FPL Season 2019/2020 – Gameweek 30 Preview

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

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

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

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

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

How did our fantasy picks for the previous gameweek fare?

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

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

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

Premium fantasy picks

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

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

Non-premium fantasy picks

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

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

A differential fantasy pick or two

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

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

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

The captaincy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FPL chip strategy: popular early-season planning

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

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

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

FPL chip strategy: an alternative approach

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

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

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

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

FPL Season 2019/2020 – Gameweek 29 Preview

“Kevin de Bruyne is likely gameweek 29’s most popular captaincy choice” (CC by 2.0). Image by Brad Tutterow.

If you want to get a real good idea of the general feeling brought about by gameweek 28, just have a look below at how our fantasy picks fared last weekend. Despite all of the so-called favourites playing away from home, we obviously focused our efforts on three encounters: Watford (then number 19) vs. Liverpool (current number 1), Norwich (number last) vs. Leicester (number 2), and West Ham (then number 18) vs. Southampton (then number 12). Well, to be brief, Watford, Norwich and West Ham all won their home games to form the foundation for the lowest average gameweek score of the season. What we’re trying to say? If you averaged about 26 measly points last weekend, you were definitely not alone.

FPL Gameweek 29 brings us a few very juicy home fixtures, like Liverpool at Anfield to Bournemouth and Wolves facing Brighton at Molineux, on top of Sunday’s super clash between Manchester United and Manchester City. The big news on FISO’s FPL forum was the announcement of a double gameweek though, with Arsenal and Man City playing twice this round (see below).

Saturday, March 7th, Arsenal vs. West Ham

Sunday, March 8th, Man United vs. Man City

Wednesday, March 11th, Man City vs. Arsenal

The question each FPL manager will need to ask him or herself is to what extent this DGW really constitutes an attractive piling up of fixtures for the teams involved. What’s for sure though, is that gameweek 29 looks to contain all the ingredients for another explosive round of Premier League football.

Finally, don’t forget that the deadline for gameweek 29 is set at 11h30 (UK time) on Saturday, March, 7th, 2020.

How did our fantasy picks for the previous gameweek fare?

Premium Mo Salah Watford (a) 2
Premium Jamie Vardy Norwich (a) 0
Non-premium Bobby Firmino Watford (a) 2
Non-premium James Maddison Norwich (a) 2
Differential Jonny Evans Norwich (a) 2
Differential Shane Long West Ham (a) 2
Captain Mo Salah Watford (a) 4

Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per March 4th, 2020)

GK Ryan (BRI), Schmeichel (LEI), Henderson (SHE) Pope (BUR), Henderson (SHE), Patricio (WOL) Managers bringing in in-form goalie Pope, Patricio as part of the Wolves defence, and Leicester failing to deliver against Norwich.
DEF Lundstram (SHE), Kelly (CRY), Van Dijk (LIV) Doherty (WOL), Alonso (CHE), Saiss (WOL) Wolves solid defence and Alonso’s recent form, combined with Liverpool’s dip and Lundstram’s start in the FA Cup.
MID Traoré (WOL), Martial (UTD), Maddison (LEI) Fernandes (UTD), Sarr (WAT), De Bruyne (CIT) Maddison continues to blank, Fernandes came in hot, De Bruyne has a DGW, and Sarr, though a good player, seems a bit of a knee-jerk move at this point.
FOR Vardy (LEI), Abraham (CHE), Ings (SOU) Aubameyang (ARS), Jota (WOL), Jimenez (WOL) Injuries to Vardy and Abraham, a DGW upcoming for Auba, and Wolves’s favourable upcoming fixtures.

Premium fantasy picks

It’s true that there have definitely been better, or at least more appealing, double gameweeks in FPL history, but any double match-up for Manchester City is worth considering. This is what we did and how we have come up with our first premium fantasy pick for gameweek 29, Kevin de Bruyne (£10.7m) although he need to undergo a fitness test on his shoulder before the derby match v Man Utd. As a result of his current 50.3% of ownership, the Belgian midfielder is about the furthest away from a differential as possible, but he is also practically certain to start both games this gameweek after sitting our the League Cup final last weekend. KDB is one of Man City’s and the Premier League’s stand-out players this season. The Cityzens played United and Arsenal in gameweeks 16 and 17 as well, and while he blanked in the surprising home less against United, he scored a brace and provided an assist one week later at the Emirates for a sweet 19-point haul. The Belgian is as fixture-proof as they come and we would be surprised if he does not build on his current tallies (8 goals, 18 assists) in GW29.

What you want in a double gameweek, to start with, is a player who is guaranteed two starts, like KDB. Even though Arsenal are light years behind Man City in terms of gameplay and results, they do boast a player with a “fixture-proofness”, a consistency and a three-letter name abbreviation comparable to De Bruyne. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£11.0m), or PEA for short, is Arsenal’s star player and therefore a nailed-on starter. It makes complete sense when you look at his most basis stats this season: 25 Premier League games, 17 goals and 3 assists. There is a lot of talk about Vardy’s Golden Boot race and Aguero’s incredible goalscoring average, but we sometimes forget that Arsenal’s striker is actually on top of the league’s top scorers list, joint with Vardy, and he has been around there since the start of the season, more or less. In gameweek 29, the Gabonese forward has two games, at home to West Ham and away against Man Cheaty. The first game could be juicy, while the second game is one of the season’s hardest. City will be without Laporte though, and if any striker can score at the Etihad, it’s Aubameyang.

Non-premium fantasy picks

It looks like consistency is the keyword for our article this week, because after De Bruyne and Auba, our first non-premium pick is Raul Jimenez (£8.0m). With 16 attacking returns from 27 Premier League in which he started, he is in the same ballpark as the previously mentioned two players. The Mexican forward currently has 13 goals and 6 assists to his name, and up next is Brighton at Molineux. As far as current form goes, you can’t go wrong with Jimenez, either. He has scored 5 goals and recorded a total of 37 FPL points over the past 6 gameweeks, which represents an average of just over 6 points per game. Jimenez is not a very explosive FPL asset, judging by his record and the fact that he has recorded just three double-digit so far this season, but we can definitely see him return against Brighton. Only four teams in the league have conceded more goals away from home than the Seagulls have (25 goals in 14 games).

Besides the City vs Arsenal fixture, the Villa vs Sheffield United game from GW28 was postponed as well. Like the former, the latter might also be re-arranged to be played this gameweek, giving the Villans and the Blades a double gameweek like that as well. We don’t know yet, but what we do know is that Sheffield United will any way be playing Norwich at Bramall Lane on Saturday, which is why we have picked playmaker John Fleck (£5.0m) as our second non-premium fantasy pick. The English midfielder did not get a minute of playing time in the Blades’ hard-fought, 120-minute battle with Reading in the FA Cup’s 5th Round, so he will feel rested for this game. Out of the 27 PL games United have played so far this season, started and completed the 90 minutes on 23 occasions, so even if the Blades end up with a DGW this round, we’re confident Fleck will start the second game away to Aston Villa as well. The absolute budget asset has scored 5 goals and provided 2 assists this campaign, and the Canaries have already conceded a league-high 51 goals. We’re hoping for a clean sheet point and him being involved in some threatening situations in front of the Norwich goal.

A differential fantasy pick or two

Our first differential fantasy pick for gameweek 29 is another Wolves forward, namely Diogo Jota (£6.3m). The Portuguese attacker has been in red hot form over the past few weeks, scoring 3 goals and providing 2 assists over gameweek 27 and 28. In the 26 gameweeks prior to those, he gave just 1 assist and netted 3 times himself. The underlying stats for Jota look very good and supportive of his recent appearance on the FPL radar. Over the past four weeks, only Salah has had more touches in the opposition’s penalty area than Jota (52), only Calvert-Lewin, Jay Rodriguez and Dele Alli had more chances than him (5), and only two players boast a higher expected goals ratio (2.69). On top of that, for those managers taking the longer term into account as well, Wolves are at the moment one of only six teams with a guaranteed fixture in BGW31.

At the risk of becoming repetitive, our second differential pick and our final fantasy pick for gameweek 29 is another Wolves player, a defender this time. Matt Doherty (£6.2m) is definitely not cheap, but the 5-6% or so of managers who had him in their teams over the past four gameweeks are flying at the moment. The right wing-back’s returns in FPL points over that period: 6, 6, 10 and 12, courtesy of 3 clean sheets, 2 assists and a goal. With a home game against Brighton up next, we feel returns at both sides of the pitch could once again be on the cards for the Irish defender. A total of 111 FPL points actually makes Doherty the sixth-highest-scoring defender in the entire official game and based on Wolves calendar until the end of the season, he might even be a good set-and-forget pick.

For further GW29 transfer ideas look at this fiso FPL forum topic.

The captaincy

Despite the double gameweek not providing us with very clearly favourable double match-ups, Arsenal and City are probably going to contain the most captain choices. Our personal pick for this week is Kevin de Bruyne despite his shoulder injury issue, but Aguero could be an extremely explosive option as well. The problem with the Argentinian is his vulnerability to Pep Roulette. Aubameyang is the other stand-out option for the armband, especially due to his double gameweek starting with a home game versus West Ham.

