It’s been almost 100 days since a Premier League ball was last kicked but on Wednesday, the waiting will be over. The saying “good things come to those who wait” has never been more appropriate as we are about to embark on a stint of 92 Premier League games in a little over 6 weeks. With that comes the return of Fantasy Football, where the marathon is about to become a sprint.
The game has been playing on in the background, obliging by the rules and giving most people a 0 score for the 9 remaining game weeks. Last week came the announcement that the game would resume in the form of “gameweek 30+” and so on. In this article, we’ll take a look at what has changed and what to look out for over the remaining matches.
What has happened to my team?
In short, nothing. Your team will be the same as when you left it. If you’ve made any transfers in the interim they still stand and as an added bonus, you have unlimited free transfers for game week 30+. Any chips you hadn’t used are still available and if you held on to your second wildcard, that’ll be available too. Obviously there is no need to use it just now as you have been given what is more or less a free wildcard for gameweek 30+.
You can fiddle with your team as much as you like with unlimited transfers up until the deadline on Wednesday, at which point your team is locked in. You’ll then revert to one free transfer a week from there on. Player prices are frozen until after the first deadline, so their prices won’t be effected by transfers in and out for the time being.
How have the fixtures been rearranged?
Gameweek 30+ has 12 fixtures, as the two outstanding “catch up” fixtures have been included. That means Manchester City, Arsenal, Aston Villa and Sheffield United will play twice but this is the only planned double game week. It is anticipated that FA Cup matches will result in the teams involved just playing in the midweek, as European fixtures do not provide the hurdle they usually do.Embed from Getty Images
This is a blow for managers who have been saving their chips for the usual bumper double gameweeks later in the season and a new strategy will be required to make the most of those opportunities.
Who should I buy with my unlimited transfers?!
Good question! It’s a bit of a poisoned chalice having unlimited transfers with absolutely no idea who will even play or any form to base it off. Most clubs have played friendlies which is a slight guide, but some of them have been glorified kickabouts of varying lengths of time. I’d expect to get more of a clue from press conferences this week, assuming they are carried out one way or another.
A good place to start is the four teams who have two games. Man City were a rotation risk before and I can imagine it’ll be even worse now, with a lot of games in a short period of time. There’s also the added hindrance of five substitutions being permitted within a game, a rule change which will favour the likes of Pep Guardiola who can now use 16 superstars in a match rather than 14.Embed from Getty Images
Will you ever get this chance again to pick a fully rested Aguero for a double home game week though? I will be picking on this basis, playing with a straight bat as much as possible and hoping everything runs to form. The Bundesliga saw a spike in away wins when it returned from lockdown, what will the impact of empty stadiums be in England? There are so many variables you could drive yourself mad trying to find a winning combination. Liverpool might have the title sewn up in a week or two and then it remains to be seen whether Klopp uses the remaining games as a chance to look at some other options. All in all, the landscape looks a tricky one to navigate.
What about my mini-leagues?
All head-to-heads effectively finished when the original game week 38 ended. FPL have given you the chance to generate a new league though for the remaining weeks should you wish to. These will start from scratch though.
The classic leagues will continue as normal, with no further action required. