FPL Season 2020-21: Gameweek 26 preview

“Two home games for in-form Manchester City in DGW26”. (CC by 4.0). Image by: Ank Kumar.

From a fantasy perspective, gameweek 26 might very well turn out to be the week of the season. According to Ben “Mr. Double Gameweek” Crellin (@BenCrellin on Twitter), the upcoming round is likely to be this season’s biggest double gameweek with no less than 14 teams playing twice, including many of the big names. We have posted a quick overview of these teams and their FPL GW26 schedules below:

ASTON VILLALeeds (away)Sheffield United (away)
BURNLEYSpurs (away)Leicester (home)
CHELSEAMan United (home)Liverpool (away)
CRYSTAL PALACEFulham (home)Man United (home)
EVERTONSouthampton (home)West Brom (away)
FULHAMCrystal Palace (away)Spurs (home)
LEICESTERArsenal (home)Burnley (away)
LIVERPOOLSheffield United (away)Chelsea (home)
MAN CITYWest Ham (home)Wolves (home)
MAN UNITEDChelsea (away)Crystal Palace (away)
SHEFFIELD UNITEDLiverpool (home)Aston Villa (home)
SPURSBurnley (home)Fulham (away)
WEST BROMBrighton (home)Everton (home)
WOLVESNewcastle (away)Man City (away)

In terms of double gameweek teams, we are more than spoilt for choice this round, which is why our fantasy pick recommendations are heavily based on these teams. Having said that, Leeds United and Brighton have reasonably favourable fixtures as well as they face Aston Villa (home) and West Brom (away). Especially for those managers who are set up with a few players from these teams, it could be worth considering starting them or even Bench Boosting. In any case, expect major activity on the chips front this week from those that don’t have 11 players doubling (or have a good bench) and don’t be afraid to take a hit (or two) in order to set up your squad for the doubles.

Don’t forget, the deadline for gameweek 26 is set at 11h00 (UK time) on Saturday, February 27th.

Do check out the Predicted Line-Ups for the Premier League clubs as well as the latest injury news (click on ‘Team’ to sort per club rather than the default ‘date’) before finalising your transfer(s).

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

GKPope (BUR), McCarthy (SOU), Mendy (CHE)Martinez (AST), Ederson (CIT), Areola (FUL)Managers bringing in DGW assets with favourable fixtures.
DEFJustin (LEI), Chilwell (CHE), Cresswell (WHU)Targett (AST), Cancelo (CIT), Digne (EVE)Justin injury, managers bringing in DGW assets with favourable fixtures.
MIDGrealish (AST), Maddison (LEI), Salah (LIV)Barnes (LEI), Gündogan (CIT), Son (TOT)Grealish and Maddison injury doubts, managers bringing in DGW assets with favourable fixtures.
FORIngs (SOU), Bamford (LEE), Antonio (WHU)Calvert-Lewin (EVE), Kane (TOT), Watkins (AST)Managers bringing in DGW assets with favourable fixtures.

Premium pick

Double gameweek 26 is offering plenty of interesting premium fantasy picks, including the likes of the ever-present Mo Salah, the fit again Kevin de Bruyne, and the pretty much undisputed king of FPL, Bruno Fernandes. We have gone with a somewhat differential pick in the person of Raheem Sterling (£11.6m), who is still owned by just 12.6% of FPL managers despite returning in ten of his last 12 appearances (6 goals and 4 assists). The 26-year old is also the outfield player with most playing minutes on the Man City roster since gameweek 17 and he even captained his side for the 69 minutes that he was on the pitch against Mönchengladbach in the Champions League on Wednesday. Sure, rotation is always a risk when it comes to City assets, but Raz once again looks like a key player for Pep Guardiola and he could be of huge value this round.

Non-premium picks

Another player who looks set for a big haul in DGW26 is Everton striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£7.7m). The England forward lost some backers due to his absence in DGW24, but he is still owned by more than 38% of fantasy managers. He did not wait to deliver upon his return to action either, winning a huge penalty in the derby at Anfield last weekend. DCL currently sits on 13 goals and 6 assists, and he has returned in his last three appearances for a total of 25 FPL points. In the upcoming round, the Toffees are facing Southampton at home followed by an away game at the Hawthornes. This also explains why he is currently the most transferred-in forward in the official game and why he will probably be amongst the most-captained players overall for this round.

Our second non-premium fantasy pick for DGW26 is a striker as well, and a nailed-on option for his team up front. Ollie Watkins (£6.5m) needed just four games to mark his arrival amongst the English footballing elite and he did so in style, with a hattrick and an assist against reigning champions Liverpool back in gameweek 4. Since then, he has been steadily working on his tallies, which has brought him to 10 goals and 4 assists at the moment of writing. Despite blanking in his last two games, he netted 4 times in the five games prior to that, and he has away games against Leeds and Sheffield United coming up this round. The Villans will probably miss their star man Jack Grealish for one or both games, but Watkins should still be around the top of your watchlists for this week’s transfers.

The budget enabler

It’s true that Fulham are still lodged in the relegation zone and they have been for a while already, but it’s also true that Scott Parker’s men have shown definite signs of improvement over the past months. From their last four Premier League games, they have taken a more than decent 8 points, in great part thanks to a considerably improved defence. The Cottagers conceded just a single goal over that run. With a double gameweek against Crystal Palace (away) and goal-shy Spurs (home), their wing-back and highest-scoring defender Ola Aina (£4.5m) could therefore be a very interesting budget and differential pick. The former Chelsea talent has recorded 28 FPL points over the last three games, courtesy of 2 clean sheets, 1 goal and 1 assist.

A differential pick or two

In the absence of Calvert-Lewin, it was that other Toffee star that needed to deliver in the striker position and deliver he did. Richarlison (£7.9m) scored back-to-back goals against Manchester City and Liverpool, and brought his owners a decent 13 FPL points. Up next is a double consisting of Southampton at home and West Brom away, and despite the fact that DCL will return as the Toffee number nine, his Brazilian partner in crime will get chances to build on his good form as well. With 4 goals, 5 assists and a current ownership of just 7.5%, Richarlison has been having a bit of an underwhelming season so far, but he is a mainstay under Carlo Ancelotti and could prove to be a major differential in DGW26.

For our second fantasy pick in this category, we have gone even more differential. Jack Grealish is currently the highest-scoring Aston Villa midfielder, which is not surprising, but the name following him is. It’s not Ross Barkley or John McGinn, but the tricky Bertrand Traoré (£5.9m). With 5 goals and 3 assists to his name so far, the former Ajax and Lyon star has nailed down a spot as winger in Dean Smith’s starting eleven. He collected 17 FPL points in his last three PL games, courtesy of a goal against Leicester and an assist against Arsenal, and up next are two of the most suspect defences in the league (Leeds and Sheffield United). With an ownership of just 0.8%, Traoré could be the ultimate differential for this DGW.

The captaincy

With so many players playing twice this round and with several of those players actually preparing for a favourable fixture double, there are plenty of captaincy candidates for the armband in DGW26. We have ended up going with Raheem Sterling, who was taken off after 69 minutes in the Champions League on Wednesday. We’re hoping that this points to a spot in the starting eleven against West Ham and Wolves over the coming days for the Pep’s most-used outfield player. Raz has been consistent more than explosive over the past few months with 10 returns in his last twelve games, and we’re hoping for this trend to continue in DGW26.

Not sure about captaining a City asset? Understandable, we have all been there by now. In this case, you can opt for Mo Salah (against Sheffield United away and Chelsea at home), Bruno Fernandes (Chelsea and Palace away), or one of the Spurs boys, such as Kane or Son, as they face Burnley at home and Fulham at the Cottage. More differential picks for the captaincy could be DCL or Richarlison against Southampton at home and West Brom away, Jamie Vardy against Arsenal at home and Burnley away, or even Ollie Watkins away against Leeds and Sheffield United.

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FPL season 2020-21: Gameweek 25 preview

“A top-of-the-table clash at the London Stadium this weekend: West Ham vs Spurs” (CC by 4.0). Image by Hammersfan.

With a bunch of postponed fixtures still needing to be allocated somewhere along the existing Premier League schedule, the coming gameweeks look like they will be all be double gameweeks to some extent. Gameweek 26 looks to become a big one, but every round up to blank gameweek 29 is very likely to feature at least a few teams with two fixtures. For the upcoming GW26, those teams are Southampton and Leeds:

SOUTHAMPTONChelsea (home)Leeds (away)
LEEDSWolves (away)Southampton (home)

In our last gameweek preview, we strongly recommended to keep an eye on the FA Cup lineups and results. This week, we’re doing the same, but for the European competitions. Liverpool were the first English side to kick off the Champions League knock-out season, and Chelsea and Manchester City will follow suit this week. In the Europa League, Spurs, Manchester United, Arsenal and Leicester City will be in action on Thursday evening. In other words, when it comes to the many excellent FPL assets on the rosters of these teams, keep variables like fitness, fatigue and rotation in mind when planning your transfers and starting lineups for GW25.

Don’t forget, the deadline for gameweek 25 is set at 18h30 (UK time) on Friday, February 19th.

Do check out the Predicted Line-Ups for the Premier League clubs as well as the latest injury news (click on ‘Team’ to sort per club rather than the default ‘date’) before finalising your transfer(s).

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

GKMendy (CHE), McCarthy (SOU), Lloris (TOT)Martínez (AST), Ederson (CIT), Pope (BUR)
DEFJustin (LEI), Chilwell (CHE), Robertson (LIV)Dallas (LEE), Cancelo (CIT), Dunk (BRI)City and Brighton defensive shapes, Dallas DGW, Justin injury, Chilwell rotation.
MIDSon (TOT), Grealish (AST), Soucek (WHU)Gündogan (CIT), Raphinha (LEE), Barnes (LEI)In-form budget assets being brought in.
FORCalvert-Lewin (EVE), Wilson (NEW), Antonio (WHU)Bamford (LEE), Vardy (LEI), Ings (SOU)All transferred-out forwards are injured to some degree, Bamford and Ings have a DGW.

Premium pick

Apart from Manchester United, none of the traditional big teams featuring the traditional premium fantasy picks have a particularly favourable fixture for gameweek 25. Sure, Sterling could explode against an unpredictable Arsenal side and Salah could easily put a few past Everton’s defence at Anfield, but we’ve gone for the “safe” option with Bruno Fernandes (£11.2m). United’s Portuguese talisman is on fire once again with three consecutive weeks of returns (3 goals, 2 assists, 33 FPL points) and will be facing a rather uninspired Newcastle on Sunday. United will, of course, play against Real Sociedad on Thursday in the Europa League, which will not be a walk-over by any stretch, but Bruno should be safe for a start against the Magpies three days later.

Non-premium picks

With a double gameweek coming up, it’s hard to look past Leeds United when it comes to FPL decisions. Marcelo Bielsa’s side is a guarantee for goals this season, both in their favour and against them, as the Whites will attack any opposition at any given time. At the moment, just four teams have scored more than their 40 goals, while only West Bromwich Albion have conceded more than their 42 goals. Leeds defenders, apart from the out-of-position Stuart Dallas, are therefore not the most popular fantasy picks in the official game, but Leeds forwards definitely are.

That’s why we have gone with two Leeds United assets as our non-premium fantasy picks for GW25, namely striker and top scorer Patrick Bamford (£6.8m), and midfielder/winger Raphinha (£5.3m). Thanks to his nailed-on spot in the starting eleven, and his current 12 goals and 8 assists, Bamford has already risen by no less than £1.3m this season. With games against Wolves and Southampton up next in gameweek 25, this rise does not seem to be stopping any time soon.

Very much contrary to the Englishman’s very high ownership (53.9%), Raphinha is still going somewhat under the FPL radar with an ownership of just 3.9%, which is surprising. The Brazilian is a starter under Bielsa, has set-piece duties, and has provided attacking returns in five consecutive gameweeks now (2 goals, 4 assists, 38 FPL points). He totals 4 goals and 6 assists for the season so far, and could be a very good asset for gameweek 25 and onwards.

The budget enabler

Rarely has there been an FPL season in which your squad’s bench mattered as much as it does in the current campaign. Injury, illness, fatigue, and rotation all make predicting lineups and results harder than ever, so a good budget-enabling pick can be gold. We believe that Brighton’s Dan Burn (£4.2m) could be such a pick. While Webster and Lamptey remain absent through injuries for the Seagulls, Burn looks set for a starting spot. With 2 clean sheets and 14 FPL points from his last three Premier League games, he has been returning as well for the 0.5% of FPL managers who own him at the moment. Brighton are facing Crystal Palace at home and West Brom away in the next two, which should put Burn on your watchlists for budget gems at least.

A differential pick or two

So far, we have mainly talked about Leeds as the team to focus on for their double gameweek, but Southampton has one coming up as well. In truth, the Saints have seen their excellent early-season form drop off quite dramatically of late, but a little punt on one of their best performers could be worth it. James Ward-Prowse (£6.0m) is what some would call the beating heart of this Southampton side or at least a very important other organ. He is their captain and main man for practically all set-pieces, which makes him particularly appealing for the upcoming double confrontation with Chelsea (home) and Leeds (away). He currently has 5 goals and 5 assists to his, and he was on target for the last time back in GW23 against Newcastle. JWP is owned by 7.7% of managers and will surely get some chances to improve on his tallies in double gameweek 25.

Our second differential pick is the definition of “differential” with a current ownership of just 0.2%. After Raul Jimenez’ head injury, Wolves were in dire need of attacking reinforcement and they opted for Willian José (£7.0m) to address that need. The Brazilian striker was loaned from Real Sociedad in January and has started the last four Premier League games for Wolves, netting once, back in gameweek 22 versus Arsenal. On Friday, he and his team mates in orange will be facing the league’s second-leakiest defence as they host Leeds United at Molineux. The outcome of the game is unpredictable, but José will almost certainly get a few chances to score his second goal in the English top flight.

The captaincy

Finally, the GW25 captaincy. Based on Leeds United’s attacking prowess regardless of the opposition and the fact that they have a reasonably appealing double gameweek coming up, we have chosen Patrick Bamford as our captain for GW25. Another advantage to this captaincy pick is that Leeds and Bamford have no European games or cup games to worry about, so Bielsa is likely to field his strongest starting eleven against both Southampton and Wolves. Bamford is obviously part of that starting eleven.

Many of the usual candidates for the armband are facing tricky fixtures this gameweek, so the captaincy could be a fragmented affair this time. One player who will likely attract a lot of attention is Bruno Fernandes as United play Newcastle at home. The ever-dangerous Mo Salah at home to Everton and in-form Raheem Sterling away at the Emirates are good picks as well. For the more adventurous FPL manager, the likes of double gameweek boys Danny Ings and Raphinha could result in big rewards.

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FPL season 2020-21: Gameweek 24

“Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea are hosting a Wilson-less Newcastle on Sunday” (CC by 2.5). Image by Andrewi.

And just like that, it’s Double Gameweek season again! Granted, it’s a relatively small one this round with Burnley, Everton, Fulham and Manchester City featuring twice, but it still concerns a more than decent set of FPL assets. That’s also why our fantasy picks for gameweek 24 will be largely based on players from those teams. For convenience, we have placed a quick overview of the teams playing twice here below:

BurnleyCrystal Palace (A)Fulham (H)
EvertonFulham (H)Man City (H)
FulhamEverton (A)Burnley (A)
Manchester CitySpurs (H)Everton (A)

Apart from the DGW fixtures, there is also the FA Cup to take into account which is a big event in the sports betting world. The 5th round of the world’s oldest football cup tournament is being played this week and in the middle of an already hectic Premier League schedule, this will surely have its effects on player fitness and starting lineups. In short, the scene for another nerve-wrecking round of FPL action looks to be set. Keep an eye on the starting lineups in the FA Cup and don’t ignore the many teams with a single game this weekend. Points come from everywhere this season.

Don’t forget, the deadline for gameweek 24 is set at 11h00 (UK time) on Saturday, February 13th.

Do check out the Predicted Line-Ups for the Premier League clubs as well as the latest injury news (click on ‘Team’ to sort per club rather than the default ‘date’) before finalising your transfer(s).

Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per February 11th, 2021)

GKMcCarthy (SOU), Lloris (TOT), Ederson (CIT)Pope (BUR), Martinez (AST), Ederson (CIT)
DEFRobertson (LIV), Chilwell (LEI), Zouma (CHE)Dias (CIT), Wan-Bissaka (UTD), Justin (LEI)Defenders in form being brought in, new-look Chelsea under Tuchel.
MIDSoucek (WHU), Son (TOT), Zaha (CRY)Gündogan (CIT), Foden (CIT), Sterling (CIT)City’s double gameweek
FORWilson (NEW), Antonio (WHU), Lacazette (ARS)Calvert-Lewin (EVE), Kane (TOT), Watkins (AST)Form strikers being brought in, Wilson hamstring injury

Premium pick

With the return to fitness of popular premium assets such as Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy, gameweek 24 offers quite a few interesting picks in this category, but we feel that it’s hard to look past Raheem Sterling (£11.6m) at the moment. The City winger, who is classified as a midfielder in FPL, in currently the highest-scoring Cityzen in the official game and his recent run of form has a lot to do with that. In his last three starts, Raz collected 27 FPL points, courtesy of 3 goals and 1 assist. In DGW24, he is facing strong opposition in the form of Spurs and Everton, but in his current form, he could be a huge asset for your fantasy team. On top of that, he played just 56 minutes against Swansea in the FA Cup on Tuesday, which should be good news for FPL managers.

Non-premium picks

Sterling’s and City’s recent good goalscoring form aside though, the most value in terms of Man City assets has been in defence this season. That’s why we have included Joao Cancelo (£6.0m) in our selection for gameweek 24. It’s true that for a defender, his price tag definitely flirts with the premium category, but the way he’s playing right now, we’d consider him more like a sixth midfielder. Even though his returns currently don’t show it (1 goal, 2 assists), the Portuguese wingback/midfielder has been one of Pep Guardiola’s best and most consistent performers this season. He passes each and every eye test with flying colors, and the fact that he has been part of 10 clean sheets already makes him a double threat. Spurs at home and Everton away up next for the league’s best defence.

Speaking of Everton, one of the most popular incoming transfers in the build-up to the GW24 deadline will very likely be Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£7.7m). The Everton striker is already the most transferred-in forward in FPL, which makes sense, because he is combining form and fixture this round. The Toffees have a double gameweek against Fulham and Man City (both at home) coming up and DCL himself looks to be going on another good run of form with 2 goals and 1 assist in his last two games, as well as a goal against Spurs in the FA Cup on Wednesday. A downside to this pick is that in that same game against Spurs, the English forward was also replaced after 55 minutes with what looked like a hamstring injury. He did walk off the pitch by himself though, and no worrying official reports have been published yet, but we suggest to keep an eye on the situation.

