In two weeks, the 2020/21 season will be over and Fantasy Premier League managers can stop checking their overall rank every time a goal is scored or a save is made.
Once the season finishes it will be a great moment to reflect on the highs and lows, good decisions and bad decisions, of a season like no other.
For me, there is always one chip that I look back on as an opportunity wasted, normally the Free Hit. However, this season, it will be my Bench Boost.
Over the course of the season I have benched 323 points. Every week there seems to be at least one player who returns and never makes it in to my starting 11.
Of course, the one week that I played my Bench Boost chip, Gameweek 35, Brighton lose their clean sheet resulting in a one point appearance from Robert Sanchez (£4.6m), Joel Veltman (£4.4m) picks up a calf injury which was unknown prior to the deadline on Friday and missed out altogether and Jesse Lingard (£6.6m) registered a single point.
The saving grace is potentially Seamus Coleman (£4.9m), who at time of writing, has already registered six points as a result of Everton’s clean sheet. He also has the potential to increase that in the second match of the Toffees’ double against Aston Villa on Thursday evening.
The Bench Boost chip, I had hoped, would secure the points needed to finally make the top 50k stick. The last few Gameweeks have seen me yo-yo in and out, leaving me seven points away from the top 50k after six players failed to play any part in Gameweek 34.
Ahead of Gameweek 36, I know have some all important decisions to make if I am going to make a top 50k finish, or hopefully better, this season.
When making my plans for Gameweek 35, I was also very much focused on Blank Gameweek 36. I made the conscious decision not to triple-up on Manchester United assets, given that I already owned two of them, two Leicester and one Arsenal player who don’t have a fixture in Blank Gameweek 36.
The Leicester fixture-swing after their Blank Gameweek, means that I am happy to sell Timothy Castagne (£5.8m) who has now failed to keep a clean sheet in his last three Premier League fixtures, even though he has registered a goal in that period.
Selling his team-mate Kelechi Iheanacho (£6.3m) is a more painful decision. The Nigerian international has been the height of consistency so far, returning in his last five Premier League matches. However, Blank Gameweek 36, followed by the league’s best defence in Chelsea in Gameweek 37 means he has to make way.
I decided against taking a -4 for Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£7.6m) in Gameweek 36 as a result of wanting to hold Harry Kane (£11.8m) for Spurs’ final games of the season and already owning two Double Gameweek players in Iheanacho and Ollie Watkins (£6.5m). Although the plan was always to bring him in ahead of Everton’s Gameweeks 36 and 37 fixtures against Sheffield United and Wolves.
In planning for Gameweek 36, its essential in my view to look beyond this week right through until the end of the season.
My team already contains three Liverpool players and so with them sat top of the Season Ticker that puts me in a good position for the final three matches. It also provides me with a great set and forget captain option in Mohamed Salah (£12.7m) for the run-in.
I also own Lingard who, whilst he has show a dip in form since the return of Michail Antonio (£6.4m) and when Said Benrahma (£5.9m) starts, has a great set of fixtures and West Ham have real motivation with the push for European football as well as Lingard’s own focus on a place in England’s Euro 2020 squad this summer.
This leaves me with Leeds, who I currently have no players from, as well as Everton and Spurs to potentially target over the next three Gameweeks.
Ahead of Gameweek 36 I will also be keeping an ear out for news on injured Veltman, as if he is unlikely to start I will need to take a minus four to ensure that I have a full 11 starting.
Reluctantly, Iheanacho will be sold for Calvert-Lewin (as long as Calvert-Lewin comes through the second match of Double Gameweek 35 unscathed), Dallas will replace Castagne, and if Veltman is out I will have a straight choice between replacing him and Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka (£5.1m) however with Arsenal’s fixtures remaining after the blank being against Crystal Palace and Brighton, Saka could be a great differential.
The press conferences at the end of this week will hopefully shed some light on what the right transfer is, if indeed a third transfer is needed. One thing is certain, fielding 11 players for me will be the right thing, even if that means taking only my second -4 of the season.
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