FPL Season 2019/2020 – Gameweek 35+ Preview

“It’s London Derby time at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium on Sunday!” (CC by 2.0). Image by Daniel

For the first time in a while, there is one complete day of rest between consecutive gameweeks. In the build-up to Saturday’s gameweek 35+, Friday’s Premier League-less day will be welcomed by more than a few clubs as several of them were starting to look tired and devoid of ideas. For FPL managers, it makes the prep for GW35+ a bit less hectic, especially for those still holding on to a chip or two.

This round is the reverse of gameweek 4, all the way back in August, and it’s offering a few interesting fixtures. Both Liverpool and Manchester United are playing lesser opposition at home, while the likes of Leicester and Man City play winnable games away from their homes. The clash of the week surely is the game between Spurs and Arsenal on Sunday, while a West Ham side fighting against relegation visit relegated Norwich in what could be an interesting fixture from a fantasy football point of view. Anyway, here are our fantasy picks for gameweek 35!

Finally, don’t forget that the deadline for gameweek 35+ is set at 11h30 (UK time) on Saturday, July 11th, 2020.

Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per July 10th, 2020)

 TRANSFERS OUTTRANSFERS INPOSSIBLE REASONS
GKPope (BUR), Henderson (SHE), Ryan (BRI)Schmeichel (LEI), Ederson (CIT), Pope (BUR)Ederson is City’s most certain starter + favourable fixtures, Schmeichel is showing excellent form.
DEFLundstram (SHE), Chilwell (LEI), Wan-Bissaka (UTD)Egan (SHE), Wan-Bissaka (UTD), Söyüncü (LEI)Defenders lacking regular playing time (or with injury) are being exchanged for in-form assets. Managers can’t make up their mind about AWB.
MIDCantwell (NOR), Traoré (WOL), Mané (LIV)Willian (CHE), Pulisic (CHE), Fernandes (MU)Cantwell injured & relegated, Traoré ongoing shoulder worries and the most-tranferred in assets are all in great form.
FORJimenez (WOL), Calvert-Lewin (EVE), Rashford (UTD)Greenwood (UTD), Vardy (LEI), Ings (SOU)Jimenez and DCL are not delivering lately, while the likes of Greenwood, Vardy and Ings are scoring goals.

Premium fantasy picks

We’re considering giving Kevin de Bruyne (£10.8m) a permanent spot in our weekly FPL article until the end of this season and, why not, for the entire next season as well. It’s just… he’s THAT good. That’s also why his current 52.5% ownership is no real surprise. Despite his very low differential value, the Belgian midfielder is still our first premium pick for gameweek 35+. He was on fire again in his last game as City thrashed Newcastle 5-0. With an assist on Mahrez’ goal, KDB brought his totals for the season to an incredible 11 goals and 21 assists, as well as 223 FPL points. (Incidentally Marhez signed for City 2 years ago today). Up next is an away game against Brighton, who have shipped 47 goals in 34 games and who won’t be looking forward to facing De Bruyne and the rest of the Cityzens.

Our second premium fantasy pick for GW35+ is the inevitable Jamie Vardy (now £9.8m after a price rise last night). With just 6 FPL points from his first three games after the coronabreak (no goals, no assists), the Leicester striker, like the rest of his team, had a sluggish restart. As it tends to be for strikers though, apparently all he needed was that first goal and it came late in gameweek 33+. That one was promptly followed by another goal and then another goal in GW34+. Like that, Vardy recorded 22 FPL points those who kept faith in his scoring abilities. The 31-year has a history of scoring in batches and upcoming opponents Bournemouth will know that as well. On top of that, the Englishman is unlikely to relax before the end of the season, seeing as his 3 goals in the last two games have kept him in the lead for the Golden Boot, which has put him two above Arsenal’s Aubameyang and three above Liverpool’s Salah. He’ll be hoping to extend that lead when they visit the seriously relegation-threatened Cherries on Sunday.

Non-premium fantasy picks

The final game of gameweek 35+ is played on Monday and it’s a nice one: Manchester United versus Danny Ings’ Southampton at Old Trafford. The Saints have been capable of causing a few upsets this season, but we still feel that they won’t be much of a match against a flying Man United side. That’s why this week, we’ve picked Anthony Martial (£8.3m) to represent our hopes for a nice haul. Man Utd won (yet again by 3 goals) last night against Aston Villa and whilst Martial didn’t score, since the return of football, the Frenchman has scored 4 goals and provided 2 assists, though it should be noted that none of those returns came in away games. The Seagulls have had a decent return to football with 7 points from five games, but they also conceded 7 goals over that run. In other words, the Red Devils will have their work cut out for them, but we feel the 19.8%-owned Martial could deliver here.

We also wanted to include a defensive pick in our selection for this weekend and it looks like James Justin (£4.7m) could be up for some FPL points. The young English right-back has taken the injured Ricardo Pereira’s spot in coach Brendan Rodgers’ starting lineup and he has been doing a good job there. Since GW30+, the first one after the break, he has been part of 2 clean sheets and this weekend’s game against Bournemouth could very well end up being his third. The Cherries have had a horrid return to football with no points and 12 goals conceded (and just 3 goals scored) in five games, and despite the threat of relegation having become very real now, we don’t see them forcing anything against an improving Leicester side.

A differential fantasy pick or two

Our first differential pick for GW35+ is an attacking Man City asset of less than £6.0m with a big chance of starting at the AmEx in Brighton on Saturday evening. That’s right and the player we’re talking about is the ridiculously talented Phil Foden (£5.4m), who has played 284 Premier League minutes since the return of football. In those 284 minutes, he racked up an amazing 38 FPL points, courtesy of 4 goals, 1 assist, 3 clean sheets and 4 bonus points. He played 60 minutes in gameweek 34+ at home to Newcastle and 30 minutes in the week prior to that, so we’re expecting/hoping for a start against Brighton this weekend. Despite his low price and obvious FPL potential, he is still owned by just 6% of managers, so getting him in for the final four games could be a wise move.

Finally, a repeat pick. We identified West Ham’s Michail Antonio (£6.9m) as a differential with potential for the home game against Burnley last week, so if you followed our suggestion, we appreciate it and we apologise for the lack of returns. Still, the midfielder-turned-striker was quite unlucky not to get at least an assist or to even get one past Pope himself. His right-footed curler against the post in the 40th minute was the closest he got. We know, West Ham are still West Ham, but the Hammers did string together decent attacking at times and Antonio was involved practically every time. On top of that, they should be fighting with all they’ve got as relegation is looming. And on top of THAT, West Ham are visiting Carrow Road to face Norwich this weekend. It’s a punt, but we think it could be a very good one.

The captaincy

After his brace against Brighton a few days ago, Mo Salah might well be the most captained player by the time we reach gameweek 35+’, though the benching and subsequent 30-minute cameo by Sadio Mané might lead to many managers going for the Senegalese winger instead. Still, we’re putting the armband on Kevin “Breaking the PL record for assists in a single season soon” de Bruyne’s right arm. An in-form City side is facing Brighton at the AmEx and even though the Seagulls are in good shape, there will be opportunities for the Belgian. There will  be for his team mates as well, but the problem is the high risk of rotation.

Outside of ‘Pool and City, Vardy facing Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium is not a bad way to go. If you prefer a home game for your captain, any of Greenwood, Fernandes, Martial or Rashford is a wise pick for the home game against Southampton. Finally, if you’re in need of a seriously differential captain haul, go for Antonio against a Norwich side whose relegation to the Championship was all but confirmed at the end of gameweek 34+.

According to the FISO Forum poll on the FPL Captain for GW35, Fernandes and Sala lead the way at the moment.

Finally if you like FPL but want to have a go at a weekly Fantasy Premier League type competition for large prizes then have a look at FanTeam’s Premier League 50k Main Event and see discussions on the FISO FanTeam forum. There are freerolls for new entrants organised by FanTeam who also have a 100k GW38 Premier League comp to finish the season and will have another massive season-long Premier League comp for 20/21. Read all about a fiso member who won 30,000 euros on FanTeam from just a 2 euro entry fee.

FPL Season 2019/2020 – Gameweek 34+ Preview

“Thanks to a brace in GW33+, Leicester’s Jamie Vardy now has 101 Premier League goals to his name for the club.” (CC by 2.0). Image by CFCUnofficial London

It’s just non-stop at the moment for FPL Managers. With the final encounter of gameweek 33+, Spurs vs Everton, played last night at 20h00 (UK time), there are just 22 hours between the end of that round and the start of the next. Palace and Chelsea are kicking off today, Tuesday, at 18h00 (UK time). Obviously, these extremely quick turnaround times are already having their effects the FPL, especially in regard to starting lineups, and they will continue to do so until the very end. How else can you explain Pep Guardiola benching De Bruyne out of nowhere last weekend, for example? OK, well, the notorious Spanish rotator maybe isn’t the best example, but you get our point.

Including the upcoming GW34+, there are now just five rounds of the 2019-20 Premier League campaign to go and there is still plenty to play for, especially regarding European qualification and the relegation battle. The encounter of the week is probably taking place this evening when Arsenal host Leicester, but there’s plenty of other interesting action on this gameweek. The likes of Chelsea, Manchester United and Chelsea, for example, will be hoping to confirm their European aspirations away from home against relatively favourable opposition, while 17th-placed Watford take on an all but relegated Norwich side. Like every week, we’ve made six fantasy picks plus a captaincy suggestion to help you navigate the very business end of the season.

Finally, don’t forget that the deadline for gameweek 34+ is set at 17h00 (UK time) on Tuesday, July 7th, 2020.

Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per July 6th, 2020)

 TRANSFERS OUTTRANSFERS INPOSSIBLE REASONS
GKDe Gea (UTD), Henderson (SHE), Schmeichel (LEI)Pope (BUR), Martinez (ARS), Ederson (CIT)Managers making room for a third outfield United player, going for Ederson’s status as a nailed-on starter at City, and Martinez as a starting budget-enabler.
DEFLundstram (SHE), Chilwell (LEI), Wan-Bissaka (UTD)Azpilicueta (CHE), Wan-Bissaka (UTD), Söyüncü (LEI)Injuries to Lundstram and Chilwell, good form from Azpilicueta and Wan-Bissaka
MIDCantwell (NOR) Grealish (AST), Traoré (WOL), Fernandes (UTD), Willian (CHE), Martial (UTD)Cantwell injury plus ack of returns/form/starts/favourable fixtures in change for a few of the most in-form midfielders.
FORJimenez (WOL), Calvert-Lewin (EVE), Rashford (UTD)Greenwood (UTD), Ings (SOU), Vardy (LEI)Similar to the possible reasons for movements in the midfielders segment, while Rashford etc to Greenwood represents budget-enabling value.

