After a small break from Fantasy Premier League due to FA Cup obligations this week, we’re now back for gameweek 22 of the 2019-2020 season. Gameweek 21 was another one for the differentials, in most part, with West Ham’s Mark Noble scoring a week-high 16 FPL points. Arsenal’s Sokratis followed with an impressive 15 points courtesy of a goal and three bonus points, while Gabriel Jesus, Jack Grealish and Ayoze Perez all recorded 13 FPL points. Besides Grealish, none of these players currently boast an ownership of more than 5.5%. The most-owned player in GW21’s Team of the Week was Liverpool’s Andy Robertson (12 FPL points) after booking a clean and an assist away at Sheffield United much to the excitement of some of FISO’s FPL Forum members.
Gameweek 22 could be very different though, with many of the official game’s most popular and best-performing assets facing largely favourable opposition, on paper at least. Chelsea, though not that convincing in front of their own fans yet, face a travel-shy Burnley, Leicester are hosting an in-form Southampton, Manchester United see Norwich roll up to Old Trafford, and their skyblue city rivals visit an Aston Villa side ravaged by serious injuries. The clash of the weekend takes place at the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium though, where a Kane-less home side must try and find a way to stop the seemingly all-conquering machine that is Liverpool. In other words, plenty to look forward to again this round!
Finally, don’t forget that the deadline for gameweek 22 is set at 19h00 (GMT+0) on Friday, January 10th 2020.
How did our fantasy picks for the previous gameweek fare?
|Premium||Jamie Vardy||Newcastle (a)||0 (injured)|
|Premium||Kevin de Bruyne||Everton (H)||2|
|Non-premium||Marcus Rashford||Arsenal (a)||2|
|Non-premium||Martin Kelly||Norwich (a)||2|
|Differential||Dominic Calvert-Lewin||Man City (a)||1|
|Differential||Chris Wood||Aston Villa (H)||7|
|Captain||Jamie Vardy||Newcastle (a)||0 (injured)|
Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per January 9th, 2020)
|TRANSFERS OUT||TRANSFERS IN||POSSIBLE REASONS|
|GK||Pope (Bur), Heaton (Bur), Ederson (Cit)||Schmeichel (Lei), Ryan (Bri), Henderson (She)||The injured Heaton is being replaced and Pope has a difficult run of fixtures coming up.|
|DEF||Aurier (Tot), Kelly (Cry), Rico (Bou)||Alexander-Arnold (Liv), Dunk (Bri), Söyüncü (Lei)||Very much a form question, with Aurier and Rico being replaced, in combination with Palace’s unrelenting injury crisis.|
|MID||Alli (Tot), Mount (Che), Martial (Utd)||Grealish (Ast), Maddison (Lei), Traoré (Wol)||We see a trend for Spurs assets, as performances have been horrendous under Mourinho (though some results were booked). The transferred-in column represents players in good form.|
|FOR||Kane (Tot), Vardy (Lei), Pukki (Nor)||Ings (Sou), Calvert-Lewin (Eve), Aubameyang (Ars)||Injured strikers (Kane and Pukki) and a striker who was injured but is fit again (Vardy) being replaced with cheap form players and the promise of better times under Arsenal’s Arteta.|
Premium fantasy picks
When we recommended Jamie Vardy (£10.0m) as both our first premium fantasy pick and our captain for gameweek 21, we were obviously convinced he was going to play after the birth of his child. He didn’t. And while that was painful from an FPL perspective, we can’t agree with the more than 200,000 FPL managers who transferred him out since then. This is still the man who sits atop the topscorers table with 17 goals and the overall scoring table in FPL with 144 points, and who is about as nailed-on a starter as they come. That’s why we start of our list of player recommendations for GW22 with the Englishman. As we all remember, the last time the Saints looked Vardy in the eyes, he and his teammates put nine past them in front of their own fans, back in gameweek 10. The striker himself bagged a hattrick and 20 FPL points in that game, and while we don’t expect an even remotely similar scenario this weekend (given that it was triggered by an early sending-off), we can see a home game against Southampton as the perfect opportunity for Vardy to get his party started again. Just a heads-up, he’s also our captain for gameweek 22.
Our second premium fantasy pick of the week is Man City’s midfield maestro Kevin de Bruyne (£10.6m), who is becoming a bit of a mainstay in this piece. That’s what happens when you consistently perform at a ridiculously high level and combine that with more than decent FPL returns. The Belgian did not record a return in gameweek 21 when City faced Everton at the Etihad, but in the four weeks prior to that, he scored 3 goals, provided 4 assists, hauled in 6 bonus points, and brought his owners a whopping 42 FPL points. This weekend, the Cityzens are visiting Aston Villa, whose recent luck could not have been worse. In GW21, in the same game, both their starting striker (Wesley) and their starting goalkeeper (Heaton) suffered season-ending injuries. As the saying goes though, one man’s tragedy is another man’s treasure, and in this case, we feel the former man could be Villa and the latter man could be City. To be fair, Villa’s home form is not terrible (14 points from 10 games, with 13 goals scored and 14 conceded) and Dean Smith’s men will put up a fight like they did against Leicester on Wednesday, but chances are Kevin de Bruyne is going to be central to a goal fest this weekend.
