FPL Season 2020-21: Gameweek 20 preview

“Leaders Manchester United are hosting bottom-ranked Sheffield United at Old Trafford on Wednesday”. (CC by 1.0). Image by https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Ank_gsx.

The first major double gameweek of the season did not disappoint. With an average of 74 FPL points, it became the highest-scoring round of the season so far, despite many of the potential big hitters blanking or not recording too many points. We’re looking at you: Mo Salah, Kevin de Bruyne and Marcus Rashford, just to name a few. Instead, it was a (very) good DGW for a bunch of differentials, including John “27 points” Stones, Mateus “3 goals in 2 away games” Pereira and Matt “double clean sheet” Targett.

Even though gameweek 20 is not a blank or double round, we are once again off for an intense period of fixtures, the planning of which for FPL managers is only complicated more by both the potential COVID19-related postponements to come and the last-minute inclusion of previous postponements. There are just 12 days between the start of gameweek 20 and gameweek 23, so expect some serious rotation over the coming weeks as well. In other words, the roller coaster is not slowing, so we suggest to just hold one and enjoy the ride! Oh, and take a look at our player picks for GW20, of course.

Don’t forget, the deadline for gameweek 20 is set at 16h30 (UK time) on Tuesday, January 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 January 25th, 2020)

GKMeslier (LEE), McCarthy (SOU), Mendy (CHE)Martinez (AST), Ederson (CIT), Forster (SOU)
DEFZouma (CHE), Chilwell (CHE), Dallas (LEE)Stones (CIT), Dias (CIT), Cresswell (WHU)In-form Man City and West Ham defences.
MIDDe Bruyne (CIT), Salah (LIV), Zaha (CRY)Maddison (LEI), Gundogan (CIT), Sterling (CIT)De Bruyne injury, Zaha injury doubt, Salah blanks, City replacement for KDB, Maddison form.
FORVardy (LEI), Calvert-Lewin (EVE), Wilson (NEW)Kane (TOT), Antonio (WHU), Bamford (LEE)Vardy injury, Wilson blanks, Spurs and West Ham form.

Premium pick

Considering everything that’s going on in terms of fixture congestion and what seems like serious form fluctuation over the first half of the season for many teams (might the two be related?), the injuries of popular premium assets Kevin de Bruyne and Jamie Vardy, who both have very good to decent fixtures this week as well, are inconvenient for FPL managers, to say the least. Fortunately, there are more appealing match-ups this round, like Manchester United at home to West Brom. Despite a meagre 8 FPL points from his double gameweek, their talisman Bruno Fernandes (£11.3m) will be amongst the most-captained players in GW20. After three consecutive away games, the Red Devils are back at Old Trafford for this one, where the Portuguese #10 recorded 3 goals and 2 assists in his last three appearances. Only three teams have currently conceded more goals than the Blades and Bruno looks like the prime candidate to unlock their defence for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men on Wednesday.

Non-premium picks

Our first non-premium fantasy pick is John Stones (£5.1m). Not because of his incredible 27-point haul in DGW19, though that obviously makes the pick easier to defend, but because he is a very modestly-priced fixed feature in what is currently the league’s best defence by a mile. The Cityzens have conceded just 13 goals so far and they have a favourable run of fixtures coming up with West Brom (away), Sheffield United (home) and Burnley (away) in the next three gameweeks. Stones has only missed one game since gameweek 10, playing the full 90 minutes on all occasions, and he was rested for the FA Cup game versus Cheltenham. At £5.1m, he provides excellent value for the upcoming run of fixtures for Pep Guardiola’s men.

For our second non-premium fantasy pick, we’re going with Michail Antonio (£6.3m), who burst back onto the Premier League scene after struggling with injury issues for most of the first half of the season. West Ham had one of the most favourable double-gameweek matchups with home games against Burnley and West Brom, and Antonio did not disappoint. He recorded 18 FPL points, courtesy of 2 goals and 6 bonus points, and showed us that he is definitely David Moyes’ first choice for the spot up front. The English forward was rested for the FA Cup encounter with Doncaster Rovers over the weekend, so you can count on him leading the line against Crystal Palace on Tuesday. Attacking returns for a third time in a row do not look out of the question for Antonio this week.

The budget enabler

Our budget recommendation for this week will be featuring in the same game, though on the other side. Tyrick Mitchell (£3.9m) seems to have cemented his place at left-back for Crystal Palace, having started every game since gameweek 16. Over that run, the Eagles recorded 2 clean sheets and Mitchell himself was good for 16 FPL points. That’s not bad at all for a player with his price tag. As a fifth defender, he is a perfect addition to your team, allowing you to allocate a bit of budget to other positions. On top of that, Palace have a good run of fixtures coming up, including games against Newcastle, Burnley, Brighton and Fulham in the next seven weeks.

A differential pick or two

Considering how effective and popular Manchester City’s attacking assets have generally been over the past seasons, it feels a bit odd to recommend two of their players as differential picks for gameweek 20. Five teams have currently scored more than the Skyblues and no player on their roster has more than 5 league goals to his name yet. One of those players in Kevin de Bruyne, who is facing a spell on the side due to injury, while the others are Raheem Sterling (£11.5m) and the somewhat surprising Ilkay Gündogan (£5.5m). These two currently boast ownership percentages of 7.5% and 6.9% respectively, which makes them interesting differential picks for the upcoming run of fixtures.

Before we list some of their upsides, we should mention that De Bruyne was a major factor in getting City out of their goal-shy form and the Belgian is now missing. With West Brom, Sheffield United and Burnley coming up, the Cityzens will be facing deep-lying defensive blocks, the type that caused them issues earlier in the season. KDB was the one to often unlock this type of defence, and with him gone, it remains to be seen how attractive their other attacking assets really are. Then again, City could be very well score 10 goals over the coming games and in that case, you’ll want Sterling and/or Gundogan on your team. The former looks set to perform an even more central role in their attack while KDB is absent, while the latter plays in a more advanced position of late and is on penalties as well. They could be the type of pick to see you soar up the ranks in FPL.

The captaincy

As we wrote earlier, the injuries of Vardy and De Bruyne have removed two prime candidates for the GW20 captaincy this week. We were planning to go with the Belgian for the away game against West Brom, but we have shifted our focus to Bruno Fernandes now. He is facing bottom Sheffield United at Old Trafford on Wednesday and we expect him to be one of the most popular picks for the armband this round. He scored 3 goals and provided 2 assists in his last three home games, so hopefully he can continue that run of form in front of his own fans (he will be watching the game from their homes).

If you’re not entirely convinced by Bruno at home to a defensive side or if you can’t bring him in, there are still a few other good options available. Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son play at home against a completely out-of-form Liverpool side, while the in-form James Maddison faces Everton at Goodison Park. Leeds are playing struggling Newcastle, which brings Patrick Bamford into the picture, while Michail Antonio will be looking to make it 3 goals in three against Palace at Selhurst Park. Finally, we don’t tend to recommend defenders for the captaincy, but John Stones, Ruben Dias or Joao Cancelo look like a guaranteed minimum 12 points as they roll up to the Hawthornes on Tuesday.