Premium fantasy picks

Even the best need a rest sometimes, is what Pep Guardiola must’ve thought when he benched Kevin de Bruyne (£10.8m) out of nowhere in GW33+. The Man City maestro had already been spared back in gameweek 30+, which was a double one for City, so his absence from the starting lineup against Southampton surprised more than a few managers. Not as many as the home team’s 1-0 victory, though. The Belgian midfielder should be back from the start for the upcoming home game against Newcastle and he’ll be looking to flush away the taste of surprise defeat at Saint Mary’s, the same stadium where Leicester booked a 0-9 victory earlier this season. With 11 goals and 20 assists, De Bruyne is essential to City and he will be on Wednesday as well.

Our second premium fantasy pick of the week is maybe a bit of a knee-jerk, but not completely either. Yes, both Leicester and Jamie Vardy (£9.7m) had a bit of a rusty beginning of Project Restart as it took four games to get their first victory, but some of their earlier form finally showed again in GW33+ as they beat Palace at home, 3-0. Main man in that game was Vardy, who scored a brace in the final fifteen minutes of the game to get a nice 13 FPL points for himself and the 26.4% of managers who own him. That brought his total tally for the season to 21, which places him at the top of the Golden Boot ranking, two goals ahead of Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. The relative knee-jerk aspect of this pick is the fact that the Foxes striker recorded just 6 FPL points from Project Restart’s first three games. Vardy is a proven goalscorer though (his goals against Palace were numbers 100 and 101 in the PL for him), and the Foxes boast one of the most talented squads in the division, so we feel the victory over Palace could work as a catalyst for them. Leicester are facing Arsenal and Bournemouth away in the next two, and you can be sure that there will be opportunities for Vardy.

Non-premium fantasy picks

Since the return of football a few weeks ago, Manchester United have been one of the most in-form teams in the Premier League. From four games, the Red Devils have taken 10 points, scoring 12 goals in the process and conceding 3 in the process. For perspective, two of those conceded goals came in the spectacular 5-2 home win over Bournemouth last weekend. The fantasy appeal of some of their assets has risen so fast in relatively little time that FPL managers have actually started wondering which combination of three United players is optimal for the final part of the season. With their upcoming fixture list looking good, the likes of De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Maguire, Pogba, Fernandes, Martial, Greenwood and Rashford all deserve consideration.

For our gameweek 34+ selection, we have gone with the unstoppable Bruno Fernandes (£8.9m) and the extremely talented Mason Greenwood (£4.6m) whose FPL price has just risen last night from £4.5m to £4.6m. The former has been nothing short of impressive with 3 goals, 2 assists, a clean sheet, 4 bonus points and a total of 30 FPL points over the past two gameweeks, while the latter is enjoying the longest consecutive run of starts at his still very young age. The fact that he brought home 3 goals, 1 assist and 6 bonus points for a total of 25 FPL points over that same period only makes the 18-year old’s latest performances stand out more. As if that weren’t enough, Greenwood’s price tag sits at an ultra bargain level of £4.6 million. At current prices, you can get the aforementioned starting Man United duo of Fernandes and Greenwood into your team for just £13.4m with Villa away and Southampton at Old Trafford up next.

A differential fantasy pick or two

Since their surprise 3-0 win over Liverpool back in gameweek 28, Watford have won just one single point, so our first differential pick of the week is not based on team form. Instead, we’re putting our money on the fixture, as Ismaila Sarr (£6.1m) and his team mates are taking on all-but-relegated Norwich City at Vicarage Road. Like the rest of the Hornets, Sarr’s last moment of glory came back in GW28 when he scored a brace and gave an assist against Liverpool. Since then, the speedy Senegalese winger has been a nailed-on piece of coach Nigel Pearson’s starting eleven, unfortunately reeling in just 10 FPL points from five games. It should be noted though, that with away games versus Palace, Chelsea and Burnley as well as a home game against Leicester, Watford’s run wasn’t very favourable for an attacking fantasy asset like Sarr. We’re hoping to see considerable improvement in this sense against the Canaries tomorrow, and hopefully in the home game against Newcastle and the away match versus West Ham after that as well.

The same does not go for Michail Antonio (£6.9m), in the sense that the West Ham striker does combine relatively favourable upcoming fixtures with good individual form and a team form with potential. It’s alarm phase red for the Hammers as they are fighting relegation, so the 3-2 home victory against London rivals Chelsea in GW32+ and the 2-2 draw at Saint James’ Park after that were more than welcome for them. In both those games, Michail Antonio, who plays as a striker but is listed as a midfielder by FPL, played a major role. After 2 goals, 1 assist and 2 bonus points for a total of 19 FPL points from those two games, the Englishman has found himself in a bit of a purple patch. Still, his current ownership sits at just 1%. With homes games against Burnley, Watford and Villa as well as a home game against Norwich coming up in the remaining five gameweeks of the season, West Ham’s Antonio could prove to be a major end-of-the-season differential.

The captaincy

Our captain for gameweek 34+ is Manchester City’s Kevin de Bruyne. The Belgian was benched on the way to City’s unexpected 1-0 defeat at the hands of Southampton and will be back in the starting lineup for the game against Newcastle for sure as the Cityzens will look to redeem themselves. Within the City roster, the likes of Sterling or even Gabriel Jesus could be decent alternatives, but we’re sticking with the 11-goal-20-assist midfield maestro for this one.

In case you’re not convinced, GW34+ does offer a few good alternatives. Manchester United are playing at Villa Park, which automatically brings Fernandes, Rashford, Martial and even Greenwood into the mix. Liverpool’s Salah, Mané or even Alexander-Arnold could have a field day at Brighton. Or what about putting your faith in Jamie Vardy’s refreshed goalscorer’s instinct against Arsenal after becoming a Premier League centurion for Leicester? Finally, for the more risk-resistant managers among us, handing the armband to Deeney or Sarr for their home encounter with obliging Norwich could be a huge differential.

Do also check out the FISO FPL Forum Poll on the GW34+ Captain.

Finally if you like FPL but want to have a go at a weekly Fantasy Premier League type competition for large prizes then have a look at FanTeam’s Premier League 50k Main Event and the FISO FanTeam forum. There are freerolls for new entrants organised by FanTeam. Read all about a fiso member who won 30,000 euros on FanTeam from just a 2 euro entry fee.

FPL Season 2019/2020 – Gameweek 33+ Preview

Citizens 3-1 Tigers
“This week, last season’s champions Man City are welcoming recently crowned champions Liverpool to the Etihad for the clash of the gameweek” (CC by 2.0). Image by Dom Fellowes.

At the time of writing this preview for gameweek 33+, which starts on Saturday, the final two games of gameweek 32+ are still to be played tonight, including the clash between Man City and Liverpool at the Etihad. Despite GW32+ being stretched out over six days, this still shows just how hectic the current Premier League schedule really is. The quick turn-around of games, plus the fitness consequences of the three-month break and the fact that more and more teams will have little left to play for as the season advances, further increases an already high risk of rotation for FPL managers. As a result, secure starters and an ample bench are rapidly growing in importance in the official game.

With Leicester, Man United, Wolves and Chelsea all given potentially favourable home games, and with Man City playing Southampton at Saint Mary’s, GW33+ has all the ingredients for a high-scoring round with multiple hauls causing plenty of green and red arrows all around. For those chasing in their mini-leagues, this means that it’s not too late yet. For those in the lead, it means it would be unwise start relaxing. Meanwhile, we have once again selected seven promising picks for your fantasy Premier League team.

Finally, don’t forget that the deadline for gameweek 33+ is set at 11h30 (UK time) on Saturday, July 4th, 2020.

Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per July 2nd, 2020)

 TRANSFERS OUTTRANSFERS INPOSSIBLE REASONS
GKLeno (Arsenal), Henderson (Sheffield), Schmeichel (Leicester)Pope (Burnley), Martinez (Arsenal), De Gea (Man United)Leno is injured while Henderson and Schmeichel have not delivered for a while. De Gea and Pope are good performers, whil Martinez is a cheap starter at Arsenal.
DEFLundstram (Sheffield), Kelly (Palace), Baldock (Sheffield)Wan-Bissaka (Man United), Doherty (Wolves), Saiss (Wolves)Sheffield United have a rough run of fixtures coming up and are not in great form, while Wolves and United boast two of the best defences in the league.
MIDGrealish (Villa), Maddison (Leicester), Traoré (Wolves)Fernandes (Man United), Martial (Man United), Pulisic (Chelsea)Non-delivering assets out, in-form United assets in, plus Pulisic has a good run coming of fixtures coming up.
FORVardy (Leicester), Aubameyang (Arsenal), Calvert-Lewin (Everton)Greenwood (Man United), Ings (Southampton), Rashford (Man United)Form plays a clear role in this trend, plus the appealing upcoming fixtures for United.

Premium fantasy picks

Even with Liverpool just becoming champions for the first time in 30 years and us not knowing the result yet of their game against City at the Etihad tonight, Mo Salah (£12.6m) has to be in your team or at least on top of your watchlist for next Sunday’s home game against Aston Villa. Especially when you consider the Egyptian forward is a prime candidate for this season’s Golden Boot. At the moment of writing, he sits on 17 goals, two less than leading scorer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and two more than team mate Sadio Mané. To the dismay of many an FPL manager, Salah missed the Merseyside Derby in gameweek 30+, but he made up for it with a goal and an assist against Palace a week later. Tonight’s game is definitely a challenging one for the Reds, but the Villa game should be a whole story. The Villans boast the division’s joint-worst defensive record (60 goals conceded in 32 games, like Norwich), while 2 goals and 2 points from four games since the return of football doesn’t indicate much form either. It’s true that they looked defensively more stable of late, but we’re still not betting against a Salah haul for this one.

We’re sticking to Liverpool for our second premium fantasy pick, as we feel Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.8m) could have a field day at Anfield on Sunday as well. Villa don’t just concede a lot of goals, they also score few goals themselves (36 goals in 32 games). At the same time, as part of the Liverpool backline this season, Alexander-Arnold has been part of 13 clean sheets. On top of that, he has 14 (!) assists and 3 goals to his name, as well as 21 bonus points. He is already more of a midfielder than a right-back at times and we expect him to get plenty of freedom on the right side against Villa, especially now that first-choice left-back Matt Targett is injured. We all know that freedom leads to opportunities and that’s what we’re hoping for with TAA, at both ends of the pitch.

