Premier League: Seeing Double

The current EPL season comes down to two weeks, as managers either planned or are scrambling to navigate the the DGWs in GW34 and GW37. Many managers have held their second WC and Triple Captain Chip until GW36 in order to maximize their opportunity for a big return. For me, I activated my WC in GW21 and my Triple Captain Card was applied to Aguero in GW27 for just 27 points. Managers were hoping to Sanchez would continue his run of form and triple captain him against Stoke City and Sunderland in GW37, but based on his last 3 fixtures (before GW33), it appears he might not be the best option.

Here is my current squad as of GW33, before any transfers for GW34:

Since GW25 I have made 16 transfers with seven 8 point hits during this period. My season turned the corner in GW27, when I started a run of 7 green arrows that has seen my global ranking climb 947k to 682k! This run of success has me pushing for the top spot in both mini leagues, where I sit in 2nd and 5th place.

With the help of Navigating the Double Game Weeks I formulated my strategy for the rest of the season. Using this article as a template I started looking forward to DGW34 and DGW37 in an attempt to maximize returns to end the season on a strong run. While it’s not the best DGW plan, moving forward without a WC means I miss out on potential points or risk take a -4 or -8 point hit in order to see a higher return each week. So far the additional transfers I have made have equated to a positive return of 15 points over those 7 weeks. Not great, but at least I wasn’t negative.

GAMEWEEK 34
Transfer OUT: Grosicki, Hazard, Mawson
Transfer IN: King, Sane, Van Aanholt

Notes: Transferring Hazard will free up the addition budget I require to kick off this strategy. While they do have a favorable DGW in GW37, I feel there are stronger midfielder available with better fixtures. Grosicki, has been good for Hull, at home. While the Tigers need help, there has not been enough scoring to justify retaining his services. Mawson served his purpose, picked up a few goals, but Swansea is struggling…still. No DGWs and a mixed schedule, didn’t like those prospects.

King and Sane come in on good form, more importantly with good fixtures ahead of them. King could be seen as a questionable selection with no DGWs but home matches against MID, STK and BUR. After GW34, City has a great looking schedule, thus the inclusion of Sane, who will face CRY, LEI, WBA at home and MID and WAT on the road with a DGW in GW37. Van Aanholt, back from injury could be a strong differential candidate. While the fixtures for DGW34 don’t justify it, his style of play could benefit Palace against Liverpool. His inclusion is based on GW35 and GW37 home to BUR and HUL.

GAMEWEEK 35
Transfer OUT: Llorente, Eriksen, Lukaku
Transfer IN: Gabbiadini, Sterling, Aguero

Notes: What could be seen as questionable transfers come to the forefront in this week. Llorente has been a waste of space, injured for 2 weeks and no returns in 4 weeks. Eriksen, really? Even now I have a hard time making this transfer happen, as he has been fantastic this season! Good returns since GW26 and a challenging DGW in DG37, I would rather hold Alli and Kane as the attacking pieces of my squad. Finally Lukaku, the Belgian has been outstanding…at home but atrocious on the road, just 12 points in his last 4 away fixtures. With 3 of the last 6 on the road and a home match against Chelsea, I can’t justify keeping him in the starting XI.

Gabbiadini hit the EPL in grand form, 4 goals in 3 EPL games before succumbing to injury. He’s got DGWs in GW36 against LIV (A), ARS (H) and GW37 against MID (A) and MNU (H). Sterling will come in to partner with Sane for City with LEI and WBA at home in DGW37. Aguero is the final piece of this offensive puzzle, but not sure if that piece will fit, with the word that Jesus could be returning. That could call into question Aguero and his playing time or worse, rotation. It is Pep in charge, but with no UCL and Aguero in form, Jesus might be called upon from the bench. Thankfully I have a few weeks to wait and watch.

GAMEWEEK 36
Transfer OUT: Gibson, Heaton
Transfer IN: Vertonghen, Courtois

Notes: The defense gets an overhaul, as Gibson makes way with no DGW in GW37 and a terrible schedule after GW34 there were better options. Heaton has been masterful between the sticks and with good fixtures to finish the season, like Gibson Burnley doesn’t have a DGW.

Vertonghen comes in for the final 3 weeks of the season, away to WHU and WBA and a DGW in GW37 against MNU (H) and LEI (A). He’s the cornerstone of the Spurs defense, his inclusion could be questionable depending on the return of Rose. Courtois, currently injured, returns to my squad as Chelsea look to win the EPL Championship. Three out of the last four games are at home with WBA and WAT in DGW37.

GAMEWEEK 37
Transfer OUT: Fuchs
Transfer IN: Monreal

Notes: The final piece is put into place, as Fuchs makes way for Monreal, who faces STK (A) and SUN (H) in DGW37. Arguably the best DGW fixtures in GW37. Not much for Arsenal defenders this year, at least Monreal gets forward in that wing back position.