If you are not convinced by this gameweek’s double potential, there are plenty of FPL assets with just one game this weekend who offer plenty of appeal. Salah, Mané and Alexander-Arnold, for example, could all be good picks for their home game on Saturday against Bournemouth. Jimenez at home against Brighton, a currently annoyed-by-injury Vardy at home against leaky travellers Aston Villa, or a Sheffield United wing-back against Norwich at Bramall Lane are all decent, though slightly more speculative names to give the armband to.

The FISO Forum Captain poll for GW29 shows Salah, KDB & Aubamayeng are the stand out choices.

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

Fantasy Premier League 2019-2020 Gameweek 28 Review

We assume you all play FPL so we don’t need to spend too much time on telling you that Gameweek 28 has been a bit of a disaster. Chances are you are one of the 7.5 million of FPL managers who have recorded an average of less than 3 FPL points per player in your squad this week. If that’s the case, find comfort in this week’s points average of 26, or 2.3 points per player. Instead, we are just going to post a few facts about GW28 below to help you put your results in perspective. FPL is after all many peoples’ favourite Fantasy Premier League game and played without much financial committment just like low stakes roulette, if online casino is what attracts you. Let’s take a quick look at last weekend’s action from an FPL point of view and show that if you had a high score you were far from the norm.

Lowest average this season

With an average of just 26 points, gameweek 28 has been the lowest-scoring round so far this campaign. Prior to last weekend, the lowest average was recorded in gameweek 8 (36 points), meaning that GW28’s average is a full 10 points or almost 30% lower. It’s bad, but look at this way: at least it was bad for (almost) everyone.

Blanking captains

In the build-up to gameweek 28, Jamie Vardy, Mo Salah and Sadio Mané were the three most-selected captains. The Norwich striker was up against Norwich at Carrow Road, while the Liverpool duo visited Vicarage Road to try for a record-breaking nineteenth consecutive Premier League victory. Vardy turned out to not be in the squad due to a calf injury and the Liverpool aces recorded 2 FPL points each from their 3-0 drubbing at the hands of Watford.

Rule of the differentials

Perhaps the most illustrative statistic from gameweek 28 is that only two players with an ownership of more than 10% recorded double-digit hauls, namely Bruno Fernandes and Nick Pope. What’s more, the average ownership of last weekend’s Dream Team sits at 3.1%, with Fernandes the only player with a double-digit ownership (12%) on the roster. By excluding him, the average ownership of the Dream Team falls to 2.22% per player. Seven players of the team boast an ownership of 2% or less, and of those seven, three are even owned by less than 1% of FPL managers.

Now, onto last weekend’s action and some of the conclusions that can be made.

First of all, if last week has shown us anything, it’s that Liverpool are actually not an invincible team sent from another planet to dominate world football for a few years. After a disappointing result in the Champions League Round of 16 against Atletico in Madrid, it was Watford manager Nigel Pearson who confirmed that even the Reds have their vulnerabilities and their off-days by leading his Hornets to a resounding 3-0 home victory. With a return at Anfield in the Champions League still on the menu and a 22-point lead in the Premier League (Man City have a game in hand), it will still be far from a crisis at Melwood. A week like last one, in which the inevitable extra pressure of breaking records was relieved after riding the wave of success non-stop for so long, might actually do Jurgen Klopp’s men some good for the season’s final stretch.

The other “most favourable” fixture last weekend was Leicester’s visit to Norwich on Friday night. Many FPL managers were confident that the Foxes had this one in the pocket, albeit news broke on the FISO FPL forum about a couple of hours before kick-off that Vardy was not in the squad, and that it was the perfect opportunity for Jamie Vardy to get another goal-scoring streak going. Well, the FPL gods had other plans. All credit to Norwich for an outstanding display, beating one of this season’s best teams 1-0 at home, but the Foxes are still a very good side. They’ve got a kind run of fixtures coming up over the medium-term as well, but they will need Vardy to provide the finishing. The ongoing injury niggles of the 33-year old striker are a concern, as Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers has admitted as well.

On the English south coast, it took two Bournemouth goals in five minutes to cause another upset this weekend. The Cherries had lost their last two games, away to Sheffield United and Burnley, so their draw with Chelsea last Saturday was more than welcome. The Blues, on the other hand, showed once again how defensively fragile their set-up can be. Only four teams have scored less than Bournemouth’s 28 goals this season, but Eddie Howe’s men still managed to record 7 attempts on goal (4 on target, 3 off target) against the Blues, despite just 27% of ball possession. Fortunately for Frank Lampard’s team, direct rivals for a top-4 finish Man United and Spurs dropped points as well, making Wolves the only outfit to come 2 points closer this weekend.

By mentioning Wolves, we have also come to one of the most in-form teams of the moment. Nuno Espirito Santo’s team is one of those teams that seems to be capable of displaying extremely high levels of tactical discipline week on week, with their current joint-fifth spot in the Premier League and a place in the Europa League Round of 16 as very tangible results at this point. In the 2-3 away victory over Spurs on Sunday, the two goals Spurs scored against them were actually the first goals conceded by Wolves since gameweek 24, as they are now unbeaten in four games. With Brighton (home), West Ham (a), Bournemouth (home) and Villa (away) up next, Wolves can set themselves up nicely for an impressive finish to the 2019/20 campaign.

We’re finishing this piece with yet another pretty surprising result from gameweek 28, though not as earth-shattering as the Norwich and Watford victories. West Ham were starting to look as a serious candidate for relegation, but their 3-1 home victory over Southampton saw them bag their first three points since gameweek 21. This lifted the Hammers out of the relegation zone for now, but it looks like David Moyes and his men have their work cut out for them for the final ten gameweeks of the seasons. With the likes of Haller, Snodgrass and Antonio, just to name a few players, their squad boosts too much quality to excuse relegation or even a relegation battle, but that’s what it is now for West Ham. Up next are Arsenal (away), Wolves (home), Spurs (away) and Chelsea (home), so the upcoming weeks are going to be tough Hammers fans. After that, fixture skies clear up for West Ham, but this does mean that they might be in the thick of the relegation until the very end of the season.

FPL Season 2019/2020 – Gameweek 27 Preview

“Are Liverpool bouncing back at Anfied in gameweek 27?” (CC by 4.0). Image by Yurificacion.

With what has felt like the longest gameweek in Fantasy Premier League history ever now behind us, GW27 is now upon us and it’s looking like a potential banger. At first glance, the upcoming gameweek looks to contain a few very favourable fixtures, at least from an FPL point of view, with several good home performers facing some of the more travel-shy teams in the league. There is, of course, Liverpool looking to bounce back against West Ham at Anfield after their rare loss mid-week against Atletico Madrid, but Wolves at home to Norwich, Southampton against Aston Villa, and Sheffield United playing Brighton at Bramall Lane are practically equally appealing.

The amazing thing about this gameweek is that, in combination with the above fixtures surely having considerable impact on FPL preparations this week, we are also up for a few top-of-the-table clashes. The weekend opens on Saturday with a London derby between Chelsea and Spurs, followed by Leicester versus Manchester City later that day. On Sunday then, Arsenal is hosting an improving Everton side in a fight to see which of the two can remain within relative touching distance from the top six. Remember, with City seriously risking exclusion from European football for a few seasons, fifth place in the Premier League could represent a Champions League ticket this season. There are still lots of ifs and maybes connected to that scenario, in great part due to City’s determination to file an appeal in front of the CAS in Geneva, but it’s definitely something for Premier League clubs below the current top 4 to keep in mind.

Finally, don’t forget that the deadline for gameweek 27 is set at 11h30 (GMT+0) on Saturday, February 22nd, 2020.

How did our fantasy picks for the previous gameweek fare?

Premium Kun Aguero West Ham (H) 2
Premium Sadio Mané Norwich (a) 5
Non-premium Roberto Firmino Norwich (a) 2
Non-premium Danny Ings Burnley (H) 7
Differential John Fleck Bournemouth (H) 2
Differential Steven Bergwijn Aston Villa (a) 2
Captain Kun Aguero West Ham (H) 4

Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per February 20th, 2020)

GK Ryan (BRI), Schmeichel (LEI), Gazzaniga (TOT) Henderson (SHE), Pope (BUR), Button (BRI) Henderson and Pope have been in great form all season, Button is a budget-enabling pick, and Gazzaniga has returned to the bench after Lloris recovered from injury.
DEF Kelly (CRY), Lundstram (SHE), Dunk (BRI) Lundstram (SHE), Van Dijk (LIV), Lascelles (NEW) Sheffield United have favourable fixtures coming up, but the doubt surrounding Lundstram’s starting spot remains.
MID Son (TOT), Maddison (LEI), Sterling (MC) Richarlison (EVE), Mané (LIV), Traore (WOL) Son’s potentially season-ending injury have a lot of influence here, as does the return of Mané and the fact that he immediately scored the winner vs Norwich.
FOR Vardy (LEI), Abraham (CHE), Aguero (MC) Ings (SOU), Jimenez (WOL), Calvert-Lewin (EVE) Jimenez, Ings and DCL are all in good to excellent form, Abraham is injured, and Vardy’s point-scoring form has dipped a bit.

Premium fantasy picks

After losing their first game overall since September 17th 2019, last Tuesday (against Atletico in the Champions League Round of 16), neither Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp nor Reds captain Virgil van Dijk seemed particularly downbeat during their post-match interviews. Still, they will be pretty happy with this weekend’s fixture at home to West Ham, which looks like a perfect opportunity for Liverpool to get back to their usual scoring and winning ways. The Hammers are currently in 18th place, which at the end of the season would mean relegation, and they boast the third-leakiest defence overall, with only Norwich and Villa having conceded more than their 45 goals. As far as just their travels go, they have taken 20 goals in 13 games.

These worrying stats (for West Ham, that is), combined with our belief that Jurgen Klopp’s men will be bouncing back in style from their Champions League loss, has us looking at both Mo Salah (£12.8m) and Sadio Mané (£12.2m) as premium fantasy picks for gameweek 27. Their performances against Atletico were definitely not their best of the season, but that also had to do a lot with Diego Simeone’s defensive approach to the game and the at times overly harsh treatment received from the rojiblancos, especially in the case of Mané. The Senegalese forward got booked in the first half and was replaced by Origi at half-time, though that surely had more to do with the fact that he is just returning from injury than with his performance. His Egyptian partner-in-crime left the pitch in the 72nd minute for Oxlade-Chamberlain to enter, so we’re expecting him and Mané to both start against West Ham coming Monday.

In 26 Premier League games so far this season, Salah has scored 14 goals and provided 6 assists, while Mané netted 12 times and gave 8 decisive passes, meaning that each has been directly involved in exactly 20 PL goals. The Reds played the Hammers back in GW24 as well, and with Mané absent due to injury, it was Salah who took the spotlight by scoring a goal, providing an assist and hauling a lovely 14 FPL points. We feel that he is absolutely capable of repeating that feat on Monday and if he doesn’t, Mané probably will. The choice is up to you.

Non-premium fantasy picks

Southampton’s 1-2 home loss against Burnley in gameweek 26 was quite disappointing for Ralph Hasenhüttl’s men, as the Saints were finding themselves in a bit of a purple patch, but from an FPL perspective, Danny Ings‘s (£7.1m) goal did a world of good to the 31% of managers who currently own him. The English striker looks finally capable of staying fit for a prolonged period of time and it did not take long for his real potential to start shining through. In 26 Premier League games this season, Ings has already scored 15 goals, provided 1 assist, and recorded an impressive 28 bonus points. No wonder some FPL managers say that an Ings goal is worth 7 points. On Saturday, the Saints are welcoming Aston Villa to Saint Mary’s and at this moment, the Villans are one of the league’s worst travellers. They have taken just 8 points from 13 away games (only Norwich has less with 6 points) and over that run, they conceded a worrying 26 goals. Only Newcastle conceded more away from home (28).

The situation this weekend is very similar for our second non-premium fantasy pick. Raul Jimenez (£7.8m) and his Wolves team mates are playing at home to Norwich, which, on paper, looks like a routine victory for the locals. As we mentioned when discussing Ings, the Canaries are the worst travellers in the league (6 points from 13 games), which is caused by a combination of a seemingly complete fear of scoring goals away from home (just 6 goals so far) and a leaky backline (22 goals conceded). Jimenez, on the other hand, knows no fear in front of goal. He has already netted 11 times and provided another 6 assists on top of that, which means that he has actually been directly involved in one more goal than Danny Ings. One of those 11 goals was scored away at Norwich back in gameweek 18 and we wouldn’t be surprised to see Jimenez on the score sheet again coming Sunday afternoon.

A differential fantasy pick or two

Our first differential fantasy pick for GW27 is a bit expensive, we admit, but Patrick van Aanholt (£5.5m) could deliver big this weekend. Crystal Palace boast one of the most solid defensive units amongst the English footballing elite, as Roy Hodgson’s men have conceded just 13 goals in 13 home games so far. It’s true that six teams have a better defensive record in front of their own fans, but five of those teams have conceded 12 goals in 13 away games. Add to that the fact that Newcastle, Saturday’s opponent at Selhurst Park, have scored just 3 goals in their past 4 Premier League games (a run that includes blanks against Leicester at home, Norwich at home and Arsenal away) and a defensive Eagles pick suddenly looks a lot more appealing. As far as attacking potential goes for PvA, he already has 2 goals to his name this season and over the past two gameweeks, only Wolves defender Saiss has taken more shots on goal than the Dutchman’s 4. Could there be FPL points at both ends of the pitch for the Palace wingback this weekend?

Our final pick for this weekend is another defender, namely Sheffield United’s Enda Stevens (£5.1m). We also considered fellow Blades Lundstram and Baldock for this final spot, but their current ownership levels (43.3% and 12%, respectively) sort of place them outside of the differential category. Stevens’ ownership sits at 3.2% despite having recorded just 18 FPL points less than Lundstram and 10 less than Baldock (115 vs 107 vs 97 FPL points). Over the past five games, United have booked 2 clean sheets (at home to West Ham and away against Palace) and conceded a total of 3 goals in the other 3 games. That’s a single goal conceded per game, playing Arsenal (away), City (home) and Bournemouth (home). Up next is Graham Potter’s Brighton, who are going through a decent season, but whose scoring record away from home is not fantastic (14 goals in 13 away games). Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder will be counting on a third clean sheet in six games against the Seagulls.

For further GW27 transfer ideas look at this fiso FPL forum topic.

The captaincy

The armband pick is a difficult one this weekend, in the sense that there are quite a few viable candidates, starting with Liverpool’s attacking stars. Personally, we have opted to give the captaincy to Mo Salah for gameweek 27, but in reality, Sadio Mané is just as solid a choice. Both have the potential to haul big against West Ham on Monday. Mané just came back from injury and marked his return with the winning goal against Norwich in GW26, while Salah has brought his owners an impressive 33 points in the last 3 gameweeks, courtest of 3 goals, 1 assist, 1 clean sheet and 6 bonus points. To quote ourselves from earlier in this piece: the choice is up to you.

The FISO Forum Captain poll for GW27 shows Salah and Mané are the main two choices for most.

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

FPL Season 2019/2020 – Gameweek 26 Preview

“GW26 of the 2019-2020 campaign sees the first winter break in Premier League history” (CC by 4.0). Image by Damian Stricker

After last weekend’s developments, league leaders Liverpool are now 22 points ahead of 2nd placed Manchester City with thirteen rounds to go. At this rate, with this humongous 22-point gap remaining intact, Jurgen Klopp’s men can crown themselves champions of England after the gameweek 32 encounter with, you guessed it, Manchester City! The big question is: can anyone or any team prevent this scenario from becoming reality? Southampton looked like they were capable of causing Liverpool some trouble for about a half last weekend, but that game eventually finished 4-0 in the Reds’ favour, which might just be very illustrative for their incredible season so far.

In other news, José Mourinho’s Tottenham caused the shock of the Fantasy Premier League weekend by dispatching of Manchester City at home, 2-0. Spurs had been far from free-flowing up until now and City could have won this game on any other day, but not last Sunday. The other top-six encounters (Leicester vs Chelsea and Man United vs Wolves) in gameweek 25 both ended in draws, 2-2 and 0-0 respectively. Bournemouth booked a very necessary 2-1 victory over Aston Villa, Everton came from behind to take three points back home from Carrow Road, and a Robert Snodgrass brace was not enough for West Ham to hold on a lead at home to Brighton (3-3).

A last note in regard to gameweek 26: this gameweek is split into two halves, one taking place this weekend and the other the following weekend. This means that some of the fantasy picks that you need to decide on coming Saturday will only play about a week later, so keep that in mind.

Finally, don’t forget that the deadline for gameweek 26 is set at 11h30 (GMT+0) on Saturday, February 8th, 2020.

How did our fantasy picks for the previous gameweek fare?

Premium Mo Salah Southampton (H) 16
Premium P-E Aubameyang Burnley (a) 2
Non-premium John Lundstram Crystal Palace (a) 1
Non-premium Raul Jimenez Manchester United (a) 2
Differential Matt Ritchie Norwich (H) 6
Differential Divock Origi Southampton (H) 0
Captain Mo Salah Southampton (H) 32

Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per February 5th, 2020)

GK Schmeichel (LEI), Ryan (BRI), Gazzaniga (TOT) Henderson (SHE), Pope (BUR), Button (BRI) Current form, fixture swings and the return of Lloris.
DEF Lundstram (SHE), Kelly (CRY), Söyüncü (LEI) Baldock (SHE), Van Dijk (LIV), O’ Connell (SHE) Sheffield United have favourable fixtures coming up, but Lundstram was benched recently.
MID Mané (LIV), Maddison (LEI), Martial (UTD) Salah (LIV), Son (TOT), Bergwijn (TOT) Mané remains injured, Martial is not delivering, Salah is approaching top form, and Spurs just beat City 2-0 with new boy Bergwijn scoring on his debut.
FOR Vardy (LEI), Abraham (CHE), Ings (SOU) Firmino (LIV), Jimenez (WOL), Ings (SOU) Largely form-based, though Ings seems to be really dividing FPL managers into 2 camps.

