There’s just ten weeks left of Fantasy Premier League this season.
Managers are starting to look towards the end game, all the careful planning and conservation of chips and wildcards will hopefully pay off as we get into the business end as titles, Champions League spots and relegation places will be decided.
Instead of the usual preview, we will take a whistle-stop tour of the Premier League, looking at which teams have fixtures worth backing, who might down-tools before the season ends and where the bargains lie.
In case you were wondering, there would have been no surprises in my ‘Main Men’ section for this week as Kane and Salah both have plum fixtures.
I’m putting the armband on Salah (as per my tactic of a couple of weeks ago). Kane is an equally good shout although he has let us down in previous weeks. If you don’t have either of them, then I think you need to have a long hard think.
Fixtures: 10/10 – Brighton, Watford, (Blank), Stoke, Southampton, Newcastle, West Ham, Man United, Burnley, Huddersfield, Leicester (to be rescheduled)
You won’t find a much kinder schedule in the entire league. Considering Arsenal need to make up 8 points to achieve Champions League football, they cannot afford any shock results.
Herein lies the rub. Arsenal have lost at Swansea, Spurs and Bournemouth in their last three away games while their performance at Wembley in the Carabao Cup final was disastrous. The picture is a little better at home where they have dismantled Everton and Crystal Palace, and half of their remaining games are at home.
I think Arsenal are definitely one to consider when planning your moves for the rest of the season. I’m looking at Henrikh Mkhitaryan (7.8m) and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (10.5m) as potential options but, with no clean sheet since Gameweek 18 and Monreal picking up an injury, I would avoid their defence.
Fixtures: 7/10 – Leicester, Tottenham, West Brom, Watford, Crystal Palace, Liverpool, Man United, Southampton, Swansea, Burnley
Bournemouth have a decent run to the end of the season with only three of the current top six to come. They also have a fixture in Gameweek 31, which should put them on your radar at least for the short term.
Some impressive wins against Chelsea and Arsenal have got them noticed but it’s the disappointing performances against Huddersfield, Newcastle and West Ham that are worrying FPL managers.
Bournemouth have been inconsistent for a long time, sometimes playing spellbinding passing football and at other times looking disinterested. It depends on which team turns up.
There’s no consistency and no stand out option now Jermain Defoe has returned from injury. The former England striker is now vying for a place with Callum Wilson and Josh King.
You could take a punt on the likes of Wilson (5.8m), Junior Stanislas (5.9m) or Charlie Daniels (4.7m) but only for the Blank Gameweek.
Fixtures: 0/10 – Arsenal, Everton, (Blank), Leicester, Huddersfield, Crystal Palace, Tottenham, Burnley, Man United, Liverpool, Man City (to be rescheduled)
Oh dear! Brighton must play five of the top six, as well as tough games against Leicester and Burnley. Brighton may be 11th but it will be a miracle if they’re still there in May.
Another mixed bag: Brighton have beaten West Ham and Swansea at home but lost to West Brom. Most concerning of all is that they have conceded 18 and scored just one against the top six so far this season.
Avoid, avoid, avoid! They may have scored four last time out but I doubt they’ll get anywhere near that level for the rest of the season. It’s time to sell them off and forget about Brighton until next year.
Fixtures: 6/10 – Everton, West Ham, (Blank), West Brom, Watford, Leicester, Stoke, Brighton, Arsenal, Bournemouth, Chelsea (to be rescheduled)
Burnley have some good fixtures against the likes of Watford, Stoke, West Brom and Brighton but potential banana skins against Leicester and Everton. I would have backed them in most these matches earlier in the season but now…
Burnley are without a win since Gameweek 17. However, they are still seventh, which says a lot about the league this year.
In that time they have kept a single clean sheet and lost to Crystal Palace and Swansea. Impressively, they have also conceded more than one goal just three times in this run.
Burnley’s attack was never an FPL goldmine and now their lack of potency up front is costing them points.
I can’t see any reason to invest anywhere in this team unless they really turn things around. There’s also a high possibility they could pack up early as they seem to be in absolutely no danger of relegation with no hope of European football.
Fixtures: 7/10 – Man City, Crystal Palace, (Blank), Tottenham, West Ham, Southampton, Huddersfield, Swansea, Liverpool, Newcastle, Burnley (to be rescheduled)
It looks bad in the short term (Manchester City, Blank and Spurs in the space of four weeks) but, after that, it clears up nicely.
Chelsea play a series of teams in the relegation battle and have a Double Gameweek in there as well (possibly two if they get to the FA Cup semi-finals).
Another team with decent fixtures but fairly sketchy form, Chelsea have just two wins in the last seven games. They have struggled with the demands of competing on multiple fronts, losing out in the Carabao Cup semi-finals to Arsenal and dropping points in the Premier League.
A lot depends on their second leg against Barcelona. If they get knocked out the Champions League then they can focus on the league and ensure they are back in the competition next year.
I would avoid until after their Blank Gameweek and then consider the likes of Marcos Alonso (7.2m), Eden Hazard (10.7m) and Olivier Giroud (8.2)/Alvaro Morata (10.4m) if one of them is starting consistently. However, I would not have more than two Chelsea players as they don’t look too convincing.
Fixtures: 6/10 – Man United, Chelsea, Huddersfield, Liverpool, Bournemouth, Brighton, Watford, Leicester, Stoke, West Brom
Palace have a nightmare in the next four Gameweeks, with only Huddersfield in Blank Gameweek 31 looking like a winnable fixture.
After that it clears up and they have a run of fixtures that should help them avoid relegation.
Palace have not won since Gameweek 23, although in that time they have two draws and losses to Arsenal and Spurs, which is no great shame.
The performances have been promising but the big issue is the absence of Wilfried Zaha who adds so much to that team.
Keep an eye on how Palace are performing over the next few games and possibly bring in a player or two for the Blank Gameweek 31.
Luka Milivojevic is an excellent option regardless of fixtures because he is only 4.8m, nailed on and designated penalty taker.
Fixtures: 8/10 – Burnley, Brighton, Stoke, Man City, Liverpool, Swansea, Newcastle, Huddersfield, Southampton, West Ham
Everton’s fixtures could almost have been handpicked by Allardyce. Apart from the difficult back-to-back games against City and Liverpool, they play teams in twelfth or lower, and Burnley, who are in a terrible slump.
At home, Everton have consecutive victories against Leicester and Crystal Palace but, away from Goodison Park, they become a different team. They lost to Watford and Bournemouth and were dismantled by Arsenal. Half of the remaining ten fixtures are at home, including both the games against top six opponents.
Everton are sitting comfortably in ninth, almost certainly safe from relegation and I would not be surprised if they were another team to start phoning in performances before the season is finished.
The fixture in Blank Gameweek 31 means you should consider Everton for now but I would be ready to sell at the first opportunity afterwards. Theo Walcott (7.3m) and Gylfi Sigurdsson (8.0m) offer some potential in the midfield, while Oumar Niasse is a cheap option for a third striker but none of them fills me with the hope of FPL points.
Fixtures: 5/10 - Tottenham, Swansea, Crystal Palace, Newcastle, Brighton, Watford, Chelsea, Everton, Man City, Arsenal
Huddersfield have a nice set of five games against relegation rivals after Spurs but then finish with a horrendous run in. The only saving grace could be if the Champions League spots and title are sewn up early, the bigger teams could concentrate on other issues.
Huddersfield broke their awful run with two wins on the bounce, including a win on the road at West Brom. However, before that, they had amassed just three draws in eight league matches.
Huddersfield could provide some options for Blank Gameweek 31 against Crystal Palace. However, their team is rotated so much by David Wagner that you cannot trust anyone except Jonas Lossl (4.6m) and the centre backs to play regularly.
Only five players have played more than 1710 minutes (the equivalent of 19 games), which is fewer than Manchester City. If you want to take a gamble for their run of kind fixtures, I have always liked the look of Steve Mounie (5.7m,two goals in the last two games) but he is prone to rotation.
Fixtures: 9/10 – Bournemouth, West Brom, (Blank), Brighton, Newcastle, Burnley, Southampton, Crystal Palace, West Ham, Tottenham, Arsenal (to be rescheduled)
Leicester have some plum fixtures until the end of the season, including every team from eleventh to seventeenth except Huddersfield. There are some tricky ones at the end but Spurs on the last day of the season could throw up a shock results if the Champions League spots are already decided.
Before Riyad Mahrez’ deadline antics, Leicester had two wins and a draw in three games. Since then it’s two draws and two losses. However, they should have buried Stoke and were kept out by a virtuoso performance from Jack Butland (ignoring the own goal) and Mahrez is now back, so I’m expecting things to pick up soon.
Leicester could also be in danger of dropping off as they are in no danger being in Europe or the Championship next season.
However, you have to think that Mahrez (8.7m) is playing to entice another club to take him away from the Foxes over the summer and that motivation will last until the very end of the season.
Even if his teammates drop away, Mahrez is capable of taking on defences all by himself and, for that reason, he will probably be in my team for the remainder of the season.
Fixtures: 8/10 – Newcastle, Man United, Watford, Crystal Palace, Everton, Bournemouth, West Brom, Stoke, Chelsea, Brighton
Liverpool have a sea of green fixtures with just a couple of difficult games until the season ends. They play three of the bottom four and there are no difficult runs that would put off FPL managers.
Liverpool have lost just one game since Gameweek 9 (surprisingly against Swansea) and they have won eight of the last nine, including against Manchester City.
They are scoring for fun, with 11 goals in the last four games and their defence has even improved with two clean sheets in that time.
Liverpool are the only team in the top eight to have a fixture in Blank Gameweek 31 and, in their current form, you should load up on them.
If you don’t have Mohamed Salah (10.5m) then honestly, what are you doing? I’m running out of superlatives to describe the Egyptian, who is going toe to toe with Harry Kane for the golden boot, while also racking up ten assists.
The only issue is that the Bonus Points system seems to hate him as he is regularly criminally overlooked. You can also look at Roberto Firmino (9.3m), who is on a good run of form with eight goals and four assists in the last 11, while Virgil van Dijk (5.6m) and Andy Robertson (4.8m) are the best options in defence.
Fixtures: 6/10 – Chelsea, Stoke, (Blank), Everton, Man United, Tottenham, Swansea, West Ham, Huddersfield, Southampton, Brighton (to be rescheduled)
It’s not the best run of fixtures for the champions-in-waiting. They have to play three of the top six in the next six weeks and they have a blank fixture. However, the big question with City is, does it even matter?
It says a lot that five wins in eight is disappointing for Manchester City. They went unbeaten in the league until mid-January. Since then they have lost once more but only in the FA Cup to Wigan.
However, I’m picking holes in an exemplary team who will be worthy champions. Their form is terrific, they have just won their first trophy of the season and they will win plenty more games in the coming weeks.
Manchester City are almost the polar opposite of Arsenal – poor fixtures but it doesn’t matter because they are so good. Having beaten Arsenal on Thursday, they only need five wins to secure the title. If Manchester United don't slip up then they could even do it against their city-rivals on April 7th.
The biggest question then will be how their Champions League campaign has progressed. If they are knocked out then Guardiola will surely set his sights on some domestic records (points, goals scored etc). If not, then we could see heavy rotation as they look for a treble.
But for now, keep your Manchester City players: maybe sell Sergio Aguero as Gabriel Jesus is back and rotation is a real danger.
Fixtures: 7/10 – Crystal Palace, Liverpool, (Blank), Swansea, Man City, West Brom, Bournemouth, Arsenal, Brighton, Watford, West Ham (to be rescheduled)
Manchester United have some decent fixtures to look forward to in the final weeks of the season. They come up against three of the bottom four but also three of the top six. There is also the potential for two Double Gameweeks in their final 10 games, although there is that blank directly after the Liverpool match.
The last month has not been the best for Manchester United. They lost away to Spurs in a terrible performance and were then outfoxed by Rafa Benitez’ Newcastle, although they have also beaten Huddersfield comfortably and produced a big win against Chelsea last week.
The biggest issue with Manchester United is that none of their players stand out from an FPL perspective.
Romelu Lukaku (11.2m) has just three goals in the last ten games, while Alexis Sanchez (11.7m) has scored a single league goal for them: a rebound from a penalty he missed!
