FPL Season 2020-21 – Gameweek 15 Preview

“With just 2 points from 14 games, Sheffield United are having a nightmare start to the 20-21 campaign and it’s in-form Everton up next at Bramall Lane” (CC by 3.0). Image by: Mark Hawksworth

Gameweek 14 was a high-scoring one with an average of 60 FPL points, thanks to big hauls all over from both season favourites and differential assets. With 18 points, Manchester United’s Scott McTominay was the week’s unlikely best performer, courtesy of 2 goals and an assist against Leeds, followed by his teammate Bruno Fernandes with 17 points. The FPL Team of the Week also featured Mo “I just need half an hour” Salah, his fellow Red, Bobby Firmino, and Villa’s new penalty specialist Anwar el Ghazi, all with 16 points, just to name a few. Besides the latter, it was his Villa teammate Bertrand Traoré who ended up being gameweek 14’s ultimate differential, with a 13-point haul and an ownership of just 0.1%.

The upcoming gameweek presents us with a few plum fixtures once again, which will probably lead to an interesting captaincy debate. The likes of Aston Villa (at home to a Palace side that just shipped 7 against Liverpool), Man City (at home to Newcastle), Everton away at strugglers Sheffield United, non-stop attack machine Leeds at home against Burnley, West Ham in London against Brighton, and Liverpool hosting Sam Allardyce’s West Brom are all clear favourites for the victory this week. This could lead to another goal-laden gameweek with the main question being, which favourites are you going with?

Don’t forget: the deadline for gameweek 15 is set for 11h00 (UK time) on Saturday, December 26th. Do check out the Predicted Line-Ups for the Premier League clubs as well as the latest injury news (click on ‘Team’ to sort per club rather than the default ‘date’) before finalising your transfer(s).

Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per December 23rd, 2020)

GKRyan (BRI), Leno (ARS), Patricio (WOL)Martinez (AST), McCarthy (SOU), Pope (BUR) 
DEFChilwell (CHE), James (CHE), Konsa (AST)Robertson (LIV), Dallas (LEE), Zouma (CHE)The most-transferred-out defenders are all injury doubts at the moment of writing.
MIDMahrez (CIT), De Bruyne (CIT), Zaha (CRY)Salah (LIV), Fernandes (UTD), Neto (WOL)High-performing premium midfielders being transferred in for rotation-risk Man City assets.
FORVardy (LEI), Wilson (NEW), Kane (TOT)Bamford (LEE), Firmino (LIV), Adams (SOU)This looks a bit like a knee-jerk trend, though the transferred-in forwards have represented good value over the past weeks.

Premium pick

Almost 40% of the FPL community broke down in tears when the Liverpool team sheet was published in the build-up to GW14 and Mo Salah (£12.5m) was missing from the starting lineup. A nice matchup with Crystal Palace, the Egyptian in form, in other words, a perfect start to the gameweek was on the cards. And then it wasn’t. But then it was. Mo was brought on in the 57th minute at a 0-4 score line, so maybe he could still get a return, an assist or who knows, maybe even a goal. Half an hour later, the Egyptian magic man had 2 goals, 1 assist and 2 bonus points to his name for a total of 16 FPL points. Few times did an FPL asset justify his premium price tag as emphatically as Salah did last weekend. Up next are West Bromwich Albion at Anfield and we’re just keeping it simple. Mo is our premium fantasy of the pick and our captain as well (see later on).

Non-premium picks

We’re doing the same for our non-premium fantasy picks this week as well. Aston Villa ace Jack Grealish (£7.8m) is priced far below what we consider premium, but his performances are on par with the best assets in the official game. He has scored 5 goals and provided 8 assists in 12 games, including 2 assists against West Brom last weekend, and sits on a total of 86 FPL points at this moment. He has already made a complete mockery of his initial £7.0m price tag and will continue to do so. Villa are hosting Crystal Palace this gameweek and confidence won’t be high amongst the Eagles after their 0-7 defeat at the hands of Liverpool last Saturday. Of course, the Villans are not the Reds, but they are in good form and heavy favourites for this one.

