So now we know how FPL want to play the rest of the season: we are kicking off with unlimited transfers! As someone who had consciously made my transfers during the downtime, I was fuming to start with but what’s the point in moaning! Sure, the transfers I made could no longer benefit me (subject to chip strategy), but that’s the way the cookie crumbles, so let’s just crack on!
Now that we know that though ,the BIG question is: How do WE want to start the season? As discussed on the @FPLWolfpack Pod with myself, @FplMode, @FplIrons & @LowFPLTSB, there are numerous different ways of navigating this period of time. I personally am looking at using the unlimited transfers to give myself plenty of DGW cover and then using the Bench Boost to play all of the players in my squad. Following that, I’ll look to Wildcard GW31 once we have a bit of information regarding line ups etc. I don’t necessarily want to use my Free Hit Chip yet as it’s more valuable than the BB.
However, it will be popular strategy to use the Free Hit chip, and this is what my article will focus on:
Using FPLFPA to create a Free Hit team.
If you’re not familiar with this, I use FPL Points For (FPF) and Against (FPA) as a metric to target players for my team. I use the data to create fixture tickers at each position, like this:
I also plot it by home and away, and PPG, like this:
In short: Green is good to target and red is best to avoid. Green tells you that team either concede a lot of points to that specific position (FPL Points Against/FPA) or that team scores a lot of points at that specific position (FPL Points For/FPF).
To start with, I’ve taken the above data and focussed on the specific data applicable for each of the teams fixtures in the DGW. It shows how each team’s opponents do in terms of both FPA and FPF, as well as their own FPA & FPF data. Let’s have a look:
Man City & Arsenal
This tells me that a key area for Man City in these fixtures is midfield. City’s midfield unit at home averages 28.2 PPG. Arsenal and Burnley both give up slightly under 17 PPG when playing away. In respect of keepers, both opponents give away between 3.2 and 3.4 PPG to Keepers. Is that enough for you to spend £6m on Ederson? Both Arsenal and Burnley are in the top 5 for FPF by Forwards, so City’s defence will need to work overtime to keep a clean sheet. What we need to consider here though, is that Laporte is back to full fitness, so this could be a game changer for City’s defensive unit.
I think everyone will have KDB, and many will flock to Aguero. For me, Sterling could also do well. He is 4th overall for total attempts (71 – only behind Mo, KDB and Richarlison all in less minutes) and 3rd overall for goals scored. He is also 2nd for both touches in the final third and passes received in the final third (both behind KDB). Further to that, he is 2nd for pen box touches behind salah and 2nd for attempts in the box. I think if he starts this period of games like he started the season, he could do well!
Looking at Arsenal, I can’t look past Aubameyang for these fixtures. We know City will be tough, but Arsenal have only failed to score in 5 games. Brighton were giving up an average of 7.5 PPG to Forwards when they play at the AMEX, so Aubameyang could do well here. Brighton are also in the top 5 for FPA to Keepers when they play at home. I mentioned this on the Pod, I like the look of Leno. He is 2nd for saves overall on 108, and of those, 104 shots have been saved from 139 shots on target (74.8% 2nd behind Dubravka!) At £5m, and only 5.6% owned, he could be a lovely Bench Boost Keeper option with someone like Henderson of Sheffield United.
Aston Villa & Sheffield United
This doesn’t look great for Villa. Sheffield have been tough cookies this season and their stats don’t make pretty reading. When playing away, they are in the bottom 5 for least FPL points conceded to both Keepers and Midfielders. They are also in the top 5 for FPL points scored by their Keeper and Defenders. Villa also face Chelsea who are not going to roll over. So whilst people will rightly be looking at Grealish and McGinn, it may not be plain sailing. I may well take a punt on Matt Targett though, as cheap filler for a DGW. He’s 0.8% owned and has 3 assists (2nd for Def £4.5m and under), 22 touches in the penalty box (8th for defenders £4.5m and under) and 10 Bonus points (joint 12th).
Sheffield United’s fixtures look much prettier. In addition to Villa, they play Newcastle away, who are in the top 5 for FPL points conceded to both Keepers and Defensive units. Newcastle also rank in the top 5 for FPL points scored by their Keepers and Defenders, so if ever there was a 0-0 on the cards, this could be it (obvious high scoring game incoming now).
I think if we’re looking at Sheffield players, we’re focussing on Henderson and a couple of the defenders. Baldock and Stevens provide the most attacking output, so if you can fit them in, they’re a good choice. If you need a cheap midfield punt from here, I like the look of Fleck.
Now that we’ve had a look at the DGW data, let’s take a look at the remaining fixtures:
- Norwich v Southampton
- Spurs v Man Utd
- Watford v Leicester
- West Ham v Wolves
- Bournemouth v Crystal Palace
- Everton v Liverpool
Most Free Hit teams will be aiming to field a full 11/12 DGW players to maximise use of the chip. So we will use the remaining fixtures to try and identify any single week matchups that look good. On the assumption most teams now have a squad value of about £104m, this will be the budget to work towards.
