FanTeam 20-21: £90K Weekly Monster – Gameweek 19

As part of FISO’s special series of weekly articles on FanTeam, Europe’s biggest daily fantasy football provider, we will actually be entering the team we write about each week into the game. Our article will focus on an Early Entry for their Fantasy Premier League tournament held each week in order to help you identify game rules, tactics and the most promising players per gameweek, so you can win some of that large prize money.

Our FISO team below will be entered into this week’s €20 entry (€100k prize pool) Main Event. The winner takes home a cool €10,000. FanTeam also offer a €2 entry Weekly Monster with a lower prize pool for those who prefer to play with lower stakes. Join the discussion on FISO’s FanTeam forum.

Before moving onto our team selection, we want to highlight a couple of FanTeam rules that they apply to their Weekly Monster competition and that represent some of the major differences when comparing the game to the FPL. Do though check out the Predicted Line-Ups for the Premier League clubs as well as the latest injury news (click on ‘Team’ to sort per club rather than the default ‘date’) before finalising your picks.

Number one is that FanTeam have a rule called the ‘safety net’. The safety net comes into play when a selected player does not start in the Weekly Monster, because the game will then automatically replace this player with the next lowest-priced player from the same position (GK, DEF, MID, FOR) in the same team. This is regardless of whether or not your selected player does take to the field later in the game. This rule helps people who have entered a team into the Weekly Monster not to worry too much about whether their selected players will start or not, particularly if they know there are cheaper players for that same club in that same position who should start instead.

Number two is that FanTeam also have a ‘stacking penalty’ for the Weekly Monster, which penalises teams that have selected more than one defenders/goalkeeper from the same club. The stacking penalty comes into play when you pick more than one defensive player (defenders or goalkeepers) from a particular club and this club records a clean sheet. The points awarded for this clean sheet will decrease by 1 point for each additional defensive player from the same club that you have selected. The stacking penalty has a maximum of minus 3 points. This rule helps stop multi-entrants from gaining an advantage by submitting block defence teams. A reasonable tactic can be to select two players from two different clubs for your Goalie and Defenders, which would see you incur just 2 single-point deductions if you nail both clean sheets correctly.

Gameweek 19 €100K Weekly Monster matches

Our team suggestion for the Weekly Monster in gameweek 19

Formation: 4-4-2

GOALKEEPER

As usual, we have tried to find a budget-friendly goalkeeper with a good chance of save points more than anything else. This weekend, that profile seems to fit West Brom’s Sam Johnstone who, in the Saturday early match, faces Wolves missing their main striker, Raul Jimenez. There is a jump of almost £1m in his price up to the next goalkeeper that’s expected to play.

LEEDS UNITED

Our FanTeam €100K Weekly Monster selection for gameweek 19 contains two triple-ups, the first from Leeds players. Just four teams have scored more than the newly-promoted Whites’ 30 goals, which is in great part thanks to manager Marcelo Bielsa’s ultra-attacking game approach, regardless of the opposition. The result is a team that is often a joy to watch, both when they are overwhelming their opponents and when they are being picked apart in the back themselves. On Saturday, they are facing a struggling Brighton side at Elland Road after enjoying a two-week break from Premier League football. The Seagulls have shipped 29 goals in 18 games so far and the last of their two clean sheets was back in gameweek 13 against Fulham.

We think that Leeds are favourites for this one, both to win it and to score a few goals, which is why we have gone with both winger Raphinha and offensive star man Patrick Bamford this weekend. The former has proven to be an excellent addition to the team, and already sits on 2 goals and 2 assists from the last eight games. The latter is blossoming under Bielsa’s guidance in the Premier League this season, having scored an impressive 10 goals and assisted a further 5 already. Both will start fresh against Brighton and will get chances to add to their respective tallies.

Our third Leeds fantasy pick is defender Stuart Dallas. As we wrote earlier, Leeds are no source for clean sheets (though they did record 6 already), which is not what were hoping for either with the right-back / midfielder. Dallas gets an enormous amount of freedom to join the midfield and even the attack at Leeds, which is why he already has 3 goals and 2 assists to his name. Bielsa’s men will be dominating the game against Brighton, and we hope that Dallas will once again get a few chances to bomb forward and get involved in a few chances.

WEST HAM

Our first double-up for gameweek 18 comes from East London, where West Ham United will be hosting Burnley on Saturday. With 26 points from 17 games and a current 10th place, the Hammers are doing well this season. Their opponents had a difficult start to the season, but seem to have recovered some of the qualities in recent weeks. The Clarets have conceded just 3 goals in the last six gameweeks, while scoring just 4 times over that same period. In other words, goals seem to come at a premium in Burnley’s games, which is why we feel confident about selecting two West Ham defenders this weekend.

These two Hammers are right-back Vladimir Coufal and left-back, and dead-ball specialist, Aaron Cresswell. The former has started 13 out of 14 games since gameweek 4, which has resulted in 3 assists already, on top of 4 clean sheets. They are the top two priced West Ham defenders so safety net would help us out if either did not start. The home game against Burnley looks like a perfect opportunity for them to record their fifth clean sheet of the season.

MANCHESTER CITY

Despite the budget constraints this week, we have once again chosen to have faith in Manchester City, this time for their home game against Crystal Palace. Manager Pep Guardiola’s men play an uncharacteristic kind of football this season, with a rather inefficient attack and a very solid defence. While no team in the league has conceded less goals than the Cityzens, a surprising nine sides have scored more than them.

The problem is not the creation of chances though, but more their finishing, which is why we have selected midfield maestro Kevin de Bruyne for our €100K Weekly Monster selection in gameweek 18. The Belgian has delivered 1 goal and 3 assists for a total of 32 FT points over the last four gameweeks. He is the most creative force in the team by some distance and looks primed for a big haul in every game, which is why he is our captain as well. Someone just needs to get on the end of his passes…

He is joined in our team by right-back / left-back / central midfielder / playmaker Joan Cancelo, because we did not want to go without a skyblue defender this weekend. The Portuguese summer signing is loving life under Guardiola and gets plenty of freedom to join in attack, which should be music to the ears of every fantasy manager. As a matter of fact, he is the second-most creative player in terms of big chances created, behind KDB. Against the Eagles this weekend, returns at both ends of the pitch look to be on the cards for Cancelo.

MANCHESTER UNITED

Perhaps our riskiest bet of the weekend is the one we are placing on Manchester United. It’s true that the Red Devils are in good form, with 9 victories and 2 draws in their last eleven Premier League outings, but the risk lies in the fact that they are visiting Anfield on Sunday. It’s going to be a tough afternoon for them, considering Liverpool’s record at home however goals against a weakened Liverpool defence do seem quite possible. The Reds will be without their entire first-choice centre, which will mean we’ll see Fabinho (who does a very good job there, it should be noted) partnering with a youngster in between Andy Robertson on the left and Trent Alexander-Arnold on the right.

We have a feeling that this might just be the kind of set-up that the likes of Bruno Fernandes (our vice-captain), the resurgent Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford will enjoy. The Red Devils thrive when they can play on the counter and use their speed to exploit spaces in the opposition’s defence, and we can see this happening against Liverpool. Rashford, for example, has scored 7 goals and provided 5 assists so far, but only one of those returns came in a home game. The same trend can be seen when looking at Bruno’s performances: 11 goals and 8 assists to his name, of which 6 goals and 6 assists were recorded away from Old Trafford. Pogba was man of the match in the win against Burnley to send them top of the table. Liverpool will have a hard time keeping these three from improving their stats on Sunday.

Join the discussion on FISO’s FanTeam forum.

FPL season 20-21: Gameweek 19 Preview

“No football for Everton in gameweek 19 after their game against Aston Villa was postponed, making them the only team to blank this round” (CC Image by Genius&Gerry).

