FPL 2023-24: Gameweek 17 preview

With the European group stages behind us after tomorrow evening, FPL managers can fully focus on what is traditionally one of the most anticipated fantasy football periods of the season: the Christmas period. Starting with upcoming gameweek 17, which is kicking off on Friday evening, we’ve got four gameweeks set between then and January 2nd, 2024. That means four Premier League matchdays in nineteen days, with three of those matchdays taking place between December 21st and January 2nd. On top of that, it’s important to remember that the first Wildcard will expire after the GW20 deadline, if you haven’t used it by then, that is.

First things first though, with gameweek 17 offering fantasy managers plenty of hope for big hauls. On Friday, for example, Spurs are visiting Nottingham Forest for what could end up being a more than entertaining encounter. On Saturday then we see free-flowing Bournemouth at home to Luton, Chelsea at home versus Sheffield United, Manchester City at home to Crystal Palace and Newcastle at home against Fulham as those that stand out from a fantasy perspective. Sunday was reserved for the big clashes this weekend, as Arsenal host Brighton and Liverpool close the gameweek with a game against arch-rivals Manchester United at Anfield. The visit of Unai emery’s unleashed Aston Villa to Brentford will attract considerable fantasy interest as well.

Check out FISO’s FPL Forum for the latest discussion and don’t forget, the deadline for gameweek 17 is set at 18h30 (UK time) on Friday, December 15th, 2023.

Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per December 13th, 2023)

 TRANSFERS OUTTRANSFERS INPOSSIBLE REASONS
GKAreola (WHU), Pope (NEW), Onana (MUN)Martinez (AST), Neto (BOU), Leno (FUL) 
DEFTrippier (NEW), Andersen (CRY), Mitchell (CRY)Porro (TOT), Senesi (BOU), Alexander-Arnold (LIV)Trippier suspension, TAA back to point-scoring form, Senesi back-to-back goals
MIDMbeumo (BRE), Luiz (AST), Fernandes (MUN)Son (TOT), Gordon (NEW), Salah (LIV)Salah and Son form, Mbeumo injury, Fernandes and Luiz suspensions
FORHaaland (MCI), Darwin (LIV), Alvarez (MCI)Solanke (BOU), Watkins (AST), Alvarez (MCI)Haaland injury doubt, Solanke and Watkins form

Premium pick

Had Haaland not been an injury doubt at the moment, then he would have once again featured as our stand-out premium fantasy pick for City’s upcoming home game against Crystal Palace. The Norwegian is a serious doubt for this weekend though, which has made us shift our attention to the City Ground in Nottingham, where Spurs are playing Forest on Friday evening. Sure, Mo Salah is playing a completely unpredictable Manchester United side at home, a fixture that ended 7-0 last season with Salah bagging a brace, but we are still going with Son Heung-Min (£9.6m) as our premium fantasy pick for gameweek 17. The South Korean attacker, who is listed as a midfielder in the official game, gave a stellar performance during Spurs’ impressive 4-1 victory over Newcastle. He scored a goal and gave 2 assists for a total of 17 FPL points, snatching the Player of the Week “prize” in the process. We know by now that Nottingham Forest are much more comfortable at home than they are on the road, but with Tottenham’s explosive attacking potential in mind, we feel backing Son here is the way to go.

Non-premium pick

To call Dominik Solanke (£6.6m) a non-premium fantasy pick is actually understating his current FPL value, because the Bournemouth forward has rather quietly been having a great first half of the season. After his goal at Old Trafford last weekend, the 26-year-old now sits on 8 goals plus 1 assist from 16 league starts. His total of 73 FPL points means that he is playing at an average of almost 5 points per game so far this season, which is more than decent for a striker who started the season at £6.5m. What makes this pick better still is the fact that Solanke is guaranteed two things: a spot in the starting eleven and penalty duties. And what makes this pick EVEN better than that, is that Bournemouth are in form and have got Luton Town at home, Nottingham Forest away and Fulham at home coming up in the next three. Saturday’s opponents Luton have already conceded 32 goals this season and 18 of those were conceded in eight away games. Let’s see if Solanke can get on the scoresheet in back-to-back games for the first time this season against the Hatters.

The budget enabler

Plenty has been said about Chelsea’s less than mediocre season so far, with the Blues currently in twelfth place in the league. One of the few brights spots in manager Mauricio Pochettino’s first full season in charge of the Londoners has been Cole Palmer (£5.5m) though, the youngster who was brought in from Manchester City for a whopping £ 42.5 million on deadline day this summer. Around gameweek 7, the 21-year-old midfielder/winger conquered a spot in Chelsea’s starting eleven and he has not disappointed since then. Palmer, who started the FPL season with a price tag of just £5.0m, scored 5 goals and gave 3 assists since GW7. The fact that he is on penalties has contributed to those stats considerably, but in terms of FPL, that should only further his appeal as an ideal budget enabler. Chelsea are in no form whatsoever and they haven’t been for a while now, but they do have one of the best fixture runs coming up. This weekend, Sheffield United come to Stamford Bridge, followed by a visit to Wolves, a home clash with Crystal Palace and an away game at Luton over the hectic Christmas period. Considering his form, his role in the team and the upcoming fixtures, Cole Palmer is definitely one of the budget enablers of choice at the moment.

The differential

We recommended Son Heung-Min earlier in this article, but chances are that many managers won’t be able to easily bring in the South Korean. That’s because a large majority of FPL teams features either Erling Haaland or Mo Salah, while a considerable number carry both of them. Especially for those managers who have both powerhouses in their squad, their budget and the way it is spread around the squad likely makes it complicated to bring in Son without taking a hit or two. If that’s the case for your squad, but you’re still set on getting in on the Spurs action, Dejan Kulusevski (£7.0m) could be an interesting move. Now, we’re not saying that you should expect the Swedish forward to perform at Son levels, but the fact that manager Ange Postecoglou used him as striker in the 4-1 victory over Newcastle has caught our attention. While Kulu recorded a disappointing 2-pointer, the underlying stats provide some encouragement. In terms of creativity, especially, he played his best game of the season so far and he could have easily gotten an attacking return or two on another day. Spurs are now facing Forest away and then Everton at home, so we can see the 2.8%-owned Swede compensating for his lack of points in GW17 by getting on the scoresheet at least once over the next two.

The (vice-)captaincy

With Haaland likely out of action, the captaincy debate for gameweek 17 is more open than it has been in most gameweeks since the Norwegian’s arrival in the Premier League. We are probably placing the armband on Son Heung-Min this weekend for Tottenham’s visit to Nottingham Forest, but we can see a last-minute change to Mo Salah for his home game against Manchester United as a real possibility as well.

Other, more differential options for the armband are in-form Dominik Solanke at home to Luton Town, Julian Alvarez for Man City’s home game versus Crystal Palace, and Bukayo Saka for Arsenal’s welcoming of Brighton on Sunday.

FPL 2023-24: Gameweek 16 preview

At the moment of writing, the gameweek 15 games between Everton and Newcastle and between Spurs and West Ham, still need to be played, so do keep that in mind. Having said that, gameweek 15 has already given us plenty to ponder, including an incredible last-minute Arsenal victory over Luton (which only became even more incredible after Manchester City’s 1-0 loss at Villa Park a day later) and Manchester United’s home win versus Chelsea, courtesy of a Scott McTominay brace. Fulham also shared in the headlines by wiping the floor with Nottingham Forest at Craven Cottage, winning 5-0 with a hattrick of assists by one of last season’s stand-out budget fantasy performers Andreas Pereira.

With just about 38 hours between the final gameweek 15 whistle on Thursday and the kick-off of gameweek 16 between Crystal Palace and Liverpool on Saturday, there is no time to lose in terms of preparation. From an FPL point of view, the Man City visit to Kenilworth Road on Sunday naturally stands out, though the visit of Liverpool to Selhurst Park and the clash between Man United and Bournemouth at Old Trafford are brimming with fantasy potential as well. Considering Sheffield United’s recent form, the visit of Brentford to Bramall Lane on Saturday should have owners of Bryan Mbeumo in particular hopeful for another nice gameweek.

