We now enter the final stretch of the season with just four Gameweeks to go! What a journey this season has been for many of us, with so many postponements and unexpected bumps along the way. With so few Gameweeks remaining, it will be important to establish a general plan and somewhat commit to your strategy while also being adaptable if needed. Every transfer counts now and it will be important to pick and choose your battles especially when it comes to hits.
As we like to do on the Burning Questions video series, we always begin with a fixture ticker “helicopter view.” As FPL managers, we tend to narrow and focus too much on the week in front of us, instead of seeing the bigger picture. This is natural as we all want to get the best results immediately but over the course of the season, a general rule of thumb would be to plan for the next five Gameweeks ahead.
While some transfers are done in isolation to attack the short term, each transfer tends to play a role in the moves you make for the following weeks. An exercise that could help (next season) would be to create a Wildcard five weeks ahead of the current Gameweek and see what the template could look like soon. This way you can focus your transfers over the course of a few weeks and not get blinded only by what’s in front of you. Generally, I tend to give each transfer a two-to-four-Gameweek period instead of looking at just one fixture.
With just four Gameweeks to go, we can narrow our focus down and plan accordingly. Firstly, it’s important to understand the lay of the land.
Here is the fixture ticker below sorted by difficulty:
We know that there are two Double Gameweeks remaining, with Gameweek 36 being the ‘big’ double. With City now playing twice in that Gameweek, it’s interesting to notice the different strategies that managers will take. Of course, what approach you take is very team dependent.
Let’s look at the four Gameweeks in isolation.
Gameweek 35 Notes
- This week is sandwiched by European games with Liverpool, City, Leicester and West Ham all playing weekday/weekend games
- West Ham just lost their first leg 1-2 to Eintracht Frankfurt
- Leicester are tied 1-1 with Roma
- Both Liverpool/City had wins in the Champions League. City should be okay with sufficient time in between the European ties and Premier League game
- Chelsea will play Everton three days after their draw with United
Gameweek 36 Notes
- A big double with City’s outstanding match against Wolves falling in Gameweek 36 (bodes well for non-chip players)
- Many Free Hits/Bench Boost should be used this Gameweek
- The second game for Chelsea is quickly followed by the FA Cup Final, so there is likely to be heavy rotation
- Generally, we should already all have sufficient doublers, so it will be key to get the right ones
- Looking at the chart below, there are still 40% of the top 10k managers have yet to play their Bench Boost
- Don’t sleep on Son/Kane as they will be the most trustworthy in terms of minutes and, generally, Antonio Conte is excellent on the counter-attack against strong teams
- A ‘double double’ for Villa, Leicester, and Everton
Gameweek 37 Notes
- A smaller Double Gameweek for teams we mostly don’t own
- Villa with two plum fixtures at home. Villa generally do better on their own turf and Philippe Coutinho especially has done well in the Midlands. I also believe that Villa will be fighting for good results as many players are still trying to prove themselves and to their manager, and there are some strong egos in that team. Steven Gerrard will also want to finish strongly. One merit of Free Hitting in Gameweek 37 will be to own double Villa defence as a differential
- Everton have a double (both at home) and Crystal Palace have a double (both away). Wilfried Zaha surprisingly has had a good record in away games recently
- A blank for Man United
- A double for Leicester – and could the ‘Vardy Party’ be back for Free Hitters?
- I think it will be key to have both Son and Kane in a Gameweek 37 Free Hit, as well
Gameweek 38 Notes
- Good single fixtures for all the strong teams
- One key note is that Villa will have a difficult game against City. This is another reason why a Free Hit in Gameweek 37 could be appealing
So now, we look at two questions: What should those with no chips do? And when should we play our final Free Hit?
No Chips Left
For those with no chips left, every single transfer is now extremely valuable (there are only four left). Therefore, when looking at the fixture ticker above, there is a key dilemma that needs to be answered. Do you go for the City assets you are missing or do you target players from the teams that ‘double-double’?
Villa, Leicester, and Everton all have back-to-back Double Gameweeks, so it could be a wise strategy to maximize your fixtures without chips. This also likely means that a hit can be worth it as you get an extra fixture to make up for those hits.
