploy free hit on the biggest blank.
    Why is Everton v Villa such a draw?

    If Andy had moved out of Salah he could be in the low hundreds ranking overall.

    Good luck.

  6. Goonerly
    • 3 Years
    6 months, 7 days ago

    No idea what to do with my 2 FTs here. Any advice appreciated!

    Areola
    Targett
    Son* Raphinha
    Watkins Bamford*

    Rest: Pope - Dias - Shaw - Digne - Rudiger - Bruno - Sterling - Gundo - DCL

    Considering selling: Shaw / Digne / Sterling / DCL

    Maybe get in Kane / Dallas / Auba

    1. jennmenn
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 6 Years
      6 months, 7 days ago

      Sterling and Dcl -> Kane and Mr. Ødegård 😉

    2. KLOPPS AND ROBBERS... the s…
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 6 Years
      6 months, 7 days ago

      Sterling, DCL > Kane, mid(?)

      1. waltzingmatildas
        • 11 Years
        6 months, 7 days ago

        This

      2. Goonerly
        • 3 Years
        6 months, 7 days ago

        That's my thought as well!
        Can't figure out who that MID is though..

        1. MightyGar
          6 months, 7 days ago

          Lingard?

  7. J to the T
    • 4 Years
    6 months, 7 days ago

    City Fans

    What we thinking about KdB?

    He was taken off early last night.
    FA cup Saturday
    International break then
    Leicester
    Champions league
    Leeds
    Champions league
    Villa

    Anyone want to play Pep Roulette? Is he going to play champions league only? Thoughts appreciated!

    1. Echoes
      • 1 Year
      6 months, 7 days ago

      What I want to know as well. Looking to bring him in GW30 if he plays regularly in the league.

    2. DannyDrinkVodka
      • 2 Years
      6 months, 7 days ago

      Not a city fan but I can definitely see Champions League being heavily prioritized (seeing as PL title is all but confirmed). Having said that, I think he probably starts the Leicester match to get back in the groove after the international break.....

    3. cruzex
      • 9 Years
      6 months, 7 days ago

      Time to sell

    4. AC/DC AFC
      • 6 Years
      6 months, 7 days ago

      Well the champions league is the biggest competition to win.

      Leicester may need a stronger team depending on the draw.

      All league minutes will be managed and the A team will be picked for Cup games.

      Aka last nights team and others.

      1. AC/DC AFC
        • 6 Years
        6 months, 7 days ago

        I forget who to credit on FPL for this analysis. I've bumped Mahrez into the top tier as clearly he is.

        With Man City you have a main cast who will play 80% + of games:

        Ederson, Cancelo, Dias, Stones, Rodri, Gundo, KdB, Bernardo, Mahrez, Sterling.

        And then the supporting crew: Laporte, Zinchenko, Mendy, Ake, Jesus, Foden, Torres. Aguero.

        3 from the first lot and you'll be mostly OK most of the time!

        1. AC/DC AFC
          • 6 Years
          6 months, 7 days ago

          Apologies, 3 from the first lot may be picked for Champions League and cup competitions now.

          1. J to the T
            • 4 Years
            6 months, 7 days ago

            Yes agree

        2. J to the T
          • 4 Years
          6 months, 7 days ago

          Interesting. But I see a risk of the many of the top group playing Tuesday or Wednesday and not
          Saturday!

          1. J to the T
            • 4 Years
            6 months, 7 days ago

            So where does this leave us?! Buying Foden and crossing fingers? Not my style as a manager

    5. pingissimus
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      6 months, 7 days ago

      Who do you get instead is the issue?

      Just above I've looked at premium returns since GW15. He's missed a load in that time and is as good as any despite the gaps. Mo - with some pretty kind fixtures - is barely ahead of him despite playing the lot.

      1. J to the T
        • 4 Years
        6 months, 7 days ago

        Yep. Good point

        Don’t fancy Auba Bale Or any other big hitters aside from Bruno and Kane.

        Jota tempting and spread the cash. Although could afford Jota and KdB

        1. pingissimus
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 2 Years
          6 months, 7 days ago

          Someone made this really smart point about Gundo - which sort of applies to KdB too.

          If he doesn't get minutes off the bench the benchings are less relevant as you get auto bench points. KdB is of course in another price bracket altogether.

  8. waltzingmatildas
    • 11 Years
    6 months, 7 days ago

    Which moves look best if I lose Salah and Cancelo? Have two West Ham and Spurs already

    A) Auba
    B) Lingard
    C) Bale
    D) Trossard
    E) Lookman

    1) Veltman
    2) Reguilon
    3) Cresswell
    4) Tierney
    5) Andersen

    1. Cojones of Destiny
      • 3 Years
      6 months, 7 days ago

      A/D-1/2

    2. jimmyharte
      • 3 Years
      6 months, 7 days ago

      Im going Trossard I think

  9. kenzo.
    • 6 Years
    6 months, 7 days ago

    If you could transfer one midfielder in this week who would it be? Already own auba, raphinha and son.

