FPL Season 2021/22: Gameweek 23 preview

For the majority of FPL managers, labelling double gameweek 22 as a disappointment would likely feel like an understatement. Between last-minute postponements and popular assets not delivering at all, the double gameweek was an underwhelming and at times frustrating one. Apart from the heavily owned Joan Cancelo, the official game’s Team of the Week featured just two players with an ownership above 5.8% overall, those being Bruno Fernandes (23 FPL points, owned by 18.7%) and Harry Kane (11 points, 13.2%). As a matter of fact, no less than five players represented an ownership of less than 1.5%, which hints at the very much differential nature of the past gameweek.

As far as GW23 is concerned, no fixture adjustments have been announced as of yet. COVID-19 is, of course, an ever-present and entirely unpredictable factor, but there have been rumours of some this season’s earlier postponements being moved to gameweek 23, making it another double gameweek for at least a few teams. Fixture experts like Ben Crellin (@BenCrellin on Twitter) are considering this possibility and believe that IF any announcements will be made in this regard, they are likely to be made rather close to the GW23 deadline on Friday. All we can say is, keep an eye out on team news for corona-related news and on official Premier League news in regard to double gameweek announcements, and try to hold your transfers as long as possible.

Don’t forget, the deadline for gameweek 23 is set at 18h30 (UK time) on Friday, January 21st, 2022.

Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per January 20th, 2022)

GKMendy (CHE), Cox (BRE), De Gea (MUN)Sá (WOL), Ederson (MCI), Ramsdale (ARS) 
DEFJames (CHE), Livramento (SOU), Dier (TOT)Coady (WOL), Cancelo (MCI), Alexander-Arnold (LIV)Injuries to the transferred-out players, Cancelo and TAA form
MIDSalah (LIV), Son (TOT), Smith-Rowe (ARS)Coutinho (AST), De Bruyne (MCI), Bowen (WHU)Salah qualified in AFCON, Son and ESR injured, Coutinho debut goal, Bowen and KDB form
FORRonaldo (MUN), Antonio (WHU), Vardy (LEI)Saint-Maximin (NEW), Antonio (WHU), Dennis (WAT)Ronaldo and United lack of form, ASM fixtures, Vardy injury

Premium pick

With 4 goals and an assist in his last six league outings, Kevin de Bruyne (£12.1m) looks like he’s once again approaching the world-class form that we had become accustomed to from him over the past few seasons. After a first half of the season marred by injury niggles, the Belgian midfielder has started each of Man City’s last six league games, which makes him a very interesting premium fantasy pick not just for this gameweek, when he travels to Saint Mary’s, but for the medium to long term as well. After the away game against Southampton, Pep Guardiola’s men are hosting Brentford and then travel to Norwich. In their current form, those three games alone could very well see the Cityzens record three clean sheets and score 10+ goals. In other words, a run for which you really want to be able to count on KDB.

Non-premium pick

At first, we were planning to continue this week’s FPL preview with another Man City asset, but we then realised that we can’t really expected to be taken seriously if we don’t include Jarrod Bowen (£6.8m) among our fantasy picks for gameweek 23. It’s true that his fixture this week is not the easiest as West Ham need to travel to Old Trafford on Saturday, but this is not the United of yore. This United is inconsistent, lacking intensity and leaky at the back, while the Hammers are the surprise package of the 2021-2022 season so far and Bowen is one of the driving factors behind that success. The 25-year-old winger is possibly the most in-form player in the entire league at the moment, which is underlined by the fact that he has recorded attacking returns for five games straight in the build-up to GW23. Since gameweek 19, Bowen has brought his owners a whopping 3 goals and 5 assists, and a total of 46 FPL points. On top of that, the Manchester United away fixture is followed by a home game against Watford, a visit to Leicester and a home encounter with Newcastle. The Bowen train has left the station for a while already, but it’s still not too late hop on and enjoy the ride.

The budget enabler

Wolves’ upcoming fixtures are not the best with away games against Spurs and West Ham and home encounters with Arsenal and Leicester over the coming five gameweeks, but they have shown that their defence belongs among the very best in the Premier League this season. Only leaders Manchester City have conceded less than their 15 goals, so it makes sense that our budget radar has picked up Rayan Ait Nouri (£4.3m), especially considering the fact that Wolves are hosting Brentford this weekend. The former Angers man looks to have made the left-wing-back position his for the moment and his 11-point haul in GW22 reminded fantasy managers of his potential after missing out in gameweek 17, 18 and 21 (Wolves did not play in gameweek 19 and 20). RAN gets quite a lot of freedom to boom forward as part of Bruno Lage’s five-men defensive set-up and he carries some set-piece duties as well. Despite the fact that Wolves are not the most prolific in front of goal, they’ve scored just 17 goals in 20 games, this adds to the wing-backs appeal. At a price of just £4.3m, we believe there are few better budget-enablers in the official game at the moment.

The differential

Our differential fantasy pick for gameweek 23 is a real differential in more than a few ways. First of all, Philippe Coutinho (£7.0m) has only just returned to the Premier League after a few underwhelming seasons abroad. Second, his own manager has stated that his match fitness is not optimal yet, though this could be taken with a grain of salt as well. Third, his current ownership is still well below the 10% threshold, sitting at 5.7% at the moment of writing. Now, some of the positives. In just 22 minutes as a substitute on his debut for Villa, the Brazilian international scored a goal, posted an expected goal involvement of 0.8, and looked fired up during the little time he spent on the pitch. Furthermore, we find it hard to believe that Villa would bring in a player of Coutinho’s stature without wanting to integrate him into the starting eleven as quickly as possible. Finally, his price is bound to rise over the coming days, especially if he performs well against an Everton side in crisis at Goodison Park on Saturday.

The captaincy

There are a few appealing options for the GW23 FPL Captains armband this weekend and we’ve ended up going with Kevin de Bruyne for his away game against Southampton. Manchester City are displaying the consistent form of champions and the Saints have conceded 12 goals in their last six league games. Rotation is, of course, an added risk when it comes to City assets, but KDB looks as close to irreplaceable as it gets for Pep Guardiola and he could be up for a haul on Saturday.

If you’re not among the 10.6% of managers who own the Belgian or if you’re not willing/able to splash the cash on him, there are a few good alternatives on offer as well. Diogo Jota away at Crystal Palace will likely be a popular captaincy option this weekend, as will Raphinha against Newcastle at home. Emmanual Dennis or Josh King could deliver at home against Norwich after their hugely disappointing double-turned-single gameweek 22. If you’re up for Pep Roulette, Phil Foden looks like an interesting prospect against Southampton at Saint Mary’s as well.

FPL Season 2021/22: Gameweek 22 preview

After what at times felt like the longest gameweek in the history of FPL, double gameweek 21 is now behind us and we have about 48 hours to prepare for double gameweek 22. Such is life in the (fantasy) Premier League at the moment. West Ham assets particularly stood out last week, with Manuel Lanzini, Jarrod Bowen and Vlad Coufal all recording double-digit hauls, while Lukasz Fabianski and Michail Antonio both made the team of the week with 9-pointers. Issa Diop completed the Hammers’ contingent with 8 points. They now have a single gameweek coming up, but seeing as their fixture is Leeds at home, you can expect heavy investment in West Ham assets before the DGW22 hits.

Other popular single gameweekers will be Liverpool’s Diogo Jota, currently brought in by more than half a million managers since the DGW21 deadline passed, and possibly Everton’s Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Demarai Gray for their away game at Carrow Road, despite disappointing from a fantasy point of view in DGW21.

As has been the case lately, try and hold out on making transfers for as long as possible, especially not now that double gameweek announcements can be made at any moment.