Dean Henderson £5.3m
- For me, the best chance at 2 clean sheets. Playing Villa and Newcastle, neither of which are particularly prolific, we could see a decent return from Henderson. Newcastle give up the 3rd most FPL points to keepers overall, and Villa are middle of the pack.
Aaron Ramsdale £4.5m
- A cheap starting Keeper in case of emergency, Bournemouth are at home to Palace, who give up 4.2 PPG to Keepers when they play away and are just outside the top 5 overall.
George Baldock £5.1m
- With 2 goals and 3 assists, plus the clean sheet potential of these fixtures, I can’t see past either Baldock or Stevens (2G 2A) for a Free Hit team. Sheffield are the highest scoring FPL defensive unit, and Newcastle have conceded the 3rd most FPL Points to opposition defenders. Villa again are middle of the pack overall.
Enda Stevens £5.2m
- As above
Matt Targett £4.4m
- As I want to triple up on City attackers, concessions need to be made somewhere. I’ve gone with Matt Targett based on the reasons I mentioned previously.
Max Aarons £4.3m
- Norwich got off to an explosive start to the season and with them fighting relegation, they could well do so again. Of defenders £4.5m and under, he has the most touches in final 3rd, the highest success rate for take ons (34 of 78 take ons – 43.6%) and is top for penalty box touches. At 1.3% owned and with Norwich going all out, he could do well. In terms of the FPA metric nothing stands out – this is more of a personal punt.
Trent Alexander-Arnold £7.8m
- Even without a DGW, I worry about going without Trent. Everton are in the top 5 teams giving up the most FPL points to defenders when they play at home, but with Derbies form goes out of the window anyway, even ignoring the fact we’ve had a long period of time off!
Kevin De Bruyne £10.6m
- The most owned player in the game, and the closest thing to an “Essential” I can think of for this gameweek. City score the most FPL points in the Midfield category and are 2nd behind Liverpool on a PPG basis when playing at home. If they’re playing off the leash KDB could do bits this week.
Raheem Sterling £11.7m
- I went into a lot of detail above about why I think Sterling will bang this week, so he’s in the line up as an explosive option.
Jack Grealish £6.4m
- Villa midfielders are just outside of the top 5 for FPL points scored when playing at home, averaging 19.6 PPG. Fighting to avoid relegation, and already the Talisman, Grealish is a must have if Villa have any chance of avoiding the drop.
John McGinn £5.4m
- Consider this: despite being injured since GW18, McGinn is still Villa’s fifth top scorer for FPL points with 61 points averaging 3.38 PPG. When him and Grealish both played their stats were pretty similar. At 2.6% owned, he could be a nice differential this week.
Todd Cantwell £4.7m
- I’m targeting the Southampton fixture again here, and Norwich are just outside the top 5 teams for FPL points scored by their midfield units – averaging 19.1 PPG. Overall, Southampton have allowed the third most FPL points to opposing Midfielders. Cantwell has proved he is great value at this price point, releasing funds to enable us to go for big hitters elsewhere.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang £11.1m
- We have to go with the main man at Arsenal, surely? The second highest scoring forward in the game on a DGW is a must have. Despite playing City away, the Brighton fixture is tasty. Brighton concede an average of 7.5PPG to opposing Forwards when they play at home.
Sergio Aguero £11.8m
- Much like Auba, can we honestly resist the temptation to go without Sergio for a DGW. An FPL legend, with 2 home fixtures surely needs to be part of our Free Hit team! Whilst Arsenal are middle of the road for FPL points conceded to Forwards, Burnley concede the 4th most PPG to Forwards on their travels. Even if they didn’t, players like Aguero are fixture proof, so despite him being unlikely to complete 180, he’ll be part of our team and probably Captain!
Edward Nketiah £4.4m
- Bit of a punt here – might not work, but Nketiah is a cheap enabler who could do well for us given the increase in substitutions being available. Even not starting, he could come on and grab a goal, especially away to Brighton.
So we’ve now got a full squad at a cost of £102.7. We could use that spare money to upgrade Cantwell to Buendia, who I really like. At £6m and 0.7% owned he has great stats (for Midfielders £6m and under):
- 7 assists –level with Traore and Moutinho
- Top for touches in the final 3rd (756 ahead of Traore on 703)
- Top for passes received in the final third (419 – ahead of Daniel James on 411)
- 2nd for total take ons with 129 (Traore top on 194).
- 2nd for successful final third passes with 323 (Gundogan with 391)
- Top for chances created with 73
- 5th for big chances created with 7.
Line up is as follows: Henderson, Baldock, Stevens, Trent, KDB, Sterling, Grealish, McGinn, Auba, Aguero, Nketiah. Bench is Ramsdale, Targett, Cantwell, Aarons.
Captain is Aguero.
If you’d like to look at all the data I collect, this is in my previous article about FPL since it’s return.
Thanks for reading guys and let’s keep those arrows green!
Rich (@RichP_FPL) ❤️
NB: All non FPLFPA Stats from Fantasy Football Scout