Coming off my best week (69 points) since Gameweek 20, there is little planning to do until the FA Cup 5th Round Replays next week. Using data compiled by Ben Crellin, fantasy managers are provided statistical analysis and probability of what teams will be without a fixture in Gameweek 31/35. As of this writing, there are just two confirmed matches; LIV vs WAT and STO vs EVE. The remaining teams and fixtures are yet to be determined. So what is a fantasy manager to do?
Looking from a purely statistical point of view, Chelsea, Man City, Spurs and Man United should push through to the FA Cup quarterfinals. Based on just these 4 teams, it leaves me 4 players short for Gameweek 31. But further banter on Twitter and the likes of podcasts from FFS, Planet FPL, Always Cheating, Who Got The Assist and The 3 Amigos has put DGW discussion on hold.
With no Wild Card or Free Hit Chip I am at a disadvantage over many other fantasy managers who have held these chips specifically for the late season DGWs and BGWs. I knew this would be a factor and made the decision to burn them earlier during the season. Some conclusions can already be drawn, which were reiterated on a few podcasts.
- Triple up on Liverpool: With a Gameweek 31 confirmed, home to Watford this could be an essential move to maximize points. Currently I own Virgil van Dijk and Mohammad Salah. Adding Roberto Firmino to my starting XI would require two transfers, but would cost be Marcos Alonso after the West Brom fixture.
- Everton, woo or woe: With the exception of GW32 (MCI) and GW33 (LIV), Everton have the third best schedule through the end of the season. You figure Big Sam will get the defense sorted out. They started with 3 clean sheets when he first took over, but have hit a rough patch. Seamus Coleman is fit and should improve the defense, as well as the experience and leadership that Phil Jagielka bring. We saw Jordan Pickford excel last year on a poor Sunderland team, posting 102 overall points, 135 saves and 9 bonus points. Like Liverpool, Everton will feature in Gameweek 31.
- Hold and roll your transfer: Now, if you team is in dire straits, then by all means consider using you FT for this week. However, with a many managers coming off a poor GW26, players will look to rebound. I have repeated heard to roll the FT. I find this to be wise information this week. I’ve had a look at possible transfers but nothing I do this week improves my starting XI. Alonso being flagged isn’t a concern and feel he will feature for Chelsea.
- Play with what you have in GW31: GW31 will be a different beast as fantasy managers wait to see how many blank games we have. Free hit is an option, but if I hadn’t activated, I would use it during GW35 as we should see more matches to select from. Right now, if I can escape with 7-9 players I will take as many points as possible, potentially the red arrow and continue planning for the DGWs.
Originally I was looking towards Arsenal, after their impressive 5-1 demolished of Everton, all is smelling roses for the Gunners. However no GW28 and possibly no GW31 has be reconsidering doubling up. Pierre-Emrick Aubameyang (£10.5) had be on my radar, but feel Robert Firmino (£9.2) will be a more intelligent selection. Not only will it save my budget, potentially allowing me to retain Alonso, the Reds have a Gameweek 31 fixture, home to Watford.
Alonso will be afforded Newcastle with his future in question. At £7.2, his value increase £0.1 while owning him since GW5, but it’s what he enables moving forward in the transfer market. Chelsea off their worst performance and loss of the season, 4-1 to Watford we must see how Conte shuffles the lineup in order to save his job. Anything less than a convincing win against WBA and we could see a change in manager.
Chelsea also enter in a challenging period of fixtures WBA/mnu/mci/CRY/bur/TOT. Conte remains in place, there should be no doubts or concerns for the inclusion of Alonso in the starting XI. However a move away from Alonso leaves me £8.8 to spend, even with a £4.5-5.0 defender, I am left with a nice balance to make improvements elsewhere.