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The last double
Gameweek 37 preview - including key injury news
Hello everyone and welcome to the latest edition of Fantasy Gameweek. It’s Gameweek 37, the penultimate round of the season, and the last double gameweek. There are two matches for Brighton, Chelsea, Man City and Man United this week. The deadline for transfers and changes to your team is 11am UK time on Saturday. These are the fixtures in full:
The double gameweek means that this is the last opportunity for a big swing in your mini-league and the moment to play any remaining chips you may have - whether that be triple captain, bench boost, free hit or a wild card. However, there is a lot of uncertainty about fitness and rotation, as you will see…
The two men in the photo above will be key in Gameweek 37 - Pep Guardiola and Erling Haaland (FWD, £12.4m). The outlook for Man City is complicated. They have a double gameweek, which should make their players even more attractive. But if they win their match against Chelsea on Sunday they will be champions. Would Pep then rest players - including Haaland - for the second game of the week, a tricky trip to Brighton, given that Man City have the FA Cup final and Champions League final to come? Almost certainly there would be some rotation. As well as Haaland - who has started all but three games this season in the Premier League - Kevin De Bruyne (MID, £12.2m) looks particularly vulnerable to rotation. He has played in only one of the last four Premier League games for Man City. The Belgian has been injured and Thierry Henry said on American TV during the week that De Bruyne is dealing with a “private” issue (full story here). Haaland and De Bruyne would be clear captaincy candidates this week alongside Bruno Fernandes (MID, £9.5m) and Marcus Rashford (MID, £7.2m). They are still candidates, obviously - does it matter that Haaland may only have one match given his record? - but there is more uncertainty than usual…
Man United are less likely to rotate their players as they battle to secure their position in the top-four. But victory for them against Bournemouth on Saturday and a defeat for Liverpool at home to Aston Villa would mean that their place in next season’s Champions League is secure before their second match of the week against Chelsea. So there is risk here too. Also, Rashford is a doubt again for the Bournemouth match, this time with illness…
These are the top transfers-in ahead of the deadline…
And these are the transfers-out. They are led by Ivan Toney (FWD, £7.2m), who is banned for eight months for breaking betting rules…
The Risers and Fallers…
Let’s now get into the risers and fallers with Tom…
Luke Shaw (DEF, £5.2m)
With Manchester United heading into an appealing double fixture against on-the-beach Bournemouth (A) and moribund Chelsea (H), having at least two and possibly three of their assets is a must.
While it might be tempting to focus on United’s talented attackers, don’t sleep on the fantasy points potential of their defence. As always, you’re looking for the killer combination of clean sheets and attacking upside – and Shaw offers both.
The left-back is a guaranteed starter, has a goal and four assists this season and, crucially, makes regular attacking forays, particularly against more limited opposition.
The absence of Lisandro Martinez (DEF, £4.4m) through injury undoubtedly weakens United’s backline, but even without the Argentinian, United have kept clean sheets against Nottingham Forest (Gameweek 31), Aston Villa (Gameweek 34) and Wolves (Gameweek 36) – all fixtures where their expected goals (xG) conceded was well below 1.
United were lucky to only concede one against Brighton in Gameweek 34, but Brighton are much better than their upcoming opponents.
A lack of certainty over whether Aaron Wan-Bissaka (DEF, £4.3m) or Diego Dalot (DEF, £4.8m) will play at right-back means choosing either as a budget alternative to Shaw would be a serious gamble.
Pervis Estupinan (DEF, £4.9m)
Speaking of Brighton, Pervis Estupinan, another Fantasy Gameweek ‘Risers’ regular, delivered big returns in Gameweek 36 as the Seagulls all-but-ended Arsenal’s title challenge.
The Peruvian was once again at his marauding best, venturing into the final third at regular intervals and bagging a goal, an assist and a whopping 17 FPL points for managers who backed him.
