Welcome to Navigating upcoming GWs to field a strong team in BGW31
It’s been a tough FPL season for many of us. The bad news is that it’s about to get even tougher with a number of blank and double GWs to navigate as we slowly reach its final stages. There is good news too though: there is a huge opportunity in those trickier upcoming weeks and those of us who’ll take advantage of it will be the ones who may still find pride in their OR once the dust of this FPL season has finally settled. The first stage of this opportunity has begun already and will end with a very tough BGW31. The purpose of this article is to provide some thoughts on how to manage our FPL teams throughout this stage. Or in other words, to answer the following question:
How can we field 10 players in BGW31 without sacrificing important players with good fixtures on the way and making transfers that are likely to pay off not only in GW31, but also in those that precede it?
In the process of preparing this analysis, I’ve used Ben Crellin’s fabulous spreadsheet and bear in mind that the analysis below does not take into consideration using our WC or FH as a remedy to the difficulties of BGW31.
What do we want to achieve and what’s the set-up?
The facts are as follows:
• The only two games that we can be sure will take place in BGW31 are: Liverpool vs. Watford and Stoke vs. Everton
• WBA face Southampton on February 17th, which means there’s a roughly 50/50 chance that Bournemouth vs. WBA will also take place in BGW31, and we will know that for sure before GW28
• The majority of us have got 4 / 5 FTs left before BGW31 kicks off
And here’s a handful of assumptions for the purpose of this analysis:
• Huddersfield vs. Crystal Palace will take place in BGW31 (77% probability according to betting odds)
• No other games, apart from the ones mentioned above, will take place in BGW31
• In an average active FPL team we will find 4 players from Liverpool, Watford, Stoke, Everton, Huddersfield and Crystal Palace (a quick look at teams in my leagues tells me that these 4 players would probably be recruited from the following ones: Salah, Firmino, Shaqiri/ Choupo-Moting, Richarlison / Doucoure, Walcott, Milivojevic and Quaner / Depoitre)
• We should probably stay away from Watford players, i.e. we might consider keeping them if we already own them, but buying them is not advisable as their fixtures are rather average + they face Liverpool away in BGW31 and it’s hard to see them doing much in that game
Finally, here are the goals we would like to achieve:
• We want to field at least 10 players in BGW31
• We want to avoid getting rid of key players with good fixtures early in the process (e.g. Kane) just for the sake of fielding a strong team in BGW31
• We want to bring in players that make sense for fixtures between the moment we buy them and BGW31, not just for BGW31 (e.g. bringing in Benteke, who has delivered returns in all of his last 5 fixtures, makes perfect sense for BGW31 as Crystal Palace face Huddersfield, but doing so now with 4 tough games ahead of him would be overkill)
• We want to take 0 or 1 hits at most (depends on Bournemouth featuring in BGW31 or not)
Here are fixtures of the teams that we either know or assume will feature in BGW31:
My decision here was to bring in Walcott. He’s done well at Everton so far, seems nailed, plus has arguably got the tastiest fixture. Some other interesting options were: Firmino, VVD and Shaqiri.
Who did I get rid of? For me that was Son who might face rotation soon and seems to have a lost at least a bit of his previous form.
This is a good time to bring in VVD. With him on board, Liverpool should tighten up at the back and with two homes against struggling WHU and Newcastle, VVD offers more than just Clean Sheet potential. Some other interesting options are: Firmino (to replace Aguero who’s got 2 tough fixtures in GW28 and GW29) and Coleman (depending on his latest injury prognosis).
At this stage it could be wise to replace our Chelsea defender (for me it’s Alonso) as they face both Manchester teams in 2 subsequent GWs, as well as could be rotated given Chelsea’s Champions League duties. Another possible candidate for exile would be Otamendi. He hasn’t delivered attacking returns since GW16 and his CS potential is limited with Arsenal and Chelsea being his GW28 and GW29 rivals. However, if we’re not facing budget pressures then we could get rid of any of our cheaper defenders.