Premium fantasy picks

Not having or bringing in Kun Aguero (£12.0m) in gameweek 26 is one of those “You can, but at your own peril” kind of situations. True, there is the very real risk of rotation with a fit and in-form Gabriel Jesus praying on a starting spot up front as well, but Aguero looks too good to rotate right now. He did not return anything for the roughly 1,7 million FPL managers who currently own him in last weekend’s game against Spurs, but to be honest, we’re not entirely sure how that’s possible. The Argentinian  could have had a hattrick in the first half alone and Gundogan missed a penalty that had been won by the striker as well. In the three games prior to the Spurs encounter though, Aguero recorded an unbelievable 37 FPL points, courtesy of 6 goals and 1 assist. This weekend’s opponent West Ham have just come off conceding three goals at home to Brighton, while their total of goals conceded in 12 away games sits at 18 already. In other words, a serious Aguero haul could be on the way.

Based on current form and fixtures, we felt that we simply could not go without a premium fantasy pick from Liverpool’s roster. We didn’t want to repeat our consecutive recommendation of Mo Salah and Firmino is up next in the “Non-premium” category, so we took a bit of a risk instead. Sadio Mané (£12.2) got injured during the first half hour of gameweek 24 and the hope is that he will be back in the team for the away game against Norwich in gameweek 26 (which takes place on Saturday, February 15th). His ownership has plummeted over the past few weeks to “just” 21.7% and with Salah’s ownership expected to rise above his current 43.4%, the Senegalese winger could be something of a unique differential against the Canaries. He has scored 11 goals and provided 8 assists so far this season and the fact that 4 of those goals and 3 of those assists have come away from home only further increases the appeal of this punt.

Non-premium fantasy picks

As we wrote above, one of our two non-premium fantasy picks for gameweek 26 is Roberto Firmino (£9.7m). The Liverpool forward has been in more than decent form over the past five weeks, recording 31 FPL points from 2 goals and 3 assists. It should also be noted that the opposition over that run consisted of three away games (Spurs, Wolves, West Ham) and two home games (Man United, Southampton). In other words, not the easiest run of fixtures imaginable. The upcoming run of games is a whole different story, though: Norwich away, West Ham home, Watford away and Bournemouth home. The Brazilian already has 8 goals and 8 assists to his name, and all of those goals plus one assist were recorded away from Anfield, which is a stat of such nature that it’s worth taking into account when deciding on Firmino. Considering his current form and the favourable upcoming run of fixtures though, there are probably not a lot of better forward options in the official game at the moment.

Firmino is currently the eight-best forward in FPL and one spot above him is Southampton’s Danny Ings (£7.0). The English striker’s incredible goal-scoring form cooled down a bit due to a three-game streak without any returns, but we caution against writing him off already. First of all, in one of those three games, Ings got just 20 minutes of playing time, and second of all, he was a constant menace to the Liverpool defence last weekend. He probably should have gotten a penalty in that game as well, but instead he finished the game with 2 FPL points. The Saints and Ings will get opportunities to get back to winning and scoring ways over the coming weeks though, with the next five games being Burnley at home, Aston Villa at home, West Ham away, Newcastle home and Norwich away. We can easily see Southampton’s striker adding to his current 14 goals and 1 assist over that run.

A differential fantasy pick or two

Sometimes, when a budget player spreads out his returns over a longer period of time, he can slip under the FPL radar for quite a long time, which is what John Fleck (£5.1m) has done, kind of. The midfield creator carries a very modest price tag and is owned by just 6.4% of FPL managers, but he is just 13 points shy of the 100-point mark after 25 gameweeks. Fleck has scored 5 goals, provided 2 assists and played a part in 7 clean sheets, which has brought the happy few who own him a very nice 87 points. Gameweek 28 is a blank one for the Blades, but before that, they have home games against Bournemouth and Brighton coming up, and after GW28, it’s Norwich at home. Combine that knowledge with the fact that Fleck scored 56 of his 87 points in front of his own crown and you can see why he could be an outstanding budget-enabling pick for the short and medium term.

Our second differential fantasy pick for GW25 is based on just one game, a lot of enthusiasm, and a desire to take a real punt this weekend. Steven Bergwijn (£7.5m) needed just 63 minutes to introduce himself to the Spurs fans and the Premier League in general. A few days after signing from PSV Eindhoven, José Mourinho surprised us with a spot in the starting eleven for the Dutchman and he did not disappoint. At the point of drowning against the reigning champions, Bergwijn placed a well-controlled volley in the bottom right corner to make it 1-0. This was followed by Son’s 2-0 not ten minutes later, which meant game over for Pep Guardiola. The new winger’s dream debut got him 10 points in FPL and we’re thinking: why would he not simply continue this trend when Spurs visit Aston Villa in gameweek 25 (which takes on February 15th)? It’s a real punt and Mourinho might even leave him out of the starting eleven, but if he doesn’t and Stevie does his magic again, you can be part of the lucky 1% (his current ownership total) if you picked him.

For further GW26 transfer ideas look at this fiso FPL forum topic.

The captaincy

Seeing how convinced we are of Sergio Aguero‘s potential earlier in this piece, it would be kind of strange not to pick him as our captain for gameweek 25. He is facing West Ham, who have improved under David Moyes, but who are still far from a solid, reliable unit. Last weekend’s home game against Brighton showed that once again as the Hammers lost gave up a 3-1 lead in the final 15 minute of the encounter. Their defense definitely did look suspect at times and they won’t be looking forward to stopping off Aguero, or trying to at least.

In case you can’t or don’t want to make Aguero part of your team, gameweek 26 fortunately offers some decent alternatives. Salah and Firmino are facing Norwich away from home, so they could be good picks for the armband. Danny Ings will be looking to get back to scoring against Bournemouth next weekend, just like Raul Jimenez will be against Leicester at Molineux. If you want to make it even riskier, the likes of Calvert-Lewin at Goodison Park vs Palace, Maupay at home to Watford, Baldock and Fleck against Bournemouth at Bramall Lane, and Aubameyang against Newcastle at the Emirates could reap highly differential awards.

The FISO Forum Captain poll for GW26 shows Salah and Aguero out in front followed by KDB.

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

FPL Season 2019/2020 – Gameweek 25 Preview

“Liverpool’s Sadio Mané is one of the big absentees due to injury in gameweek 25” (CC by 3.0). Image by soccer.ru

We love the Premier League, so we really don’t want to ruin the rest of the season, but the title race is kind of over by now, isn’t it? After the first double gameweek of the 2019-2020 campaign featuring Liverpool and West Ham, the former won both of their games to make it an unbelievable 19-point lead in the table. In practical terms, this means that Liverpool can lose six of the remaining fourteen games and still be on top, regardless of what their competition does over that same period. Sure, it’s not over until the fat lady sings and anything can happen in football, but let’s say that the lady in question has been resting her voice and is ready to let it rip any time now.

On top of that, the Reds have this week’s most favourable fixture, at least on paper that is. They are hosting an in-form Southampton side, while 2nd place Man City are visiting Tottenham and 3rd place Leicester are welcoming 4th place Chelsea to the Kind Power Stadium. Current 5th placed Man United are playing against 7th placed Wolves at Old Trafford as well, which means that the current numbers two to seven in the league are all playing each other this weekend, while the undefeated leader has a home game against the number nine. Are we going to see Liverpool extend their lead to 20+ points in gameweek 25?

Finally, don’t forget that the deadline for the Fantasy Premier League gameweek 25 is set at 11h30 (GMT+0) on Saturday, February 1st, 2020.

How did our FPL fantasy picks for the previous gameweek fare?

Premium Mo Salah Wolves (a), West Ham (a) 16 (2+14)
Premium Sadio Mané Wolves (a), West Ham (a) 1 (injured)
Non-premium Roberto Firmino Wolves (a), West Ham (a) 9 (7+2)
Non-premium Anthony Martial Burnley (H) 2
Differential Joe Gomez Wolves (a), West Ham (a) 2
Differential Lucas Moura Norwich (H) 2
Captain Mo Salah Wolves (a), West Ham (a) 32 (4+28)

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

GK Gazzaniga (TOT), Ryan (Bri), Schmeichel (LEI) Henderson (SHE), Pope (BUR), Alisson (LIV) The return of Lloris for Spurs and a difficult set of fixtures for Leicester.
DEF Söyüncü (LEI), Kelly (CRY), Lundstram (SHE) Alexander-Arnold (LIV), Van Dijk (LIV), Ricardo Pereira (LEI) Liverpool’s defensive stability, Leicester’s upcoming run of fixtures, Lundstram’s recent benching, and Ricardo’s form.
MID Mané (LIV), Cantwell (NOR), Maddison (LEI) Salah (LIV), Traoré (WOL), Ayoze Perez (LEI) Injuries to Mané and Cantwell, and a hard run of fixtures for Leicester, in combination with Salah’s home game versus Soton.
FOR Vardy (LEI), Abraham (CHE), Rashford (UTD) Jimenez (WOL), Aguero (CIT), Aubameyang (ARS) Rashford’s injury, the slowed down rhythm of Vardy (at least for the time being), the much-needed return of Aubameyang, and the form of Aguero and Jimenez.