From Villa, my favorite three players would be Phillipe Coutinho, Matty Cash and Tyrone Mings. Ollie Watkins and Jacob Ramsey also work perfectly fine. Be cautious, however, that Villa play City in Gameweek 38, so you don’t want to be overloading on this team without an escape plan. Coutinho is also a genuine captaincy shout in Gameweek 37, which makes him appealing.
Pick your poison from Leicester and Everton, but be very cautious with who you want – especially with the Foxes playing for more in Europe.
Finally, City picks are self-explanatory and Spurs, Liverpool and Arsenal assets should all be part of the template team for the next four weeks. The other teams are all worth getting rid of to focus on a balanced approach between these ‘double-doublers’ and top six teams.
Free Hit in Gameweek 36
Take a look at the fixture ticker above. This is a trick that I learned from Pras this season: if you’re trying to decide on Free Hit in Gameweek 36, you take out the Gameweek 36 fixtures (which is possible by using the ‘trash can’ icon on Fantasy Football Scout’s ticker on the sidebar) and focus now on Gameweeks 35, 37 and 38.
There are a couple of notes that stand out from this view of the fixtures:
- Burnley, Crystal Palace and Villa all have appealing fixtures – but it’s a tough Gameweek 38 for Aston Villa
- Burnley are an okay hold, but not a buy
- City are good but with heavy rotation (don’t necessarily need triple representation)
- Spurs are great to hold and even buy for this Gameweek and for the rest of the season
- Leicester are not great since they will be in Europe and play Spurs and Chelsea
- ‘Sell’ teams: Wolves, Leeds, Southampton, Newcastle, United, West Ham
Now we look at what a Free Hit in Gameweek 36 could look like:
This is a draft shared on Burning Questions this week. It is not the “perfect” Free Hit draft for Gameweek 36 and a lot of us will be making much more thought-out teams. The point of this exercise is to show what a cherry-picked XI could look like and then for you to compare your current team as it stands. Will you be close to what this is or are you way off it? If you’re some distance from it, then playing your Free Hit could be a good idea.
There is a big risk in this Free Hit-Gameweek 36 side, as there are no Spurs boys – but it’s a risk that may be worth taking to get Kevin De Bruyne and another City attacker. The core players in this Free Hit also are already ‘high EO’ players in our squads, such as Bukayo Saka; we saw the dangers of losing such quality players like the Arsenal winger in Gameweek 34. So, it’s important to take a balanced approach to the Free Hit.
Some key notes:
- Not many defensive options besides the popular ‘high EO’ players
- Schmeichel in goal could be an interesting pick
- Chelsea will heavily rotate
- Not many striker options besides Pukki, Nketiah, Kane and maybe even Jesus!
- An alternative to the midfield featured in the Free Hit above could be Mahrez to Son to balance it out and find another space in the defence to get a Laporte in, to triple up on City
Free Hit in Gameweek 37
Now, let’s do the same exercise for a Free Hit side in Gameweek 37. We’ll again eliminate the Gameweek 37 fixtures and take a look at Gameweeks 35, 36 and 38.
In this view, we can see that the teams to target include Chelsea, Man City, Spurs, Arsenal and Leicester. Villa are not as important as mentioned previously.
The teams to get rid of include West Ham, Wolves, Newcastle, Leeds and Manchester United.
Now we look at an example Free Hit side for Gameweek 37. As you can see, there are not many defenders to choose from, so the highlight is to use the double Villa defence as a differential move. Palace are not great away and much better at home, but Zaha has done well away recently.
There are very nice and fun midfield options to choose from as well, with Coutinho likely to be highly captained. Getting in both Kane and Son can prove to be a great upside in Gameweek 37.
Now that we have assessed each strategy, it is for you to decide what fits your team the best (yes, that’s right… it’s ‘team dependent!’).
I hope this article helps you ultimately decide your approach, but it will be important to commit to it as so few weeks are left.
MY GAMEWEEK 35 ‘BUS TEAM’
Below, I have shared my bus team for this week (I Wildcarded in Gameweek 34). I’m not sure what I will end up doing, but it’s likely that I will roll the transfer this week and set myself up to attack the big double in Gameweek 36. The one transfer I want to make is to get rid of Timo Werner – but for who? Yikes.
Be sure to check out the latest episode of “Burning Questions” with the great Pras. Every week we talk about the key hot topics for the week. It has been an incredible journey podding so far this year and I’m grateful for all the support from the FPL community.
Thanks for reading and green arrows to all!
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