The budget enabler

Our budget-enabling pick for the upcoming gameweek does not feature twice this round, but he’s definitely worth considering for those FPL managers looking to free up funds quickly. Pascal Struijk (£3.9m) has started every game for Leeds United since gameweek 15 and collected 27 FPL points since then. Nothing to get overly excited about, apart from the fact that he costs just £3.9m at the moment of writing. The young Dutchman has no attacking returns to his name yet, though he came close three times in the last game against Crystal Palace, but he does have 3 clean sheets to his name already. As a fifth defender in your team, he could be an excellent addition in a season in which the bench players are more important than ever.

A differential pick or two

For our differential fantasy picks this round, we have come up with the Burnley assets. The Clarets had a horrid start to the season, but they have been steadily improving over the past few months, which has lead to the current 8-point gap between them and the relegation zone. The fact that only eight teams in the league boast a better defensive record than Sean Dyche’s men has more than a bit to do with it. They have conceded 29 goals in 22 matches and they have a double gameweek coming up against two of the shyest attacks in the English topflight at the moment, Crystal Palace (away) and Fulham (home). The Cottagers have scored just 2 goals in their last four games, while the Eagles will be most likely be missing their main man Wilfried Zaha when they host Burnley on Saturday afternoon.

As a result of this seemingly favourable coming-together of circumstances for the Clarets, we figured Matt Lowton (£4.5m) and Ashley Westwood (£5.3m) could be shrewd differential picks. It doesn’t take much imagination to see the former taking 12 points from 2 clean sheets this gameweek, while even 1 clean sheet and an 8-point haul would be acceptable. As far as the latter is concerned, it’s a fact that no team has scored less than Burnley so far this season, but he is on most set-pieces, including direct free-kicks. Westwood has 1 goal and 3 assists to his name, and is the Claret’s main creative outlet at the moment. A return against Palace and/or Fulham could happen and would see you gain some ground in your leagues. While Lowton is currently owned by 2.1% of FPL managers, Westwood features in just 0.6% of all teams.

The captaincy

With a double gameweek coming up and him being replaced in the FA cup before the hour, our FPL captaincy pick for gameweek 24 is Raheem Sterling. The Man City attacker is bang in form at the moment and despite the difficulty of his upcoming encounters on paper, the English dribbler will get chances to score and assist. He was a constant threat against Liverpool in GW23 and we find it hard to imagine him not being very involved in both upcoming games.

If you don’t have the budget for Raz or simply don’t trust Pep Guardiola (we feel you), there are plenty of other good options for the armband to consider as well. There are, of course, Sterling’s defensive team-mates Joao Cancelo, John Stones and Ruben Dias who could deliver big over the coming days. In case of good news surrounding his injury, Dominic Calvert-Lewin is a good shout as well. Bruno Fernandes is one of the single gameweek candidates as United visit Sheffield United on Sunday, while Michail Antonio or even Aaron Cresswell at home against a Wilson-less Newcastle could result in pretty differential rewards as well.

Join FISO’s FPL discussion forum for more Fantasy Premier League news and tactics.

FPL Season 2020-21: Gameweek 23 preview

“Big game alert on Sunday: Liverpool v Manchester City at Anfield” (CC by 4.0). Image by Yurificacion.

Gameweek 23 already. The Premier League moved fast over the past week and a half with four gameweeks in about 12 days. We saw plenty of rotation, several high-profile injuries, and some serious form fluctuations, and you can count on more of this when GW23 kicks off just 40 hours after gameweek 22’s final kick-off. After that though, teams (and FPL managers alike, of course) will finally get a bit of a breather until gameweek 24.

Back to the upcoming round of fixtures. This weekend presents us with a couple of big clashes, the most eye-catching one being the encounter between an out-of-sorts Liverpool and very much NOT out-of-sorts Manchester City at Anfield. One day earlier, Manchester United host Everton, while Arsenal visit Villa Park for what surely be very two very tightly contested matches. From an FPL point of view, the away game of Chelsea at seemingly improving Sheffield United and Tottenham’s home game against struggling West Bromwich Albion will surely attract a lot of FPL manager suitors.

Don’t forget, the deadline for gameweek 23 is set at 11h00 (UK time) on Saturday, February 6th.

Do check out the Predicted Line-Ups for the Premier League clubs as well as the latest injury news (click on ‘Team’ to sort per club rather than the default ‘date’) before finalising your transfer(s).

Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per February 4th, 2021)

GKLeno (ARS), McCarthy (SOU), Pickford (EVE)Martinez (AST), Mendy (CHE), Pope (BUR)
DEFBednarek (SOU), Tierney (ARS), Saïss (WOL)Wan-Bissaka (UTD), Shaw (UTD), Dias (CIT)Transferred-out defenders are all injured or suspended, the Manchester teams are in good form.
MIDZaha (CRY), Foden (CIT), Salah (LIV)Lingard (WHU), Soucek (WHU), Fernandes (UTD)Zaha injury doubt, Foden rotation, Liverpool unreliable, West Ham and United had a good GW22.
FORKane (TOT), Firmino (LIV), Calvert-Lewin (EVE)Antonio (WHU), Wilson (NEW), Bamford (LEE)Kane injury, Firmino lack of returns, transferred-in forwards providing excellent value.

Premium pick

Another 9-0 victory looks unlikely, but you can be sure that confidence is soaring at Manchester United at the moment. After a home defeat against lowly Sheffield United and a disappointing draw versus Arsenal, the Red Devils seemed a bit down, but they returned to their winning ways in devastating style. Their thrashing of Southampton on Tuesday also meant the first returns for Bruno Fernandes (£11.4m) since GW19 and his first goal since GW17. At the same time, his 17-point haul, courtesy of 1 goal, 2 assists and 3 bonus points, was also his ninth double-digit haul of the 2020-21 campaign and it made him the official game’s highest-scoring player once again. A powerful reminder for the 42.9% of FPL managers who still don’t own him. They are facing an Everton fresh of a hard-fought away victory over Leeds, but Fernandes can still very well deliver big at Old Trafford.

Non-premium picks

Looking back at the past 22 gameweeks, plenty of very good bargain performers have emerged, with Patrick Bamford (£6.6m) probably topping the bunch. The Leeds forward started the season at £5.5m and has made a complete mockery of that price tag by scoring 11 goals and assisting another 8 in 21 Premier League games. Over the last two games, against Leicester at the King Power and Everton at Elland Road, Bamfy has recorded 20 FPL points, courtesy of 1 goal and 3 assists. Up next are Roy Hodgson’s Crystal Palace who have been in decent form themselves of late, but it doesn’t really matter. Leeds will attack with abandon regardless of the opposition and Bamford will get chances to add to his already impressive tallies.

In Wednesday’s battle at Villa Park between two of the biggest surprises this season, Aston Villa and West Ham United, it was the away side who got away with a deserved victory. The Hammers were a bit unlucky to concede a goal, though it wasn’t undeserved for Villa either, which meant that Aaron Cresswell (£5.6m) could not add a eighth clean sheet to his total for the season. Still, the West Ham defender currently tops the ranking for FPL points scored by a defender, thanks to no less than 8 assists and 11 bonus points on top of his 7 clean sheets. The Hammers are playing Fulham at Craven Cottage next, where the home team have scored just a single goal in their last five games.

The budget enabler

Burnley’s schedule has brightened up a bit after a difficult run of six fixtures from which they nevertheless took 6 points and in which they conceded 8 goals. It should be noted that this run consisted of encounters with United, West Ham, Liverpool, Villa, Chelsea and City. The Clarets face Brighton (home), Crystal Palace (away) and West Brom (home) next though, which brings their right-back right Matt Lowton (£4.4m) into the picture. The 31-year old is a fixed starter under Sean Dyche and already has been part of 6 clean sheets in the Premier League this season. At his current price tag and with an ownership of just 1.4%, he could be a very shrewd addition to your team.

A differential pick or two

Speaking of shrewd additions, how about Leeds United’s Raphinha (£5.3m)? It’s rather incredible that a very budget-priced midfielder who plays as a starter and a winger in the league’s most attacking side is still owned by just 1.3%. Especially when considering that he is on corner duties from the right and has scored 2 goals and 2 assists in his last three games for a total of 27 FPL points. That’s an average of 9 points per game, and those three games saw the Whites face Newcastle, Leicester (both away) and Everton. Is he perhaps only available in our version of the Fantasy Premier League? We’re not sure, but the Brazilian should definitely be on your watch lists.

In many aspects, the same goes for our second differential fantasy pick for gameweek 23. Eberechi Eze (£5.8) is a little bit more expensive than Raphinha, and his team is a lot less attacking than Leeds is, but he is still a differential pick with a high ceiling. He has played himself into Roy Hodgson’s starting eleven at Crystal Palace, and has rewarded his manager with 3 goals and 4 assists so far. He returned in his last two games, at home against Wolves (1 goal, 11 FPL points) and away at Saint James’ Park (1 assist, 7 FPL points), is in charge of plenty of set-pieces, and visits Elland Road next. Whether the Eagles will take the three points back home remains to be seen, but teams get plenty of opportunities against Leeds and so will Palace.

For more FPL GW23 transfer pick ideas, check out the dedicated FISO forum topic.

