FPL Season 2021/22: Gameweek 17 preview

If last weekend’s perfect storm of injury doubts, fatigue issues, rotation tactics, coronavirus infections and disruptive weather are any indicator of what’s to come this month, we’re in for a doozy. Over the next three weeks, we have five gameweeks coming up, as well as the second wildcard becoming available as soon as the deadline for gameweek 19 has passed on December 26th. Note: This article written and published before the Brentford v Man Utd fixture postponed.

As far as gameweek 16 is concerned, it was another good round for the differentials as Conor Gallagher and Arsenal goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale were the only fantasy assets with an ownership of more than 16% to make the team of the week. Leicester aces and joint-topscorers for the week James Maddison and Youri Tielemans (16 FPL points) are in 8.5% and 3.4% of teams, respectively, while four players in the official game‘s Team of the Week are currently owned by less than 1.6%. This includes Leicester’s Patson Daka, who recorded an attacking return for the second game in a row and started the last two games up front for the Foxes in the place of Jamie Vardy.

Don’t forget, the deadline for gameweek 17 is set at 18h00 (UK time) tomorrow Tuesday, December 14th.

Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per December 13th, 2021)

GKMendy (CHE), McCarthy (SOU), Foster (WAT)Ramsdale (ARS), De Gea (MUN), Sá (WOL)
DEFCancelo (MCI), Duffy (BRI), James (CHE)Rüdiger (CHE), Dias (MCI), Alexander-Arnold (LIV)Cancelo and Duffy suspensions
MIDSmith Rowe (ARS), Jota (LIV), Benrahma (WHU)Bernardo (MCI), Gallagher (CRY), Mount (CHE)Gallagher brace in GW16, Jota and ESR injury niggles in GW16
FORVardy (LEI), Jimenez (WOL), Toney (BRE)Dennis (WAT), Watkins (AST), Ronaldo (MUN)Vardy rotation, Jimenez suspension, Toney COVID-19

Premium pick

Cristiano Ronaldo is playing Brentford away (unless match postponed), Manchester City are welcoming Leeds to the Etihad and Chelsea are playing struggling Everton at Stamford Bridge. Plenty of favourable match-ups and plenty of premium fantasy assets with serious haul potential in GW17. Still, we can’t not recommend Mo Salah (£13.1m) to the three active managers who don’t have him yet. Why not, you ask?

Up next for Mo are Newcastle at Anfield on Thursday, so you know what to do by now.

Non-premium pick

The FPL gods are a cruel bunch. We already knew that and it has been confirmed once again by the fact that the team with one of the best runs of the festive period is also the team that represents the highest risk of rotation. Over the next three weeks, Manchester City play Leeds at home, Newcastle away, Leicester home and two consecutive away games against Brentford and Arsenal, and even though Pep’s starting lineup will be especially difficult to predict, their roster is more than worth considering. That’s why this week, we’re highlighting Phil Foden (£8.0m) for City’s home game against Leeds United. This could end up being a high-scoring affair, with City ranking amongst the best attacking sides and Leeds known for their emphasis on attacking overloads over defensive solidity. Foden started in the bench in gameweek 16 as a result of some fitness niggles and ended up playing just over half an hour as a substitute, so we’re expecting him in the starting lineup on Tuesday. He’s on 3 goals and 3 assists from 719 Premier League minutes at the moment, and the bookies have him at 47% to score at least once this round, which helps explain why he is our stand-out non-premium fantasy pick for GW17.

The budget enabler

Diogo Dalot (4.5m) seems to be one of the biggest benefactors of the arrival of Ralf Rangnick as Manchester United manager. Since the German’s first official game in charge back in GW14, the Portuguese right-back has not missed a minute of Premier League football, while former starting right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka featured in the mid-week Champions League game with the Red Devils already qualified for the knock-out stage. Dalot, meanwhile, is coming off back-to-back clean sheets as he prepares for the upcoming encounter at the Brentford Community Stadium. At just £4.5m, he could represent incredible value over the coming weeks and months if he truly manages to nail down the right-back slot under Rangnick. Of the next eleven league games, just one ranks 4 on the official game’s FDR (West Ham away in GW23), and seven out of the remaining ten games rank just 2 on that same FDR. Now could be the time to get in early on Dalot if Ralf views him ahead of AWB. Do though wait and see if the match v Brentford goes ahead after the rising covid infections at Man Utd.

The differential

After a 5-goal thriller against West Ham, the 3.8% of FPL managers who currently own Kai Havertz (£7.8m) will feel a bit hard done by the German coming away with just 2 points. The former Bayer Leverkusen star started the game as Chelsea’s number nine and he completed the 90 minutes, but unfortunately, he failed to make it count from an FPL point of view. On the bright side, Chelsea are hosting a completely out-of-sorts Everton side, so Havertz will get a chance to redeem himself as a major differential fantasy asset for gameweek 17. He’s got 2 goals and 2 assists from eight starts so far this season, as well as 6 points for clean sheets as he is registered as a midfielder in the official game. This adds to his appeal, especially when considering that Everton have conceded a worrying 15 goals in eight away games so far. With away games against Wolves and Villa after the Everton match, Havertz could even be a good option until the second wildcard kicks in after the gameweek 19 passes, assuming he will keep racking up minutes under Thomas Tuchel who may of course freshen up his side with the talented squad at his disposal.

The captaincy

We mentioned earlier that Mo Salah is once again our stand-out fantasy asset for gameweek 17 and he is our captain for this mid-week round as well. The Egyptian is currently is the form of his life and only failed to register an attacking return way back in gameweek 2. It’s true that he’s been a bit calmer FPL-return-wise in the last few weeks, but for Salah, that means that he managed “just” one double-digit haul in his last five games. He’s up against Newcastle at Anfield this week, so for us, his captaincy is beyond all doubt.

Having said that, gameweek 17 does offer a plethora of appealing alternatives. Jota and Sadio Mané could thrive against Newcastle as well, while captaining an attacking Man City asset for their home game against Leeds could pay off big as well. There is also Cristiano Ronaldo as he hopefully prepares for a visit to Brentford and the small matter of Chelsea hosting struggling Everton, bringing the likes of Kai Havertz, Mason Mount and Romelu Lukaku to the forefront. For a more differential approach to the armband decision, FPL forum managers might consider Conor Gallagher at home against Southampton, Ollie Watkins visiting Carrow Road, or the in-form Emmanuel Dennis for his game at Turf Moor.