And just like that, we’re back at it! Just about week after the final whistle of the World Cup final between Argentina and France, it’s time for one of the most anticipated periods of the FPL and indeed the regular PL season. On Monday, gameweek 17 kicks off the festive period, which in FPL terms means a series of three gameweeks in the space of eight days and as consequence, unmatched levels of rotation and fitness risks. Unless you’ve got the scoop on exclusive team news each time, investing in a decent bench is therefore probably a wise thing to do.
Fortunately, FPL towers have granted all fantasy managers unlimited free transfers in the build-up to the kick-off of gameweek 17 between Brentford and Liverpool. This means that you can make as many transfers as you want until you’ve got your ideal squad for the second half of the season. It’s also important to know that until the deadline for GW17 has passed, player prices will not change. What you should pay attention to though, is players for which you’ve built up some value. Once you sell them and confirm the transfer, you can only get them back at their current price, which will be higher than the price you originally purchased him for. Imagine, for example, you chose Gabriel Martinelli back in GW1, when he was £6.0m, and consider dropping him now at his current price of £6.8m. Selling him will net you £6.4m, but getting him back in at a later point will likely cost you around £6.8m.
Don’t forget, the deadline for gameweek 17 is set at 11h00 (UK time) on Monday December 26th, 2022.
Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per December 24th, 2022)
|TRANSFERS OUT||TRANSFERS IN||POSSIBLE REASONS|
|GK||Pope (NEW), Henderson (NOT), Sanchez (BRI||Ward (LEI), Pope (NEW), Kepa (CHE)|
|DEF||Dalot (MUN), Cancelo (MCI), Williams (NOT)||James (CHE), White (ARS), Castagne (LEI)||Chelsea fixtures, Dalot injury doubt|
|MID||Zaha (CRY), Trossard (BRI), Foden (MCI)||Rashford (MUN), Almiron (NEW), Odegaard (ARS)||Man United fixtures, Almiron pre-break form|
|FOR||Jesus (ARS), Mitrovic (FUL), Wilson (NEW)||Toney (BRE), Darwin (LIV), Mitrovic (FUL)||Jesus injury, Mitrovic injury doubt|
In 14 league appearances between gameweeks 1 and 16, Erling Haaland (£12.2m) scored an incredible 18 goals and provided another 3 assists on top of that. With 123 FPL points, he is, by some difference, the highest-scoring player in the official game at this moment, followed by Harry Kane with 102 points. As Manchester City are continuing the hunt for their third consecutive Premier League title with a visit to Elland Road, where they will face Leeds United. The Whites have been a bit unpredictable so far this season, but what’s really of interest here is their current defensive record. In 14 games, they have conceded 26 goals and 9 of those goals were conceded at home. Not the worst of records, but clean sheets are not their forte. The only shut-outs they recorded in the first 16 gameweeks came in GW3 against Chelsea and in GW9 versus Aston Villa, both at home. It won’t likely be a walk-over for the visitors on Wednesday, but let’s just say we don’t expect Leeds’ third clean sheet to be recorded against City.
As you can see in our transfer overview above, Marcus Rashford (£6.7m) is currently the most transferred-in midfielder and actually the third most transferred-in player overall. Only Ivan Toney and Darwin Nuñez got more new owners than Rashford, who was added to a total of 658,123 squads at the time of writing. The England international, who featured during the World Cup, had a bit of slow start to the season, at least in terms of attacking returns, and his current 4 goals and 2 assists are still well below par for a player of his quality. He looks to be getting back to his best though, and his new coach is noticing it as well. Erik ten Hag recently said that he sees enormous potential in the forward, who is listed as midfielder in FPL, and that Rashford is one of the best in the world when it comes to playing off the back of the last defender. United’s restart begins with home game against Nottingham Forest, who have already conceded 30 goals this season (only Bournemouth have shipped more goals), and Rashford looks 100% set to start. The only real question in this regard is whether he will start on the left wing or as a striker.
The budget enabler
Our budget fantasy pick for gameweek 17 is a bit of a repetition, but that’s simply because he represents such fantastic value. Andreas Pereira (£4.6m) might well end up being the most under-priced fantasy asset of the 2022-23 campaign, because after 15 league games, he already sits on 2 goals, 5 assists and a total of 61 FPL points. He is an integral part of Fulham’s attacking plans and he’s on more than a few set-pieces as well, but that’s not all. The Cottagers’ opening set of fixtures is OK with a visit to Palace in GW17 and a home game against Southampton a few days later, while they are also one of the few teams who will be doubling in FPL gameweek 19. Admittedly, their double match-up is not the best on paper with an away game against Leicester and then a home encounter with Chelsea, but it’s still a double and Fulham were in more than decent form during the first half of the season. If you’re looking for an absolute bargain for your squad, Andreas might just be the best pick out there.
Anthony Martial (£6.7m) has had a pretty much unfortunate season so far, due to a combination of injury problems and competition in the Man United attack despite a promising pre-season. He has just one start and a total of 200 Premier League minutes under his belt so far, but those are not the stats we’re really interested in. The Frenchman is part of our differential fantasy pick category, after all. No, what we’re interested in is the fact that, despite very limited minutes, Martial has scored 2 goals and provided 2 assists, and is now touted as a starter for the Red Devils when Nottingham come to visit on Tuesday. Cristiano Ronaldo has left the club, which leaves the Frenchman as the only pure number nine on the United roster. Also, he did not go to the World Cup with France and used that period to reach optimal match fitness. In other words, the stars seem to be aligning for a return to the spotlight for the man who was brought in for £44 million back in September 2015. With an ownership of just 3.2%, Martial could be the ultimate differential over the coming weeks.
You might have guessed from our premium fantasy pick section that we’re placing the armband on Erling Haaland this gameweek, for a change. We already mentioned some of our main motivations for pinning our hopes on him in GW17, but we’d like to add that the Norwegian also missed out on the World Cup and should therefore be in excellent shape. On top of that, his blistering form seems to not have changed one bit, considering he needed just 10 minutes to score the opener against Liverpool in the League Cup Round of 16 last Thursday.
While Haaland’s teammate Kevin de Bruyne is a very good alternative for the captaincy, so is Mo Salah if you don’t feel confident in betting on City. The Egyptian also scored in the previously mentioned League Cup game and he also missed the World Cup, just like the Norwegian. In terms of more differential kind of captaincy picks, Marcus Rashford at home to Nottingham Forest, Kieran Trippier away at Leicester, or even Kai Havertz at home to Bournemouth could reap considerable rewards.