Discover more from Fantasy Gameweek
Fill in th_ bl_nks
Gameweek 28 preview
Welcome to the latest edition of Fantasy Gameweek. The deadline for Gameweek 28 is approaching fast - it is 18.30 UK time on Friday. As discussed last week there are no matches for Brighton, Fulham, Liverpool, Man City, Man United, or West Ham. Here are the fixtures…
This gameweek is followed by an international break and then Gameweek 29, when there are doubles for Bournemouth, Brighton, Leeds, Forest, Leicester, Aston Villa, Chelsea, Liverpool, Man United, Brentford, West Ham and Newcastle.
This means the following teams have a match this week and a double in Gameweek 29: Aston Villa, Bournemouth, Brentford, Chelsea, Leeds, Leicester, Newcastle and Forest.
If you have your Free Hit chip left to play, this is a moment to use it. If not, the Wildcard is an option to get you through this week and set-up you up for the double using the teams above. However, the international break between Gameweek 28 and Gameweek 29 complicates this because of the risk of injuries. This means that taking a more cautious approach this week is sensible. Getting 11 players out is not essential if it means taking a big points-hit on transfers, especially if you have to reverse for Gameweek 29. Many Fantasy Premier League teams, including those at the top of the overall table, will not have 11 players this week. Do not bet the house on one gameweek given the potential for luck and uncertainty.
Having said that, there are a handful of players who stand-out as options this week and next. Tom has picked out five of them:
Five potential pick-ups this week
Harry Kane (FWD, £11.8m)
With Erling Haaland (FWD, £12.1m) and Manchester City on a blank gameweek, Harry Kane’s return to form in Gameweek 27 was perfectly timed. The England hitman netted two goals and 13 FPL points in Spurs’ much-needed 3-1 win over Nottingham Forest, and now faces relegation-threatened Southampton (A) in Gameweek 28 before Everton (A) in Gameweek 29.
Kane’s underlying statistics this season have been typically excellent and against Southampton his offensive Impect score was better than 96% of players in his position. He is an obvious candidate for the captain’s armband in Gameweek 28.
One slight note of caution on that front. While Kane is a sound selection, Southampton have looked more resolute recently, keeping back-to-back clean sheets in Gameweeks 26 and 27. A match at Goodison Park in Gameweek 28 – usually a tough away day – is also no guarantee of a big fantasy haul.
If you’re flying high in your FPL league, you’re probably making Kane your captain this week. But if you’re playing catch-up, there are reasons to consider alternative options.
Alexander Isak (FWD, £6.6m)
If you’re in the market for a lower-cost differential attacker, you might well be buying at the bottom of the Alexander Isak market right now. His £6.6m price tag is incredibly low for a player of his talent and in a side which is in the fight for a top-four finish, despite its recent struggles.
The Swedish international has started three of the last four games for Newcastle and was on the scoresheet in their vital 2-1 win over Wolves in Gameweek 27.
On Friday night he squares up against a Nottingham Forest defence that just shipped three goals at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, before a presentable double fixture against Manchester United (H) and West Ham (A) in Gameweek 29.
Isak is also in just 2% of FPL teams. With Callum Wilson (FWD, £6.9m) stuck in a rut, the run-in could see Isak prove why Eddie Howe splashed out a reported £60m+ on him in the summer.
Ivan Toney (FWD, £7.8m)
Toney has been an FPL mensch this season and continued his brilliant form in the second of Brentford’s double Gameweek 27 fixtures against a troubled Crystal Palace side, bagging a goal, an assist and 13 FPL points.
If you haven’t already got him in your side, it’s likely you’re eyeing him up for a home fixture against Brendan Rodgers’ erratic Leicester side in Gameweek 28. A Brighton and Man United away double-up in Gameweek 29 holds less appeal on paper, but Toney has proven himself more than capable of delivering against the league’s top sides during this campaign.
