GW17 Community Questions: a scheduling and planning special.

Welcome back to our ‘Community Questions’ series where we discuss the community conundrums in an attempt to provide a different perspective, or perhaps some statistical information or insight some of you may not have thought about.

Each week, we will set up a thread and ask the community what questions they have. We will then pick the most interesting ones, or the questions that apply to a wider majority, to feature on this article where contributors to team FPL Connect will provide you with our own answers.

This week, FPL Raptor (Ross Dowsett) will be answering your questions. I (Ross) am a PhD student and a Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Psychology, with a BSc in Psychology and an MSc in Sport and Exercise Psychology. My main focus is discussing the various methods of optimising our decision-making in FPL, as well as finding innovative ways to cope with the highs and lows of FPL.

You can find me on Twitter here >>

The Latest Announcements

Before we get into the questions, in case you missed it earlier today, Man City and Aston Villa will now both play a single fixture in BGW18, and a double fixture in DGW19.

Man City: GW18 – Brighton (H); GW19 – Palace (H), Villa (H).

Aston Villa: GW18 – Spurs (A); GW19 – Everton (H), Man City (A).

Therefore, if you currently have Man City and Villa players, regardless of your chip strategy, it would probably be advisable to hold them. Further, unless you plan on FHing in DGW19, it is probably wise to begin planning how you will get 2 or 3 Man City players before DGW19.

1.Who are the best defences for the DGW19?

There are two things to consider here when looking at which defenders we should target to bring in for the double gameweek. Firstly, the defensive stats of the team in question, and secondly, the offensive stats of the teams they are playing against. Here are the defensive (first picture) and offensive stats (second picture) for the premier league teams over the last 6 gameweeks. Defensive stats have been ordered by expected goals conceded (xGC) best to worst, and offensive stats by expected goals scored (xG) best to worst.

The best defensive team in the league currently are Man City, who now face a double gameweek against Villa (6th best attack) and Palace (15th best attack). You would expect that at least one of those games could result in a clean sheet, and therefore I would immediately suggest including Dias in your DGW19 plans (Cancelo if you are willing to risk rotation).

Whilst West Ham currently rank 15th best in the league for xGC, the two teams that they face (BUR, WBA) are 14th and 20th for xG respectively, and therefore you would anticipate that there could be a clean sheet in there for the Hammers. In addition, West Ham have arguably three or four defenders under the price of £5.0m that are all viable options, with the best two probably Coufal (£4.7m) and Balbuena (£4.4m). Despite not playing in GW16, Balbuena ranks second for xG in the league for defenders since GW11, and Coufal ranks third in the league for xA since GW11.

Therefore, I would be tempted to go with Dias, Balbuena, Coufal and another two options depending on your current team, budget, and chip strategy.

2. To Antonio or not to Antonio – will his hamstring hold up?

This feels like a classic case of high risk high reward. I would personally hold out until 1 hour before the GW19 deadline on this. I would see how many minutes he plays in GW17, and whether he stays fit in training until GW19. If he starts and plays 60+ minutes without injury in GW17, I think that he will be a very good option. That being said, Moyes will be wary of losing him again, and therefore I could envision him only starting one of the two games. I personally will be playing it slightly safer and going with the West Ham double defence + Soucek.

3. Can you manoeuvre BGW18 without using the Free Hit?

More and more managers are discussing this as a strategy, and the short answer is yes, absolutely. However, it does depend on who those 6 or 7 players are. With the announcement that Manchester United and Burnley will be moved to BGW18, there are more and more options to choose from, and the saving of the FH chip becomes more appealing.

Here are some of the options to choose from on a free hit: Ederson, Lloris, De Gea, Darlow, Stones, Cancelo, Dias, Dier, Shaw, Maguire, AWB, Son, Bruno, Rashford, Sterling, KDB, Grealish, Mahrez, Kane, Martial, Aguero, Calvert-Lewin, Wilson. I think if your team includes 6 or 7 of these players, I would probably save the FH. However, if your team includes 3 or 4 of these players, and the others are the likes of Martinez, Mitchell etc., I would probably still consider using the FH. If anything, the inclusion of Manchester United in BGW18 makes me more tempted to play the chip, with many more options to choose from.

4. Hold the BB with all of the chaos, or continue as planned?

Even with all of the postponements and rescheduling I would personally say that if you were planning on BBing in DGW19, you should probably still go ahead as planned. This will likely be one of the largest DGWs we will see this year, and more importantly West Ham and Leeds are the key to why this BB works so effectively. They are all very cheap assets, and they have two very good fixtures. Often with DGWs, the cheaper assets have 1 good fixture and 1 tough fixture, so I cannot envision a better time to BB than this.

5. Should we still count on Spurs?

This depends largely on your chip strategy. If you are NOT playing your free hit in GW18 then you should absolutely keep your Spurs players, at least for that fixture. Other than that, with the latest news that City now have a double gameweek, I would be looking at other players ahead of Son and Kane. They are the 3rd worst in the league for xG over the last 6 gameweeks, and without the double gameweek fixture I think there are much better options.

That being said, I am currently on the Kane and Son double up and will most definitely not be transferring them out ahead of an enticing fixture against Leeds, who have the highest xGC in the league over the last 6 gameweeks. From GW19 onwards I would look at potentially moving the Spurs players on if their form does not improve.

6. Do we continue with the FH18 and BB19 plan?

For myself, my chip strategy has not changed with the new announcements, and I will still be FHing in GW18 and BBing in GW19. However, if you own Villa, United and City players, the latest announcements may cause you to consider not FHing in GW18 anymore. Further, if you were planning on BBing in GW19, but would need to take several hits to get there, TC KDB is now definitely a consideration with their double gameweek fixtures. My advice would be to sit down, re-assess your plan, and if you are still happy, continue with the original course of action.

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