Preamble

The Pre-Match Preamble – Gameweek 38

Ten fixtures, 20 teams, no doubles, no blanks, no postponements (touch wood), and everyone’s pretty much used all their chips.

Gameweek 38 is Fantasy Premier League (FPL) stripped back to its basics, how we used to play it way back when.

I’ve seen plenty of commenters within our own weird little corner of the internet saying how much they’re ready for the summer now, how the endless procession of last-minute cancellations and short-notice rearrangements and blanks and doubles and catastrophic points swings has taken its toll. Thinking back to my journalism studies days, it’s felt akin to one of those live newsroom exercises where you’re repeatedly being fed absurd new nuggets of information and having to constantly rewrite your intro.

I share the jaded feeling to some extent but I do wonder whether we’ll look back with more fondness on a rollercoaster 2021/22 in years to come.

It goes without saying that the circumstances of how the week-to-week bedlam came about aren’t to be celebrated in the slightest, with Covid’s impact on our daft wee game small fry compared to the death and disruption it has caused in real life.

But chaos is part of the reason why we love football in the first place, so why shouldn’t our pre-conceived chip strategies and transfer plans be challenged once in a while?

We’ll likely soon be back to how things were, with maybe two or three Blank Gameweeks a season and as many Double Gameweeks following in their wake. They’ll be relatively easy to plan for in advance, as they’ll be around FA Cup/EFL Cup weekends, and we’ll not have nearly as much reactionary, short-term firefighting that has been a feature of 2021/22. It’ll all be very familiar, the cream will rise to the top again barring the usual luck/variance and we’ll be back to the ‘snooker player’ approach to FPL of thinking four to six shots/weeks/moves ahead.

How comforting, how rewarding, how… boring?

How many times in the past have we bemoaned medium-term templates forming and seasons stagnating? And with the rise of algorithms, points projections and automated team recommendations, you could easily get away without any manual ‘thinking’ in a routine campaign and still rank highly.

This season has been exhilarating, frustrating and agonising in equal measure, with beautifully-laid plans obliterated by a lateral flow test or three and so, so many 50/50 decisions rewarded handsomely or punished unimaginably.

Commanding mini-league leads have been overturned in the space of a Gameweek or two, entire seasons’ works have been undone with one red arrow. It’s been more snakes and ladders than Risk, with a big fat serpent catching many on square 99.

But it has seldom been dull and I think, over time, the short-term scars will heal and we’ll be left with some more positive memories of Double Gameweek hauls for the likes of Jarrod Bowen, Bruno Fernandes, Mohamed Salah, Kai Havertz, Philippe Coutinho, Marcos Alonso, Kevin De Bruyne and James Maddison.

FPL anecdotes are made from such points bonanzas and we’ve had about a decade’s worth in one year.


Just as a post-script, longer-term readers of the site will remember the Pre-Match Preamble being very much Mark Sutherns’ baby.

When David Munday and I joined the team four years ago, we made a concerted decision not to continue with these articles as they were so utterly associated with Mark and, quite frankly, who would give a toss about what we thought? Reading this, you’re probably wishing I’d stuck to my guns…

But the Pre-Match Preamble continues to be fondly remembered even now, so a final-day reflection seemed like a good excuse to resurrect it. Do let us know in the comments below if it’s a series you’d like to see revived in future, perhaps with a ‘Have I Got News For You’-style rotating writer.

Good luck with your Gameweeks, thanks for reading, and the very best for the summer.


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2,367 Comments Post a Comment
  1. tim
    • 12 Years
    1 month, 10 days ago

    Need Son brace, Kane blank!

    1. Fabreghastly
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 11 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Need the opposite

  2. Original - Wolves Ay We
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 6 Years
    1 month, 10 days ago

    A) James
    B) Havertz

    Which should I get?

    1. Buck The Trent
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 10 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      A

    2. Paul Psychic Octopus
      • 11 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      A

    3. tomasjj
      • 7 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Mount

    4. Yippeekiyay Mertersacker
      • 5 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      A

  3. S6 Owl
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 7 Years
    1 month, 10 days ago

    Chasing 32 points in ML…

    Mane + Toney or Maddison + Kane?

    Both for -4

    1. Buck The Trent
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 10 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Second one

      1. S6 Owl
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 7 Years
        1 month, 10 days ago

        Cheers mate

    2. Paul Psychic Octopus
      • 11 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      First one if you're chasing. Rival(s) may well have M+K

      1. S6 Owl
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 7 Years
        1 month, 10 days ago

        He doesn’t have K&M atm

        1. Paul Psychic Octopus
          • 11 Years
          1 month, 10 days ago

          I would still go A.