CONCLUSION

The team above costs me 103.5m, leaving me with 0.7m ITB for unexpected changed. As I mentioned earlier, this plan looks great on paper, but how it actually plays out is another story. Potential injuries, falling out of form or the return of players from injury could change my strategy. I don’t move forward without concerns, most notably the “second coming” of Jesus at City. Not including Hazard (30.6%), Sanchez (24.8%) and Lukaku (46.9%) is risky, all are highly owned and all have been in form, Sanchez for much of the season, excluding the last 4 weeks. For DGW37, this gives me 8 players with two games, which potentially could be 9 players if I select Gabbiadini over King or Zaha.

While I don’t have it on paper yet, I am working on a contingency plan, which could include Townsend or a Chelsea defender. Up front if Aguero becomes a rotation risk I will make the move back to Ibrahimovic, but United’s DGW37 is tough; TOT (A) and SOU (A).

It’s a risky proposition, but many fantasy managers wait for the DGWs in order to make their moves, activating this WC and chips. Final note, speaking of chips, I only have my bench boost and all out attack remaining, as I played by triple captain chip back in GW27 on Aguero. GW35 I will plan on using my AOA chip nd GW37 will feature the bench boost.

Premier League: GW33 Retrospect

Lucky 7! That’s seven games in a row with a green arrow as GW33 draws to a close. It’s been a very good run over that period of time, but it hasn’t come without a cost, as in transfers. Looking over my gameweek history, it’s cost me 44 points (12 transfers) between GW25-GW33. A review of FPL Statistico shows I have gained 60 points from those transfers, with 30 points coming in GW29, when I brought in Alli, Sanchez and Valencia for Mane, Coutinho and Friend. Overall, an increase of 14 points, which I will call successful. While not the optimal strategy, I have gained nearly 800k places in the global rankings, now at 716k overall.

My hopes were dashed Sunday, as Hazard didn’t return against a stout Man United defense that absolutely bamboozled Chelsea’s offense. Hazard could not get in the game, shadowed by Herrera all match. His ineffectiveness meant I finished the week on 58 points, 12 points better than the average (46 points). Not captaining Kane cost a few points, but was confident in Lukaku returning, which he did.

Early Saturday morning I made the move to bring Jagielka to the starting XI. Who to drop? Valencia or Fuchs? A quick look of the schedule told me Leicester had more favorable fixtures and I honestly thought United would not clean sheet Chelsea, so Valencia was cut. The fact both Valencia and Fuchs were rotation risks didn’t factor in as both have UCL and EL games yet to play this coming week. Jagielka rewarded me with his third goal in 3 weeks with 3 bonus points, however Everton gave up 1 goal, finishing with 11 points and leading my defense. Mawson and the hot Yoshida made up my starting defenders, but combined for just 3 points. Fuchs, left on the bench contributed an assist, missing out on 4 points.

Between the sticks it was a tough call, Heaton away to Everton or Jakupovic on the road to Stoke. I decided on Jakupovic, as Everton has been good at home. Stoke got hot, scored 3 goals and I received a single point. Heaton finished with 2 points, gaining a save point. Moving forward, one or both of these goalies will be making way for new talent.

The midfield has been dominated by Spurs the past few weeks and I continued to play Alli and Eriksen. Each player finished with an assist and CS, while Eriksen gained a bonus point. Zaha and Hazard rounded out my starters, while both were in form, both had no returns. Walcott’s stay was short lived, just a single week as I can’t rely on Arsenal. Plans initially included Grosicki, but decided on a 3-4-3, which dropped him to the bench. He’s been good for Hull with 4 out of 5 assists at home. He will be making way soon, as soon as I finalize my DGW plans.

Up front I made the decision to move Ibrahimovic, with 19 points in his last 2 games it was a risk, but was confident in Kane coming in, off of injury. Ibrahimovic missed GW33, due to fatigue, which mean the switch to Kane paid off. The only thing that would have made this transfer stronger, given him the armband. Kane finished on a goal and assist with 3 bonus points for 12 points. Lukaku left managers a bit empty with just a goal. Based on my strategy, this is potentially the final time Lukaku will see the armband or be in my starting XI. Llorente returned for a full 90 minutes against Watford, but still could not deliver. Swansea, fighting to avoid relegation need him and Sigurdsson to step up and deliver.

With my WC activated in GW21, I am without for the run in, which is fine. I have been a bit of a transfer monger the past 12 weeks, so why stop now? If there are be points to be had, it’s going to cost me giving up some in order to forge ahead. I have spent the last 2 weeks working out a strategy that will take advantage of fixtures, form (hopefully) and the DGWs in GW34, GW36 and the big one in GW37. You can read my upcoming article as to how I will navigate the next 4 game weeks in order to take advantage of the DGWs and hopefully improve my global ranking and even push for the top spots in my mini leagues.

After the Monday fixture I dropped from 682k down to 716k in the overall rankings, but still gained a seventh green arrow. Without a doubt the worst game week in this run. Yet still an improvement over not making a transfer and holding the transfer fro GW34. The personal goal on the year is to achieve 2000 points, something I have accomplished in two of the last three years, with 2170 points scored last year. That number looks to be unreachable at this point, as I have to average over 102 points the next 5 game weeks. Possible? Sure, depending on the outcome of the DGWs, as GW37 would need to make up no less than 150 points.