Premium fantasy picks

We’re starting off this piece with the one of last week’s premium fantasy picks in Liverpool’s Mo Salah (£12.4m). Where Sadio Mané sadly had to leave the pitch with an injury in Liverpool’s first game of their double gameweek, Mo Salah ended the DGW with a satisfying 16-point haul, courtesy of 1 goal, 1 assist, 1 clean sheet and 3 bonus points. He has already scored 12 goals this season, but only 2 of those goals were scored away from home, which means that the remaining 10 were delivered at Anfield. That sounds promising as this weekend, Southampton are rolling up to Liverpool’s sacred ground. What’s more, with City playing Spurs at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and Leicester and Chelsea facing off at the King Power, there are not a lot of premium assets with straight-forward favourable fixtures as alternatives to Liverpool’s aces hosting So’ton. We’re expecting the Egyptian magician to lead the line in terms of the captaincy this weekend and he will be wearing the armband for our selection as well.

Consdering the lack of premium FPL assets with clearly favourable fixtures, apart from the Liverpool- Southampton game, we have gone with Arsenal’s back-from-suspension striker and star man Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£10.7m). It’s hard to pin-point Arsenal’s current form, but just looking at the results, we’d like to point out that a single victory from the last eight Premier League games is not good for a club of Arsenal’s size. Having said that, of the remaining seven games over that run, the Gunners drew five and lost just two, so it looks like Mikel Arteta is working on giving his team with some resilience. The return of their best and most important player will mean a lot to the new Arsenal manager in that sense. Auba already has 14 goals and 3 assists to his name, and he was in excellent form prior to his red card in gameweek against Palace in GW22: 3 goals in his last 4 games. Up next is a tough away game at Turf Moor against a Burnley team that will be brimming with confidence after their quality display at Old Trafford in GW24, but they know Aubameyang well. Not only did the Gabonese forward score against them in gameweek 2, but he has always enjoyed playing Sean Dyche’s men. In seven encounters with the Clarets, PEA scored 7 goals and gave 1 assist, so we’re hoping for more of the same this weekend.

Non-premium fantasy picks

Our first non-premium fantasy pick for gameweek 25 is probably THE star of the 2019-2020 FPL campaign who has gone a bit off the radar in recent weeks. John Lundstram‘s (£5.1m) first half of the season was nothing short of spectacular, both in terms of FPL and the PL, and his 8 clean sheets, 3 goals and 3 assists played a huge role in this. As it stands currently, he is still the fourth highest-scoring defender in the official game, just behind the Liverpool trio of TAA, Robertson and Van Dijk. His current ownership of more than 46% is the proof of how much value Lundstram has provided up until now, seeing as he his output has cooled down considerably since his last attacking return, an assist back in gameweek 17. Since then, he has recorded just 18 FPL points and he was benched or taken off early in a few games as well. Whether manager Chris Wilder did so so rest the box-to-box man a bit or because he feels Lundstram’s starting spot is up for grabs, we’re not sure, but we feel that he has been too valuable and too important to Sheffield United for him to lose his place now. The upcoming away game against Palace could be the perfect chance to record a clean sheet and try for a first attacking return in 7 games.

The second player we have picked in this category is the opposite of John Lundstram’s current status. Raul Jimenez (£7.6m) has a relatively difficult fixture coming up with an away game against Manchester United (though Old Trafford is currently not the fortress it once was), but he has team form, individual form and a nailed-on starting spot on his side. The Mexican forward has already scored 11 goals and given 5 assists this season, bringing him a total of 129 FPL points. This actually makes him the third-best striker and the seventh-best overall player in the official game. At the same time, Man United’s last home game ended in a 0-2 loss against Burnley, which was pretty surprising considering the fact that the Red Devils had only conceded 10 goals in front of their own fans prior to that game. Wolves are placed seventh in the league when looking exclusively at away games though, and Jimenez scored 6 goals and provided 3 assists away from home, including two goals against in-form Southampton at Saint Mary’s, one goal in the 1-1 draw at Arsenal and two assists against Man City back in GW8. He is one of the most fixture-proof attackers in the Premier League and he might just confirm that statement this weekend against United.

A differential fantasy pick or two

As far as our fantasy picks in this category for this weekend go, we’ve gone really differential as one boasts an ownership level of 2.6% and the other of 0.2%. We will start with the latter, Newcastle’s Matt Ritchie (£5.3m). This season, the left-footed set-piece specialist is classified as a defender in FPL, which had quite some FPL managers buzzing at the start of the season. In gameweek 3 though, the wing-back’s ankle ligaments were damaged following a poor challenge by Leicester midfielder Hamza Choudhury, which saw the club transfer in Dutch wing-back Jetro Willems as his replacement. Now that Willems is out himself with a serious injury, Ritchie looks like manager Steve Bruce’s first choice at  left-back although he has also just signed Danny Rose from Spurs on loan. He played 78 minutes in the 1-0 home victory over Chelsea in GW23, he completed the 90 minutes last gameweek at Goodison Park, and we expect him to start once again when Norwich come to Saint James’ Park this weekend. He will be the team’s number-one set-piece taker against a team that has conceded a worrying 22 goals in 12 away games, while that same team has also scored just 6 goals in those same games. Let’s see if Ritchie can record his first attacking return of the season on Saturday.

Compared to Ritchie, Liverpool’s Divock Origi (£5.2m) almost looks like a template player with his 2.6% of current ownership. He is not though, but he does offer some very interesting differential value in the absence of Sadio Mané. The Senegalese winger got injured against Wolves at the start of GW24 and since then (though not in that same game), Origi has been filling in for him on the Liverpool left wing. He completed the 90 minutes against Shrewsbury in the fourth round of the FA Cup and he played 60 minutes against West Ham on Wednesday night. In that game, he actually won the penalty for Mo Salah, which represented his first attacking return since his assist against Watford in GW17. It should be noted that over that period, the Belgian attacker got just 119 minutes of playing time. As a matter of fact, in just 479 minutes of Premier League football so far this season, Origi has scored 3 goals and 3 assists, which brings him to an average of just 79.8 minutes per attacking return. We believe that, if he continues to start instead of Mané, he could seriously improve on that average this weekend when Southampton come to Anfield.

For further GW25 transfer ideas look at this fiso FPL forum topic.

The captaincy

Looking purely at the games in gameweek 25, we would say that only Liverpool, and to a lesser extent Newcastle, have a favourable fixtures this weekend. As a result, the number-one candidate for the armband is Mo Salah, especially in the absence of the injured Sadio Mané. The Egyptian Liverpool star has already scored 10 goal at Anfield this season and despite Southampton’s outstanding form at the moment, we can absolutely see Salah give his successful double gameweek a fitting continuation with a leading display this weekend.

The FISO Forum Captain poll for GW25 shows Salah with by far the most votes.

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

FPL Season 2019/2020 – Gameweek 24 Preview

“Is Jamie Vardy (here pictured playing for England against Belgium) going to outscore the DGW Liverpool assets in GW24?” (CC by 3.0). Image by soccer.ru.

As if Liverpool haven’t been dominating the talk ’round Premier League town already this season, the seemingly unstoppable Reds will also be the main topic of conversation in the Fantasy Premier League universe in the build-up to gameweek 24. That is, as you of course know already, because this mid-week round represents the first double gameweek of the 2019-2020 Premier League campaign. It’s a small double gameweek much to the delight of the membes of our FPL discussion forum, with just Liverpool and West Ham playing twice, with the latter’s appeal as a source for double points severely limited due to the fact that their games are Leicester away and Liverpool home. At a glance, and despite the return of Moyes leading to some careful renewed optimism in East London, that looks like the Hammers will be doing a lot more conceding than scoring.

Still, a punt on a potential differential like Felipe Anderson (if fit) or Haller, or on a cheap starting defender like Cresswell, could pay off handsomely. As you will very obviously notice in this piece though, we have not gone that way with our fantasy picks for this gameweek. Instead, our focus is on Liverpool and the appeal of tripling up big for their two games against Wolves and West Ham (both away). We definitely do not recommend to break up your entire team to accommodate crazy transfers, seeing as there are still 14 rounds of FPL to go after this round, but do keep in mind that many managers will be going all out on Reds assets in GW24. Not joining the herd in this sense might hurt your rankings in a bad way, though enormous green arrows will be coming your way if Liverpool mess up this DGW. The risk assessment of either scenario is up to you.

Finally, don’t forget that the deadline for gameweek 24 is set at 18h30 (GMT+0) on Tuesday, January 21st, 2020.

How did our fantasy picks for the previous gameweek fare?

