And after the season’s first blank gameweek, it’s now time for Boxing Day. From about noon to about midnight, the 26th is giving us almost twelve hours of non-stop post-Christmas Premier League bliss, with a single game (Wolves vs Manchester City) left for Friday evening, like a perfect dessert. Gameweek 18 was another one for the differentials and the non-premium (and sometimes even straight-out bargain) players. Willian (owned by 3.7% of Fantasy Premer League managers) took the spotlight with 2 goals and 3 bonus points for a total of 16 FPL points. The likes of Danny Ings (13 FPL points, 14.1 ownership), Ismaila Sarr (13 FPL points, 0.2% ownership) and goalie Dean Henderson (12 points, 9.1%) rewared their FPL forum owners handsomely as well.
On the other hand, and not for the first time this season, the majority of supposed premium assets and players in form disappointed FPL-wise. Aubameyang, Kane, Abraham, Alli and Rashford all blanked, just to name a few. The big fat cherry on top of this cake of disappointment was Tottenham’s Son Heung-Min though, who decided that becoming the most transferred-in FPL asset was a good moment to try to break Antonio Rüdiger’s rib and get shown a direct red. The South Korean with the friendly demeanour has actually become the fifth player in Premier League history to receive three red cards in one calendar year and the first one to do so since Lee Cattermole in 2010. This puts Son in a list with the previously mentioned Cattermole, Franck Queudrue, Dion Dublin and Vinnie Jones. Surprising? Actually, yes. Problematic? Well, it kind of looks like it. Something to think about? Definitely!
Finally, don’t forget that the deadline for gameweek 19 is set at 11h30 (GMT+0) on Thursday, December 26th.
How did our fantasy picks for the previous gameweek fare?
|Premium||Kevin de Bruyne||Leicester (H)||4|
|Premium||Son Heung-Min||Chelsea (H)||-1|
|Non-premium||Raul Jimenez||Norwich (a)||7|
|Non-premium||Jack Grealish||Southampton (H)||8|
|Differential||Joao Moutinho||Norwich (a)||4|
|Captain||Raul Jimenez||Norwich (a)||14|
Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per December 25th, 2019)
|TRANSFERS OUT||TRANSFERS IN||POSSIBLE REASONS|
|GK||Ryan (Bri), Patricio (Wol), De Gea (Utd)||Henderson (She), Guaita (Cry), Ramsdale (Bou)||Ramsdale has been excellent value so far, while Henderson and Guaita are combining form and fixtures on the medium to longer term.|
|DEF||Rico (Bou), Aké (Bou), Pereira (Lei)||Baldock (She), Kelly (Cry), Lundstram (She)||Aké is injured, Rico is suspended and Leicester have Liverpool up next, while both Sheffield United and Palace have been resilient and have a run of decent fixtures.|
|MID||Son (Tot), McGinn (Ast), Pulisic (Che)||De Bruyne (Cit), Grealish (Ast), Salah (Liv)||Son is suspended for three games, Mcginn has fractured his ankle and Pulisic’s involvement has decreased of late, while De Bruyne, Grealish and Salah are displaying fine form.|
|FOR||Rashford (Utd), Abraham (Che), Jimenez (Wol)||Ings (Sou), Abraham (Che), Kane (Tot)||Rashford has blanked twice in a row, while many managers are considering Chelsea’s home game versus Southampton in GW19, as well as Danny Ings’ form of a lifetime. Managers are clearly in two minds about Tammy Abraham!|
Premium fantasy picks
Our first premium fantasy pick is really expensive and he hasn’t returned anything in the last two gameweeks. As a matter of fact, over the past five rounds, Harry Kane (£11.0m) only returned once, a 16-point haul in gameweek 16 at home to Burnley. We’re introducing Tottenham’s Very Own this way to illustrate that this is not a pick without risk, but one with big potential. First of all, because he is Harry Kane, and second of all, because Brighton are rolling up to the New Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. The Seagulls have taken 8 points from 9 away games this season and they have conceded 15 goals during that run. Manager Graham Potter is working hard on his Brighton squad and he has definitely made improvements style-wise, but we feel that Spurs manager José Mourinho will consider this game the perfect opportunity for his team to redeem themselves on Boxing Day after a largely toothless loss against Chelsea last weekend. With Son out suspended, even more eyes than usual will be on Kane’s scoring prowess on Thursday.
The second premium pick for GW19 is Mr. Consistency Kevin de Bruyne (10.4m). The Belgian managed to grab an assist against Leicester last weekend, which was his sixth return in the last six weeks. Over that period, he scored 4 goals, provided 2 assists and brought his owners 44 points, or an average of 7.3 points per game. Speaking about his owners: his current overall ownership currently sits at 46.8%, but amongst the top-10k managers, he is in over 80% of the squads. Son’s idiotic red card last weekend has already led to KDB becoming the most transferred-in midfielder this week, which makes a lot of sense when considering his history this season, his current form and Man City’s upcoming run of fixtures (Wolves away, Sheffield United home, Everton home, Villa away, Palace home). Friday’s opponent Wolves have conceded at least once in their last five away games, a run that included games versus Norwich, Newcastle and Brighton. We wouldn’t be surprised to see De Bruyne being involved in the goal-scoring again in gameweek 19.
Non-premium fantasy picks
One of the reasons for Son’s popularity in the build-up to last week was his upcoming fixture schedule, starting with Chelsea at home (where he got his red card) and followed by Brighton at home, Norwich away and Southampton away. Son is no longer available for this run, but Tottenham’s Dele Alli (£8.9m) is and he could be a really good shout. The young Englishman has enjoyed life under José Mourinho so far, but the reality is also that he has now blanked two games in a row, first against Wolves away and then versus Chelsea at home. Between gameweeks 11 and 16 though, Alli scored 4 goals, provided 3 assists and recorded a total of 50 FPL points. As we stated earlier when discussing Kane’e potential as a premium fantasy pick, Thursday’s opponent Brighton are far from a force away from home. Son’s absence could and should increase Alli’s involvement in the final third, which should translate into more FPL points, preferably starting with Thursday game against the Seagulls.
Our second non-premium fantasy pick for gameweek 19 is both the third-most transferred-out striker and the second-most transferred-in striker at the moment. Chelsea’s Tammy Abraham (£7.9m) didn’t return anything for the 36.2% of FPL managers who own him last weekend against Spurs, but he did put in a very good shift. That could also explain the reason for the transfer activity surrounding Abraham. Those managers who only checked the FPL results probably transferred the English striker out as it was his third consecutive 2-pointer. Those managers who watched the Spurs game (and the games before that) though, will have been tempted to either stick with Abraham or even bring him in as the Blues are preparing to host a Southampton side on Thursday who have conceded 13 goals in 9 away games, and 37 goals in 18 games overall. Only 11 of Chelsea’s 33 goals have come in front of their own fans this season, so do keep this in mind, but we still find it hard to see Abraham not getting chances to improve on his goal and assist tallies (11 goals and 3 assists currently).
A differential fantasy pick or two
The first differential pick for GW19 is not a real differential in the strict sense that his ownership sits below 10% at the time of writing, but we really wanted to include him in this Boxing Day list of fantasy picks. Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish (£6.3m) has seen his ownership surge of late, thanks to his 3 goals, 1 assist and 31 FPL points over the past six games. That sets his average for that run of games at a more than decent 5.1 FPL points per game. He is Villa’s captain and creator-in-chief, with many of the set-piece duties in his pocket as well. The injury of John McGinn will only increase Grealish’ role as focal point for practically all of Villa’s offensive impulses, and we feel that his owners will benefit from that development in Villa’s next game at home against Norwich. As a matter of fact, we can see him being a reliable pick for some time to come, as just one of his next seven game is ranked higher than 3 on the official game’s Fixture Difficulty Rating system. This also explains why he is currently the second-most transferred-in midfielder, behind only the extraterrestrial Kevin de Bruyne.
Where Grealish is not such a differential any more after his recent excellent performances, Sheffield United’s John Fleck (£4.9m) still ticks all the boxes of a player with major differential potential. The midfielder was suspended for the gameweek 18 encounter with Brighton, but he is back for Thursday’s game versus Watford at home and we expect him to slot right back into the starting eleven. He already has 4 goals, an assist and 7 bonus points to his name, for a total of 59 FPL points from 15 games (he missed three games so far). For a player with his price tag, that’s outstanding. The fact that he is absolutely nailed-on as a starter who has just been rested (due to an accumulation of yellow cards) only makes him more attractive as a differential pick for gameweek 19.
Gameweek 19 is offering us a few very interesting encounters in which it’s not difficult to imagine certain FPL assets scoring high. Harry Kane, Dele Alli and even Lucas Moura come to mind as Spurs host Brighton on Thursday afternoon. Practically next door, Chelsea are welcoming Southampton to Stamford Bridge, which makes Tammy Abraham a prime candidate for the armband. An away game against Wolves is never an easy task, but City could convert it into three points, especially if the likes of Gabriel Jesus, Raheem Sterling and, of course, Kevin de Bruyne turn up. In other words, we’ve got some choice and we’ve gone with Harry Kane as our captain for GW19.
For those who are feeling particularly gutsy on Boxing Day, there are a few interesting options as well. What about Jack Grealish against Norwich, for example? Or Wilf Zaha at home versus West Ham? Richarlison against Burnley at Goodison Park for Carlo Ancelotti’s first game in charge could also see you climb the rankings. Finally, we feel anything can happen in the Leicester-Liverpool game, including big hauls for the likes of Vardy, Mané, or Salah.
The FISO Forum Captain poll for GW19 has very much a mixed bag with Abraham, Rashford & Kane the main contendors.
Finally if you like FPL but want to have a go at a weekly Fantasy Premier League type competition for prizes then have a look at FanTeam’s 50,000 euro Boxing Day weekly monster. FISO members could win free ‘Weekly Monster’ entries (worth 20 euros) via their weekly FISO newsletter. FanTeam are running two 3,000 euro Free Rolls for Boxing Day! There are freerolls for new entrants if registered within the last 8 weeks and a free chance to win an entry into a comp over two gameweeks where the top prize is a guaranteed 30,000 euros.