    3. tomasjj
      • 7 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      If chasing, you need KAne or Vardy and to captain

  4. Merlinho
    • 13 Years
    1 month, 10 days ago

    Desperately trying to resist the urge to take a hit with this lovely Salah to Son cash sitting in the bank.

    Ben White to Reece James or Mateta to Toney is the stand out, it’s either that or start one of White or Mateta. Talk me into or out of it lads!

    1. S6 Owl
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 7 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Depends if you’re chasing.

      I like the upside of the Toney move

      1. Merlinho
        • 13 Years
        1 month, 10 days ago

        I’m chasing slightly in my cash league, 5 points off the cash positions after a shocking few gameweeks.

    2. AC/DC AFC
      • 6 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Toney

      No point saving funds for a rainy day.

    3. Arfaish
      • 9 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      I’d just start either of them, -4 means you are looking for multiple returns to be in the money and a clean sheet for Arse or goals against United could certainly happen.

    4. Yippeekiyay Mertersacker
      • 5 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Bring in Toney and have some fun

    5. Jambot
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 11 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      I wouldn’t hit for Toney you’re relying on a double return to make any profit. I think James has more potential to go big and make it worth the -4. As long as you think he starts though

  5. Arfaish
    • 9 Years
    1 month, 10 days ago

    Start one of:

    A) Nketiah (Eve away)
    B) Toney (Leeds home)

    1. S6 Owl
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 7 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Toney

    2. Mr Ozil
      • 7 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Nketiah is playing home
      I'd start Toney though

      1. Arfaish
        • 9 Years
        1 month, 10 days ago

        Apologies you are right!

    3. fantasist
      • 12 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Toneyyy

    4. Yippeekiyay Mertersacker
      • 5 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Toney

  6. Davew88
    • 3 Years
    1 month, 10 days ago

    Richarlison to Toney worth a -4? Have already taken a -8

    1. S6 Owl
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 7 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Why not if you’ve gone this far

    2. fantasist
      • 12 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      No

    3. THFC4LIFE
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Don’t worry about the -8, every hit taken is in isolation of the transfer, but I’m not sure Toney outscores Richarlison by enough to make the hit worth it

      1. THEKID_88
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 9 Years
        1 month, 10 days ago

        Rich is a doubt to start. Could sway it

    4. Yippeekiyay Mertersacker
      • 5 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      No

  7. KAPTAIN KANE’S SON
    • 5 Years
    1 month, 10 days ago

    Best mid punt for the final week at max 5.6?

    1. Holmes
      • 8 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Eriksen or Bruno

    2. Dark Side Of The Loon!
      • 5 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Eriksen

      1. KAPTAIN KANE’S SON
        • 5 Years
        1 month, 10 days ago

        Thanks both - completely forgot about them 2!

    3. KAPTAIN KANE’S SON
      • 5 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Rodri, Mbuemo?

    4. jonnybhoy
      • 9 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Erikson

    5. GreennRed
      • 10 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Guimares

    6. tokara
      • 7 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Erik

      1. KAPTAIN KANE’S SON
        • 5 Years
        1 month, 10 days ago

        Thanks all

    7. tomasjj
      • 7 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Bruno G?

    8. fantasist
      • 12 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Guimares for sure

    9. Sun Jihai
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 10 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Elanga?

      1. KAPTAIN KANE’S SON
        • 5 Years
        1 month, 10 days ago

        Think I prefer the Bruno G shout, thanks anyway!

  8. Ralf Rang Nick
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 1 Year
    1 month, 10 days ago

    Which combination is best?

    A) Toney & Mané
    B) Mount & Vardy (will Vardy start?)
    C) Maddison & Kane (will Maddison start?)

    Thanks.

    1. Buck The Trent
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 10 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      C

    2. S6 Owl
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 7 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      I’m in same dilemma with A & C.

    3. S6 Owl
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 7 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      I’m leaning towards Kane and sticking the (c) on him

    4. Yippeekiyay Mertersacker
      • 5 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      C

  9. Dark Side Of The Loon!
    • 5 Years
    1 month, 10 days ago

    Do we think Zinchenko will play today?

    1. KAPTAIN KANE’S SON
      • 5 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Yeah think so, don’t see why not

      1. Echoes
        • 1 Year
        1 month, 10 days ago

        Walker fit apparently

        1. KAPTAIN KANE’S SON
          • 5 Years
          1 month, 10 days ago

          Ah ok maybe not then!