Non-premium fantasy picks

Where Liverpool’s most popular fantasy players have been part of the premium category since match day 1, Manchester United’s assets have not. As a result of this and with the Red Devils quickly building up some serious end-of-season momentum, our two non-premium fantasy picks for gameweek 33+ belong to the red side of Manchester. They play a woeful and very relegation-threatened Bournemouth side on Saturday, and it’s just hard to not see them book a comfortable and possibly goal-laden victory there. The Cherries are currently nineteenth in the league and they haven’t won since Project Restart got underway. Equally worrying is the fact that they have scored just a single goal over that run, a 90th-minute consolation at 0-4 down against Newcastle in gameweek 32+. A trip to Old Trafford to face an in-form United side is about the last thing Eddie Howe’s men need right now.

That’s why we’re recommending Bruno Fernandes (£8.8m) and Aaron Wan-Bissaka (£5.4m) this round. The former has been nothing short of sensational since his arrival from Sporting Lisbon last January, hitting the English ground running with 5 goals and 3 assists from 8 games. The latter made a similar big-money move to Old Trafford, but half a year earlier, and he’s been a mainstay in the starting lineup since his first day as well. Both players are also coming into Saturday’s game in great form. With 2 goals and 15 FPL points, Fernandes delighted the 21.9% of managers who own him, while a clean sheet and an assist (his second since football returned) made it 6 clean sheets and an amazing 57 FPL points from the last eight games for Wan-Bissaka. We don’t expect Bournemouth in their actual form to be the side that brings the accelerating United train to a halt.

A differential fantasy pick or two

When talking about differentials in the post-coronabreak era, Christian Pulisic (£7.0m) should be around the top of every serious FPL manager’s scouting list. Due to injury trouble and fluctuating form (both on personal and club level), the young American has maybe not yet made the impact he would’ve wanted this season, but he did show his extraordinary qualities at times. Since the return of football though, he has been in sensational form for Chelsea and the 6.6% of FPL managers who own him. In his last three games, he’s been good for 2 goals and 2 assists (both of them against West Ham in gameweek 32+), and a decent 22 FPL points. Up next is a home game against struggling Watford for the Blues. The Hornets disappointed at home to Southampton on Sunday, but so did the Blues by losing 3-2 against relegation candidates West Ham. Offensively though, Chelsea impressed for periods of the game and Pulisic was the main danger man, winning both the free kick and the penalty that resulted in Willian’s goals. Let’s see if he can lead the way again at Stamford Bridge coming Saturday.

Our second differential fantasy of the week is Brighton striker Neal Maupay (£5.7m). Admittedly, we’re a bit of a fan of the French forward, but there’s more to this one. First of all, the Seagulls are visiting a leaky and almost-relegated Norwich side. Second of all, Brighton have had a more than decent return to Premier League action with a win over Arsenal in GW30+ (with a last-minute winner by Maupay), a draw against Leicester after that (where Maupay missed a penalty) and a loss against a confident Man United side last gameweek. And third of all, in a heavily-rotated side, Maupay is coach Graham Potter’s most-used forward. On top of that, among the Brighton faithful the rumour goes that Potter kept his striker on the bench for the first half against United in GW32+ to spare him for the upcoming game at Carrow Road. After all, a victory against the Canaries could all but confirm Brighton’s continued presence in the Premier League next season. The stakes are high for this and we feel Maupay could be an appealing differential pick.

The captaincy

As we wrote earlier, gameweek 33+ is offering us a few attractive fixtures and subsequently, more than a few promising captaincy candidates. What to think of Mo Salah and Sadio Mané against Aston Villa at home, for example? We’re going with the Egyptian this week, but as we all know way too well, it could very well be the Senegal international who hauls this time. Or one of Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford or Bruno Fernandes for United’s home clash with struggling Bournemouth?

For those in need of a bit more of a differential captain to try and make up ground in your mini-leagues, the likes of Chelsea’s Christian Pulisic and Tammy Abraham, or Man City’s Kevin de Bruyne against Southampton at Saint Mary’s are worth considering. As a matter of fact, even Neal Maupay against Norwich and Raul Jimenez at home to Arsenal could be gutsy, but very rewarding punts. Do also check out the FISO FPL Forum Poll on the GW33+ Captain.

Finally if you like FPL but want to have a go at a weekly Fantasy Premier League type competition for large prizes then have a look at FanTeam’s Premier League Main Event and the FISO FanTeam forum. There are freerolls for new entrants organised by FanTeam. Read all about a fiso member who won 30,000 euros on FanTeam from just a 2 euro entry fee.

Fantasy Premier League 2019-2020 3 gameweeks into Project Restart

Considering the unprecedented nature of the Premier League’s Project Restart and the impact it has had, not only on the competition itself but on FPL as well, we figured the nearing end of gameweek 32+ is a good moment to stop for a moment and look back at the first three gameweeks after the coronabreak. In order to do so, we identified three ongoing races in the league: for Champions League qualification, for Europa League qualification and to avoid relegation. We’ll take a brief look at each of these battles and how they should be taken into account when planning for the very business end of this crazy season.

Heads up: this piece was written before the start of the 4 matches on Wednesday, July 1st, 2020.

The race for the Champions League

It’s a special race this year, one because Liverpool have won the title six rounds before the end, and two because current 2nd placed Manchester City are running a real risk of being excluded from international European competitions after repeatedly treading on the Financial Fair Play rules and reportedly misleading European football’s governing body UEFA. In this scenario, fifth place equals Champions League qualification as well, while the 6th place will get a ticket for the Europa League. Man City have filed an appeal against their exclusion, but for this article, we will assume that the UEFA will finally manage to stick with a serious sentence for a “big club” this time.

With Liverpool crowned champions, the teams currently sitting in a CL spot are Leicester in third, Chelsea in fourth and Manchester United in fifth. Wolves are tied with United at 52 points, though, while Spurs and Burnley follow at some distance with 45 points each. Of course, the Premier League is the Premier League and anything can happen, but with six to seven games to go this campaign, it looks likely that the battle for the Champions League spots will be between the teams in the current top six.

One of the reasons for this is that the upcoming fixture schedules for Wolves and Man United are among the most favourable ones going forward. The former are facing just one club from the current top six (Chelsea in the final gameweek), while the latter’s only top-six opponent is Leicester in that same round. United’s calendar looks a bit easier on paper, but both teams boast FPL assets that could well last for the rest of the campaign. The likes of Raul Jimenez, Matt Doherty, Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire all possess the qualities and/or form to finish the season with a nice run, clad with FPL points.

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The battle for Europa League tickets

In a scenario where the UEFA manages to uphold Man City’s expulsion from European football, the sixth spot in the Premier League represents entry into next season’s Europa League. Wolves are currently occupying this spot, though they are on the same number of points (52) as Manchester United in fifth. The chasers are at some distance at the moment, with Spurs and Burnley on 45 points and Sheffield United behind them with 44 points.

Wolves and especially Man United look to be in good form and we don’t feel that they will be dropping many points over the coming weeks. This obviously doesn’t make it easier for the previously mentioned clubs just below them who are still eyeing a European ticket as well. From an FPL point of view though, this does not necessarily need to be a bad thing. That’s because, in theory, the longer teams have something to play for, the more reliable fantasy picks from their rosters are in terms of starting and motivation. If this ends up being applicable to this season as well, then Spurs, Burnley, and even Sheffield United could prove to be valuable sources of starting and performing fantasy picks.

Of those three outfits, newly-promoted Sheffield United have the hardest finish to the season. In combination with their underwhelming start to Project Restart, that makes us think that it’s probably wise to stay away from any Blades assets over the coming weeks. The same goes for Burnley players to a certain extent, as the Clarets are facing Sheffield United, Liverpool and Wolves over the next four. With Norwich away and Brighton at home, the very tail of their campaign looks a lot more appealing, though.

Of the chasers, Spurs probably boast the most interesting fantasy assets, in part thanks to their Project Restart schedule. Also, a public interest announcement: Don’t let a possible Arsenal sign of life against Norwich tonight (they are up 2-0 as we’re writing) fool you, they have been frustrating this season and their fixtures take a turn for the worse from next gameweek onwards. Back to Spurs: with Everton at home, Bournemouth away, Arsenal at home and Newcastle away in their next four games, Spurs offer us some interesting picks. While Harry Kane might be too much of a risk at the moment due to his price tag and the available alternatives, Heung-Min Son is an excellent midfield choice. The relatively affordable Serge Aurier could be as well, thanks to his drive forward. We recommend to watch the Sheffield United vs. Spurs game this Thursday to see how José Mourinho’s men show up against one of the most resilient sides in the Premier League.

The fight against relegation

It’s towards the bottom of the table where things are getting really tight. The relegation zone consists of the three last spots and currently, five teams are in the drop zone or located just a point outside of it. These are Norwich (21 points), Aston Villa (27 pts), Bournemouth (27 pts), West Ham (27 pts) and Watford (28 pts). Brighton sit on 33 points in fifteenth and definitely can’t switch off yet, while we consider fourteenth placed Southampton safe from relegation with 40 points after their 1-3 victory over Watford on Monday.

Out of these six teams, Norwich’s outlook is probably the grimmest. The Canaries look bound for a return to the Championship and we don’t recommend any of their players, unless you’re looking for a budget-enabler in the style of Todd Cantwell or are still hoping for a Teemu Pukki after-party. Having said that, things don’t look much better for Bournemouth and Villa either. The Cherries have had a horrid return to football and are 0-3 down at home against Newcastle at this very moment, while the Villans have returned in slightly better form. Still, like Bournemouth, Villa have a harsh schedule to deal with from now until the end of the 2019-20 campaign:

 GW33+GW34+GW35+GW36+
BournemouthMan United (a)Spurs (H)Leicester (H)Man City (a)
Aston VillaLiverpool (a)Man United (H)Crystal Palace (H)Everton (a)

Our verdict? If you REALLY want a Cherry or a Villain, Villa’s form and schedule look slightly better than Bournemouth’s, which kind of brings Grealish into the picture (but not really). Completely out of form and with a nightmare run of fixtures ahead, for the Cherries things aren’t looking great.

Brighton have Norwich at home coming up in GW33+, followed by home games against Man City and Liverpool. After that it’s Southampton, Burnley and Newcastle for the Seagulls, so apart from gameweeks 34+ and 35+, the likes of Ryan and Dunk could be decent defensive punts. Striker Neal Maupay is an interesting differential pick and very budget-friendly.

