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Gameweek 30 preview: Risers and fallers
And look who's back...
Hello everyone and welcome to the latest edition of Fantasy Gameweek. We are back to just ten matches for Gameweek 30 after a blockbuster Gameweek 29 that featured 16 matches. The deadline for transfers and changes to your team this week is 11am UK time on Saturday. These are the fixtures…
In terms of planning ahead you should be aware that Gameweek 31 also has ten matches but in Gameweek 32 there are no matches for Brighton, Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United. Gameweek 33 is then a normal gameweek before Gameweek 34 includes doubles for Brighton, Fulham, Liverpool, Man City, Man United and West Ham.
Right, let’s get into the risers and fallers ahead of Gameweek 30. One crucial bit of news to share with you ahead of the deadline. A certain Norwegian forward, who also appears in the photo at the top of this edition, appears to be back in training after injury. His team play Southampton this weekend. Those who don’t have Erling Haaland (FWD, £12m) have a decision to make about whether to bring him back. If you have to choose between Haaland or Harry Kane (FWD, £11.7m) then the data from Impect, our data partner, suggests it is a tight call - both are leaders in the key categories. Haaland has the more attractive fixture this week, but both teams play relegation candidates at home in Gameweek 31 before Man City have a blank in Gameweek 32 and Spurs face a tough trip to Newcastle…
Jack Grealish (MID, £6.9m)
Fantasy Gameweek flagged Manchester City’s £100 million man as a player to watch in our pre-season preview articles and, while it’s taken a while, the attacking midfielder finally appears to have earned the trust of manager Pep Guardiola.
The former Aston Villa star has quietly become a fixture in City’s line-up, starting the last ten Premier League fixtures and completing the full 90 minutes in six of those games. In fact, the earliest he was subbed off during that stretch was 68 minutes.
Three goals and three assists in ten fixtures isn’t exactly shoot-the-lights-out form, but he was arguably City’s best player in their 4-1 win over Liverpool in Gameweek 29, bagging a goal, an assist and 12 fantasy points.
Despite this consistent run of games and his sub-£7m price tag, Grealish is in just 3.1% of FPL line-ups ahead of fixtures against Southampton (A) and managerless Leicester City (H).
There is clearly some rotation risk with all City attackers at this point – even Kevin De Bruyne (MID, £12m) has been benched this season - but with Phil Foden (MID, £8m) injured for at least one more week and likely to be eased back into the side, Grealish stands out as the value pick, particularly for managers’ looking to differentiate from their rivals.
Gabriel Jesus (FWD, £8m)
First, the good news. Gabriel Jesus returned with a bang to Arsenal’s starting line-up in Gameweek 29 and now offers another seriously tempting attacking option in FPL.
The Brazilian was in sparkling form against Leeds United, scoring twice and generally wreaking havoc against an accommodating defence as he racked up 12 fantasy points. This was backed up by strong underlying data, with Jesus’ Offensive Impect score better than 98% of players in his position group.
A trip to Anfield should hold few fears for this Arsenal side, with Liverpool continuing to look a shadow of their former selves in recent weeks. In fact, since their 7-0 annihilation of Manchester United, Liverpool have conceded five and scored just one.
Jurgen Klopp’s men were lucky to leave Stamford Bridge with a clean sheet – Chelsea had two goals disallowed for offside – and were easily swept aside at the Etihad the week before.
In short: all arrows are pointing up on Jesus ahead of Gameweek 30, with a trip to a West Ham side who just conceded five against Newcastle coming in Gameweek 31, followed by a home fixture to bottom-of-the-league Southampton.
The downside? No matter how much you wish it did, four into three simply doesn’t go. If Jesus is now a starter, that likely means one of Gabriel Martinelli (MID, £6.9m) (in over a third of FPL teams) or Leandro Trossard (MID, £7.7m) (in almost 1-in-10 teams) will find themselves on the bench.
Ollie Watkins (FWD, £7.5m)
Watkins continues to go from strength-to-strength leading the line for a vastly improved Aston Villa side under Unai Emery.
The former Brentford hitman has eight goals and two assists in his last ten outings, with home fixtures against Nottingham Forest and Newcastle on the horizon. His underlying data is unsurprisingly excellent for that spell, recording six ‘above average’ Offensive Impect scores (meaning his performance was better than 80%+ players in his position group) in his last ten fixtures.
Incidentally, Villa are a textbook example of a miscoloured fixture in FPL – they have won five out of six, including an impressive 2-0 win at Chelsea in Gameweek 29, and should be upgraded to a tough-looking grey fixture from here onwards.
We’ve spent plenty of time eulogising about Roberto De Zerbi’s enterprising Brighton side…and we make no apology for that.
The South Coast club have been FPL royalty in 2022/23, to the point the question has shifted from “Should I own any Brighton players?” to “Which three Brighton players offer me the best chance of winning my mini-league?”
There is no right answer here, but on a purely value-basis you should already have Kaoru Mitoma (£5.6m), one of the best attacking midfielders in the league on every Impect metric you can think of since the World Cup. The Japanese international now has two goals and four assists in his last five fixtures and is unlikely to be intimated by trips to Tottenham and Chelsea in the next two Gameweeks.