The captaincy

After his ninth double-digit haul of the season, we have decided to put the captain’s armband on Bruno Fernandes for his upcoming home game against Everton. The Portuguese playmaker has been a bit quieter in terms of FPL returns since Pogba entered the starting eleven, but he reminded us this week just why he is considered a practically essential FPL asset at the moment. Like his side, he can explode at any moment, and we wouldn’t be surprised to see them put a few past the Toffees at Old Trafford coming Saturday.

If you’re not entirely convinced by Bruno or possibly don’t have the funds to bring him in, then worry not. With Heung-Min Son at home to West Brom, Raheem Sterling at Anfield and even Mo Salah against City, there are some other good options as well. In the more differential bracket, you could opt for Patrick Bamford at home against Crystal Palace, Michail Antonio away at Craven Cottage, or Callum Wilson at home against a severely weakened So’ton side low on confidence.

FPL season 2020-21: Gameweek 22 preview

“London derby time on Thursday night as Spurs are welcoming Chelsea to the Tottenham Stadium”. (CC by 2.0). Image by Daniel.

As has become usual this season, gameweek 21 was another bag of surprises for FPL managers around the world. First of all, of course, our sympathies to the 700-something-thousand managers who had high hopes for their City trio of Cancelo, Stones and Sterling against Burnley in GW21. Just a reminder of how real rotation is at Man City. Second of all, you were not entirely alone, as the five most transferred-in players last weekend (Calvert-Lewin, Gündogan, Cancelo, Watkins & Sterling) returned a majestic 7 FPL points between them. Of the top five captains (Bruno Fernandes, Salah, Son, Kane, Gündogan), only the Egyptian Red didn’t blank. Despite the round’s 48-point average score, it was a tough one for many of us.

The next gameweek is already upon us and all 20 Premier League clubs will be back in action during the upcoming midweek round, which arrives hot on the heels of a full weekend of Premier League action. Opening on Tuesday evening are Sheffield United and West Brom with a very real bottom-of-the-table clash. Seeing as Fulham hosts Leicester the day after, both teams will be be more than aware of the value of a potential three points. The encounter of the week takes place at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, where London rivals Chelsea will look to build on their decent performance against Burnley last weekend. There are also games between Manchester United and Southampton, form teams Aston Villa and West Ham, and Wolves versus Arsenal, just to name a few. Plenty to look forward to once again, though keep in mind that rotation might very well strike big again over the coming days.

Don’t forget, the deadline for gameweek 22 is set at 16h30 (UK time) on Tuesday, February 2nd.

Do check out the Predicted Line-Ups for the Premier League clubs as well as the latest injury news (click on ‘Team’ to sort per club rather than the default ‘date’) before finalising your transfer(s).

Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per February 1st, 2021)

GKMcCarthy (SOU), Lloris (TOT), Ryan (BRI)Martinez (AST), Ederson (CIT), Leno (ARS)
DEFChilwell (CHE), Walker-Peters (SOU), Zouma (CHE)Dias (CIT), Cresswell (WHU), Targett (AST)Manager change at Chelsea, excellent defensive performances by City, Villa and West Ham.
MIDSon (TOT), Saka (ARS), Sterling (CIT)Salah (LIV), Grealish (AST), Gündogan (CIT)Salah back to scoring, Spurs disappointing, Sterling rotated.
FORKane (TOT), Calvert-Lewin (EVE), Lacazette (ARS)Wilson (NEW), Antonio (WHU), Bamford (LEE)Kane injury, Wilson brace, Antonio and Bamford form.

Premium pick

It’s been a bit of a massacre for the premium fantasy assets in FPL over the past few weeks. Either injuries (e.g. De Bruyne, Kane, Vardy) or largely lacking returns (e.g. Bruno Fernandes, Mané, Salah) seriously decimated the candidate pool for our premium category. After six consecutive blanks, Liverpool’s Mo Salah (£12.6m) showed a serious sign of line against West Ham over the weekend, though. The Egyptian wizard scored twice for a total of 15 FPL points and Liverpool as a whole looked pretty good against an in-form Hammers side. Though there are definitely some things Liverpool need to work on still, we do believe that their recent slump in form and results was a bit of a freak occurrence. Hopefully they can prove us right on Wednesday when Brighton visit Anfield.

Non-premium picks

Our first non-premium pick is based on a combination of undeniable quality and form as Aston Villa host West Ham on Wednesday. The home team currently sits in ninth while the visitors are up in fifth place, so this is a clash between two teams in good form. Villa star Jack Grealish (£7.7m) could be the one to make the difference in what we feel should be a tightly contested encounter. The England international has posted attacking returns in his last three gameweeks, with 1 goal and 2 assists for a total of 20 FPL points. Despite playing two games less, the Villans are amongst the top-five teams for many of the important attacking stats, including goals scored, shots on target and big chances. West Ham at home won’t be a walk in the park, but Grealish could deliver this week.

The second non-premium fantasy pick that caught our eye in the build-up to gameweek 22 is Wilfried Zaha (£7.2m). Even more than Grealish at Villa, the Ivorian forward is the principal source of offensive creativity at the Eagles. He is their top scorer with 9 goals, their joint-assist leader with 3 successful final passes, and the player with most shots in Roy Hodgson’s side. Palace are playing at Saint James’ Park in GW22 and have a rather favourable set of fixtures following that one, including home games against Fulham, Burnley and West Brom, and away games at Leeds and Brighton over the next seven rounds. Zaha was inches away from his second consecutive return against Wolves when he hit the bar and his overall form looked pretty good. Palace aren’t the most free-scoring of sides, but Zaha could be a good investment for the short and medium term.

The budget enabler

Goalkeepers are heavily under-represented in most FPL previews, including ours, but our budget-enabling fantasy pick this week stands between the sticks. Brighton’s Robert Sanchez (£4.4m) has gone a bit under the radar since becoming Graham Potter’s first-choice goalie back in gameweek 13, which explains both his more than friendly price tag and his current ownership of just 1.3%. Brighton are not a bad side, but they lack goals, which weighs on the team as a whole. At the back though, the Seagulls are really quite stable, which they managed to translate into actual results recently as well. They have not conceded a goal in the past three rounds, which has led Sanchez to collect a very nice 21 FPL points. He could represent the perfect way to free up those final £0.something million for bringing in that field player you feel is going to explode soon.

A differential pick or two

The first differential fantasy pick for gameweek 22 is Leicester forward Harvey Barnes (£6.9m), who has been on fire in recent weeks. The Englishman has recorded attacking returns in his last four games (2 goals, 2 assists), and he already has 7 goals and 3 assists to his name in the Premier League overall. The Foxes will be looking at their midfielders to make up for Jamie Vardy’s absence and Barnes seems to be stepping up. He is their highest-scoring midfielder in FPL and has a decent run of fixtures coming up, starting with Fulham at Craven Cottage this Wednesday. His ownership has been growing recently as a result of his performances, but it still sits at 7.3% at the time of writing this. We can see him growing out of differential status soon, so do consider him for your midfield if you’re looking for picks that make a difference at a kind price.

Recent weeks have been a festival of differential value in the FPL and few players have brought more differential joy than Mateus Pereira (£5.6m). It’s true that his side West Brom is possibly the worst in the league, but in theory, the Brazilian has it all: the key (attacking) role in his team, the budget price tag, the form and the fixture. In a period in which rotation and such are abundant, he could provide exceptional value, both in terms of planning, fantasy selection stability and actual real-life form. Pereira has scored 4 goals in his last four league games for a total of 39 FPL points and up next are Sheffield United at Bramall Lane. The improving Blades will be eyeing this encounter as well though, as three points here would suddenly see them back in the mix for Premier League survival. We find it hard to predict the result for this one and goals could be scarce (or abundant), but West Brom’s Pereira has the qualities to make an impact in this game.

The captaincy

With many of the usual suspects for the armband out injured or out of form, and with relatively few really clear-cut match-ups in gameweek 22 from an FPL point of view, we expect Mo Salah to be the number-one GW22 captaincy candidate this week. We have also gone with the Egyptian as he prepares for a home game against sturdy Brighton on Wednesday night. Salah finally got his name back on the score sheet in GW21 with a brace against West Ham and we hope that he’ll repeat this feat against the Seagulls this week.

If you don’t have Salah or gave up on him after six consecutive blanks, you could opt for one of the Man City boys when they roll up to Turf Moor on Wednesday. Sterling is likely to return to the starting eleven after being rested for the GW21 fixture versus Sheffield United, as are Joao Cancelo and John Stones. Either of these three feel like decent captaincy picks, seeing as City are getting back into form and can count on the league’s best defence by some distance. Riskier picks for the armband include Harvey Barnes away at Fulham, Patrick Bamford at Elland Road versus Everton, Dominic Calvert-Lewin away against Leeds, Wilfried Zaha at Saint James’ Park, and Mateus Pereira away against Sheffield United.

FPL Season 2020-20: Gameweek 21 preview

“Arsenal are hosting Manchester United on Saturday for a top-of-the-table clash” (CC by 3.0). Image by Markus Unger.

Gameweek 20 can be considered as largely another one for the differentials. With 15 FPL points and an ownership of 18.4%, West Ham’s Robert Soucek was one of the highest-scoring and most-owned player in the Team of the Week. City’s Joao Cancelo top scored with 17 points and ranks next in terms of ownership with 17.5% (up 2% in 24 hours) and Sadio Mane also scored 15 points but with an ownership of just 7.8%. It’s clear that GW20 was another unpredictable round.