Check out FISO’s FPL Forum for the latest discussion and don’t forget, the deadline for gameweek 16 is set at 11h00 (UK time) on Saturday, December 9th, 2023.

Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per December 6th, 2023)

 TRANSFERS OUTTRANSFERS INPOSSIBLE REASONS
GKPope (NEW), Alisson (LIV), Turner (NOT)Dubravka (NEW), Ederson (MCI), Onana (MUN) 
DEFCash (AST), Andersen (CRY), Saliba (ARS)Alexander-Arnold (LIV), Colwill (CHE), Trippier (NEW)Cash benchings, Newcastle fixtures, TAA form
MIDDoku (MCI), Diaby (AST), Luiz (AST)Hee Chan (WOL), Palmer (CHE), Gordon (NEW)Gordon back-to-back hauls, Villa difficult fixtures
FORNketiah (ARS), Darwin (LIV), Alvarez (MCI)Cunha (WOL), Watkins (AST), Joao Pedro (BRI)Return of Jesus, Cunha and Watkins form

Premium pick

After Aston Villa’s somewhat surprise victory over Man City on Wednesday (we say somewhat, because the Cityzens have been fumbling points of late, struggle without Rodri and Villa look like Champions League contenders at the moment), the reigning champions now find themselves in fourth place, six points behind leaders Arsenal. That’s not something the skyblue side of Manchester has been used to this decade, so we do expect them to regain some of their winning ways soon. The upcoming visit to Luton Town looks like a perfect opportunity to do just that, which is why our premium fantasy pick for gameweek 16 is Erling Haaland (£14.0m). The Norwegian has now gone an unbelievable two consecutive league games without a goal, despite recording an Expected Goal ratio of 0.77 in GW14 and 0.83 in GW15. Despite their recent struggles, we expect Man City to dominate this one and Haaland to add at least one to his current 14 goals from 15 league starts.

Non-premium pick

Sheffield United have conceded 10 goals in their last three league games and the 5-0 defeat at the hands of Burnley back in gameweek 14 felt particularly worrisome for the Blades. They are now bottom of the table with just five points and 11 goals scored, while having conceded a worrying 41 goals. They can therefore be considered the Premier League whipping boys of the moment and Brentford is the side facing them coming weekend. Now, Brentford have had a decent run, winning five games and losing six to get them to their current 11th place in the league. We are mentioning them here though, because the Bees count on Bryan Mbeumo (£7.1m) for much of their attacking threat in the continued absence of Ivan Toney, and the Cameroon international has not disappointed so far. The attacker, who is listed as a midfielder in FPL, has managed 7 goals and 4 assists from 15 league starts, and lately he has been back in the returns. He provided an assist versus Luton in GW14 and then scored his side’s only goal against Brighton on Wednesday. Our hope is that he can extend this run of consecutive attacking returns to three when Brentford visit Sheffield United on Saturday, despite his current yellow flag.

The budget enabler

We know that we included Wolves forward Matheus Cunha (£5.6m) as our budget enabler in the preview for gameweek 15 as well, but his assist in the 1-0 victory over Burnley made it four consecutive league games with an attacking return in a row. Since his assist against Spurs back in gameweek 12, the Brazilian youngster has collected 22 FPL points for an average of just over 5 FPL points per game. Not bad at all for a starting forward priced at just £5.6m for the moment. From gameweek 17, Wolves’ schedule becomes considerably more difficult, but before that happens, there is still the home game against Nottingham Forest this Saturday. The Tricky Trees are coming off a rather surprising 5-0 thrashing at the hands of Fulham at Craven Cottage, so we don’t expect their defence to be brimming with confidence for their visit to Molineux. Cunha is one of the men in form for Wolves at the moment and we honestly don’t see why he could not make it five returns in five games this gameweek.

The differential

In more or less any way you look at it, Chelsea are having a horrid season. Despite spending almost a billion (!) pounds on new blood in about two season, the Blues currently find themselves in tenth place in the league, no less than 11 points behind the top four. Manager Mauricio Pochettino’s men got a bit of a boost of confidence when they beat Brighton 3-2 back in gameweek 14, but that confidence was brittle as the Blues went under against Manchester United a few days later. The upcoming run of fixtures should inspire hope in the Chelsea faithful though, as the Londoners have one of the best schedules of all teams for the foreseeable future. We are therefore highlighting Levi Colwill (£4.5m) as an interesting budget enabler on both the short and the long term. The left-back position seems his to lose at the moment, which is great news for owners with Everton away, Sheffield United at home, Wolves away, Crystal Palace at home and Luton Town away in the next five. With Ben Chilwell’s return from injury unknown, we would not be surprised to see Colwill feature in more than a few wildcards over the coming gameweeks.

The (vice-)captaincy

As far as we are concerned, Erling Haaland away at Luton Town screams captaincy. He already has 14 goals and 5 assists to his name so far, and despite Luton’s encouraging first half of the season, we find it hard to see them make it three consecutive league games without a goal for the Norwegian.

As usual, Mohamed Salah provides probably the best alternative to Erling Haaland. Liverpool visit a Crystal Palace, who have 21 goals in 15 league games so far, while Salah has already bagged 10 (plus 6 assists) this season. Other interesting though riskier picks for the armband are Brentford’s Bryan Mbeumo away at Sheffield United, Wolves forward Matheus Cunha at home to Nottingham Forest and even Man City’s Phil Foden.

FPL Season 2023-24: Gameweek 15 preview

With gameweek 14, we have kicked off what’s going to be an action-packed December month of Premier League football. Including GW14, we’ve got no less than seven rounds of fantasy football joy and frustration waiting for us this month. We are now in the first period of quick turn-arounds, as gameweek 15 is set for kick-off on Tuesday evening, followed by gameweek 16’s kick-off Saturday at noon. Add to that the final rounds of the European group stages the week after next and you kind of get the idea of what fantasy managers are up against in the short-term. And soon after that, there is the infamous Christmas period…

First up is gameweek 15, starting with Wolves hosting Burnley tomorrow (Tuesday) at 19h30. That same day, current league leaders Arsenal visit new boys Luton Town and that’s not the only favourable fixture for FPL managers to keep an eye on this gameweek. Sheffield United, who were just hammered 5-0 by Burnley, host Liverpool on Wednesday, which should bring key Reds players on your scouting radar, if you don’t have three of them yet. Gameweek 15 offers the more neutral viewer some world-class fixtures as well, including in-form Aston Villa versus Manchester City, Spurs against West Ham, and of course, Manchester United versus Chelsea at Old Trafford on Wednesday evening.

Check out FISO’s FPL Forum for the latest discussion and don’t forget, the deadline for gameweek 15 is set at 18h00 (UK time) on Tuesday, December 5th, 2023.

Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per December 3rd, 2023)

 TRANSFERS OUTTRANSFERS INPOSSIBLE REASONS
GKAlisson (LIV), Pope (NEW), Turner (NOT)Raya (ARS), Dubravka (NEW), Ederson (MCI)Alisson and Pope injury doubts
DEFCash (AST), White (ARS), Andersen (CRY)Zinchenko (ARS), Trippier (NEW), Alexander-Arnold (LIV)Zinchenko returns, Alexander-Arnold back-to-back goals
MIDBowen (WHU), Diaby (AST), Mitoma (BRI)Gordon (NEW), Saka (ARS), Hee Chan (WOL)Aston Villa fixtures, Gordon (home) form
FORWatkins (AST), Nketiah (ARS), Alvarez (MCI)Isak (NEW), Cunha (WOL), Pedro (BRI)Aston Villa fixtures, Isak return from injury, Alvarez lack of returns

Premium pick

In gameweek 14, Erling Haaland and Mohamed Salah (£13.1m) both failed to score, but they still managed to match each other’s pace in terms of total attacking returns. The former got 2 assists against Spurs plus a yellow card for 7 FPL points, while the latter picked up a single assist without a yellow card for 5 FPL points. This shows that fixtures don’t really apply to these guys, though in our opinion, the smart money went with Salah at home to Fulham. Our thinking is very similar for GW15, when the Egyptian is visiting a battered Sheffield United side and Haaland will be traveling to Villa Park. Salah has now made it three consecutive league games with at least one attacking return, and a total of 10 goals and 6 assists in the Prem overall so far, and Liverpool face Sheffield United, who just shipped a surprising five goals at Turf Moor. If Zeki Amdouni can record an impressive 11-pointer, imagine what Salah can do on Wednesday.

