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Double Gameweek: Strategy Guide

April 6, 2016

| The Hype Train |

Two double gameweeks approach with half the Premier League teams gearing up for three or more fixtures in the next two weeks of football. FPL managers who have been saving their chips and wildcards will be plotting and scheming as to the best team and strategy to make best use of all the potential on offer. The Hype Train analyses the teams and strategies going into two huge weeks of the Fantasy Premier League.  

 

Double Gameweek Planning

In order to make sense of the gameweek and the potential that the next two gameweeks offer we must break down exactly what we are looking at. Ten teams feature in the double gameweeks, and unfortunately none of them are Leicester or Spurs, so it leaves open a huge debate as to the strategy going into this hectic two week period. In this article we are only going to focus on double gameweek teams, the positives, and the negatives that can happen by three strategies that could be implemented.

 

 

Let us take a look at who will be featuring in the double gameweeks for GW33 and GW34.

 

Teams in the Double Gameweeks

Crystal Palace: GW33 & GW34

Everton: GW33 & GW34

Arsenal: GW34

Liverpool: GW34

Manchester United: GW34

Manchester City: GW34

Newcastle United: GW34

Watford: GW34

West Brom: GW34

West Ham: GW34

 

Fixtures (Double Gameweek Teams)

GW33

Crystal Palace vs Norwich

Watford vs Everton

Crystal Palace vs Everton

 

GW34

Everton vs Southampton

Manchester United vs Aston Villa

Newcastle vs Swansea

West Brom vs Watford

Chelsea vs Manchester City

AFC Bournemouth vs Liverpool

Leicester vs West Ham

Arsenal vs Crystal Palace

Newcastle vs Manchester City

West Ham vs Watford

Liverpool vs Everton

Manchester United vs Crystal Palace

Arsenal vs West Brom

 

Planning for GW35

The big elephant in the room is what you should about the reduced gameweek thirty five. If you don’t want to put in a single player from a team not playing in GW35, the only DGW34 fixtures that are applicable to you are the following:

 

Bournemouth vs. Liverpool

Newcastle vs. Swansea

West Brom vs. Watford (West Brom players only)

Chelsea vs. Man City

Arsenal vs. Crystal Palace (Arsenal players only)

Newcastle vs. Man City

Liverpool vs. Everton (Liverpool players only)

Arsenal vs. West Brom

 

With only 8/15 games applicable for DGW players playing in GW35, and only 10 teams (often duplicating) from the 16 in the relevant fixtures, you’re left with two clash games within the DGW (underlined):

 

Bournemouth vs. Liverpool

Newcastle vs. Swansea

West Brom vs. Watford

Chelsea vs. Man City

Arsenal vs. Crystal Palace

Newcastle vs. Man City

Liverpool vs. Everton

Arsenal vs. West Brom

 

The fixture between ARS/WBA, and NEW/MCI, are the only two clash games if you’re planning with GW35 in mind. You'll be risking FPL points on players not in-form, as well as teams competing with another. Something has to give, surely?

 

DGW34 teams who are playing in GW35 are up against…

Liverpool vs. Newcastle

Man City vs. Stoke

Sunderland vs. Arsenal

Leicester vs. Swansea

Spurs vs. West Brom

 

Newcastle FPL options in particular throw up a potential fixture headache. They are playing Liverpool and Man City one after another, but would you dare risk Gini Wijnaldum if you’re also going to rely on defensive assets from Man City and Liverpool? The move for attacking Newcastle options seems highly limited, meaning Rob Elliot is likely to be a back-up keeper favourite, especially if you’re planning on playing your bench boost for DGW34, when there is the option of having 15 players, all playing twice, in the space of a single Gameweek. But adding a layer onto that, why bank on Elliot for GW34 against Swansea and Man City, when the keeper has only kept 4 clean sheets from 20 games.