Apart from Watford, whom we at least at this stage assume we want to avoid, and Liverpool, the other teams have rather difficult fixtures. So – unless we own less than 3 Liverpool players at that point – our wisest move might be rolling the transfer.
Here, as a 2 GW punt, we might consider bringing in whoever’s been prolific in Everton’s or Huddersfield’s attack/ midfield over the previous few weeks as both teams have two great fixtures in GW30 and GW31. However, the problem with forwards is that 2 of our spots are likely to be occupied by Kane and Aguero/ Firmino, whereas the third one is probably taken by Wilson. Selling Kane and Aguero before games against Bournemouth and Stoke respectively would not be smart, whereas we want to keep Firmino for BGW31. Wilson is a question mark today, but the good news is that at that point we will now whether he features in BGW31 or not. If he doesn’t – it’s a great time to sell as Bournemouth face Spurs in GW30. Alternatively, if none of Everton’s and Huddersfield’s forwards and mids seem convincing enough or we don’t have a free spot in those formations, perhaps Coleman or Pickford could be the answer to our worries.
We get rid of whoever has a tricky fixture in GW30 (e.g. Lingard, Pogba, Jones or de Gea) and whom we can potentially bring back on our WC without losing too much TV.
If we managed to roll the transfer in GW29, then we should have 2 FTs at our disposal at that point. Given that Crystal Palace face Huddersfield, this might be a good moment to double up on their attacking assets, e.g. Benteke & Zaha, or choose just one of them and either a Crystal Palace defender or another asset that makes sense to us from the other teams that feature in BGW31.
Please note we will be WCing in GW32 or GW33, so we can even get rid of Kane or Aguero at that point, and bring them back on our WC. In fact, if our WC is still intact, then it doesn’t really matter which blanking player we get rid of, as long as we don’t lose too much TV that way.
If it turns out Bournemouth will not feature in BGW31 or we do not have 4 BGW31 players in our team today, then in order to field 10 players we will need to take a hit. Whether that makes sense is hard to predict today and I suggest we deal with this question when the time comes.
Here are examples of teams that we could field if we follow the advice provided in this analysis (new players in bold):
If Bournemouth & WBA feature in BGW31:
Goalkeeper (blanks) – VVD (WAT), Daniels (WBA), Coleman (sto) – Salah (WAT), Walcott (sto), Shaqiri/ Choupo-Moting (EVE), Zaha (hud) – Firmino (WAT), Wilson (WBA), Benteke (hud)
If Bournemouth & WBA do not feature in BGW31 (-4 hit):
Pickford (sto) – VVD (WAT), Coleman (sto), Defender (blanks) – Salah (WAT), Walcott (sto), Shaquiri/ Choupo-Moting (EVE), Zaha (hud), Richarlison (liv) – Firmino (WAT), Benteke (hud)
If we follow this process, then we should be able to tick off all of our goals (of course, baring injuries and other unexpected disasters):
• we field 10 players in BGW31
• we don’t sacrifice important players too early in the process
• we don’t take more than 1 hit
• and, perhaps most importantly, if we follow the transfer flow suggested in this analysis, then the players we bring in will be looking at the following fixtures at the time of purchase:
• Walcott (before GW27): CP, wat, bur, BRI, sto
• VVD (before GW28): WHU, NEW, mu, WAT
• Coleman (before GW30): BRI, sto
• Benteke & Zaha (before BGW31): hud
…which justifies those transfers not only with BGW31 in mind, but also from the perspective of earlier GWs.
Please note that these teams (with premium-priced players such as de Gea or even Kane on our bench in BGW31) should be easily affordable for everyone, and if we follow the suggested order of transfers, then we will avoid running into cash problems.
Thanks for reading
Navigating upcoming GWs to field a strong team in BGW31. This article was written by Cezary
The League Codes for FF247 for the 2017/18 season are as follows:
Gameweek Tracker GW28-33