The fun begins! The Fantasy Premier League season is at its most pivotal juncture with the depleted and double gameweeks dividing the remainder of the normal ones. The season's first depleted gameweek is upon us and it is certain to test the mettle of the FPL managers. Just five fixtures are on the agenda this weekend with the FA Cup returning with the quarter-finals.
With just ten teams in action most managers are facing a struggle to field eleven players who will have a game in the Premier League this weekend. It's a situation quite unthinkable for most FPL managers who work their wits week in week out on putting out teams with the strongest possible eleven, and also having a substitutes bench ready to fill in if the starting players miss out.
Thus, the first thing FPL managers need to adopt in Gameweek 31 is calmness. The situation is a difficult one, but it's the same for all managers. Some managers might have prepared to tackle the awkwardness of the gameweek, but they will have a task on their hands when double gameweeks begin from next week.
So there are few managers who are in a definitely rosy position at this moment of time.
The obvious temptation for most who are struggling to field starting players is to use the Free-Hit chip. It allows you to make a team specifically for a week with unlimited transfers. The chip appears tailor-made for weeks like GW 31 that have a heavily truncated fixture list. Logically it appears to be a simple solution, but you'll discover the problem when you try to make a team. Most managers are certain to find it difficult to fill the squad with certain game-changers and will end up buying a few fringe players or those who don't have a great FPL pedigree. The reason is simple. There just aren't enough top options out there that can guarantee you points. Thus the impact of the Free-Hit chip is reduced.
The better strategy would be to use Free-Hit chip in a double gameweek when most big teams will be in action, probably twice. The chip at that time can help you garner much more points as compared to a week with few fixtures and those devoid of the big hitters. Arsenal, Tottenham, Manchester United and Manchester City do not feature in the Premier League this weekend and Liverpool and Chelsea aside, there are few teams that one can bank on.
So my advice to FPL owners would be to avoid using a chip this weekend, and also keep the transfer points hit to a minimum. It is unlikely that you would get a positive return on anything above a -4 point hit.
Among the five fixtures, Liverpool have the best one. Fulham look destined for the drop. They can't keep a clean sheet for a toffee and Liverpool are expected to have a field day at Craven Cottage. Three reds players this week are pretty must. West Ham have a fairly easy-looking game against Huddersfield, while Bournemouth and Burnley would fancy their chances at home. Everton have always been a thorn in Chelsea's flesh and the Goodison Park clash is hard to call.
Here are some of the top potential picks for this weekend:
Callum Wilson: The Bournemouth striker returned with a bang against Huddersfield last week. His scoring record this season has been incredible especially at the Vitality Stadium. Wilson is pretty much a must-have this weekend with struggling Newcastle visiting.
Ashley Westwood: Burnley midfielder has a goal and an assist in the last two games and has quietly racked up seven assists this season. At a lowly price of £4.6m, Westwood is real steal. One can afford to keep him in the side in the weeks to come thanks to his price tag and he can be a very useful player for your squad not just this week but also in the future
Youri Tielemans: The Leicester City midfielder is starting to have an impact at the King Power stadium with two assists and a goal to his name in the last three games. At a price of just £6m, the Belgian is a much better bet than James Maddison.
Marko Arnautovic: Manuel Pellegrini hinted that his Austran forward is ready to return to a starting role for the visit of Huddersfield. Arnautovic has a great scoring record and he couldn't have chosen a better game to return than against Championship-bound Huddersfield.
Captain's conundrum: The captain should perhaps be a Liverpool player. Sadio Mane's red-hot form makes him a clear favourite for the armband this week. Mohamed Salah will obviously be his close rival, so will be Bournemouth forward Wilson and West Ham's Arnautovic.
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Updated Date: Mar 15, 2019 21:16:08 IST