 

 

Best Options

On paper having the likes of Arsenal, Man Utd, Man City, Liverpool, and West Ham having two fixtures seems like a dream for this week which is why there is great hype around the potential this week offers. Two home fixtures for Arsenal and Man United is the biggest linchpin for managers counting up points in their heads, as does seeing Sergio Aguero return to Newcastle after scoring five earlier in the season. There are lots of players and options to be considered, so we are going to rationalise each team and how in our collective minds we judge each team’s chances in the gameweek. When in context the next two weeks can pose more questions than answers for healthy FPL teams. 

 

Remember, not every team is in the following gameweek due to the FA Cup semi-finals so the argument for the ‘perfect week’ falls into doubt as the ultimate team includes players who do not features in GW35 (from Everton, Man United, and West Ham in particular).

 

 

Teams not in GW35

Everton

Crystal Palace

Manchester United

Watford

West Ham

 

Here are the best fixtures we believe will yield a lot of FPL points for managers looking to take advantage of the extra games.

 

Fixtures to Watch

GW33: Crystal Palace vs Everton

GW34: Manchester United vs Aston Villa

GW34: Manchester United vs Crystal Palace

GW34: AFC Bournemouth vs Liverpool

GW34: Newcastle vs Manchester City

GW34: West Ham vs Watford

GW34: Arsenal vs West Brom

GW34: Arsenal vs Crystal Palace

 

Team Notes:

  • Everton are being massively overlooked based on lots of conversations I’ve had. Because they feature in two straight double gameweeks and not featuring in GW35 at all they are a big risk. They have three winnable games, and then a tough game at Anfield in the Merseyside Derby.

  • Arsenal have two straight home games against teams in the bottom half of the table, after easily dispatching Watford you would expect two more strong performances at the Emirates. They also feature away from home in GW35 against Sunderland. They are essentials for the gameweek.

  • Liverpool is a true wildcard, as their inconsistent performances are a worry for FPL managers. They do however have good records against both Everton and Bournemouth, and do have Newcastle at home in GW35.

  • Manchester United has two home games of which they can profit, the problem is that their players are expensive and can be rotated. Also, with Wayne Rooney on the comeback horizon it could be a gamble banking on youngster Marcus Rashford if he is relegated to the bench to make room for the captain. The Red Devil’s do not feature in GW35.

  • Crystal Palace is in both double gameweeks and they play four games, two home fixtures in GW33, and two away in GW34. They are a huge risk and have a cup semi-final to look forward to, they aren’t winning games which is the problem and they haven’t been keeping many clean sheets. Scott Dann is likely to be a good option, but they do have cheaper wildcard options to embrace for the brave.

  • Manchester City has two away games, and despite his hype their leading man Sergio Aguero is a bigger home player this season. The Citizens have a delicious fixture against Newcastle at St James, but before that they visit Chelsea who have showed brilliant form since Hiddink arrived in what is likely to be a tight affair.

  • Newcastle United is the lowest ranked team in the double gameweek, but they have two home matches. They usually do better on familiar ground than away, but they come up against two form teams in Swansea and Manchester City. The latter of course they have a terrible record against. Gini Wijnaldum might be an OK bet, or Mitrovic if he continues his good form.

  • Watford are one of the teams in this gameweek looking forward to an FA Cup semi-finals which they might prioritise over the league, the Hornets have plenty of options but recently they have failed in both offensive and defensive capabilities. With two tough away games and not featuring in GW35 they should be avoided if possible.

  • West Brom are another team with plenty of cheap wildcard options in their squad, they also have a good home game against Watford, but a not-so-good visit to Arsenal. The impact in the second match their players make might mean people are not totally persuaded by their options for this double gameweek.

  • West Ham have a mixed bag for the double gameweek, there obvious player inclusion is Dimitri Payet who cannot seemed to be stopped from a dead-ball situation. They are away to Leicester which hampers their gameweek, and then they host Watford in a winnable game. They don’t feature in GW35 which also means they have few pluses to win over fans of playing their wildcards.

