FPL Gameweek 17: Team Reveal

How did I fare in GW16?

In GW16, I endured a small red arrow and witnessed my rank drop slightly from 3,999 to 4,797. After taking into consideration my -4 hit last week, I received 47 points in total, which was 10 points above the overall average.

As GW16 deadline happened approximately 48 hours after the GW15 deadline, it was no surprise to see several players rested and teams struggle somewhat to find the energy to break teams down. Furthermore, with Spurs vs. Fulham and Everton vs. Man City postponed after the deadline, it’s no wonder GW16 was a disastrous week for most – and being the last gameweek of the calendar year, it aptly summed up 2020!

Fortunately, my points score was rescued thanks to a few individuals. Stuart Dallas smashed it again with a score of 12 points, Robertson picked up a handy clean sheet and 3 bonus points, and Bamford gained two assists in Leeds’ decimation of West Brom.

Bad luck:

- Although rotation is always something to consider in such close gameweeks, I felt aggrieved that both Balbuena and Coufal were rested by David Moyes. Neither defender came on for a single point, so I only managed to field 10 players this week. To makes matters worse, West Ham kept a clean sheet without them!

- Salah had two golden opportunities to score against Newcastle and failed to take them, resulting in second successive captaincy blank from the Egyptian.

- Apparently, Reece James has picked up a ‘small hamstring problem’ according to Frank Lampard, which could scupper my GW19 plans.

Good luck:

- Despite having a dodgy week altogether, I came out of GW16 remarkably unscathed. Nobody can anticipate when games are postponed, so I was rather fortunate not to own several players from the teams that blanked.

Bad judgement:

- In hindsight, I regret my decision to bring in Vardy for a hit in GW16. Now that Manchester City have a double in GW19, I need a route back to De Bruyne, but have distributed too much money in attack to do the move in one transfer. I’m still a fan of Vardy’s fixtures before and after the double, so the plan is to stick with him at this stage, and sacrifice another asset heading into GW19.

- Taking a hit at this stage of the season was utterly foolish, and I hold my hands up and accept it was a bad move. However, if Vardy and Son could outperform De Bruyne and Calvert-Lewin by more than 4 points in GW18, the hit would be repaid, which wouldn’t be the end of the world.

Good judgement:

- Overall, I feel that I’ve planned for the blank and double gameweeks well without a wildcard, which satisfies me that I used my first wildcard earlier in the season. It gave me the platform to build momentum early and establish a strong position – and I don’t feel those with a wildcard are necessarily ‘better off’ heading into GW18 and GW19.

How do the rescheduled fixtures change my plans ahead of GW18 and GW19?

As was announced yesterday, Burnley will now face Manchester United in blank gameweek 18 and Manchester City will now host Aston Villa (as well as Crystal Palace) in double gameweek 19.

The good news for me is that my Free Hit team in GW18 will likely improve, as I can now choose players from Manchester United, such as Fernandes, Martial and Rashford in the blank.

However, after taking De Bruyne out for Son last week, I’m without a Manchester City player for GW19, which is problematic. Whilst it’s frustrating, I’m not going to dwell too much on my decision last week to take De Bruyne out, as I didn’t know about the postponement ahead of time.

As he would likely be my captain in this week, I feel I need him back for the double – and he will likely replace Son after the winger plays Leeds this weekend. Therefore, I somehow need to find the money to make the switch between now and then.

If I make one transfer this week, I’m still able to activate my Bench Boost in GW19 but have accepted that I’ll probably have to play Yves Bissouma rather than a double gameweek player. Overall, I’m not deterred by this, as Bissouma enables a solid team structure in the medium-term; I won’t have unnecessary funds tied up in a £5.0m midfielder and can instead focus more of my money towards players in the starting eleven.

The only player I would be tempted to take an extra hit for would be Zambo Anguissa (£4.5m), but Fulham play Chelsea and Manchester United in the double. For the hit to pay off, Anguissa would have to score more than his appearance points in both of these tough games, so I’m content with playing Bissouma in what’s likely to be an open match against Leeds.

Therefore, the two options for my GW19 Bench Boost are as follows:

1) Take a -4 in GW19 to bring in De Bruyne for Son and Johnstone for Peacock-Farrell.

2) Take a -8 in GW19 to bring in De Bruyne for Son, Johnstone for Peacock-Farrell and Dias/Cancelo for Reece James, if he is still suffering from hamstring issues or knee problems.

Although I’m averse to taking minus 8 hits, I believe it’s justifiable if you’re about to Bench Boost, as you have 15 players to worry about rather than a conventional starting 11. Now that Man City and Aston Villa double in GW19, it’s likely to be one of (if not the) biggest double gameweek of the season, and I can head into GW20 knowing that I can now concentrate all of my transfers on my starting line-up until the end of the season, after the Bench Boost in GW19.

What are my plans for GW17?

*The image depicts the team before my proposed transfer for GW17*

It’s important to note that I must make a transfer this week if I’m planning to Free Hit in GW18, otherwise the transfer doesn’t roll over into GW19.

Therefore, as I need to fund a move for De Bruyne later on, I must sacrifice a player ahead of GW17. I’ve decided to part ways with Jack Grealish and bring in Tomas Soucek in his stead.

Grealish’s form has been excellent this season but his performances haven’t necessarily translated to FPL points consistently. Moreover, I already own Watkins in attack and Martinez in goal, so I’m happy to let go of the Aston Villa triple-up, especially considering the ever-growing possibility of late fixture postponements.

Although Grealish now has a double in GW19, he faces Manchester City and Everton, which is far from ideal. Conversely, Soucek faces Burnley and West Brom, and I’ve been eager to bring in the West Ham midfielder for a number of weeks now.

Therefore, I’m also hoping that Soucek outperforms Grealish this week, which is not out of the question: West Ham face Everton away, whilst Villa play Manchester United at Old Trafford.

In terms of team selection, I have decided to go with the trio of Robertson, Coufal and James in defence, even though the Chelsea defender is perhaps injured and set to face Man City.

So far this season, Pep Guardiola has approached the ‘big games’ rather captiously, opting for a defence-first style. What’s more, Lampard has had a number of disappointing results recently, and is likely to contain the game as much as possible. Therefore, I envision a rather tight affair between the two sides, which suits James if he plays.

My captain this week is currently Heung-Min Son against Leeds, but I am tempted by Jamie Vardy at Newcastle. Leeds face every opponent in the same fearless, attacking manner, which could play nicely into Mourinho’s hands – and I expect Son to have a lot of joy on the counterattack.

Team this week (3-4-3): Martinez, Coufal, Robertson, James, Fernandes, Son (C), Salah, Soucek*, Bamford, Vardy (VC), Watkins

Subs: 1. Balbuena, 2. Dallas, 3. Bissouma

*Will transfer in at the deadline, barring any late team news

Good luck everyone!

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