Non-premium pick

In our preview for gameweek 14, we spoke about Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka (£8.8m), about him not scoring a league goal since gameweek 7 and about the fact that he still ticked along at an acceptable pace with 4 goals in his last five games. We also figured that his fixtures in GW14 and GW15 looked like a great opportunity for the England international to get his name back and on the scoreboard, and he promptly did just that. Saka needed just six minutes to get the Gunners off the mark and he ended up with 8 FPL points, thanks an added bonus point as well. As a result, we’re sticking with the Arsenal star for gameweek 15 when the Gunners visit Luton Town. With his fair share of penalty duties and set-pieces, we expect him to play another key role in keeping his side top of the league, especially now that he’s coming off an excellent performance against Wolves over the weekend. At his current price of £8.8m, he is still firmly in non-premium territory, but that might end soon if he gets another return (or two) on Tuesday.

The budget enabler

When looking at real budget enablers in the official fantasy game in the build-up to gameweek 15, it’s hard to look past Matheus Santos Carneiro Da Cunha, simply known as Cunha (£5.5m). After half a season on loan from Atletico Madrid last season, Wolves made his transfer permanent in exchange for about £45 million over the summer. The Brazilian youngster had a bit of a quiet start to the 2023-24 Premier League campaign in terms of fantasy returns, but he has been on fire of late. He got an assist against Spurs in GW12, followed by a goal against Fulham in GW13 and another goal against Arsenal in GW14. In other words, that’s three attacking returns in his last three league games for a total of 17 FPL points. Not bad for a forward who is currently priced at just £5.5m. It gets even better though, because on top of his current form, Cunha also has two favourable fixtures coming up. Tomorrow it’s Burnley at home, followed by Nottingham Forest at home on Saturday. This places him amongst the stand-out budget fantasy picks, at least for the short term.

The differential

A couple of weeks ago, we mentioned Mohamed Kudus (£6.6m) as one of the differential fantasy picks to keep an eye on and the Ghanaian international did not disappoint since then. While it should be noted that he has been overperforming his Expected Goals ratio by quite a bit over the past few games, he did record an impressive 2 goals and 3 assists in his last four league games. He also seems to have conquered a spot in manager David Moyes’ starting eleven, which naturally helps his appeal as a differential fantasy pick with a current ownership of just 2.8%. Kudus has also got a decent run of fixtures coming up on the short term, with a visit to Spurs followed by a visit to Fulham and then a home game against Wolves. The former Ajax man is also listed as a midfielder in the official game, which means that he gets an additional FPL points per goal, plus an extra point for every clean sheet recorded by the Hammers.

The (vice-)captaincy

Our captain in gameweek 15 will be Mo Salah, who has been in good form of late, ahead of the visit to Bramall Lane. After their 5-0 drubbing at the hands of Burnley in gameweek 14, the Blades boast the leakiest defence in the league with 39 conceded goals in 14 games.

Of course, the first alternative to Salah as captain is Erling Haaland, despite his challenging away game against currently fourth-placed for Aston Villa. Other (more than) decent options for the armband include Bukayo Saka away at Luton, Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold and even the seemingly inevitable Ollie Watkins at home against Manchester City.

FPL 2023-24: Gameweek 14 preview

The FPL gods had fun last weekend, that’s what it feels like when looking at the Gameweek 13 Team of the Week. No player boasts an ownership of more than 15% at the time of writing and that player is the much-criticised André Onana. Besides him, no less than four players are owned by less than 0.5% of all managers: Bournemouth’s Marcus Tavernier (no one scored more than his 16 FPL points) and Justin Kluivert, Fulham’s Willian and… wait for it… Manchester United’s Anthony Martial. Another three members of the GW13 Team of the Week sit in less than 5% of all FPL squads, those being Man United’s Diego Dalot, Luton’s Teden Mengi and Forest’s Morgan Gibbs-White. Probably the most actively popular player who made it into the team was Newcastle’s Anthony Gordon, who recorded 13 FPL points for the roughly 14% of fantasy managers who owned him.

We can see a couple of highly owned assets returning to the Team of the Week in gameweek 14 though, as the likes of Arsenal, Aston Villa and Liverpool are facing favourable opposition this weekend. The Gunners open the weekend with a home game against Wolves, Villa are visiting Bournemouth and Liverpool welcome Fulham to Anfield. On top of that, Manchester City have a home game against a Spurs side that has lost some of its early-season form. Gameweek 14 is also going to be a big one for the teams towards the bottom of the league, with Everton visiting Nottingham Forest and Burnley hosting Sheffield United on Saturday.

Check out FISO’s FPL Forum for the latest discussion and don’t forget, the deadline for gameweek 14 is set at 13h30 (UK time) on Saturday, December 2nd, 2023.

Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per November 30th, 2023)

 TRANSFERS OUTTRANSFERS INPOSSIBLE REASONS
GKAlisson (LIV), Turner (NOT), Vicario (TOT)Onana (MUN), Kelleher (LIV), Raya (ARS)Alisson injury
DEFCash (AST), Estupiñan (BRI), Romero (TOT)Zinchenko (ARS), Saliba (ARS), Tsimikas (LIV)Estupiñan injury, Romero red card
MIDBowen (WHU), Mitoma (BRI), Son (TOT)Mbeumo (BRE), Gordon (NEW), Saka (ARS)Bowen + Mitoma injury doubts
FORAlvarez (MCI), Nketiah (ARS), Darwin (LIV)Isak (NEW), Haaland (MCI), Darwin (LIV)Alvarez lack of returns, Nketiah benchings, Wilson injury + NEW fixtures

Premium pick

As far as the premium fantasy pick for gameweek 14 goes, there is practically no looking past Mohamed Salah (£13.0m). The Egyptian forward is back at it again this season, having scored 10 goals and provided 5 assists in thirteen league starts so far, and his recent form is red hot as well. He bagged a brace at home to Brentford to clinch the Player of the Week honour in gameweek 12 and then went on to provide the assist for the goal against Man City last weekend, in a game that ended 1-1. Up next are Fulham, who are having a decent first half of the season so far, but who we nevertheless can’t see getting much from their visit to Anfield on Saturday. The Cottagers have conceded an average of just under two goals per away game up until now, which will be like music to the ears of Salah. With Haaland facing Spurs on Sunday, Mo is looking like the stand-out captain for gameweek 14 even with Spurs’ current defensive issues.

Non-premium pick

It has been a fair few gameweeks since Bukayo Saka (£8.8m) scored a goal in the Premier League, as his last one came back in GW7 versus Bournemouth, but that doesn’t mean the England international has been entirely quiet of late. A total of 4 assists over his five league starts since then kept him ticking along quietly, recording 26 FPL points over that run. At his current price of £8.8m, an average of about 5 points per game is somewhat underwhelming, but look at it this way: he’s still involved, he’s still a starter and Arsenal are still top of the league after thirteen rounds. On top of that, Saka has his share of penalty and set-piece duties, and his upcoming two opponents qualify as “favourable” on paper. On Saturday, the Gunners host Wolves and three days later, it’s time for a visit to Luton Town. As far as we’re concerned, a perfect little run for Saka to get his name back on the scoreboard.