Out of all bottom teams, it’s Watford and West Ham who have the most appealing run of fixtures coming up, though.

 GW33+GW34+GW35+GW36+
WatfordChelsea (a)Norwich (H)Newcastle (H)West Ham (a)
West HamNewcastle (a)Burnley (H)Norwich (a)Watford (H)

Apart from Watford’s game in gameweek 33+, all of these fixtures are potential good sources of points for these teams. The ghost of relegation clearly looms over these teams, so some investment in them could be wise. Of course, they are not towards the bottom of the league after 32 rounds for nothing, but both the Hornets and the Hammers do have decent quality within their ranks. From GW34+, for example, Troy Deeney or Ismaila Sarr could be a good Watford punt, while Kiko Femenía could be perfect as a fourth or fifth defender. At West Ham, Fabianski is of proven quality, while the likes of Manuel Lanzini and Michael Antonio could be considered risky but very differential picks and with them in their team they could even upset Chelsea later tonight.

Overall though, when looking at the fight against relegation, we’d say Brighton boast a few options worth considering. It’s Watford though, thanks to a combination of favourable fixtures and them still being at a very real of relegation, where we believe the most interesting fantasy picks can be found for the upcoming weeks.

FPL Season 2019/2020 – Gameweek 32+ Preview

“Liverpool are the 2019-2020 Barclays Premier League champions!” (CC by 4.0). Image by Rodhullandemu.

So it’s finally happened! After clinching the 2018-19 Champions League title about a year ago, Liverpool FC have now conquered the English Premier League for the first time since the 1989-90 season. Not even a global epidemic could stop them. Winning with a record number of games remaining and also as late as 25th June which will be a difficult record for any other team to beat.

Congratulations Liverpool and Reds all around the world!

They did so with a resounding 4-0 victory over Crystal Palace, though it was Manchester City’s away loss versus Chelsea last night that sealed the deal. In a fantastic turn of fate, both teams are now facing each other in gameweek 32+ in what surely will be a very interesting match to watch.

Apart from that, the upcoming round offers several other fascinating match-ups as well. Chelsea, Man United, Arsenal and Wolves all have favourable fixtures, on paper at least, and Wednesday brings us Everton vs Leicester. And what about the high-stakes relegation battle? In any case, we’re at the business end of the season now, so let’s move to our fantasy picks for gameweek 32+.

Finally, don’t forget that the FPL deadline for gameweek 32+ is set at 11h30 (UK time) on Saturday, June, 27th, 2020.

Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per June 26th, 2020)

 TRANSFERS OUTTRANSFERS INPOSSIBLE REASONS
GKHenderson (SHE), Leno (ARS), Pope (BUR)Martinez (ARS), Schmeichel (LEI), Pope (BUR)Sheffield United’s upcoming fixtures in combination with cheap Martinez replacing the injured Leno.
DEFLundstram (SHE), Kelly (CRY), Baldock (SHE)Wan-Bissaka (UTD), Doherty (WOL), Aurier (TOT)Again Sheffield’s upcoming fixtures, combined with the form and fixtures of the transferred in defenders.
MIDGrealish (AST), Cantwell (NOR), Richarlison (EVE)Martial (UTD), Traoré (WOL), Pulisic (CHE)United, Wolves and Chelsea have interesting fixtures coming up, especially for Out Of Position players.
FORAguero (CIT), Vardy (LEI), Aubameyang (ARS)Rashford (UTD), Jimenez (WOL), Kane (TOT)Big name and expensive strikers are being transferred out, plus the injury of Aguero who’s just had knee surgery.

Premium fantasy picks

This week, we’re starting with a controversial pick as our first premium recommendation. Controversial, because we’re giving Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£11.0m) a final chance. Or better said, we’re giving Arsenal a final chance to prove that they are at least somewhat reliable in terms of fantasy football, because Aubameyang himself hasn’t done bad at all, so far. We currently find him in the thick of the Premier League Golden Boot battle, courtesy of his 17 goals, but he has been an extremely frustrating asset to own, not in the last place due to his hefty price tag. The Gabonese forward has underwhelmed after the forced football break with just 6 points from three games despite playing 90 minutes in all of them. Sounds like a great FPL recommendation, right? Well, to start his blank against the Saints is a bit misleading, seeing as he hit the bar once and was robbed off the ball once with a red card-worthy tackle as well. Plus, up next is a home game for the Gunners against a Norwich side bound for relegation. Only Aston Villa have conceded more than the Canaries’ 56 goals and Arsenal could REALLY use the points, hence Auba’s last chance (for real, this time).

Our second premium pick for gameweek 32+ is Wolverhampton’s Matt Doherty (£6.4m). The marauding Irishman is currently the fourth-most expensive defender in the game, behind the Liverpool trio of Alexander-Arnold, Robertson and Van Dijk, and also the fourth-highest-scoring defender in the official game, behind… you guessed it, that same Liverpool trio. In other words, in a parallel universe kind of way, take out Liverpool and Doherty becomes this season’s best performing defender in FPL. In the five gameweeks before the coronabreak, Doherty recorded an incredible 40 FPL points, courtesy of 4 clean sheets, 2 assists and 1 goal. In the two gameweeks after the break, he basically just continued to impress: 2 games played, 2 clean sheets, 1 assist, 3 bonus points and 18 FPL points. The Wolves right-wing-back is in great form and up next is a struggling Aston Villa side that has taken just 2 points from three games after the break, scoring just 2 goals over that period. At the same time, the Villains have already let in 59 goals this season, more than any other outfit in the league, so there might be returns at both ends of the pitch in this one for Doherty.

Non-premium fantasy picks

We’re just going to get it over with: yes, Raul Jimenez (£8.3m) is part of our gameweek fantasy selection once again. His consistency in terms of attacking returns puts him amongst the very best FPL has to offer this year, yet his price tag is still more than affordable. There has naturally been a lot of talk about the underpricing of Lundstram at the start of the season, but a player with the quality of Jimenez starting at a price of £7.5m probably falls into that same category. The Mexican scored the only and thus winning goal in GW31+ at home against Bournemouth for his 15th goal of the season, and he’s got 6 assists on top of that as well. For the upcoming game at Aston Villa, who have conceded more goals than any team in the division, we’re betting on him to delight his owners once again before parental duties have a ‘bearing’ on Jimenez.

Coming off a hattrick, and with Brighton, Bournemouth and Villa up next, it’s hard to ignore Anthony Martial (£8.1m) for this week’s fantasy picks. It’s been a bit of an on-and-off season for the Frenchman, in part due to injury troubles, but he was at his poaching best in GW31+ against Sheffield United. His three goals brought his season total to 14 and he could’ve easily added at least one assist to his current total of three as well. With the return of Paul Pogba to create a central midfield block with Bruno Fernandes, the Red Devils have gained in quality and even though it’s just been one game, it seems like Martial could be benefiting from it in a big way. Let’s see how they turn up when they visit Brighton on Tuesday.

A differential fantasy pick or two

One of the in-form post-coronabreak players is one who might’ve slipped under some FPL managers’ radars, possibly in part due to the fact that he got just 35 minutes of playing time in gameweek 30+. Still, Chelsea’s Christian Pulisic (£6.9m) scored a goal that week and he repeated that feat in GW31+ against Manchester City to make it two out of two. Over that same short period, he brought the 4.5% of managers who own him a decent 14 FPL points. It’s also interesting that Pulisic is used mostly as a winger by coach Frank Lampard, which provides the American international with some added out-of-position appeal. It should be kept in mind that Lampard is not afraid of a bit of rotation, though we’d be very surprised if he drops Pulisic from his starting eleven for the away game at Watford.

Our final pick for gameweek 32+ is Newcastle’s Jamaal Lascelles (£4.3m), who represents a starting player owned by just 6.1% of FPL managers and priced like a budget-enabler. The English defender started the season as a nailed-on part of coach Steve Bruce’s defensive set-up, but an injury in GW12 kept him sidelined for 10 rounds. He returned in GW23 and has recorded 32 FPL points since then, thanks to no less than 5 clean sheets. One of those clean sheets and six of those points are the result of his two games since the return of the Premier League and we feel the upcoming away game against Bournemouth could be an opportunity to build on those numbers. Only Norwich, Watford and Palace have scored less than the Cherries this season and they haven’t yet netted since football returned. Even though Newcastle are virtually safe from the drop while Bournemouth are still very much in danger, we think Newcastle can grind out another clean sheet here.

The captaincy

OK, so we’re doubling down on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang at home against Norwich. We know the risk, we know he’s been blanking since the return of football and we know that we don’t know what to think of Arsenal, but Auba is one of the best strikers in the Premier League facing one of the worst defences. His blanks look bad and his double gameweek 30+ was very disappointing, but as we wrote earlier, his blank against Southampton in the last round was harsh. It could’ve easily been a decent haul. It’s last chance saloon for Aubameyang this week, so he’d better deliver for the 24.9% of FPL managers who own him.

Not sure of Auba? We can understand and fortunately there are some other good options for the armband as well, starting with Raul Jimenez at the Vitality Stadium. He was our captain in GW31+ and rewarded us with 18 points. At Man United, Fernandes, Rashford and Martial are alternatives for their visit to Brighton, while Abraham and Pulisic look interesting away from home against West Ham. Finally, a punt on De Bruyne or Gabriel Jesus could be fun for their home game against Liverpool, just a few days after the Reds took their Premier League crown.

Finally if you like FPL but want to have a go at a weekly Fantasy Premier League type competition for large prizes then have a look at FanTeam’s Premier League Monster. FISO members could also win a free ‘Weekly Monster’ entry (worth 20 euros) via the FISO FanTeam forum. There are freerolls for new entrants if registered within the last 8 weeks. Read all about a fiso member who won 30,000 euros on FanTeam from just a 2 euro entry fee.

FPL Season 2019/2020 – Gameweek 31+ Preview

“Are Liverpool going to get a step closer to their long-awaited title at Anfield this gameweek?” (CC by 4.0). Image by Yurificacion.

A double gameweek, dramatic goals, surprising results, referee/VAR/goal line technology mistakes, red cards, FPL managers in tears, for good and for bad. Project Restart’s Premier League gameweek 30+ had it all. From Liverpool coming within one victory from Premier League glory and Man City comfortably winning the first of their DGW fixtures, to a trademark stable Wolves side and two utterly disappointing Arsenal displays in quick succession, the first round of English football since the coronabreak provided plenty of talking points, as well even more promise for the upcoming gameweek 31+.