Onto gameweek 21, then. This weekend serves up another enticing set of fixtures containing encounters that are interesting from both a fantasy point of view and the point of view of a neutral supporter. On Saturday, for example, Arsenal are hosting Manchester United and Southampton welcome Aston Villa to Saint Mary’s, whilst the next day, Leeds visit the King Power Stadium in Leicester and Liverpool visit West Ham. None of these games are easy to predict, but the potential entertainment value looks high. Then there are the encounters between Everton at Newcastle at Goodison Park, Manchester City and Sheffield United at the Etihad, and Brighton versus a Kane-less Spurs at the AmEx, just to name a few of the games that will surely be targeted en masse by FPL managers this week. In other words, plenty to look forward to!

Don’t forget, the deadline for gameweek 21 is set at 11h00 (UK time) on Saturday, January 30th.

Do check out the Predicted Line-Ups for the Premier League clubs as well as the latest injury news (click on ‘Team’ to sort per club rather than the default ‘date’) before finalising your transfer(s).

Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per January 29th, 2020)

GKMcCarthy (SOU), Martinez (AST), Ryan (BRI)Ederson (CIT), Martinez (AST), Schmeichel (LEI)
DEFZouma (CHE), Walker-Peters (ZOU), Dallas (LEE), Tierney (ARS)Cancelo (CIT), Stones (CIT), Dias (CIT)Man City’s table-topping rock-solid defence.
MIDDe Bruyne (CIT), Foden (CIT), Neto (WOL)Gundogan (CIT), Sterling (CIT), Soucek (WHU), Saka (ARS)Excellent budget options emerging to enable investment elsewhere.
FORKane (TOT), Bamford (LEE), Vardy (LEI)Calvert-Lewin (EVE), Watkins (AV), Antonio (WHU)DCL’s return, Watkins price & form, Antonio back in the game. Kane & Vardy injuries.

Kane Replacement

The concensus from FISO for a replacement for Kane is to make a transfer to Dominic Calvert-Lewin and this is born out by the transfer table above. Everton do have 1 or 2 games in hand on every other EPL club, apart from Aston Villa. The extra budget available will allow strengthening in other areas of your team.

After a pretty spectacular start to the 2020-21 campaign, Everton cooled down a bit, though they have still been bringing home results. They are currently in seventh place, just two points off fourth, in part thanks to taking 16 points from their last seven league games. With 11 goals and 4 assists, Dominic Calvert-Lewin (7.6m) has been directly involved in just over half of all Toffee goals in the Premier League, though it should be noted that his last goal came all the way back in gameweek 11. He did add 3 assists to his totals since then and he is now back from injury to face a struggling Newcastle side on Saturday afternoon. The Toon have conceded 10 goals in their last five league games, a run in which they did not win a single point. We’re expecting Everton to make it six consecutive defeats for the Magpies and DCL to finally get his name back on the score sheet again.

Non-premium pick

Now that there are so many very budget-priced players emerging, John Stones (£5.2m) represents a relatively considerable allocation of funds, but overall, we still don’t consider his £5.2m price tag to be premium. Especially not when considering the prices of fellow City defender like Joao Cancelo, Ruben Dias and even Kyle Walker. Stone’s brace back in gameweek 19 was obviously a freak occurrence, but the English defender represents exceptional value even without that 21-point return. He has become a key cog in what is currently the best defensive set-up in English football by some distance and he is up against the league’s least prolific attack this weekend. Sheffield United have scored just 12 goals so far and they are visiting the Etihad on Saturday. A clean sheet and with that a sixth return in seven games for Stones is expected here.

The budget enabler

With 6 goals in his last six games, it’s actually crazy that Ilkay Gündogan (£5.7m) can be included in our budget-enabler category. The Manchester City midfielder has seen an enormous surge in attacking returns since he was situated in a more advanced role by Pep Guardiola and his price tag obviously wasn’t set by FPL towers with that move in mind. He is a sure starter for the Cityzens, he’s on penalties with KDB out injured and he gets several chances per game. On top of that, City are playing bottom-ranked Sheffield United this weekend. At £5.7m, it’s hard to imagine his stock not rising at meteoric speed over the coming weeks, especially if he remains in his red-hot form for a while longer. He performs like a premium player and is priced like a 2-pointer. What more can we wish for?

A differential pick or two

In that same Man City team, Bernardo Silva (£7.4m) has worked hard on his appeal as a fantasy asset as well, albeit at a slightly different pace than his Turkish teammate. Still, the Portuguese technician has started every league game since gameweek 14, and has started returning in the last two rounds as well: 1 goal versus Aston Villa and 1 assist against West Brom for a total of 13 FPL points. The absence of De Bruyne seems to have resulted in a bit more advanced role for Bilva, which could be interesting with a home game against Sheffield United and an away game versus Burnley coming up in the next two rounds. At an ownership of just 1.0%, he could be a shrewd differential investment.

Our second differential fantasy pick for gameweek 21 has seemingly benefited from a team mate’s injury, though to a lesser extent. Harvey Barnes (£6.8m) was already in good form before Jamie Vardy underwent a hernia operation, but from the Everton game this week, it looks like the young English winger will be one of the players to step up in the final third while Vardy is absent. He provided the assist for the equaliser against the Toffees on Wednesday, while he has already scored 3 goals and provided 1 assist in the five gameweeks prior to that game. Despite this fine run of form, Barnes is still owned by just 5.7% of FPL managers, so with the home game against leaky Leeds coming up, his differential appeal is real.

The captaincy

We feel that Brighton could be the perfect kind of opponent for José Mourinho’s Spurs despite Kane’s absence. If they score, chances are Heung-Min Son will be involved, seeing as he has already been directly involved in 54% of all Spurs league goals.

If you don’t have Son or feel that without Kane with him at the AmEx on Sunday he offers less value, Man City offer a few interesting candidates for the GW21 armband as well. The likes of Sterling and Gündogan could deliver a haul against Sheffield United at home, while Cancelo, Dias and Stones look like a certain 12 points against the Blades. The more differential captaincy picks for this weekend include DCL and James Rodriguez against Newcastle at home, Leicester’s Barnes and Maddison against Leeds at home, and the in-form Michail Antonio at home versus Liverpool.

FPL Season 2020-21: Gameweek 20 preview

“Leaders Manchester United are hosting bottom-ranked Sheffield United at Old Trafford on Wednesday”. (CC by 1.0). Image by https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Ank_gsx.

The first major double gameweek of the season did not disappoint. With an average of 74 FPL points, it became the highest-scoring round of the season so far, despite many of the potential big hitters blanking or not recording too many points. We’re looking at you: Mo Salah, Kevin de Bruyne and Marcus Rashford, just to name a few. Instead, it was a (very) good DGW for a bunch of differentials, including John “27 points” Stones, Mateus “3 goals in 2 away games” Pereira and Matt “double clean sheet” Targett.

Even though gameweek 20 is not a blank or double round, we are once again off for an intense period of fixtures, the planning of which for FPL managers is only complicated more by both the potential COVID19-related postponements to come and the last-minute inclusion of previous postponements. There are just 12 days between the start of gameweek 20 and gameweek 23, so expect some serious rotation over the coming weeks as well. In other words, the roller coaster is not slowing, so we suggest to just hold one and enjoy the ride! Oh, and take a look at our player picks for GW20, of course.

Don’t forget, the deadline for gameweek 20 is set at 16h30 (UK time) on Tuesday, January 26th.

Do check out the Predicted Line-Ups for the Premier League clubs as well as the latest injury news (click on ‘Team’ to sort per club rather than the default ‘date’) before finalising your transfer(s).

Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per January 25th, 2020)

GKMeslier (LEE), McCarthy (SOU), Mendy (CHE)Martinez (AST), Ederson (CIT), Forster (SOU)
DEFZouma (CHE), Chilwell (CHE), Dallas (LEE)Stones (CIT), Dias (CIT), Cresswell (WHU)In-form Man City and West Ham defences.
MIDDe Bruyne (CIT), Salah (LIV), Zaha (CRY)Maddison (LEI), Gundogan (CIT), Sterling (CIT)De Bruyne injury, Zaha injury doubt, Salah blanks, City replacement for KDB, Maddison form.
FORVardy (LEI), Calvert-Lewin (EVE), Wilson (NEW)Kane (TOT), Antonio (WHU), Bamford (LEE)Vardy injury, Wilson blanks, Spurs and West Ham form.

Premium pick

Considering everything that’s going on in terms of fixture congestion and what seems like serious form fluctuation over the first half of the season for many teams (might the two be related?), the injuries of popular premium assets Kevin de Bruyne and Jamie Vardy, who both have very good to decent fixtures this week as well, are inconvenient for FPL managers, to say the least. Fortunately, there are more appealing match-ups this round, like Manchester United at home to West Brom. Despite a meagre 8 FPL points from his double gameweek, their talisman Bruno Fernandes (£11.3m) will be amongst the most-captained players in GW20. After three consecutive away games, the Red Devils are back at Old Trafford for this one, where the Portuguese #10 recorded 3 goals and 2 assists in his last three appearances. Only three teams have currently conceded more goals than the Blades and Bruno looks like the prime candidate to unlock their defence for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men on Wednesday.