Indeed, he scored twice against Brighton and delivered two assists against United in fixtures earlier this season and will be confident of celebrating his England international call-up with another batch of big performances.
One note of caution – Toney has nine yellow cards so far this season. If he gets another booking, the striker will face a two-match suspension.
James Maddison (MID, £8.2m)
Leicester have lost four games in a row, but the underlying stats suggest from an attacking perspective their assets still hold genuine FPL value.
Against Chelsea in Gameweek 27, their overall attacking threat (2.94) and expected goals (xG) (2.62) were both exceptional – they just weren’t clinical in front of goal, registering a paltry post-shot xG of 0.97.
It was a similar story in Gameweek 26 against Southampton, with a decent overall attacking threat (2.03) and xG (1.51) scores failing to translate into goals. We’ve seen enough from this side to trust this is more a statistical blip than a sign that anything is fundamentally wrong.
A trip to Brentford in Gameweek 28 won’t be easy, before a double against Crystal Palace (A) and Aston Villa (H) provides a real opportunity for the Foxes to distance themselves from the relegation dogfight in Gameweek 29.
Maddison remains an underlying data superstar and the focal point of this attack. Pick him with confidence this week.
Reece James (DEF, £5.8m)
What is it they say about madness and repeating mistakes? Anyway, despite being burned several times by the seemingly perma-injured Chelsea right-back, we’re back in ahead of his home fixture against Everton in Gameweek 28.
There isn’t much data from this season to base that call on, but provided he is fit – he missed Gameweek 27 with an illness – James remains one of the best attacking full-backs in the league in a team that, despite its recent troubles, should keep more than its fair share of clean sheets.
Oh, and Chelsea have three home fixtures in two gameweeks, with a presentable Gameweek 29 double against Villa and Liverpool on the horizon. There are clearly risks with this selection, but we’re buying into the upside.
Now let’s look at the leaders in some key performance indicators from Impect, our data partner. The rankings below are for the Premier League since the restart on December 26 and only include players who are available this week.
Ollie Watkins (FWD, £7.4M) looks a great option this week, with Aston Villa playing Bournemouth at home and then Chelsea and Leicester away in the next gameweek. Brennan Johnson (FWD, £5.7m) is also intriguing but looks likely to miss time with a groin injury. Kai Havertz (FWD, £7.6m) continues to look a threat, as we flagged a few weeks ago, and Chelsea have three home games in a row. You are holding all your Arsenal players this week. In Gameweek 29 they only have one match but that is Leeds at home…
Offensive Impect since December 26
Leandro Trossard - 97.4
Harry Kane - 97.1
Ollie Watkins - 96.9
Patrick Bamford - 95.8
Kai Havertz - 94.5
Martin Odegaard - 94.3
Kelechi Iheanacho - 94.1
Ivan Toney - 92.5
Alexander Isak - 92.3
Raul Jimenez - 91.7
Offensive Impect since December 26, defenders only
Marcos Senesi - 94.4
Kieran Trippier - 88.9
Gabriel - 87
Clement Lenglet - 85.2
Thiago Silva - 81.5
Ben Davies - 79.6
Ben White - 75.9
Joachim Andersen - 74.1
Timothy Castagne - 72.2
Luke Ayling - 70.4
Post-shot xG since December 26
Ollie Watkins - 7.21
Harry Kane - 6.48
Brennan Johnson - 4.87
James Ward-Prowse - 4.77
Eddie Nketiah - 4.75
Ivan Toney - 3.81
Heung-Min Son - 3.73
Gabriel Martinelli - 3.68
Alexander Isak - 3.34
Demarai Gray - 2.94
Finally, let’s look at how all the players rank in our FPGE index. This ranks players based on how much value they offer in FPL. Our algorithm gives each player a score based on their points-per-million and their upside, which is measured by looking at their performance relative to the top points-scorer each week…
That’s it for this edition. Best of luck for Gameweek 28. We will be back after the international break
Graham and Tom