Naturally, spotlights will be on Anfield as the local FC tries to clinch the title against Palace there on Wednesday night, but that’s not at all. What about Spurs v West Ham or Wolves v Bournemouth, for example, especially from a fantasy point of view? Or how about the top-four encounter between Chelsea and City at Stamford Bridge. In other words, plenty to look forward to in GW31+, so here we go!

Finally, don’t forget that the deadline for gameweek 31+ is set at 17h00 (UK time) on Tuesday, June, 23rd, 2020.

Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per June 22nd, 2020)

 TRANSFERS OUTTRANSFERS INPOSSIBLE REASONS
GKHenderson (Sheffield Utd), Leno (Arsenal), Ederson (Man City)Pope (Burnley), Patricio (Wolves), Martinez (Arsenal)Henderson is not eligible to play against Man United, Leno is injured and will be replaced by budget pick Martinez at Arsenal.
DEFLundstram (Sheffield Utd), Egan (Sheffield Utd), Pereira (Leicester)Doherty (Wolves), Aurier (Spurs), Lascelles (Newcastle)All incoming names have favourable fixtures coming up, while Lundstram was benched against Newcastle, Egan got a red card in that game and Pereira is injured.
MIDGrealish (Aston Villa), Cantwell (Norwich), Mahrez (Man City)Fernandes (Man United), Son (Spurs), Traoré (Wolves)The trends here look largely fixture-based. Grealish was in a lot of teams due to Villa’s DGW.
FORAubameyang (Arsenal), Aguero (Man City), Abraham (Chelsea)Rashford (Man United), Jimenez (Wolves), Ings (Southampton)Auba has disappointed in the DGW and Aguero is an expensive rotation risk, while the incoming names all have a favourable fixture for GW31+.

Premium fantasy picks

Our first premium fantasy pick for gameweek 31+ is Liverpool winger Sadio Mané (£12.5m) The Senegalese forward, like the rest of his team mates, struggled to break down an Everton wall on Sunday, which meant potentially postponing the championship celebrations. After the 0-0 draw against the Toffees, the next home game against Palace can be the title decider IF Man City lose versus Burnley at the Etihad. That’s naturally a big if, but we still feel Mané is a good pick for the match at Anfield. He’s got 14 goals and 9 assists to his name already, and for what it’s worth, he scored a goal and 9 FPL points in the reverse fixture back in gameweek 13. The Eagles boast an excellent defensive record (32 conceded goals in 30 games), but they are also the league’s second-least prolific side in front of goal with just 28 goals scored.

This is also a main reason behind our decision to pick Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.3m) as our second premium pick of the week. The Liverpool right-back is the official game’s most expensive defender, but with an incredible 179 FPL points also its highest-scoring defender. As a matter of fact, only four players currently sit on more points than the young Englishman. Thanks to a clean sheet, the Merseyside Derby in GW30+ resulted in 7 FPL points for him and TAA was on most attacking set-pieces, as usual. We can see Liverpool recording a second consecutive clean sheet after the coronabreak against Palace this Wednesday, with the booming right-back getting involved in a handful of attacking moves as well. He’s expensive, but he looks like certain value for GW31+.

Non-premium fantasy picks

Our first non-premium pick for GW31+ represents one of the best PPM (points per million) ratios in the game, courtesy of no less than 16 goals and 2 assists. At a price of just £7.1m and a sweet total of 151 FPL points at the time of writing, Southampton striker Danny Ings is without a doubt one of the bargains of the season. He didn’t take long to return to form as he scored and assisted in gameweek 30+ to record 11 FPL points against Norwich at Carrow Road. Ings’ season record makes him a very valuable budget enabler and he is facing Arsenal at Saint Mary’s coming Thursday. The Gunners were possibly the single-most disappointing team in gameweek 30+ and on top of that, they have to miss defensive assets Leno due to injury, Pablo Marí and Sokratis due to injury, and David Luiz due to suspension. Back in gameweek 13, the Saints drew 2-2 versus Arsenal in London with Ings scoring once, and we can definitely see him repeating that feat this week.

Our second non-premium fantasy pick of the week is a striker as well, namely Raul Jimenez (£8.1m). At his current price, he is very much a bargain, though a tad pricier than Danny Ings. The Mexican forward scored last gameweek for a decent 8 FPL points, very much in line with his season’s performances up until now: he has provided attacking returns in no less than 17 (!) different games this season, but he only recorded three double-digit hauls. He has nicely spread his 14 goals and 6 assists this season, and with Bournemouth visiting Molineux on Wednesday, we believe returns are on the cards for Jimenez. The Cherries lost without scoring at home to Palace in GW30+ and they have already conceded an ominous 49 goals this season, so Jimenez could be a smart pick.

A differential fantasy pick or two

Steven Bergwijn (£7.4m) is our first differential fantasy pick for the upcoming gameweek. The Dutch forward, who was brought in from PSV Eindhoven by coach José Mourinho’s during the last transfer window, has had a more than decent start to life in London, with 3 goals from his first 6 Premier League encounters. This helped him to record 33 FPL points already. What’s remarkable about his numbers is that all of his goals were scored in home games: his goals are spread evenly over the three home games Spurs have played since his arrival. This includes a strong opener against Man United in gameweek 30+, which resulted in an 11-point haul. His ownership sits at 1.4% at the time of writing, so Bergwijn could represent big differential value when West Ham, who have the league’s third-leakiest defence, roll up to the New Tottenham Hotspur stadium.

Our second differential pick for GW31+ boasts an even lower level of ownership (0.4%) than Bergwijn does. Leicester City’s starting right-back Ricardo Pereira will not play football any more this season due to injury and its young English defender James Justin (£4.7m) who has been chosen by coach Brendan Rodgers to replace him for the remainder of this campaign. The Foxes, with Justin starting, were unlucky not to come away with a clean sheet against Watford last weekend, but they can have another try at their eleventh clean sheet this round when Brighton roll up to the King Power. Just six sides in the PL have scored less than Brighton’s 34 goals and despite the Seagulls coming off a dramatic last-second victory over Arsenal in gameweek 30+, we’re predicting a Leicester win here, with a good chance of a clean sheet as well.

The captaincy

This week offers us several good captaincy options, including Sadio Mané at home against Palace for the potential championship decider and Harry Kane or Steven Bergwijn at home against a leaky West Ham, but we’ve gone with Raul Jimenez against Bournemouth at Molineux. As we wrote earlier, he has already delivered attacking returns in 17 different Premier League games and with the Hammers having conceded a worrying 52 goals this season, gameweek 31+ could well end up being the 18th game in which the Mexican delights his owners.

If you don’t have him in your side, don’t have enough budget to bring him in, or if you’re simply not convinced by his combination of good form and a favourable fixture, then GW31+ offers other decent candidates as well. We already mentioned Mané, Kane and Bergwijn, but what about Jamie Vardy at home against Brighton, for example? If you have to make up ground in your mini-league, then a differential pick like Calvert-Lewin against leaky Norwich at Carrow Road, Matt Ritchie at home against Aston Villa, or Villa’s Jack Grealish could result in high rewards, both in terms of points and green arrows.

Finally if you like FPL but want to have a go at a weekly Fantasy Premier League type competition for large prizes then have a look at FanTeam’s Premier League Monster. FISO members could also win a free ‘Weekly Monster’ entry (worth 20 euros) via the FISO FanTeam forum. There are freerolls for new entrants if registered within the last 8 weeks. Read all about a fiso member who won 30,000 euros on FanTeam from just a 2 euro entry fee.

FPL Season 2019/2020 – Gameweek 30+ Preview

“Crowdless stadiums instead of pitch invasions such as the one above (after Stoke promoted to the PL in 2008), but the Premier League is back!” (part of Public domain). Image by Chris Jackson.

The Premier League is BACK, FPL is BACK, and so are we! After just over three months, the Premier League’s Project Restart is upon us and it’s promising to make up for much of the last-minute goals, 59th-minute substitutes and surprise starting lineups we’ve had to miss due to the coronabreak. With no less than 92 remaining games planned to take place within a period of 40 days (June 17 to July 26), there’s going to more work than ever for all of us FPL managers.

There is more though, because this extraordinary situation in football resulted in an extraordinary reaction from FPL. In order to combat the effects of the coronabreak, every manager was given unlimited transfers in the build-up to gameweek 30+ (yes, the revised gameweeks kept their original numbering with a “+” added), something like a free wildcard. In order to help you set up a team and navigate the final nine gameweeks, we have changed the format of our weekly FPL preview this time, with premium, mid-price and budget picks per position.

Since the new fixture schedules were announced, FPL chip strategy has become a very current topic on the fiso FPL forum as well. The FPL announced that used chips would not be reactivated and unused chips would remain available until the end of the revised season. The most frequent differentiator between strategies is the presence (or absence) of the second wildcard, as well as the Free Hit. It looks like a majority of managers will be activating their Free Hit (if still unused) and their second wildcard (if still unused) some time between gameweeks 30+ and 31+, in different orders. On top of that, many managers and pundits seem to be advocating use of the Bench Boost this week (although will only 4 teams, and thus 12 players in an FPL team, playing twice in GW30+ you can only have a maximum of 1 player from the bench that plays twice). That’s why we have taken both the small double gameweek in GW30+ and the longer term into account when selecting our picks for this piece. Now, seeing as there is no time to lose, on to our selections.

Finally, don’t forget that the deadline for gameweek 30+ and the return of English football is set at 17h00 (UK time) tomorrow, Wednesday, June 17th 2020.

GOALKEEPERS

Premium: Ederson

Ederson (£6.0m) is currently the second-most expensive goalkeeper in the official game, but he only occupies the 15th spot when it comes to FPL points won by goalkeepers this season. So why would we recommend bringing him in for the Premier League restart? The City goalie has 9 clean sheets to his name, which is not bad, but what’s even more important is that he is a sure starter in a generally rotation-crazy City squad with a double gameweek with home games against Arsenal and Burnley on the way. The Cityzens have kept clean sheets in their last two home Premier League games against Burnley and have conceded just one goal in their last five games in all competitions against Arsenal. Sure, some might argue that by picking Ederson we’re actually forfeiting an outfield spot for a City asset, but considering the enormous uncertainty surrounding most of City’s players and their claim to a starting spot, going for the Brazilian goalie could be considered a wise decision.

