The double match weeks were announced last Friday and the news, well, it’s not great.
Instead of the majority of the postponed fixtures landing in MW34 they will now land in MW37. So, what does this mean? Mostly that it will be incredibly difficult to build a team that can capitalise on double fixtures while also surviving the blank match week in MW35. It may just be possible though.
To double up or not?
To start, let’s look at the non-blankers. There are some in the community that are advising people to entirely shift off of these players as they will have no double fixtures.
However, making sure you have players that will definitely play in blank match week 35 will be vital to ensure you don’t slide back in the standings. Liverpool are obviously the biggest draw for elite Fantasy players who will not blank, but joining their ranks are Crystal Palace, Everton, Stoke, Watford, and West Brom. You don’t want to be counting on too many Baggies players but, on the whole, you probably want two or three players from this group.
The next batch of players to look at are those that have at least one double and also play in MW35. This way, you can both limit the damage of the blank matchweek and benefit, at least somewhat, from double match weeks. The teams that fall in this goldilocks zone are Burnley, Arsenal, Manchester City, Swansea, Newcastle, and West Ham. It would probably be best to have around six players from these teams. These options should then be the base of your team for the rest of the season.
If you have built a stable base out of the first two groups, you can then take a gamble on my favourite batch of players, the double-doubles. These are players from clubs that will have two double match weeks for the remainder of this season. The clubs to choose from that fall into this category are Brighton, Chelsea, Leicester, Manchester United, Southampton, and Tottenham.
None of these teams will play in MW35, but that’s not the point. This is your chance to shoot the moon. Hitting on the right double-doubles will launch you up the leaderboards and your mini-leagues.
Obviously there’s some wiggle room here, but this is largely the team construction you should be aiming for. If you want to play a bit more conservatively, you can focus on the first two groups of players. If you’re behind in your mini-league and have a lot of ground to make up, then take more gambles from the double-doubles group.
So there you have it, a handy guide to help steer you through the madness that is the remainder of this Fantasy season. It’s also worth noting that there will still be free and unlockable transfers each week so, while you want to start planning now, you will still be able to make small changes to your squad right through match week 38.
With all of that strategy talk (mostly) out of the way, let’s dive into the Goal Best Rest of Season XI.
GK: Kasper Schmeichel - Leicester, £6.3m, owned in 1.87% of teams
DEF: Nicolas Otamendi - Manchester City, £7.6m, owned in 20.9% of teams
Not many would have predicted Otamendi being a force in Fantasy this season, but he has surely been so. The Manchester City centre-back is second behind Marcos Alonso in terms of total points among defenders in the Goal game.
This is largely due to the 15 clean sheets that the league leaders have already managed this season (three more than last season’s total). While the champions elect do have a tough few matches in the short term, no team has a more straightforward ending to the fixture list.
With the title likely to be already wrapped up, City will not face a top 10 side in their final five matches, including being active in the blank match week (35) and doubling in MW37.
DEF: Nacho Monreal - Arsenal, £6.6m, owned in 2.14% of teams
DEF: James Tarkowski - Burnley, £5.6m, owned in 1.01% of teams
MID: Mohamed Salah - Liverpool, £10.0m, owned in 56.72% of teams
We’ve talked a lot about Salah this season, and rightfully so. He has dominated Fantasy in every aspect and format
That having been said, there may be some that are tempted to drop him as he has no double fixtures during the run-in. This would be incredibly foolish. While true that he will not double, just how certain are you that the Egyptian will score fewer points in his one match against Bournemouth (MW34) than David Silva or Christian Eriksen in two? Salah is a must own for the rest of this season.
MID: Kevin de Bruyne - Manchester City, £8.6m, owned in 46.53% of teams
MID: Riyad Mahrez - Leicester, £7.9m, owned in 8.22% of teams
Jamie Vardy is getting loads of love from Fantasy experts, and rightfully so, but Mahrez deserves some of that limelight as well. After a disappointing campaign last season, the Algeria international has bounced back in a big way to the tune of 10 goals and 11 assists.
He is one of just three players this season with 10+ goals and assists (Salah, Sterling), and he is at least £1.0m cheaper at the time of writing, and has two double match weeks. He has the most shots on goal this season for Leicester and Mahrez is a fantastic option through the rest of the season.
MID: Heung-Min Son - Tottenham, £7.9m, owned in 15% of teams
FOR: Jamie Vardy - Leicester, £8.6m, owned in 5.91% of teams
FOR: Romelu Lukaku - Manchester United, £9.2m, owned in 38.88% of teams
This one could be a hard sell. Fantasy owners with long memories will recall the disappointment Lukaku was in double match weeks past. Add his high price and ownership and the big Belgian starts looking even more speculative. So, why is he on this list then?
Well, his form is a good place to start. Over the last five matches, Lukaku has managed three goals and two assists and is near unstoppable when he gets on a hot streak.
His fixtures are terrific as well. Manchester City and Arsenal are seemingly the only difficult remaining matches for Manchester United plus there are also two double gameweek opportunities. In MW34 Lukaku could face both West Brom and Bournemouth while in MW37 United take on Huddersfield and Brighton, all of which look tasty matchups for Lukaku. There is certainly still risk here, but the payoff could be massive.
FOR: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang - Arsenal, £8.6m, owned in 8.8% of teams