The budget enabler

When Andy Robertson got injured a few weeks ago, the Liverpool roster offered us Kostas Tsimikas as a great (short- to medium-term) enabler, and now the Reds are doing it again. That is, if you’re willing and able to make a short-term move for a real bargain goalkeeper. With first-choice goalie Alisson Becker out for at least two gameweeks, according to manager Jurgen Klopp, and possibly more, his back-up Caoimhin Kelleher (£3.9m) can help you free up some funds. Liverpool are amongst the more solid defences this season, having conceded 11 goals in thirteen games so far. An even bigger factor for considering a move for Kelleher though, in our opinion, is the upcoming run of fixtures. As we wrote just above, Kelleher should be between the Liverpool sticks for two to three league games at least, which means he will be there for the visit of Fulham this weekend, and the away games against Sheffield United (in GW15) and Crystal Palace (in GW16).

The differential

When recommending Bukayo Saka as our non-premium fantasy pick for gameweek 14, we mentioned Arsenal’s upcoming favourable fixtures, first at home to Wolves this weekend and then away at Luton next Tuesday. Seeing as Gabriel Jesus (£7.8m) got his first start against Brentford in GW13 after missing three consecutive league games due to injury, we want to highlight the possibility of getting to a potential major differential pick early. The Brazilian has not had a great season so far, as injuries have prevented him from recording more than a single goal and assist up until now, but when fit, he should be part of manager Mikel Arteta’s starting eleven. At the moment, Jesus is sitting in just 2.4% of all fantasy teams in the official game, which has put him firmly on our differential radar. He’s not cheap, but if you’re looking for a player to help you catch up in your mini-league, bringing in the Brazilian attacker, who got on the score sheet during the week in the CL drubbing of Lens, could be a shrewd move.

The (vice-)captaincy

Both Mo Salah and Erling Haaland are playing at home this weekend, so you can expect the captaincy discussion to be dominated by these two powerhouses once again. Seeing as Salah is facing Fulham, while Haaland faces Spurs, we have gone with the former, but in reality, either one could deliver a big double-digit haul this weekend.

If you’re looking for a Fantasy Sports Betting option outside of the usual two suspects, Bukayo Saka at home to Wolves could be a good choice, as could Bryan Mbeumo at home to Luton. Ollie Watkins could also deliver the goods when Aston Villa play Bournemouth on Sunday, if you feel like punting on a proven goalscorer with an away game on the agenda.

The evolution of Fantasy Football

As much as the Premier League is now a staple of the sporting calendar, so too is Fantasy Football. The concept of challenging your mates to test your knowledge and build the best squad possible is a long standing tradition of any footballing season and has transformed drastically from its small beginnings. Now Fantasy Football, particularly Fantasy Premier League, is a football phenomenon with no signs of slowing down. With over 11 million players worldwide, FPL has developed from a small hobby into a mainstream sensation. There are weekly television shows, blogs, newspaper articles all dedicated to helping fans find the best options to build their team and climb up the table. The game’s popularity and importance to football fans has surged in years gone by, so much so that for some, maximizing points in a gameweek has become more compelling than the success of their clubs. The game continues to grow too, not just here in the UK, but around the world. So how did we get here? How did a football fan’s niche pastime become a global juggernaut? 

To understand how far the game has come we have to go back to its inception in the 1990s. Fantasy sporting leagues had existed in the States but the phenomena only reached across the Atlantic when Computer Programmer Andrew Wainstein stumbled across the concept and decided to adapt it to the beautiful game. Inspired by his love of football and fondness for statistics he compiled a database of top flight players in 1991. He then established a suitable, easy to understand scoring system. Points would be awarded for clean sheets, assists, goals, all of which are fundamental aspects of the game we enjoy today. After the format was created, then came the tricky part. With no internet, it was entirely up to Wainstein to spread word about his new innovation. He placed ads in football magazines to attract prospective players who would then send in their subscriptions in return for information packs detailing how to start their league. As there was no internet access, players from the leagues would be required to meet where they would hold in-person auctions for the players they wanted in their squads. As is the case today, the concept was trying to balance the quality of your squad with a limited budget to see who could come out on top. Without the internet, the organisational nightmare that ensued would be unthinkable today. The leagues would send off their teams to Wainstein, who would then record points, update sides with substitutions and confirm teams before that weekend’s deadlines. He was often inundated with calls and faxes on Friday evenings to make sure everything was in order before kick-offs on Saturday. But it didn’t stop there. With hardly any statistics available, he would have to watch all of the Match of the Day highlights as a means of recording the necessary details to attribute points to players for that week. It would take an inordinate amount of time to update the league tables but regardless the game was a hit. 

The inaugural season for the league drew around 700 players but once the concept gained notoriety through BBC Radio 5 shows, the popularity of the game exploded. In 1994, the Telegraph created the first mass market version with help from Wainstein and after the ‘Fantasy Football Show’ presented by Frank Skinner and David Baddiel (the comedians who famously created the ‘Three Lions’ anthem) hit our screens there was no looking back. Thousands started playing and it was estimated that over a third of all Telegraph readers took part at the time. Other newspapers inevitably created their own versions as a means of tapping into the market to stir up further interest. Amidst a surge in popularity Wainstein eventually decided to take the game online in 1996 and little did he know it but that was the moment where the potential for growth became limitless. The online version was so successful, the Premier League itself had to get involved and in the 2002/03 season decided to introduce its own version and is today the most exciting and popular fantasy football league in the world. A lot of people think of Fantasy Football like free bet offers where you can enhance your excitement without paying. Famous celebrities and sportsmen are known to indulge in playing the game, even Premier League players themselves but the game has had to innovate over the course of those 20 years to maintain its intrigue and playability. 38 games is a long time to maintain a team and so the game continues to provide concepts such as the draft format, triple captain, free hits, and bench boosts to halt waning interest as the season goes on. But its core concepts have remained the same and have been the reason for the game’s success over the decades. For die hard football fans it’s the closest they’ll ever get to managing their own team and that fact is why the game thrives and will continue to do so for years to come. 

FPL 2023-24: Gameweek 12 preview

After back-to-back high-scoring gameweeks with averages of 67 points and 66 points in gameweeks 9 and 10 respectively, the last gameweek 11 brought us the lowest-scoring round of the 2023-24 FPL season so far. By the time Chelsea and Spurs were ready to kick off for what would turn out to be one of the crazier league games so far, the average FPL score sat at just 28 points. Five goals, including two deep in the added time, and two red cards later, did not do much for the average though, as it settled on 32 points for the gameweek. It was a beautiful Monday if you are one of the 4.4% of fantasy managers who owned Chelsea forward Nicolas Jackson, as he recorded a hattrick against Spurs to crown himself as highest-scoring player of GW11 with 16 FPL points.

Looking at the fixtures in upcoming gameweek 12, it doesn’t look like we’re up for another low-scoring gameweek. With Arsenal playing at home against Burnley, Manchester United hosting Luton Town, Aston Villa playing at home to Fulham, Brighton facing Sheffield United at the AmEx, Liverpool welcoming Brentford to Anfield and West Ham facing Nottingham Forest at home, GW12 boasts what looks like a plethora of (very) favourable home fixtures. Add to that Crystal Palace’s home game against Everton and Newcastle’s visit to Bournemouth, and we can say that fantasy managers will have to make some serious choices this weekend as the points can be coming from practically anywhere.

Check out FISO’s FPL Forum for the latest discussion and don’t forget, the deadline for gameweek 12 is set at 11h00 (UK time) on Saturday, November 11th, 2023.

Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per November 9th, 2023)

 TRANSFERS OUTTRANSFERS INPOSSIBLE REASONS
GKEderson (MCI), Ramsdale (ARS), Leno (ARS)Johnstone (CRY), Areola (WHU), Vicario (TOT) 
DEFBurn (NEW), Romero (TOT), Udogie (TOT)Mitchell (CRY), Saliba (ARS), Andersen (CRY)Palace fixtures + defensive form, Burn injury, Romero + Udogie suspensions
MIDMaddison (TOT), Odegaard (ARS), Neto (WOL)Doku (MCI), Bowen (WHU), Saka (ARS)Neto injury, Maddison + Odegaard injury doubts
FORHaaland (MCI), Isak (NEW), Alvarez (MCI)Nketiah (ARS), Watkins (AST), Wilson (NEW)Jesus injury, Isak injury, Man City fixtures

Premium pick

After three consecutive gameweeks with at least one attacking return, the on-fire Mohamed Salah (£12.9m) blanked at Kenilworth Road in gameweek 11. After 2 goals against Brighton in GW8, 2 goals versus Everton in GW9 and a single goal against Forest in GW10, hopes for a serious haul against minnows Luton Town were high amongst fantasy managers. But of course, in the purest of FPL fashions, the Egyptian then blanked for a 2-pointer. The only “upside” for those managers who put all their captaincy eggs in the Salah basket last weekend was that his big fantasy rival for the armband, Erling Haaland, blanked as well. This weekend, Salah (and the managers counting on him) can redeem themselves though, because while Haaland has to rock up to Stamford Bridge on Sunday evening, Liverpool are welcoming Brentford to Anfield a day earlier after they are at Toulouse tonight in the Europa League (with Salah on the bench) . The Reds star is therefore our premium fantasy pick for gameweek 12.

Non-premium pick

Our choice for non-premium fantasy pick for gameweek 12 ended up being a toss-up between Man United’s Bruno Fernandes and Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka (£8.6m), and we eventually went with the latter. While Bruno is coming off a winning goal versus Fulham and is now preparing for Luton at home, we opted for a pick from the team that is in better form at the moment and that is definitely Arsenal. Sure, the Gunners suffered a disappointing defeat at the hands of Newcastle at St. James’ Park last weekend, but they are still a much more reliable side than United. As for Saka, it has been relatively quiet of late with just 2 assists in his last four league games, but we’re not worried. He is one of the team’s star players, he is a guaranteed starter (when fit*) with his fair share of set-pieces (and penalties?) and he is up against Burnley this weekend. We expect Arsenal to bounce back from their loss in the north and continue their top-4 battle against the Clarets, and we’re hoping Saka will be the one to show them the way on Saturday (* as long as he shakes off the ankle turn he suffered late on against Seville in the Champions League last night).

The budget enabler

“Botman is unclear at the moment. So, we’re going day by day with that one currently”. That’s what Newcastle manager Eddie Howe had to say about the knee injury of central defender Sven Botman a few days ago. With the Dutchman out for the foreseeable future, a fantastic budget option has arisen at St. James’ Park in the person of Jamaal Lascelles (£4.0m). Botman got injured in the build-up to gameweek 7 and since then, Jamaal Lascelles returned to the Magpies’ starting lineup. While lacking any attacking returns or even something of an expected goal involvement worth mentioning, the £4.0m-defender did already record 3 clean sheets. What’s more, last weekend against Arsenal, he even got 3 bonus points. Picking Lascelles as Newcastle are preparing for a visit to Bournemouth on Saturday is a medium-term pick at most, but one that could pay off handsomely, both for the player himself and for your team as a whole because bringing him in will likely free up some funds to spend elsewhere on your squad.

The differential

Over the summer, West Ham United paid around £38 million to Ajax Amsterdam for the services of Mohammed Kudus (£6.5m). While he did show flashes of brilliance since then, both in England and in the Champions League, including a goal from the bench against Newcastle back in gameweek 8, the Ghana international had to wait for his first league start until gameweek 10. The attacker failed to record any returns in that game, but manager David Moyes maintained his trust in the new recruit and was rewarded a week later. In gameweek 11, Kudus started up front once again for the Hammers away at Brentford, and with effect. The former Ajax star scored a goal and provided an assist for a total of 11 FPL points, and recorded a Man-of-the-Match-worthy display against the Bees. Rotation remains a risk for Kudus and the rest of the West Ham attackers, but we’d be surprised to see Moyes drop Kudus from the first eleven for the moment. That makes the Ghanaian a great differential fantasy pick, because he is currently owned by just 0.8% of fantasy managers and the Hammers are playing Nottingham Forest at home next, followed by Burnley away, Palace at home, Fulham away and Wolves at home in the five games after that. West Ham also have the Europa League to contend with including a home match tonight against Olympiacos.

The (vice-)captaincy

As you probably guessed after reading about our premium fantasy pick for gameweek 12, we are slapping the armband on Mo Salah this weekend. Liverpool and the player himself are in decent form, and it’s a home game versus Brentford on Sunday for the Reds this weekend.

Lucky for the managers who don’t own the Egyptian and can’t (or don’t want) to bring him this weekend, there are several other strong candidates for the armband this weekend as well. These include Bukayo Saka and Eddie Nketiah at home to Burnley, Bruno Fernandes at home to Luton Town, and Ollie Watkins at home to Fulham.

FPL 2023-24: Gameweek 11 preview

We are now ten games into the 2023-24 Premier League campaign, just over a fourth of the season, and Spurs are topping the table. That’s right, Spurs, the Londoner butt of many a joke about silverware (or the lack thereof) over the past years, who just lost one of their all-time superstars to Bayern Munich, and who brought in a new coach from Celtic over the summer. Of course, the season is very long still and the competition is enormous, but it’s starting to look like Tottenham Hotspur might actually be a serious contender for the title this season. Or at least an outside for the title. With a largely favourable set of fixtures coming up, two of the major questions for fantasy managers are whether to pick two or three Spurs players, and perhaps even more importantly, which ones?

Spurs are also one of the sides with a good fixture on paper in GW11. Manager Ange Postecoglou’s men are hosting Chelsea on Monday, and the Blues’ woes and lack of any kind of form is well-known by now. Liverpool away at Luton Town is another stand-out fixture for FPL managers this weekend, especially with Mohamed Salah in top form, as is the encounter between Manchester City and Bournemouth at the Etihad on Saturday. From a neutral point of view, the current-top-six clash between Newcastle and Arsenal at St. James’ Park on Saturday is probably the one to look forward to.

Don’t forget, the deadline for gameweek 11 is set at 11h00 (UK time) on Saturday, November 4th, 2023.

Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per November 3rd, 2023)

 TRANSFERS OUTTRANSFERS INPOSSIBLE REASONS
GKRamsdale (ARS), Onana (MUN), Sanchez (CHE)Johnstone (CRY), Alisson (LIV), Vicario (TOT) 
DEFUdogie (TOT), Estupiñan (BRI), Trippier (NEW)Andersen (CRY), Tsimikas (LIV), Romero (TOT)Palace fixtures, Robertson injury, Udogie + Estupiñan injury worries
MIDNeto (WOL), Odegaard (ARS), Mitoma (BRI)D. Luiz (AST), Mbeumo (BRE), Hee-Chan (WOL)All transferred-in assets are in form, Neto injury worries
FORIsak (NEW), Alvarez (MCI), Watkins (AST)Nketiah (ARS), Darwin (LIV), Watkins (AST)Jesus injury, Watkins and Darwin form, Isak injury

Premium pick

After two consecutive blanks and then just a single, measly goal against Brighton at home in gameweek 9, a few fantasy managers figured that Erling Haaland (£14.0m) had probably passed his peak… or something of the like. Anyway, to our surprise, he was amongst the most transferred-out forwards in the build-up to gameweek 9, in which the Manchester derby was waiting. OK, so perhaps there is some understandable reasoning behind that move when you looked back at a very recent, very small sample, but this is the same guy who managed 9 goals and 1 assist from nine league starts, and who is only trailing Mo Salah in terms of total FPL points in the overall game. So, of course, Haaland went on to punish the doubters in style, recording a direct involvement in each of the three goals scored by City at home to United: 2 goals, 1 assist. The result? A juicy 16-point haul, which, honestly, we wouldn’t be surprised to see a repeat of when Bournemouth visit the Etihad this weekend.

Non-premium pick

Ollie Watkins (£8.4m) had a relatively slow start to the season, in the sense that he only got his first league goal back in gameweek 6 at Stamford Bridge. He did however, up to that point, already register 4 assists from five league starts, so he wasn’t entirely off the radar. The Chelsea goal seemed to have galvanised him though, because since then, the England international scored 4 more goals and added another 4 assists to his totals, bringing him to 5 goals and 8 assists in ten league starts. At his current price, that’s incredible value territory. We are expecting his price to rise a bit further over the coming weeks though, as Aston Villa have a short stretch of very good fixtures coming up, starting with Nottingham Forest away this weekend. In the three games after that, it’s Fulham at home, followed by Spurs away and then Bournemouth away. In his current form, Watkins should be good for at least three attacking returns over that stretch, including the Forest game on Sunday. And who knows, there might even be a repeat of his monster 26-point haul against Brighton in GW7 among them.

The budget enabler

You might have noticed in the brief transfer overview for gameweek 11 around the start of this article, but Crystal Palace defenders are in fashion at the moment. That’s because the Eagles, at least from a defensive point of view, are approaching ideal FPL territory. They have been solid defensively so far, recording 4 clean sheets (only Arsenal has more with 5), and they’ve got a great run of fixtures coming up, in theory at least. On Saturday, it’s time for Burnley away, before Everton at home, Luton away, West Ham away and Bournemouth at home. In other words, potential clean sheets galore for the Eagles. That’s why we have decided to include Tyrick Mitchell (£4.5m) as our budget enabler of choice for gameweek 11. He is a guaranteed starter for Palace, he has a license to join in attack when possible (though he has recorded just 1 assist so far), and he is slightly cheaper than the more popular Marc Guéhi. There is, of course, Joachim Andersen as well, but the Dane will set you back considerably more than Mitchell, as he costs £5.0m at the moment.

The differential

We honestly can’t remember the last time we included a Wolves attacker in one of our gameweek previews, but here we are. Hwang Hee-Chan (£5.5m) has quietly gone under the radar so far this season, or so it seems when looking at his current ownership 3,6%. When looking a bit deeper though, the Korean attacker actually represents outstanding value over the first ten games of the 2023-24 campaign. He has been a guaranteerd starter for Wolves since the gameweek 5 visit to Anfield and it’s not hard to see why. In six starts since then, including the Liverpool fixture in which he scored, Hee-Chan managed no less than 4 goals and 1 assist, bringing his totals for the season to 6 goals and 1 assist. Another way of looking at these great stats: Wolves’ Korean attacker has registered at least one attacking return in six of his seven last league games. Or how about this: only four players currently have more goals to their names than Hee-Chan, those being Erling Haaland, Mohamed Salah, Son Heung-Min and Callum Wilson. Let’s see if the South Korea can crash into the top scorers top four when Wolves visit Sheffield United on Saturday.

The (vice-)captaincy

We’re pretty sure that the captaincy debate for gameweek 11 will be between Erling Haaland, who is waiting for Bournemouth to roll up to the Etihad on Saturday, and Mohamed Salah, whose Liverpool is set for a visit to Kenilworth Road the day after. Both are in form, so we’ve opted for Haaland, thanks to him playing at home. Also, he is owned by just over 84% of managers.

If you have both premium FPL assets, then it all comes down to who you are captaining and who will be the vice-captain. If this is not the case though, fear not, because there are a few very appealing alternatives available this weekend as well. These include Ollie Watkins away against Nottingham Forest, Julian Alvarez at home to Bournemouth and Son Heung-Min at home to inconsistent Chelsea.

FPL 2023-24: Gameweek 10 preview

Gameweek 9, the first gameweek after the latest international break, saw several of the popular FPL assets shine at the same time for once. Just five of the players that made it into the GW9 Team of the Week could be considered real differentials with an ownership of 6% or less. As a matter of fact, with Kieran Trippier, Mohamed Salah and Ollie Watkins returning, the Team of the Week contained at least three template players with an ownership of minimum 37% in the official fantasy game. In other words, if you’ve been following the template (more or less) so far this season, chances are that you outperformed the high week average of 67 FPL points in GW9.

Gameweek 10 could very well end up giving us a similar Team of the Week, in the sense that there are quite a few of highly owned players who are facing favourable opposition this weekend, on paper at least. Spurs (as in, the Spurs side that is leading the league at the moment with a 2-point advantage over 2nd placed Manchester City) kick off the weekend at Selhurst Park on Friday. The day after, we’ve got Arsenal hosting Sheffield United for what looks like the game to target for fantasy managers, followed by a Newcastle visit to Wolves. On Sunday then, Aston Villa welcome Luton Town to Villa Park, Brighton host Fulham and Liverpool play Nottingham Forest at Anfield. The Manchester derby at Old Trafford has been saved for last, at 15h30 (UK time) on Sunday.

Check out FISO’s FPL Forum for the latest discussion and don’t forget, the deadline for gameweek 10 is set at 18h30 (UK time) on Friday, October 27th, 2023.

Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per October 25th, 2023)

 TRANSFERS OUTTRANSFERS INPOSSIBLE REASONS
GKOnana (MUN), Ederson (MCI), Ramsdale (ARS)Areola (WHU), Alisson (LIV), Johnstone (CRY) 
DEFEstupiñan (BRI), Botman (NEW), Akanji (MCI)Trippier (NEW), Tsimikas (LIV), Cash (LIV)Estupiñan + Botman + Akanji all injured/banned
MIDRashford (MUN), Bruno (MUN), Mitoma (BRI)Salah (LIV), Douglas Luiz (AST), Saka (ARS)Salah + Saka + Luiz form, lack of Man United returns
FORHaaland (MCI), Isak (NEW), Hojlund (MUN)Watkins (AST), Alvarez (MCI), Archer (SHU)Watkins + Alvarez form, Archer budget enabler

Premium pick

Thanks to four double-digit hauls in the last five gameweeks, Mohamed Salah (£12.8m) is currently the highest-scoring player in the official fantasy game with 75 FPL points. While it can be said that the Egyptian’s owners have been lucky on a few occasions of late, there is simply no arguing with the player’s results this season. He has obviously started each of the season’s first nine league games and blanked only once, back in gameweek 7 against in-form Spurs in London. Right before that blank though, Salah recorded back-to-back 10-pointers against Wolves away and West Ham at home, while he did even better after that blank. In gameweek 8, a brace at the AmEx was good for 15 FPL points, while another brace last weekend in the Merseyside derby brought him 16 FPL points. Up next are Nottingham Forest at Anfield, who have conceded 7 goals in five away games so far this season. Can Salah make it three hauls of 15 FPL points or more in a row this coming Sunday?

Non-premium pick

For the 2023/24 season, we lowered our minimum value for premium fantasy picks to £9.0m in order to be able to include a couple more players in our gameweek previews when useful. At the same time, this means that Bukayo Saka (£8.5m) still qualifies for our non-premium fantasy pick category. The England international is the highest-scoring Arsenal asset so far this season with 58 FPL points, courtesy of 4 goals and 4 assists from eight league starts. He unfortunately missed the home game against reigning champions Man City back in gameweek 8, but if we ignore that, the winger has actually started and returned in every gameweek since GW2. There are no worries about his current form either, as he is just coming off an assist at Old Trafford. In the two gameweeks before he missed out in GW8 due to injury, Saka managed 2 goals and 1 assist for 22 FPL points in total. He scored in gameweek 9 at Bournemouth and put in a man-of-the-match performance a week earlier at home against Spurs (1 goal, 1 assist, 13 FPL points). The Arsenal star is now preparing for what might be the stand-out fixture to target from a fantasy point of view this weekend, a home game against bottom-of-the-league Sheffield United, who have shipped 24 goals in nine games so this season.

The budget enabler

“He’s had his surgery and it all went well, as good as it could be. We don’t know how long it will take but the first step is done”. That’s what Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp had to say about Any Robertson’s injury during his latest press conference. As a result of this update, we are repeating our budget fantasy pick of last week, although Kostas Tsimikas (£4.5m) has risen a bit in price already since then. However, the Greek left-back is still a very affordable entry into Liverpool’s defence (and starting eleven) for what could very well be the medium term. His first league start of the season, last weekend at home versus Everton, confirmed what we hoped we for with this budget pick as Liverpool picked up a victory and a clean sheet, with the Greek starting and returning a lovely 6 FPL points. Furthermore, we expect the points to keep rolling in for now, with Nottingham Forest at home this weekend followed by Luton away in gameweek 10. If you have the possibility to temporarily bring in Tsimikas, possibly while freeing up some budget to reshape your squad elsewhere as well, you should probably consider doing so.

The differential

Chelsea do not have the easiest of fixture runs coming up, but the Blues seem to have turned a bit of a corner. The start to the 2023/24 was horrid, but Mauricio Pochettino’s men are now unbeaten in three league games after last weekend’s 2-2 draw to Arsenal at Stamford Bridge. Both of the away games previous to that game, against Burnley in GW8 (1-4) and Fulham in GW7 (0-2) were won quite comfortably and Cole Palmer (£5.0m) was one of the best players in each of those games. On top of that, the youngster also shone during the draw with Arsenal by scoring the opening goal (from the penalty spot, by the way!). So, what we have here is a very cheap attacker who has been the stand-out player for his side for weeks now and who is still owned by just 2.5% of all FPL managers. The upcoming home game against Brentford is followed by a visit to Spurs, a home encounter with Man City and a game at St. James’ Park, but in his current form, Palmer could be the transfer to make for those managers looking for a major differential impact.

The (vice-)captaincy

Mohamed Salah is combining form and fixture this weekend as Liverpool welcome Nottingham Forest to Anfield. On top of that, he is world class, so no doubts for us this weekend: Salah is our captain for gameweek 10.

Fortunately for those who don’t own the Egyptian dribbler yet, the schedule offers us a few appealing alternatives as well. Erling Haaland against a struggling Man United side can never be disregarded, while Bukayo Saka at home to Sheffield United looks about as safe a captaincy pick as they come, with Ollie Watkins coming in close. Riskier options include Heung-Min Son at Crystal Palace on Friday night, Julian Alvarez away at Old Trafford and Kieran Trippier for Newcastle’s visit to Molineux.

FPL 2023-24: Gameweek 9 preview

The second international break of the 2023-24 Premier League season is now behind us and it has given us more than a few things to catch up on, especially in terms of injuries and fatigue doubts. Probably the biggest name to came out of the break with an injury is Liverpool’s Andy Robertson, who could be out for a while with a shoulder injury. Other players who are unlikely to feature in gameweek 9 include Brighton’s Kaoru Mitoma and Pervis Estupiñañ, Newcastle’s Alexander Isak and Sven Botman, and Nottingham Forest man-in-form Taiwo Awoniyi. The likes of Kevin de Bruyne, Ben Chilwell and Luke Shaw, just to name a few of the big names, are missing out due to injuries that were sustained earlier in the season.

As far as the fixtures go, Fantasy Premier League is returning to action with a boom, as Saturday’s opener is the Merseyside Derby at Anfield. Later that same day, Manchester City are hosting Brighton for what could end up being a footballing festival and, in the evening, last season’s runners-up Arsenal visit Stamfield Bridge for an authentic London Derby. Sunday then brings us a clash between two teams in excellent form, Aston Villa and West Ham, followed by the London Derby between Spurs and Fulham at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium to close gameweek 9

Check out FISO’s FPL Forum for the latest discussion and don’t forget, the deadline for gameweek 9 is set at 11h00 (UK time) on Saturday, October 21st, 2023.

Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per October 19th, 2023)

 TRANSFERS OUTTRANSFERS INPOSSIBLE REASONS
GKOnana (MUN), Ramsdale (ARS), Ederson (MCI)Areola (WHU), Turner (NOT), Johnstone (CRY) 
DEFEstupiñan (BRI), Botman (NEW), Chilwell (CHE)Cash (AST), Andersen (CRY), Trippier (NEW)Estupiñan + Chilwell injuries, Botman injury doubt
MIDSaka (ARS), Mitoma (BRI), Mbeumo (BRE)Salah (LIV), Maddison (TOT), Son (TOT)Saka and Mitoma injury doubts, Son and Maddison form
FORHaaland (MCI), Awoniyi (NOT), Alvarez (MCI)Watkins (AST), Isak (NEW), Alvarez (MCI)Awoniyi injury, Watkins form, Isak form

Premium pick

Mohamed Salah (£12.6m) hasn’t featured in our gameweek previews very often so far, but in a week where Liverpool host Everton while Manchester City play Brighton at home and Arsenal pay a visit to Chelsea, the Egyptian wizard looks like the stand-out premium fantasy pick. Liverpool’s star man has been in more than decent form so far this season, at least in terms of attacking fantasy returns, with 5 goals and 4 assists from eight league starts. He actually got his highest score of the season so far against Brighton right before the international break, a brace worth 15 FPL points, but he also played two full matches for Egypt after that. We are not worried about that though, as Salah has proven time and time again that his fitness is elite and on top of that, he is Liverpool’s best player, which also explains his penalty duties. We expect him to be present from the start against archrivals Everton to hopefully make it his eighth game with an attacking return in nine.

Non-premium pick

Contrary to Salah, James Maddison (£7.9m) has featured in our gameweek previews a few times already this season. That’s not so surprising though, when you consider his start at Spurs and the price tag he was given at the start of this campaign. Maddison has started each of the first eight league games under manager Ange Postecoglou, and delivered 2 goals and 5 assists in return. The England international only needed very little time to establish himself as a major creative force in the current new-look no-Kane Spurs squad and Fulham at home is providing him with a great opportunity to add to his more than decent totals. The Cottagers have already conceded 13 goals in the league this season and their Expected Conceded Goals ratio is even a bit worse, still. With Spurs flying high at the moment, we find it hard to see Fulham shutting out their fellow Londoners at the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

The budget enabler

We’ve got two Liverpool assets in our FPL gameweek preview this week, with Kostas Tsimikas (£4.4m) joining Mo Salah this week. As we mentioned earlier, Andy Robertson is very likely to miss out in gameweek 9 due to a shoulder injury and while no official prognosis has been published yet, some reports are talking about a period of multiple weeks on the sidelines for the left-back. This brings his standard replacement Tsimikas into the mix, as the Greek now looks set to start against Everton on Saturday. The way it looks at the moment, a £4.4m investment now gives you a prime entry into the Liverpool backline for at least a few weeks, which is always worth considering. And Tsimikas is more than just an entry, because he will likely be on a decent number of set-pieces as well, on top of his regular attacking style of playing. With Everton at home followed by Forest at home and Luton away, now looks like the perfect moment to get on the Tsimi-train before it really takes off.

The differential

It doesn’t happen often that we repeat a differential fantasy pick who has no returns to his name yet, but we’re doing it this week with Rasmus Hojlund (£7.2). The Dane is actually a bit of a curious case, because this week, he became the first player in FPL history to rise in price twice in one gameweek without having registered a single attacking return. Chances are though, that the people who brought the Man United striker in based their decision on his performances so far in the Champions League, where he already found the net three times in just two games. As far as the league goes, while Hojlund has not had the pleasure of scoring yet, he did get four big chances already. Of course, you want your forwards to convert chances, not just get them, but we see opportunities for improvement in that area when looking at United’s upcoming schedule. After Saturday’s visit to Sheffield United, they are hosting Manchester City before travelling to Fulham, playing Luton at home and then visiting Goodison Park in gameweek 13. Feels like a perfect run of games for a new £70-million striker to get off the mark, or not?