Non-premium fantasy picks
With one of the Premier League’s leakiest defences coming to Old Trafford on Saturday, Man United’s attacking assets are naturally attracting some attention. Marcus Rashford is an obvious call, but we’ve gone with Anthony Martial (£7.9m) for this one. After John Lundstram, the Frenchman is probably the most obvious and attractive out-of-position player, seeing as he is listed as a midfielder by FPL, but deployed as a starting striker by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Despite various injury issues throughout the first half of this season, Martial has still managed to score 7 goals and provide 3 assists. Of those attacking returns, 3 goals have come in the past three games. Saturday’s opponent Norwich have so far conceded 16 goals in ten away games and the Canaries have shown that they are not a team who dig in and ‘park the bus’ in any game. This should only benefit United, who have proven to experience difficulties at times when it comes to unlocking tightly organised defensive set-ups. Martial looks fit and ready to go for the Red Devils, and he has the potential to return big this weekend.
Another player who could deliver big in gameweek 22 is Everton’s Richarlison (£8.0m). His current ownership of just 11.3% indicates that the Brazilian has slipped under the radar of the FPL community a bit, which is remarkable when you consider that he has performed rather well of late. He has scored 4 goals and provided 1 assist over the last eight gameweeks, a run in which he brought his owners 40 FPL points. As a matter of fact, when looking at the past ten gameweeks, no other midfielder in the game scored more than Richarlison’s 5 goals. The Toffees are hosting Brighton this week and the Seagulls have not been their best on the road this season. Graham Potter’s men have picked up just 8 points from ten away games so far, a run in which they have conceded 17 goals and scored just 10. Everton, on the other hand, are placed sixth in the league when looking only at home games and with Carlo Ancelotti now having a few games as Toffees coach under his belt, we could see this end up as a nice victory for the home side. Richarlison seems to be nailed-on under the living Italian legend and he could be a worth a punt this weekend.
A differential fantasy pick or two
Our first differential pick of the week is a defender who has not seen a clean sheet since gameweek 15. We figured we’d start with that. Now that that’s out of the way, allow us to briefly explain why Wolves left-back Jonny (£5.4m) is on this list. First of all, it’s important to mention that of those six games since that last clean sheet, Wolves faced Spurs, Man City, and Liverpool (those last two in a window of less than 48 hours, by the way), while the remaining three games were away games at attack-minded sides Norwich and Brighton, and a resurgent Watford under Nigel Pearson. Second of all, Wolves are really quite a good team and up next are Newcastle at Molineux. Out of the seven best-performing Newcastle defenders in FPL, six (!) are currently marked as an injury doubt for Saturday’s game, which means that the Magpies will, in the best scenario, face Jonny and his teammates with a very unstable foundation. Third of all, only Watford and Norwich have scored less away goals than Newcastle’s 9 (in 10 games). Combine all these facts and stats, and we feel this weekend is the perfect chance for Wolves to record their fourth clean sheet of the season,a nd with a bit of luck, Jonny will have some freedom to bomb forward and look for an attacking return or a bonus point as well.
Mentioning a resurgent Watford brought us to recommending one of our own favourites as our second differential pick for this weekend. Troy Deeney (£6.2m, ownership of 1.0%) missed the majority of the first half of the season due to injury, but he looks rearing to make up for lost time since his return to full fitness in gameweek 15. The Hornets striker scored 3 goals in his last four games and recorded a more than decent 21 FPL points over that run. That comes down to just over 5 points per game, which is good for a striker with his price tag. Up next are a struggling Bournemouth at the English south coast who have not won in their last four games and who have scored just a single goal over that period while conceding 8 goals themselves. Watford are have so far been far from prolific away from home, which is illustrated by the 6 goals they have scored in ten away games, but it’s worth mentioning that 4 of those goals were scored in their last five away games. Deeney is definitely a punt, but one that could bring a few very satisfying green arrows.
We already lifted the curtain a bit earlier in this piece in regard to our captaincy choice this weekend, because we we’re going with Leicester’s Jamie Vardy for gameweek 22. He missed the last two games, but has been declared fully fit for Saturday’s home game against Southampton, a notice that was underlined by his hard-working 90-minute performance against Aston Villa in the FA Cup on Wednesday (in which he bagged himself an assist). Every Saint and Saint-related individual in the world will remember what happened when Jamie and co came to Saint Mary’s back in gameweek 10, and even though another 9-goal victory seems a bit unlikely, we can easily see Vardy make it 18 or even 19 goals for the season this weekend.
The FISO Forum Captain poll for GW22 indicates Vardy is the most popular captain.
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