Fantasy Football Fixture Analysis Gameweek 31
Welcome to Fantasy Football Fixture Analysis Gameweek 31. It’s finally arrived! BGW31 hasn’t so much been the elephant in the room who nobody dares to mention as the elephant in the room sat right on the bloody table in the middle of it. Eyeballing anybody who dares to mention a transfer without acknowledging him in some way. We should really name him, he’s been around for so long. Let’s call him Dumbo. Dumbo the BGW31 elephant. Dumbo has made people bring in Huddersfield players. Dumbo has made people double up on Everton defenders. Dumbo has made people buy 3 Liverpool players. Sometimes Dumbo isn’t that bad then. Good Dumbo. Dumbo has however even hoodwinked a few in to buying West Brom defenders! Evil Dumbo.
But look, for good or for bad (mainly), Dumbo’s time with us is nearly up. Arrhhhh, says the crowd. Whoop, whoop says the FPL community! A transfer or two more and we can finally give Dumbo a small injection to put him to sleep for good. Or depending on how next week actually goes we may yet let Mr Bean at him with his harpoon!*
Such is Dumbo’s influence (whilst he’s still with us, for now…) he has even made us alter our Fixtures article format. There’s no point us waxing lyrical about Man City or Chelsea’s fine run ahead here, you won’t be buying from their pool this week, unless you’re either mad or simply not paying attention. Fun fact: as we write this article intro (Sunday night, just 36 hours into GW30 and with it being 24 hours away from actually concluding!) 21,591 people have transferred in Willian. He’s currently the 2nd most transferred in midfielder. Because he scored in GW30. This is what we are playing against people. Brilliant, isn’t it!
We digress, back to Dumbo… he’s forced us into a corner now. We are simply going to address those teams with a fixture this week and assess whether they are worth bringing in (or not) but also with an eye on what is beyond it. AKA post Dumbo.
The All Important Fixture Tracker…
Gameweek Tracker GW31-38
Liverpool – Watford (h), Crystal Palace (a), Everton (a), Bournemouth (h), West Brom (a), Stoke (h), Chelsea (a), Brighton (h)
I have taken the unusual step of showing you Liverpool’s fixtures for the rest of the campaign, not just the next 3/4 weeks. One look at their schedule and you’ll see why – there isn’t much to be scared about, in fact aside from a trip to Stamford Bridge in GW37 (and that’s not exactly daunting like it used to be) Liverpool’s run in is to die for.
Their lack of a DGW this season will undoubtedly cause a few fantasy headaches that only Michael Hutchence would be proud of. Does one stick with their attractive fixtures in these DGWs or play the odds on those teams and players that play twice?
Well, that is not necessarily a question for me. And it certainly isn’t a question for now, because we have 3 gameweeks before the first DGW and Liverpool coverage will be maximised for any serious FPL manager.
First up is GW31 – the Blank week! It ain’t a blank for Klopp’s men though as they seek to bounce back from last week’s loss at Old Trafford. Watford are the visitors to Anfield and the Hornets haven’t won on the road since winning at Newcastle back in GW13. Much has changed for them since then – a change of manager and Richarlison’s output drying up probably the biggest factors and they will likely go to Anfield with as much hope as an ex-Russian spy has of successfully walking over Salisbury Plain.
GW32 sees Liverpool go to Selhurst Park. Hmmm, well as long as they are not haunted by past horrors in South London, they really should have enough for the Eagles and they have won on their last two trips to Palace.
And then it’s the derby and a trip across the park to Goodison in GW33. Again, not a fixture that will scare Liverpool who haven’t lost to their nearest and dearest since 2010, an undefeated run of 16 matches. I should point out that four of the last five at Everton have ended in draws – however I’m not sure that even the return of Baines and Coleman is enough to make me fancy the chances of Keane and Jagielka vs Salah and Firmino.
That then takes us to DGW34 – or in Liverpool’s case, GW34. What you decide to do with your trio of Liverpool rascals is up to you, but it is Bournemouth at Anfield that week and the scousers have already beaten the Cherries 4-0 in December……
Bournemouth – West Brom (h), Watford (a), Crystal Palace (h)
Smashed at home by a Kane-less Spurs last week, no wins in four, just one clean sheet since GW13, Dumbo has truly delivered a blank GW gem to us. The Cherries do however have the pleasure of welcoming West Brom to the south coast this week and there ain’t no bigger invitation to get your season back on track than a visit from the Lord and his number. Remarkably the Baggies claimed victory in the reverse fixture at the Hawthorns in August, but the opening day does have a habit of throwing up a shock or two and the relegation bound Albion will again be expected to roll over and be tickled by the Cherries on Saturday for their 7th successive loss.
You see this is less to do with Bournemouth and more to do with who they are playing. GW32 sees a trip to Watford for Eddie Howe and his Cherries – and this is where Dumbo revisits for the Hornets have won their last three at home. Four of the five meetings between the two in the Premier League have ended in draws with Watford winning the other (at Bournemouth in August).
Palace then arrive at the Vitality Stadium in GW33 – and frankly who knows which Palace will turn up? By then many of their injured folk will be back and the Eagles will be fighting for survival.
I think the message here is by all means load up on Cherries for this weekend, especially if you are planning to wildcard in GW32.
Huddersfield – Crystal Palace (h), Newcastle (a), Brighton (a)
If we’re talking elephants then this is more Jumbo than Dumbo. If you truly hit for any Terriers this week then you’re either madder than Murdock or you know something we don’t. In which case you can start writing this article every week!
