It truly is the business end of the season, which also means confusing times ahead for fantasy managers. To illustrate the point, here’s a brief summary:
- GW32: 10 teams on a double gameweek
- GW33: 8 teams without a game
- GW34: 2 teams on a double gameweek
- GW35: 8 teams on a double gameweek
Keep in mind that if you’re bringing a player in for the DGW32, it’s entirely possible that they have no fixture in GW33. Take stock of your chips/wildcard and look to plan out the weeks ahead.
It’s also worth noting that the wildcard can’t be used in conjunction with any of your chips in a single gameweek. One strategy worth considering could be to wildcard in 34, maximising the players with two games, and then throwing down your Bench Boost chip on 35.
On with the frisking of fixtures. This week, the tyrannical leadership at FFT Towers have saw fit to request three player picks with an ownership of 5% or less, to try to flush out some differential options for your team…
Jeffrey Schlupp, Crystal Palace (DF, £4.5m)
Owned by: 5%
Crystal Palace go into this gameweek with a home game against Huddersfield, before a tricky fixture at Tottenham’s new stadium which is finally ready to go after a series of delays. Providing that Daniel Levy has shelled out for toilets, bar facilities and remembered to put the seats in, this will be the first Premier League match played at Spurs’ new home.
It’s important to point out that eight of the 10 teams with two matches in GW32 have NO fixture in GW33. The exceptions are Crystal Palace and Chelsea.
So, for £4.5m and coming in at bang on 5% ownership, you can get a cheap defender differential who doesn’t actually play in defence (either on the wing or in central midfield). Schlupp has three assists in his last five matches, and the potential for three games across the next week.
He’s started the last six Premier League matches for Palace, and would be a fine makeweight to balance budgets if you’re looking to add some big boys this week.
David Silva, Manchester City (MF, £8.5m)
Owned by: 5.0%
It feels incredibly naive to go into Gameweek 32 without a full complement of Manchester City players: fixtures against Fulham (a) and Cardiff (h) are pretty much the best double gameweek option fantasy managers could pick if they had a choice.
Riyad Mahrez (£8.2m, 1.8% owned) is the perfect example of a fantasy football travesty. Given his performances in recent seasons, he’d have been a nailed-on pick for fantasy managers… had he still been at Leicester. As it stands, there’s every chance he gets minutes in GW32 – but no guarantee. And therein lies the problem.
Elsewhere, then. David Silva is easily one of the classiest players in the league, and with all of City’s big hitters coming in well above the 5% cut-off, it’s actually a pleasant surprise that Silva falls into this category.
Six goals and six assists this season is a decent enough return, but you’d imagine it’s highly likely that he’ll be adding to those hauls this gameweek with Sergio Aguero and Raheem Sterling around. The Spaniard has started six of City’s last seven league matches, and comes into GW32 having managed an assist in each of his last two league games.
Gonzalo Higuain, Chelsea (FW, £9.6m)
Owned by: 4.3%
The old favourite in this column. Higuain makes the post this week for a few reasons.
- Chelsea double gameweek – Cardiff (a), Brighton (h)
- Under 5% owned
- Actually has a fixture in GW33 – West Ham (h)
Fresh off the back of announcing his international retirement from Argentina duty, Higuain should be raring to go this week. If budget really is an issue and he doesn’t float your boat, it’s possibly worth throwing another Chelsea man into the mix.
Michy Batshuayi seems to have started life on loan at Crystal Palace well, and importantly, reduced the over-reliance on Wilf Zaha. Two goals and an assist from 372 minutes can be improved upon, and the next week will give him the chance to do just that.
At £6.5m he’s coming in much cheaper, and a low 2.1% ownership makes him the differential of choice if you’re on a budget and trying to break away from the template team to make up ground.
FantasyYIRMA started in 2012 focused primarily on news and previews for the Fantasy Premier League, and has now managed consecutive fantasy coverage across 260 gameweeks. Losers.