Premium Mo Salah Manchester United (H) 7
Premium Sergio Aguero Crystal Palace (H) 13
Non-premium Danny Ings Wolves (H) 2
Non-premium Todd Cantwell Bournemouth (H) 3
Differential Neal Maupay Aston Villa (H) 4
Differential Alexandere Lacazette Sheffield United (H) 2
Captain Kevin de Bruyne Crystal Palace (H) 4

Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per January 20th, 2020)

GK Schmeichel (Lei), Ryan (Bri), Patricio (Wol) Alisson (Liv), Foster (Wat), Gazzaniga (Tot) Managers freeing up budget for Liverpool’s DGW and some upcoming swings in fixture calendars.
DEF Söyüncü (Lei), Pereira (Lei), Rico (Bou) Van Dijk (Liv), Alexander-Arnold (Liv), Robertson (Liv) Liverpool’s double gameweek and Leicester drop in form.
MID Richarlison (Eve), De Bruyne (City), Maddison (Lei) Grealish (Ast), Salah (Liv), Traoré (Wol) Managers preparing for Liverpool’s double gameweek with a focus on bringing in the Reds’ star midfielders and more budget-efficient picks from other clubs.
FOR Rashford (Utd), Abraham (Che), Vardy (Lei) Aguero (City), Firmino (Liv), Ings (Sou) A combination of managers making budget space for Liverpool’s DGW, Aguero rocketing to form, and Rashford’s injury.

Premium fantasy picks

Generally, we try to spread our fantasy picks a little bit, so as to cover several promising options for each gameweek. This also helps us to somewhat counter the Premier League’s high level of unpredictability in terms of results, or at least it helps us to feel like it does. For gameweek 24, we’re going all in on Liverpool, though. The Reds are one of two teams to enjoy a double gameweek this round and in their current form, that’s just too good to pass on, even if the two games were Real Madrid and Man City away. They’re not though, Liverpool are playing Wolves and West Ham away from home (on the 23rd and the 29th of January, respectively), so our two premium fantasy picks for GW24 are Mo Salah (£12.4m) and Sadio Mané (£12.4m).

Doubling up on these two is probably not going to be the most common strategy for the DGW, due to the huge impact this would have on budget availability and distribution, but it’s highly recommendable to own at least one of the two. Not just now, by the way, but in general as well. Salah and Mané are remarkably similar in many aspects, from their general positioning on the pitch and their goal involvement this season to their FPL price tag, and we feel that any of the two (or even both) could haul big in gameweek 24. If you’re one of the undoubtedly many FPL managers who needs to decide between these two, it’ll probably come down to a combination of studying the stats of each player and your gut feeling. In order to help you on your way a bit already, we’ll place a simple comparison of some of their key stats here below:

  Minutes Goals Assists Bonus Total points Goals away Assists away Bonus away Tot. pts. away
MANÉ 1745 11 8 18 146 4 3 8 58
SALAH 1619 11 5 15 133 1 4 2 41

Non-premium fantasy picks

When people are talking about Liverpool though, the Reds’ offense is often referred to as the front three, not the front two. Roberto Firmino (£9.4m) is the third member of the Liverpool attack and seeing as his price tag classifies him as a non-premium FPL asset (i.e. under £10m), he fits in nicely as our first non-premium fantasy asset for gameweek 24. The Brazilian is a bit overshadowed by his two partners in crime in attack, which explains his relatively low current ownership of 13.3%, but we expect that percentage to rise a bit still before the GW24. Firmino has already scored 7 goals and provided 5 assists this season, and what’s particularly interesting in regard to the upcoming DGW is that 7 of those goals and 1 of those assists were recorded away from Anfield. In other words, the Liverpool striker doesn’t seem to phased about playing in front of hostile crowds, on the contrary, from the stats it looks like he enjoys it. Liverpool’s opponents this round, Wolves and West Ham, have been defensively decent so far, but they have still conceded 15 goals in 12 away games and 14 goals in 11 away games, respectively. If recent history counts for anything, Firmino could be in for a big one in gameweek 24.

It’s tempting to focus this entire article on Liverpool players, but we shouldn’t forget that there are other games on as well, some of which with a lot of potential for FPL hauls. That’s why our second non-premium fantasy pick for this round is Manchester United’s Anthony Martial (£7.9m). United were beaten by Liverpool last weekend and the Red Devils lost their star man Marcus Rashford to an injury, so we’re hoping that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer sees the upcoming home game against Burnley as the perfect opportunity to wash away the weekend’s disappointments with a comfortable victory. The Clarets are having another relatively careless Premier League season, but their away form has been below par. They have taken 9 points from 11 away games and in those 11 games, they conceded 20 goals. Martial is United’s starting striker and in the absence of Rashford he will, more than ever, be the focal points of their attacks. He has scored 4 goals in his last Premier League games and for what it’s worth, one of those goals came in the game at Turf Moor in gameweek 20.

A differential fantasy pick or two

We were not planning to include another Liverpool player in this article and we were not really expecting to be able to include one as a differential pick, but we were kind of surprised by the current ownership of Joe Gomez (£5.2m, owned by 3.9%). As a result, he is our first differential fantasy pick for gameweek 24. Basically, the only downside to owning Gomez at this moment is the imminent return to fitness of both Matip and Lovren, who shared his central defensive spot before they both got injured. For the rest, he provides great value, especially this week. Before he came into the team to partner Van Dijk at the back in gameweek 16, Liverpool had recorded 2 clean sheets in 15 gameweeks. Since GW16, the Reds have not conceded a single goal, courtesy of an ongoing streak of seven consecutive games without conceding. There are a lot of factors at play surely, but looking at these results, one might conclude that Gomez is the ideal partner for Van Dijk in the Pool defence. His potential for attacking returns is much lower than that of his fellow defenders, but his price lies well below theirs as well, which makes him an excellent option for the double gameweek 24.

Besides the Liverpool DGW, one of the games that stands out from an FPL perspective is Tottenham at home versus Norwich. Spurs are certainly playing a kind of football under Mourinho, but it’s certainly not the smooth, free-flowing kind. The long-term absence of star man Harry Kane doesn’t help either, of course. These are not ideal conditions for an attacking Spurs asset to shine, but it does create a few interesting differential options. One of those is Lucas Moura (£7.1m), who in the absence of Kane fills in the number-nine spot together with Son and Alli. The Brazilian dribbler has not been in red hot (FPL) form lately, which is illustrated by his 2 goals and 1 assist in his last eight Premier League games, but he does seem to be one of the most threatening Spurs players on a consistent basis. What we are hoping, is that this weekend sees him convert that threat into returns against Norwich at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. The Canaries are the worst-performing team on the road this season, with just 5 points taken from 11 away games, a run over which they conceded 20 goals. Spurs, on the other hand, are fifth in the table when it comes to home games only and they have scored a decent 21 goals in 11 home games. Hopefully, Moura can add to that total on Wednesday.

For further GW24 transfer ideas look at this fiso FPL forum topic.

The captaincy

As you probably guessed by now, we’re captaining a Liverpool player, as we expect most FPL managers around the world will do. The question is: which Liverpool player? It’s between Salah and Mané, with Firmino a serious consideration as a differential captaincy pick for gameweek 24. Mané has performed better in away games than Salah this season, but the Senegalese international has blanked in two consecutive games for the first time since gameweeks 6 and 7. Salah, on the other hand, has been in good form of late with 2 goals and 1 assist in his last three games (against Sheffield United at home, Spurs away and United at home). The Egyptian is also on penalties, so in the end we’ve gone with him as our captain for GW24, but Mané would be an equally promising pick.

The FISO Forum Captain poll for GW24 shows Salah with the most votes and many using their Triple Captain chip for him.

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

FPL Season 2019/2020 – Gameweek 23 Preview

“Is Alexandre Lacazette going to fill Arsenal’s temporary Aubayemang-sized hole with goals and assists?” (CC by 2.0). Image by Ronnie Macdonald.

Well, one thing we learned from gameweek 23 for sure is that Sergio Aguero is definitely back in the mix after his 20-point haul against Villa, courtesy of a hattrick, an assist and 3 bonus points. In combination with Kane’s injury and Aubameyang’s suspension, this could result in some interesting transfer activity over the coming days. The second-highest points scorer in the Fantasy Premier League official game plays for the sky-blue team from Manchester as well, as Riyad Mahrez bagged 2 goals and 1 assist for a sweet 17 FPL points. Watford’s Abdoulaye Doucouré completed the podium for GW23 with 14 FPL points, thanks to a goal and an assist against Bournemouth. Behind the Frenchman, three familiar FPL forum names followed with 12 points (Rashford, Digne and Azpilicueta).

Where gameweek 23 offered a plethora of good candidates for the captaincy and premium players with favourable fixtures, the pickings are slimmer this weekend. Liverpool and Manchester United are meeting at Anfield on Sunday, while earlier that day, Leicester are paying Turf Moor a visit. Chelsea are visiting Saint James’ Park on Saturday to try and break down a resilient Newcastle defence, and Arsenal and Sheffield United are kicking off at the Emirates that same day. The only top-6 team with a favourable fixture, on paper that is, are Manchester City, who are hosting Crystal Palace on Saturday afternoon. Instead of premium options from the traditional top teams, this gameweek there could be some good alternatives to be found at the likes of Norwich (at home versus Bournemouth), Brighton (at home to Aston Villa) and even West Ham or Everton (who are playing each other in London on Saturday).

