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Gameweek 38 preview
Welcome to the final Fantasy Gameweek of the season. Man City have won the Premier League, the Champions League places are sorted, and Southampton are already relegated, but there is still plenty to play for in Gameweek 38 - particularly your Fantasy Premier League mini-league. Unless, of course, you are the only one in your mini-league who subscribes to Fantasy Gameweek, which means you hopefully sealed the title weeks ago…
On a serious note, thank you for your support throughout the season. Writing this newsletter has been more enjoyable thanks to the conversations, feedback and questions we have had from you, the subscribers. Thank you also to Impect, our data partner, whose superb data has provided a new level of insight into what is actually happening on the pitch and who the best players are. We will be back after the season has finished to review what has happened over the last nine months.
Anyway, before that let’s get into Gameweek 38. Every match is on Sunday this week and the deadline for transfers and changes to your team is 3pm UK time on Sunday. These are the fixtures…
After only one goal in his last four games, it looks like Erling Haaland (FWD, £12.4m) will miss out on breaking the record for most FPL points in a season. He currently sits fifth in the table and needs 12 points just to make the top three. The record of Mo Salah (MID, £13.1m) looks safe for another year…
Salah (2017/18) - 303
Suarez (2013/14) - 295
Lampard (2009/10) - 284
Ronaldo (2007/08) - 283
Haaland (2022/23) - 272
Haaland is one of the key players in FPL at risk of being rested on the final-day, given that Man City play Man United in the FA Cup final and then Inter Milan in the Champions League final in the following weeks. There is a chance that team news gets out ahead of the deadline so keep your eyes on social media for any updates. Here is a list of Twitter accounts that have had reliable team news in the past - link here.
With so much uncertainty around who will actually play there is an opportunity to be bold for those of you who are chasing in your mini-league. The eclectic mix of transfers that have been made by FPL teams so far this week highlights how many options there are. These are the top transfers-in so far…
And these are the top transfers-out. As you can see, Haaland is on this list, as are other players who have led the way in FPL this season…
Let’s now get into the Risers and Fallers with Tom…
The Risers and Fallers
Bruno Fernandes (MID, £9.5m)
Manchester United’s talisman has been something of a forgotten man this season. The midfielder is owned by just 13.3% of FPL teams due to a combination of his relatively high price-tag and the performances of lower-cost alternatives.
But despite having a down year by his very high standards, Fernandes’ seven goals, nine assists and 166 fantasy points mean he is still a respectable 7th among midfielders in FPL this season, just 17 points behind Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne (MID, £12.1m).
His regression has partly been down to United winning a relatively low number of penalties this season. In Fernandes’ best FPL season so far in 2020/21 he scored 18 goals, but nine of those came from penalties. This season he has scored just two penalties. One of those penalties came on Thursday in United’s comfortable 4-1 win over Chelsea, with Fernandes grabbing eight FPL points in the process.
Fernandes’ underlying statistics have been excellent in recent weeks, helping United to three successive wins and guaranteeing Champions League qualification. A Gameweek 38 home fixture against Fulham has all the makings of a goal-fest given both sides have been scoring for fun recently. That makes Fernandes and Marcus Rashford (MID, £7.2m), who returned to action with a goal on Thursday, captaincy candidates, particularly with the uncertainty over Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City selections.
Third-place is still up for grabs for United on the final day, so we expect Erik ten Hag to field a strong side, even with an FA Cup final against City coming up on 3 June.
Aleksandar Mitrovic (FWD, £6.6m)
Another FPL forgotten man, Mitrovic looks revitalised following his eight-game ban for pushing referee Chris Kavanagh in Fulham’s FA Cup loss to Manchester United.
Prior to that absence the Serbian had experienced a lean spell in front of goal, failing to register a goal or assist in six outings.
However, since returning Mitrovic has been back to his best, grabbing a goal from the bench against Southampton in Gameweek 36, followed by a brace and 13 FPL points against Crystal Palace in Gameweek 37.
Fulham are scoring for fun at the moment – they have nine goals in their last three fixtures – and come up against in-form Man United on the final day. That’s not an ideal fixture but it could also be a basketball-style game given how little there is on the line. If you’re looking to make up ground in your FPL mini-league, Mitrovic, currently in just 12% of line-ups, could even be worth a captaincy swing.
Bryan Mbeumo (FWD, £5.6m)
Ivan Toney’s (FWD, £7.1m) eight-month ban for breaching Premier League gambling regulations opened the door for Mbeumo to be the focal point of what has been an excellent Brentford attack. The big question was whether the England international’s absence would impact their potency, given Toney’s impressive 24 goal involvements this season.
Mbeumo has long threatened to have a breakout spell but his inefficiency in front of goal, coupled with the fact this attack has been built around getting the ball to Toney, has limited his fantasy appeal.
In the last two fixtures, Mbeumo has been the main man, grabbing three goals, an assist and 25 FPL points in wins against West Ham and Tottenham Hotspur. A final-day fixture against Manchester City is far from ideal, but the champions have other priorities and the Gtech Community Stadium will be rocking.
Another glut of goals could be on the cards and we wouldn’t be surprised to see Mbeumo continue his excellent form.
Evan Ferguson (FWD, £4.6m)
Brighton’s Irish striker has been touted as a future superstar, and he showed why with two goals and 13 FPL points in the first of their double fixtures in Gameweek 37 against Southampton. An away game against Aston Villa on the final day is another match where both sides could throw caution to the wind.
