BGW29 – Player Options

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With the DGW26 madness out of the way, the next big focus for us as FPL managers will be BGW29! There will no doubt be some very different strategies in play dependant on the chips we all have available. No doubt the Free Hit will be very popular for those that have saved it, allowing you to pile in on the highly owned assets alongside a few differentials, without having to worry about holding them moving forward. I certainly wish I was in this position! There will also be those still on a wildcard that can continue to plan towards the blank, before wildcarding their squads from game week 30 onwards and targeting those final run ins for teams with very tidy fixture runs. 

For me, I now need to plan towards the blank given I no longer have any chips in play and I won’t be alone in being in this scenario. It looks as though I should have at least 9 playing with a couple of hits, of course dependant on rotation, but I would be happy with that figure given the 4 available fixtures to choose from. I will very likely have the coverage of the primary assets that are likely to be highly owned across the game week from both Leeds & Spurs, along with a couple of differentials which will be discussed during the article.

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Aston Villa, Spurs & Fulham’s schedule has made planning for the blank a little easier, given they doubled this week and also play in 29. That has meant that for those who wildcarded going into Game Week 26, we were able to have at least 4-5 assets in our squads who will feature in both, without killing the structure of our teams too much. I personally went with Martinez, Areola, Targett, Raphinha, Kane & Watkins which gives me 6 playing, albeit I have a decision to make between Areola & Martinez for the day. It will then be a case of moving away from the likes of Villa whose fixtures turn for the worse from Game Week 31 and finding alternatives in each position through to the end of the season. But enough about my plans as that’s not why you are here! Let’s look at the 4 available fixtures and cover the players you may look to target on both a Free Hit and through available transfers leading up to the blank. 

Fulham vs Leeds
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The first fixture up is Fulham vs Leeds. Earlier in the season I would certainly have said that Fulham would have no hope, but given their defensive improvements over recent months I don’t think it will be as easy as some may suggest. 

Starting with Fulham and this may seem a little crazy but hear me out, both Andersen(4.5m) & Aina(4.5m) are very appealing for this fixture. Leeds will of course be difficult to keep out but Villa recently proved that it is very much a possibility. However, Leeds continue to prove fragile at set pieces and both Andersen & Aina provide an obvious threat. Imagine a clean sheet, an attacking return and 3 BPS from your 4.5m defensive asset. I am obviously not saying that will certainly happen, but at 4.5m is it worth a punt? The other Fulham asset worth considering is Lookman(5.0m). We all know how Leeds defend and if Fulham can get in behind on the counter then Lookman could certainly profit. 

As for Leeds, do I need to say any more than the following 3 names –  Dallas(5.0m), Raphinha (5.4m) & Bamford(6.8m). Dallas is now the 3rd highest scoring defender in the game behind Cresswell who has the most BPS of any defender and the clean sheet king that is Ruben Dias! 8 attacking returns so far, I expect Dallas to go well into double figures come the end of the season. Raphinha has to be one of, if not the most enjoyable midfielder to watch in the Premier League at the moment. His touch, balance and finesse are unplayable at times and how he hasn’t hit 15 points in any of his recent games is beyond me. Is he the most undervalued midfielder in the game? I think so!
Then we have the FPL playing Patrick Bamford. The 2nd highest scoring forward in the game behind only Harry Kane, I fully expect Bamford to not only own himself in GW29 but probably captain himself too. I don’t think I need to say any more other than he SHOULD be in your GW29 team. 

Brighton vs Newcastle 
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Of course this fixture would sit as the only game shown late on Saturday 20th March. I expect many will opt for prime-timeSaturday night television over this one, but I shall cover it all the same. Initially I would have stayed well clear but in the last week Newcastle have again been hit by injuries, with both ASM & Almiron out until at least April. Top that off with the heated exchange between Ritchie & Bruce and you have a Newcastle team that looks very targetable in my opinion.

If you are on a Free Hit then perhaps Maupay (6.1m) or Gross (5.8m) could be differential punts for attacking returns.However, for me the value will be in them defensively as I feel Brighton have a great chance of keeping a clean sheet. Sanchez (4.5m) & Dunk (4.9m) will no doubt be popular amongst the masses, but a name going under the radar in my opinion is Joel Veltman (4.3m). I have been very impressed with him not only defensively but going forward too. He got his goal against Palace and was unlucky not to return again against West Brom. If budget is restricted, which I can’timagine it will be, or you fancy a punt that is only 1.0% owned at the time of writing, then Veltman for me is your man. 

As for Newcastle, I honestly am struggling to highlight anyone I would personally target. However, for the benefit of those that are seriously looking then here are a few names to consider if you choose to do so. Both Lewis (4.2m) & Lascelles (4.2m) are very cheap assets that when fit play week in week out at Newcastle, with the latter bagging his first goal of the season against Wolves. Dubravka (4.8m) also appears to have ousted Darlow (5.0m) for one reason or another so if you wanted a Newcastle keeper then he would now be the one.

As for Newcastle’s attacking options, you are very limited given the strain of injuries to 3 of the key performers. Callum Wilson (6.5m) ‘could’ be fit and if so, would certainly be a welcome boost, but I don’t think the Brighton fixture is the best one for him to return to. Willock (4.7m) & Fraser (5.6m) will inevitably get game time in the absence of those around them, but is there anyone there to finish off the chances they could create? Joelinton (5.7m)…actually forget I even suggested that!

