FPL Season 2020-21: Gameweek 29 preview

“A big game for the relegation battle at the AmEx in Brighton on Saturday” (CC by 2.0). Image by Paul Gillett.

If gameweek 28 showed us one thing (once more), it’s that the FPL does not need a double or a blank gameweek for the round to be a massacre. With the calendar offering a few decent fixtures from a fantasy point of view, GW28 had all the makings of a more straight forward affair, but it wasn’t to be. From the five most-captained players bringing home a grand total of 8 FPL points together to the official Team of the Week containing just four players with an ownership of more than 8%, last week was yet another one of the differentials. On top of that, two of three highest-owned assets in the game, Heung-Min Son and Patrick Bamford, were injured early on and are now serious doubts for the upcoming blank gameweek.

To make matters worse, they were surely the focal points of many fantasy teams in gameweek 29, as we will see just eight teams in action this weekend, two of which are Spurs and Leeds. For convenience, we have listed the four encounters here below:

FulhamLeedsFri 19/03
BrightonNewcastleSat 20/03
West HamArsenalSun 21/03
Aston VillaSpursSun 21/03

As a result of the reduced fixture calendar, our fantasy picks for this weekend will focus on players from these eight teams. With the current fitness doubts regarding Son and Bamford in the back of our heads, we have not included them in our selection, but we do recommend keeping an eye on developments. They are highly owned and, if declared fit in time, could play a major role in BGW29. Also keep in mind that chip deployment, Free Hits and Wildcards in particular, will likely be high this weekend.

Don’t forget, the deadline for gameweek 29 is set at 18h30 (UK time) on Friday, March 19th.

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 March 17th, 2021)

GKMcCarthy (SOU), Pope (BUR), Ederson (CIT)Meslier (LEE), Martinez (AST), Mendy (CHE)BGW29 players brought in
DEFCancelo (CIT), Dias (CIT), Stones (CIT)Dallas (LEE), Dunk (BRI), Cresswell (WHU)BGW29 players brought in
MIDSon (TOT), Gündogan (CIT), Salah (LIV)Bale (TOT), Lingard (WHU), Raphinha (LEE)BGW29 players brought in, Son possibly out injured
FORBamford (LEE), Calvert-Lewin (EVE), Vardy (LEI)Kane (TOT), Antonio (WHU), Watkins (AST)BGW29 players brought in, Bamford possibly out injured

Premium pick

We are expecting Harry Kane (£11.5m) to be the most-captained player this weekend, simply because he is one of the very top fantasy assets featuring in this blank gameweek. With an incredible 16 goals and 13 assists, no player has recorded more attacking returns than the England striker and Spurs have found a bit of form over the last few gameweeks. As a matter of fact, since gameweek 26, only leaders Manchester City have scored more than Tottenham’s 10 goals. Kane was directly involved in five of those goals (3 goals, 2 assists), while his direct goal involvement over the whole season currently sits at a whopping 62%. He will start, he is on penalties, and despite Aston Villa being a solid unit this season, Kane looks to be the premium fantasy pick of the bunch this weekend.

Non-premium picks

With just four fixtures on the calendar this weekend and with Leeds rolling up to Craven Cottage, you can expect plenty of FPL managers to be tripling up on Leeds players. With Bamford a doubt for Friday’s game, Raphinha (£5.6m) will be in the cross-hairs of many managers, though his current ownership still sits at a surprisingly low 13.6%. Surprising, because the Brazilian winger comes at a bargain price, and already has 5 goals and 6 assists to his name. It’s true that the Whites have seen a dramatic fall in productivity in front of goal lately, not having netted once in the last three rounds, but with an away game at Fulham, they in theory have this weekend’s most favourable fixture. The Cottagers are in full-on survival mode and will not be easy to beat, but Leeds will attack with abandon as usual and Raphinha, who is also on many set-pieces, will definitely get a few chances to work on his tallies.

Our second non-premium fantasy pick for BGW29 is Michail Antonio (£6.6m). With their current fifth place in the league and a game in hand, West Ham are looking more and more like this season’s real surprise package. Despite missing a part of the campaign due to injury, Antonio has managed to play a considerable role in their excellent performance so far, with 7 goals and 3 assists. He was unlucky not to get involved in any goals over the past two weeks, especially the Leeds game in GW27 could’ve been very different for him, but the Hammers forward is proving to boast goalscoring capabilities regardless of the opposition. For example, he scored back-to-back goals in gameweeks 25 and 26 against Spurs and Man City, respectively. Up next are Arsenal at home for a real London derby and despite the Gunners coming off a hard-fought victory over rivals Spurs, they are not favourites for this one. The Hammers are, and we feel Antonio could be a decisive factor on Sunday.

The budget enabler

With the very kindly priced Dan Burn currently an injury doubt for Brighton, we have opted for his team mate Joel Veltman (£4.4m) as our budget-enabler for blank gameweek 29. The Dutchman provides a safe and very budget-friendly way into one of the league’s most solid defences, in terms of underlying statistics at least. Eight teams have conceded less than the Seagulls, but when it comes to expected conceded goals, they rank first, even above Man City. This week’s opponents Newcastle, on the other hand, rank 19th in terms of expected goals (in away games) and they have netted just three times in their last five games. In other words, this encounter looks like a major mismatch on paper, in favour of Brighton’s defence.

A differential pick or two

Since arriving at the Emirates on loan from Real Madrid during the January transfer window, Martin Ødegaard (£5.9m) has had a relatively slow start in an Arsenal shirt, but he seems to be hitting form of late. After scoring his first goal for the Gunners against Olympiacos in the Europa League last week, the Norwegian midfielder was also on target against Spurs in gameweek 28. Over the past two gameweeks, he has ranked amongst the top two players in his team for both chances created and shots on goal, and against a very solid West Ham United defence, he will be key for Mikel Arteta’s men if they want to find a way through. It will be far from an easy game for the Gunners, but with a current ownership of just 1.4%, Ødegaard could be a big-time differential pick for blank gameweek 29.

It has been discussed before, but Brighton are probably this season’s most underperforming team by some difference. A major reason for that is their problematic shyness in front of goal. Just six teams have scored less than the Seagulls so far and their top scorer is Leandro Trossard (£5.7m) with 3 goals and 5 assists. The Belgian’s latest goal came against Southampton just last weekend and with a home game against a Newcastle side in trouble coming up on Saturday, we recommend him as an interesting differential fantasy pick. The Magpies rank amongst the bottom five teams for several important defensive statistics, including conceded shots and conceded shots on target, and Trossard likes to shoot, including from set-pieces. The clash at the AmEx is an authentic six-pointer in relation to the relegation battle and Brighton looks like they’ll be bringing it home.

The captaincy

Before last weekend’s Spurs game, we thought it was between Son and Kane for the captaincy in gameweek 29, but with the Korean an injury doubt now, the armband goes to the English striker. As discussed earlier, no player in the official game has registered more attacking returns than Kane this season and if there is one player fixture-proof, it’s him. The visit to Villa Park could be a tricky one for Spurs, but in a reduced gameweek, the HurriKane looks like the safest bet for your captaincy.

If you’re not convinced by Kane or don’t have the funds to bring him in, then one of his team mates could be a decent alternative, Gareth Bale in particular. Outside of Spurs, BGW29 could be an opportunity to captain a Seagull for a change, with the likes of Trossard, Maupay and Dunk representing appealing differential value. On Friday, Leeds are visiting Fulham and we expect a few managers to put the armband of Raphinha as well, or Bamford if declared fit.

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