With more than 30% of FPL managers activating a chip in the build-up to blank gameweek 18, and with just over 22% choosing the Free Hit, expectations for blank gameweek 18 were high. As has become usual in this crazy, crazy season though, reality didn’t quite match them as it ended up being another round for the differentials. To illustrate: of the 11 names in the official Team of the Week, only Harry Kane and Tyrick Mitchell boast an ownership of more than 7% (and the latter mostly thanks to his £3.9m price tag). To illustrate further: 5 players from the team boast an ownership of less than 2%, while 4 of those are owned by less than 1% of all managers. Gameweek 18’s stand-out performers? Everton’s Michael Keane, Man City’s Phil Foden and Man United’s Paul Pogba.

Fortunately (or unfortunately perhaps), there is a very quick chance of redemption as gameweek 19 kicks off about 37 hours after last night’s final whistle and it’s a biggie. With 11 teams involved twice, 8 teams involved once and 1 team not involved at all, the coming round of Premier League football is a kind of blank-single-double gameweek for fantasy managers, the likes of which we’ve rarely seen before. What chip will you be playing in GW19? The resurging coronavirus is causing mayhem to the schedule and will likely continue to do so until and after tomorrow’s deadline. We would tell you to keep an eye on developments and plan with new potential postponements in mind, but it’s close to impossible to predict the whens and wheres. The best we can do is to suggest following @bencrellin for any fixture-related news and to hope for the best. Oh, and to tell you our recommended fantasy picks for BDGW19, of course!

Don’t forget, the deadline for gameweek 19 is set at 11h00 (UK time) on Saturday, January 15th.

Do check out the Predicted Line-Ups for the Premier League clubs as well as the latest injury news (click on ‘Team’ to sort per club rather than the default ‘date’) before finalising your transfer(s).

Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per January 15th, 2020)


TRANSFERS OUTTRANSFERS INPOSSIBLE REASONS
GKMcCarthy (SOU), Martinez (AST), Ryan (BRI)Martinez (AST), Forster (SOU), Meslier (LEE)
DEFTierney (ARS), Dalles (LEE), Kilman (WOL)Cresswell (WHU), Stones (CIT), Cancelo (CIT)DGW assets being brough in.
MIDSon (TOT), Zaha (CRY), Neto (WOL)Soucek (WHU), Foden (CIT), De Bruyne (CIT)DGW assets being brought in.
FORCalvert-Lewin (EVE), Wilson (NEW), Kane (TOT)Bamford (LEE), Antonio (WHU), Watkins (AST)DGW assets being brought in, Bamford with favorable fixture, form and price tag.

Premium pick

Manchester City probably have the most favourable match-up for the upcoming gameweek with two home games in a span of three days, first against Crystal Palace and then Aston Villa. Many fantasy managers will be aiming for skyblue assets, but the issue is rotation. In normal times, it’s difficult already to guess manager Pep Guardiola’s choices, in corona times even more so. Add to that the upcoming DGW schedule and the task becomes close to impossible. The safest route into City’s attack is still Kevin de Bruyne (£11.8m), who has delivered 1 goal and 3 assists for a total of 27 FPL points over the last four gameweeks. Slightly underwhelming perhaps, for a player of his pedigree, but that is mainly due to the lack of a clinical finisher in front of him. The Belgian is the most creative force in the team by some distance though, and he looks primed for a big haul in every game. Someone just needs to get on the end of his passes…

Non-premium picks

One of the major COVID19-related schedule changes has been the Aston Villa v Everton game being moved out of DGW19 (Everton now blank) and replaced by Aston Villa v Newcastle, which increases Villa asset appeal. They do still face Man City away before hosting the Magpies, but the Villains are having a good season and results could definitely be booked over the coming week and a half. As far as DGW picks go, few attacking assets are more nailed-on than Villa talisman Jack Grealish (£7.7m). Apart from postponements, the young Englishman has not missed a minute of Premier League football so far and he has repaid that trust with returns, 5 goals and 9 assists to be exact. Though his productivity has slowed down of late with “just” 3 assists in his last four outings, he still looks like a wise choice for the double gameweek. Villa are set to give Man City a run for their money and are expected to dominate against Newcastle at Villa Park, so we wouldn’t be surprised to see Grealish finish the upcoming round with double digits.

We mentioned the issues with Manchester City assets earlier when discussing KDB, but when it comes to defensive picks, the situation is a bit different. While the City attack appears hampered a bit this season, the City defence is rock solid. No team has conceded less than their 13 goals from sixteen games and the classic rotation risk is a lot less present in the backline. That’s why we think it could be very smart to invest central defender Ruben Dias (£5.8m) for the games against Crystal Palace and Aston Villa. The Portuguese summer signing has started every game since gameweek 4, only failing to complete the 90 minutes once, back in GW10 versus Burnley. He has no attacking returns to his name yet, but he did rack up 8 clean sheets already. In a period of extreme uncertainty, Dias offers a very welcome combination of sure starts and consistent returns.

The budget enabler

Besides Manchester City, West Ham probably have the most attractive double gameweek schedule. They are playing Burnley on Saturday and then West Brom on the Tuesday after that, both at home, which brings several of their players into the DGW mix, especially defensively. Together with Sheffield United, these teams rank in the bottom three for goals scored, while the Hammers have conceded a reasonable 21 goals in 17 games. These statistics make Vladimir Coufal (£4.7m) a very appealing fantasy pick. West Ham brought him in from Czech side Slavia Prague for £5.4 million back in October and he has made the right-back position his rather quickly, starting 13 of 14 games since gameweek 4. The Czech defender gets plenty of freedom to roam forward, which has resulted in 3 assists already, on top of 4 clean sheets. For the double gameweek, he looks like a stand-out budget-enabling option.

A differential pick or two

For our first differential fantasy pick, we’re sticking with the Hammers, but moving up-field. Michail Antonio (£6.2m) started the 2020-21 campaign in good form, scoring 3 goals in the first six games, but ongoing injury issues since then have seen him play just 89 minutes of Premier League football. He returned for 13 minutes in GW16 and played 31 minutes in the last round, while playing 90 minutes in the FA Cup 3rd round encounter with Stockport last Monday. With a 5-day rest in the bag and the sale of his principal rival for a starting spot up front, Seb Haller, to Ajax, Antonio looks like a firm first-choice pick for manager David Moyes in double gameweek 19. While first opponents Burnley have improved considerably over the past games, second opponents West Brom rank bottom for goals conceded so far. With a current ownership of just 4.4%, the English forward looks like a major differential for DGW19.

Our final fantasy pick for gameweek 19 also has two fixtures coming up, though James Maddison (£7.1m) and his Leicester team mates are not facing a run as appealing as City or West Ham. First up is in-form Southampton, followed by a kind of out-of-form Chelsea side. They face both games at home though, and the Foxes are having another good season, which has made us consider Maddison as a differential for this round. The English playmaker has been one of the stand-out performers for Leicester in recent weeks, with 3 goals and 1 assist in his last six games, and looks like a sure pick for manager Brendan Rodgers. Leicester’s preference for a more counter-attacking style might fare very well against Southampton and Chelsea, and with an ownership of just 4.8%, picking Maddison might just result in some green arrows by the end of DGW19.

The captaincy

Double gameweek 19 is offering a bunch of interesting candidates for the captaincy with the Manchester clubs topping the list. We have gone with Kevin de Bruyne for his double encounter with Crystal Palace and Aston Villa, though putting the armband on one of his team mates in defence, like Joao Cancelo or Ruben Dias, could pay off handsomely as well. As far as the red part of Manchester goes, the inevitable Bruno Fernandes will be a popular captaincy pick as the Red Devils face Liverpool and Fulham away from home. The same goes for Liverpool’s Momo Salah as he faces Manchester United and Burnley at home this round.

The double gameweek is also a good moment to go for a bit of a punt, mainly when it comes to West Ham assets. Michail Antonio and Jarrod Bowen are facing two favourable opponents, and putting the armband on either of them could see you soar up the ranks. Of course, Jamie Vardy is a decent choice as well when he faces Southampton and Chelsea at home, though his ownership is a lot higher than the West Ham picks (26.3%).

