FPL Season 2019/2020 – Gameweek 30 Preview

“Are Steve Bruce’s men grinding out another valuable win in gameweek 30, this time at home to Palace?” (CC by 4.0). Image by Tukka.

Note: These fixtures were subsequently postponed – GW30 is now a completely blank gameweek. We assume if the EPL does restart then they will take place in a new FPL GW39 at the end. Similarly the now blank GW31 could become a new GW40.

Rarely will a double gameweek (DGW), though a small one, have been more underwhelming for FISO’s FPL Forum members than gameweek 29 has been. With Arsenal and especially Manchester City preparing themselves for a double piece of action, more and more FPL managers started talking more and more about hauls, triple captains and even Free Hits as the deadline came closer. The results? A 1-0 Arsenal victory over West Ham, City lost 2-0 to United, and Wednesday evening’s Man City vs Arsenal clash postponed due to coronavirus-related public health worries. In other words, no DGW after all. Fortunately for the gameweek average, Sunday saw Chelsea, United and Leicester book impressive victories.

What stands out this weekend is the fact that only one team from the current top seven has a home game. At the same time, Man City’s encounter with Burnley at the Etihad is also the only fixture this weekend that we would call favourable on paper. As a matter of fact, out of the current top twelve, only three teams (City, Spurs and Everton) have a home game in gameweek 30. This, of course, doesn’t necessarily need to mean anything, but it does increase the chances of a surprising weekend. What we’re saying is, gameweek 30 might be another fruitful outing for the differentials. You do though need to keep an ear out for the latest Coronavirus news – for example Arsenal’s match v Brighton has now been postponed. The entire fixture list for this weekend (and more) could be postponed.

Finally, don’t forget that the deadline for gameweek 30 is set at 11h30 (UK time) on Saturday, March, 14th, 2020.

How did our fantasy picks for the previous gameweek fare?

Premium Kevin de Bruyne UTD (a) + ARS (H) 0 (injury + cancel)
Premium P-E Aubameyang West Ham (H) 2
Non-premium Raul Jimenez Brighton (H) 2
Non-premium John Fleck Norwich (H) 3
Differential Diogo Jota Brighton (H) 2
Differential Matt Doherty Brighton (H) 6
Captain Kevin de Bruyne UTD (a) + ARS (H) 0 (injury + cancel)

Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per March 12th, 2020)

GK Alisson (LIV), Ryan (BRI), Dubravka (NEW) Pope (BUR), Henderson (SHE), Patricio (WOL) Injuries to Alisson and Dubravka, good form of Pope and Patricio
DEF Robertson (LIV), Chilwell (LEI), Kelly (CRY) Doherty (WOL), Lundstram (SHE), Alonso (CHE) Chilwell has an injury doubt and Kelly is benched, Doherty and Alonso have been in good form lately.
MID De Bruyne (CIT), Bergwijn (TOT), Grealish (AST) Fernandes (UTD), Martial (UTD), Mané (LIV) Injury doubt surrounding KdB, injury to Bergwijn, Man United’s and especially Bruno’s form right now.
FOR Ings (SOU), Abraham (CHE), Firmino (LIV) Vardy (LEI), Jimenez (WOL), Jota (WOL) Good form and a game in GW31 make Wolves players / strikers some of the most appealing transfer targets, and Vardy is back amongst the goals.

Premium fantasy picks

As we wrote in our introduction to this piece that Man City is actually the only team with a clear-cut favourable fixture this weekend, it makes sense for our first premium pick to be a Cityzen. And as you might know already, when we talk about picking City assets, we talk about Kevin de Bruyne (£10.6m). The fixture-proof midfielder missed the Manchester derby last weekend due to injury, but the Manchester Evening News has reported that Guardiola’s men played an 11-a-side training game instead in which the Belgian participated as usual. We expect him to be back for the home game against the Clarets and we hope that he will mark his return with a nice haul. De Bruyne has scored 8 goals and provided no less than 18 assists so far this season, and he will get chances to improve on those tallies. Burnley are a solid side, but expect KdB to be one of the top captaincy choices this weekend.

Our second premium fantasy pick of the week was goin to be Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£11.1m) before the Arsenal match was called-off. The Gabonese striker disappointed with just 2 FPL points in GW29, partly due to him failing to score in the 1-0 victory over West Ham and partly due to his second game of the gameweek being cancelled. In other words, it wasn’t all his fault. His replacement in our picks for this weekend is Man United’s Fernandes (£8.5m) who can just do no wrong since United splashed the cash on him and whose ownership is now up to 16%.

