Just four fixtures in round 30 of the 2021/22 Premier League season this time, with no less than twelve teams blanking this gameweek. After consecutive double gameweeks and with another major blank gameweek coming up soon-ish in round 33, you can expect more than a few teams to be dealing with some degree of disarray. We’re expecting chip usage to peak again this weekend as many fantasy premier league managers will be looking to bridge what could end up being the biggest blank gameweek of the season with either a Free Hit or Wildcard. This decision is, of course, entirely team dependent, but considering the very limited pool of available players for BGW30, we’re going out on a limb here and suggest that if you can field about nine players this weekend, simply going with it could be an option.
The focus for Free Hitters and Wildcarders alike will probably be on Spurs as they host a West Ham that’s dealing with some injuries to key players, followed by Wolves and Leicester for their respective home games against Leeds and Brentford. These are not the most outstanding match-ups possible though, and practically any pick from any of these teams can be considered a differential, bar maybe Harry Kane (owned by 23%) and Heung-Min Son (24.9%). There’s going to be relatively predictable templates this weekend, especially for GW30 Free Hitters, so it’s up to you to judge to what extent you feel your team can deal with (heavily) deviating from that template this weekend.
Below are the four FPL fixtures for blank gameweek 30:
|DATE||FIXTURE IN BGW30|
|Friday, March 18th||Wolves – Leeds|
|Saturday, March 19th||Aston Villa – Arsenal|
|Sunday, March 20th||Leicester – Brentford|
|Sunday, March 20th||Spurs – West Ham|
Don’t forget, the deadline for gameweek 30 is set at 18h30 (UK time) on Friday, March 18th, 2022.
Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per March 17th, 2022)
|TRANSFERS OUT||TRANSFERS IN||POSSIBLE REASONS|
|GK||De Gea (MUN), Sanchez (BRI), Ederson (MCI)||Sa (WOL), Ramsdale (ARS), Schmeichel (LEI)||Fixtures in BGW30 for Wolves, Arsenal, Leicester|
|DEF||Cancelo (MCI), Dias (MCI), James (CHE)||Coady (WOL), Cash (AST), Saiss (WOL)||Fixtures in BGW30 for Wolves, Villa|
|MID||Bowen (WHU), Salah (LIV), Jota (LIV)||Saka (ARS), Kulusevski (TOT), Coutinho (AST)||Fixtures in BGW30 for Arsenal, Spurs, Villa|
|FOR||Dennis (WAT), Antonio (WHU), Broja (SOU)||Toney (BRE), Kane (TOT), Jimenez (WOL)||Fixtures in BGW30 for Brentford, Spurs, Wolves|
Seeing as we consider a premium fantasy pick to be priced at £9.5m or higher, we really have just two options for this gameweek and both play for Spurs. While Heung-Min Son is always a good pick as one of the very best players in the league, we feel that we can’t look past Harry Kane (£12.4m) for this one. The Spurs striker is in red-hot form with 7 goals and 1 assist in his last six league outings, and he hasn’t blanked since Tottenham’s shock 1-0 loss to Burnley back in gameweek 26. Looking at his fixture for blank gameweek 30, we’re expecting Kane to be the number-one captaincy pick this weekend, though this is a bit of a relative claim, considering that he sits in a bit less than a quarter of all FPL sides. Perhaps it’s better to say that we expect anyone who has Kane to captain Kane. In any case, Tottenham’s Very Own is facing West Ham on Sunday and the Hammers are likely to be without their starting full-backs Vladimir Coufal and Aaron Cresswell, while Angelo Ogbonna remains side-lined as well. Harry Kane versus a depleted Hammers backline might just be what gives the upcoming very blank gameweek a bit of a spark.
For our non-premium fantasy pick of the week, we’re sticking with Spurs as Kane’s new teammate Dejan Kulusevski (£6.2m) has been making waves since coming into the Premier League from Italian giants Juventus in January. In seven starts since gameweek 25, the Swedish international has managed 2 goals and 5 assists for a total of 45 FPL points, which comes down to exactly 5 points per game. Not a huge average, but more than decent for a winger classified as a midfielder whose priced at just £6.2m. He looks to have conquered a spot in Antonio Conte’s starting lineup and we feel he will also feature in plenty of Free Hit and Wildcard squads this weekend. Kulusevski has returned attacking points in his last four league outings, including assists away at Old Trafford and the AmEx in his last two. Next up are West Ham who will likely be missing their first-choice right-back Aaron Cresswell, who would also be Kulusevski’s direct opponent. It will be an interesting encounter at the New Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and we’re hoping Kulusevksi will be among the points for it.
The budget enabler
Blank gameweek 30 is offering a rather large selection of less expensive fantasy picks, ranging from mid-price picks to total budget enablers. Seeing as a full starting eleven this weekend will inevitably contain at least a few low-price players, we did our best to find a few that really stand out in terms of their friendly price tag and we ended up going with Jonny (£4.5m). The 28-year-old Spanish full-back missed the whole season up to gameweek 28 due to injury, but he is back now and seems to have secured a berth in Bruno Lage’s starting eleven. While the left-back spot is covered by Aït Nouri and Marçal, the right-back spot is undermanned with both Nelson Semedo and Ki-Jana Hoever out injured. As a result, Jonny has been deployed on the right side during the last three games and this saw him record 2 clean sheets and a total of 14 FPL points. On Friday, Wolves are hosting Leeds at Molineux and we’re expecting the Spaniard to line up again from the start. He will be on Leeds’ right flank, which is not Raphinha’s flank and which tends to be positive for the defender in question, as most of Leeds’ attacking moves flow through the Brazilian. On top of that, the Whites are not in good shape at all, losing six games in a row before beating Norwich in the last minute in gameweek 29. Wolves are favorites here and at least a clean sheet is far from out of the question, which would make it three clean sheets in a row for Jonny.
In the absence of a truly fixed number nine, Harvey Barnes (£6.5m) has become Leicester’s main attacking threat of the past few weeks. He has posted decent numbers so far this season, scoring 3 goals and providing 7 assists in seventeen starts for a total of 83 FPL points so far. What’s more interesting though, is that the young Englishman has returned attacking points in all of his last seven league outings (2 goals and 5 assists), and he will be starting against Brentford at home in BGW30 as well. Manager Brendan Rodgers has kept him on the pitch for 90 minutes every game since gameweek 25 (he didn’t play in GW26) and with good reason, because no Leicester asset has been more effective in an attacking sense than him. The Foxes are actually favourites at the bookies to score at least three goals this week, which bodes well for Barnes. In a very depleted gameweek, his current 3.8% ownership could represent exceptional differential value.
As we wrote earlier, Harry Kane will likely be the most popular pick for the captain’s armband this weekend and we are following suit. West Ham have lost a bit of the spring that they had in their step during the first half of the season and with several key figures doubtful for their visit to Spurs, we can definitely see Kane returning some sweet, sweet FPL points for this one. You might not be able or willing to bring him in on a (free) transfer, but keep in mind that for any fantasy manager activating a Free Hit or Wildcard, slapping the band on the Hurrikane will be a no-brainer.
Those who are brave enough to go without the big man can also opt for his slightly less expensive teammate Heung-Min Son or even the in-form Dejan Kulusevski if you’re feeling really pumped. Other options can be Harvey Barnes against Brentford or Leicester’s starting striker for that game, if you can guess him. Raul Jimenez at home to Leeds could be a differential captaincy option as well, just like Philippe Coutinho at home to a sturdy Arsenal defence. The same can be said for Bukayo Saka and even Alexandre Lacazette for their visit to Villa Park on Saturday.