FanTeam 20-21: €50K Weekly Monster – Gameweek 18

As part of FISO’s special series of weekly articles on FanTeam, Europe’s biggest daily fantasy football provider, we will actually be entering the team we write about each week into the game. Our article will focus on an Early Entry for their Fantasy Premier League tournament held each week in order to help you identify game rules, tactics and the most promising players per gameweek, so you can win some of that large prize money.

Our FISO team below will be entered into this week’s €20 entry (€50k prize pool) Main Event. The winner takes home a cool €5,000. FanTeam also offer a €2 entry Weekly Monster with a lower prize pool for those who prefer to play with lower stakes. Join the discussion on FISO’s FanTeam forum.

Before moving onto our team selection, we want to highlight a couple of FanTeam rules that they apply to their Weekly Monster competition and that represent some of the major differences when comparing the game to the FPL. Do though check out the Predicted Line-Ups for the Premier League clubs as well as the latest injury news (click on ‘Team’ to sort per club rather than the default ‘date’) before finalising your picks.

Number one is that FanTeam have a rule called the ‘safety net’. The safety net comes into play when a selected player does not start in the Weekly Monster, because the game will then automatically replace this player with the next lowest-priced player from the same position (GK, DEF, MID, FOR) in the same team. This is regardless of whether or not your selected player does take to the field later in the game. This rule helps people who have entered a team into the Weekly Monster not to worry too much about whether their selected players will start or not, particularly if they know there are cheaper players for that same club in that same position who should start instead.

Number two is that FanTeam also have a ‘stacking penalty’ for the Weekly Monster, which penalises teams that have selected more than one defenders/goalkeeper from the same club. The stacking penalty comes into play when you pick more than one defensive player (defenders or goalkeepers) from a particular club and this club records a clean sheet. The points awarded for this clean sheet will decrease by 1 point for each additional defensive player from the same club that you have selected. The stacking penalty has a maximum of minus 3 points. This rule helps stop multi-entrants from gaining an advantage by submitting block defence teams. A reasonable tactic can be to select two players from two different clubs for your Goalie and Defenders, which would see you incur just 2 single-point deductions if you nail both clean sheets correctly.

Gameweek 18 €50K Weekly Monster matches

Our team suggestion for the Weekly Monster in gameweek 18

Formation: 3-5-2

General approach

With gameweek 18, we have arrived at the first so-called major blank gameweek of the 2020-21 Premier League campaign. As it stands, this round features just six games, though several of these look appealing from a fantasy point of view. One thing to keep in mind when selecting eleven players for this week’s €50K Weekly Monster is that changes to the schedule may be announced as a result of the new corona outbreak on British territory. Already today there has been a late change with Spurs now playing Fulham rather than Aston Villa in GW18 and well done FanTeam in cancelling the original Monster and starting a new one in quick time.

Due to the limited number of games for the coming round, balancing the available 105M budget was no easy task, especially not with the many interesting fantasy picks on display. We ended up going for a team of big hitters, supplemented with two very much budget-enabling picks and a quality goalkeeper against an in-form opponent. The core of our squad consists of three Manchester City aces facing Brighton at the Etihad, three players from Newcastle as they roll up to Bramall Lane, and two attacking Arsenal assets as they host Crystal Palace. The final two spots are taken up by Palace players – generally we don’t like to pick players from teams playing against each other but there isn’t too much choice with just 6 fixtures.

GOALKEEPER

We’re starting with our goalkeeper for gameweek 18 of FanTeam’s €50K Weekly Monster. Despite Burnley’s rocky start to the season, Nick Pope has still emerged, once again, as one of the league most dependable goalkeepers. Only four shot stoppers have amassed more than his 67,5 points on FanTeam, while he ranks joint-third for most saves. We figured that we’d use the goalkeeper position to save some budget and Pope looks like a decent investment. In truth, his fixture is rather unfavourable with Man United as opponents, but he does play at home and Burnley’s form has improved considerably over the past months as well. The Clarets are not the favourites here, but Turf Moor can be a tricky trip even for the best teams, so we’d be surprised to see them concede loads of goals in this one, especially when Pope has a good day.

MANCHESTER CITY

Manager Pep Guardiola’s men have probably the most appealing fixture of this entire blank gameweek as they play a struggling Brighton side at home. At the same time, the Cityzens themselves showed glimpses of their best selves last week when Chelsea was given a free footballing lesson at Stamford Bridge. They now boast the best defence in the league, while they have also scored six times in the last three games. Brighton, though often lauded this season for their positive approach to games, are hovering just above the drop zone at this moment. They have conceded 7 goals in the last four games and their last clean sheet dates back to gameweek 13, when they shut out Fulham at Craven Cottage.

In other words, everything is pointing to a sky blue victory by some margin here, which is why we have invested heavily in City assets. As a matter of fact, we have spent almost 40% of our entire 105M budget on Kevin de Bruyne, Raheem Sterling and Joao Cancelo. Out of all City defenders, the latter seems to have the most freedom when it comes to dashing forward and we would not be surprised to see him playing in midfield for large parts of the game on Wednesday. He looks to have the highest potential for returns at both ends of the pitch. De Bruyne (our captain) and Sterling are both listed as midfielders on FanTeam and both will get chances to get on the score sheet against the Seagulls. The Belgian was back to his phenomenal best in gameweek 17, with a goal, an assist and 12 FT points, while Raz recorded 7 FT points, courtesy of an assist. It’s hard to predict who will shine against Brighton this round, but we feel these two are amongst the most probable candidates.

NEWCASTLE

Besides our Man City triple-up, our team for FanTeam’s €50K Weekly Monster in gameweek 18 contains another trio as well. For their away game against struggling Sheffield United, we have selected three Newcastle fantasy assets. The Blades currently boast the worst attack in the league with just 8 goals from the 14 games, while only Leeds and West Brom have conceded more than their 29 goals so far. The Magpies themselves are no free-scoring team in-form either, but they are capable of booking a decent result at Bramall Lane, possibly even a victory with a clean sheet. They took just one point from their last three games, but it should be noted that the opponents were Man City, Liverpool and Leicester, and that they conceded “just” 4 goals over that run.

Against an attack as goal-shy as Sheffield United’s and keeping our limited budget in mind after going all in on Manchester City, we have gone for a defensive double-up with Fabian Schär and DeAndre Yedlin. They have just a single clean sheet to their names this season, but this one did come against Liverpool back in gameweek 16. Both Schär and Yedlin have started at least the last three games for manager Steve Bruce’s side, and the away game against Sheffield United looks like the perfect opportunity for a second clean sheet of the season.

When talking about Newcastle, it’s hard not to mention Callum Wilson, who we have also added to our squad. At 9.0M, the former Bournemouth striker has a relatively friendly price tag, especially considering the opposition he will be facing on Tuesday. He already has 8 goals and 4 assists to his name this season, and he is Newcastle’s principal threat going forward. His last goal does date back to gameweek 14, but we feel a game against the Blades is just what he needs to get back to his scoring ways.

ARSENAL

From being a laughing stock just a few weeks ago, Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal are currently one of the most interesting teams going into gameweek 18. The Gunners have won their last three league games, which saw them rise to 11th place in the league, just six points of a European spot, as a matter of fact. They have looked more creative going forward without losing their improved defence and next week, they are facing Crystal Palace at the Emirates. The Eagles did win against Championship-bound Sheffield United in GW17, but in the three games before that, they got just a single point and conceded a worrying 11 goals, including 7 against Liverpool and 3 versus Villa.

As a result, we figured a double-up on Arsenal’s attack could end with big rewards this gameweek. We have added Alexandre Lacazette (our vice-captain) to our forward line, based on his latest form. The Frenchman seems to have conquered a spot in Arteta’s starting eleven, which is not surprising, considering his 4 goals in the last three games. He is joined in our team by youngster Emile Smith-Rowe, who has impressed since starting against Chelsea back in gameweek 15. He started every game since then and rewarded that confidence in his abilities with 3 assists and a total of 21 FT points. Some pundits have even gone as far as labeling ESR one of the main reasons for Arsenal’s sudden uptick in form since GW15. Let’s hope he can keep delivering against Palace coming week.