Non-premium: Bernd Leno

For our second goalkeeper recommendation, we were going with Sheffield United’s Dean Henderson for a long time, but we eventually opted for Arsenal’s Bernd Leno (£5.0m). We know, right? A defensive Arsenal asset? In FPL reality, Henderson and Leno don’t differ all that much. Where the Blades goalie sits on 122 FPL points, courtesy of 10 clean sheets, 1 assist, 70 saves and 11 bonus points, the Gunners man has 108 FPL points, 7 clean sheets, 104 saves and 9 bonus points to his name. To put it very simply, this is a question of clean sheet potential versus save points, and seeing as Leno is £0.3m cheaper than Henderson, we decided to go with the German. On top of that, his immediate schedule looks a lot more favourable, with an away game at Southampton and a home game against Norwich on the agenda after double gameweek 30+ in which Arsenal face City and Brighton away from home in empty stadiums.

DEFENDERS

Premium: Trent Alexander-Arnold

By around 22h30 (UK time) on Wednesday, June 24th, Liverpool will have crowned themselves champions of the Premier League 2019-20, if all goes to plan. Jurgen Klopp’s plan, that is. In any case, it means that Liverpool are not there yet, so expect them to come out all guns blazing when the Premier League returns. The fact that the first game back is the Merseyside Derby at Goodison Park is just adding fuel to the fire. In terms of fantasy picks, this means that the Reds should be fielding their strongest starting eleven for at least two more games and Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.8m) is definitely part of that setup. How could he not be, with 11 clean sheets, 2 goals and 14 (!!) assists to his name? The absence of supporters will be felt by Everton, while we feel that it could not have come at a better time for their visiting rivals. With an empty Goodison Park up first, followed by a potential championship game versus Palace at Anfield, it looks mad not to include TAA in your team. Left-back Robertson and central defender Van Dijk provide considerably less expensive alternatives in the Reds backline.

Mid-price: George Baldock

Sheffield United have not only been John Lundstram’s team this season (although that’s one of the things they’ll be remembered for), but a team that has offered consistent defensive fantasy value throughout. Lundstram is, of course, still an option, but the arrival of Sander Berge has made him subject to more rotation, which is why we did not include him as our mid-price defence pick. Instead, we opted for his team mate on the right side of Sheffield’s back five, George Baldock (£5.1m). The Englishman has 10 clean sheets, 2 goals, 4 assists and a lovely 115 FPL points to his name, and in gameweek 30+ there are away games against Aston Villa and Newcastle on the calendar. In other words, more opportunities for clean sheets and maybe an attacking return. Those games are followed by United (away), Spurs (home) and Burnley (away), which are no easy match-ups by any stretch, but at least another clean sheet isn’t out of the question. In terms of the Sheffield United defence, you can also opt for left-back Enda Stevens, or slightly cheaper central defenders O’Connell, Egan or Basham.

Budget: Jean-Romain Saiss

The Wolverhampton Wanderers do not have a double gameweek in GW30+, but they do have one of the most favourable schedules on the short and medium-term. This week, the Wolves are visiting a troubled West Ham side before hosting Bournemouth in gameweek 31+ and rolling up to Villa Park the gameweek after. As far as Wolves defenders go, the most popular asset this season has been the tireless right-wing-back Matt Doherty, which is not surprising considering his 7 clean sheets, 4 goals and 5 assists. At £6.3m, he’s pretty pricey as well though, while the Wolves defence actually offers a lot of value elsewhere as well. In that light, and keeping budget limits in mind, we have selected central defender Jean-Romain Saiss (£4.6m) for GW30+. The Moroccan international is a nailed-on part of coach Nuno Espirito Santo’s starting eleven and a good way into the stable Wolves defence. On top of that, Saiss also has 2 goals and 2 assists to his name, and he sits in the top ten for shots in the box among defenders this season. He tends to be very active when it comes to attacking set-pieces, so keep your eyes open when Moutinho is preparing yet another corner or free-kick.

MIDFIELDERS

Premium: Mo Salah

Liverpool do not have a double gameweek, so this pick might be considered a bit controversial by some, but one of the world’s best forwards getting really close to the league title and being in the midst of a Golden Boot chase isn’t something to be ignored either. After 32 goals in 2017/18 and 22 goals in 2018/19, Mo Salah (£12.7m) currently sits on 16 goals (and 6 assists) for the 2019/20 campaign with nine games to go. The Egyptian star is trailing Arsenal’s Aubameyang by one goal and ranking leader Vardy by three goals. In other words, Mo is still in the race and winning that race might just help him win Liverpool’s first league title since the 1989-90 season, or vice versa, however you want to look at it. This also makes it likely that he will remain on penalty duty, especially after the title has been won. The Reds are going to want to hit the ground running against Everton at Goodison in order to host Palace at Anfield for the potential Premier League decider a week later and if they do, it’s hard to imagine Salah not being at the centre of it.

Mid-price: Jack Grealish

Aston Villa are one of the four teams with a double gameweek this round and probably the team with the least appeal in spite of that. A major reason for that sentiment is their schedule: two home games, first against Sheffield United and then against Chelsea, especially now that the absence of crowds in other leagues is already pointing to diminished home team advantages and away team disadvantages. For a struggling team like Villa that seemed to be counting on their fans (17 of their 25 points were won at home), that doesn’t bode well. Despite all the gloom though, Jack Grealish (£6.4m) has been one of Villa’s rays of light upon their return to the English footballing elite. The offensive midfielder already has 7 goals and 7 assists to this name this season, which represents a direct involvement in over 41% of his side’s goals. Most attacking moves pass through him and he is on most set-pieces for the Villans, which helps explain his appeal. Grealish is Villa’s talisman and main hope to avoid relegation, so his minutes are guaranteed and an attacking return is more than possible, if not in the upcoming gameweek then against Newcastle in gameweek 31+.

Budget: John Fleck

As we mentioned before, Sheffield United have been a fantastic source of FPL value this season, but mainly in defence. The Blades boast the best defence in the Premier League after run-away leaders Liverpool, but further up the pitch, the fantasy potential quickly diminishes. We do feel that for the budget midfield category, central midfielder John Fleck (£5.0m) is more than worth a mention, especially for those budget-conscious (or budget-restricted) FPL managers out there. The affordable Scotsman is an ever-present face in Dean Smith’s starting lineup, with the only three games he has missed this season being the result of suspension or minor injury. While his central midfield partner Oliver Norwood is in charge of most set-pieces (and therefore a reasonable alternative to picking Fleck), Fleck is the one with more creative freedom and forward drive during games. This also explains his 94 FPL points (5 goals, 2 assists, 8 clean sheets) in comparison to Norwood’s 1 goal, 2 assists and 77 FPL points. With away games against Villa and Newcastle coming up in double gameweek 30+, Sheffield United’s Scottish midfield maestro might just be the budget-enabler with potential your team needs.

FORWARDS

Premium: Aguero

Despite not recording any attacking return from the last four games before the coronabreak, Man City’s Sergio Aguero (£11.8m) is the first man most FPL managers look at when a double gameweek is around the corner. The explosive Argentinian’s minutes have been managed more than ever before this season, with him completing the 90 Premier League on just nine occasions, but that hasn’t stopped him from netting 16 times and providing 4 assists. City are one of the four teams with a double gameweek this round and after three months without football, we don’t see why Kun would not start both games (against Arsenal and Burnley, both at home). It’s true that with Gabriel Jesus, coach Pep Guardiola has a world-class alternative waiting in the wings who can both replace and complement Aguero, but we expect the Argentinian to start the Arsenal game on top. For the Clarets game next Monday, he might well be partnered with Jesus, but in any case, we’re seeing plenty of minutes for Kun in gameweek 30+.

Mid-price: Rashford

Manchester United are restarting their 2019/20 Premier League campaign with an away game against the man who left them not so long ago, and not on the bestest of terms either, namely José Mourinho’s Spurs. As the Red Devils have shown on more than one occasion this season though, they can play their favourite kind of game in matches where the opponent takes the initiative as Spurs will be expected to do on Friday. That, plus the return to fitness of Paul Pogba and basically any other player that was populating the crowded United infirmary pre-corona, made us decide to go with Marcus Rashford (£8.8m). In an up-and-down season for United, the talented Englishman still managed to score 14 goals and provide 5 assists to reach a current total of 134 FPL points. Only four other forwards have returned more points so far. Thanks to United’s relatively favourable revised schedule, that might be changing soon, though. With home games against Bournemouth, Southampton and West Ham, and away games at Brighton, Villa, and Palace still to go as part of the remaining nine games, few teams have a more enticing schedule than the Red Devils and few forwards will be facing more porous defences than Rashford.

Budget: Diogo Jota

As we wrote earlier in this, Wolves might not have a double gameweek coming up, but they do have a fixture calendar with potential waiting for them. The undeniable star of the Wolves is obviously striker Raul Jimenez, who at £8.1m still represents great value, but we have gone with his team mate Diogo Jota (£6.4m) in attack instead, as our budget forward pick. The Portuguese forward was actually one of the form players before the coronabreak, with 2 goals and an assist against Norwich in GW27 and a goal and an assist versus Spurs a week later. Those returns were more than welcome though, as Jota had just 3 goals and a single assist to his name prior to those games. Next up are some of the league’s most obliging defences though, with GW30+ opponent West Ham having conceded 50 goals so far, GW31+ opponent Bournemouth conceding 47 and GW32+ opponent Villa conceding 56. We’re expecting Jota to remain in the starting lineup for the remainder of the season, which should lead to further improvement of his current tallies.

Not sure who to Captain in GW30+? The FISO Forum Captain poll for GW30+ shows Aguero & KDB out front with most votes, followed by Aubamayeng and Sterling. Not suprisingly all players have a DGW.

Finally if you like FPL but want to have a go at a weekly Fantasy Premier League type competition for large prizes then have a look at FanTeam’s 100,000 euro Premeir League Monster. FISO members could also win a free ‘Weekly Monster’ entry (worth 20 euros) via the FISO FanTeam forum. There are freerolls for new entrants if registered within the last 8 weeks. Read all about a fiso member who won 30,000 euros on FanTeam from just a 2 euro entry fee.

Fantasy Premier League 2019-2020 – THEY’RE BACK!

They’re back! It’s back! It’s ON! After agreeing on a return to training under special conditions from May 28 onwards, a few days ago all Premier League clubs agreed unanimously on a full return for the Premier League (and therefore FPL!) action on June 17th, 2020. It has taken mass testing, surprise inspections, GPS tracking, pages of new health and game protocols and much more, but it looks like Project Restart is going to achieve this football season’s biggest over-riding objective: to finish the season competitively.