The (vice-)captaincy

Gameweek 9 is offers a few interesting captaincy candidates and seeing as we went with Mo Salah as our premium fantasy pick of the week, we are also slapping the armband on him. While Everton have not been terribly in defence of late, we don’t see them keeping out the Reds at Anfield and Salah might well be the one to the (most) damage.

Of course, if Erling Haaland is not our captain, he has to be our vice-captain. The Norwegian goalscoring machine is playing at home to Brighton on Saturday afternoon and we wouldn’t be surprised to see that game turn into a complete goal fest. Other attractive options for the captaincy in gameweek 9 are James Maddison and Heung-Min Son at home versus Fulham, Kieran Trippier at home to Crystal Palace and Bruno Fernandes away at Sheffield United on Saturday evening.

FPL 2023-24: Gameweek 8 preview

Another big one for the differentials in gameweek 7, while this season’s usual suspects largely kept quiet. The popular likes of Erling Haaland, Kaoru Mitoma and James Maddison all blanked, while Pervis Estupiñan one-upped them with a juicy -2 FPL points. It wasn’t ALL bad news for the highly owned assets though, as three of the most-selected players made it into the official Team of the Week as well: Ollie Watkins with a 23-point whopper, Martin Odegaard with a 17-pointer, and Kieran Trippier with 12 points. The differential of the week was clearly Nottingham Forest’s Nicolas Dominguez, who made the Team of the Week with 10 FPL points, courtesy of a goal versus Brentford, while sitting in exactly 0.0% of all teams in the official Fantasy Premier League game.

On to gameweek 8 then, which has all the makings of a cracker, both in real life and in fantasy. Spurs and Chelsea are kicking off the weekend with winnable away games on paper, against Luton and Burnley respectively, while struggling Manchester United will try to wash away their Champions League home defeat against Galatasaray with a home game against Brentford. The real fireworks are saved for Sunday though, when Brighton host Liverpool, West Ham faces Newcastle in a clash of the highflyers, and Manchester City tops off the gameweek with a visit to Arsenal.

Check out FISO’s FPL Forum for the latest discussion and don’t forget, the deadline for gameweek 8 is set at 11h00 (UK time) on Saturday, October 7th, 2023.

Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per October 5th, 2023)

 TRANSFERS OUTTRANSFERS INPOSSIBLE REASONS
GKOnana (MUN), Ramsdale (ARS), Ederson (MCI)Areola (WHU), Leno (FUL), Turner (SHU) 
DEFEstupiñan (BRI), Chilwell (CHE), Botman (NEW)Cash (AST), Trippier (NEW), Andersen (CRY)Estupiñan and Chilwell injured, Botman injury doubt, Cash and Trippier form
MIDRashford (MUN), Saka (ARS), Mbeumo (BRE)Son (TOT), Maddison (TOT), Bowen (WHU)Saka injury doubt
FORAlvarez (MCI), Haaland (MCI), Morris (LUT)Watkins (AST), Alvarez (MCI), Archer (SHU)Luton DGW over, Archer price, Villa form

Premium pick

Salah traveling to Brighton and Haaland visiting Arsenal this weekend while Heung-Min Son (£9.3m) goes to Luton’s Kenilworth Road stadium a day earlier has us backing the South Korean as our premium fantasy pick for gameweek 8. New Spurs manager Ange Postecoglou deploys the attacker as a striker and it’s understandable why. Son has scored 6 goals in his last four league games, including a brace away at Arsenal in GW6 and a goal last weekend against Liverpool. Luton have already conceded 14 goals this season and despite the Hatters picking up their first win in GW7, we find it hard to imagine them keeping the points at home against Spurs. So much so, in fact, that Heung-Min Son will also be leading our captaincy debate for gameweek 8 later on in this piece.

Non-premium pick

We briefly mentioned Ollie Watkins (£8.0m) in our intro and he is returning here as our non-premium fantasy pick for gameweek 8. At least in terms of attacking returns, the Aston Villa striker had a bit of an underwhelming start to the 2023-24 campaign, not finding the net until his goal at Stamford Bridge back in gameweek 6. Over those preceding five gameweeks though, he did provide 4 assists, so he was clearly getting involved in the goalscoring at Villa and it finally all came together last weekend. In what can only be labelled as a superb display, both from Watkins and from Villa as a whole, the Villans wiped the floor with Brighton, beating them 6-1 at Villa Park. Watkins took up the role of chief destruction officer with an incredible 3 goals and 2 assists for a total of 23 FPL points, the highest single-match score for a player so far this season. That monster haul made it three consecutive league games with attacking returns for the England international and it could very well be the start of a serious purple patch for him. After all, Villa’s visit to Wolves on Sunday is followed by back-to-back home games (West Ham and Luton), a visit to Nottingham Forest and a home game versus Fulham. Can Watkins make it seven or eight rounds of attacking returns in a row?

The budget enabler

On Wednesday, the big-money clash between Saudi-owned Newcastle and Qatar-owned PSG took place at St. James Park and it ended up as a night to remember for the Toon. They walked over the French side, beating them 4-1 and allowing just two shots on goal. One of the best performances on Magpie side came from Dan Burn (£4.6m), who initially struggled a bit with Ousmane Dembele’s pure pace, but bit by bit got himself into the game, topping that progress off with a thumping header at the back post in the 39th minute. As a result, he will be full of confidence going into Sunday’s away match versus West Ham, especially when you consider how good of an FPL asset he’s been of late as well. He recorded clean sheets in each of his three last league games and even went into double digits on gameweek 6, thanks to a goal against Sheffield United. In other words, Dan Burn looks to be right around the top of the world right now. Upcoming opponents West Ham are no pushovers by any stretch of the imagination this season and the Magpies have their work more than cut out for them this weekend, but after that it’s Palace at home, Wolves away and Bournemouth away in the next four. At his current price of £4.6m, Burn therefore looks like a very good budget enabler on the short and even the long term.

The differential

We’ve already mentioned Tottenham’s favourable fixture away at Luton this weekend, so for our differential fantasy pick for gameweek 8 we’re moving back to North London. A new-look Spurs side has grabbed a few headlines already this season and with good reason, because the Londoners are looking more competitive than they have done in a long time. Besides the shining stars of James Maddison and Heung-Min Son, Dejan Kulusevski (£7.0m) has been flying under the radar considering his current 1.9% ownership. The former Juventus forward has cemented his spot in Postecoglou’s starting eleven though, and already has 2 goals to his name. Looking at Spurs’ upcoming run of fixtures, starting with the visit to Luton to kick off GW8 and including encounters with Fulham, Crystal Palace and Wolves soon after that, we can see the Swedish international’s ownership get a decent bump soon. His away game at Kenilworth Road this weekend looks like a perfect entry moment if you want to take a differential punt with the Spurs attacker.

The (vice-)captaincy

As we wrote when covering Heung-Min Son as our premium fantasy pick of the week, he is also our first choice for the armband in gameweek 8. The South Korean is in red hot form right now and playing as a striker, while registered as a midfielder in the official game, against a leaky Luton defence. If he can score a brace at the Emirates, he can do something nice for the roughly 27% of managers who own him at Kenilworth Road as well, right?

Seeing as Brighton just shipped six goals at Villa Park, FPL logic dictates to include Mohamed Salah as a very viable option for the armband as well. Liverpool are kicking off the Sunday with a visit to the AmEx. Other interesting options for the captaincy in gameweek 8 include James Maddison away at Luton Town, Bruno Fernandes at home to Brentford and Ollie Watkins for Villa’s visit to Molineux.