Estupinan now has seven assists this season, level with teammate Pascal Gross (MID, £5.4m) and ahead of the likes of Manchester City’s Ilkay Gundogan (MID, £7.4m) (six assists) and Newcastle’s Bruno Guimaraes (MID, £5.5m) (five assists).
Conceding four at Newcastle on Thursday wasn’t ideal – particularly after Brighton shipped five against Everton in Gameweek 35 – but a fixture against relegated Southampton (H) in Gameweek 37 provides an ideal opportunity to add to his attacking and clean sheet points.
Even the following week’s home game against Manchester City – clearly tougher on paper - could be perfectly timed given Pep Guardiola’s side will likely have secured the Premier League title by then.
Riyad Mahrez (MID, £7.4m)
Selecting any City player in the league at this stage of the season is a risk. Once the title is secured, Guardiola’s focus – and his team selection – will inevitably centre on the Champions League and FA Cup finals waiting on the horizon.
While there are no guarantees, it appears Jack Grealish (MID, £7.2m) and Bernardo Silva (MID, £6.7m) are the favourites to start in those marquee games alongside Kevin De Bruyne (MID, £12.2m) and Ilkay Gundogan (MID, £7.4m). If that’s the case, Mahrez should be given ample opportunity to continue his excellent run of FPL returns.
The Algerian has delivered five assists in the last four games, as well as bagging a hat-trick in the FA Cup semi-final romp against Sheffield United. Over the season he now has 12 assists – joint second with Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka (MID, £8.1m), although six behind teammate De Bruyne. Mahrez’s reduced goal output has suppressed his returns, but his pedigree suggests he is a strong candidate for positive regression between now and the end of the season.
Crucially, Mahrez has started seven of City’s last eight Premier League fixtures, completing at least 80 minutes in six of those games. He could also be on penalty duties if Guardiola does decide to give Erling Haaland (FWD, £12.4m) a break.
Eberiche Eze (MID, £5.6m)
Nobody has benefitted from Roy Hodgson’s appointment more than uber-talented attacking midfielder Eze. He has played 90 minutes in every game under Hodgson, netting six goals in those seven fixtures.
Being on penalty duties has certainly helped, as have fixtures against sides struggling near the bottom of the league. Nevertheless, strong form and excellent underlying data mean he is more than worthy of his place in this week’s FPL Risers.
Upcoming fixtures against Fulham (A) and Nottingham Forest (H) provide further opportunity for Eze to burnish his credentials in what is turning out to be a breakout season.
Callum Wilson (FWD, £7.2m)
We said before Newcastle’s two fixtures in Gameweek 36 that the combination of form and top-tier underlying data meant Wilson was a man you should be getting in your fantasy line-up. The striker delivered in a huge way - with three goals, an assist and 24 points in Gameweek 36.
Wilson is now the fifth top-scoring striker in FPL, despite missing a bucket load of games this season due to injury and, for a short period, being benched by manager Eddie Howe.
That won’t happen again in the final two fixtures against Leicester (H) and Chelsea (A), two of the more beleaguered sides in the division. Unless you’re really swinging for the fences to win your mini-league, managers who have picked Wilson should leave him in their line-up for the rest of the campaign.
You could almost feel the air seeping out of the Arsenal balloon as they were comprehensively taken apart by Roberto De Zerbi’s excellent Brighton side in Gameweek 36.
Although Arsenal’s defensive frailties have been obvious for a while – they’ve conceded 15 goals in their last seven fixtures – they were second-best in every area of the pitch on Sunday.
That is understandable given the intensity of their season and the relative lack of depth in their squad compared to Man City, but the manner of this defeat means Arsenal simply have to take their place among the Fallers this week.
It is possible the pressure simply got to Arsenal collectively in that game, in which case fixtures against Nottingham Forest (A) and Wolves (H) offer an ideal opportunity to end what has been a cracking campaign on a high.
