FPL Season 2019/2020 – Gameweek 31+ Preview

“Are Liverpool going to get a step closer to their long-awaited title at Anfield this gameweek?” (CC by 4.0). Image by Yurificacion.

A double gameweek, dramatic goals, surprising results, referee/VAR/goal line technology mistakes, red cards, FPL managers in tears, for good and for bad. Project Restart’s Premier League gameweek 30+ had it all. From Liverpool coming within one victory from Premier League glory and Man City comfortably winning the first of their DGW fixtures, to a trademark stable Wolves side and two utterly disappointing Arsenal displays in quick succession, the first round of English football since the coronabreak provided plenty of talking points, as well even more promise for the upcoming gameweek 31+.

Naturally, spotlights will be on Anfield as the local FC tries to clinch the title against Palace there on Wednesday night, but that’s not at all. What about Spurs v West Ham or Wolves v Bournemouth, for example, especially from a fantasy point of view? Or how about the top-four encounter between Chelsea and City at Stamford Bridge. In other words, plenty to look forward to in GW31+, so here we go!

Finally, don’t forget that the deadline for gameweek 31+ is set at 17h00 (UK time) on Tuesday, June, 23rd, 2020.

Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per June 22nd, 2020)

GKHenderson (Sheffield Utd), Leno (Arsenal), Ederson (Man City)Pope (Burnley), Patricio (Wolves), Martinez (Arsenal)Henderson is not eligible to play against Man United, Leno is injured and will be replaced by budget pick Martinez at Arsenal.
DEFLundstram (Sheffield Utd), Egan (Sheffield Utd), Pereira (Leicester)Doherty (Wolves), Aurier (Spurs), Lascelles (Newcastle)All incoming names have favourable fixtures coming up, while Lundstram was benched against Newcastle, Egan got a red card in that game and Pereira is injured.
MIDGrealish (Aston Villa), Cantwell (Norwich), Mahrez (Man City)Fernandes (Man United), Son (Spurs), Traoré (Wolves)The trends here look largely fixture-based. Grealish was in a lot of teams due to Villa’s DGW.
FORAubameyang (Arsenal), Aguero (Man City), Abraham (Chelsea)Rashford (Man United), Jimenez (Wolves), Ings (Southampton)Auba has disappointed in the DGW and Aguero is an expensive rotation risk, while the incoming names all have a favourable fixture for GW31+.

Premium fantasy picks

Our first premium fantasy pick for gameweek 31+ is Liverpool winger Sadio Mané (£12.5m) The Senegalese forward, like the rest of his team mates, struggled to break down an Everton wall on Sunday, which meant potentially postponing the championship celebrations. After the 0-0 draw against the Toffees, the next home game against Palace can be the title decider IF Man City lose versus Burnley at the Etihad. That’s naturally a big if, but we still feel Mané is a good pick for the match at Anfield. He’s got 14 goals and 9 assists to his name already, and for what it’s worth, he scored a goal and 9 FPL points in the reverse fixture back in gameweek 13. The Eagles boast an excellent defensive record (32 conceded goals in 30 games), but they are also the league’s second-least prolific side in front of goal with just 28 goals scored.

This is also a main reason behind our decision to pick Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.3m) as our second premium pick of the week. The Liverpool right-back is the official game’s most expensive defender, but with an incredible 179 FPL points also its highest-scoring defender. As a matter of fact, only four players currently sit on more points than the young Englishman. Thanks to a clean sheet, the Merseyside Derby in GW30+ resulted in 7 FPL points for him and TAA was on most attacking set-pieces, as usual. We can see Liverpool recording a second consecutive clean sheet after the coronabreak against Palace this Wednesday, with the booming right-back getting involved in a handful of attacking moves as well. He’s expensive, but he looks like certain value for GW31+.

Non-premium fantasy picks

Our first non-premium pick for GW31+ represents one of the best PPM (points per million) ratios in the game, courtesy of no less than 16 goals and 2 assists. At a price of just £7.1m and a sweet total of 151 FPL points at the time of writing, Southampton striker Danny Ings is without a doubt one of the bargains of the season. He didn’t take long to return to form as he scored and assisted in gameweek 30+ to record 11 FPL points against Norwich at Carrow Road. Ings’ season record makes him a very valuable budget enabler and he is facing Arsenal at Saint Mary’s coming Thursday. The Gunners were possibly the single-most disappointing team in gameweek 30+ and on top of that, they have to miss defensive assets Leno due to injury, Pablo Marí and Sokratis due to injury, and David Luiz due to suspension. Back in gameweek 13, the Saints drew 2-2 versus Arsenal in London with Ings scoring once, and we can definitely see him repeating that feat this week.

Our second non-premium fantasy pick of the week is a striker as well, namely Raul Jimenez (£8.1m). At his current price, he is very much a bargain, though a tad pricier than Danny Ings. The Mexican forward scored last gameweek for a decent 8 FPL points, very much in line with his season’s performances up until now: he has provided attacking returns in no less than 17 (!) different games this season, but he only recorded three double-digit hauls. He has nicely spread his 14 goals and 6 assists this season, and with Bournemouth visiting Molineux on Wednesday, we believe returns are on the cards for Jimenez. The Cherries lost without scoring at home to Palace in GW30+ and they have already conceded an ominous 49 goals this season, so Jimenez could be a smart pick.

A differential fantasy pick or two

Steven Bergwijn (£7.4m) is our first differential fantasy pick for the upcoming gameweek. The Dutch forward, who was brought in from PSV Eindhoven by coach José Mourinho’s during the last transfer window, has had a more than decent start to life in London, with 3 goals from his first 6 Premier League encounters. This helped him to record 33 FPL points already. What’s remarkable about his numbers is that all of his goals were scored in home games: his goals are spread evenly over the three home games Spurs have played since his arrival. This includes a strong opener against Man United in gameweek 30+, which resulted in an 11-point haul. His ownership sits at 1.4% at the time of writing, so Bergwijn could represent big differential value when West Ham, who have the league’s third-leakiest defence, roll up to the New Tottenham Hotspur stadium.

Our second differential pick for GW31+ boasts an even lower level of ownership (0.4%) than Bergwijn does. Leicester City’s starting right-back Ricardo Pereira will not play football any more this season due to injury and its young English defender James Justin (£4.7m) who has been chosen by coach Brendan Rodgers to replace him for the remainder of this campaign. The Foxes, with Justin starting, were unlucky not to come away with a clean sheet against Watford last weekend, but they can have another try at their eleventh clean sheet this round when Brighton roll up to the King Power. Just six sides in the PL have scored less than Brighton’s 34 goals and despite the Seagulls coming off a dramatic last-second victory over Arsenal in gameweek 30+, we’re predicting a Leicester win here, with a good chance of a clean sheet as well.

The captaincy

This week offers us several good captaincy options, including Sadio Mané at home against Palace for the potential championship decider and Harry Kane or Steven Bergwijn at home against a leaky West Ham, but we’ve gone with Raul Jimenez against Bournemouth at Molineux. As we wrote earlier, he has already delivered attacking returns in 17 different Premier League games and with the Hammers having conceded a worrying 52 goals this season, gameweek 31+ could well end up being the 18th game in which the Mexican delights his owners.

If you don’t have him in your side, don’t have enough budget to bring him in, or if you’re simply not convinced by his combination of good form and a favourable fixture, then GW31+ offers other decent candidates as well. We already mentioned Mané, Kane and Bergwijn, but what about Jamie Vardy at home against Brighton, for example? If you have to make up ground in your mini-league, then a differential pick like Calvert-Lewin against leaky Norwich at Carrow Road, Matt Ritchie at home against Aston Villa, or Villa’s Jack Grealish could result in high rewards, both in terms of points and green arrows.

Finally if you like FPL but want to have a go at a weekly Fantasy Premier League type competition for large prizes then have a look at FanTeam’s Premier League Monster. FISO members could also win a free ‘Weekly Monster’ entry (worth 20 euros) via the FISO FanTeam forum. There are freerolls for new entrants if registered within the last 8 weeks. Read all about a fiso member who won 30,000 euros on FanTeam from just a 2 euro entry fee.