8 months ago
Having had so many doubles of late we are now moving onto the boring side of fantasy football, prepping for blanks. As we prep for Gameweek 28, I have one eye on Gameweek 29 where we only have four fixtures. In planning for this I have already rolled a transfer and I may do so again next week. But for those looking to make a move on it now, I discuss the two best strategies and the players to target for each one.
To me, this comes down to whether you have a wildcard in your pocket or not. If you do, like me, you can approach these Gameweeks with the idea of ‘dead-ending’ in your team. By this, I mean transfer in players that you may only play for a game or two and would never have considered as long-term buys. Like Brighton defenders or a playing 2nd goalkeeper.
For those without the luxury of a wildcard, you will have to prep for the blank but also making sure you have a way out for these players if needs be. Two transfers (in and out) on a Brighton defender is not ideal for a potential 2 point return. So if this is your set up, I’d focus on players playing in the blank but who look good medium and long term.
Looking at the fixtures, if I was to dead-end my team I would focus on the next 3 Gameweeks as there are some nice fixture swings in Gameweek 31 (Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal, Wolves, Leicester, etc.). So looking at the below, who are the dead-end teams you would want to jump on now and dump for Gameweek 31?
Leeds are known for faltering off at the tail-end of the season due to their intensive style of play taking a toll on their players. If that’s not enough reason to start looking to shift them on their fixtures should do the trick. In Gameweek 31, they face Man City followed by Liverpool, Manchester Utd, Brighton and Spurs.
Bamford (£6.8m) is in 52% of teams, so you know the deal with him. Always can get a goal due to Leeds creativity. They face Fulham in Gameweek 29 where he got a goal and 2 assists from 69mins in the reverse fixture. Despite Fulham’s newfound solidity, the familiarity of these teams from the championship could lead to a more open game.
Raphinha (£5.5m) is my other pick. He has blanked in the last 2 as Leeds have failed to score. But his performances have been electrifying of late. If Leeds are to score, he will be nearby.
Leeds are as leaky as a colander, but as we are dead-ending our teams here you could do worse than Meslier’s (£4.6m) save points or Dallas (£5.0m) potential attacking returns.
After the blank, Brighton face Manchester Utd, Eveton and Chelsea. Regardless, this team can’t score in order to survive. While their defence has lost its temporary solidity which saw them keep 5 clean sheets in 6 games between Gameweek 19 and 24 conceding 2 goals against Palace and Leictester and 1 against West Brom in their last 3 games.
Nevertheless, I will likely invest in a defender this week as their Gameweek 29 fixture against Newcastle looks like one of the best shots at a clean sheet. If money is not a problem, Dunk (£4.9m) is you man as he always has the chance of a goal. But with Lamptey possibly out for the season Veltman (£4.3m) looks a good punt. He is getting in advanced positions thanks to his wing-back role and got his first goal against Palace recently.
Although Brighton are in the dead-end section, if you can afford 2 transfers it may be worth getting a defender in now before switching to a Wolves player for their lovely run of fixtures from Gameweek 30.
Don’t waste your time on their fruitless attack.
After Gameweek 31, Fulham face Wolves, Arsenal, Chelsea and also have a blank. Prime dead-end candidates. Lookman and Cavaleiro always post good stats but their attacking returns are few and far between.
A shining light for Fulham who has helped them turn their season around is Maja (£5.5m). He has blanked 5 in a row now since his first 2 goals for the club. However, he had a goal harshly disallowed against Spurs thanks to VAR. And as mentioned, Leeds are pourous. He may be one to buy next week after the Man City game this week.
I do fancy Leeds to score, but Areola (£4.5m) may have something to say about that having kept 5 clean sheets in his last 7 matches.
From Gameweek 31, Villa face Liverpool, City, Manchester Utd, Everton and West Brom. So I will likely be dumping most, if not all of their players on my wildcard. Yes, they are having a quality season and present great value, but I am a fixtures guy.
Need a keeper? As you know Martinez (£5.4m) has been performing miracles this season while Konsa (£4.6m) provides a budget entry point. However, a clean sheet against Spurs will be a tough ask. Fortunately, they have prime fixtures either side of this facing Newcastle and Fulham.
Grealish (£7.5m) looks like he will have shaken off his injury by the weekend. He has been one of the best players in the league the season, yet his return gets me more excited about Watkins (£6.6m). The focal point of Villa’s attack has not been on the end of one big chance since Grealish’s departure. In the 6 games before his injury, Watkins bagged 4 goals. I reckon he is relishing his return. With 2 good fixtures and a game against Spurs in the next 3, I am excited to have him in my squad. Although Spurs will likely restrict Villa from keeping a clean sheet, they are not the most solid at the back which makes me favour Watkins over a defensive acquisition.
