FPL Season 2022/23
Gameweek 22 Preview
After yet another short break, we’re back at it again and it’s double gameweek territory straight away. While the Leeds double against Nottingham Forest and Manchester United (both away) is interesting, it’s the Man United double against Crystal Palace and Leeds (both at home) that has really gotten the attention of millions of fantasy managers. They are the only two teams doubling this week, as the both of them managed to avoid FA Cup fourth-round replays.
That also brings us to the next important point we wanted to make before moving on to our fantasy picks for gameweek 22. While fantasy managers had a break since gameweek 21, a majority of Premier League sides have/had domestic cup duties to deal with. We strongly recommend catching up on the recent cup adventures and results of the PL clubs still involved before deciding on your transfers for GW22. With a series of smaller doubles and a potential blank gameweek coming up in the short to medium term, a free transfer is more valuable than ever. Make sure you know who played when and whether the respective cup tie results have had an impact on the sides you’re looking at. This will help you to keep the impact of unexpected fatigue and rotation-induced line-up changes to your FPL squad to a minimum, though we don’t have to warn you for the inevitable curveball here and there (looking at you, Pep Guardiola).
FYI: this piece was written before the League Cup Semi-final between Manchester United and Nottingham Forest, taking place later tonight at 20h00 (UK time).
Don’t forget, the deadline for gameweek 22 is set at 18h30 (UK time) on Friday, February 3rd, 2023.
Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per February 1st, 2023)
|TRANSFERS OUT||TRANSFERS IN||POSSIBLE REASONS|
|GK||Ward (LEI), Henderson (NFO), Ramsdale (ARS)||Pope (NEW), De Gea (MUN), Raya (BRE)|
|DEF||Cancelo (MCI), Saliba (ARS), Perisic (TOT)||Shaw (MUN), Schär (NEW), Mee (BRE)||Cancelo transfer to Bayern, United DGW|
|MID||Almiron (NEW), Martinelli (ARS), Salah (LIV)||Fernandes (MUN), Rashford (MUN), Mitoma (BRI)||United DGW, Brighton scoring form|
|FOR||Mitrovic (FUL), Jesus (ARS), Toney (BRE)||Nketiah (ARS), Toney (BRE), Kane (TOT)||Nketiah form, Toney form, Kane form, Jesus injury|
Seeing as Erling Haaland and Harry Kane are facing each other in London on Sunday, we decided to go with Bruno Fernandes (£9.9m) for his double gameweek 22. With Christian Eriksen out injured, United manager Erik ten Hag could very well opt for a Brazilian double pivot consisting of Fred and Casemiro to support Bruno in a role of freedom behind the striker, and in between the two wingers. Add to that the coming double gameweek and the fact that Bruno has quietly been delivering decent FPL points over the past few weeks, and picking him as our premium fantasy pick for DGW22 does not only look like a fixture pick, but like a form pick as well. Since gameweek 16, the Portuguese playmaker scored 2 goals and gave 4 assists, with GW17 being his only blank over that run. The Red Devils are facing two mediocre defences in Leeds and Palace next, and we can see Bruno delivering big this round. A final additional potential advantage, especially for those chasing in their mini-leagues, is that Bruno is currently in just 9.3% of all clubs.
Our non-premium fantasy pick for double gameweek 22 was decided quite quickly, to be honest. There are plenty of names in this category that can end up hauling this round, but none look more likely than Bruno’s teammate Marcus Rashford (£7.2m). With home games against Leeds and Palace coming up, there is even talk in the FPL community about activating the Triple Captain for the England international this gameweek. Rashford has blossomed again under Ten Hag and his stats show it. Since gameweek 17, the attacker has been directly involved in six goals (5 goals, 1 assist) and returned 48 FPL points, which comes down to an average of exactly 8 points per game. Not bad for a player who started the 2022-23 campaign with a £6.5m price tag. As for the opposition and their defensive exploits on the road, Leeds have shipped 19 goals in 9 away games already, while Palace have done a bit better so far with 11 conceded goals in the same number of league matches on the road. If you don’t own Rashford by now (50.2% of all managers have selected him at the time of writing), now really is the time to bring him in after all.
The budget enabler
In what can only be called a shock move, at least by those not privy to Manchester City’s internal player dealings, Joao Cancelo transferred to Bayern Munich during the January transfer window, on loan for the rest of the season. We’re not sure what happened exactly, but the reality is that one of the league’s and the FPL’s best defenders has now left English football. As a result, we feel like we should repeat our budget-enabling fantasy pick from a few weeks ago. At the time, we mentioned the potential of Rico Lewis (£3.9m), both as a huge talent in real life and as a potential budget enabler of dreams in the official fantasy game. While rotation is still the name of the game for City assets, the departure of Cancelo has suddenly and considerably increased the youngster’s chances of playing minutes in the Man City starting eleven. Pep is obviously a big fan of Lewis and had him feature prominently in the weeks building up to the current break. Since GW17, the English full-back started four games, came on in the 45th minute (for Cancelo) once, and remained benched for 90 minutes once. With Nathan Aké and the fit-again Aymeric Laporte both being left-footed, there is still major competition for Lewis in the starting eleven, but at a price of just £3.9m, he might just grow into the ultimate enabler for the second half of the season.
After two United picks and a City budget enabler, we’re back in the red side of Manchester for our differential fantasy pick for gameweek 22. We are not sure if Wout Weghorst (£6.0m) will continue to form part of Manchester United’s starting eleven on the longer term, but at the moment, the Red Devils don’t seem to have too many alternatives. Rashford is obviously preferred on the left wing and Anthony Martial is dealing with some injury niggles for a change. Erik ten Hag clearly sees a place for Weghorst in his side, because the tall Dutchman has started in both gameweek 20 and gameweek 21. He has not yet managed to deliver an attacking return, but we have a feeling that could very well change in the upcoming double gameweek. We briefly mentioned Leeds’ and Palace’s defensive frailties on the road already, and based on the above, if you’re looking for a big and affordable differential for this double, Weghorst might be your man.
Considering Manchester United’s double against Leeds and Crystal Palace, both at Old Trafford, it makes sense to us to captain a Red Devil this weekend. We have finally decided to put the armband on Marcus Rashford, as he basically combines everything you want in a captain this gameweek: good form, nailed-on spot in the starting eleven, and two favourable fixtures for his double.
The stand-out alternative, in our opinion, is Bruno Fernandes, who more or less presents the same arguments in favour. He’s in form, he will play around 180 minutes over the double and the opposition is considered favourable on paper. If you feel like going for a more differential approach, Ivan Toney at home to Southampton looks very tempting, as do Eddie Nketiah and Bukayo Saka away at Everton.