CRYSTAL PALACE

After selecting the above nine players for our FanTeam €50K Weekly Monster team, we were left with very little budget and still two spots to fill. To complete our lineup, we stuck with the clash between Arsenal and Crystal Palace on Friday. Despite the fact that Arsenal are heavy favourites to win the encounter, we did not select any of their defenders on purpose. Not because the Gunners’ defence is fragile, as a matter of fact just three teams have conceded less goals, but because of the individual quality in the Palace attack so we’re banking on a score-draw between Arsenal and Palace.

The likes of Eberechi Eze and especially star man Wilfried Zaha are capable of causing trouble to every defence in the Premier League, including Arsenal’s. Where the former has so far been directly involved in 5 goals (2 goals and 3 assists), including a goal against Sheffield United last week, the latter is once again leading the Eagles to another season with a mid-table position. With 8 goals and 3 assists, Zaha has been directly involved in exactly 50% of all of Palace’s goals, and he will very likely be the main danger man against Arsenal. They will be looking for opportunities on the counter and in case of success, you can count on the Ivory Coast international to be involved.

FPL Season 20-21: Gameweek 18 preview

“Will Arsenal continue their good form against Crystal Palace at the Emirates on Thursday?” (CC by 4.0. Image by)

With the first major blank gameweek of the 2020-21 Premier League campaign upon us, FPL managers are approaching what is probably one of the most uncertain periods in terms of fixture and squad planning in recent (and not so recent) memory. In gameweek 18, we have just six games on the calendar at the moment of writing although Spurs are now playing Fulham instead of Aston Villa, but FPL faith would have it that the first major BGW is also coinciding with a very serious resurgence of the coronavirus on British territory. Several FA Cup games have already been postponed due to outbreaks at different clubs, including Aston Villa, and it remains to be seen how many will follow in the coming days. We can just say two things in this regard: we hope you are healthy and do keep an extra strict eye on the team news these days.

The reason why these circumstances cause lots of extra complications in terms of the Fantasy Premier League is that many people marked blank gameweek 18 as a perfect opportunity to activate their Free Hit chip and thus planned accordingly for weeks. If more postponements follow, how will that affect the already limited pool of available players? We don’t know, nobody does, so the best advice we can give you is to wait with the activation of your chip (if this was your plan) or with the confirmation of your transfers. At the same time, we will be recommending our picks for the upcoming round as usual, assuming that all games will take place. Hope dies last, right?

Don’t forget: the deadline for gameweek 18 is set for 16h30 (UK time) on Tuesday, January 12th. Do check out the Predicted Line-Ups for the Premier League clubs as well as the latest injury news (click on ‘Team’ to sort per club rather than the default ‘date’) before finalising your transfer(s).

Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per January 11th, 2020)


TRANSFERS OUTTRANSFERS INPOSSIBLE REASONS
GKMcCarthy (SOU), Mendy (CHE), Fabianski (WHU)Martinez (AST), Leno (Arsenal), De Gea (UTD)
DEFZouma (CHE), James (CHE), Chilwell (CHE)Tierney (ARS), Cancelo (CIT), Cresswell (WHU)Chelsea’s recent bad form, the upcoming BGW18
MIDSalah (LIV), Ward-Prowse (SOU), Zaha (CRY)De Bruyne (CIT), Saka (ARS), Fernandes (UTD)Salah being transferred out to fit in premiums for BGW18, Saka form + BGW18 fixture
FORCalvert-Lewin (EVE), Bamford (LEE), Vardy (LEI)Wilson (NEW), Kane (TOT), Lacazette (ARS), Bamford (LEE)Good fixtures in BGW18 plus form.

Premium pick

After a stellar 13-point performance against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, courtesy of a goal and an assist, Kevin de Bruyne (£11.7m) looks to be one of the stand-out fantasy picks for blank gameweek 18. The Belgian maestro has not been in his absolute best form yet this season, but he still has 3 goals and 8 assists to his name from 14 games. Not bad at all for a midfielder, though his heavy price tag does require him to perform from an FPL point of view. Still, he looked as motivated as ever against the Blues, playing as a false 9 to which the opponent had no answer, and up next is Brighton. The Seagulls have been lauded more than once this season for their positive game approach, but the reality is that they are currently hovering just three points above the drop zone. Only four teams have conceded more goals than Brighton, while only six teams have scored more than them. A City side gaining momentum with KDB at the wheel will likely be way too much for them right now.

Non-premium picks

Talking about momentum: from being a laughing stock just a few weeks ago, Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal are currently one of the most interesting teams to bet on for gameweek 18. The Gunners have won their last three league games, which saw them rise to 11th place in the league, just six points off a European spot, as a matter of fact. One of the players who has stood out in the last few weeks is striker Alexandre Lacazette (£8.3m), with 4 goals and 27 FPL points over the past three rounds. As a result, Laca suddenly represents the coveted fantasy combination of form and fixture. This coming Thursday, Arsenal are hosting Crystal Palace, who have conceded 29 goals already. Only struggling West Brom and crazy Leeds have conceded more. The Eagles did win against Championship-bound Sheffield United in GW17, but in the three games before that, they got just a single point and conceded a worrying 11 goals, including 7 against Liverpool and 3 versus Villa. In other words, Lacazette looks like a very interesting fantasy pick for the upcoming blank gameweek.

Our second non-premium fantasy pick is Jack Grealish (£7.7m), whose Aston Villa are currently hit by a heavy coronavirus outbreak. As a result, it’s not entirely sure what will happen to Villa’s home game against Spurs in gameweek 18, but for now, we’re recommending their talisman as one of the best possible non-premium picks. It should be noted that the club is now in lock-down, but their next league game takes place next Wednesday. In other words, much can happen still. As far as Grealish goes, the creative midfielder has been phenomenal so far this season, with 5 goals and 9 assists to date. That’s an excellent return considering his budget-friendly price tag. Spurs are tough to beat and score against, we know, but the Villains are in very good form and the young Englishman could be a shrewd pick for Free Hitters.

The budget enabler

For our budget-enabler category, we usually try to pick the real bargains of the moment, but this week we’ve gone for a slightly more expensive type of budget-enabler. Callum Wilson (£6.5m) represents excellent value this season, seeing as he has already scored 8 goals and provided 4 assists for Newcastle this season. Managers with Free Hit plans will be trying to include as many heavy hitters as possible from the big teams, which makes Wilson probably the most straightforward budget pick. On top of that, the former Bournemouth striker is up against Sheffield United at Bramall Lane. The Blades have collected just two points so far this season and even though they are rarely conceding boatloads of goals in a single game, they still boast one of the worst defensive records in the league with 29 conceded goals and no clean sheets to their name.

A differential pick or two

Our first differential pick is actually a team mate of Wilson’s, because besides their defence, Sheffield United are also having serious issues at the other side of the pitch. After 17 games, the manager Chris Wilder’s men have scored just 8 goals, which is more than worrying. In the last three games (against Everton at home and Burnley and Crystal Palace away), they failed to net a single goal, which is why we have selected Magpie defender DeAndre Yedlin (£4.3m) for blank gameweek 18. The American right-back has recuperated his spot in the starting eleven since gameweek GW14, though the fixture run since then has been tough: Fulham at home, followed by encounters with Man City, Liverpool (clean sheet for Yedlin) and Leicester). Newcastle managed to make it through this nightmare run with 4 points and just 5 conceded goals, which points at a certain defensive confidence in the Magpie camp. We wouldn’t be surprised to see them book their second clean sheet of the season coming Tuesday.