Non-premium picks

Our first non-premium fantasy pick is John Stones (£5.1m). Not because of his incredible 27-point haul in DGW19, though that obviously makes the pick easier to defend, but because he is a very modestly-priced fixed feature in what is currently the league’s best defence by a mile. The Cityzens have conceded just 13 goals so far and they have a favourable run of fixtures coming up with West Brom (away), Sheffield United (home) and Burnley (away) in the next three gameweeks. Stones has only missed one game since gameweek 10, playing the full 90 minutes on all occasions, and he was rested for the FA Cup game versus Cheltenham. At £5.1m, he provides excellent value for the upcoming run of fixtures for Pep Guardiola’s men.

For our second non-premium fantasy pick, we’re going with Michail Antonio (£6.3m), who burst back onto the Premier League scene after struggling with injury issues for most of the first half of the season. West Ham had one of the most favourable double-gameweek matchups with home games against Burnley and West Brom, and Antonio did not disappoint. He recorded 18 FPL points, courtesy of 2 goals and 6 bonus points, and showed us that he is definitely David Moyes’ first choice for the spot up front. The English forward was rested for the FA Cup encounter with Doncaster Rovers over the weekend, so you can count on him leading the line against Crystal Palace on Tuesday. Attacking returns for a third time in a row do not look out of the question for Antonio this week.

The budget enabler

Our budget recommendation for this week will be featuring in the same game, though on the other side. Tyrick Mitchell (£3.9m) seems to have cemented his place at left-back for Crystal Palace, having started every game since gameweek 16. Over that run, the Eagles recorded 2 clean sheets and Mitchell himself was good for 16 FPL points. That’s not bad at all for a player with his price tag. As a fifth defender, he is a perfect addition to your team, allowing you to allocate a bit of budget to other positions. On top of that, Palace have a good run of fixtures coming up, including games against Newcastle, Burnley, Brighton and Fulham in the next seven weeks.

A differential pick or two

Considering how effective and popular Manchester City’s attacking assets have generally been over the past seasons, it feels a bit odd to recommend two of their players as differential picks for gameweek 20. Five teams have currently scored more than the Skyblues and no player on their roster has more than 5 league goals to his name yet. One of those players in Kevin de Bruyne, who is facing a spell on the side due to injury, while the others are Raheem Sterling (£11.5m) and the somewhat surprising Ilkay Gündogan (£5.5m). These two currently boast ownership percentages of 7.5% and 6.9% respectively, which makes them interesting differential picks for the upcoming run of fixtures.

Before we list some of their upsides, we should mention that De Bruyne was a major factor in getting City out of their goal-shy form and the Belgian is now missing. With West Brom, Sheffield United and Burnley coming up, the Cityzens will be facing deep-lying defensive blocks, the type that caused them issues earlier in the season. KDB was the one to often unlock this type of defence, and with him gone, it remains to be seen how attractive their other attacking assets really are. Then again, City could be very well score 10 goals over the coming games and in that case, you’ll want Sterling and/or Gundogan on your team. The former looks set to perform an even more central role in their attack while KDB is absent, while the latter plays in a more advanced position of late and is on penalties as well. They could be the type of pick to see you soar up the ranks in FPL.

The captaincy

As we wrote earlier, the injuries of Vardy and De Bruyne have removed two prime candidates for the GW20 captaincy this week. We were planning to go with the Belgian for the away game against West Brom, but we have shifted our focus to Bruno Fernandes now. He is facing bottom Sheffield United at Old Trafford on Wednesday and we expect him to be one of the most popular picks for the armband this round. He scored 3 goals and provided 2 assists in his last three home games, so hopefully he can continue that run of form in front of his own fans (he will be watching the game from their homes).

If you’re not entirely convinced by Bruno at home to a defensive side or if you can’t bring him in, there are still a few other good options available. Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son play at home against a completely out-of-form Liverpool side, while the in-form James Maddison faces Everton at Goodison Park. Leeds are playing struggling Newcastle, which brings Patrick Bamford into the picture, while Michail Antonio will be looking to make it 3 goals in three against Palace at Selhurst Park. Finally, we don’t tend to recommend defenders for the captaincy, but John Stones, Ruben Dias or Joao Cancelo look like a guaranteed minimum 12 points as they roll up to the Hawthornes on Tuesday.

FPL season 20-21: Gameweek 19 Preview

“No football for Everton in gameweek 19 after their game against Aston Villa was postponed, making them the only team to blank this round” (CC Image by Genius&Gerry).

With more than 30% of FPL managers activating a chip in the build-up to blank gameweek 18, and with just over 22% choosing the Free Hit, expectations for blank gameweek 18 were high. As has become usual in this crazy, crazy season though, reality didn’t quite match them as it ended up being another round for the differentials. To illustrate: of the 11 names in the official Team of the Week, only Harry Kane and Tyrick Mitchell boast an ownership of more than 7% (and the latter mostly thanks to his £3.9m price tag). To illustrate further: 5 players from the team boast an ownership of less than 2%, while 4 of those are owned by less than 1% of all managers. Gameweek 18’s stand-out performers? Everton’s Michael Keane, Man City’s Phil Foden and Man United’s Paul Pogba.

Fortunately (or unfortunately perhaps), there is a very quick chance of redemption as gameweek 19 kicks off about 37 hours after last night’s final whistle and it’s a biggie. With 11 teams involved twice, 8 teams involved once and 1 team not involved at all, the coming round of Premier League football is a kind of blank-single-double gameweek for fantasy managers, the likes of which we’ve rarely seen before. What chip will you be playing in GW19? The resurging coronavirus is causing mayhem to the schedule and will likely continue to do so until and after tomorrow’s deadline. We would tell you to keep an eye on developments and plan with new potential postponements in mind, but it’s close to impossible to predict the whens and wheres. The best we can do is to suggest following @bencrellin for any fixture-related news and to hope for the best. Oh, and to tell you our recommended fantasy picks for BDGW19, of course!

Don’t forget, the deadline for gameweek 19 is set at 11h00 (UK time) on Saturday, January 15th.

Do check out the Predicted Line-Ups for the Premier League clubs as well as the latest injury news (click on ‘Team’ to sort per club rather than the default ‘date’) before finalising your transfer(s).

Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per January 15th, 2020)

GKMcCarthy (SOU), Martinez (AST), Ryan (BRI)Martinez (AST), Forster (SOU), Meslier (LEE)
DEFTierney (ARS), Dalles (LEE), Kilman (WOL)Cresswell (WHU), Stones (CIT), Cancelo (CIT)DGW assets being brough in.
MIDSon (TOT), Zaha (CRY), Neto (WOL)Soucek (WHU), Foden (CIT), De Bruyne (CIT)DGW assets being brought in.
FORCalvert-Lewin (EVE), Wilson (NEW), Kane (TOT)Bamford (LEE), Antonio (WHU), Watkins (AST)DGW assets being brought in, Bamford with favorable fixture, form and price tag.

Premium pick

Manchester City probably have the most favourable match-up for the upcoming gameweek with two home games in a span of three days, first against Crystal Palace and then Aston Villa. Many fantasy managers will be aiming for skyblue assets, but the issue is rotation. In normal times, it’s difficult already to guess manager Pep Guardiola’s choices, in corona times even more so. Add to that the upcoming DGW schedule and the task becomes close to impossible. The safest route into City’s attack is still Kevin de Bruyne (£11.8m), who has delivered 1 goal and 3 assists for a total of 27 FPL points over the last four gameweeks. Slightly underwhelming perhaps, for a player of his pedigree, but that is mainly due to the lack of a clinical finisher in front of him. The Belgian is the most creative force in the team by some distance though, and he looks primed for a big haul in every game. Someone just needs to get on the end of his passes…

Non-premium picks

One of the major COVID19-related schedule changes has been the Aston Villa v Everton game being moved out of DGW19 (Everton now blank) and replaced by Aston Villa v Newcastle, which increases Villa asset appeal. They do still face Man City away before hosting the Magpies, but the Villains are having a good season and results could definitely be booked over the coming week and a half. As far as DGW picks go, few attacking assets are more nailed-on than Villa talisman Jack Grealish (£7.7m). Apart from postponements, the young Englishman has not missed a minute of Premier League football so far and he has repaid that trust with returns, 5 goals and 9 assists to be exact. Though his productivity has slowed down of late with “just” 3 assists in his last four outings, he still looks like a wise choice for the double gameweek. Villa are set to give Man City a run for their money and are expected to dominate against Newcastle at Villa Park, so we wouldn’t be surprised to see Grealish finish the upcoming round with double digits.

We mentioned the issues with Manchester City assets earlier when discussing KDB, but when it comes to defensive picks, the situation is a bit different. While the City attack appears hampered a bit this season, the City defence is rock solid. No team has conceded less than their 13 goals from sixteen games and the classic rotation risk is a lot less present in the backline. That’s why we think it could be very smart to invest central defender Ruben Dias (£5.8m) for the games against Crystal Palace and Aston Villa. The Portuguese summer signing has started every game since gameweek 4, only failing to complete the 90 minutes once, back in GW10 versus Burnley. He has no attacking returns to his name yet, but he did rack up 8 clean sheets already. In a period of extreme uncertainty, Dias offers a very welcome combination of sure starts and consistent returns.

The budget enabler

Besides Manchester City, West Ham probably have the most attractive double gameweek schedule. They are playing Burnley on Saturday and then West Brom on the Tuesday after that, both at home, which brings several of their players into the DGW mix, especially defensively. Together with Sheffield United, these teams rank in the bottom three for goals scored, while the Hammers have conceded a reasonable 21 goals in 17 games. These statistics make Vladimir Coufal (£4.7m) a very appealing fantasy pick. West Ham brought him in from Czech side Slavia Prague for £5.4 million back in October and he has made the right-back position his rather quickly, starting 13 of 14 games since gameweek 4. The Czech defender gets plenty of freedom to roam forward, which has resulted in 3 assists already, on top of 4 clean sheets. For the double gameweek, he looks like a stand-out budget-enabling option.