Ferguson, a top performer based on the underlying Impect data, would be a natural beneficiary if that’s the case. The risk here is pitch-time, as the striker was benched for Brighton’s second game in Gameweek 37 against Man City. But if you’re looking for a differential in the final week of the season, Ferguson could be worth a punt.
Chelsea players (again)
Chelsea have one win in 11 Premier League fixtures, Frank Lampard looks clueless and their players look disinterested. The 1-0 loss against Man City at the Etihad Stadium was a decent effort on paper, but it was against a second-string side and Chelsea struggled to lay a glove on their opponents. They followed that up with a 4-1 humbling across Manchester at Old Trafford. On the last day of the season they play Eddie Howe’s jubilant and in-form Newcastle United. Avoid.
Arsenal players (again)
Arsenal have officially slumped following back-to-back reversals against Brighton in Gameweek 36 and Nottingham Forest in Gameweek 37.
Their lack of goal threat in both those fixtures was particularly worrying, with Arsenal registering less than one for post-shot expected goals (xG) in each game.
Shipping plenty of goals and failing to trouble opposition goalkeepers isn’t a recipe for FPL success. A home fixture against Wolverhampton Wanderers is generous enough to mean that you probably aren’t selling your Arsenal assets. But their poor recent performances mean we’d advise against bringing any new players in.
Tottenham players not called Harry Kane (again)
Tottenham were abysmal again in Gameweek 37. But Harry Kane (FWD, £11.4m) scored again. It’s the same story most weeks. If you own Kane, you’re keeping him. But even a final-day fixture against a struggling Leeds United side isn’t enough to convince us there’s value elsewhere in this team.
For the last time this season let’s now look at some key performance indicators from Impect, our data partner. As usual, the rankings are based on data from December 26, the first gameweek after the World Cup. Each player must have played at least 20 per cent of their club’s minutes since then to be included
Offensive Impect - overall attacking effectiveness
Erling Haaland - 100
Danny Welbeck - 99.6
Harry Kane - 99.2
Callum Wilson - 98.8
Kevin De Bruyne - 98.3
Marcus Rashford - 97.9
Ollie Watkins - 97.5
Mo Salah - 97.1
Ilkay Gundogan - 96.7
Evan Ferguson - 96.3
Bypassed defenders - how many opposition defenders a player takes out of the game with their play, including passing and dribbling
Kevin De Bruyne - 12
Trent Alexander-Arnold - 11
Bruno Fernandes - 10
Casemiro - 10
Christian Eriksen - 10
Alexis Mac Allister - 8
Pascal Gross - 8
Alex Iwobi - 8
Lucas Paqueta - 8
Kieran Trippier - 8
Youri Tielemans - 8
Post-shot xG - quality of chances and quality of shot
Erling Haaland - 13.5
Harry Kane - 12.55
Ollie Watkins - 11.69
Mo Salah - 10.48
Marcus Rashford - 10.4
Callum Wilson - 9.54
Alexander Isak - 7.66
Alexis Mac Allister - 7.54
Ivan Toney - 7.48
Kaoru Mitoma - 7.47
Offensive Impect, defenders only
Levi Colwill - 100
Trent Alexander-Arnold - 98
Lewis Dunk - 97
Kieran Trippier - 94.9
Ben White - 93.9
Luke Shaw - 92.9
Pervis Estupinan - 91.9
Nathan Ake - 90.9
Ben Chilwell - 89.9
Joel Veltman - 88.9
Given it is the last gameweek we thought it would be useful to look again at some of Impect’s key metrics for Premier League teams as a whole. The same parameters apply here as they do for the players - this data covers the period since the Premier League returned after the World Cup on December 26. Man City and Brighton lead the way - look at Brighton’s xG stats…
Packing expected threat - a measure of a team’s attacking effectiveness, including shots but also attacks that do not end in an attempt on goal
Man City - 2.85
Brighton - 2.8
Liverpool - 2.68
Arsenal - 2.67
Man United - 2.61
Newcastle - 2.47
Chelsea - 2.36
Tottenham - 1.94
Bournemouth - 1.9
Aston Villa - 1.89
Worst: Forest - 1.49, Southampton - 1.53, Wolves - 1.6
Brighton - 2.14
Man City - 2.08
Man United - 1.85
Liverpool - 1.83
Newcastle - 1.78
Arsenal - 1.75
Brentford - 1.42
Chelsea - 1.39
Aston Villa - 1.37
Leicester - 1.3
Worst: Wolves, 0.97, Southampton - 0.99, Leeds - 1.04
Shot-based xG for opponent - a measure of the chances that the defence is conceding
Man City - 0.73
Newcastle - 1.02
Arsenal - 1.17
Liverpool - 1.19
Brentford - 1.28
Crystal Palace - 1.3
Brighton - 1.32
Man United - 1.33
Chelsea - 1.36
Tottenham - 1.37
Worst: Leeds - 1.8, Leicester - 1.68, Forest - 1.67
Finally, let’s look at our FGPE index ahead of Gameweek 38. This measures the value and upside of players in FPL. Our FGPE algorithm calculates a score for every player based on their total points, points-per-million and points relative to every other player. This provides a number that measures the value of each player at their current price. As you can see Jason Steele (GK, £4m), leads the way. All the players are the top of this list are likely to cost a lot more in FPL next season - they have had a brilliant season…
That’s it for this edition. Thanks for reading and best of luck in Gameweek 38! Please share Fantasy Gameweek with those you think will find it useful.
Graham and Tom