In the build-up to Manchester City versus Arsenal and Aston Villa against Sheffield United, we will be releasing a few articles to inform you of the latest Premier League developments and their influence on the world of FPL. In this piece we’ll take a look at the recently released adjusted fixture calendar and the potential (hidden) opportunities it presents for FPL managers.

We have also received a few questions about the chips in FPL (these aren’t the same type of chips you’d find at australian slots though!) and what happens to them once the season restarts. To quote the official Premier League website (find full press release here) it says that  “any chips you retain at present (i.e. Triple Captain, Bench Boost, Free Hit and/or Wildcard) would remain available for you, in accordance with the Game Rules” for the reorganised upcoming gameweeks. For those FPL managers who have some or even all of their chips still intact, that’s excellent news, because the revised schedules will undoubtedly require some skills to play around with just like those enjoying Mr Bet casino online for entertainment.

The Premier League has already published the schedule for the first three rounds of games, with 32 games being played on 14 different days inside a period of just 16 days between June 17th and July 2nd. As a matter of fact, only June 18th and June 26th will be football-less during that period, which provides the perfect opportunity for us FPL managers to maybe catch a ray of sunlight and check if the kids still remember our names. It’s nice to see that FPL cares about our physical and social health as well.

All kidding aside, we are providing a full overview of the revised fixture calendar as published by the official Premier League website here. Next, we will take a brief look at a few of the parameters you should keep in mind when preparing for the first gameweek 39 (and beyond) in PL history, starting with those two key stats: fixture and form. First though, a quick public service announcement in regard to the upcoming gameweek 30+, as published by FPL at the moment of writing this piece.

THE RESTART

All FPL managers can make unlimited transfers up until the GW30+ deadline, which is set at Wednesday June 17th at 17h30 (UK time). We figured we’d start with that, as this means we have all just gotten a free extra wildcard, even those managers who had no wildcards left by the end of gameweek 29. Oh and also, gameweek 30+ is going to be a double gameweek. Finally, all of your unused chips remain intact and no player prices will be taking place until after the GW30+ deadline. For more information, do read this official FPL statement. You may have noticed the remaining gameweeks now have a + after their number, so for example GW30 is now called GW30+.

FIXTURES

For the moment, it looks like the order of games for each team has been maintained for the revised playing schedule. Not taking into account several factors that have inevitably been influenced by the corona-crisis, like form, this is pretty good news for FPL managers, especially those who always try to plan a few weeks in advance. In any case, with the free extra wildcard active for GW30+, it’s interesting for any manager to have at least a good idea of which teams have a favourable set of fixtures coming up and which don’t. Keep in mind though, that all teams have been out of action for about three months and that they will be playing in empty stadiums (possibly even on neutral ground sometimes). The Bundesliga, for example, has already shown a seriously decreasing “empty stadium” effect on home team advantage and away team disadvantage. After the first two weeks of German football after the corona-break, just 21% of all home games had been won, in comparison to the season’s 41% average before the break. Also bear in mind that due to the number of fixtures played over a relatively short period of time, fitness will be an issue and the EPL have agreed to increasing the number of subs used from 3 to 5 during a game to reduce the chance of injuries due to tiredeness.

More favourable (GW30+ to GW32+)

  • Wolves: West Ham (away), Bournemouth (home), Villa (away), Arsenal (home).
  • Arsenal: City + Brighton (both away), Southampton (home), Norwich (away), Wolves (away).
  • Newcastle: Sheffield Utd (home), Villa (home), Bournemouth (away), West Ham (home).
  • Leicester: Watford (away), Brighton (home), Everton (away), Palace (home).

Less favourable (GW30+ to GW32+)

  • West Ham: Wolves (home), Spurs (away), Chelsea (home), Newcastle (away).
  • Brighton: Arsenal (home), Leicester (away), Man United (home), Norwich (away).
  • Everton: Liverpool (home), Norwich (away), Leicester (home), Spurs (away).
  • City: Arsenal + Burnley (both home), Chelsea (away), Liverpool (home), Southampton (away)

FORM

Both team and player form are largely unknowns until we have seen at least the first round of post-corona games. That’s mainly because the teams not only did not play an official match in about three months, but also because of the relatively unusual preparation for a return to football, training-wise at least. Still, and especially with a free extra wild card available, we figured it would be interesting to see which FPL assets were on fire just before football’s suspension. In order to keep it relatively “ current”, we have looked at just gameweeks 27, 28 and 29; the three last rounds before the break.

PLAYERPOSITION in FPLTEAMFORM
Diogo JotaForwardWolves3 goals, 1 assist, 30 pts
Bruno FernandesMidfieldMan United2 goals, 1 assist, 30 pts
Marcos AlonsoDefenderChelsea3 goals, 30 pts
Pablo FornalsMidfieldWest Ham1 goal, 2 assists, 16 pts
Ismaila SarrMidfieldWatford2 goals, 1 assist, 22 pts
Harvey BarnesMidfieldLeicester2 goals, 1 assist, 22 pts
Jordan AyewForwardCrystal Palace2 goals, 1 assist, 18 pts
Dominic Calvert-LewinForwardEverton2 goals, 15 pts

Catch up with the latest discussions on what to do about with your unlimited transfers for the DGW 30+ on this fiso forum FPL topic.

FPL Season 2019/2020 – Gameweek 30 Preview

“Are Steve Bruce’s men grinding out another valuable win in gameweek 30, this time at home to Palace?” (CC by 4.0). Image by Tukka.

Note: These fixtures were subsequently postponed – GW30 is now a completely blank gameweek. We assume if the EPL does restart then they will take place in a new FPL GW39 at the end. Similarly the now blank GW31 could become a new GW40.

Rarely will a double gameweek (DGW), though a small one, have been more underwhelming for FISO’s FPL Forum members than gameweek 29 has been. With Arsenal and especially Manchester City preparing themselves for a double piece of action, more and more FPL managers started talking more and more about hauls, triple captains and even Free Hits as the deadline came closer. The results? A 1-0 Arsenal victory over West Ham, City lost 2-0 to United, and Wednesday evening’s Man City vs Arsenal clash postponed due to coronavirus-related public health worries. In other words, no DGW after all. Fortunately for the gameweek average, Sunday saw Chelsea, United and Leicester book impressive victories.

What stands out this weekend is the fact that only one team from the current top seven has a home game. At the same time, Man City’s encounter with Burnley at the Etihad is also the only fixture this weekend that we would call favourable on paper. As a matter of fact, out of the current top twelve, only three teams (City, Spurs and Everton) have a home game in gameweek 30. This, of course, doesn’t necessarily need to mean anything, but it does increase the chances of a surprising weekend. What we’re saying is, gameweek 30 might be another fruitful outing for the differentials. You do though need to keep an ear out for the latest Coronavirus news – for example Arsenal’s match v Brighton has now been postponed. The entire fixture list for this weekend (and more) could be postponed.

Finally, don’t forget that the deadline for gameweek 30 is set at 11h30 (UK time) on Saturday, March, 14th, 2020.

How did our fantasy picks for the previous gameweek fare?

PICK PLAYER OPPONENT POINTS
Premium Kevin de Bruyne UTD (a) + ARS (H) 0 (injury + cancel)
Premium P-E Aubameyang West Ham (H) 2
Non-premium Raul Jimenez Brighton (H) 2
Non-premium John Fleck Norwich (H) 3
Differential Diogo Jota Brighton (H) 2
Differential Matt Doherty Brighton (H) 6
Captain Kevin de Bruyne UTD (a) + ARS (H) 0 (injury + cancel)

Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per March 12th, 2020)

  TRANSFERS OUT TRANSFERS IN POSSIBLE REASONS
GK Alisson (LIV), Ryan (BRI), Dubravka (NEW) Pope (BUR), Henderson (SHE), Patricio (WOL) Injuries to Alisson and Dubravka, good form of Pope and Patricio
DEF Robertson (LIV), Chilwell (LEI), Kelly (CRY) Doherty (WOL), Lundstram (SHE), Alonso (CHE) Chilwell has an injury doubt and Kelly is benched, Doherty and Alonso have been in good form lately.
MID De Bruyne (CIT), Bergwijn (TOT), Grealish (AST) Fernandes (UTD), Martial (UTD), Mané (LIV) Injury doubt surrounding KdB, injury to Bergwijn, Man United’s and especially Bruno’s form right now.
FOR Ings (SOU), Abraham (CHE), Firmino (LIV) Vardy (LEI), Jimenez (WOL), Jota (WOL) Good form and a game in GW31 make Wolves players / strikers some of the most appealing transfer targets, and Vardy is back amongst the goals.

Premium fantasy picks

As we wrote in our introduction to this piece that Man City is actually the only team with a clear-cut favourable fixture this weekend, it makes sense for our first premium pick to be a Cityzen. And as you might know already, when we talk about picking City assets, we talk about Kevin de Bruyne (£10.6m). The fixture-proof midfielder missed the Manchester derby last weekend due to injury, but the Manchester Evening News has reported that Guardiola’s men played an 11-a-side training game instead in which the Belgian participated as usual. We expect him to be back for the home game against the Clarets and we hope that he will mark his return with a nice haul. De Bruyne has scored 8 goals and provided no less than 18 assists so far this season, and he will get chances to improve on those tallies. Burnley are a solid side, but expect KdB to be one of the top captaincy choices this weekend.

Our second premium fantasy pick of the week was goin to be Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£11.1m) before the Arsenal match was called-off. The Gabonese striker disappointed with just 2 FPL points in GW29, partly due to him failing to score in the 1-0 victory over West Ham and partly due to his second game of the gameweek being cancelled. In other words, it wasn’t all his fault. His replacement in our picks for this weekend is Man United’s Fernandes (£8.5m) who can just do no wrong since United splashed the cash on him and whose ownership is now up to 16%.

Non-premium fantasy picks

Our first non-premium fantasy pick for gameweek 30 is a frequent guest in this article, namely Wolves striker Raul Jimenez (£8.0m). The Mexican forward is currently in a productive patch that combines good form with kind fixtures and to make his case even more appealing, Wolves is one of the eight teams with a fixture in blank gameweek 31. His blank at home to Brighton last weekend was a bit disappointing, to be honest, but our faith in him hasn’t wavered. This Sunday, Wolves are visiting West Ham, who are coming off a narrow 1-0 away defeat to Arsenal. The Hammers have been incredibly inconsistent this season and their current situation sees them above the relegation zone only on the basis of goal difference. As far as home games go, they have conceded 26 goals in 14 games, and 6 of those came in the last three games against Southampton (1), Brighton (3) and Liverpool (2). Jimenez, on the other hand, has no problems with playing away from home: out of his current 13 goals and 6 assists, 7 goals and 3 assists were recorded during away games.