They are in flying form at the minute and the demise of Liverpool opens a door into the top four for Jose’s men. Their fixtures are well spread — no incredibly tough period, no incredibly easy period. So they are good medium to long term buys as they finish the season battling for top four.
The easy pick is Kane (£11.3m). He is the heart of the team and is a great captaincy option. Probably the best in blank Gameweek 29. So he is the most important acquisition in my view. No need to overthink it here.
Where you can overthink it is in the midfield. Going back to the Dead End route I think a triple up of Kane, Son (£9.6m) and Bale (£9.4m) is a viable three Gameweek punt. However, for those thinking longer term a triple up in a Jose Mourinho attack will eventually slap us in the face. As we can’t rely on 3-0 victories weekly. Fulham last week was the perfect example, if they are 1-0 up after 60mins, they will shore up at the back and try to hold out.
So, Bale or Son? In his last 4 games, Bale has blitzed FPL managers with 4 goals and 2 assists, while Son has failed to score and notched the 3 assists to compensate. However, Bale is made of glass and can only rack up 65-70mins under his belt. So looking further than the next few weeks I think Son is a wise choice. He can play a full 90mins and is less likely to be rotated as he can deal with both Premier League and Europa League demands, unlike Bale. Nevertheless, for those on the Dead End strategy, I like the Bale shout.
A Spurs triple up long term would be well complemented by a defender. However, rotation is rife. I still think Regulion (£5.4m) is a strong pick. He is the preferred left-back pick and provides attacking potential with 4 assists from 15 starts this season. While he has only come off the bench once all season, so if he is rotated the feared 1 pointer looks unlikely. Sanchez (£5.2m), Alderweireld (£5.5m) and Lloris (£5.6m) are also good options. Safer, but lacking attacking potential.
The flip side of a Dead End team, having incredible fixtures from Gameweek 31 but difficult ones in the short term. Yet, are Liverpool and Spurs as daunting as they are on paper?
Having played as a midfielder last season we saw Aubameyang (£11.4m) reclassified as a midfielder this season. Only to see him regain his spot as the number one striker of late! With the big hitters failing to impress we could see Aubameyang become increasingly popular. Having scored 4 goals in his last 3 starts he could be a starlet for the remainder of the season.
Saka (£5.3m) looks fantastic yet doesn’t get the returns he deserves. But he provides great value. Pepe is improving but is still a rotation risk. While I never consider or would propose an Arsenal defender.
2 points outside the Top 4 with a game in hand, Moyes does not get the credit he deserves! Like Spurs, their fixtures are well spread for the remainder of the season. Never too bad, never too hot.
My boy Cresswell (£5.8m) is pulling ahead for most defender points this season having grabbed his 10th clean sheet and assist this season. Arsenal may not scream clean sheet, nor did Leeds and they managed it. His attacking potential makes him one of my top picks for the rest of the season.
Antonio (£6.6m) has 7 goals and 3 assist this season from 15 starts. Prone to injuries but the team are muh better with him in it and he is a great addition to any of our squads when he is fit. But Lingard (£6.1m) is kicking up a storm since he joined. He has played 6 games since joining and has scored 4 goals and 2 assists. However, after his penalty miss he looks like he has handed these back to Declan Rice. He is ineligible to play Manchester Utd the weekend but he is a great buy for the remainder of the season. He is on par with Antonio for me, perhaps being less prone to injuries sways it for him…
After all that, the shortlist of players available in these four fixtures which on paper have little sex appeal is actually quite a lot longer than I thought. Personally, I will be playing the Dead End route. Buying a Brighton defender and either Bale or Aubameyang for Salah пiving me 10 players. I could make it 11 without any hits but given I have so much value tied up in Stones, Cancelo, Gundogan and Brunoб I think I will leave it at 10 players. I think 10 players is an adequate amount for Dead End teams. While for those without a Wild Card 8+ is a decent amount.
As always, best of luck to everyone, and if you want to reach out to me with any questions DM me on Twitter or leave a comment below.
Sports fan and FPL addict from Ireland (still has not forgiven Thierry Henry). Loves numbers in both studies & profession and has incorporated this into FPL in recent seasons. Has played FPL for 8 seasons, finishing in the top 40k 5 times, with the best finish of 8k. Find on Twitter @FplPup if you have any questions