Spurs players not called Harry Kane (FWD, £11.4m)
An honourable mention has to go to Harry Kane here, who scored yet again in Spurs’ latest defeat, this time at the hands of Unai Emery’s excellent Aston Villa side. But beyond the England forward, this is a team that is lacking any discernible patterns of play, pace or, crucially, confidence.
A home game against Ivan Toney-less Brentford holds out some hope that they could be catching the West Londoners at just the right time. Leeds United away would also normally hold out some hope, but given that team’s predicament, Spurs can expect hell, fire and brimstone when they arrive at Elland Road for the final game of the season.
Mathematically the Champions League is still possible for Tottenham, but it will take a significant improvement in performance levels from what we’ve seen recently – coupled with a collapse from Newcastle or Manchester United – to let them in through the back door. We just can’t see it.
For a time this season, Newcastle defensive assets – and particularly Kieran Trippier (DEF, £6.1m) – were a cheat code in FPL. The Toon were keeping clean-sheet after clean-sheet, with guaranteed starters Dan Burn (DEF, £4.5m), Sven Botman (DEF, £4.5m) and Fabian Schar (DEF, £5.1m) priced as if they played for relegation strugglers. Trippier was regularly supplementing his clean sheet points and justifying his elevated price tag by bagging assists and maximum bonus points.
But it's been a long, long time since Newcastle have been a reliable source of clean sheets. Since delivering a run of six successive shutouts from Gameweek 16 to Gameweek 21, they have managed to stop the opposition scoring just once – at home against Manchester United – in the subsequent 16 fixtures.
That run continued in the Gameweek 36 double against Leeds United (A) and Brighton (H) – although Trippier did deliver two assists and 10 points against Brighton. Fixtures against Leicester (H) and Chelsea (A) could yet be fruitful but retaining Newcastle defenders is certainly not the no-brainer it was earlier in the campaign.
Now let’s look at 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, and each player must have played at least 20 per cent of the minutes available since then to be included. The players with a double gameweek are in italics…
Offensive Impect - overall attacking effectiveness
Erling Haaland - 100
Callum Wilson - 99.6
Harry Kane - 99.1
Kevin De Bruyne - 98.7
Mo Salah - 98.2
Ollie Watkins - 97.8
Ilkay Gundogan - 97.3
Marcus Rashford - 96.9
Carlos Vinicius - 96.5
Kelechi Iheanacho - 96
Bypassed defenders - how many opposition defenders a player takes out of the game with their play, including passing and dribbling
Kevin De Bruyne - 13
Bruno Fernandes - 11
Trent Alexander-Arnold - 11
Casemiro - 9
Kieran Trippier - 9
Alex Iwobi - 8
Pascal Gross - 8
Lucas Paqueta - 8
Youri Tielemans - 8
Levi Colwill - 8
Post-shot xG - quality of chances and quality of shot
Erling Haaland - 12.95
Harry Kane - 11.97
Ollie Watkins - 11.69
Mo Salah - 10.44
Callum Wilson - 9.27
Marcus Rashford - 8.78
Alexander Isak - 7.66
Alexis Mac Allister - 7.54
Ivan Toney - 7.48
Kaoru Mitoma - 6.9
Offensive Impect, defenders only
Trent Alexander-Arnold - 100
Levi Colwill - 97.9
Lewis Dunk - 96.8
Kieran Trippier - 95.8
Pervis Estupinan - 93.7
Luke Shaw - 92.6
Ben White - 91.6
Joel Veltman - 90.5
Nathan Ake - 89.5
Ben Chilwell - 88.4
Finally, let’s look at our updated FGPE index ahead of Gameweek 37. This measures the value and upside of players in FPL. Our FGPE algorithm calculates a score for every player based on their points-per-million and their points relative to other players, which provides an overall measure of their attractiveness at this price.
That’s it for this week. Thanks for reading. Best of luck in Gameweek 37. Please share Fantasy Gameweek with those you think will find it useful