FPL 2023-24: Gameweek 31 preview

Lots of FPL action this week with two deadlines in about five days’ time. We have got a midweek gameweek 31 coming up in about 24 hours, barely 48 hours after the final whistle of gameweek 30, and then the gameweek 32 deadline on Saturday. The turn-around between games should be enough for most teams to manage in terms of fitness, but do keep an eye on fixture charts and, of course, any trustworthy early team news.

As usual though, we are taking it one game at a time, so let’s shift our focus back to the preparations for gameweek 31. With current leaders Liverpool playing at Luton Town and current number two Arsenal playing at home to Sheffield United, the captaincy debate is going to be an interesting one, especially when you consider that third place Manchester City are playing at home as well. Sure, the Cityzens are playing a stronger opponent in Aston Villa, but the Villans have not been as reliable as they’d like to be on the road this season and City is City. From a fantasy point of view, Newcastle at home to Everton will likely attract some interest as well, while the clash of the weekend overall will be played on Sunday evening, when Manchester United roll up to Stamford Bridge.

Check out FISO’s FPL Forum for the latest discussion and don’t forget, the deadline for gameweek 31 is set at 18h00 (UK time) on Tuesday, April 2nd, 2024. If you fancy playing a fantasy premier league game just based on Saturday’s or the Weekend’s fixtures then have a look at FanTeam’s Daily Fantasy Games (18+ only).

Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per April 1st, 2024)

GKAreola (WHU), Alisson (LIV), Ederson (MCI)Kelleher (LIV), Raya (ARS), Onana (MUN) 
DEFWalker (MCI), Cash (AST), Doughty (LUT)White (ARS), Bradley (LIV), Van Dijk (LIV)Walker + Cash injured, Doughty injury doubt
MIDGordon (NEW), Maddison (TOT), Luiz (AST)Salah (LIV), Palmer (CHE), Son (TOT)Gordon suspension, Palmer form
FORWatkins (AST), Morris (LUT), Haaland (MCI)Isak (NEW), Darwin (LIV), Muniz (FUL)Watkins injury doubt, Isak coming off brace + good fixtures

Premium pick

With Mohamed Salah (£13.3m) just coming off an important goal against Brighton and with Liverpool preparing for the home game against Sheffield United, we figured that we had no option but including the Egyptian as our premium fantasy pick for gameweek 31. The likes of Arsenal (at home to Luton) and Manchester City (at home to Villa) present several excellent options as well, but we feel there is no going against Mo Salah facing the worst defence in the entire league, in front of his own crowd. No team currently comes close to the 77 goals conceded by the Blades in 29 league games and that defence is now facing the best forward line in the league, bar Man City. As for Salah, he just scored the winning goal against Brighton to make it a two-point gap between them and chasers Arsenal and City. Overall, the Reds talisman has already scored 16 goals and provided 9 assists in 21 league games, and the coming encounter with Sheffield United looks like the perfect opportunity to further boost those numbers.

Non-premium pick

Including Alexander Isak (£7.7m) honestly feels a bit like chasing the points after his 15-point haul against West Ham on Saturday, while at the same time it makes sense to consider the Newcastle forward right now. He has been bringing in the points for his owners for a little while now, recording attacking returns in each of his last three league games: a goal and 8 FPL points against Wolves in GW27, a goal and 6 points at Stamford Bridge in GW 28, a blank in GW29 and 2 goals plus 1 assist last Saturday at home to West Ham. With Callum Wilson out injured for the foreseeable future, Isak has become pretty much nailed-on in the Magpie attack and with a run of decent fixtures coming up, that’s bound to be worth something. Newcastle are playing Everton at home tomorrow, followed by encounters with Fulham, Palace, Sheffield United, Burnley and Brighton spread over the remaining eight games of the campaign. When looking at it like that, Isak might actually enter the conversation as a potential fantasy hold until the end of the season.

The budget enabler

The ongoing absence of Trent Alexander-Arnold due to injury provides us with the chance to enjoy the budget benefits of Conor Bradley (£4.2m) a bit longer. “It’s going well now. [I’m] in the final stages and just excited to get back out there. I think a couple of weeks if everything keeps going well and there are no setbacks”, is what TAA himself said about his own injury yesterday, which makes us think that Bradley is a safe budget pick for at least another two to three gameweeks. For Liverpool, that means a home game against Sheffield United on Thursday, followed by a visit to Old Trafford on Sunday and then a home game against Crystal Palace. Not a bad run for an offensive right-back like Bradley, who already managed an impressive goal and 3 assists from just seven league starts so far this season. Bar a miracle recovery ahead of expectations for TAA, Bradley definitely belongs to the most appealing budget fantasy picks ahead of gameweek 31.

The differential

Anthony Gordon was on fire against West Ham on Saturday, as he conjured up a hattrick of assists (including two won penalties) to help his side claim a 4-3 victory of the visitors. In spite of that, right around the time his Man of the Match award was being announced, the winger also managed to get a second yellow card for timewasting, meaning a red and therefore a ban (of one game). Fortunately for manager Eddie Howe though, in that same game, another winger came off the bench around half an hour earlier who made an immediate impact with 2 goals. Harvey Barnes (£6.2m) has had a disappointing campaign so far, playing just 375 Premier League minutes (in which he did manage 4 goals and 1 assist by the way!), but his brace against the Hammers was a sudden reminder of what he is capable of. That’s interesting from an FPL point of view as well, because he now looks likely to replace the earlier mentioned suspended Gordon for the upcoming home game against Everton. Looking back at the season so far, bringing in Barnes is not a move for the long term, but on the short term it could bring you some serious differential value.

The (vice-)captaincy

Our captain for gameweek 31 is Mo Salah as he prepares to take down the shaky Sheffield United defence. He is expensive and still sitting in “just” 32.5% of all teams, but if you can, you should probably try to bring him in right around now.

Fortunately for those not convinced by the Egyptian, or not flush enough to be able to afford him, gameweek 31 is offering plenty of appealing captaincy options. Bukayo Saka at home to Luton stands out, as does Salah’s teammate Darwin Nuñez for Sheffield United’s visit to Anfield. With Manchester City playing at home against Villa, the likes of Erling Haaland, Kevin de Bruyne and Phil Foden also automatically enter the discussion. More differential captaincy picks include Alexander Isak at home to Everton, Rodrigo Muniz away to Nottingham Forest and Dominic Solanke at home to Crystal Palace.