Our second non-premium fantasy pick is a defender who we chose based mainly on two factors: the improving form of his team and the seemingly rapidly approaching implosion of this weekend’s opponents. Aaron Wan-Bissaka (£5.4m) has not been particularly impressive in an attacking sense this season (0 goals, 2 assists), but he does have 7 clean sheets and 12 bonus points to his name. Four of those clean sheets came in the last five games, a run over which he recorded a more than decent total of 34 FPL points. Next up is a seriously toothless Spurs side who are missing, amongst other names, Harry Kane, Heung-Min Son and new boy Steven Bergwijn. On Tuesday, José Mourinho’s side lost 3-0 to RB Leipzig in the Champions League, so the Spurs won’t be brimming with confidence on Sunday. We’re counting on a clean sheet for AWB, and maybe a few points on top of that.

A differential fantasy pick or two

We’re repeating last week’s first differential fantasy pick, because a big reason for recommending Diogo Jota (£6.4m) was the kind run of fixtures Wolves find themselves in at the moment. Seeing as that run is still in full swing with West Ham away up next, followed by Bournemouth home (in BGW31, mind you) and Aston Villa away, the Portuguese forward is still a good shout. Gameweeks 27 and 28 were incredible for Jota, as he recorded just over 55% of all of his returns this season in those two games: 3 goals and 2 assists, good for 28 FPL points. That should serve as a moderate word of caution for FPL managers, but his price tag, his current ownership (9.4%), and Wolves’ form and fixtures make him one of the better differential picks out there for gameweek 30.

Our second differential pick and final pick for this weekend is also our riskiest, in the sense that before between gameweeks 3 and 26, Pedro (£6.8m) had played just 130 minutes of Premier League football. He started with two full games in gameweeks 1 and 2, but then lost his starting spot. At the moment though, Chelsea is going through a bit of an injury crisis, particularly in midfield, and Pedro took his chance. He was part of the starting eleven four out of five last PL outings, and he got a goal and 2 assists from his last two games. Chelsea’s next game is at Villa Park, home of the league’s worst defence overall. Saturday’s home team has already conceded 56 goals in 29 games and 24 of those goals were conceded in 13 games in front of their own fans. Things are looking bleak for the Villans and we can see a repeat here of Chelsea’s impressive 4-0 victory last weekend over Everton.

For further GW30 transfer ideas look at this fiso FPL forum topic.

The captaincy

As usual, when we recommend Kevin de Bruyne as a premium pick, we also give him the armband. The Belgian is just one of the most fixture-proof players in the Premier League at the moment, simply because he is one of the very best players out there. He missed last weekend’s encounter with United due to injury and yesterday’s game against Arsenal was postponed, so the expectation is that KdB will turn up fresh as a daisy against Burnley at the Etihad on Saturday afternoon. Aguero is another good pick for the armband, but we eventually discarded him due to the rotation risk.

In case you don’t feel like captaining De Bruyne or one of City’s other big guns, we would look at either Wolves or Chelsea assets as alternatives. Mr. Consistency Raul Jimenez is a good shout away at West Ham, while captaining Giroud could be a cheeky and very differential punt. The same would go for Pedro or Willian, who look like they will be starting against the Hammers. Callum Wilson (home against Palace) or Danny Ings (away to Norwich) would fit into that category as well, to a certain extent (though Ings is currently owned by 29.7% of FPL managers).

Finally if you like FPL but want to have a go at a weekly Fantasy Premier League type competition for prizes then have a look at FanTeam’s 50,000 euro Weekly Monster. FISO members could win free ‘Weekly Monster’ entries (worth 20 euros) via the FISO FanTeam forum. There are freerolls for new entrants if registered within the last 8 weeks. Read all about a fiso member who won 30,000 euros on FanTeam from just a 2 euro entry fee. FanTeam have also just launched a 500,000 euro Fantasy Premier League game.

Fantasy Premier League 2019-2020 – Chip strategy from GW29 onwards

Since last weekend, when gameweek 28 blessed us with the lowest-scoring round by some difference, chip season is widely considered to be open in FPL. What do people mean when they talk about chip season though, and why is it becoming a hot topic now?

The chips this season are the Bench Boost, the Triple Captain, the Free Hit and two Wildcards (one for each half of the season) and many managers use one or more of these transfers not just to increase their weekly score, but to navigate the so-called blank (BGW) and double gameweeks (DGW). We have had a few minor ones already this campaign, like GW28 in which Aston Villa, Manchester City, Arsenal and Sheffield United ‘blanked’. The major ones are upon us now though, which traditionally sees an increase in chip usage all over. This is why some people are referring to this part of the season as ‘chip season’. How you use your chips can have a great bearing on your final team position and this article provide tips and analysis to help your strategy just like bettingtips4you has betting tips and predictions if you are serious about betting on football or other sports. Premier League football attracts a lot of followers utlising betting or fantasy games to become more involved in the action.

This FPL gameweek, for example, is a double one for Man City and Arsenal, gameweek 30 is regular round, and GW31 is possibly the biggest blank gameweek of the season. Due to different calendar clashes, only four Premier League games will be played in Gameweek 31. This was expected for some months already, which is why planning to use the Free Hit chip in that weekend, followed by the second Wildcard a few weeks later, became a popular strategy. The “problem” now is that PL club performances in the FA Cup have resulted in a possibly very complex combination of single gameweeks for some clubs and double or blank gameweeks for some other clubs between gameweeks 33 and 37. In this article, we’ll take a brief look at this strategy and at an alternative approach, as well. For more information on the Premier League calendar, FPL gameweeks and chip strategies, we sincerely recommend Ben Crellin’s Twitter account (@BenCrellin) and FISO’s FPL Forum where there is a forum topic on FPL chip strategy.

Overview of double/blank gameweeks (may be subject to adjustments)*

Gameweek Type Early-season Alternative
29 DOUBLE 1 free transfer 1 free transfer
30 normal 1 free transfer 1 free transfer
31 BLANK FREE HIT 1 free transfer
32 normal 1 free transfer 1 free transfer
33 normal 1 free transfer WILDCARD 2
34 DOUBLE 1 free transfer BENCH BOOST
35 normal 1 free transfer 1 free transfer
36 normal WILDCARD 2 1 free transfer
37 DOUBLE BENCH BOOST FREE HIT
38 normal 1 free transfer 1 free transfer

*where it says “1 free transfer”, more transfers are possible for hit points as well

FPL chip strategy: popular early-season planning

To start with, the foundation of this approach was saving at least your Free Hit and second Wildcard until this point in the season. For months, the more specialised managers among us have expected GW31 to be a BGW, GW34 to be a mixture of blank, double and single fixtures, and GW37 to be the biggest DGW. The initial idea behind this strategy was to Free Hit in GW31 to allow for one less obstacle (a gameweek with just 4 matches) when preparing for GW34 by using free transfers. This planning would have to reach until GW35, because GW36 would see the second Wildcard being activated in order to benefit optimally from the Bench Boost chip in DGW37. Like this, with a lot of good planning and a bit of luck, FPL managers would be able to navigate the fixture calendar minefield at the business end of the season. Those lucky (or patient) enough to still have their Triple Captain chip can use it to further facilitate the navigation of the upcoming period.

The problem with this strategy has only become apparent in the very recent past, once the FA Cup started reaching its more advanced stages. According to Ben Crellin and other experts, by Free Hitting in GW31 and then Wildcarding in GW32 or GW33, it is going to be a lot more difficult to set your team up in such a way that it can successfully confront GW34 and GW37. That is because, according to their calculations and expectations, only four teams can have a DGW in both of these weeks and the chances of that happening are looking extremely slim at the moment. This means that, in order to put down a half decent performance in these key gameweeks, you will need two rather different team set-ups, one for each week. With just two gameweeks in between and no Free Hit chip available, this looks like an impossible task, unless you are willing to take a considerable amount of hit points.

As a result of this development, we and some other FPL managers have started thinking about alternative strategies for chip usage. With the FA Cup’s fifth round behind us, we have a lot more clarity in regard  to each team’s blank and double gameweeks, which is essential when deciding on a chip strategy. The approach above could still very well work, but based on the latest developments in regard to the Premier League calendar, it can’t hurt to consider an alternative or two, as well.

FPL chip strategy: an alternative approach

Again, to start with, this approach assumes the availability of at least the Free Hit chip, the Bench Boost chip and the second Wildcard. Instead of Free Hitting in GW31, this strategy builds on preparing for GW31 by using free transfers (including GW29, you have three left for free) and then Wildcarding in GW33 to prepare for what looks like a messy GW34. The Free Hit chip can then be deployed in GW37.

In terms of the Free Hit, one of the big advantages of this strategy is that it can be used on a big DGW instead of as a tool to navigate what’s looking like quite a light gameweek 31. Only Burnley, Bournemouth, Palace, Liverpool, Spurs, Watford, West Ham and Wolves have a game that round. The question is whether this line-up allows you to optimally benefit from your Free Hit, in a very unpredictable week in terms of FPL.

In any case, preparing for GW31 this way is going to take some planning and nerve, seeing as there are just three free transfers left to do so, including this weekend’s. Should you manage though, then your team is set up rather well for the final stretch. You would be able to Wildcard in GW33, Bench Boost in GW34 and Free Hit in GW37. This also sounds helpful when you take into account that the end of the season is often one of the campaign’s most unpredictable periods in terms or starting elevens and rotation, as some teams will still have more to play for than others. On top of that, by using your Wildcard in GW32 or GW33, you can benefit from it for six or seven weeks instead of just two when Wildcarding in GW37. Like with the other strategy discussed earlier, the availability of the Triple Captain chip would be a bonus at this point, one that can help you, for example, to soften gameweek 31’s blows.

In the end, the chip strategy you choose will largely depend on the chips you still have left, the current state of your team, and developments still to come in regard to the Premier League calendar. The early-season approach is still valid as well, but it’s worth looking at alternatives as well. We have offered you one above, but we recommend to do further research as well, in order to come to the strategy that perfectly fits your own team and set-up. Advice is always available on the FISO FPL Forum and sub-forums.