 

We are now going to explain each strategy, with the pros and cons for using each double gameweek system.

 

The Strategies

At this stage of the season you are forced to follow one of three paths open to you as an FPL manager, double gameweeks are FPL gold dust and offer so much potential, but there will be weary eyed folk who don’t want any trouble with mixing up your existing teams. If you teams need freshening up it would be a perfect point in the season to play your wildcard or enact a chip.

 

This is of course entirely dependent on if you have your chips to play, or even a wildcard at this stage of the season. Smart FPL managers will have looked to these weeks to make maximum impact. That said, there is no guarantee of any returns. No one strategy is the best and depends on the shape of your team and if you have already played one of the various chips and wildcards at your disposal. For all we know the only certainty at this point is that appearance points are doubled.
 

Three paths are open to you if you have everything open, you can do nothing, or you can enact your wildcard in GW33 and play a chip in GW34.


Just remember: captains get double points, triple captains triple base points, players in double gameweeks get two cracks at the whip in a gameweek. You cannot play a chip and wildcard in the same gameweek. Lastly, not every team in the double gameweek is in GW35.

 

Strategy One: Do Nothing
The first of the three strategies is to keep doing exactly what you have been doing all season, you may not want to use any of your chips of wildcards, but you may have already used them and be forced to make transfers as per usual. This strategy depends on the state of your team and if you are willing to take the risk on players in the double gameweek, you could have some double gameweek players in your squad but this method is for those who feel as if they don’t need to make any changes or believe that it is too risky trusting the double gameweek to provide an extraordinary number of points.

 

Pros:

  • By keeping value assets in your team you won’t drop any existing player value, players like Kane and Mahrez have been staples and probably what has been bagging you points.

  • You may actually keep in form players into your team; it may be a safer option than drafting in wildcard players who are questionable returns.

  • The week might turn out to be a flop for double gameweek players, so you might inadvertently get caught up in the hype.

  • You could argue that the double gameweek teams may not be worth it, there are a lot of inconsistent teams featuring so playing it safe could be a good option.

  • If you already have quite a few double gameweek players already in your team you can actually save a wildcard or chip.

  • You may already have a good team for the week which means that you retain your chips/wildcard to use at a later stage of the season.

 

Cons:

  • There is huge potential for these gameweeks that could be missed out on.

  • By not using a strategy you may not have a full team of double gameweek players.

  • Price rises to double gameweek players might mean it becomes more difficult to get in players for your own team further down the line.

  • Injuries or rotation might cripple your team anyway, leaving your team vulnerable.

  • If you are planning to use your chips/wildcard at a later date there is no guarantees that it will work on another week.

  • You may have to drop points to get the team you want, and there is never a guarantee that you will earn them back. With a wildcard at least you remove that negative effect if you are going to make lots of changes.

  • You may have already played your chips, and in doing so have to work with what you have or by dropping points.

  • Many players in the cups may be using strategies to better their chances of advancing to the next round.

  • Players in mini-leagues may feel as if by not using a strategy it has compromised their league standings with their friends.

 


Strategy Two: Wildcard (Triple Captain)
The second strategy includes playing your wildcard in GW33 and then playing your triple captain chip in GW34. This would mean you would have eleven double gameweek players playing twice, with a triple captain who would play two games. This is a safe option as you can keep in three value assists from teams such as Spurs and Leicester and put them on the bench for GW35, and they could slot straight back into your team for GW35.

 

You may or may not have to play your triple captain if necessary, but if it was available it could be used to great effect. Plenty of players are available to risk a triple captain on.

 

Pros:

  • Price rises of players being drafted into teams will make your team more valuable and flexible for the remainder of the season and can actually be a big advantage over your rivals.

  • You retain your key assets and retain team value if you have had players in for a long time.

  • There are plenty of good options for Triple Captain which might be better than using a bench boost. Alexis Sanchez and Sergio Aguero are contenders for this honour.

