FPL Season 2020-21: Gameweek 26 preview

“Two home games for in-form Manchester City in DGW26”. (CC by 4.0). Image by: Ank Kumar.

From a fantasy perspective, gameweek 26 might very well turn out to be the week of the season. According to Ben “Mr. Double Gameweek” Crellin (@BenCrellin on Twitter), the upcoming round is likely to be this season’s biggest double gameweek with no less than 14 teams playing twice, including many of the big names. We have posted a quick overview of these teams and their FPL GW26 schedules below:

ASTON VILLALeeds (away)Sheffield United (away)
BURNLEYSpurs (away)Leicester (home)
CHELSEAMan United (home)Liverpool (away)
CRYSTAL PALACEFulham (home)Man United (home)
EVERTONSouthampton (home)West Brom (away)
FULHAMCrystal Palace (away)Spurs (home)
LEICESTERArsenal (home)Burnley (away)
LIVERPOOLSheffield United (away)Chelsea (home)
MAN CITYWest Ham (home)Wolves (home)
MAN UNITEDChelsea (away)Crystal Palace (away)
SHEFFIELD UNITEDLiverpool (home)Aston Villa (home)
SPURSBurnley (home)Fulham (away)
WEST BROMBrighton (home)Everton (home)
WOLVESNewcastle (away)Man City (away)

In terms of double gameweek teams, we are more than spoilt for choice this round, which is why our fantasy pick recommendations are heavily based on these teams. Having said that, Leeds United and Brighton have reasonably favourable fixtures as well as they face Aston Villa (home) and West Brom (away). Especially for those managers who are set up with a few players from these teams, it could be worth considering starting them or even Bench Boosting. In any case, expect major activity on the chips front this week from those that don’t have 11 players doubling (or have a good bench) and don’t be afraid to take a hit (or two) in order to set up your squad for the doubles.

Don’t forget, the deadline for gameweek 26 is set at 11h00 (UK time) on Saturday, February 27th.

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 February 25th, 2021)

GKPope (BUR), McCarthy (SOU), Mendy (CHE)Martinez (AST), Ederson (CIT), Areola (FUL)Managers bringing in DGW assets with favourable fixtures.
DEFJustin (LEI), Chilwell (CHE), Cresswell (WHU)Targett (AST), Cancelo (CIT), Digne (EVE)Justin injury, managers bringing in DGW assets with favourable fixtures.
MIDGrealish (AST), Maddison (LEI), Salah (LIV)Barnes (LEI), Gündogan (CIT), Son (TOT)Grealish and Maddison injury doubts, managers bringing in DGW assets with favourable fixtures.
FORIngs (SOU), Bamford (LEE), Antonio (WHU)Calvert-Lewin (EVE), Kane (TOT), Watkins (AST)Managers bringing in DGW assets with favourable fixtures.

Premium pick

Double gameweek 26 is offering plenty of interesting premium fantasy picks, including the likes of the ever-present Mo Salah, the fit again Kevin de Bruyne, and the pretty much undisputed king of FPL, Bruno Fernandes. We have gone with a somewhat differential pick in the person of Raheem Sterling (£11.6m), who is still owned by just 12.6% of FPL managers despite returning in ten of his last 12 appearances (6 goals and 4 assists). The 26-year old is also the outfield player with most playing minutes on the Man City roster since gameweek 17 and he even captained his side for the 69 minutes that he was on the pitch against Mönchengladbach in the Champions League on Wednesday. Sure, rotation is always a risk when it comes to City assets, but Raz once again looks like a key player for Pep Guardiola and he could be of huge value this round.

Non-premium picks

Another player who looks set for a big haul in DGW26 is Everton striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£7.7m). The England forward lost some backers due to his absence in DGW24, but he is still owned by more than 38% of fantasy managers. He did not wait to deliver upon his return to action either, winning a huge penalty in the derby at Anfield last weekend. DCL currently sits on 13 goals and 6 assists, and he has returned in his last three appearances for a total of 25 FPL points. In the upcoming round, the Toffees are facing Southampton at home followed by an away game at the Hawthornes. This also explains why he is currently the most transferred-in forward in the official game and why he will probably be amongst the most-captained players overall for this round.