Our second differential fantasy pick for blank gameweek 18 is of a different category than Yedlin, in all aspects. When discussing Kevin de Bruyne, we already briefly discussed City’s favourable match-up with Brighton for the upcoming round, which has also put Riyad Mahrez (£8.1m) on our FPL radar. The Algerian forward is an extremely explosive player and the game against the Seagulls could very well see him record his third double-digit haul of the season. The main issue with him is his manager and more specifically, his manager’s special love for extreme and often heartbreaking rotation. The Cityzens played United in the semi-finals of the League Cup last Wednesday and Mahrez was in the starting eleven, but whether or not that is any indication of his chances of a start against Brighton, we’re not sure. There is a week of rest between these two games, after all. What we do know, is that he is currently owned by just 3.9% of FPL managers, which could make him an extreme differential for the upcoming blank gameweek.

The captaincy

Despite there being just six games in GW18, the round does present us with plenty of good candidates for the captaincy. We have gone with Kevin de Bruyne against Brighton after his double-digit haul at Stamford Bridge and his status as (practically) untouchable in Pep Guardiola’s starting eleven. With seven days of rest between this week’s League Cup clash with Man United and the upcoming home encounter with the Seagulls, we feel he is the stand-out captaincy pick.

The Belgian is expensive though, and he has been disappointing for FPL managers at times this season, so it’s a good thing to have a few more than decent alternatives on hand. His teammate Raheem Sterling could be a big-time differential pick, while Bruno Fernandes from city rivals United looks like a great choice as well for his visit to Turf Moor. The inevitable Spurs duo Harry Kane and Heung Min-Son is, of course, worth considering as well, despite their tricky away game at Villa Park. The likes of Callum Wilson (away at Sheffield United), Dominic Calvert-Lewin (away at Molineux), Lacazette (at home to Palace) and Marcus Rashford (away against Burnley) could all deliver big returns as well.

Fantasy Cricket’s Rise and Some Top Brands to Look Out For

Source: Pixabay

Fantasy football might generate plenty of discussion in these parts, but it should not be forgotten that many other sports have also embraced similar concepts in recent times.

One which has enjoyed a significant level of success across the last few years is fantasy cricket, as the whole scene has gone on to enjoy major growth.

Showcase your expertise

Many sports fans love having the chance to show off their knowledge and it is fair to say that cricket enthusiasts are no different. Fortunately, they have a range of options when it comes to highlighting their expertise these days.

For example, plenty of cricket video games have been released through the years and given players the chance to test their skills and strategies. Cricket has found a home in the ever-growing world of mobile gaming too, with many different titles emerging for both smartphone and tablet. Those looking at how to make money in cricket may even consider sports betting, with Asiabet offering guides on major tournaments, including the Indian Premier League (IPL). The site features betting predictions linked to the event, while it also highlights the latest bonuses and free bets that are available in relation to the competition.

Asiabet also puts a spotlight on fantasy cricket and explains how the online game sees players select a team of stars within a certain budget. The players then collect points based on how the members of their side perform in real life. The figures around fantasy cricket are massive and a report released by KPMG in March 2019 outlined how it is particularly big in India. The publication highlighted that the number of operators in the space rose by seven times from 2016 to 2018, while user figures also increased by more than 25 times between June 2016 and February 2019. But, if you’re keen to get started with fantasy cricket, which apps should you look out for? Here are three notable names to keep tabs on.

Dream11

This fantasy cricket app is arguably one of the best known among cricket fans, as the brand was a major sponsor of the 2020 edition of the IPL.

The official site details how players simply select an upcoming match, create a team of players and then join either private or public contests. It also offers the chance to chat in groups, while players can also get a cash bonus if invited friends go on to sign up.

My11Circle

Another major name to look out for in the fantasy cricket space is My11Circle. Part of Games24x7, the official site explains how players get 100 credits to build the perfect squad. They can then take part in both practice and cash competitions.

Players have a range of issues to consider, including the number of batsmen and bowlers they choose to select and who they opt to make their captain and vice-captain. The My11Circle site also goes on to suggest that several elements make fantasy cricket compelling. More specifically, it details how the game puts players in control, while it adds that it can feel like you are playing with the team.

MPL

Mobile Premier League made headlines in the cricket world in November, when it was revealed that its sports merchandise brand MPL Sports would be the official kit sponsor for the Indian cricket team. The Board of Control for Cricket in India’s announcement confirmed that a three-year deal had been agreed.

The official MPL site describes the platform as India’s biggest gaming app and it offers a whole host of different titles including Rogue Heist, Pool, and Chess. Fantasy cricket features prominently, with players once again having 100 credits with which to build their perfect side. MPL users also have a range of options for instant withdrawals, as the site details how it supports the likes of Paytm wallet, UPI, Amazon Pay, and bank transfer.

Start playing today

The fantasy sports world is really thriving at the moment, with the scene around cricket going from strength to strength.

The names highlighted above are just a handful of the notable brands to keep an eye on if you plan to enter the space, so take some time to discover which might ultimately be right for you. Fantasy cricket appears to be on the rise, and it will be interesting to see how the area develops in the coming years.

Fantasy NBA €50,000 Monster Tonight!

FanTeam, Europe’s biggest daily fantasy football provider, are running their first NBA €50,000 Monster tonight after the run-away success of their season-long NBA game which received 3 times as many entries as expected.

Here are tonight’s NBA fixtures:

Selecting 7 players with a budget of $72m is not easy. We’ve gone for 3 expensive picks and 4 budget picks. We’ve used FISO’s season-long NBS stats page to help our selections. Here are the top-ranked players overall based on Points per $Million in the season-long game (the prices in the Monster though will be different but it does give a good indicator). Remember that most but not all NBA teams play tonight (so, for example, 2nd ranked Andre Drummond of the Cleveland Cavaliers doesn’t play in the Monster).

We’ve also had a quick look at an NBA Injury news table and at the NBA website for the latest news ($14.6m Kyrie Irving misses tonight’s Brooklyn Nets game at the Memphis Grizzlies) although FanTeam do mark in yellow or red those players not expected to play and their safety net rule applies to this game.

So finally here’s our Fantasy NBA Monster team for tonight where we’ve spent heavy on the forwards:

Join the FanTeam NBA discussion on FISO’s Fantasy NBA forum.

Fantasy Football Strategy: Ways to Improve Your Dream Roster

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Anyone who’s into sports is bound to have some favorite teams to root for the longer they tune in. They would likely root for those specific players that stand out during games, as well. Then they’d start imagining, “what would it be like if those players had been part of a group and form a ‘super team’?”

That’s the thought on people’s heads when they decide to join and play Fantasy Sports and try to form their very own dream team. Forming your dream roster offers its own fun and allows fans and bettors to pick players. However, it’s different for competitive Fantasy drafting. Those who participate in these games plan carefully and make drafting decisions to have an optimal strategy for team formation.

When it comes to betting and rooting for football teams, you have to at least understand the rules of the game to play it effectively. Listed below are some things you need to consider if you are looking to join some Fantasy Football and draft a team with a promising run for the current season.

Youth or Experience?

One aspect that would be heavily debated is whether you should pick fresh and upcoming talent over the hardened veterans. Young players have a definite physical advantage since youth comes with strength and vitality, but one shouldn’t ignore the experience and insight that comes with age. 

A notable example of young talent would be Kansas City Chiefs’ quarterback Patrick Mahomes II. Currently in his fourth year playing in the NFL, the young quarterback has been the team’s starter for three seasons. Mahomes has been setting records of his own with the Chiefs, like the 50 touchdown passes and 5,097 passing yards during his 2018 season, breaking the previous records set by former players.

Veterans like Ben Roethlisberger have yet to leave the limelight and retire from the NFL, so he shouldn’t be counted out just yet. The quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers, currently in his 17th year playing for them and in the NFL, is leading the team through another playoff run this season.

He’s showing that he shouldn’t be underestimated despite his age by adding another run to the nine playoffs appearances so far, tallying seven championships in the AFC North, four in the AFC overall, and two Super Bowl wins out of three appearances.