The Doubles Section

Seeing as corona outbreaks look like they’re here to stay for the coming weeks at least, we’ve added a temporary new section to our weekly previews to help you keep track of postponements and doubles. For GW22, at the time of writing, we have double gameweeks for the following teams:

GW22 doubles(as of 13 Jan 18:00)
BrightonCrystal Palace (home), Chelsea (home)
BurnleyLeicester (home), Watford (home)
LeicesterBurnley (away), Spurs (home)
Manchester UnitedAston Villa (away), Brentford (away)
SpursArsenal (home), Leicester (away)
WatfordNewcastle (away), Burnley (away)

Don’t forget, the deadline for gameweek 22 is set at 18h30 (UK time) on Friday, January 14th, 2022.

Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per January 13th, 2022)

GKMendy (CHE), Ramsdale (ARS), Foster (WAT)Sá (WOL), Ederson (MCI), De Gea (MUN)
DEFJames (CHE), Livramento (SOU), Alexander-Arnold (LIV)Tierney (ARS), Rüdiger (CHE), Cancelo (MCI)TAA yellow-flagged, James + Livramento injured
MIDSalah (LIV), Son (TOT), Benrahma (WHU)Jota (LIV), Son (TOT), Bowen (WHU), Saka (ARS)Son injury, Salah and Benrahma AFCON
FORWatkins (AST), Dennis (WAT), Vardy (LEI)Antonio (WHU), Ronaldo (MUN), Kane (TOT)Dennis yellow-flagged, Vardy injured

Premium pick

Acceptable form and a decent double gameweek coming up. Over 200,000 managers have already brought in Cristiano Ronaldo (£12.5m) in the build-up to gameweek 22 to bring his current total ownership to 31.5% at the time of writing. With the double gameweek fixtures not offering any real stand-out combinations at first glance, Manchester United’s double against Aston Villa and Brentford, both away, is likely to tempt a large number of managers to captain the Portuguese superstar for DGW22. The Red Devils have been far from impressive lately, and neither Villa nor the Bees will prove to be walk-overs for Ralf Rangnick’s men, but then again, it’s not THAT crazy to expect Manchester United to take six points from these games. Ronaldo should be fit after missing out in the FA Cup on Monday and we’re expecting him to be the focal point of the United attack, while he is also on penalties. A return or two over the next two games to build on his current 8 goals and 3 assist so far isn’t too much to ask, right?

Non-premium pick

Despite having just a single fixture in what is a double gameweek for seven teams, Liverpool’s Diogo Jota (£8.3m) is currently the most transferred-in midfielder with about 24 hours to go to the DGW22 deadline. The Reds are preparing for a home game against Brentford, who just shipped four goals away against Southampton on Tuesday, and things are looking good for their Portuguese forward. Jota, who is classified as a midfielder in the official game He is the main man in Liverpool’s forward line now that both Mo Salah and Sadio Mané are involved in the African Cup of Nations. He has scored 2 goals and given 1 assist in his last four league games, and sits on a total of 10 goals and 2 assists for the season so far. The Portugal international is likely facing a depleted Brentford backline, with three defenders currently flagged, just coming off a 4-1 loss at Saint Mary’s. Over half a million fantasy managers have already brought Jota in and the added value of this transfer is that fixture-wise, he can be a decently-priced set-and-forget option until at least gameweek 26.

The budget enabler

For our budget enabler of the week, we’re looking at Brighton and Hove Albion, one of the seven teams with a double gameweek. Admittedly, the Seagulls don’t seem to have the easiest double match-up on paper, but there is some potential there, especially, quite surprisingly perhaps, in the attacking department. Neither the Eagles (8 goals conceded in the last four) nor the Blues (4 goals conceded in the last three) have been their defensive best of late, and Brighton’s striker Neal Maupay (£6.5m) seems to have hit a good vein of form at the moment. He has scored 7 goals and given 1 assist this season, and 1 of those goals plus the single assist were recorded over the last three gameweeks. Looking back a bit further, we can see that the Frenchman has actually returned in five of his last six league outings for a total of 30 FPL points. Not bad for a budget striker who is a nailed-on option for his gaffer and about to face two suspect defences. The way we see it, the home game against Palace is the main event, while the home encounter with Chelsea is a bonus.

The differential

One of the reasons why double gameweek 22 isn’t as straight-forward as many would like, is that on paper, Watford have the best double match-up. The Hornets will be facing Newcastle and Burnley away from home, but of course, they are a relegation candidate themselves. In other words, Newcastle and Burnley will be eyeing the three points against Watford as well. Still, we feel that Josh King (£5.8m) could be a shrewd investment. Most of the eyes have been on Dennis as Watford’s stand-out attacking option (who has also just returned to training) and with good reason, but King has been ticking along nicely as well. The Norway international already has 5 goals and 4 assists to his name this season, and he’s a nailed-on starter under manager Claudio Ranieri. What’s more, he’s on penalties and that’s especially interesting during double gameweeks in our opinion. In the end, the 37.5%-owned Dennis (King is currently in 8% of all squads) has recorded “just” 3 goals and 1 assist more than King, making the latter a very interesting differential for DGW22. We might even be so bold as to suggest, him as a big-time outsider punt for the captaincy. For those who can afford such boldness, of course.

The captaincy

As we wrote earlier, we’re expecting Cristiano Ronaldo to be the main captain of choice in DGW22 and we’re leaning towards him as well. With Manchester United currently in sixth in the Prem, six points behind West Ham in fourth, away games against teams such as Villa and especially promoted Brentford are must-wins. Ronaldo should be fit enough to start both games, especially considering the fact that the Red Devils have a four-day resting period in between the two games and despite some pundits doubting the Portuguese’s physical ability to start and perform in both (what?!). He’s probably the safest bet for the armband this weekend.

Besides CR7, there is also Harry Kane, who is facing Arsenal at home and Leicester away in DGW22. The England captain blanked against Watford in GW21, but he did score in three consecutive games prior to that fixture. He’s nailed-on, on penalties, and well… Harry Kane. If you want to go the more differential route with your captaincy pick, the previously mentioned Josh King offers an interesting prospect, while James Maddison for his double against Burnley and Spurs is an outside pick with a big potential upside as well.

FPL Season 2021/22: Double Gameweek 21 preview

The quick turn-around between gameweeks 19 and 20 plus a rare and unexpected 0-pointer by Mo Salah, who was captained by just over half of all managers in the game and by 63% of the pre-GW20 Top 100, made for a low-scoring gameweek 20. With a points average of 37, it ranks among the three lowest averages of the season so far, which was also reflected in the official Team of the Week. No less than five players made the team with a single-digit haul. Leicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel recorded the round’s highest score with 15 FPL points, thanks to a clean sheet and a Salah penalty save, followed by assist-hattrick hero Jarrod Bowen and Crystal Palace’s Odsonne Edouard (1 goal and 2 assists versus Norwich) with 14 points each.

Gameweek 21 is now DGW21 after this afternoon’s confirmation of 3 re-arranged fixtures: SOU v BRE, EVE v LEI and WHU v NOR. Due to Leicester, Southampton and Norwich having had their expected GW21 fixture postponed that leaves the following 3 clubs with two matches in the DGW: Brentford, Everton & West Ham. From a fantasy manager’s point of view, Tottenham’s visit to Watford also stands out. Southampton hosting Newcastle at Saint Mary’s has been postponed today so we’re down to 8 matches of the normal fixtures plus the 3 re-arranged fixxtures in DGW21.

As has been the case lately, try and hold out on making transfers for as long as possible, especially now that more double gameweek announcements can be made at any moment.

The Blanks Section

Seeing as corona outbreaks look like they’re here to stay for the coming weeks at least, we’ve added a temporary new section to our weekly previews to help you keep track of postponements and blanks. For DGW21, at the time of writing, two games have been postponed so far:

GW20 blanks(as of 31/12, 16h30)
Leicester v Norwich
Southampton v Newcastle

Don’t forget, the deadline for gameweek 21 is set at 11h00 (UK time) on Saturday, January 1st, 2022.

Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per December 31st, 2021)

GKMendy (CHE), Ramsdale (ARS), Foster (WAT)Schmeichel (LEI), De Gea (MUN), Snachez (BRI)
DEFJames (CHE), Livramento (SOU), Rüdiger (CHE)Cancelo (MCI), Tierney (ARS), Reguilon (TOT), Dias (MCI)James injury, Livramento doubt, City fixtures and form
MIDGallagher (CRY), Salah (LIV), Bernardo (MCI)Bowen (WHU), Son (TOT), Raphinha (LEE)Gallagher injury doubt, Bowen form & DGW, Son form and fixtures
FORVardy (LEI), Saint-Maximin (NEW), Ronaldo (MUN)Antonio (WHU), Dennis (WAT), Edouard (CRY)Vardy and ASM injuries, Edouard GW20 haul, Antonio DGW.

Premium pick

For the first time this season, Mo Salah came away with exactly zero FPL points after missing a penalty against Leicester and Liverpool going down 1 to nothing at the King Power Stadium. At the same time, give 24 hours more or less, Cristiano Ronaldo (£12.5m) shot himself straight into the official game’s Team of the Week with a goal, an assist and 3 bonus points against Burnley. Taking into account that United’s fixtures in gameweeks 17 and 18 were postponed, the Portuguese superstar now has 4 goals and 1 assist in his last five league games, and he started each of those games. Up next are Wolves at Old Trafford and it should be noted that Bruno Lage’s men have so far conceded just 7 goals in nine games on the road. Overall, their 14 goals conceded rank second in the entire league, just two more than Manchester City. Man United are the favourite here nonetheless, especially with Ronaldo in good goal-scoring form, and we hope that they will be able to build on the 17 goals they have already scored in nine home games this season. Due to the recently announced DGW for West Ham, Antonio (owned by 37%) at £7.8m is going to be in demand with an away match on Saturday 1st at Crystal Palace followed by a home match on Wednesday 12th to Norwich.

Non-premium pick

There is a small, a very small fantasy upside to fixture postponements, provided that any affected player you own is physically fine (of course, we hope that every player is fine always, but hear us out), namely that it can provide players with an unexpected rest during a crazy busy festive period. One player in such a situation in GW21 could be Raphinha (£6.5m) after the Leeds – Aston Villa game was postponed in GW20, following the postponement of Liverpool – Leeds in GW19. In other words, Leeds have not played a competitive league game since their 1-4 thumping at the hands of Arsenal back in GW18, on December 18th. The Whites are now up against Burnley who went down to United at Old Trafford on Thursday night. The Clarets have conceded 24 goals so far this season, which in all honesty is equals mid-table at the moment, but they will be missing their first-choice goalkeeper Nick Pope against Leeds. As far as Raphinha goes, he’s got 3 goals and 1 assist from his last five league games, he is their best player and main creative outlet by some distance, and he’s on penalties as well. In what could end up being a tough weekend in FPL, the Brazilian could be a very shrewd signing. West Ham’s Bowen will also now be a popular pick for his DGW.

The budget enabler

In a time when your bench is more important than ever, a good, playing budget enabler can make all the difference in the world. That’s why the return to fitness and to the starting eleven of Ben Johnson (£4.0m) is such good news. The versatile West Ham fullback put in a decent shift against Watford, though he did not come away with a return. Since his emergence in David Moyes’ starting eleven back in gameweek 8, he featured in every game until injury hit in GW15. Over that run, he recorded 28 FPL points, courtesy of 2 clean sheets and a bonus point. Not bad for a 4.0m-priced fullback playing for a good side that has a favourable run of fixtures coming up, starting with Crystal Palace away and Leeds at home. With Aaron Cresswell out for the foreseeable future, Johnson is an ideal budget-enabling fantasy pick and has the newly announced DGW.

The differential

Off the back of a few more than decent performances and with Mo Salah due to depart for the AFCON very soon, Kevin de Bruyne (£11.9) has all the makings of becoming the next big bandwagon. For the first time this season, the Belgian has managed to perform at levels we were used to from him for an extended run of games after a first half of the season riddled with injury niggles. He’s got 3 goals and 1 assist in his last four league outings, and he started for the Cityzens in those games as well. That’s good news, but in the case of Man City, potentially bad as well, because in theory, it puts KDB higher and higher on Pep’s rotation list. Then again, this is and has been since a long time the main downside of picking Man City fantasy assets. What we’re seeing mainly, is one of the best midfielders in the world sitting in just 4.7% of all teams with a good run of fixtures coming up. Bringing him in now, before the away game at Arsenal and the home clash with Chelsea, could put you in the next bandwagon’s driver’s seat. Due to the newly announced DGW for West Ham, Everton & Brentford there will be moves to bring in players from these clubs (particuarly the WHU & EVE).

The captaincy

The DGW21 captaincy debate this weekend has been thrown up in the air after the DGW announcement and most likely Antonio or Bowen of West Ham will be the main candidates unless you want to take a punt on an Everton player (such as Gray or DCL returning from injury) or a Brentford player.

Spurs also offer two interesting captaincy options in the persons of Heung-Min Son and Harry Kane as Spurs take on Watford at Vicarage Road. Antonio Conte’s men are picking up some form and both of the team’s star players are looking more dangerous as well. More differential options for the armband this weekend are penalty-taker Raphinha at home against Burnley and set-piece maestro James Ward-Prowse for Southampton’s home encounter with Newcastle.

FPL Season 2021/22: Gameweek 20 preview

28 goals in 6 games. Ah, Boxing Day, ye big beautiful beast, you did it again! In a period in which traditions play an especially important part of daily life, the Premier League did not disappoint and delivered the usual Boxing Day goal bonanza. A goal and 2 assists for Iheanacho, a brace for Saka, a brace for Jorginho, a couple of City players hauling big after their 6-3 (that’s six and three) victory over Leicester, and at the time of writing, gameweek 19’s most popular captain Cristiano Ronaldo hasn’t even played United’s away game at Newcastle yet. FPL points galore for popular assets and differentials alike.

Considering the fact that gameweek 20 is kicking off tomorrow at 15h00, we’ll be moving straight on to our fantasy picks for this mid-week round. Just a final note for the legendary few: IF you still have your first Wildcard, you have until GW20 to deploy it. If you don’t, it’ll be lost, lost forever, so our advice is to activate ASAP if this is your case.

The Blanks Section

Seeing as corona outbreaks look like they’re here to stay for the coming weeks at least, we’ve added a temporary new section to our weekly previews to help you keep track of postponements and blanks. For GW20, at the time of writing, two games have been postponed so far:

GW20 blanks(as of 27/12, 15h00)
Wolves – Arsenal
Leeds – Aston Villa

Don’t forget, the deadline for gameweek 20 is set at 13h30 (UK time) on Tuesday, December 28th.

Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per December 27th, 2021)

GKRamsdale (ARS), Martinez (AST), Foster (WAT)De Gea (MUN), Lloris (TOT), Ramsdale (ARS)
DEFJames (CHE), Mings (AST), Tomiyasu (ARS)Reguilon (TOT), Cancelo (MCI), Tierney (ARS)Mings suspension, TOT fixtures
MIDESR (ARS), Bilva (CITY), Raphinha (LEE)Moura (TOT), Saka (ARS), Maddison (LEI)Moura & Maddison form
FORWatkins (AST), Vardy (LEI), Jesus (CITY))Antonio (WH), Dennis (WAT), Broja (SOU)Vardy lack of returns, Antonio’s return

Premium pick

Living FPL legend Mo Salah (£13.0) missed out in gameweek 19 as Liverpool’s enticing game against Leeds was postponed. This opened up the captaincy playing field for the first time in a long time this season, but with the Reds back in action on Tuesday night, the Egyptian will most likely dominate the captaincy debate once again. He will be facing a Leicester side that has been defensively suspect this season and that just conceded six at the Etihad just a day ago. On top of that, no team in the league allows for more conceded chances from the left flank, which just happens to be Salah’s favourite hunting ground. Add to that the facts that Liverpool got an unplanned rest while Leicester are visiting Anfield not even 48 hours after an intense encounter with England’s reigning champions, and we can’t do anything but recommend Salah as the stand-out premium fantasy pick once again.

