Fantasy Premier League

How to handle fixture congestion and rotation in FPL

By The Scout 22 Nov 2023
Saliba Mbeumo lead

The Scout recommends targeting more secure starters and planning for Blank Gameweek 18

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Managers should factor in the busy upcoming fixture period when deciding their top transfer targets in Fantasy Premier League.

Fantasy returns this weekend with the Gameweek 13 deadline at 11:00 GMT on Saturday 25 November.

See: Opt in for notifications about FPL deadlines

That will be the first of eight Gameweeks to start over a 36-day period, which makes this point of the season the most likely to be hit hard by rotation.

Next eight Gameweeks
GW Deadline
13 Sat 25 Nov 11:00 GMT
14 Sat 2 Dec 13:30 GMT
15 Tue 5 Dec 18:00 GMT
16 Sat 9 Dec 11:00 GMT
17 Fri 15 Dec 18:30 GMT
18 Thu 21 Dec 18:30 GMT
19 Tue 26 Dec 11:00 GMT
20 Sat 30 Dec 11:00 GMT

By assessing each player’s minutes this season, managers can determine the most dependable targets in Fantasy.

Only 10 outfield players have started and played the full 90 minutes in each of the opening 12 Gameweeks. Eight of them, including Arsenal’s William Saliba (£5.4m) and Crystal Palace’s Joachim Andersen (£5.1m), are centre-backs.

See: FPL Team of the Season so far

Managers have flocked to Saliba over the international break, with his total of 250,000+ transfers in more than double that of any other defender.

The Frenchman has climbed to third in the defender standings on the back of a goal, an assist and five clean sheets.

Arsenal’s schedule shows why Saliba can be a key figure for Fantasy managers for many Gameweeks to come. According to the Fixture Difficulty Ratings (FDR), just one of the Gunners’ next 10 matches scores more than three.

Plan for Blank Gameweek 18

Among outfield players, Brentford’s Bryan Mbeumo (£6.8m) and Manchester United star Bruno Fernandes (£8.3m) are the only non-defenders to have played every minute of the season.

Both are listed as midfielders in Fantasy and are also on penalty duties for their clubs.

Mbeumo has proven the far better pick of the pair early on, and has the schedule to continue offering outstanding value. From Gameweek 14 onwards, five of Brentford’s subsequent seven matches score just two in the FDR.

See: Mbeumo can be a must-have from Gameweek 14

Bringing in Mbeumo does, nonetheless, come with a caveat.

Both Brentford and Manchester City have a Blank Gameweek 18 (BGW18) due to the latter’s involvement in the FIFA Club World Cup, something that Erling Haaland’s (£14.0m) huge 83 per cent ownership should already be planning for.  

Minutes concerns for Nunez & Tsimikas?

Players such as Saliba and Mbeumo can prove dependable assets to go alongside heavy-hitting captain favourites such as Haaland and Mohamed Salah (£13.0m).

While Salah is as close as you can get to a guaranteed starter for Liverpool, the Reds’ upcoming schedule indicates both Darwin Nunez (£7.5m) and Konstantinos Tsimikas (£4.7m) could be prone to rotation.

Liverpool, along with Newcastle United and West Ham United, are among the busiest clubs in this stretch, facing 11 fixtures across all competitions.

This comprises eight league matches, an EFL quarter-final match and two European matches.

Total matches over all competitions
Matches Teams
11 Liverpool, Newcastle, West Ham
10 Arsenal, Aston Villa, Brighton, Man City, Man Utd
9 Chelsea, Everton, Fulham
8 Bournemouth, Burnley, Crystal Palace, Luton, Nott'm Forest, Spurs, Sheff Utd, Wolves
7 Brentford
Status of European groups crucial 

Crucially, though, both Liverpool and West Ham can clinch a place in the UEFA Europa League knockout stages in their next match. That would allow them to rotate more freely in their final group encounters.

Newcastle, on the other hand, are bottom of their UEFA Champions League group and have everything still to play for. And yet injuries to key players at both ends of the pitch means Eddie Howe may have to rely heavily on regulars such as Kieran Trippier (£7.0m) and Anthony Gordon (£5.8m).

Elsewhere among the European contingent, Man Utd are also bottom of their group with two matches remaining, whereas Arsenal, Aston Villa and Brighton & Hove Albion can qualify for the knockout stages in their next fixture.

Man City, meanwhile, have already qualified for the Champions League last 16 with two matches to spare. Combined with their early exit from the EFL Cup, Haaland’s domestic minutes could barely look more secure. 

The same cannot be said for Pep Guardiola’s rotation on the flanks, though, and there’s far more chance that Jeremy Doku’s (£6.7m) pitch time will be impacted by Jack Grealish (£7.2m), which is another factor for managers to consider with BGW18 on the horizon.

View all the latest FPL tips ahead of Gameweek 13 in Fantasy Premier League

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