After two small double gameweeks in a row, gameweek 24 sees no teams doubling or blanking. Enjoy it while you can, because after this, the blank and/or double gameweeks are coming in thick and fast, and we don’t even know the whole schedule yet. Gameweek 25 has four teams blanking and four teams doubling, while four sides will double in gameweek 27. According to FPL scheduling expert Ben Crellin (@BenCrellin on Twitter), eight sides are then at least 65% likely of blanking in gameweek 28 and eight teams have a chance of 65% or more to double in gameweek 29. How about that?
Back to the gameweek at hand though, which offers a few very interesting fixtures from a fantasy perspective as well. On paper, Brentford (at home to Crystal Palace), Brighton (at home to Fulham), Chelsea (at home to Southampton), Manchester City (away to Nottingham Forest), Spurs (at home to West Ham) and Wolves (at home to Bournemouth) all have favourable matches coming up this weekend. In other words, we might just be up for a very varied, but high-scoring gameweek.
Don’t forget, the deadline for gameweek 24 is set at 11h00 (UK time) on Saturday, February 18th, 2023.
Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per February 16th, 2023)
|TRANSFERS OUT||TRANSFERS IN||POSSIBLE REASONS|
|GK||Pope (NEW), Ward (LEI), Henderson (NFO)||Raya (BRE), Kepa (CHE), Pope (NEW)|
|DEF||Cancelo (MCI), Schär (NEW), Saliba (ARS)||Shaw (MUN), Mee (BRE), Estupiñan (BRI)||Shaw haul in GW23, Mee form, Cancelo loan to Bayern|
|MID||Almiron (NEW), Martinelli (ARS), Odegaard (ARS)||Saka (ARS), Mahrez (MCI), Rashford (MUN)||Saka and Rashford form, Almiron injury doubt, Martinelli increased rotation risk|
|FOR||Mitrovic (FUL), Wilson (NEW), Nketiah (ARS)||Joao Felix (CHE), Toney (BRE), Kane (TOT)||Toney and Kane form, Mitrovic and Wilson fitness doubts|
For the away game against Nottingham Forest, we could select Erling Haaland once again as our go-to premium fantasy pick, but we’ve gone with his teammate Kevin de Bruyne (£12.4m) instead. The Belgian international had a bit of an anonymous run since the restart, returning just 2 assists since gameweek 17, but he got back to scoring ways in his double gameweek 23. The first of his two encounters resulted in a disappointing two-pointer versus Villa, but the big moment came Wednesday’s top-of-the-table clash at the Emirates. KDB was decisive with the opening goal and then provided the assist for Haaland’s goal in the 82nd minute. Despite this, his upcoming game at Forest and the fact City have a game (away at Bournemouth) in blank gameweek 25, over 70,000 FPL managers have already shipped the playmaker out. A decision, we believe, might prove costly in the short and medium term. City do though have a trip to Leipzig for their Champions League match on Wednesday next week to negotiate so Pep rotation is a greater risk than normal.
Gameweek 24 is offering us an abundance of very interesting non-premium fantasy picks and Ivan Toney (£7.8m) might just outscore them all. The Brentford striker has been on fire since the restart (and well before that as well, to be honest), scoring 4 goals and giving 1 assist in his last six games for a total of 37 FPL points. While it should be taken into account that the Bees are blanking in gameweek 25, that blank is surrounded by fixtures that could see Toney add to his current totals. This weekend it’s Crystal Palace at home, followed by Fulham at home in GW26 and then a double consisting of Everton and Southampton (both away) in GW27. Gameweek 28 then tsees Brentford host Leicester at the Brentford Community Stadium. Last season was Toney’s best season in terms of direct goal involvement, recording 12 goals and 5 assists, and he has already equalled that number of involvements this season. At a price of just £7.8m, his current 14 goals and 3 assists represent excellent value and the best part is that it looks very unlikely he’s stopping here.
The budget enabler
Talking about players having their best season ever, in terms of FPL returns at least, what about Solly March (£5.1m)? Back in the 2018-19 season, the Brighton wing-back/midfielder/winger recorded 94 FPL points, courtesy of 1 goal and 6 assists, which amounted to his best season up until the current campaign. After just 21 league games this season, he has already surpassed his previous by quite a bit. The 28-year-old currently sits on 5 goals and 6 assists plus 7 clean sheets, and a total of 103 FPL points. Only Kieran Trippier, David Raya and Miguel Almiron have provided better value than the Englishman. This weekend it’s Fulham at home for the Seagulls, followed by a blank, which is not ideal. If you manage to plan for this though, you will be able to benefit from one of the best post-blank-gameweek-25 fixture runs, as Brighton will face West Ham at home in gameweek 26, followed by a double gameweek against Leeds (away) and Palace (home). As a guaranteed starter in one of the most free-scoring sides of the moment, March is making a total mockery of his £5.1m price tag.
Kai Havertz (£7.7m) has definitely been one of the more frustrating fantasy assets to own so far this season, which probably explains why Chelsea’s starting forward is currently sitting in just over 4% of all FPL squads. If you’re looking for a differential and are not afraid to take a risk, the German could be an excellent differential fantasy pick for gameweek 24. The Blues are welcoming a struggling Southampton side to Stamford Bridge, though “struggling” is probably an understatement. The Saints have had a terrible season so far and are currently in last place with just 15 points from their first 22 league games. While only Everton, Wolves and Forest have scored less than Southampton, the fact that they have conceded 40 goals already is perhaps even more worrying. For Saints hearts that is, because Chelsea and Havertz could feast this weekend. They still have to find their real goal-scoring touch under manager Graham Potter, but Havertz has looked threatening of late and will be very motivated to improve on his current 5 goals and 1 assist against Soton. As a bonus, Chelsea have a fixture in blank gameweek 25 (away at Spurs, though) and then a run of mostly favourable fixtures up until GW31.
Haaland will probably dominate the GW24 captaincy discussion for his away game at Nottingham Forest in gameweek 24, and with good reason, but we see alternatives this weekend. As a matter of fact, our armband is going to Marcus Rashford this weekend for United’s home encounter with Leicester. The England youngster is in great form and has scored in each of his last four league games.
If you’re not convinced by the United forward and are not willing to take your chance at Man City’s Pep Roulette, we’d look at Ivan Toney at home to Crystal Palace or perhaps Harry Kane at home to West Ham. Our riskier considerations include Kai Havertz at home to Southampton and Dominic Calvert-Lewin at home to Leeds.