West Ham vs Arsenal
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The first of a double header on Sunday 21st March and a game I am very much looking forward to. Plus, there are plenty of FPL options that we will no doubt all be at least considering over the next couple of weeks. We start with the home team and there are certainly some very appealing and well-pricedoptions out there. Starting at the back, Cresswell (5.8m) is a very appealing option. Almost 25% of the game own him now and given his consistent BPS returns and with 9 assists to his name so far this season, he is certainly worth the money. However, if you want to save 1.2m Coufal (4.6m) could be a great differential at only 5% ownership at time of writing. I have been incredibly impressed by Coufal this season and alongside Soucek (5.3m), they have lifted West Hams form this season. Soucek has of course been a brilliant FPL asset this season and given his price, I expect plenty to go back to him. 

However, for me there is a new standout amongst West Hams midfield options and that is Jesse Lingard (6.0m). 3 goals and 2 assists in his first 5 appearances for West Ham, he has certainly hit the ground running. Unfortunately, he is unavailable to play against parent club Manchester United in GW 28, but if you are happy to bench then possibly worth the early move before they play Leeds. I almost expect him to return. Finally, we of course have Antonio (6.5m). If only the man could stay fit for an entire season, he would be a true Season Keeper (shameless plug of my podcast which you should check out). Returned from injury after missing out against Sheffield United and immediately scores against both Spurs & Man City. When fit, he is just so consistent! I only wish his hamstrings weren’t made of cheese strings. 

On the other side of London, we have Arsenals assets. With a very interesting run to end the season, I will certainly own at least one Arsenal asset moving forward. For me, the standout would be Saka (5.2m). 5 goals and 4 assists this season and continues to grow and develop, he could be gold for the run in. Yes, he is prone to the occasional rest, particularly if Arsenal remain in Europe but at his price point, I think it is worth the risk. He showed his quality alongside Aubameyang (11.3m) to see Arsenal through in their last Europa League match and if he can maintain that form then there’s no reasonwe can’t see plenty more returns in the remaining 12 games.

Another player I would love to pick up some from following his recent European exploits and that hat trick against Leeds is of course Aubameyang. I remember when we were all so excited by the fact he was a midfielder in the game and all piled in at the start of the season, only to see our hopes and dreams torn apart following a goal and assist in his first 2 games of the season followed by a barren run of 2 returns in 15 games. I will certainly need to see a little more from him before I gamble myself, but if you are chasing those mini league prizes then would you be willing to take the gamble on him? If not now then when really?

2 names I never thought I would be mentioning until their recent display against Leicester are Willian (7.5m) & Pepe (7.6m). Both looked brilliant against Leicester, although in the Foxes defence they have been ravaged by injury. 2 assists for Willian and a goal and assist for Pepe have people noticing them a little more this week, but again with the Europa League rotation I would be worried by their potential minutes. I would certainly be more willing to take that risk at Saka’s price than I would with the other two.  Finally, Lacazette(8.1m) remains an option but at his price, I certainly prefer the likes of Watkins, Bamford & Antonio who are somewhat cheaper and more consistent options in terms of returns. They also have the benefit of appearing consistently in their respective starting 11’s, whereas Lacazette can often find himself on the bench or hooked early. 

Aston Villa vs Spurs
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The final game of the blank game week and one in which a lot of us are glad has popped up. It has meant that many of us have at least 4-5 assets already from our earlier wildcards and therefore planning into the blank somewhat easier. There are of course plenty to choose from too!

Let’s start with Villa. I personally own Watkins (6.6m), Targett (5.0m) & Martinez (5.3m) and I am pretty happy with those choices. If Grealish (7.6m) finds his way back to fitness then I will be a little worried, but for now he is a risk until we see him back on the turf. I think Martinez will be highly owned for the blank and if Villa manage to keep a clean sheet against Spurs, then I expect he will have a lot to do with it.

Way out front as the top scoring goalkeeper; Martinez has been exceptional for Villa this season and could be on target to break the 200-point mark as a goal keeper! Now that would be one hell of an accomplishment. If you wanted to look defensively then Targett as previously mentioned, alongside Mings (5.4m) & Konsa (4.6m) are also very useful options at the back. Matty Cash could also return come BGW29 and he is a very useful asset at only 5.0m. 

Moving forward, of course Jack Grealish is the standout but in his current absence there are a few alternative options. Traore (5.9m) & El Ghazi (5.3m) have impressed. Both potential risks when Villa have a fit and firing squad but at present, they are getting minutes and returns. They are also considerably cheaper than Grealish if money really is a problem. Finally, we have Ollie Watkins (6.6m). He has looked a little out of from in the absence of Grealish, with only 1 assist in his last 4 appearances but he certainly has the talent to bang and his 10 goals and 5 assists in his first Premier League season prove that. I am happy I own the lad and will be hoping for at least one return against Spurs!

Now onto Tottenham and surely there is only one man we should all be bringing in… Yes, you guessed it! Gareth Bale (9.3m). 2 goals and an assist against Burnley and looking more likely to get consistent minutes, he could well be worth the punt for the blank. Obviously at only 0.2m more expensive, Son (9.5m) is already well over 50% owned in the game and this will continue to rise. I for one have moved Bruno onto Son this week to go alongside the main man Harry Kane (11.1m). But why not go for the attacking triple up and have a little fun?

Other than those 3, I think the only other asset I would consider would be Reguilon (5.5m) and he would still be a risk of rotation, given we saw him miss out against Fulham in the double. 

There are certainly plenty of options to choose from heading towards blank game week 29. The real decisions will come dependant on what strategy you have heading into it. Whether this be a free hit, wildcard or simply using transfers to get to 9-11 featured players, I hope this article is of use and has highlighted the assets from each club that I believe are the most targetable and points worthy for the game week.

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Good luck and thank for reading!

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