Non-premium pick

With a favourable run of fixtures extending all the way to at least gameweek 26, and with both Salah and Mané missing most of January’s game while they are at the AFCON, Diogo Jota (£8.1m) should probably be a set-and-forget option in your team for the foreseeable future. The Portuguese international combines good fixtures with consistently good form, which is underlined by his 10 goals and 1 assist from just 1,212 Premier League minutes this season. He started the last two league games for the Reds and scored a goal in each of those games for a total of 14 FPL points. A leaky Leicester side that just conceded six goals against Manchester City is up next and it could turn into another high-scoring affair. Perhaps not “6-3 high-scoring”, but we’re expecting a few goals for this one and Jota could end up playing a big role in the whole thing.

The budget enabler

This round’s budget enabler is a temporary fantasy pick, but one that could reap serious rewards over the coming two gameweeks. Kostas Tsimikas (£3.7m) is currently the cheapest player in the entire game and he will be starting as Liverpool’s left-back during Andy Robertson’s absence as the result of a red card in GW18 against Spurs (he’s suspended until 15th January). The Greek international has deputised for Robertson from the start on four league occasion so far this season, allowing him to amass a more than decent 28 FPL points (4 clean sheets, 1 assist). From those appearances, we also know that, when he’s on the pitch, Tsimikas carries part of the dead-ball duties, which only furthers his appeal as the ultimate short-term budget enabler. Free Hitters in gameweeks 20 or 21 in particular should have the Liverpool defender high on their watchlists when compiling their best possible squad. Liverpool’s fixtures are not the easiest with Leicester away on Tuesday followed by a tough visit to Stamford Bridge, but as far as budget fantasy picks for FPL go, you’re unlikely to find better than Tsimikas at the moment.

The differential

So, Riyad Mahrez (£8.6m). In cases such as his, it’s best to just cut to the chase: 3 consecutive starts, and a goal and an assist in each of those three games. That makes 3 goals and 3 assists in the last three league outings, plus 2 clean sheet points and 3 bonus points for a total of 35 FPL points over that same period. That’s just over 11 points per game on average. If that’s not good form, we don’t know what is. Next up for Manchester City are Brentford away and while Pep Roulette remains a very real and scary factor when it comes to City assets, Mahrez nonetheless kind of looks too good to ignore right now. To increase his fantasy appeal even further, he is also currently owned by just 3.6% of all managers and he is available at a decent non-budget price. If you’re desperate for an exciting differential, Mahrez should be top of your list.

The captaincy

As far as we’re concerned, there is no need to look further than Mo Salah in gameweek 20 (surprise, surprise). He is back after a rest against a Leicester side that… well, we’ve said it a few times before already. Basically, we feel that Liverpool could heap some more misery on the Foxes after conceding six times against City.

Still, if you’re willing to go the differential way or want to make sure you get a decent Vice Captain, there are a few good options besides Salah. Mason Mount and Romelu Lukaku could return away at Brighton, while Man City are visiting Brentford on Tuesday. Riyad Mahrez, Phil Foden and Kevin de Bruyne are all appealing prospects in terms of the captain’s armband. The same goes for Cristiano Ronaldo at home to Burnley. If you really feel Christmas lucky, why not take a punt on Dominic Calvert-Lewin as he is likely to return from injury at home for Everton against Newcastle on Thursday.

FPL Season 2021/22: Gameweek 19 preview

So a lot has happened in the FPL universe the past few days. A lot, a lot. It is, of course prime festive season right now, which means that gameweeks are coming thick and fast until mid-January, more or less. At the same time, coronavirus is flaring up again all over the world and the Premier League clubs have outbreaks to deal with and people’s safety to prioritise, adding a considerable factor of uncertainty to an already intense period of (Fantasy) Premier League football.

Considering the short turn-around in terms of gameweeks, we’ll get to business straight away. Just remember that a few games from GW19 have been postponed already (see below) and that fantasy managers have all received an extra Free Hit chip to cope with the once again growing uncertainty. Also, take an extra good look at the deadlines of the coming gameweeks as we recommend to hold off on any transfers or related decisions until the very last moment (not always easy to do with the holidays or work committments). At this point in the season and considering the potential impact on your week performance as a result of a sudden COVID-19 outbreak, it’s probably justified to put squad value in the back seat for a few weeks and focus solely on points.

Taking place (so far)
Manchester City – LeicesterBoxing Day, 15h00
Norwich – ArsenalBoxing Day, 15h00
Spurs – Crystal PalaceBoxing Day, 15h00
West Ham – SouthamptonBoxing Day, 15h00
Aston Villa – ChelseaBoxing Day, 17h30
Brighton – BrentfordBoxing Day, 20h00
Newcastle – Manchester UnitedMonday 27, 20h00
Postponed (so far)
Burnley – Everton
Liverpool – Leeds
Wolves – Watford

Don’t forget, the deadline for gameweek 19 is set at 13h30 (UK time) on Sunday, December 26th.

Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per December 25th, 2021)

GKMendy (CHE), Alisson (LIV), Foster (WAT)Ramsdale (ARS), Sa (WOL), De Gea (MUN)
DEFVan Dijk (LIV), Alexander-Arnold (LIV), Robertson (LIV)Cancelo (MCI), Dias (MCI), Alexander-Arnold (LIV)VVD COVID risk, Robertson red card, Liverpool GW19 blank
MIDSalah (LIV), Jota (LIV), Raphinha (LEE)Martinelli (ARS), Son (TOT), ESR (ARS) & Jota (LIV)Liverpool GW19 blank, Leeds GW19 blank
FORAntonio (WHU), Vardy (LEI), Dennis (WAT)Ronaldo (MUN), Dennis (WAT), Broja (SOU)Antonio COVID risk, Watford GW19 blank

Premium pick

Looking at the fixtures, current team form and individual player quality, we normally would’ve picked Cristiano Ronaldo as our premium fantasy pick for gameweek 19. In the current circumstances though, with United only playing on Monday, the risk of a match postponement as a result of a coronavirus outbreak at Newcastle or Manchester is too high, in our opinion. That’s why instead, we have gone with Kevin de Bruyne (£11.9m) as Manchester City kick off the Boxing Day round of fixtures this year. In great part due to injury issues, this season had been sub-par compared to the Belgian’s usual standards, but he looks to be back on track. Pep Guardiola gave him the full 90 minutes in the past two gameweeks, including for the 7-0 thrashing of Leeds in which KDB scored twice and brought his differential ownership a sweet 16 FPL points. He’s up against a leaky Leicester side this weekend, so Salah sitting out this round could well result in more than a few managers opting for De Bruyne, either as a free transfer or as part of their Free Hit.

Non-premium pick

Now, for our non-premium fantasy pick of the week, we considered Phil Foden as we feel he’ll get the chance to redeem himself this weekend after missing out in gameweek 18 due to a disciplinary sanction. Looking at the postponed fixtures though, and at the added uncertainty of players even starting this weekend, we figured that Alexandre Lacazette (£8.5m) might be a wiser choice this time. The French striker is pretty-much nailed-on as Arsenal’s man leading the line up front and has delivered decently of late. In his last three league outings, he recorded a goal and 2 assists for a total of 15 FPL points. That’s not extraordinary, especially not at his price, but it should be noted that he is on penalties and missed one against West Ham back in GW17. Up next are Norwich and despite the fact that the Canaries have improved considerably under new manager Dean Smith, a Gunners formation in good form should be a bridge too far for them. On top of that, Norwich are rumoured to be coping with a few COVID-19 cases at the club, so Laca might end up facing a depleted defence.