Finally, don’t forget that the deadline for gameweek 23 is set at 11h30 (GMT+0) on Saturday, January 18th, 2020.

How did our fantasy picks for the previous gameweek fare?

Premium Jamie Vardy Southampton (H) 5
Premium Kevin de Bruyne Aston Villa (a) 9
Non-premium Anthony Martial Norwich (H) 8
Non-premium Richarlison Brighton (H) 10
Differential Jonny Castro Newcastle (H) 2
Differential Troy Deeney Bournemouth (a) 7
Captain Jamie Vardy Southampton (H) 10

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

GK Ramsdale (Bou), Pope (Bur), Fabianski (Whu) Ryan (Bri), Henderson (She), McCarthy (Sou) A combination of injuries (Ramsdale, Fabianksi), bad fixtures (Pope), and good upcoming fixtures.
DEF Kelly (Cry), Pereira (Lei), Rico (Bou) Williams (Utd), Alexander-Arnold (Liv), Robertson (Liv) FPL managers starting their preparations for Liverpool’s double GW24.
MID Alli (Tot), Traoré (Wol), Maddison (Lei) Mahrez (MC), Richarlison (Eve), Grealish (Ast) New form players announcing themselves.
FOR Aubameyang (Ars), Jimenez (Wol), Rashford (Utd) Ings (Sou), Aguero (MC), Vardy (Lei) Injury doubts (Rashford) and suspensions (Auba) in combination with Ings’ ongoing goalscoring, Aguero grabbing the headlines, and Vardy returning.

Premium fantasy picks

The clash of the week is taking place at Anfield in gameweek 23, where leaders Liverpool are welcoming their arch rivals Manchester United, and our first premium fantasy pick will be featuring in this match. When it comes to home games, Mo Salah (£12.3m) definitely knows where the goal is judging by the fact that 9 out of his 10 Premier League goals this season have been scored in front of his own fans. Man United have been mediocre when it comes to results away from home, taking just 12 points from 11 away games so far this season, scoring 12 goals and conceding a worrying 15 goals over that run. With the young Brandon Williams most likely filling in for the injured Luke Shaw at left-back for United, more than a few managers will be eyeing the possibility of Salah taking advantage of the situation, despite the United youngster’s good performance in gameweek 22. We’re expecting Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men to put up a decent fight at Anfield, but it’s hard to imagine Liverpool’s front three not causing them some serious trouble over 90 minutes.

Our second premium fantasy pick for gameweek 23 is Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero (£11.8m), who rocketed himself back to the top of the scouting lists of millions of FPL managers after bringing home 20 FPL points last weekend. In many cases, this pick could be seen as a typical “chasing the points” kind of pick, but not in the case of Aguero. After his recital against Villa, the Argentinian striker is now the most prolific foreign player in the history of the Premier League, as well as the player with the most hattricks in the PL to his name. This means that, when it comes to Aguero, you’re never chasing the points as much as you are anticipating the next haul. Despite missing six games entirely and playing less than half an hour in five other games, Kun still has 13 goals and 5 assists to his name as it stands. As a matter of fact, of the 11 games that he started this season, he has only failed to return in three of them. Up next is Crystal Palace, who are expected to dig in deep and hope for a collective off day for City’s offensive line. With Aguero is red hot record-breaking form, that’s probably wishful thinking from the Eagles, though.

Non-premium fantasy picks

In gameweek 7, with Spurs away, Chelsea at home and Wolves away up next, barely anyone even considered Danny Ings (£6.8m). Three goals in three games saw him pick up some exposure, but his consecutive blanks against Leicester and Man City then caused managers to largely ignore the Saints striker again. Between gameweek 12 and gameweek 17, he then scored 5 goals in 5 games again, which made many FPL managers notice him and think “No way he’s going to keep that up”. Well, in the six games since then, Ings scored another 5 goals, bringing him to a more than respectable total of 14 goals and a single assist for the season so far. The Englishman is finding himself in the form of his life now that he has been able to leave his injury troubles behind him for a prolonged period of time and the best thing, both from manager’s Ralph Hasenhüttl’s perspective and an FPL manager’s point of view, is that he seems to be completely fixture-proof. Six of his goals have come against opposition currently placed in the top-8, 2 goals were scored against Everton and Arsenal, and the remaining 6 goals were scored against teams currently placed ninth or lower in the table. Wolves are up next as Nuno Espirito Santo’s men roll up to Molineux and even though this is going to be everything but easy for the Saints, Ings has shown that he can turn up anywhere, at any time this season.

The 2019-2020 Fantasy Premier League campaign brought us a few genuine bargains at the start of the season, with several players having enjoyed considerable price rises already. Norwich midfielder Todd Cantwell (£4.9m) definitely belongs to this category, though his change in price has not been as comet-like as it has been for some other bargain gems like John Lundstram and Caglar Söyüncü. The young English offensive midfielder seems to have made the number-14 jersey his at Norwich, which is not surprising when looking at his tallies this season: 6 goals, 2 assists, 10 bonus points and 86 FPL points from 17 starts. That’s a direct involvement in 36% of all of the Canaries’ goals this season. Add his price tag to the equation and you get value that few other players in the official game can offer. This weekend, Norwich are hosting a Bournemouth side in free-fall who are now just one place above them in the table. A victory could reduce the gap from six to three points and more than a few eyes will be on Cantwell to help orchestrate that victory.

A differential fantasy pick or two

On paper, we feel the Brighton versus Aston Villa game on Saturday could offer some serious differential value on both sides. Considering Brighton’s OK home form (10th in the home games table with 16 points, 15 goals scored and 15 goals conceded from 11 games) and Aston Villa’s problems away from home (19th in the away games table with 7 points, 14 goals scored and 23 goals conceded from 11 games), we have decided to highlight Seagulls striker Neal Maupay (£5.9m) for this one. The French striker has not been overwhelming this season, but 7 goals and 1 assist from 17 starts is not terrible either for a budget asset from a mid-table team. Manager Graham Potter likes to rotate and shuffle his starting lineups around quite a bit, especially in attack, but Maupay has proven to be a constant in Brighton’s starting lineup, as is illustrated by the 16 games in which he played at least 78 minutes. That includes the first four games of the season, which were his first games in the Premier League. We feel that Brighton are the favourites on Saturday and that Maupay could be the one to consolidate that feeling.

For an FPL manager, there is something strangely discomforting about a big name player with a big price tag and a very low ownership. That’s because usually this indicates a premium player who, for whatever reason, is underperforming enormously. In some cases though, it simply means that you have come across a very good player who has simply been overshadowed by a teammate and Arsenal’s Alexandre Lacazette (£9.3m) is one of these cases. With just 12 starts from 22 games, it’s been an up-and-down season for the Frenchman so far, but Mikel Arteta seems to have big plans for him, considering he let him play at least 81 minutes in each of the four Premier League games since his appointment. Lacazette’s return of just a single assist over that run is disappointing to say the least, but don’t forget that Aubameyang is normally the star man up front for the Gunners. With the Gabonese striker now out suspended and expected to return for the GW25 game versus Burnley, we can see the French forward taking over the role of focal point in attack and building on his current tallies of 5 goals and 3 assists, at least temporarily. His price tag of £9.3m makes him quite an expensive punt, but with an ownership of just 2.0% and a relatively favourable set of fixtures coming up, he could be a big differential as well.

For further GW23 transfer ideas look at this fiso FPL forum topic.

The captaincy

We immediately had our eye on the Manchester City versus Crystal Palace game for this week’s captaincy, especially after Pep’s men handed out a 1-6 whooping at Villa Park last weekend, but the problem is, as usual, the danger of rotation. City started with two strikers and Mahrez in a number-10 role in GW22, resulting in a second consecutive benching for Sterling, and it’s unclear whether this will once again be the starting lineup at home to Palace this Saturday or if Guardiola will revert back to the usual 4-3-3. Aguero is obviously a potentially explosive choice for the armband and we find it hard to imagine that Sterling will be benched for a third time in a row, but if you want to play it safe with your captain, Kevin de Bruyne is probably (once again) your best pick. He’s our pick for the armband in any case.

The FISO Forum Captain poll for GW23 shows KDB with the most votes.

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

FPL Season 2019/2020 – Gameweek 22 Preview

“This weekend and for some weekends to come, Spurs star Harry Kane will be one of the big absentees due to injury” (CC by 2.0). Image by enviro warrior.

After a small break from Fantasy Premier League due to FA Cup obligations this week, we’re now back for gameweek 22 of the 2019-2020 season. Gameweek 21 was another one for the differentials, in most part, with West Ham’s Mark Noble scoring a week-high 16 FPL points. Arsenal’s Sokratis followed with an impressive 15 points courtesy of a goal and three bonus points, while Gabriel Jesus, Jack Grealish and Ayoze Perez all recorded 13 FPL points. Besides Grealish, none of these players currently boast an ownership of more than 5.5%. The most-owned player in GW21’s Team of the Week was Liverpool’s Andy Robertson (12 FPL points) after booking a clean and an assist away at Sheffield United much to the excitement of some of FISO’s FPL Forum members.

