FPL Season 2021/22: Gameweek 16 preview

Ah, the FPL December period is well and truly underway. With league fixtures piling up domestically, six Premier League clubs also have the final game of their European group stages to deal with this week. Last night saw Liverpool and Manchester City in action, both of which had already secured first place in their respective Champions League groups, while tonight Chelsea visit Zenit and Manchester United host Young Boys. Both teams have qualified for the knock-out stages already, but first place in their groups is still up for grabs.

On Thursday, Leicester (at Napoli) have everything to play for in the Europa League, while West Ham have already secured first place in their group prior to hosting Dinamo Zagreb in that same tournament. In the Conference League, Spurs need a win against already qualified group G leader Stade Rennais and hope that Dutch side Vitesse Arnhem do not beat group minnows NS Mura by too big a margin. That might be easier said (or written, in this case) than done though, as a COVID-19 outbreak at Spurs was confirmed yesterday. Reports mention at least six players and two members of staff who have been infected, but more news and details are expected over the coming hours and days.

Our advice is keep a very close eye on both starting line-ups for this week’s European games and teams news from the Premier League in general, and to hold off potential transfers for as long as you can.

Don’t forget, the deadline for gameweek 16 is set at 18h30 (UK time) on Friday, December 10th.

Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per December 8th, 2021)

GKMcCarthy (SOU), Schmeichel (LEI), Mendy (CHE)De Gea (MUN). Ramsdale (ARS), Sá (WOL)
DEFDuffy (BRI), Reguilón (TOT), Cresswell (WHU)James (CHE), Thiago Silva (CHE), Cancelo (MCI)Duffy suspension, Reguilón and Cresswell injury doubts
MIDRaphinha (LEE), Gallagher (CRY), Smith Rowe (ARS)Bernardo (MCI), Mount (CHE), Bowen (WHU)Raphinha fixture swing, Bernardo form, Bowen fixtures
FORToney (BRE), Kane (TOT), Saint-Maximin (NEW)Dennis (WAT), Ronaldo (MUN), Antonio (WHU)Toney COVID-19 infection, fixtures of transferred-in players

Premium pick

Despite Mo Salah keeping his unreal run of consecutive attacking returns intact with a stoppage time game-winning assist against Wolves, we’re going with Cristiano Ronaldo (£12.4m) as our premium fantasy pick for gameweek 16. The Portuguese superstar is nowhere near the Egyptian’s consistency and form at the moment (then again, who is?), but he made an excellent impression during Ralf Rangnick’s first game officially in charge as manager the Red Devils. Prior to the home encounter with Palace, there had been some doubts in the media about whether Ronaldo would be able to function as part of the German’s preferred high-energy, high-pressing playing style, but he largely put those doubts to sleep, at least for now. CR7 completed the 90 minutes against the Eagles, took most shots out of all players on the pitch and recorded most attempts on goal as well. The only thing missing was a goal to follow his GW15 brace against Arsenal. This weekend, there’s a visit to Norwich on the agenda, followed by an extended run of favourable fixtures. Ronaldo has already risen by £0.1m this week and you can expect more of that over the coming days and weeks.

Non-premium pick

After a nondescript start to the 2021-22 season, James Maddison (£6.7m) has picked up some good form of late. The England international struggled with injury niggles and lacked form for a number of gameweeks, but with 2 goals and 2 assists in his last three league outings, he seems to have left those issues behind him and reclaimed his spot as one of Leicester’s principal creative outlets up front. Last weekend’s game at Villa was disappointing for both Maddison and the Foxes in general, as they probably could’ve done better than a 2-1 loss, but the midfielder did record two consecutive double-digit hauls versus Watford at home and Southampton away prior to the visit to Villa Park. After Thursday’s Europa League visit to Napoli, the Foxes will host Newcastle on Sunday and despite the Toon picking up their first win of the season against Burnley last weekend, Leicester will be eyeing this one as a must-win. Hopefully for them, Maddison will be there to make it happen.

The budget enabler

Considering the current shortage of truly attractive options in the official game’s Forwards category, we figured we’d highlight a useful and kindly priced attacker as our budget enabler of the week. Joshua King (£5.7m) has been in excellent form for Watford of late, particularly since the arrival of Claudio Ranieri as the club’s new manager back in gameweek 8. The Norwegian forward missed that game, but has not missed a minute of Premier League action since then. Over that run of seven games, he scored 5 goals (including a hattrick against Everton in GW9) and collected 34 FPL points, which comes to an average of just under 5 points per game. For a budget striker, that’s more than decent, and there might be more on the way, especially when you consider that he leads his team in practically every underlying attacking statistic. Next up are Brentford away, followed by a trip to Turf Moor and a home game versus Crystal Palace, so making King a must-include on your watch lists, at the least, needs no discussion.

The differential

Our limit for an FPL asset to be considered as a differential pick is an overall ownership of less than 10%. Based on that rough guideline, it would be reasonable to label players with an ownership of below 1% as ultra-differentials, right? Well, in that case we are putting up an ultra-differential for gameweek 16, as Manchester United’s Diogo Dalot (£4.4m) currently sits in just 0.5% of all teams. The Portuguese right-back has filled in for Aaron Wan-Bissaka in the last two league games and did well. So well, in fact, that he might just have played himself into his new manager’s starting eleven, especially when considering that original first choice AWB has largely failed to impress so far this season. Make of it what you will, but last weekend, the former Palace defender was on the bench, while Dalot played 90 minutes for the second time in a row. We’d recommend checking out United’s starting line-up against Young Boys in the Champions League as well as any teams news coming out of Carrington over the coming days, because a starting United full-back, priced at £4.4m, owned by just 0.5% of FPL managers, and with Norwich away up next almost sounds too good to be true.

For more GW16 FPL transfer suggestions see what the fiso forum members think.

The captaincy

The captaincy, for a first time in a long time, is an interesting one in gameweek 16. There is obviously Mo Salah, the man who has only failed to return anything in GW2 and our undisputed captain for his encounter with Aston Villa at Anfield this weekend. We won’t get into this much further, because the conclusion is pretty much common knowledge by now. You want to play it safe with the armband? Stick it on Mo.

Having said that, we feel Cristiano Ronaldo will be attracting a lot of captaincy attention as well for his game at Carrow Road. He’s extremely explosive and a new-manager bounce might be just what is needed to provide Salah with some captaincy competition over the coming weeks, finally. Other interesting captaincy candidates for gameweek 16 include Phil Foden and the on-fire Bernardo Silva as they host Wolves, Mason Mount at home against Leeds (who sound like they will be missing Kalvin Phillips their midfield dynamo through injury), and Jamie Vardy or even James Maddison for their home game versus Newcastle.