Wildcards, Free Hits, Triple captains, Bench Boosts, hits for transfers. It’s all coming together for gameweek 26 in which we see no less than eight teams double for the biggest double gameweek of the season so far. As fate would have it, it has coincided with the restart of the European competitions and that really means only thing for FPL managers, be it due to injury, fatigue or tactical reasons: more rotation. For what it’s worth, we’ve added an overview of the sides with a double gameweek just below.
To make matters even more interesting for this round, Arsenal and Liverpool, who based on their double gameweek fixtures will likely attract a lot of attention in the build-up to this week’s deadline, are both blanking in gameweek 27. That’s right. Some fantasy managers will manage to navigate this coming together of circumstances without a chip, but count on a considerable number of them activating one or more chips over the coming two to three gameweeks. Whether or not DGW26 will be a spectacular one or a disappointing, we really can’t tell anymore at this point, but the different possible ways of going about the immediate upcoming schedule will make for some entertaining stuff over the coming weeks.
Don’t forget, the deadline for gameweek 26 is set at 11h00 (UK time) on Saturday, February 19th, 2022.
Gameweek 26: Teams with double fixtures
|Arsenal||Brentford (home) + Wolves (home)|
|Burnley||Brighton (away) + Spurs (home)|
|Crystal Palace||Chelsea (home) + Watford (away)|
|Leeds||Manchester United (home) + Liverpool (away)|
|Liverpool||Norwich (home) + Leeds (home)|
|Spurs||Manchester City (away) + Burnley (away)|
|Watford||Aston Villa (away) + Crystal Palace (home)|
|Wolves||Leicester (home) + Arsenal (away)|
Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per February 17th, 2022)
|TRANSFERS OUT||TRANSFERS IN||POSSIBLE REASONS|
|GK||De Gea (MUN), Ederson (MCI), Sanchez (BRI)||Ramsdale (ARS), Sa (WOL), Alisson (LIV)|
|DEF||Cancelo (MCI), Reguilon (TOT), Laporte (MCI)||Gabriel (ARS), Tierney (ARS), White (ARS)||Arsenal double gameweek|
|MID||Fernandes (MUN), De Bruyne (MCI), Gallagher (CRY)||Salah (LIV), Saka (ARS), Bowen (WHU)||Salah double gameweek, Bowen form + fixture, Gallagher can’t play vs Chelsea|
|FOR||Ronaldo (MUN), Antonio (WHU), Dennis (WAT)||Broja (SOU), Jimenez (WOL), Lacazette (ARS)||Lacazette double gameweek, Antonio lack of returns|
The premium fantasy pick debate for DGW26 is not about which asset to pick. It’s not even about which asset to captain. What it’s really all about is whether or not to slam the triple captaincy on Mohamed Salah (£13.0m) for his double gameweek against Norwich and Leeds. Both games will take place at Anfield and honestly, we can’t see a better moment all season to bet big on the Egyptian. Yes, he blanked in two consecutive games since his return from AFCON, but he did score in the Champions League against Inter on Wednesday evening and on top of that, he’s Mo Salah facing two of the leakiest defences in the league. To put it this way: only one side has conceded more than Leeds’ 46 goals and that’s Norwich, with 50 goals. In terms of expected conceded goals, the Canaries are bottom as well with Leeds sitting in 17th. Salah has 16 goals and 10 assists from 21 starts in the league this season, so let’s not make FPL life more complicated than it already is and go for Mo this week.
We considered sticking with Liverpool and recommending Diogo Jota as the stand-out DGW26 non-premium fantasy pick until his ankle injury last night which forced his withdrawl against Inter Milan, but with so much choice this week, we’ve opted for a bit of variation, in this case in the shape of Kieran Tierney (£5.1m). Arsenal’s double gameweek is interesting mostly from a defensive point of view, as neither Brentford nor Wolves have shown themselves to be very prolific in front of goal this season. With 26 and 21 goals scored respectively, both teams find themselves among the bottom-five for goals scored so far this season. Arsenal, on the other hand, have conceded just 25 goals and sit on 11 clean sheets already. As far as Tierney himself is concerned, he’s been steadily delivering FPL points to the roughly 13% of managers who own him. Since his return from injury in gameweek 15, he hasn’t missed a start and racked up 64 FPL points over that period, courtesy of 6 clean sheets, 3 assists and a goal. As the Arsenal defender who looks most likely to pick up points at both ends of the pitch, Tierney could deliver big in DGW26.
The budget enabler
For our budget fantasy pick of the week, we’ve kept the Free Hitters in mind. Those looking to benefit optimally of the double gameweek might consider activating a Free Hit chip and in that case, one or two budget enablers always come in handy. Prior to GW25, in which he was benched after four consecutive starts, Michael Olise (£5.4m) was providing very good value for money in the official game. Between gameweek 21 and 24, the English youngster got a goal and 2 assists, and recorded a total of 23 FPL points. At his price, that’s not too bad at all. In all fairness, Palace don’t have a particularly favourable double gameweek coming up with a home game against Chelsea followed by a visit to Vicarage Road, but Olise’s creativity on the right wing will be instrumental in them trying to get anything from those games. His substitute appearance in GW25 hints at some rotation risk, so keep that in mind, but as a fifth or even fourth midfielder in your squad, you could do much worse than Olise at just £5.4m.
After mentioning Wolves’ shyness in front of goal earlier, picking Raul Jimenez (£7.4m) as our differential fantasy pick for DGW26 might feel like a contradictory move, but hear us out. Wolves are facing Leicester at home and Arsenal away this round, and the way we see it is as following: a home fixture against a very leaky Leicester side followed by a bonus fixture against a sturdy Arsenal side. Shockingly, only four teams have conceded more goals than the Foxes and their expected conceded goals since the start of the season even puts them in 19th place, just above Norwich. Wolves themselves have scored just 21 goals, but it’s not due to a lack of quality in the side. You can easily imagine Bruno Lage’s men taking four to six points from their two upcoming games, though you shouldn’t expect any kind of goal-scoring bonanza. As for Jimenez, he has not entirely lived up to expectations yet this season which is understandable after his serious head injury, but his involvement in 38% of his team’s goals show that if Wolves make anything happen up front, there’s a big chance of their Mexican striker having something to do with it. Especially over the course of a double gameweek. He’s a bit of a punt, but that’s why he’s currently owned by just 5.9% of managers.
We mentioned it earlier, but as far as we are concerned, Mo Salah is THE captain for double gameweek 26. The Premier League’s best player of the season, the Fantasy Premier League top points scorer, and two of the worst defences in league visiting Anfield. Rarely has there been a more obvious choice for the captaincy and even for the triple captaincy.
If you’re one of the brave ones who plans on making it through DGW26 without Salah, you could consider one of his teammates. Sadio Mané and Trent Alexander-Arnold qualify as more than decent alternatives to the Egyptian this week. Outside of Liverpool, Alexandre Lacazette and possibly Kieran Tierney could be good bets for their double against Brentford and Wolves. The same, though to a slightly lesser extent, goes for Raul Jimenez against Leicester and Arsenal, and for Wilfried Zaha against Chelsea and Watford. If you’re willing to put the armband on a single gameweek’er, Cristiano Ronaldo or Bruno Fernandes at Elland Road could deliver points, as could Jarrod Bowen at home to Newcastle.