A differential pick or two

For our first differential fantasy pick, we’re sticking with the Hammers, but moving up-field. Michail Antonio (£6.2m) started the 2020-21 campaign in good form, scoring 3 goals in the first six games, but ongoing injury issues since then have seen him play just 89 minutes of Premier League football. He returned for 13 minutes in GW16 and played 31 minutes in the last round, while playing 90 minutes in the FA Cup 3rd round encounter with Stockport last Monday. With a 5-day rest in the bag and the sale of his principal rival for a starting spot up front, Seb Haller, to Ajax, Antonio looks like a firm first-choice pick for manager David Moyes in double gameweek 19. While first opponents Burnley have improved considerably over the past games, second opponents West Brom rank bottom for goals conceded so far. With a current ownership of just 4.4%, the English forward looks like a major differential for DGW19.

Our final fantasy pick for gameweek 19 also has two fixtures coming up, though James Maddison (£7.1m) and his Leicester team mates are not facing a run as appealing as City or West Ham. First up is in-form Southampton, followed by a kind of out-of-form Chelsea side. They face both games at home though, and the Foxes are having another good season, which has made us consider Maddison as a differential for this round. The English playmaker has been one of the stand-out performers for Leicester in recent weeks, with 3 goals and 1 assist in his last six games, and looks like a sure pick for manager Brendan Rodgers. Leicester’s preference for a more counter-attacking style might fare very well against Southampton and Chelsea, and with an ownership of just 4.8%, picking Maddison might just result in some green arrows by the end of DGW19.

The captaincy

Double gameweek 19 is offering a bunch of interesting candidates for the captaincy with the Manchester clubs topping the list. We have gone with Kevin de Bruyne for his double encounter with Crystal Palace and Aston Villa, though putting the armband on one of his team mates in defence, like Joao Cancelo or Ruben Dias, could pay off handsomely as well. As far as the red part of Manchester goes, the inevitable Bruno Fernandes will be a popular captaincy pick as the Red Devils face Liverpool and Fulham away from home. The same goes for Liverpool’s Momo Salah as he faces Manchester United and Burnley at home this round.

The double gameweek is also a good moment to go for a bit of a punt, mainly when it comes to West Ham assets. Michail Antonio and Jarrod Bowen are facing two favourable opponents, and putting the armband on either of them could see you soar up the ranks. Of course, Jamie Vardy is a decent choice as well when he faces Southampton and Chelsea at home, though his ownership is a lot higher than the West Ham picks (26.3%).

FPL Season 20-21: Gameweek 18 preview

“Will Arsenal continue their good form against Crystal Palace at the Emirates on Thursday?” (CC by 4.0. Image by)

With the first major blank gameweek of the 2020-21 Premier League campaign upon us, FPL managers are approaching what is probably one of the most uncertain periods in terms of fixture and squad planning in recent (and not so recent) memory. In gameweek 18, we have just six games on the calendar at the moment of writing although Spurs are now playing Fulham instead of Aston Villa, but FPL faith would have it that the first major BGW is also coinciding with a very serious resurgence of the coronavirus on British territory. Several FA Cup games have already been postponed due to outbreaks at different clubs, including Aston Villa, and it remains to be seen how many will follow in the coming days. We can just say two things in this regard: we hope you are healthy and do keep an extra strict eye on the team news these days.

The reason why these circumstances cause lots of extra complications in terms of the Fantasy Premier League is that many people marked blank gameweek 18 as a perfect opportunity to activate their Free Hit chip and thus planned accordingly for weeks. If more postponements follow, how will that affect the already limited pool of available players? We don’t know, nobody does, so the best advice we can give you is to wait with the activation of your chip (if this was your plan) or with the confirmation of your transfers. At the same time, we will be recommending our picks for the upcoming round as usual, assuming that all games will take place. Hope dies last, right?

Don’t forget: the deadline for gameweek 18 is set for 16h30 (UK time) on Tuesday, January 12th. Do check out the Predicted Line-Ups for the Premier League clubs as well as the latest injury news (click on ‘Team’ to sort per club rather than the default ‘date’) before finalising your transfer(s).

Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per January 11th, 2020)

GKMcCarthy (SOU), Mendy (CHE), Fabianski (WHU)Martinez (AST), Leno (Arsenal), De Gea (UTD)
DEFZouma (CHE), James (CHE), Chilwell (CHE)Tierney (ARS), Cancelo (CIT), Cresswell (WHU)Chelsea’s recent bad form, the upcoming BGW18
MIDSalah (LIV), Ward-Prowse (SOU), Zaha (CRY)De Bruyne (CIT), Saka (ARS), Fernandes (UTD)Salah being transferred out to fit in premiums for BGW18, Saka form + BGW18 fixture
FORCalvert-Lewin (EVE), Bamford (LEE), Vardy (LEI)Wilson (NEW), Kane (TOT), Lacazette (ARS), Bamford (LEE)Good fixtures in BGW18 plus form.

Premium pick

After a stellar 13-point performance against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, courtesy of a goal and an assist, Kevin de Bruyne (£11.7m) looks to be one of the stand-out fantasy picks for blank gameweek 18. The Belgian maestro has not been in his absolute best form yet this season, but he still has 3 goals and 8 assists to his name from 14 games. Not bad at all for a midfielder, though his heavy price tag does require him to perform from an FPL point of view. Still, he looked as motivated as ever against the Blues, playing as a false 9 to which the opponent had no answer, and up next is Brighton. The Seagulls have been lauded more than once this season for their positive game approach, but the reality is that they are currently hovering just three points above the drop zone. Only four teams have conceded more goals than Brighton, while only six teams have scored more than them. A City side gaining momentum with KDB at the wheel will likely be way too much for them right now.

Non-premium picks

Talking about momentum: from being a laughing stock just a few weeks ago, Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal are currently one of the most interesting teams to bet on for gameweek 18. The Gunners have won their last three league games, which saw them rise to 11th place in the league, just six points off a European spot, as a matter of fact. One of the players who has stood out in the last few weeks is striker Alexandre Lacazette (£8.3m), with 4 goals and 27 FPL points over the past three rounds. As a result, Laca suddenly represents the coveted fantasy combination of form and fixture. This coming Thursday, Arsenal are hosting Crystal Palace, who have conceded 29 goals already. Only struggling West Brom and crazy Leeds have conceded more. The Eagles did win against Championship-bound Sheffield United in GW17, but in the three games before that, they got just a single point and conceded a worrying 11 goals, including 7 against Liverpool and 3 versus Villa. In other words, Lacazette looks like a very interesting fantasy pick for the upcoming blank gameweek.

Our second non-premium fantasy pick is Jack Grealish (£7.7m), whose Aston Villa are currently hit by a heavy coronavirus outbreak. As a result, it’s not entirely sure what will happen to Villa’s home game against Spurs in gameweek 18, but for now, we’re recommending their talisman as one of the best possible non-premium picks. It should be noted that the club is now in lock-down, but their next league game takes place next Wednesday. In other words, much can happen still. As far as Grealish goes, the creative midfielder has been phenomenal so far this season, with 5 goals and 9 assists to date. That’s an excellent return considering his budget-friendly price tag. Spurs are tough to beat and score against, we know, but the Villains are in very good form and the young Englishman could be a shrewd pick for Free Hitters.

The budget enabler

For our budget-enabler category, we usually try to pick the real bargains of the moment, but this week we’ve gone for a slightly more expensive type of budget-enabler. Callum Wilson (£6.5m) represents excellent value this season, seeing as he has already scored 8 goals and provided 4 assists for Newcastle this season. Managers with Free Hit plans will be trying to include as many heavy hitters as possible from the big teams, which makes Wilson probably the most straightforward budget pick. On top of that, the former Bournemouth striker is up against Sheffield United at Bramall Lane. The Blades have collected just two points so far this season and even though they are rarely conceding boatloads of goals in a single game, they still boast one of the worst defensive records in the league with 29 conceded goals and no clean sheets to their name.

A differential pick or two

Our first differential pick is actually a team mate of Wilson’s, because besides their defence, Sheffield United are also having serious issues at the other side of the pitch. After 17 games, the manager Chris Wilder’s men have scored just 8 goals, which is more than worrying. In the last three games (against Everton at home and Burnley and Crystal Palace away), they failed to net a single goal, which is why we have selected Magpie defender DeAndre Yedlin (£4.3m) for blank gameweek 18. The American right-back has recuperated his spot in the starting eleven since gameweek GW14, though the fixture run since then has been tough: Fulham at home, followed by encounters with Man City, Liverpool (clean sheet for Yedlin) and Leicester). Newcastle managed to make it through this nightmare run with 4 points and just 5 conceded goals, which points at a certain defensive confidence in the Magpie camp. We wouldn’t be surprised to see them book their second clean sheet of the season coming Tuesday.

Our second differential fantasy pick for blank gameweek 18 is of a different category than Yedlin, in all aspects. When discussing Kevin de Bruyne, we already briefly discussed City’s favourable match-up with Brighton for the upcoming round, which has also put Riyad Mahrez (£8.1m) on our FPL radar. The Algerian forward is an extremely explosive player and the game against the Seagulls could very well see him record his third double-digit haul of the season. The main issue with him is his manager and more specifically, his manager’s special love for extreme and often heartbreaking rotation. The Cityzens played United in the semi-finals of the League Cup last Wednesday and Mahrez was in the starting eleven, but whether or not that is any indication of his chances of a start against Brighton, we’re not sure. There is a week of rest between these two games, after all. What we do know, is that he is currently owned by just 3.9% of FPL managers, which could make him an extreme differential for the upcoming blank gameweek.