    2. Paul Psychic Octopus
      • 11 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Walker RB, Cancelo LB.

  10. Bavarian
    • 4 Years
    1 month, 10 days ago

    Bench 1
    A- Laporte
    B- Matip
    C- Nketiah
    D- Saka

    1. fantasist
      • 12 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Nketiah

    2. Yippeekiyay Mertersacker
      • 5 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      D

  11. jonnybhoy
    • 9 Years
    1 month, 10 days ago

    Rival has Kane. I don't, which one?

    A) Vardy -4pts
    B) Kane -8pts

    1. tomasjj
      • 7 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      If you have Son, A

    2. Yippeekiyay Mertersacker
      • 5 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Are u ahead or behind, and by how much?

      If ur massively ahead or behind I wouldn't take an extra hit

      1. jonnybhoy
        • 9 Years
        1 month, 10 days ago

        Leading by 40pts

    3. FourLokoLeipzig
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Easy A unless you’re leading and need to protect against a Kane captain haul

      1. jonnybhoy
        • 9 Years
        1 month, 10 days ago

        Leading by 40 pts

  12. Buck The Trent
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 10 Years
    1 month, 10 days ago

    30 pts lead in ML. Would you do Kulu to Maddy for -4 to cover rival?

    1. tomasjj
      • 7 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Not really worth the hit. Both should do fine.

    2. fantasist
      • 12 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      No its not worth it

    3. Fabreghastly
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 11 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Nope

  13. Catastrophe
    • 11 Years
    1 month, 10 days ago

    Best transfer? Little lost. 1 FT, 0.6 ITB.

    Schmeichel
    Cancelo, James, Robertson, Matip
    Son, Saka, Kulusevksi
    Kane, Richarlison, Nketiah

    (Foster, Zaha, Coutinho, Cash)

    A) Kulusevski & Cash -> Mount & Sessegnon (-4)
    B) Coutinho & Cash -> Mount & 5.2 DEF (-4)
    C) Coutinho & Richarlison -> Mount & Toney (-4)
    D) Something Else

    Cheers..

    1. luk46
      • 3 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      C and bench Nketiah maybe

      1. Catastrophe
        • 11 Years
        1 month, 10 days ago

        Cheers

    2. Yippeekiyay Mertersacker
      • 5 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      D Matip to Sessengon

  14. tomasjj
    • 7 Years
    1 month, 10 days ago

    Pick two out of:

    a) Kane
    b) Vardy
    c) Maddison
    d) Kulu

    No Son.

    1. luk46
      • 3 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      well AB but there’s a huge price diff

    2. tomasjj
      • 7 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Ah, yes. I messed that up!

      Should ofc be one forward and one midfielder combo.

  15. TB303
    • 5 Years
    1 month, 10 days ago

    No Son or Kane.
    Toney (c) over KDB if chasing 30 pts ?

    1. Agbonlahorse
      • 11 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Brave. But yeah. Go for it!

    2. Baron Saturday
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 11 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Yeah, do it. Leeds will attack, can expect goals at both ends

    3. Paul Psychic Octopus
      • 11 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Go KDB. I suspect most people will be capping Kane or Son.

    4. Yippeekiyay Mertersacker
      • 5 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      I say KDB... Brentford will prob score, but will it be Toney?

      KDB will assist for sure

  16. Wolfman180
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 8 Years
    1 month, 10 days ago

    A) Salah to KDB free
    B) Salah + Broja to Wissa/Bruno G + Kane for a hit
    Already own Son.

    1. Starskyb
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 1 Year
      1 month, 10 days ago

      B

    2. Yippeekiyay Mertersacker
      • 5 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      B

    3. Wolfman180
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Cheers

  17. Junks
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    1 month, 10 days ago

    Diaz in for...

    A. Saka
    B. Zaha

    1. Paul Psychic Octopus
      • 11 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      A.

    2. Baron Saturday
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 11 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      À

    3. fantasist
      • 12 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      A

  18. Paul Psychic Octopus
    • 11 Years
    1 month, 10 days ago

    Am currently starting Matip (also have Robbo) and Nketiah. 1.9m itb.
    For -4 would you do Odegard to:

    A. Maddison
    B. Bowen
    C. Raphinha
    D. Bilva

    And then bench Matip or Nketiah?

    1. Starskyb
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 1 Year
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Same position , I've decided to play odegaard as my differential. Projected to score 4 points, which will do nicely imo.

      Otherwise play matip. I don't think-4 is worth it in week 38... unless you're chasing and need to gamble.

    2. Yippeekiyay Mertersacker
      • 5 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Leave it. I'd only take a hit prob for Kulu

  19. Miro
    • 11 Years
    1 month, 10 days ago

    A) KdB and Jota
    B) Mane and Mount

    Go!