    Bale
    Lingard
    Gross
    Trossard
    Lookman

    1. waltzingmatildas
      • 11 Years
      6 months, 7 days ago

      Very tempted by Trossard

    2. DannyDrinkVodka
      • 2 Years
      6 months, 7 days ago

      I really like Trossard for this week

      1. pingissimus
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 2 Years
        6 months, 7 days ago

        I'll third Trossard.

        Newcastle defence is only slightly better than their attack and there's the hope that Brighton scoring two last time out has broken the spell. You need to go back to the Wolves game on Jan 2 to find Brighton scoring twice.

  10. JaydenLFC87
    • 7 Years
    6 months, 7 days ago

    Trossard or Lingard

    1. Cojones of Destiny
      • 3 Years
      6 months, 7 days ago

      Lingz

    2. DannyDrinkVodka
      • 2 Years
      6 months, 7 days ago

      Trossard, he's buzzing

    3. AC/DC AFC
      • 6 Years
      6 months, 7 days ago

      Lingard.

  11. Cojones of Destiny
    • 3 Years
    6 months, 7 days ago

    who to lose for a gw29 def?
    a. Cancelo
    b. Digne

    1. waltzingmatildas
      • 11 Years
      6 months, 7 days ago

      A

  12. Slitherene
    • 3 Years
    6 months, 7 days ago

    Martinez | Forster
    Reguilon Veltman Coufal
    Son* Auba Saka* Lingard
    Kane Bamford* Antonio
    ¦ Holding Cancelo Bruno

    Saka -> Raphinha, for a hit?

    1. waltzingmatildas
      • 11 Years
      6 months, 7 days ago

      Yep, good move

  13. DannyDrinkVodka
    • 2 Years
    6 months, 7 days ago

    Has anybody recovered sufficiently from the Son trauma earlier this season to consider Son>Bale this week?

    1. CONNERS
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      6 months, 7 days ago

      If I make the move, it'd be for a -4.

      If Son is confirmed out and Bale rested in the EL I might consider it.

  14. Kno
    • 10 Years
    6 months, 7 days ago

    Would you sell digne or cancelo for cresswell?

    Thinking cancelo atm and maybe turn digne into azpi after gw31 where digne has palace

    1. sandman58
      • 2 Years
      6 months, 7 days ago

      Why sell Cancelo?
      Best defender in the best team

    2. sandman58
      • 2 Years
      6 months, 7 days ago

      Just bring Dawson in to cover Cresswell clean sheets. If any

    3. MightyGar
      6 months, 7 days ago

      I am doing Digne to Cresswell and keeping Stones

  15. Bavarian
    • 3 Years
    6 months, 7 days ago

    Lowton-Salah-Gundogan >>> Reguilon-Aubameyang-Lingard for -4? YES or NO?
    WC in GW31

    1. OptimusBlack
      • 8 Years
      6 months, 7 days ago

      Yes

  16. Pukki Blinders
    • 2 Years
    6 months, 7 days ago

    1.9 itb and 2 FTs. Plan is to WC31... currently can field 8 assuming all are fit

    MARTINEZ AEROLA
    DALLAS KONSA COUFAL (cancelo dias)
    SON* RAPH (Salah Bruno Gundo)
    BAMFORD* ANTONIO (dcl)

    Planning the following moves... any good?
    Cancelo Gundo DCL
    TO
    Veltman Lookman Kane

    1. pingissimus
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      6 months, 7 days ago

      I know the stats on Lookman which are way better but still think Tross is the more likely.

      I'm backing the nature of Brighton attack over the nature of Fulham attack as much as anything and the teams they play. Actual returns on season are almost exactly level despite stats. Just don't see Fulham getting more than one so you need 100% GI but Brighton could just do one to Newcastle.

      1. Pukki Blinders
        • 2 Years
        6 months, 7 days ago

        Agreed for this week, but will be forced to play him next week v United which isn’t ideal... would you still go with Trossard over Lookman?

        1. pingissimus
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 2 Years
          6 months, 7 days ago

          Not a lot in it really I guess. Either one is a punt and Villa Fulham is a low scoring one too probs.

          It can only be a gut call I think. My gut says that Brighton may be turning the corner and they have the potential to score multiple goals though United isn't exactly ideal!

          1. Pukki Blinders
            • 2 Years
            6 months, 7 days ago

            Brighton scored 3 last time v United which could’ve easily been 6... maybe Tross could pay off for a 2 week punt

            1. pingissimus
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 2 Years
              6 months, 7 days ago

              Just looked at your defence.

              No United and double Villa makes Tross the upside call surely.

              1. Pukki Blinders
                • 2 Years
                6 months, 7 days ago

                Yeah you’re right, cheers

  17. Jellyfish
    • 9 Years
    6 months, 7 days ago

    Lowton & Gundog > Tierney & Lindgard -4pts to give me 10 starters for the BGW (assumes Son and Bamford are both fit).

  18. Little Red Lacazette
    • 4 Years
    6 months, 7 days ago

    Brighton fans/followers, who is more nailed, Gross or Trossard?

  19. FantasyClub
    6 months, 7 days ago

    Veltman or Lascelles?

    1. Echoes
      • 1 Year
      6 months, 7 days ago

      Veltman