We’re at the stage of the Fantasy Premier League (FPL) calendar where managers have to navigate the peaks and troughs of Blank and Double Gameweeks.
This article sees us assess the clubs and players with, in theory, the strongest and weakest runs of matches over the next five Gameweeks, taking us through Double Gameweek 27, Blank Gameweek 28 and Double Gameweek 29, stopping just before Blank Gameweek 32.
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GW27-31: DOUBLE AND BLANK GAMEWEEK BREAKDOWN
|Two Doubles, no Blanks||Brentford|
|Two Doubles, one Blank||Brighton|
|One Double, no Blanks||Aston Villa||Bournemouth||Chelsea|
|One Double, one Blank||Liverpool||Man United||West Ham|
|No Doubles, no Blanks||Arsenal||Everton|
|No Doubles, one Blank||Fulham||Man City|
The graphic above shows how things currently stand, with Blank Gameweek 32 to be confirmed once the FA Cup quarter-finals have taken place. This will be known by the Gameweek 29 deadline.
As the only team to have two Double Gameweeks without a blank in between, Brentford have the best short-term fixtures. Not only that but they are on an incredible 12-match undefeated streak in the league.
Therefore it’s only natural that talisman Ivan Toney (£7.7m) is a popular asset right now, bought by over 700,000 managers before Gameweek 26 and already approaching 300,000 this week. His imminent FA hearing complicates matters later on but, until then, he’s on penalties and is a genuine candidate for Double Gameweek 27 captaincy against Everton and Southampton.
At the back, they kept four clean sheets in five from Gameweeks 18 to 22 and a return to those ways will bring points to Rico Henry (£4.5m) and David Raya (£4.8m) – the league’s top goalkeeper for saves and bonus points.
Their 11 set-piece goals are only one behind the leading three teams, which explains why three-goal Ben Mee (£5.1m) and Monday night scorer Ethan Pinnock (£4.4m) are good defensive buys.
It’s been a rare good week for Graham Potter’s Chelsea. Back-to-back home wins and clean sheets have seen them reach the Champions League quarter-finals whilst recording only their third top-flight win in 16 attempts.
Low on goals – no team has fewer since Gameweek 12 – means attention immediately diverts to their defensive assets. Stopper Kepa Arrizabalaga (£4.7m) has 47% ownership inside the top 100k but some Wildcard users may be excited by what the return to a wing-back system will mean for Reece James (£5.8m) and Ben Chilwell (£5.8m).
“It was him or Reece [James]. Sometimes they have to feel it on the pitch and decide between them.” – Graham Potter on Kai Havertz taking Tuesday night’s penalty
Not only did Chilwell record Chelsea’s highest number of penalty area touches and expected goals (xG) against Leeds United, Potter hinted that James could be a future penalty taker. Managers just need to decide whether the risk of rotation is worth the attacking potential.
Like Chelsea, mid-table Aston Villa have a strong Blank Gameweek 28 match that precedes their Double Gameweek 29. Cheap assets like Tyrone Mings (£4.3m) and Ezri Konsa (£4.4m) are great for those planning to Bench Boost 29, although Leon Bailey‘s (£4.4m) run of seven successive starts has ended at a bad time.
Another streak that’s over? The Ollie Watkins (£7.3m) five-match goal bonanza. Although right by Joachim Andersen‘s (£4.5m) own goal at the weekend, the forward was unable to net against Crystal Palace. Being at home to Bournemouth in Gameweek 28 is very enticing, though.
The own goal came from Matty Cash‘s (£4.6m) cross and it’s worth remembering that he had the second-most penalty area touches of all last season’s defenders. His place in Unai Emery’s preferred XI isn’t completely secure but the recent three starts have seen two clean sheets, two assists and three bonus points.
Things have gone off the rails for the Magpies in recent weeks. Heartbroken from a Carabao Cup final defeat, their top-four chase has been seriously dented by one win from eight league outings.
Newcastle are simply struggling to convert opportunities. No team has scored fewer than their three goals since Gameweek 18 yet they rank sixth for big chances in that time. Looking deeper, the underlying stats show a drastic change in fortune. Before the World Cup, they were +4.01 compared to their xG tally but afterwards are -7.54.
Forwards Callum Wilson (£6.9m) and Alexander Isak (£6.6m) will likely share starts, whilst Miguel Almiron‘s (£5.4m) purple patch is over. However, defender Kieran Trippier (£6.0m) continues to be a superstar – far in front of all other defenders for crosses (243), chances created (71), expected goal involvement (8.10) and bonus points (31).
He is essential for Newcastle’s nicer upcoming fixtures, perhaps doubled up with Nick Pope (£5.4m), Sven Botman (£4.5m) or Fabian Schar (£5.1m).
Cheap forward Wilfried Gnonto (£5.0m) could be a good enabler for Bench Boost 29, despite Leeds scoring in just two of their last seven matches. It’s best to avoid their defensive assets, having conceded the first and third-most shots inside the box since Gameweek 17’s restart.
For Spurs, Harry Kane (£11.7m) has only once exceeded six points since Gameweek 19. Yet immediate meetings with Nottingham Forest, Southampton and Everton could tempt managers to keep him.
Brighton and Hove Albion need a mention as we’ve covered them lots lately. Two outstanding Double Gameweeks with the potential for three more at a later date, it’s a real shame that they blank in Gameweek 28. Not that it’s likely to stop mass purchases of Kaoru Mitoma (£5.5m), Pervis Estupinan (£4.8m), Solly March (£5.1m) and Alexis Mac Allister (£5.4m).
As for Man United, things look very good from Double Gameweek 29 onwards. The only blemish would be a potential Blank Gameweek 32 should they beat Fulham in the FA Cup.
The west Londoners are at the bottom, as both they and Man City have a blank and no doubles. Those with Andreas Pereira (£4.4m) may still be happy to play him on a Gameweek 29 Bench Boost, as it’s a trip to Bournemouth, but Aleksandar Mitrovic (£6.7m) is goalless since Gameweek 19 and has dropped in price five times.
Manor Solomon (£4.9m) is the ultimate differential, after scoring in four consecutive league appearances that total 145 minutes.
Interestingly, Fulham’s defence was the joint-best between Gameweeks 17 and 24. Five clean sheets, four goals conceded and Tim Ream (£4.6m) was FPL’s second-highest-scoring defender.
With such few upcoming fixtures, the acceptable sales of Kevin De Bruyne (£12.1m) and Riyad Mahrez (£7.6m) should ensure that the constant headaches provided by ‘Pep Roulette’ won’t be a factor for a while. The champions are also very likely to blank in Gameweek 32, as it requires either they or Brighton to defeat lower-league FA Cup opposition.
Elsewhere, three clean sheets in 14 league games have established that their defence can’t be trusted and these fixtures are even asking a question about Erling Haaland (£12.2m).
Wildcard users could consider going without the top scorer for three gameweeks, although there’s likely a lot of value tied up in him. Buying him back will lose money.
Finally, there’s a huge conundrum for Liverpool assets. The momentum brought by a 7-0 demolition of Man United, four recent wins and five successive clean sheets has them hunting fourth place.
A trip to Bournemouth is the dream for owners of Mohamed Salah (£12.7m), although he infamously blanked in August’s 9-0 cherry stomping. It brought 17 points for Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.3m) but both premiums then follow a Blank Gameweek 28 with Man City, Chelsea and Arsenal.
Should they be eliminated by Real Madrid next week, it might slightly increase their appeal during this run but attacking names like Darwin Nunez (£8.8m) and Cody Gakpo (£7.7m) will be huge rotation risks.