Combination of Consistency and Dominance

Picking the most dominant players would be the basic instinct for anyone into the fantasy draft. Players having excellent stats would make promising additions to your dream roster. However, how long will they be able to keep their pace up? Having a combination of dominance and consistency would make your roster more solid and considerably formidable.

Star players from top teams having an outstanding season would be the obvious choice for drafters to add to their rosters. For those playing Fantasy Football, this would mean that they would rely more on those players to make their team a more competent one.

Fantasy players employ point systems like Points Per Reception (PPR) and game ranking to discern a player’s standing for this season. This means the more stats they tally, the more points bestowed to the players, and the more consistent they are for the season.

Account for Injuries and Medical History

As harsh as it may sound, players are of no use to their teams if they’re injured, except for moral support, of course. The same can be said even in a fantasy draft, but without the moral support, since having a healthy roster would guarantee overall stability. With that, you wouldn’t need to switch the injured players around with other players and compromise the current roster.

Such is the case for draft picks like Drew Brees, the New Orleans Saints’ quarterback, and Buffalo Bills’ tight end, Tommy Sweeney. Brees sustained 11 rib fractures and suffered from a collapsed lung during the matchups against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and San Francisco 49ers. Meanwhile, Sweeney was diagnosed with myocarditis related to COVID-19 and is out for the season.

Circumstances like this hurt those who prefer having players like them in their roster. There are times when a player returning from recovery ups their game and posts stats better than before. With that being said, monitoring a player’s health and injury history proves to be vital for both actual rosters and dream drafts.

Takeaway

Drafting a reliable, robust lineup is advisable in football when aiming for success, preferably in the long term. The same can be said in Fantasy football since drafting high-level players can give you an advantage and help you win matchups against other players.

Considering the crucial factors in making a balanced and competent roster, you can also add personal preferences or your favorite players. In that way, you’ll have more fun modifying your roster and setting up your chances at winning matchups.

FanTeam 2020-21: €50K Weekly Monster Gameweek 17

As part of FISO’s special series of weekly articles on FanTeam, Europe’s biggest daily fantasy football provider, we will actually be entering the team we write about each week into the game. Our article will focus on an Early Entry for their Fantasy Premier League tournament held each week in order to help you identify game rules, tactics and the most promising players per gameweek, so you can win some of that large prize money.

Our FISO team below will be entered into this week’s €20 entry (€50k prize pool) Main Event. The winner takes home a cool €5,000. FanTeam also offer a €2 entry Weekly Monster with a lower prize pool for those who prefer to play with lower stakes. Join the discussion on FISO’s FanTeam forum.

Before moving onto our team selection, we want to highlight a couple of FanTeam rules that they apply to their Weekly Monster competition and that represent some of the major differences when comparing the game to the FPL. Do though check out the Predicted Line-Ups for the Premier League clubs as well as the latest injury news (click on ‘Team’ to sort per club rather than the default ‘date’) before finalising your picks.

Number one is that FanTeam have a rule called the ‘safety net’. The safety net comes into play when a selected player does not start in the Weekly Monster, because the game will then automatically replace this player with the next lowest-priced player from the same position (GK, DEF, MID, FOR) in the same team. This is regardless of whether or not your selected player does take to the field later in the game. This rule helps people who have entered a team into the Weekly Monster not to worry too much about whether their selected players will start or not, particularly if they know there are cheaper players for that same club in that same position who should start instead.

Number two is that FanTeam also have a ‘stacking penalty’ for the Weekly Monster, which penalises teams that have selected more than one defenders/goalkeeper from the same club. The stacking penalty comes into play when you pick more than one defensive player (defenders or goalkeepers) from a particular club and this club records a clean sheet. The points awarded for this clean sheet will decrease by 1 point for each additional defensive player from the same club that you have selected. The stacking penalty has a maximum of minus 3 points. This rule helps stop multi-entrants from gaining an advantage by submitting block defence teams. A reasonable tactic can be to select two players from two different clubs for your Goalie and Defenders, which would see you incur just 2 single-point deductions if you nail both clean sheets correctly.

Gameweek 17 €50K Weekly Monster matches (just 7):

Our team suggestion for the Weekly Monster in gameweek 17

Formation: 4-3-3

General approach

The FanTeam €50K Weekly Monster for gameweek 17 of the Premier League boasts just seven games, due to the slightly spread fixture calendar for the coming weekend. It includes four games on Saturday, two on Sunday and one on Monday, this leaving out Friday’s encounters featuring Everton against West Ham and Manchester United versus Aston Villa, and the game between corona-hit sides Burnley and Fulham. The latter omission is more of a decision on the part of FanTeam, because other fantasy Premier League games do still feature the match and no official statement on the status of the match has been communicated yet.

With a budget of 105M, we have selected a squad of eleven players, consisting of a possibly surprising Wolves trio, three double-ups (from Manchester City, Leicester City and Tottenham Hotspur), the best goalkeeper on FanTeam right now, plus a Crystal Palace punt. We’re lining up in a 4-3-3 formation in order to allow for the inclusion of a few high-potential big hitters, so let’s go over our fantasy picks for gameweek 17.

GOALKEEPER

As we wrote earlier, our goalkeeper for the upcoming gameweek is currently the highest-scoring goalkeeper in the game, namely Alex McCarthy with 80.5 FT points. Southampton has already recorded 7 clean sheets this season, three of which came in the last five games, and their shot stopper has made 47 saves so far. Only five goalkeepers have made more this season. Saves are also what we’re hoping for when the Saints host Liverpool coming Monday in the final game of GW17. The best-performing goalie on FanTeam from one of the in-form sides for just 6M at home against an attacking side, sounds like save potential to us.

WOLVES

With 21 points from 16 games, the Wolverhampton Wanderers are not performing very badly, per se, but they were surely expecting more from the first half of their 2020-21 Premier League campaign. The serious injury and long-term absence of their star man Raul Jimenez plays a big role in this, naturally, but the Wolves defence is still relatively solid. Eight teams have conceded less than their 21 goals and manager Nuno Espirito Santo’s teams are generally known for their defensive prowess. They haven’t had a clean sheet since gameweek 7, but we feel this weekend’s match-up with Brighton could result in their fifth clean sheet of the season.

That’s why we have made a double investment in the Wolves defence with Romain Saïss and Nelson Semedo. Despite being the two highest price Wolves defenders, they were both priced below 8M and are facing a team that has scored just 3 goals in the last five Premier League encounters. Of those five, three ended in clean sheets for the opposition. Wolves, on the other hand, have not booked a clean sheet since GW7, but they also have conceded more than 1 goal in a single game on just two occasions (4-0 away to Liverpool and 2-1 away to Burnley). They are favourites for this game and we’re predicting a small victory with a clean sheet for the Molineux men.

We completed our Wolves trio with their new star man, Daniel Podence, who has become one of their main sources of attacking danger since Raul Jimenez’ injury. Wolves have been far from free-scoring so far this season and the Portuguese attacking midfielder has recorded just five attacking returns so far (3 goals and 2 assists), the last of which came back in gameweek 13 in the form of a goal against Chelsea. Still, when Wolves are attacking, Podence is almost always involved and we don’t expect this to be any different at the AmEx on Saturday.

MANCHESTER CITY

Our team for FanTeam’s €50K Weekly Monster also boasts two Manchester City assets, though not the kind of assets that we have gotten used to when talking about City. Usually, with Pep Guardiola’s Cityzens, it’s the attackers and attack-oriented players who take up most of the spotlight (and the budget), but that’s different this season. This season, they have scored an average 21 goals in 16 games (10 teams have done better), but they have only conceded 12 goals over that same run (no team has done better). Their game at Stamford Bridge is one of the big ones of the weekend, but the Blues seem to have lost their good form from earlier in the season as they have now taken just 4 points from the last five games. Over that same run, manager Frank Lampard’s men have scored just 6 goals, three of which came in the 3-0 GW14 home victory over West Ham.

In other words, the Chelsea vs Man City game on Saturday will be a game between a team that is struggling a bit at the moment and a team that is yet to find the attacking, goal-laden form that we have become so accustomed to from them over the years. Betting on this one is risky, we know, but we think this one could end up disappointing for the home side. This feeling is reflected in our selection of both Joao Cancelo and John Stones for gameweek 17. Both Skyblue fantasy assets have been kind to fantasy managers of late, so we hope that will continue this weekend. We may change ‘green’ Stones to ‘red’ Mendy with the small amount of budget left to guard against Pep rotation and use the saftey net (getting Mendy, Laporte, Ake & Stones in that order).

SPURS

After the more budget-friendly picks, it’s now time for our aces for gameweek 17, starting with Tottenham Hotspur. José Mourinho’s men were handed an unexpected, but surely very welcome rest in gameweek 16 as their fixture against Fulham was postponed due to a Covid-19 explosion at Craven Cottage. As a result, the Spurs will be fresh and raring to go when Leeds United roll up to the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Saturday. Marcelo Bielsa’s side are usually a joy to watch, but they do leak goals as only West Brom have conceded more than them (30 vs 35 goals). Counter-attacking sides seem to especially enjoy themselves against the Whites, which is why the largest portion of our budget this week has been spent on Spurs stars.

After this intro, we probably don’t need to tell you who we have selected for gameweek 17, but we will, just in case. Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son had a blistering start to the 2020-21 campaign, but they seem to have cooled down a bit with just a single goal between them in the last three league games. It should be noted though, that these three games were against Liverpool and Wolves away, and Leicester at home. We are confident that Tottenham’s dynamic English-Korean duo will get back to their scoring ways against Leeds. So much, in fact, that we have picked Son as our captain for FanTeam’s €50K Weekly Monster tournament in gameweek 17.

LEICESTER CITY

Our other big hitters for this weekend are Leicester aces, starting with the inevitable, Jamie Vardy. The English striker has already been directly involved in 18 goals this season (11 goals, 7 assists), which represents a staggering 62% of all his team’s goals. Over the last five Premier League games, he has scored 2 goals and provided 4 assists for a total of 34 FT points. For the upcoming away game against Newcastle, we have selected him as our vice-captain, as the Magpies have conceded 8 goals in their last four outings, including gameweek 16’s 0-0 draw versus Liverpool.

Seeing as we don’t think that manager Steve Bruce’s men will keep two clean sheets in a row, we have doubled up on Leicester’s attack by also spending a considerable part of our budget for this week on James Maddison. The attacking midfielder had some injury troubles during the first months of this season, but he is back now to shape Leicester’s attack. He currently sits on 3 goals and 4 assists, and he has looked lively in his last few games. On top of that, he was given a rest for the away game at Selhurst Park in gameweek 16, so we’re expecting a very fit and motivated Maddison to turn up against Newcastle on Sunday.

BONUS

By the time we had selected 10 players, we still had about 10M of budget left to ideally spend on an attacker or a midfielder. We decided to go for a differential and take a punt on Crystal Palace forward Christian Benteke. We all know that Roy Hodgson’s Palace are far from a goal-scoring machine, but this weekend looks like a good opportunity for them to work on that. Besides that, everyone at the club will see the upcoming home game against struggling Sheffield United as a must-win. Seeing as Wilfried Zaha was just outside of our remaining budget, we have gone with the next best thing in the Palace attack. The Belgian forward saw his first start back in gameweek 11 result in a brace and he has been a starter for the Eagles ever since. It’s true that he just scored 1 more goal since then, but it should be said that the opposition over that run was tough. Against the Blades, we expect Benteke to start once again and hopefully he will improve his goal tally in that case.

FPL Season 20-21 Gameweek 17 preview

“January 3rd brings us the first clash of giants of the year 2021 when Chelsea welcome Manchester City to Stamford Bridge” (CC by 3.0). Image by: Vespa125125CFC.

Chaos. Mayhem. Carnage. Gameweek 16 has been called all of these names and more since its kick-off last Monday. First, there was the corona-related postponement of Everton vs Manchester City just after the deadline. Then, the encounter between Spurs and Fulham followed suit yesterday, just two or three hours before the kick-off. Owners of De Bruyne and especially captaincy candidates Kane and Son, we feel you, but at least your vice captain was one of Liverpool’s in-form stars, right? To still end a crazy gameweek with a bang? Nope, blanks all around (apart from defenders) after the 0-0 draw at Saint James’ Park.

Now, with two games added to the slowly but steadily growing pile of postponed fixtures that need to be fitted into the already cramped schedule some time soon, for FPL managers the uncertainty keeps growing as well. At the moment of writing this gameweek preview, no GW17 fixtures have been postponed yet (although Burnley v Fulham seems most in doubt), but we do expect some relevant news over the coming days, with particular relevance to the upcoming blank and double gameweeks. Whether this will be before the gameweek 17 deadline is unknown, unfortunately. All we can say is, keep an eye on the Fantasy Premier League news and try to build as much flexibility as possible into your FPL squad.

Don’t forget: the deadline for gameweek 17 is set for 16h00 (UK time) on Friday, January 1st. Do check out the Predicted Line-Ups for the Premier League clubs as well as the latest injury news (click on ‘Team’ to sort per club rather than the default ‘date’) before finalising your transfer(s).

Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per December 31st, 2020)


TRANSFERS OUTTRANSFERS INPOSSIBLE REASONS
GKMendy (CHE), Ryan (BRI), McCarthy (SOU)Martinez (AST), McCarthy (SOU), Leno (ARS)
DEFVestergaard (SOU), Zouma (CHE), James (CHE)Dallas (LEE), Bednarek (SOU), Chilwell (CHE)Chelsea lack of clean sheets, Vestergaard injury, Chilwell quick return to fitness, Dallas recent returns
MIDGrealish (AST), Ward-Prowse (SOU), De Bruyne (CIT)Fernandes (UTD), Neto (WOL), Zaha (CRY)Man United’s form, De Bruyne lack of returns
FORCalvert-Lewin (EVE), Wilson (NEW), Werner (CHE)Bamford (LEE), Vardy (LEI), Calvert-Lewin (EVE)Lack of performing forwards, Werner and Wilson lack of returns, Bamford form

Premium pick

Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United have been a terrific addition to the Premier League so far, thanks to their attacking game approach and open-ended matches full of goals on both sides. The downside of this approach is that every now and then, the Whites suffer a heavy defeat, usually when facing a high-level counter-oriented opponent. It happened back in gameweek 14 with a 6-2 defeat at the hands of Man United and we can see a similar scenario taking place on Friday when Leeds visit Spurs. José Mourinho’s men will certainly lean back and wait for opportunities on the counter, which they will get for sure. It’s the manager’s favourite game and something that has had us considering Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son (£9.7m) from the get-go. As our premium fantasy pick for gameweek 17, we have gone with the latter, thanks to his deeper positioning when Spurs are counter-attacking and despite his lack of returns over the past two weeks. On top of that, the North London side had the opportunity for some extended rest as their GW16 game against Fulham was postponed at the last minute.

Non-premium picks

With budgets being stretched to their maximums as FPL managers try to fit in as much of the template big hitters as possible, we have gone for two very budget-friendly non-premium fantasy picks this week. Our first pick is Leicester City’s Harvey Barnes (£6.7m), who has recovered his starting spot in manager Brendan Rodgers’ starting eleven. The English forward scored a goal in each of the last two gameweeks, against Man United and Palace, for a total of 15 FPL points. He is visiting Saint James’ Park this coming Sunday and will be looking to work on his current tallies of 5 goals and 1 assist against a leaky Magpie defence. Despite their clean sheet against Liverpool, they rank amongst the bottom four of the entire league when it comes to defensive stats like shots conceded, shots in the box and shots on target. A second consecutive clean sheet looks unlikely here.

Our second non-premium fantasy pick for gameweek 17 is just a tad more expensive. As usual, Wilfried Zaha (£7.4m) is Crystal Palace’s talisman this season. The Ivory coast international has so far been directly involved in 11 of his team’s 20 Premier League goals (8 goals and 3 assists), which is a dream for FPL managers. This weekend, the Eagles are hosting a Sheffield United side for which the drop to the Championship seems inevitable already, just 16 rounds into the current campaign. Zaha ended a four-game goal drought against Leicester in GW16 by scoring the opening goal and we hope this has given him the confidence to repeat that feat against the Blades on Saturday.

The budget enabler

On top of our two budget-friendly midfielders, we have also identified a very much budget-enabling defender who currently represents excellent value. Burnley had a bad start to the 2020-21 campaign, but the Clarets have been steadily improving over the past few months. As a matter of fact, with 3 clean sheets in their last five games, manager Sean Dyche’s men seem to have found back the defence-based approach that has brought them so much success since their return to the Prem in 2016. On the right-side of their defence plays Matthew Lowton (£4.4m), who has rather quietly racked up 23 FPL points over the past five rounds for an average of just under 5 points per game. The 31-year old Englishman has no attacking returns to his name yet, but he is a nailed-on starter at a bargain price in an improving team that should record plenty more shut-outs this season. He could be just the enabler you need to free up those crucial 0.1m or 0.2m of budget but do check if their match against Fulham will be on.

A differential pick or two

Our first differential fantasy pick for GW17 is a defender as well, though with a different recent history. The Wolverhampton Wanderers have not recorded a clean sheet since gameweek 7, which was their fourth shut-out in seven games, but since then, they have conceded more than a single goal on just two occasions (4-0 away to Liverpool in GW11 and 2-1 away to Burnley in GW14). With an away game against goal-shy Brighton up next, they will be looking for their fifth clean sheet of the campaign, which is what we are hoping for as well with Romain Saïss (5.0m). The Moroccan central defender is the highest-scoring defensive Wolves asset with 55 FPL points, in big part thanks to his 2 goals, one of which he scored back in gameweek 15 versus Spurs. Saïss and the rest of the Wolves have a decent fixture schedule coming up and with an ownership of just 7.7%, he could be a shrewd investment at a reasonable price.

Our second differential fantasy pick is an Arsenal player. That’s right, we said it, he’s a Gunner. With 20 points from the first 16 games of the campaign, Arsenal are performing way, way below par, but their last two results have provided some hope for improvement. Both Chelsea and Brighton were beaten, and Alexandre Lacazette (£8.2m) hit the target in both games. Now, the Frenchman is not as nailed-on an asset as we would like and Arsenal are still Arsenal, but he is currently owned by just 2.9% of FPL managers and has a decent set of fixtures coming up. This weekend, the Gunners are rolling up to the Hawthornes for a third consecutive victory, followed by home games against Crystal Palace and Newcastle, and an away game versus Southampton. Lacazette might just turn out to be a very rewarding outfield choice for those managers chasing in their mini-leagues.

The captaincy

As far as the captain’s armband for gameweek 17 goes, we have mainly focused on Spurs as they host Leeds United. It was between Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son, obviously, and we ended up going with the Korean as our captain for this weekend. Both Tottenham assets look promising in the build-up to the game, especially when considering they have had an unexpected rest in gameweek 16, but we feel they expected counter-attacking style of José Mourinho’s men might benefit Son just a tad more.

Besides the dynamic Spurs duo, GW17 offers a few other interesting options for the captaincy as well. Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes play a sturdy Aston Villa side at Old Trafford, and Leicester are visiting one of the league’s most suspect defences when they visit Newcastle on Sunday, bringing the inevitable Jamie Vardy into the captaincy fold as well. For the more differential kind of choice, managers can look at Wilfried Zaha at home against Sheffield United, Daniel Podence for the away game against Brighton, or even Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang/Alexandre Lacazette for Arsenal’s visit to West Brom.

FanTeam 2020-21: €50K Weekly Monster – Gameweek 16B

Due to the late postponement of the Everton v Man City match last night the FanTeam GW16 Monster was cancelled and a new GW16 Monster (GW16B) created for the remaining 7 matches of GW16.

As part of FISO’s special series of weekly articles on FanTeam, Europe’s biggest daily fantasy football provider, we will actually be entering the team we write about each week into the game. Our article will focus on an Early Entry for their Fantasy Premier League tournament held each week in order to help you identify game rules, tactics and the most promising players per gameweek, so you can win some of that large prize money.

Our FISO team below will be entered into this week’s €20 entry (€50k prize pool) Main Event. The winner takes home a cool €5,000. FanTeam also offer a €2 entry Weekly Monster with a lower prize pool for those who prefer to play with lower stakes. Join the discussion on FISO’s FanTeam forum.

Before moving onto our team selection, we want to highlight a couple of FanTeam rules that they apply to their Weekly Monster competition and that represent some of the major differences when comparing the game to the FPL. Do though check out the Predicted Line-Ups for the Premier League clubs as well as the latest injury news (click on ‘Team’ to sort per club rather than the default ‘date’) before finalising your picks.

Number one is that FanTeam have a rule called the ‘safety net’. The safety net comes into play when a selected player does not start in the Weekly Monster, because the game will then automatically replace this player with the next lowest-priced player from the same position (GK, DEF, MID, FOR) in the same team. This is regardless of whether or not your selected player does take to the field later in the game. This rule helps people who have entered a team into the Weekly Monster not to worry too much about whether their selected players will start or not, particularly if they know there are cheaper players for that same club in that same position who should start instead.

Number two is that FanTeam also have a ‘stacking penalty’ for the Weekly Monster, which penalises teams that have selected more than one defenders/goalkeeper from the same club. The stacking penalty comes into play when you pick more than one defensive player (defenders or goalkeepers) from a particular club and this club records a clean sheet. The points awarded for this clean sheet will decrease by 1 point for each additional defensive player from the same club that you have selected. The stacking penalty has a maximum of minus 3 points. This rule helps stop multi-entrants from gaining an advantage by submitting block defence teams. A reasonable tactic can be to select two players from two different clubs for your Goalie and Defenders, which would see you incur just 2 single-point deductions if you nail both clean sheets correctly.

Fixtures for the GW16B Monster:

Our team suggestion for the Weekly Monster in gameweek 116B

Formation: 3-5-2

General approach

Despite 4 of the 7 matches kicking off at 6pm such that line-ups for 8 teams will be known prior to the entry deadline, we’re only picking 4 of our 11 players from those matches (but one will be our Vice Captain in case our Captain doesn’t start). We’re then focussing on the teams with the stronger squads – Spurs, Arsenal and Liverpool. Once we’re seen the line-ups for the first matches we may have to edit our team.

Arsenal

It’s about time for an Arsenal clean sheet so we’re selecting Leno in goal and Tierney in defence to keep out Brighton who scored 2 goals in GW15. Aubameyang is our 3rd player from Arsenal who, if he doesn’t start, will automatically be replaced by Lacazette.

Spurs

Spurs at home to Fulham has the potential for plenty of Tottenham goals so we’re going for the obvious Kane and Son combination plus attacking right-back Doherty (the 3rd highest priced Spurs defender so the saftey net should give us a replacement if he’s rested).

Liverpool

We made the mistake of captaining Salah in GW15 and we’re continuing that theme in GW16 expecting him to start and get amongst the goals against Newcastle who’ve just had a run around from Man City. It looks like Rhys Williams will be taking over from Matip in central defence after his groin injury so he’s in as well.

Wolves

Wolves players are priced low for this gameweek as they are facing Man Utd who are once again on an upward trajectory but Wolves have proven they relish playing against the top teams. We’ve added the two highest priced midfielders to our line-up, Podence and Neto, who’ve shown they are very attack-minded and will have to remain so whilst striker Jimenez is on the side lines.

The Final Spot

Goes to the talented Diangana of WBA who may be able to get amongst the goals or assists against Leeds after their excellent performance against Liverpool.

Gameweek 16B of FanTeam’s €50K Boxing Day Monster starts at 6pm today so don’t delay your entry!