The budget enabler

For our budget-enabling fantasy pick of the week, we’re going for a defender. Ben Davies (£4.5m) has been a major benefactor of Antonio Conte’s arrival as Tottenham’s new manager. The Wales international has not missed a minute of league action since gameweek 10, a period of six games (Spurs had a few postponements in between as well) over which he scored 29 points, courtesy of 3 clean sheets and 2 assists. As an overlapping central defender, Davies actually carries the highest goal threat of all Spurs defenders, while defensively, Spurs are actually among the best in the Prem. Just five teams have conceded more than their 19 goals despite their mediocre start to the season. This weekend against Crystal Palace at home, their chance of a clean sheet is estimated at about 44%, meaning that another good score could be on the way for their Welsh defender.

The differential

After recommending Gabriel Martinelli (£5.4m) as the stand-out budget pick for gameweek 18 and seeing him bring home 15 FPL points, courtesy of a brace and a 3 bonus points, we decided we’re going to ride the Brazilian’s train for at least another week, as a differential this time. Martinelli has been spectacular for Arsenal of late and it’s difficult to see the side’s recent resurgence separate from the winger coming into red hot form. He has started the last five league games, and provided 3 goals and 2 assists over that period. Such is his form at the moment, that for the first time in a long time, Arsenal fans are pondering over how to fit all of their four exciting youngsters (Martinelli, Odegaard, Saka, Smith Rowe) into one starting lineup around striker Lacazette. For now, the Brazilian, who is listed as a midfielder in FPL and owned by just 6.8% of managers at the time of writing, seems assured of a start and that’s worth a lot during the festive period, especially when the next encounter is at Carrow Road on Boxing Day. Expect Martinelli to be in plenty if not all Free Hit sides this weekend.

The captaincy

With Salah out of the equation, the captaincy has been blown wide open for gameweek 19. Normally, Cristiano Ronaldo would probably be our pick of the bunch for his away game against Newcastle, but as we pointed out earlier, risking the captaincy over a full two-day period with COVID-19 outbreaks once again the news of the day doesn’t fill us with confidence. Instead, for the GW19 captain we’re going with Kevin de Bruyne for City’s home encounter with Leicester. As usual, this involves rotation risk as well, but we feel the Belgian will be an integral part of Guardiola’s starting eleven over the festive period after missing so much of the earlier part of the season.

If you’re feeling less confident about KDB, you could also opt for Harry Kane (or Son) at home against an injury-plagued Palace defence after his goal against Liverpool in GW18, his first attacking return of any sort since gameweek 8. Another interesting option could be Riyad Mahrez, as him starting for City would mean that he would be facing Leicester’s weaker left side of the defence. As a matter of fact, no defence in the PL has given up more chances from their defensive left. For the more differential captaincy picks, Michail Antonio (if fit after covid isolation) at home to Southampton and Alexandre Lacazette away at Norwich could reap big rewards.

A complete beginner’s guide to Fantasy Football

Fantasy Football can be a daunting prospect for some. It may be that you’re new to the fantasy scene and aren’t familiar with the rules, it could be that you’re a veteran but you don’t think you have the time needed to run a fantasy team. There are even new formats of Fantasy Football now too, like the Fantasy Draft, which sees players building their teams together, taking it in turns to pick players, rather than allowing every side to all stick Mohammed Salah up top.

If you’ve been thinking of getting into the fantasy football scene, but aren’t quite sure where to start, don’t worry. We’re going to take you through a number of the top tips to follow for beginners, so you can get your fantasy season off to a good start. And since we’re halfway through the Premier League season already, you can use the second half of the season to get some practice in, so you can challenge your friends in the next campaign.

So, what are the top tips for beginners? Let’s take a look…

Choose which version you want to play

As stated above, there are a few different varieties of fantasy football games, with both free and paid versions available. The majority of people use the official Premier League fantasy football game, which is free to play. It’s the most popular one there is, with various prizes up for grabs such as free tickets to games, and it has features like being able to set up private leagues with friends.

There are also two varieties of fantasy football available on their site. The traditional fantasy football where you get a set budget and have to build a team from available players, whilst keeping within your budget. Allowing friends to have the same players in their team as you have. Or the Fantasy Draft, taken from the way American fantasy sports are done, in which each participant builds their team picking players, but once that player is picked, no one else can select them. But you can then trade players with someone else should you both agree.

There are then paid versions of the game, and these tend to have monetary prizes. Although there are free versions out there where money is available to win as well, however, prize pools tend to be smaller. One of the biggest paid experiences around fantasy football is operated through DraftKings, which operates like a betting site where you put money in and have a chance of winning by backing the top performing players each week. If this is the way you think you want to head, then we suggest checking out DraftKings Sportsbook promo codes to get the most out of your experience.

Don’t be afraid to make changes

When playing fantasy football, you’ll have a deadline for the start of the season to set your team, and also deadlines before every match day. Especially at the start of the season, there are so many players who transfer between teams, in and out of the league, that you should leave making your team, or finalising it close to the season start. I mean, you can set it early on in case you forget, it happens to the best fantasy footballers sometimes, but it’s best to keep it updated.

That means changing things around. Whether it be by switching players from your starting XI with those on your bench, or transferring players in and out of your team. It’s better to change things up rather than hold out and hope for a change of form in one of your players. You could hold out three or four weeks before changing, and you’d possibly lose out on a lot of points, not to mind their value falling. Whereas switch your players up and you have a chance of taking maximum points by potentially picking someone who is currently on fire.

Keep an eye on your squad

It’s important to keep up with the latest ongoings in the Premier League by watching the likes of Sky Sports News, or checking out a number of other news sources. It can tell you a lot about certain players, form of teams and a bunch of information too, but specifically, you can find out about injuries. The amount of times people forget to check injuries the day before they set their team, only to see that the player never made it to the pitch and you’ve potentially lost points because of it.

Now, sometimes, as long as you have eligible players on the bench, the game may auto-sub out your injured players for a fit one. But most people play weaker benches to allow them to spend bigger on their main team, so it’s not likely you’ll score big with a sub. There is also a possibility if you don’t check though that your subs may be injured too, and then you’re guaranteed 0 points. But I guess it is better than negative points at least.

A decent bench can be a life saver

Many people tend to splash all their money on big money signings to pad out their starting XI, literally getting the cheapest players who will likely never play on their bench. However, if they never play and you don’t change your side, you won’t get any points when you sub them out, or if you use a bench boost power up. Not just that, but if you’ve players in two teams facing each other, strikers from one and defenders, you don’t want one set taking points off the others. So you can sub some out to minimise your points loss.

Therefore, it’s important to have a varied and semi decent bench. You don’t have to have the biggest players on there, but there are always newly promoted sides with a few decent players who do well. Many even make regular appearances in the official Team of the Week. It’s just working out who they are going to be. And you may get it wrong, which takes us back to our earlier point again, don’t be afraid to make changes.

Final words

These are just some of our top tips to help you out, but we’ve not given all our secrets away. If we did, we wouldn’t have a chance of beating people ourselves. But we’ve shared some of the biggest and most helpful. Maybe if you tell us some of your tips and tricks, we may reveal some more of ours.

FPL Season 2021/22: Gameweek 18 preview

And just like that, in a matter of days, we’ve gone from a few “Covid-19 cases” further complicating an already challenging FPL festive season to there being rumors of gameweek 18 being postponed as a whole. At the time of writing, the two Saturday kick-offs are going ahead as planned (along with three on Sunday) and no official statements have been issued regarding a possible scrapping of PL football altogether this week, but it’s strongly recommended to keep an eye on Premier League news over the coming 24 hours. That also implies there is some wisdom in saving potential transfers for as long as you can.