The same goes for Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£7.9m), our second non-premium fantasy pick for gameweek 15. With 11 goals and 4 assists in 14 games, he too is showing that he has quickly grown past his initial £7.0m price tag. Only Jamie Vardy and Harry Kane have recorded more than his 92 FPL points amongst forwards, with the young English striker blanking on just two occasions so far. It’s true that his returns in the last three games consisted of “just” an assist per game, but it shows that he is always involved for one of the stronger attacking units in the league at the moment. His next goal is just a question of time, especially seeing as Everton are visiting Bramall Lane this weekend to face struggling Sheffield United. The Blades have conceded 25 goals already and won’t be looking forward to facing one of the league’s most in-form strikers next.

The budget enabler

Gameweek 14 was the first round in which Mateusz Klich (£5.5m) played less than at least 76 minutes in a Premier League game this season. The Leeds midfielder is a key part of Marcelo Bielsa’s extremely attack-oriented eleven, but the manager wasn’t pleased with his first-half performance against Manchester United and sometimes, when he isn’t happy, he has no mercy. Klich was taken off at the break, but worry not, he’ll be back in the starting lineup when the Whites host Burnley coming Sunday. The Polish midfielder is one of their playmakers in the middle and a set-piece specialist as well, which has helped him reach 3 goals and 4 assists this season. Not bad for his price tag. On top of that, Leeds have a double gameweek in GW19, so he could be a shrewd budget-enabling investment not just for this weekend, but for the longer-term as well.

A differential pick or two

Since the start of the 2020-21 campaign, many pundits and FPL managers have been waiting for Brighton’s decent displays to be converted into points, but so far, the Seagulls have collected just 12 points from 14 game. One of their main issues is scoring goals, which they have done just 16 times so far, with 8 of those goals scored in the first four gameweeks of the season. As a matter of fact, they have scored just 1 goal in their last three games against Leicester, Fulham and Sheffield United. At the same time, this weekend’s opponents West Ham boast one of the league’s most solid defensive setups. Just six teams have conceded more than their 19 goals and we feel that Vladimir Coufal (£4.6m) could represent good value this weekend. The Czech right-back has cemented his place in the Hammers’ starting eleven, and has recorded 3 cleans sheets and 3 assists already. The home game against Brighton therefore looks promising for the 3.5%-owned defender.

The arrival of James Rodriguez saw Gylfi Sigurdsson (£6.8m) to the bench at Everton, but the Icelandic international has show good form in the absence of the aforementioned Colombian acquisition. Since this inclusion in the starting eleven in gameweek 11, Siggie has scored a goal and provided an assist for a total of 21 FPL points. That’s an average of 7 points per round. It should also be noted that those three games were against Chelsea, Leicester and Arsenal. Next up is an opponent of another calibre in the shape of Sheffield United at Bramall Lane. The midfielder should start for Carlo Ancelotti’s men against the Blades and with Dominic Calvert-Lewin in front of him, goals and assists are always a possibility. With an ownership of just 1.1%, he represents great differential value this week.

The captaincy

As we mentioned earlier, Mo Salah is our preferred captaincy pick for this weekend as Liverpool host West Brom. The Egyptian is a phenomenon, it’s as simple as that, and we expect him to build on his current tallies of 13 goals and 4 assists against the Baggies. In the same vein, his partners in crime Sadio Mané and even the back-to-scoring Roberto Firmino represent good options for the armband, albeit riskier and more differential.

Gameweek 15 offers plenty of other very good captaincy picks, though. Kevin “bonus points” de Bruyne is an excellent choice as the Cityzens host Newcastle, as is Jack Grealish at home against Crystal Palace. Calvert-Lewin away versus Sheffield United, Patrick Bamford at home to Burnley and Jamie Vardy against Man United at the King Power are, as well. For a more differential kind of captain, you could consider Sebastien Haller or Jared Bowen against Brighton, Che Adams or James Ward-Prowse at Craven Cottage, or even the in-form Anwar el Ghazi against Crystal Palace at Villa Park.

Discuss on FISO’s Fantasy Premier League FPL forum.