Some early thoughts on FPL return – after months of hiatus due to COVID-19 outbreak, the Premier League is finally going to return to action on 17 June. For millions of FPL managers, it also signifies the return of the Fantasy side of business.
However, with the game essentially shut to transfers, there is nothing for FPL managers to do but to strategise. Here we look at the known unknowns and the unknown unknowns at this stage.
We of course expect many changes to the game, but let’s analyse the situation we are in.
Firstly, here are what we know for facts at this stage:
- Premier League will return on 17 June with 2 fixtures (Aston Villa v Sheffield United and Manchester City v Arsenal).
- All remaining 92 games will be played with no fans
- Most games will be played at the various grounds, but some will be held at neutral venues
- Liverpool are two wins away from the league title but from top 4 to relegation, there is much else to play for
There however, remaining a swathe of questions:
- Will the league pick up directly from GW30?
- Will the Premier League adopt the 5-substitution rule?
- Will loans and contracts be automatically extended beyond 30 June?
And specific to FPL:
- Will the broad format of the game remain the same? ie squad of 15 including 4 substitutes
- Will the managers get a “technical” wildcard until the restart of the season?
- Will there only be just one DGW given that Cup ties can be re-arranged around the fixtures and European ties are scheduled for season-end?
Assuming that there are no changes to the format of the game, we have some early thoughts on how to set our FPL team in the post COVID world.
Forget Liverpool and City
In all likelihood, Liverpool will seal the title within weeks of the league’s resumption. Thereafter, how Klopp will play out the games is anyone’s guess. Chances are they will never need to be on full throttle and he will heavily rotate his team given the varying levels of his players upon return to training. This mean that Liverpool favourites like Sadio Mane, Mo Salah and Trent Alexander-Arnold will unlikely participate in 90-min week in week out like they had before the suspension.
The same situation applies to City, who are 12 points clear to finish in Top 4. That said, their participation in European football is not even guaranteed next season, given their court case with UEFA coming up this month. Smart money is on City to focus on building up fitness and try to win this season’s Champions League, which they are poised to progress to the quarters. Likewise, we expect top guns like Kevin de Bruyne and Sergio Aguero to see somewhat less game time.
There would be no telling which players are in top shape when the league resumes. To counter this uncertainty, there is a need to build a well diversified FPL team with players from as many different teams as possible. It definitely make sense to field a team of 15 players who are all likely to start, rather to field a few inactive duds.
Time Your Chip Use
As mentioned, we are not sure if there would be more than one double gameweek with the remaining fixtures to go. It thus makes sense to immediately use the Triple Captain chip on the game week when the league resumes.
For Bench Boost, it probably makes sense to hold it till later in the season, after you get a fairer sense of how the teams will line-up.
No home advantage
Without fans in the stadia, it is likely that the home advantage will be statistically reduce. This statistic may be crucial when it comes to captain / first XI selection. It may pay off more to pick captains from teams who have something significant still to play for this season.
Monitor of Players’ News
As we are aware, not every player have returned to club training. We know that Troy Deeney have opted out on a return but truth be told, there could be other players who have decided to stay away as well. Therefore, it will not just be the players who are injured / suspended that would be unavailable for team selection – the pool is now larger.
There would not be definitive ways to track this at least in the beginning, best to keep track of news from various sources.
- Classic Fantasy Premier League Code: effv23
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