The captaincy

Despite there being just six games in GW18, the round does present us with plenty of good candidates for the captaincy. We have gone with Kevin de Bruyne against Brighton after his double-digit haul at Stamford Bridge and his status as (practically) untouchable in Pep Guardiola’s starting eleven. With seven days of rest between this week’s League Cup clash with Man United and the upcoming home encounter with the Seagulls, we feel he is the stand-out captaincy pick.

The Belgian is expensive though, and he has been disappointing for FPL managers at times this season, so it’s a good thing to have a few more than decent alternatives on hand. His teammate Raheem Sterling could be a big-time differential pick, while Bruno Fernandes from city rivals United looks like a great choice as well for his visit to Turf Moor. The inevitable Spurs duo Harry Kane and Heung Min-Son is, of course, worth considering as well, despite their tricky away game at Villa Park. The likes of Callum Wilson (away at Sheffield United), Dominic Calvert-Lewin (away at Molineux), Lacazette (at home to Palace) and Marcus Rashford (away against Burnley) could all deliver big returns as well.

FPL Season 20-21 Gameweek 17 preview

“January 3rd brings us the first clash of giants of the year 2021 when Chelsea welcome Manchester City to Stamford Bridge” (CC by 3.0). Image by: Vespa125125CFC.

Chaos. Mayhem. Carnage. Gameweek 16 has been called all of these names and more since its kick-off last Monday. First, there was the corona-related postponement of Everton vs Manchester City just after the deadline. Then, the encounter between Spurs and Fulham followed suit yesterday, just two or three hours before the kick-off. Owners of De Bruyne and especially captaincy candidates Kane and Son, we feel you, but at least your vice captain was one of Liverpool’s in-form stars, right? To still end a crazy gameweek with a bang? Nope, blanks all around (apart from defenders) after the 0-0 draw at Saint James’ Park.

Now, with two games added to the slowly but steadily growing pile of postponed fixtures that need to be fitted into the already cramped schedule some time soon, for FPL managers the uncertainty keeps growing as well. At the moment of writing this gameweek preview, no GW17 fixtures have been postponed yet (although Burnley v Fulham seems most in doubt), but we do expect some relevant news over the coming days, with particular relevance to the upcoming blank and double gameweeks. Whether this will be before the gameweek 17 deadline is unknown, unfortunately. All we can say is, keep an eye on the Fantasy Premier League news and try to build as much flexibility as possible into your FPL squad.

Don’t forget: the deadline for gameweek 17 is set for 16h00 (UK time) on Friday, January 1st. Do check out the Predicted Line-Ups for the Premier League clubs as well as the latest injury news (click on ‘Team’ to sort per club rather than the default ‘date’) before finalising your transfer(s).

Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per December 31st, 2020)

GKMendy (CHE), Ryan (BRI), McCarthy (SOU)Martinez (AST), McCarthy (SOU), Leno (ARS)
DEFVestergaard (SOU), Zouma (CHE), James (CHE)Dallas (LEE), Bednarek (SOU), Chilwell (CHE)Chelsea lack of clean sheets, Vestergaard injury, Chilwell quick return to fitness, Dallas recent returns
MIDGrealish (AST), Ward-Prowse (SOU), De Bruyne (CIT)Fernandes (UTD), Neto (WOL), Zaha (CRY)Man United’s form, De Bruyne lack of returns
FORCalvert-Lewin (EVE), Wilson (NEW), Werner (CHE)Bamford (LEE), Vardy (LEI), Calvert-Lewin (EVE)Lack of performing forwards, Werner and Wilson lack of returns, Bamford form

Premium pick

Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United have been a terrific addition to the Premier League so far, thanks to their attacking game approach and open-ended matches full of goals on both sides. The downside of this approach is that every now and then, the Whites suffer a heavy defeat, usually when facing a high-level counter-oriented opponent. It happened back in gameweek 14 with a 6-2 defeat at the hands of Man United and we can see a similar scenario taking place on Friday when Leeds visit Spurs. José Mourinho’s men will certainly lean back and wait for opportunities on the counter, which they will get for sure. It’s the manager’s favourite game and something that has had us considering Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son (£9.7m) from the get-go. As our premium fantasy pick for gameweek 17, we have gone with the latter, thanks to his deeper positioning when Spurs are counter-attacking and despite his lack of returns over the past two weeks. On top of that, the North London side had the opportunity for some extended rest as their GW16 game against Fulham was postponed at the last minute.

Non-premium picks

With budgets being stretched to their maximums as FPL managers try to fit in as much of the template big hitters as possible, we have gone for two very budget-friendly non-premium fantasy picks this week. Our first pick is Leicester City’s Harvey Barnes (£6.7m), who has recovered his starting spot in manager Brendan Rodgers’ starting eleven. The English forward scored a goal in each of the last two gameweeks, against Man United and Palace, for a total of 15 FPL points. He is visiting Saint James’ Park this coming Sunday and will be looking to work on his current tallies of 5 goals and 1 assist against a leaky Magpie defence. Despite their clean sheet against Liverpool, they rank amongst the bottom four of the entire league when it comes to defensive stats like shots conceded, shots in the box and shots on target. A second consecutive clean sheet looks unlikely here.

Our second non-premium fantasy pick for gameweek 17 is just a tad more expensive. As usual, Wilfried Zaha (£7.4m) is Crystal Palace’s talisman this season. The Ivory coast international has so far been directly involved in 11 of his team’s 20 Premier League goals (8 goals and 3 assists), which is a dream for FPL managers. This weekend, the Eagles are hosting a Sheffield United side for which the drop to the Championship seems inevitable already, just 16 rounds into the current campaign. Zaha ended a four-game goal drought against Leicester in GW16 by scoring the opening goal and we hope this has given him the confidence to repeat that feat against the Blades on Saturday.

The budget enabler

On top of our two budget-friendly midfielders, we have also identified a very much budget-enabling defender who currently represents excellent value. Burnley had a bad start to the 2020-21 campaign, but the Clarets have been steadily improving over the past few months. As a matter of fact, with 3 clean sheets in their last five games, manager Sean Dyche’s men seem to have found back the defence-based approach that has brought them so much success since their return to the Prem in 2016. On the right-side of their defence plays Matthew Lowton (£4.4m), who has rather quietly racked up 23 FPL points over the past five rounds for an average of just under 5 points per game. The 31-year old Englishman has no attacking returns to his name yet, but he is a nailed-on starter at a bargain price in an improving team that should record plenty more shut-outs this season. He could be just the enabler you need to free up those crucial 0.1m or 0.2m of budget but do check if their match against Fulham will be on.

A differential pick or two

Our first differential fantasy pick for GW17 is a defender as well, though with a different recent history. The Wolverhampton Wanderers have not recorded a clean sheet since gameweek 7, which was their fourth shut-out in seven games, but since then, they have conceded more than a single goal on just two occasions (4-0 away to Liverpool in GW11 and 2-1 away to Burnley in GW14). With an away game against goal-shy Brighton up next, they will be looking for their fifth clean sheet of the campaign, which is what we are hoping for as well with Romain Saïss (5.0m). The Moroccan central defender is the highest-scoring defensive Wolves asset with 55 FPL points, in big part thanks to his 2 goals, one of which he scored back in gameweek 15 versus Spurs. Saïss and the rest of the Wolves have a decent fixture schedule coming up and with an ownership of just 7.7%, he could be a shrewd investment at a reasonable price.

Our second differential fantasy pick is an Arsenal player. That’s right, we said it, he’s a Gunner. With 20 points from the first 16 games of the campaign, Arsenal are performing way, way below par, but their last two results have provided some hope for improvement. Both Chelsea and Brighton were beaten, and Alexandre Lacazette (£8.2m) hit the target in both games. Now, the Frenchman is not as nailed-on an asset as we would like and Arsenal are still Arsenal, but he is currently owned by just 2.9% of FPL managers and has a decent set of fixtures coming up. This weekend, the Gunners are rolling up to the Hawthornes for a third consecutive victory, followed by home games against Crystal Palace and Newcastle, and an away game versus Southampton. Lacazette might just turn out to be a very rewarding outfield choice for those managers chasing in their mini-leagues.

The captaincy

As far as the captain’s armband for gameweek 17 goes, we have mainly focused on Spurs as they host Leeds United. It was between Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son, obviously, and we ended up going with the Korean as our captain for this weekend. Both Tottenham assets look promising in the build-up to the game, especially when considering they have had an unexpected rest in gameweek 16, but we feel they expected counter-attacking style of José Mourinho’s men might benefit Son just a tad more.

Besides the dynamic Spurs duo, GW17 offers a few other interesting options for the captaincy as well. Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes play a sturdy Aston Villa side at Old Trafford, and Leicester are visiting one of the league’s most suspect defences when they visit Newcastle on Sunday, bringing the inevitable Jamie Vardy into the captaincy fold as well. For the more differential kind of choice, managers can look at Wilfried Zaha at home against Sheffield United, Daniel Podence for the away game against Brighton, or even Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang/Alexandre Lacazette for Arsenal’s visit to West Brom.