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Fantasy football tips – how do you approach a double gameweek?


Alistair Bruce-Ball

There are some tricky decisions to make going into gameweek 22, not least because there’s no Mohamed Salah for Liverpool.

On the face of it a double gameweek with eight teams having two fixtures each should have us leaping for joy and rushing to cash in one of our precious Fantasy Premier League chips, but this set of games is not the most appetising.

I’ve already played my first Free Hit and I’m going to keep the other one for a rainy day, possibly in gameweek 30 when the FA Cup quarter-finals can seriously reduce the Premier League fixture list and our squads can suddenly look very thin.

Even if you have two Free Hit chips available I’m not sure this is the week to play one, partly because a lot of the single gameweek players could outscore those with a double.

So there are two questions to answer. Firstly, how confident are you that your Free Hit team will significantly outperform your current team? If the answer to that is “not very”, then put away that chip right now.

Secondly, is it worth taking a small points hit on transfers to bump up the number of double gameweek players in your squad? The answer to that is probably yes, but also consider whether you’re going to be keeping those players in your squad for the long term.

I am in exactly this situation this week. I’ve only got three double gameweek players in Robert Sanchez, Marcos Alonso and Emmanuel Dennis.

I’d like to get that number up to five, which would mean taking a -4 on transfers, but the problem is the players I’d be targeting for gameweek 22 would not be long-term acquisitions.

I’m thinking along the lines of selling Salah and Ollie Watkins to replace them with James Maddison and one of Cristiano Ronaldo or Harry Kane. I know, though, that I will definitely want Salah back as soon as he returns from the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon), while Watkins looks a good bet as well with Aston Villa about to embark on a run of games against some of the weaker defences in the division.

So is it worth making two transfers to set it up for gameweek 22 and then two more transfers just to switch it back two weeks later? I know I’ve also got to sell Marcos Alonso by gameweek 24 with Chelsea off to the Club World Cup and it doesn’t leave me any flexibility to deal with injuries or further postponements, other than taking more points hits on transfers.

It might be more sensible to sit tight and just pray Ronaldo or Kane don’t rediscover the magic.

Cristiano Ronaldo in action for Manchester United
Cristiano Ronaldo has scored eight goals in 16 Premier League appearances this season

If you are weighing up whether to go with one of those two then Statman Dave was very definitive on that in this week’s Fantasy 606 podcast by telling us it has to be the Tottenham man. He pointed out that in the past five gameweeks Kane is averaging more shots than any other player at 4.5 per game and he boasts an incredible record against both Arsenal and Leicester – 11 goals in 14 Premier League games against Arsenal, 15 in 12 against Leicester.

You do have to weigh that up against the fact that he’s without his trusty wingman in Son Heung-min and also whether Leicester will be able to fulfil their next couple of fixtures, having had to ask for the Everton game to be postponed because of illness, injuries and Afcon absences.

That will also be a factor in whether to go for in-form Maddison this week. If you want to go for more of a differential on the Leicester front then maybe look at Harvey Barnes, Youri Tielemans or Ademola Lookman.

Barnes is back from injury and made a scoring return in the FA Cup win against Watford, Tielemans will take any penalties in Jamie Vardy’s absence but also has four goals from open play this season, and Lookman has scored in the past two games against Manchester City and Liverpool. He is owned by fewer than 1% of managers in FPL.

You should definitely be looking at a Watford forward for gameweek 22 – Joshua King or Emmanuel Dennis – with their games away to Newcastle and Burnley followed by a home match against Norwich in gameweek 23.

If you want to make a transfer at the back then Brighton’s full-backs Tariq Lamptey and Marc Cucurella should come under consideration, and the same goes for Emerson Royal and Sergio Reguilon at Tottenham. David de Gea is probably the best goalkeeper to go for this week.

Above all, keep across all the news on injuries and potential postponements and make sure you leave those transfers as late as you can.

Alistair Bruce-Ball presents the Fantasy 606 podcast alongside former Premier League winner Chris Sutton and Statman Dave. The latest episode is available on the BBC Sounds app.

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