Gameweek 22 could be very different though, with many of the official game’s most popular and best-performing assets facing largely favourable opposition, on paper at least. Chelsea, though not that convincing in front of their own fans yet, face a travel-shy Burnley, Leicester are hosting an in-form Southampton, Manchester United see Norwich roll up to Old Trafford, and their skyblue city rivals visit an Aston Villa side ravaged by serious injuries. The clash of the weekend takes place at the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium though, where a Kane-less home side must try and find a way to stop the seemingly all-conquering machine that is Liverpool. In other words, plenty to look forward to again this round!

Finally, don’t forget that the deadline for gameweek 22 is set at 19h00 (GMT+0) on Friday, January 10th 2020.

How did our fantasy picks for the previous gameweek fare?

Premium Jamie Vardy Newcastle (a) 0 (injured)
Premium Kevin de Bruyne Everton (H) 2
Non-premium Marcus Rashford Arsenal (a) 2
Non-premium Martin Kelly Norwich (a) 2
Differential Dominic Calvert-Lewin Man City (a) 1
Differential Chris Wood Aston Villa (H) 7
Captain Jamie Vardy Newcastle (a) 0 (injured)

Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per January 9th, 2020)

GK Pope (Bur), Heaton (Bur), Ederson (Cit) Schmeichel (Lei), Ryan (Bri), Henderson (She) The injured Heaton is being replaced and Pope has a difficult run of fixtures coming up.
DEF Aurier (Tot), Kelly (Cry), Rico (Bou) Alexander-Arnold (Liv), Dunk (Bri), Söyüncü (Lei) Very much a form question, with Aurier and Rico being replaced, in combination with Palace’s unrelenting injury crisis.
MID Alli (Tot), Mount (Che), Martial (Utd) Grealish (Ast), Maddison (Lei), Traoré (Wol) We see a trend for Spurs assets, as performances have been horrendous under Mourinho (though some results were booked). The transferred-in column represents players in good form.
FOR Kane (Tot), Vardy (Lei), Pukki (Nor) Ings (Sou), Calvert-Lewin (Eve), Aubameyang (Ars) Injured strikers (Kane and Pukki) and a striker who was injured but is fit again (Vardy) being replaced with cheap form players and the promise of better times under Arsenal’s Arteta.

Premium fantasy picks

When we recommended Jamie Vardy (£10.0m) as both our first premium fantasy pick and our captain for gameweek 21, we were obviously convinced he was going to play after the birth of his child. He didn’t. And while that was painful from an FPL perspective, we can’t agree with the more than 200,000 FPL managers who transferred him out since then. This is still the man who sits atop the topscorers table with 17 goals and the overall scoring table in FPL with 144 points, and who is about as nailed-on a starter as they come. That’s why we start of our list of player recommendations for GW22 with the Englishman. As we all remember, the last time the Saints looked Vardy in the eyes, he and his teammates put nine past them in front of their own fans, back in gameweek 10. The striker himself bagged a hattrick and 20 FPL points in that game, and while we don’t expect an even remotely similar scenario this weekend (given that it was triggered by an early sending-off), we can see a home game against Southampton as the perfect opportunity for Vardy to get his party started again. Just a heads-up, he’s also our captain for gameweek 22.

Our second premium fantasy pick of the week is Man City’s midfield maestro Kevin de Bruyne (£10.6m), who is becoming a bit of a mainstay in this piece. That’s what happens when you consistently perform at a ridiculously high level and combine that with more than decent FPL returns. The Belgian did not record a return in gameweek 21 when City faced Everton at the Etihad, but in the four weeks prior to that, he scored 3 goals, provided 4 assists, hauled in 6 bonus points, and brought his owners a whopping 42 FPL points. This weekend, the Cityzens are visiting Aston Villa, whose recent luck could not have been worse. In GW21, in the same game, both their starting striker (Wesley) and their starting goalkeeper (Heaton) suffered season-ending injuries. As the saying goes though, one man’s tragedy is another man’s treasure, and in this case, we feel the former man could be Villa and the latter man could be City. To be fair, Villa’s home form is not terrible (14 points from 10 games, with 13 goals scored and 14 conceded) and Dean Smith’s men will put up a fight like they did against Leicester on Wednesday, but chances are Kevin de Bruyne is going to be central to a goal fest this weekend.

Non-premium fantasy picks

With one of the Premier League’s leakiest defences coming to Old Trafford on Saturday, Man United’s attacking assets are naturally attracting some attention. Marcus Rashford is an obvious call, but we’ve gone with Anthony Martial (£7.9m) for this one. After John Lundstram, the Frenchman is probably the most obvious and attractive out-of-position player, seeing as he is listed as a midfielder by FPL, but deployed as a starting striker by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Despite various injury issues throughout the first half of this season, Martial has still managed to score 7 goals and provide 3 assists. Of those attacking returns, 3 goals have come in the past three games. Saturday’s opponent Norwich have so far conceded 16 goals in ten away games and the Canaries have shown that they are not a team who dig in and ‘park the bus’ in any game. This should only benefit United, who have proven to experience difficulties at times when it comes to unlocking tightly organised defensive set-ups. Martial looks fit and ready to go for the Red Devils, and he has the potential to return big this weekend.

Another player who could deliver big in gameweek 22 is Everton’s Richarlison (£8.0m). His current ownership of just 11.3% indicates that the Brazilian has slipped under the radar of the FPL community a bit, which is remarkable when you consider that he has performed rather well of late. He has scored 4 goals and provided 1 assist over the last eight gameweeks, a run in which he brought his owners 40 FPL points. As a matter of fact, when looking at the past ten gameweeks, no other midfielder in the game scored more than Richarlison’s 5 goals. The Toffees are hosting Brighton this week and the Seagulls have not been their best on the road this season. Graham Potter’s men have picked up just 8 points from ten away games so far, a run in which they have conceded 17 goals and scored just 10. Everton, on the other hand, are placed sixth in the league when looking only at home games and with Carlo Ancelotti now having a few games as Toffees coach under his belt, we could see this end up as a nice victory for the home side. Richarlison seems to be nailed-on under the living Italian legend and he could be a worth a punt this weekend.

A differential fantasy pick or two

Our first differential pick of the week is a defender who has not seen a clean sheet since gameweek 15. We figured we’d start with that. Now that that’s out of the way, allow us to briefly explain why Wolves left-back Jonny (£5.4m) is on this list. First of all, it’s important to mention that of those six games since that last clean sheet, Wolves faced Spurs, Man City, and Liverpool (those last two in a window of less than 48 hours, by the way), while the remaining three games were away games at  attack-minded sides Norwich and Brighton, and a resurgent Watford under Nigel Pearson. Second of all, Wolves are really quite a good team and up next are Newcastle at Molineux. Out of the seven best-performing Newcastle defenders in FPL, six (!) are currently marked as an injury doubt for Saturday’s game, which means that the Magpies will, in the best scenario, face Jonny and his teammates with a very unstable foundation. Third of all, only Watford and Norwich have scored less away goals than Newcastle’s 9 (in 10 games). Combine all these facts and stats, and we feel this weekend is the perfect chance for Wolves to record their fourth clean sheet of the season,a nd with a bit of luck, Jonny will have some freedom to bomb forward and look for an attacking return or a bonus point as well.

Mentioning a resurgent Watford brought us to recommending one of our own favourites as our second differential pick for this weekend. Troy Deeney (£6.2m, ownership of 1.0%) missed the majority of the first half of the season due to injury, but he looks rearing to make up for lost time since his return to full fitness in gameweek 15. The Hornets striker scored 3 goals in his last four games and recorded a more than decent 21 FPL points over that run. That comes down to just over 5 points per game, which is good for a striker with his price tag. Up next are a struggling Bournemouth at the English south coast who have not won in their last four games and who have scored just a single goal over that period while conceding 8 goals themselves. Watford are have so far been far from prolific away from home, which is illustrated by the 6 goals they have scored in ten away games, but it’s worth mentioning that 4 of those goals were scored in their last five away games. Deeney is definitely a punt, but one that could bring a few very satisfying green arrows.

For further GW22 transfer ideas look at this fiso FPL forum topic.

The captaincy

We already lifted the curtain a bit earlier in this piece in regard to our captaincy choice this weekend, because we we’re going with Leicester’s Jamie Vardy for gameweek 22. He missed the last two games, but has been declared fully fit for Saturday’s home game against Southampton, a notice that was underlined by his hard-working 90-minute performance against Aston Villa in the FA Cup on Wednesday (in which he bagged himself an assist). Every Saint and Saint-related individual in the world will remember what happened when Jamie and co came to Saint Mary’s back in gameweek 10, and even though another 9-goal victory seems a bit unlikely, we can easily see Vardy make it 18 or even 19 goals for the season this weekend.

The FISO Forum Captain poll for GW22 indicates Vardy is the most popular captain.

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