In fairness, Huddersfield are the only one of our ‘favourable’ trio who avoided defeat this week. A 0-0 home draw vs 10-man Swansea is hardly a fitting or encouraging lead up to what I assume is their debut in this part of the article. Nor does it fill me with inspiration as I try and persuade you to find space for a Terrier or two in your squads.
Crystal Palace again feature as opposition to our chosen ones and this is probably your only real chance of enjoying anything other than a 2-point return from any Huddersfield player in this run of matches. It may well be that you fancy a punt on striker Steve Mounie or midfielders Aaron Mooy or Alex Pritchard. And why the heck not? After all, if you don’t buy a ticket you won’t win the lottery. Why no mention of the keeper or one of their defenders, you ask? Well, if I’m honest, I think Palace will score at the weekend just as they have in eight of their last nine league matches or if you want 13 of their last 15 in the league – in that time the only teams to stop them scoring are Spurs and Man City. You see, Palace have no problem scoring, they have a bigger problem keeping clean sheets.
Huddersfield then have a couple of tough looking road trips. First up is a day out in Newcastle and Rafa’s men have won their last two at home without conceding a goal and are unbeaten in five at SJP. You really want a Terrier for that? Nah, thought not.
GW33 sees a trip down to Brighton – and the Seagulls are even better than the Toon at home for they have won their last three in their own back yard.
I will waffle unnecessarily no longer. You get the gist, have a go in GW31 by all means, but be selective and be informed. Some will talk you into the ‘-2pt hit’ and while there is some truth in that, do you really want them in your squad post GW31?
West Brom – Bournemouth (A), Burnley (H), Swansea (H)
Don’t. Just don’t. You only have so many transfers and they should be concentrated on the above plus then maybe the odd punt on say a Palace or Stoke player. Maybe even take an Everton player if you’re feeling brave (we’ll come onto them in a bit). But whatever you do don’t get a West Brom one. Please. We’d take Willian ahead of one of Pardew’s pansies!
And don’t be fooled by thinking the fixtures look Ok-ish after this weeks – Burnley have just won 2 back to back and scored 5 in the process for probably the first time ever and seem to have come out of their shells a bit. Swansea sit 5th in the form table over the last 10 games and that’s no mean feat when the only 5 above them are the Manchester duo plus Spurs and Liverpool. West Brom themselves, unsurprisingly, sit bottom of that league, and of course the main one, plus pretty much any other stats based league you care to run.
Oh, and then they play Man United and Liverpool… Just don’t.
Everton – Stoke (A), Man City (H), Liverpool (H)
Everton’s problems are triplicate here. First off they’re away this week. Doesn’t actually matter who that’s away to it seems as they are 19th in the away league table (any prizes for guessing who’s bottom?!). They’ve only managed 10 goals away from home in 15 games (only Brighton and West Brom have less, somehow) and they’ve conceded a whopping 31 away goals (again the 3rd worst). Still fancying that little Baines punt that was nagging away at you? You’d probably have to hope that they get a penalty for any positive returns and even that’s on the proviso that Rooney doesn’t say “Calm down, calm down Sam, promise I’ll score one eventually kidda”. Still hoping that the Wally hammy rumours aren’t true and that it’s just cramp? Judging by the above you’d probably not be much worse off letting your new signing Willian sub in for him.
The second and third problem with any Everton related purchases this week are one and the same really. Namely Man City and Liverpool who they play in 32 and 33. The only reason Everton aren’t in a relegation scrap is their home form – 29 of their 37 points have come at Goodison. (Good old fashioned cauldron of noise Goodison. Sorry we digress, that was just a dig at Gold and Sullivan, hope you got home safe and early lads!). The main problem we have here is that their home form against similarly big clubs to the two aforementioned reads – Spurs 0-3, Arsenal 2-5 and Man United 0-2. They’re home time bullies then, beating up on the smaller teams but being put to the sword by the big boys. As they surely will be again.
Stoke – Everton (H), Arsenal (A), Spurs (H)
Stoke creep into this section by virtue of a future alarm warning more than anything else as we do actually fancy they will score this week, for many of the reasons mentioned in the Everton piece above. The warning is simply to show who they then face in the next two and that investing in them too heavily this week may not be wise as a result. Certainly defensively anyway.
Grab Shaq by all means – he’s hot to trot with 3 goals in his last 5 games. Just bear in mind the games that follow – it’s Arsenal away next and Stoke don’t travel well at the best of times (1 win, 12 goals scored and 33 conceded). And then it’s Spurs at home who are 2nd in the away league table with 28 scored and 16 conceded.
The odd ones out…
We’ve spoken about the other 6 teams so we may as well give you the low down on the remaing 2 who we obviously feel sit in between the 2 categories…
Crystal Palace – Huddersfield (A), Liverpool (H), Bournemouth (A)
Palace sort of feel like they should grab a spot in the more favourable section this week but we don’t really know why! Maybe it was the spirited display and the two goals against Man United that should have resulted in a draw, but ultimately didn’t. Maybe it’s that Zaha is back now – they haven’t won a game without him this season, or something daft like that. Facts are facts though and they sit 19th in the last 6 games form table with zero wins, just 6 goals scored and 11 conceded.
Watford – Liverpool (A), Bournemouth (H), Burnley (H)
One big thing puts us off Watford this week… and it’s this weeks fixture! They were unlucky not to score against Arsenal but still limped away with a 3-0 hammering. And in all honesty their lack of quality shone through. If they limp away from Anfield with just a 3 goal deficit then they may count themselves lucky.
Thanks for reading Fantasy Football Fixture Analysis Gameweek 31. This article was written by Cookie and Inittowinit.
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*No animals were harmed in the making of this article. Dumbo was a fictional character purely of our imagination. Sort of.