As a result of four GW18 games having been postponed already (see overview below), a majority of fantasy managers will face a major challenge in just trying to field eleven players, let alone an optimal team to rise in the rankings. We’re expecting a relatively high number of hits, as well as some chip usage with managers trying to find ways to either fend off a nightmare gameweek or to pounce on other managers as they lose ground this weekend. In any case, it’s going to be an interesting one, that’s for sure.

Taking place (so far)
Aston Villa – BurnleySaturday 18th, 15h00
Leeds – ArsenalSaturday 18th, 17h30
Wolves – ChelseaSunday 19th, 14h00
Newcastle – Manchester CitySunday 19th, 14h00
Spurs – LiverpoolSunday 19th, 16h30
Postponed (so far)
Southampton – Brentford
West Ham – Norwich
Everton – Leicester
Manchester United – Brighton
Watford – Crystal Palace

Don’t forget, the deadline for gameweek 18 is set at 13h30 (UK time) on Saturday, December 18th.

Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per December 17th, 2021)

GKMendy (CHE), Sanchez (BRI), Guaita (CRY)Ramsdale (ARS), Ederson (MCI), Martinez (AST)
DEFVan Dijk (LIV), Livramento (SOU), Walker (MCI)Cancelo (MCI), Alexander-Arnold (LIV), Gabriel (ARS)Van Dijk COVID-19, Walker injury issue, Cancelo and TAA good form + fixture in GW18
MIDBernardo Silva (MCI), Townsend (EVE), Benrahma (WHU)Foden (MCI), Mount (CHE), Smith Rowe (ARS)Bilva and Townsend injury issues, Foden, ESR and Mount form
FORAntonio (WHU), Vardy (LEI), Ronaldo (MUN)Watkins (AST), Dennis (WAT), Lacazette (ARS)COVID-19 outbreaks

Premium pick

Generally, and excluding Mo Salah, premium midfielders and forwards have disappointed so far this season, so Kevin de Bruyne’s (£11.8m) brace against Leeds in GW17 was very welcome. Not only for the roughly 2% of managers who owned him for his 16-pointer, but also for us, as it provides us with a good argument to add some variation to our premium fantasy picks category. It sounds incredible, but this is actually the first time that KDB has featured here. Apart from a short run of returns in gameweeks 7 and 8, the Belgian maestro has been struggling to find consistent fitness (and therefore form) this season. The Leeds game on Tuesday was also the first time he started since gameweek 11 and only the third time this season that he completed the 90 minutes in a league game. His qualities are undeniable though, and with Newcastle away and Leicester at home up next, his double strike against Leeds might end up marking a first good stretch of the season for him.

Non-premium pick

Another player who has been largely underwhelming so far this season is Ollie Watkins (£7.7m). The Aston Villa forward had a great break-through season during the last campaign, scoring 14 goals and providing 9 assists for a total of 168 FPL points. This season though, he started out with an injury and has kind of struggled to find an extended run of good form since then. That is, until Steven Gerrard was appointed as Villa’s new manager back in GW12. Including that game, Watkins scored 3 goals and gave 1 assist since then, bringing home 34 FPL points in the process. As a matter of fact, his 12-point haul at Carrow Road on Tuesday was his most successful outing this season, for now, at least. With a home game against Burnley coming up as one of the five games still left on the calendar for this weekend and with Watkins showing some form, the Villa forward might suddenly end up being one of the most coveted forwards in gameweek 18.

The budget enabler

As our stand-out budget fantasy pick this weekend, a name that we have seen far too few times in our articles over the past years, Gabriel Martinelli (£5.2m). The Brazilian winger, once lauded by Jurgen Klopp as the biggest talent of his generation, has struggled to get a good footing at the Emirates as a result of injury troubles and an unstable club culture, but he’s fought himself into the Gunners’ starting eleven. Since coming on as a substitute against Newcastle in GW13 and scoring the decider, the 20-year old has started every single league game and he has paid back that confidence in his abilities with goals and assists. With 2 goals and 2 assists in 5 games, to be precise, for a total of 27 FPL points. Not too shabby for a starting forward classified as a midfielder and priced at a very gentlemanly £5.2m while playing for, I can’t believe we’re writing this, one of the form teams in the league at the moment. Combine that with the fact that Arsenal are facing Leeds and Norwich away from home next, and you can understand why Martinelli should at least be on your watchlist.

The differential

Truth be told, with the Gunners one of just ten remaining teams with a game in gameweek 18, the fact that they are actually combining form and fixture this weekend has us thinking that they might be worth pursuing aggressively on the short term. That’s why we’re highlighting Alexandre Lacazette (£8.3m) as our differential fantasy pick of the week this time. The Frenchman is not cheap, but in a forwards category that has been majorly disappointing overall of late, he could prove to be a shrewd signing for those who can afford him. He has been good for an assist and a goal in his last two league outings, but he could’ve done much better for the roughly 2% of managers who owned him had he not missed his penalty against West Ham this week. Any way, in a glass-half-full kind of way we can say that at least he is (or was) on penalties and he seems to have conquered a starting spot in Mikel Arteta’s eleven (partly thanks to PEA’s uncaptain-like behaviour recently). Those two things alone might already turn out to be differentiating factors for a depleted gameweek 18.

The captaincy

Mo Salah is obviously our captain. Yes, De Bruyne just scored a brace and is facing Newcastle next. Yes, Lukaku might start against Wolves (if Covid free). Yes, Kane plays at home against a Liverpool side missing some key players. But no. Salah has returned in every gameweek so far bar GW2 and currently sits on an unprecedented 168 FPL points, courtesy of 15 goals and 10 assists. That’s 15 and 10, from 17 games. The only “downside” is that captaining him does not help you gain any advantage over active players any more, BUT the “downer downside” is that if you don’t captain him and he returns as usual this season, you can expect a serious red arrow unless your own captain at least matches Salah’s points. Are you confident enough to bet against Salah at this point? Do make sure your vice-captain though is not from Liverpool or Spurs in case that game is called off at late notice.

If you are tempted to go against Salah, then the previously mentioned Kevin de Bruyne is a good option against Newcastle, just like his team mate Phil Foden. Chelsea’s Mason Mount could be a big differential punt as the Blues visit Molineux, while Alexandre Lacazette and Ollie Watkins will be looking to extend their goal-scoring form against Leeds at Elland Road and Burnley at home, respectively. For more suggestions check fiso’s Fantasy Premier League forum.

FPL Season 2021/22: Gameweek 17 preview

If last weekend’s perfect storm of injury doubts, fatigue issues, rotation tactics, coronavirus infections and disruptive weather are any indicator of what’s to come this month, we’re in for a doozy. Over the next three weeks, we have five gameweeks coming up, as well as the second wildcard becoming available as soon as the deadline for gameweek 19 has passed on December 26th. Note: This article written and published before the Brentford v Man Utd fixture postponed.

As far as gameweek 16 is concerned, it was another good round for the differentials as Conor Gallagher and Arsenal goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale were the only fantasy assets with an ownership of more than 16% to make the team of the week. Leicester aces and joint-topscorers for the week James Maddison and Youri Tielemans (16 FPL points) are in 8.5% and 3.4% of teams, respectively, while four players in the official game‘s Team of the Week are currently owned by less than 1.6%. This includes Leicester’s Patson Daka, who recorded an attacking return for the second game in a row and started the last two games up front for the Foxes in the place of Jamie Vardy.

Don’t forget, the deadline for gameweek 17 is set at 18h00 (UK time) tomorrow Tuesday, December 14th.

Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per December 13th, 2021)

GKMendy (CHE), McCarthy (SOU), Foster (WAT)Ramsdale (ARS), De Gea (MUN), Sá (WOL)
DEFCancelo (MCI), Duffy (BRI), James (CHE)Rüdiger (CHE), Dias (MCI), Alexander-Arnold (LIV)Cancelo and Duffy suspensions
MIDSmith Rowe (ARS), Jota (LIV), Benrahma (WHU)Bernardo (MCI), Gallagher (CRY), Mount (CHE)Gallagher brace in GW16, Jota and ESR injury niggles in GW16
FORVardy (LEI), Jimenez (WOL), Toney (BRE)Dennis (WAT), Watkins (AST), Ronaldo (MUN)Vardy rotation, Jimenez suspension, Toney COVID-19

Premium pick

Cristiano Ronaldo is playing Brentford away (unless match postponed), Manchester City are welcoming Leeds to the Etihad and Chelsea are playing struggling Everton at Stamford Bridge. Plenty of favourable match-ups and plenty of premium fantasy assets with serious haul potential in GW17. Still, we can’t not recommend Mo Salah (£13.1m) to the three active managers who don’t have him yet. Why not, you ask?

Up next for Mo are Newcastle at Anfield on Thursday, so you know what to do by now.

Non-premium pick

The FPL gods are a cruel bunch. We already knew that and it has been confirmed once again by the fact that the team with one of the best runs of the festive period is also the team that represents the highest risk of rotation. Over the next three weeks, Manchester City play Leeds at home, Newcastle away, Leicester home and two consecutive away games against Brentford and Arsenal, and even though Pep’s starting lineup will be especially difficult to predict, their roster is more than worth considering. That’s why this week, we’re highlighting Phil Foden (£8.0m) for City’s home game against Leeds United. This could end up being a high-scoring affair, with City ranking amongst the best attacking sides and Leeds known for their emphasis on attacking overloads over defensive solidity. Foden started in the bench in gameweek 16 as a result of some fitness niggles and ended up playing just over half an hour as a substitute, so we’re expecting him in the starting lineup on Tuesday. He’s on 3 goals and 3 assists from 719 Premier League minutes at the moment, and the bookies have him at 47% to score at least once this round, which helps explain why he is our stand-out non-premium fantasy pick for GW17.

The budget enabler

Diogo Dalot (4.5m) seems to be one of the biggest benefactors of the arrival of Ralf Rangnick as Manchester United manager. Since the German’s first official game in charge back in GW14, the Portuguese right-back has not missed a minute of Premier League football, while former starting right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka featured in the mid-week Champions League game with the Red Devils already qualified for the knock-out stage. Dalot, meanwhile, is coming off back-to-back clean sheets as he prepares for the upcoming encounter at the Brentford Community Stadium. At just £4.5m, he could represent incredible value over the coming weeks and months if he truly manages to nail down the right-back slot under Rangnick. Of the next eleven league games, just one ranks 4 on the official game’s FDR (West Ham away in GW23), and seven out of the remaining ten games rank just 2 on that same FDR. Now could be the time to get in early on Dalot if Ralf views him ahead of AWB. Do though wait and see if the match v Brentford goes ahead after the rising covid infections at Man Utd.

The differential

After a 5-goal thriller against West Ham, the 3.8% of FPL managers who currently own Kai Havertz (£7.8m) will feel a bit hard done by the German coming away with just 2 points. The former Bayer Leverkusen star started the game as Chelsea’s number nine and he completed the 90 minutes, but unfortunately, he failed to make it count from an FPL point of view. On the bright side, Chelsea are hosting a completely out-of-sorts Everton side, so Havertz will get a chance to redeem himself as a major differential fantasy asset for gameweek 17. He’s got 2 goals and 2 assists from eight starts so far this season, as well as 6 points for clean sheets as he is registered as a midfielder in the official game. This adds to his appeal, especially when considering that Everton have conceded a worrying 15 goals in eight away games so far. With away games against Wolves and Villa after the Everton match, Havertz could even be a good option until the second wildcard kicks in after the gameweek 19 passes, assuming he will keep racking up minutes under Thomas Tuchel who may of course freshen up his side with the talented squad at his disposal.

The captaincy

We mentioned earlier that Mo Salah is once again our stand-out fantasy asset for gameweek 17 and he is our captain for this mid-week round as well. The Egyptian is currently is the form of his life and only failed to register an attacking return way back in gameweek 2. It’s true that he’s been a bit calmer FPL-return-wise in the last few weeks, but for Salah, that means that he managed “just” one double-digit haul in his last five games. He’s up against Newcastle at Anfield this week, so for us, his captaincy is beyond all doubt.

Having said that, gameweek 17 does offer a plethora of appealing alternatives. Jota and Sadio Mané could thrive against Newcastle as well, while captaining an attacking Man City asset for their home game against Leeds could pay off big as well. There is also Cristiano Ronaldo as he hopefully prepares for a visit to Brentford and the small matter of Chelsea hosting struggling Everton, bringing the likes of Kai Havertz, Mason Mount and Romelu Lukaku to the forefront. For a more differential approach to the armband decision, FPL forum managers might consider Conor Gallagher at home against Southampton, Ollie Watkins visiting Carrow Road, or the in-form Emmanuel Dennis for his game at Turf Moor.

FPL Gameweek 16: 5 players who can help you improve your ranking

O-hio, the madness of the Winter Premier League. There’s plenty more where that came from — lots of games, lots of rotation, lots of drama!

We have compiled a list of 5 differential footballers having less than 5% ownership. These assets are risky, though, they could be very profitable; they contribute significantly to their ranks.

Here is a list of FPL Gameweek 16 candidates 2021/22 that can improve your squads in online betting with sports not on GamStop.

Diogo Dalot (Defender) — 4.4 million

Diogo Dalot is another Manchester United player expected to thrive under Ralf Ragnick’s wing. The manager preferred the Portuguese against Crystal Palace in GW15.

In his first game under Ragnick, Dalot scored 8 points which included a clean sheet and 2 of the bonus points. He was a constant threat down the right side. He provided 2 successful crosses from 3 attempts, a number second only to Trent Alexander-Arnold in that game week.

Andrew Robertson (Defender) — 7.0 million

After a slow start to the campaign, Liverpool’s prized full-back Andrew Robertson looks like he is finally starting to kick on with his attacking potential. His 12-point haul against Southampton in GW13 marked his return. Since then, Robertson has recorded 3 assists and a round total of 24 points.

The Scottish defender’s attacking ability has improved dramatically in this short space of time. The first 12 weeks saw Robertson create just 1 big chance, but he has already smashed it, tallying 3 big chances created in the last 3 weeks.

His 8 key passes in that period were also articulated, the most of any defender, matched only by teammate Alexander-Arnold.

Jadon Sancho (Midfielder) — 8.9 million

It looks like Manchester United’s poor form is coming to an end. With a glittering fixture list coming up, it is highly recommended to start buying some of these assets as of now.

New signing Jadon Sancho is starting to come alive in Manchester and has begun to put in some good performances recently. His 9 point return in GW13 against Chelsea included the goal that helped Manchester United hold on for a draw against the top of the table at the time.

Sancho’s 7 key passes in the last 4 game weeks are the joint highest tally at the club and the 5th highest of all FPL assets. It is evident what the young Englishman is capable of following his time at Borussia Dortmund. 114 goals in 137 total appearances for the German giants speaks for itself.

Hakim Ziyech (midfielder) — 7.3 million

Life in the Premier League has not been kind to Ziyech, who has struggled to live up to the standard he set during his time with Ajax. However, he has bounced back in recent weeks and picked up a fair amount of points that have gone unnoticed.

Ziyech has blanked just once in the last 4 games, registering 1 goal and 2 assists for an average of just over 4 points per game. His attacking threat has also been evident in the underlying stats over the last 4 GW.

Ziyech’s 12 shots tally ranks him fourth of all players in the league and the best in his club. In addition, Ziyech also ranks first in most touches in the opposition area (20) and the most chances created per 90 (0.9).