Goalkeeper Jason Steele (GK, £3.9m), who we flagged last week, offers a bargain route into this solid defence, but in picking him you lose the opportunity to own one of the ultra-talented Evan Ferguson (FWD, £4.6m), Solly March (MID, £5.2m), World Cup winner and penalty taker Alexis Mac Allister (MID, £5.5m), or flying wing-back Pervis Estupinan (DEF, £4.8m).
In reality, all of the above represent terrific value-for-money in FPL – just make sure you’ve got three of these players in your squad between now and the end of the campaign.
James Maddison (MID, £8.3m)
If we’re going to pat ourselves on the back for picking winners, we also need to put our hands up when we make a mistake. Last week, we suggested Leicester City playmaker James Maddison should be in your captaincy thoughts ahead of a Gameweek 29 double fixture against Crystal Palace (A) and in-form Aston Villa (H).
That suggestion was based on a season of excellence from Maddison, both in terms of FPL points and the underlying data, as well as his excellent performance against Ukraine for England.
However, his performances had been less impressive in the previous two Premier League fixtures, and Leicester capitulated to two defeats in Gameweek 29, with Maddison failing to offer much by way of attacking threat in either fixture.
A home game against Bournemouth probably offers enough hope of redemption to buy him an extra week in your line-up, but Maddison’s stock is definitely down for the time being. The departure of Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers means the outlook is uncertain for Leicester and Maddison.
Kai Havertz (FWD, £7.6m)
Another uber-talented attacker, Havertz once again got himself in excellent positions in fixtures against Aston Villa and Liverpool in Gameweek 29 without finding the onion bag. That was perhaps as much due to bad luck as bad play, with the German international having a goal chalked off in the latter fixture after a dinked attempt at a finish rebounded off Alisson (GK, £5.4m) and cannoned into the net off his elbow.
However, Havertz’s inability to convert chances is, sadly, a feature of his game, making him incredibly hard to trust in your FPL side given the value-for-money attackers available elsewhere.
A bounceback in Gameweek 30 away at Wolverhampton Wanderers is entirely possible, particularly if the arrival of Frank Lampard as manager helps lift the malaise that had engulfed Stamford Bridge under Graham Potter.
Despite this, two goals in ten games simply isn’t enough, particularly given the number of alternative forward options in and around his price bracket.
Mohamed Salah (MID, £12.8m)
We have now reached the stage where, in all likelihood, Mo Salah was the only Liverpool player you might have considered owning in FPL, particularly for the double Gameweek 29 fixtures against Manchester City (A) and Chelsea (A).
The Egyptian at least scored in the first of those games but was then left on the bench for the second.
Nothing looks right at Anfield at the moment, with the demolition of Manchester United looking like the anomaly among their recent results rather than representing the flickering of a return to form.
Even Salah, one of the most reliable sources of fantasy points in recent years, cannot be trusted in this dysfunctional outfit.
Let’s now look at how that bumper Gameweek 29 has changed how Premier League players rank in key performance indicators from Impect, our data partner. These rankings are based on data from December 26, the first gameweek back after the World Cup, and each player must have played at least 25 per cent of the minutes available since then to be included.
Offensive Impect - overall attacking effectiveness
Marcus Rashford - 100
Harry Kane - 99.3
Ollie Watkins - 98.5
Erling Haaland - 97.8
Kaoru Mitoma - 97
Solly March - 96.3
Jack Grealish - 95.5
Kevin De Bruyne - 94.8
Kai Havertz -94
Mo Salah - 93.3
Post-shot xG - quality of chances and quality of shot
Ollie Watkins - 8.62
Harry Kane - 7.9
Marcus Rashford - 6.62
Erling Haaland - 5.75
James Ward-Prowse - 5.63
Brennan Johnson - 5.62
Solly March - 5.61
Kaoru Mitoma - 5.34
Mo Salah - 4.89
Eddie Nketiah - 4.75
Bypassed defenders - how many opposition defenders a player takes out of the game with their play, including passing and dribbling, a measure of their effectiveness and influence
Kevin De Bruyne - 12
Trent Alexander-Arnold - 11
Bruno Fernandes - 9
Martin Odegaard - 8
Alex Iwobi - 8
Pascal Gross - 8
Christian Norgaard - 8
Kieran Tripper - 8
Solly March - 7
Ilkay Gundogan - 7
Bypassed defender receiving - how many opposition defenders are taken out when this player receives the ball, a measure of the quality of the positions they reach infront of goal
Dominic Solanke - 18.7
Ollie Watkins - 17.8
Kai Havertz - 17.3
Eddie Nketiah - 15.6
Harry Kane - 14.3
Ivan Toney -13.9
Mo Salah - 13.1
Aleksandar Mitrovic - 12.5
Erling Haaland - 11.8
Marcus Rashford - 11.7
Offensive Impect, defenders only
Lewis Dunk - 100
Kieran Trippier - 98.2
Trent Alexander-Arnold - 96.5
Pervis Estupinan - 94.7
Ben White - 93
Luke Shaw - 91.2
Joel Veltman - 89.5
Marcos Senesi - 87.7
Luke Ayling - 86
Gabriel - 84.2
Thanks for reading. Best of luck in Gameweek 30. Please share Fantasy Gameweek with those you think will find it useful and interesting
Tom and Graham