Non-premium fantasy picks

Our first non-premium fantasy pick for gameweek 30 is a frequent guest in this article, namely Wolves striker Raul Jimenez (£8.0m). The Mexican forward is currently in a productive patch that combines good form with kind fixtures and to make his case even more appealing, Wolves is one of the eight teams with a fixture in blank gameweek 31. His blank at home to Brighton last weekend was a bit disappointing, to be honest, but our faith in him hasn’t wavered. This Sunday, Wolves are visiting West Ham, who are coming off a narrow 1-0 away defeat to Arsenal. The Hammers have been incredibly inconsistent this season and their current situation sees them above the relegation zone only on the basis of goal difference. As far as home games go, they have conceded 26 goals in 14 games, and 6 of those came in the last three games against Southampton (1), Brighton (3) and Liverpool (2). Jimenez, on the other hand, has no problems with playing away from home: out of his current 13 goals and 6 assists, 7 goals and 3 assists were recorded during away games.

Our second non-premium fantasy pick is a defender who we chose based mainly on two factors: the improving form of his team and the seemingly rapidly approaching implosion of this weekend’s opponents. Aaron Wan-Bissaka (£5.4m) has not been particularly impressive in an attacking sense this season (0 goals, 2 assists), but he does have 7 clean sheets and 12 bonus points to his name. Four of those clean sheets came in the last five games, a run over which he recorded a more than decent total of 34 FPL points. Next up is a seriously toothless Spurs side who are missing, amongst other names, Harry Kane, Heung-Min Son and new boy Steven Bergwijn. On Tuesday, José Mourinho’s side lost 3-0 to RB Leipzig in the Champions League, so the Spurs won’t be brimming with confidence on Sunday. We’re counting on a clean sheet for AWB, and maybe a few points on top of that.

A differential fantasy pick or two

We’re repeating last week’s first differential fantasy pick, because a big reason for recommending Diogo Jota (£6.4m) was the kind run of fixtures Wolves find themselves in at the moment. Seeing as that run is still in full swing with West Ham away up next, followed by Bournemouth home (in BGW31, mind you) and Aston Villa away, the Portuguese forward is still a good shout. Gameweeks 27 and 28 were incredible for Jota, as he recorded just over 55% of all of his returns this season in those two games: 3 goals and 2 assists, good for 28 FPL points. That should serve as a moderate word of caution for FPL managers, but his price tag, his current ownership (9.4%), and Wolves’ form and fixtures make him one of the better differential picks out there for gameweek 30.

Our second differential pick and final pick for this weekend is also our riskiest, in the sense that before between gameweeks 3 and 26, Pedro (£6.8m) had played just 130 minutes of Premier League football. He started with two full games in gameweeks 1 and 2, but then lost his starting spot. At the moment though, Chelsea is going through a bit of an injury crisis, particularly in midfield, and Pedro took his chance. He was part of the starting eleven four out of five last PL outings, and he got a goal and 2 assists from his last two games. Chelsea’s next game is at Villa Park, home of the league’s worst defence overall. Saturday’s home team has already conceded 56 goals in 29 games and 24 of those goals were conceded in 13 games in front of their own fans. Things are looking bleak for the Villans and we can see a repeat here of Chelsea’s impressive 4-0 victory last weekend over Everton.

For further GW30 transfer ideas look at this fiso FPL forum topic.

The captaincy

As usual, when we recommend Kevin de Bruyne as a premium pick, we also give him the armband. The Belgian is just one of the most fixture-proof players in the Premier League at the moment, simply because he is one of the very best players out there. He missed last weekend’s encounter with United due to injury and yesterday’s game against Arsenal was postponed, so the expectation is that KdB will turn up fresh as a daisy against Burnley at the Etihad on Saturday afternoon. Aguero is another good pick for the armband, but we eventually discarded him due to the rotation risk.

In case you don’t feel like captaining De Bruyne or one of City’s other big guns, we would look at either Wolves or Chelsea assets as alternatives. Mr. Consistency Raul Jimenez is a good shout away at West Ham, while captaining Giroud could be a cheeky and very differential punt. The same would go for Pedro or Willian, who look like they will be starting against the Hammers. Callum Wilson (home against Palace) or Danny Ings (away to Norwich) would fit into that category as well, to a certain extent (though Ings is currently owned by 29.7% of FPL managers).

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