With an average of 72 points, the Fantasy Premier League restarted with a bang this week. The template team that developed over the World Cup break proved to be template for a reason, as more than a few much-discussed picks returned in big ways in GW17. Player of the week was Aleksandar Mitrovic who bagged a goal plus two assists for 15 FPL points. Other template picks like Kepa Arrizabalaga (9 FPL points versus Bournemouth), the inevitable Kieran Trippier (12 points), Marcus Rashford (14 points) and, of course, Erling Haaland (13 points) all brought joy to their owners as well. It will be interesting to see how the template will hold up over the weekend, as gameweek 18 kicks off just about a day after gameweek 17 ended.
On paper, GW18 has all the makings of a high-scoring round as several in-form sides are playing at home and/or are facing favourable opposition. Liverpool and Manchester City are hosting Leicester and Everton respectively, while a positive Man United travel to Molineux. Saudi state-backed surprise package Newcastle welcome Leeds and Chelsea visit Nottingham Forest, both of which are fixtures to target, in our opinion. When planning and tinkering, remember that gameweek 19 will be kicking off on January 2nd, just 24 hours after GW18’s last game, and both Chelsea and Fulham will be doubling that round as well.
Don’t forget, the deadline for gameweek 18 is set at 18h15 (UK time) on Friday December 30th, 2022 – the same deadline for FanTeam’s FPL game.
Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per December 29th, 2022)
|TRANSFERS OUT||TRANSFERS IN||POSSIBLE REASONS|
|GK||Ward (LEI), Pickford (EVE), Mendy (CHE)||Kepa (CHE), Pope (NEW), De Gea (MUN)|
|DEF||James (CHE), Dalot (MUN), Cancelo (MCI)||Cucurella (CHE), Shaw (MUN), Robertson (LIV)||James and Dalot injuries, Shaw fixtures, Robertson form|
|MID||Trossard (BRI), Maddison (LEI), Zaha (CRY)||Rashford (MUN), Almirón (NEW), Odegaard (ARS)||Rashford form, Almirón form, Maddison injury, Odegaard form|
|FOR||Jesus (ARS), Wilson (NEW), Darwin (LIV)||Mitrovic (FUL), Toney (BRE), Havertz (CHE)||Mitrovic form + upcoming DGW, Jesus injury|
No matter how good the other premium fantasy picks are, there’s really no way around it. Every week, both the pick and the reasoning are practically similar, with just the goal tally a little higher each time. After gameweek 18, Erling Haaland (£12.2m) now has 20 goals and 3 assists to his name after his first 14 Premier League games. He got a brace on Thursday at Elland Road for 13 FPL points, his sixth double-digit haul of the campaign (that’s 42% of the games he featured in, by the way), and is now preparing for a home game against Everton. The Toffees have kept just a single clean sheet on the road this season and we’d be incredibly surprised if the second one is booked on Saturday at the Etihad. Don’t complicate things and just go for Haaland, even a 30-minute cameo (Pep rotation is alive and kicking) is enough for the forward to get a return or two. You will find his name in our captaincy section at the end of this piece as well.
We’re making a bit of assumption here, but one of the main reasons for fantasy managers not picking Aleksandar Mitrovic (£6.9m) as one of their unlimited transfers in the build-up to GW17 was the injury doubts surrounding him. The Serbian made the first eleven though, and what followed was peak FPL: 1 goal, 2 assists and 3 bonus points for a total of 15 points, a gameweek best. Excellent news for those managers who did pick him, though many of them benched the striker, that way assuring his presence in their starting eleven for gameweek 18 when the Cottagers are hosting leaky Southampton. In any case, whether you brought Mitrovic in or not, his gameweek 17 performance and indeed his entire 2022-23 campaign until now makes him a stand-out pick for this weekend. The Saints have conceded 30 goals in 16 games so far and exactly half of those goals were conceded on the road. On top of that and Mitro’s killer form is Fulham’s double gameweek 19 in which they will be facing Leicester away and Chelsea at home.
The budget enabler
Even when Fulham are not looking at a favourable upcoming run of fixtures, their star players Aleksandar Mitrovic and Andreas Pereira (£4.6m) are providing incredible value this season. Now imagine the Cottagers have a good run of fixtures coming up, for example with home game against Southampton followed by a double gameweek? Well, that’s the case for Fulham as we’re heading into gameweek 18. And yes, it’s true that their double is far from ideal with a visit to Leicester and a home encounter with Chelsea, but at the same time, the only other doubling side is Chelsea and Fulham are looking decent this season. If they weren’t, would we really be including TWO Fulham assets in our FPL gameweek 18 preview? Andreas is the ultimate budget-enabler, a starter who is on set-pieces and has a proven record when it comes to attacking returns. The Belgium-born Brazilian currently sits on 2 goals and 5 assists for a total of 64 FPL points, which translates to just under 14 FPL points per million. Expect him to feature heavily in gameweek previews and pundit teams over the coming days.
Before gameweek 17, Mason Mount (£7.5m) had not provided an attacking return since his brace against Villa in GW11, which was preceded by a brace of assists against Wolves in GW10. Apart from those hauls, the England international got just a single assist, all the way back in gameweek 5. Not exactly a great indication of Fantasy Premier League potential, but the roughly 7% of managers who did take the risk with their GW17 squad were handsomely rewarded. Mount was one of the best players on the pitch against Bournemouth and rewarded a more than solid display with a goal, a clean sheet and 2 bonus points for a nice 10-point haul. What’s interesting is that now Chelsea have a visit to Nottingham Forest coming up followed by a double gameweek against Manchester City at home and Fulham away, and then a home game versus Crystal Palace in GW20. In other words, a perfect run for a fixed starter for Chelsea who might just have gotten back his taste for attacking returns. At his current ownership of 7.4%, Mount has differential value written all over him.
We already said it in the premium fantasy pick section, Erling Haaland is our captaincy pick for gameweek 17 as the Cityzens are preparing for a home game against Everton. We suggest you do the same, because sometimes choices are simply… simple.
If you’re not convinced yet by 20 goals and 3 assists in 14 games, fortunately gameweek 18 is offering some interesting alternatives. There is, of course, Kevin de Bruyne, Haaland’s creator-in-chief. Mo Salah might outscore both of them though, when Leicester visit Anfield tomorrow. The Egyptian dribbler is coming off a 12-pointer against Villa in GW17 and could very well repeat that feat against the Foxes. More differential options for the armband include Marcus Rashford away against Wolves, Aleksandar Mitrovic at home to Southampton, and Miguel Almíron at home to Leeds. Chelsea assets against Forest could be interesting as well, though there is still some doubt surrounding manager Graham Potter’s rotation policy when it comes to his attackers.
For more GW17 FPL transfer discussion this fiso forum thread is the place to go.