However, they have kept four clean sheets in seven and there will be plenty more of those against opposition like this, so David de Gea (5.9m) is the obvious choice in goal.
Fixtures: 4/10 – Liverpool, Southampton, (Blank), Huddersfield, Leicester, Arsenal, Everton, West Brom, Watford, Chelsea, Tottenham (to be rescheduled)
It looks like Newcastle will have a tough time during the run in as they come up against four of the top six. They also have difficult games against Leicester and Everton.
The Magpies are surprisingly unbeaten in four and have only lost to Manchester City in the last six.
However, apart from the win over Manchester United, they have all been draws. Their only clean sheet in the last six was against United, while they have only scored more than once against Bournemouth, who didn’t turn up for the first half.
Newcastle's strike force is wasteful and their defence is porous. They have no fixture in Blank Gameweek 31 and, if the match against Spurs gets rearranged to Gameweek 34 (which seems likely), then their double will be Arsenal and Spurs. I would avoid Newcastle for the rest of the season.
Fixtures: 5/10 – Stoke, Newcastle, (Blank), West Ham, Arsenal, Chelsea, Leicester, Bournemouth, Everton, Man City, Swansea (to be rescheduled)
It does not look good for the Saints: they have to play six of the remaining ten games away from St Marys and there are a string of difficult fixtures between Gameweek 33 and Gameweek 37. They are in the relegation battle so they need to pick up points against teams around them (Stoke, Newcastle and Swansea).
Southampton are another team who have picked up a string of draws in recent weeks: four in the last six weeks, and one win and one loss. They have struggled for clean sheets, with just a single shut out since Gameweek 10.
Meanwhile, up front, nobody has really made a case to be included in your fantasy team: Manolo Gabbiadini has one goal since Gameweek 9, new signing Guido Carillo has just one assist in foue and Shane Long has a single solitary goal in the whole season.
Southampton are feeling the effects of season after season of players and managers coming and going. This year they have looked a shadow of the side that was challenging for Europe.
Their strikers are in terrible form, while the defence is not much better. I don’t think I have had a Southampton player in my side since Charlie Austin got injured and that will not change for the rest of this season.
Fixtures: 4/10 – Southampton, Man City, Everton, Arsenal, Tottenham, West Ham, Burnley, Liverpool, Crystal Palace, Swansea
Stoke might struggle for the rest of the season. They have tough games away to Arsenal and Liverpool, as well as standing in the way of Manchester City’s march towards the title.
The Potters have improved under Paul Lambert, with three draws, a win and a loss in the last five but that is not good enough when those games included Watford, Bournemouth and Brighton. The performances have been better but there is still a long way to go if they want to stay in the Premier League.
Xerdan Shaqiri’s (6.3m) form demands consideration as he has scored three in three. However, the Swiss midfielder is inconsistent and went ten games with just one assist before this run. Stoke have a fixture in Gameweek 31, so I would look at Shaqiri or Jack Butland (5.0m) as potential options for the Blank Gameweek but after that I would sell and not look back.
Fixtures: 5/10 – West Ham, Huddersfield, (Blank), Man United, West Brom, Everton, Man City, Chelsea, Bournemouth, Stoke, Southampton (to be rescheduled)
Swansea have a couple of nice fixtures before a blank and a horrendous run against both Manchester clubs and Chelsea. The final couple of weeks will offer some hope but by then they could be down if results go against them.
Since Carlos Carvalhal took over in December, Swansea have been a revelation. They have progressed to the FA Cup quarterfinals, beaten Arsenal, Liverpool, Watford and Burnley, as well as getting draws with Newcastle and Leicester.
The last game was a reminder that things will not be simple in the relegation battle, as Brighton put four past them. But they have suddenly become an option for FPL managers again.
Swansea players could provide some decent budget options for the rest of the season. They won’t return points every week, but that is what your bench is for. Kyle Naughton (4.6m) is a nailed on starter and he loves to get forward and create chances, while Jordan Ayew is perfect as a third striker (5.4m). Finally, Lukasz Fabianksi (4.7m) might not get too many clean sheets but he racks up save points.