Our second non-premium fantasy pick for DGW26 is a striker as well, and a nailed-on option for his team up front. Ollie Watkins (£6.5m) needed just four games to mark his arrival amongst the English footballing elite and he did so in style, with a hattrick and an assist against reigning champions Liverpool back in gameweek 4. Since then, he has been steadily working on his tallies, which has brought him to 10 goals and 4 assists at the moment of writing. Despite blanking in his last two games, he netted 4 times in the five games prior to that, and he has away games against Leeds and Sheffield United coming up this round. The Villans will probably miss their star man Jack Grealish for one or both games, but Watkins should still be around the top of your watchlists for this week’s transfers.

The budget enabler

It’s true that Fulham are still lodged in the relegation zone and they have been for a while already, but it’s also true that Scott Parker’s men have shown definite signs of improvement over the past months. From their last four Premier League games, they have taken a more than decent 8 points, in great part thanks to a considerably improved defence. The Cottagers conceded just a single goal over that run. With a double gameweek against Crystal Palace (away) and goal-shy Spurs (home), their wing-back and highest-scoring defender Ola Aina (£4.5m) could therefore be a very interesting budget and differential pick. The former Chelsea talent has recorded 28 FPL points over the last three games, courtesy of 2 clean sheets, 1 goal and 1 assist.

A differential pick or two

In the absence of Calvert-Lewin, it was that other Toffee star that needed to deliver in the striker position and deliver he did. Richarlison (£7.9m) scored back-to-back goals against Manchester City and Liverpool, and brought his owners a decent 13 FPL points. Up next is a double consisting of Southampton at home and West Brom away, and despite the fact that DCL will return as the Toffee number nine, his Brazilian partner in crime will get chances to build on his good form as well. With 4 goals, 5 assists and a current ownership of just 7.5%, Richarlison has been having a bit of an underwhelming season so far, but he is a mainstay under Carlo Ancelotti and could prove to be a major differential in DGW26.

For our second fantasy pick in this category, we have gone even more differential. Jack Grealish is currently the highest-scoring Aston Villa midfielder, which is not surprising, but the name following him is. It’s not Ross Barkley or John McGinn, but the tricky Bertrand Traoré (£5.9m). With 5 goals and 3 assists to his name so far, the former Ajax and Lyon star has nailed down a spot as winger in Dean Smith’s starting eleven. He collected 17 FPL points in his last three PL games, courtesy of a goal against Leicester and an assist against Arsenal, and up next are two of the most suspect defences in the league (Leeds and Sheffield United). With an ownership of just 0.8%, Traoré could be the ultimate differential for this DGW.

The captaincy

With so many players playing twice this round and with several of those players actually preparing for a favourable fixture double, there are plenty of captaincy candidates for the armband in DGW26. We have ended up going with Raheem Sterling, who was taken off after 69 minutes in the Champions League on Wednesday. We’re hoping that this points to a spot in the starting eleven against West Ham and Wolves over the coming days for the Pep’s most-used outfield player. Raz has been consistent more than explosive over the past few months with 10 returns in his last twelve games, and we’re hoping for this trend to continue in DGW26.

Not sure about captaining a City asset? Understandable, we have all been there by now. In this case, you can opt for Mo Salah (against Sheffield United away and Chelsea at home), Bruno Fernandes (Chelsea and Palace away), or one of the Spurs boys, such as Kane or Son, as they face Burnley at home and Fulham at the Cottage. More differential picks for the captaincy could be DCL or Richarlison against Southampton at home and West Brom away, Jamie Vardy against Arsenal at home and Burnley away, or even Ollie Watkins away against Leeds and Sheffield United.

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