    1. luk46
      • 3 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      B

    2. Mozumbus
        1 month, 10 days ago

        B

    3. Original - Wolves Ay We
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 6 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      Just 89 points behind the leader in ML. What should I do? 😀

      1. Mr. O'Connell hates DG…
        • 10 Years
        1 month, 10 days ago

        Start guessing passwords

        1. Original - Wolves Ay We
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 6 Years
          1 month, 10 days ago

          Good idea. 😀

        2. AC Yew
          • 3 Years
          1 month, 10 days ago

          Ask him what his moves are

          1. AC Yew
            • 3 Years
            1 month, 10 days ago

            Apologies him or her*

            1. Original - Wolves Ay We
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 6 Years
              1 month, 10 days ago

              It's actually non-binary. 😀

      2. Echoes
        • 1 Year
        1 month, 10 days ago

        Pick a punt c and have fun

      3. Fabreghastly
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 11 Years
        1 month, 10 days ago

        Open a beer

    4. Baron Saturday
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 11 Years
      1 month, 10 days ago

      If you had to pick one:

      X: Mount
      Z: Maddison

      Cheers

      1. luk46
        • 3 Years
        1 month, 10 days ago

        close one, Mount just

      2. Mozumbus
          1 month, 10 days ago

          X

      3. Agbonlahorse
        • 11 Years
        1 month, 10 days ago

        God, I hope Son blanks today.

        1. Original - Wolves Ay We
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 6 Years
          1 month, 10 days ago

          Do you like making 2 million enemies with one comment? 😀

        2. CoKane & Zohores
          • 5 Years
          1 month, 10 days ago

          Same. Rival who is up by 20 is probably triple captaining him.

      4. alexmj
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 7 Years
        1 month, 10 days ago

        A Sess Son mount Toney in - 12
        B Sess son Gelhardt - 8
        Second one keeps KDB
        have to get Son to protect mini league

      5. TB303
        • 5 Years
        1 month, 10 days ago

        Chances of Amartey playing on my bench boost?

        1. Sun Jihai
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 10 Years
          1 month, 10 days ago

          Might get a 1 point sub on

      6. luk46
        • 3 Years
        1 month, 10 days ago

        Nketiah > Toney worth a hit or too risky?

        1. Original - Wolves Ay We
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 6 Years
          1 month, 10 days ago

          Too risky, Arsenal are being underestimated, Nik could haul. When will people learn about trusting Toney?

        2. DMil
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 7 Years
          1 month, 10 days ago

          No chance. I’m considering bringing Nketiah in for Richarlison for a -4. Lad’s a good option this week against a make shift Everton

      7. didas
          1 month, 10 days ago

          A - Gallagher to Mount
          B - Watkins to Jesus
          C - Keep them both

          Thanks

        • KAPTAIN KANE’S SON
          • 5 Years
          1 month, 10 days ago

          I read something a while back that had Rodger’s saying he’ll give Ward 2 starts in the run up to the end of the season.

          Seeing as he only started 1 do we think that means award plays over Schmeichel this week?

          @Hazz you might recall this?

          1. Holmes
            • 8 Years
            1 month, 10 days ago

            He confirmed that Kasper will start

          2. mynameisq
            • 8 Years
            1 month, 10 days ago

            I'm not @Hazz but Rodgers has since confirmed Schmeichel would start the final games

            1. KAPTAIN KANE’S SON
              • 5 Years
              1 month, 10 days ago

              Thanks both that’s invaluable to me!

        • TN
          • 1 Year
          1 month, 10 days ago

          Is Kulusevski to Maddison (-4) a bad idea? I own Son and Schmeichel from the two teams in question

          1. lifes a pitch
            • 8 Years
            1 month, 10 days ago

            I wouldnt

          2. Holmes
            • 8 Years
            1 month, 10 days ago

            Yes, very bad

          3. Birdman77
            • 7 Years
            1 month, 10 days ago

            Yep bad idea

            1. TN
              • 1 Year
              1 month, 10 days ago

              cheers guys I'll lock in for GW38 then with this team

              Schmeichel
              James Matip Trent Cancelo
              Saka Kulu Son (C) KDB (VC) Mount
              Richarlison

              Foster Mateta Broja Williams

        • abaalan
          • 6 Years
          1 month, 10 days ago

          Minutes for these lot:
          A. Havertz
          B. Weghorst
          C. Vardy

          1. TN
            • 1 Year
            1 month, 10 days ago

            A) 80
            B) 60
            C) 60

            Pure guesses

        • lifes a pitch
          • 8 Years
          1 month, 10 days ago

          Play Sanchez or Ramsdale ?