Fixtures: 7/10 – Huddersfield, Bournemouth, (Blank), Chelsea, Stoke, Man City, Brighton, Watford, West Brom, Leicester, Newcastle (to be rescheduled)
Spurs have some good fixtures in the remaining weeks of the season. They only play Chelsea and Man City from the top six and, by that point, City could have wrapped up the title.
At the opposite end of the table, they have games against Newcastle, Brighton, Huddersfield, Stoke, Watford and West Brom. They will also have a Double Gameweek, most likely against Newcastle and Man City, and possibly another one if they beat Swansea in the FA Cup quarterfinal.
Spurs are unbeaten since they lost to Manchester City in December and they are flying high. They took on Juventus and came away with a decent draw for the second leg, and they have beaten Manchester United and Arsenal in the last four weeks. They are on the march for another Champions League spot and this run could last until the end of the season.
You should have Harry Kane (12.9m). If you don’t then you’re either very brave or you simply haven’t been paying attention. Son Hueng-min’s hot streak has cooled again so I would look to move him on if he’s still in your team, while Alli has not had an amazing season.
Spurs’ defence is a difficult one: the wing backs are points machines when they play but Mauricio Pochettino rotates them at will. Currently, Ben Davies (5.8m) is attracting a lot of new owners after eight straight matches with five clean sheets and two assists but Danny Rose (6.4m) is back in training so I’m nervous about bringing in either of them.
Fixtures: 5/10 – West Brom, Arsenal, Liverpool, Bournemouth, Burnley, Huddersfield, Crystal Palace, Tottenham, Newcastle, Man United
Watford do have a game in Blank Gameweek 31 but they have the hardest fixture of any team that week as they travel to Liverpool. There are also tough fixtures against Arsenal, Spurs and Manchester United, who could all be fighting for a top-four finish.
Watford have two wins and a draw in their last three home games but two losses and a draw in the last three away from Vicarage Road. Their difficult matches are all on the road, so I wouldn’t expect anything at all from those games. But that does mean they have an excellent run of home games, which could provide options for FPL managers.
Watford could be a surprise package for FPL owners in the coming weeks. As long as you plan to rotate them with someone else, they could be an excellent differential.
Abdoulaye Doucoure (5.5m) has had a cracking season with seven goals and three assists and is a great option for a cheap midfielder. Troy Deeney (6.3m) is back in the discussion after two goals in three games but I think there are better options out there in a similar price range, especially with Andre Gray waiting in the wings.
West Bromwich Albion
Fixtures: 4/10 – Watford, Leicester, Bournemouth, Burnley, Swansea, Man United, Liverpool, Newcastle, Tottenham, Crystal Palace
West Brom are staring down the barrel of relegation and this list of fixtures won’t help. Even if they are still in the running for survival by the final weeks, they will struggle against Manchester United, Liverpool and Spurs.
It’s dire: three wins all season, only a string of draws have kept them within touching distance of the rest of the pack. Two of those wins were in the first two games of the season, so they have won once in 26 weeks!
The Baggies are another team to avoid completely. Craig Dawson (4.8m) has a few new owners, presumably due to the goal in Gameweek 28 and West Brom’s fixture in Blank Gameweek 31 but I think that is a very bad move!
West Ham United
Fixtures: 3/10 – Swansea, Burnley, (Blank), Southampton, Chelsea, Stoke, Arsenal, Man City, Leicester, Everton, Man United (to be rescheduled)
West Ham have one of the worse fixture lists for the remainder of the season. They still have to play four of the top six, and seven of the top ten.
The Hammers have had a couple of very poor performances (3-1 away to Brighton and 4-1 away to Liverpool) but also have three wins and three draws in the last eight. Marko Arnautovic has stood out with seven goals and four assists, all since David Moyes took over, and he was unlucky not to score against Liverpool.
As mentioned above, Arnautovic has been a revelation since Moyes took over the team. He is playing up front, making him an 'out of position' prospect for just 6.9m. The fixtures will be a tough ask, but when he is playing well he can take on anyone.
Arthur Masuaku (4.3m) could be a good differential when he returns from suspension after the Blank Gameweek, as he also plays out of position on the wing but two West Ham players could be overkill.
Disagree with our picks? Let us know by commenting below.