Martin Odegaard (midfielder) — 5.4 million

Arsenal’s shock defeat to Everton in GW15 made headlines, though this left the performance of one specific individual unknown to most. Despite his side managing just 3 shots on target against Everton, Odegaard put on a great show of football in his attempt to keep hopes alive.

The Norwegian is racking up the best points form any of his teammates, thanks to his 2 goals in the last 2 games, totalling 14 points in that period. In addition, his 8 key passes are joint best of all FPL assets, along with Sterling, and are almost triple the tally of second-place Arsenal (Martinelli with 3).

Moreover, Odegaard’s 4 successful crosses, 9 attempted crosses, and 16 tackles in to the opposition box are also topping the numbers among his teammates. At just 5.4 million, Odegaard has the potential to be one of the best value midfielders in the game if his form continues. Yet, he is only owned by 1.4% of FPL managers.

In addition, Southampton could also be without one of their regular goalkeepers for that game UK non gamstop casinos, with McCarthy and Forster possibly injured.

So, what are you waiting for? Set up your squads and join our FPL 2021/22 Fantasy League!

FPL Season 2021/22: Gameweek 16 preview

Ah, the FPL December period is well and truly underway. With league fixtures piling up domestically, six Premier League clubs also have the final game of their European group stages to deal with this week. Last night saw Liverpool and Manchester City in action, both of which had already secured first place in their respective Champions League groups, while tonight Chelsea visit Zenit and Manchester United host Young Boys. Both teams have qualified for the knock-out stages already, but first place in their groups is still up for grabs.

On Thursday, Leicester (at Napoli) have everything to play for in the Europa League, while West Ham have already secured first place in their group prior to hosting Dinamo Zagreb in that same tournament. In the Conference League, Spurs need a win against already qualified group G leader Stade Rennais and hope that Dutch side Vitesse Arnhem do not beat group minnows NS Mura by too big a margin. That might be easier said (or written, in this case) than done though, as a COVID-19 outbreak at Spurs was confirmed yesterday. Reports mention at least six players and two members of staff who have been infected, but more news and details are expected over the coming hours and days.

Our advice is keep a very close eye on both starting line-ups for this week’s European games and teams news from the Premier League in general, and to hold off potential transfers for as long as you can.

Don’t forget, the deadline for gameweek 16 is set at 18h30 (UK time) on Friday, December 10th.

Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per December 8th, 2021)

GKMcCarthy (SOU), Schmeichel (LEI), Mendy (CHE)De Gea (MUN). Ramsdale (ARS), Sá (WOL)
DEFDuffy (BRI), Reguilón (TOT), Cresswell (WHU)James (CHE), Thiago Silva (CHE), Cancelo (MCI)Duffy suspension, Reguilón and Cresswell injury doubts
MIDRaphinha (LEE), Gallagher (CRY), Smith Rowe (ARS)Bernardo (MCI), Mount (CHE), Bowen (WHU)Raphinha fixture swing, Bernardo form, Bowen fixtures
FORToney (BRE), Kane (TOT), Saint-Maximin (NEW)Dennis (WAT), Ronaldo (MUN), Antonio (WHU)Toney COVID-19 infection, fixtures of transferred-in players

Premium pick

Despite Mo Salah keeping his unreal run of consecutive attacking returns intact with a stoppage time game-winning assist against Wolves, we’re going with Cristiano Ronaldo (£12.4m) as our premium fantasy pick for gameweek 16. The Portuguese superstar is nowhere near the Egyptian’s consistency and form at the moment (then again, who is?), but he made an excellent impression during Ralf Rangnick’s first game officially in charge as manager the Red Devils. Prior to the home encounter with Palace, there had been some doubts in the media about whether Ronaldo would be able to function as part of the German’s preferred high-energy, high-pressing playing style, but he largely put those doubts to sleep, at least for now. CR7 completed the 90 minutes against the Eagles, took most shots out of all players on the pitch and recorded most attempts on goal as well. The only thing missing was a goal to follow his GW15 brace against Arsenal. This weekend, there’s a visit to Norwich on the agenda, followed by an extended run of favourable fixtures. Ronaldo has already risen by £0.1m this week and you can expect more of that over the coming days and weeks.

Non-premium pick

After a nondescript start to the 2021-22 season, James Maddison (£6.7m) has picked up some good form of late. The England international struggled with injury niggles and lacked form for a number of gameweeks, but with 2 goals and 2 assists in his last three league outings, he seems to have left those issues behind him and reclaimed his spot as one of Leicester’s principal creative outlets up front. Last weekend’s game at Villa was disappointing for both Maddison and the Foxes in general, as they probably could’ve done better than a 2-1 loss, but the midfielder did record two consecutive double-digit hauls versus Watford at home and Southampton away prior to the visit to Villa Park. After Thursday’s Europa League visit to Napoli, the Foxes will host Newcastle on Sunday and despite the Toon picking up their first win of the season against Burnley last weekend, Leicester will be eyeing this one as a must-win. Hopefully for them, Maddison will be there to make it happen.

The budget enabler

Considering the current shortage of truly attractive options in the official game’s Forwards category, we figured we’d highlight a useful and kindly priced attacker as our budget enabler of the week. Joshua King (£5.7m) has been in excellent form for Watford of late, particularly since the arrival of Claudio Ranieri as the club’s new manager back in gameweek 8. The Norwegian forward missed that game, but has not missed a minute of Premier League action since then. Over that run of seven games, he scored 5 goals (including a hattrick against Everton in GW9) and collected 34 FPL points, which comes to an average of just under 5 points per game. For a budget striker, that’s more than decent, and there might be more on the way, especially when you consider that he leads his team in practically every underlying attacking statistic. Next up are Brentford away, followed by a trip to Turf Moor and a home game versus Crystal Palace, so making King a must-include on your watch lists, at the least, needs no discussion.

The differential

Our limit for an FPL asset to be considered as a differential pick is an overall ownership of less than 10%. Based on that rough guideline, it would be reasonable to label players with an ownership of below 1% as ultra-differentials, right? Well, in that case we are putting up an ultra-differential for gameweek 16, as Manchester United’s Diogo Dalot (£4.4m) currently sits in just 0.5% of all teams. The Portuguese right-back has filled in for Aaron Wan-Bissaka in the last two league games and did well. So well, in fact, that he might just have played himself into his new manager’s starting eleven, especially when considering that original first choice AWB has largely failed to impress so far this season. Make of it what you will, but last weekend, the former Palace defender was on the bench, while Dalot played 90 minutes for the second time in a row. We’d recommend checking out United’s starting line-up against Young Boys in the Champions League as well as any teams news coming out of Carrington over the coming days, because a starting United full-back, priced at £4.4m, owned by just 0.5% of FPL managers, and with Norwich away up next almost sounds too good to be true.

For more GW16 FPL transfer suggestions see what the fiso forum members think.

The captaincy

The captaincy, for a first time in a long time, is an interesting one in gameweek 16. There is obviously Mo Salah, the man who has only failed to return anything in GW2 and our undisputed captain for his encounter with Aston Villa at Anfield this weekend. We won’t get into this much further, because the conclusion is pretty much common knowledge by now. You want to play it safe with the armband? Stick it on Mo.

Having said that, we feel Cristiano Ronaldo will be attracting a lot of captaincy attention as well for his game at Carrow Road. He’s extremely explosive and a new-manager bounce might be just what is needed to provide Salah with some captaincy competition over the coming weeks, finally. Other interesting captaincy candidates for gameweek 16 include Phil Foden and the on-fire Bernardo Silva as they host Wolves, Mason Mount at home against Leeds (who sound like they will be missing Kalvin Phillips their midfield dynamo through injury), and Jamie Vardy or even James Maddison for their home game versus Newcastle.