  • Keeping players on the bench from Leicester and Spurs in this gameweek you will have a strong GW35 and lots of options to choose from.

  • There is huge potential for your team with eleven active players.

  • You have a transfer the next week (or two if you save the GW33 transfer) to remove any players from teams not in GW35.

  • Liverpool, Arsenal, and Manchester City have great GW35 fixtures if you were to choose players from these teams for GW34.

 

Cons:

  • Players could get injured, rotated, or dropped as a result of fixture congestion and end up playing fewer minutes anyway.

  • Your triple captain may not perform.

  • See in section below for full list of disadvantages for playing your wildcard.

 

 
Strategy Three: Wildcard (w/ Bench Boost)

The third and final strategy involves playing your wildcard in GW33, and then in GW34 enacting your bench boost chip. This maximizes the number of players that you have featuring in the double gameweek as fifteen players could play twice. The upside is that it could be your biggest gameweek of the season for points, but that entirely depends on if every player is guaranteed to play twice. You only want to put in key players who will definitely play twice or otherwise triggering your bench boost may not be as profitable.

 

The cons in this also apply to strategy two, playing a wildcard including a triple captain in GW34.

 

Pros:

  • Price rises of players being drafted into teams will make your team more valuable and flexible for the remainder of the season and can actually be a big advantage over your rivals.

  • Players and teams coming into the double gameweeks are hitting form (Manchester City defence, Liverpool attack, Arsenal in general etc.)

  • With fifteen players all potentially place twice there are thirty opportunities for your players to score big points.

  • Liverpool, Arsenal, and Manchester City have great GW35 fixtures if you were to choose players from these teams for GW34.

  • Largest variety of players to choose from with ten teams involved.

  • Competition for places, teams are still fighting for things at the top of things, by GW37 they may not be if they have nothing to fight for.

  • Some teams may also be in the future GW37 (Liverpool, West Ham, Everton, and Watford).

 

Cons:

  • Players could get injured, rotated, or dropped as a result of fixture congestion and end up playing fewer minutes anyway.

  • European and FA Cup fixtures in and around the gameweeks might force rotations and increase the risk of injuries.

  • Depletion of team value if you remove key assets that have risen in price, this will make it more difficult to get them back in your team at a later date.

  • Danger of playing it too early, you may have to make additional transfers or drop points.

  • Four of the teams are in the bottom half of the table, so you may not want to trust them.

  • Some players are only orientated with scoring points or away from home, so some options may not be as tempting as others which could complicate how you pick your team. (E.g. Gini Wijnaldum has two home games; he scores most of his points in home fixtures).

  • Generally you have to pick and choose because of the fixture clash means that all the teams in the double gameweek's face each other, so picking defence and attackers might mean points are lost. (E.g. If you have Scott Dann in your team for the two weeks, you might also have Lukaku, one or the other has to lose out on points.)

 

Verdict

Each strategy is at the mercy of the individual person, each one has massive risks and drawbacks that will plague the mind of many FPL managers. The great source of debate is an easy answer: there is no simple black and white answer to the perfect gameweek, which has been apparent every week since the season kicked off in August. At least one strategy will be employed by every single FPL manager looking to see if this is a storm they must weather or one to be taken advantage of. The greatest riddle of the FPL manager is that you always think you know the answer, where the goals should be, where the defence will be solid, but the answer is that nobody knows. This is a season where Leicester can win the league and Chelsea nearly gets relegated. Playing it safe seems tempting once the entire picture has formed, and put simply everyone is trying to work out the next few weeks but there just aren’t enough pieces to this jigsaw to get the miracle answer.

 

Nobody wants to miss out on the pot of gold that could be at the end of the double gameweek rainbow, which is why we endorse the use of wildcards if they are available. We can’t speak for every team as each team and situation is monumentally different, but there is a feeling that this is one of those ‘now or never’ moments of this chaotic season.

 

All aboard.

 

 

 

 

 

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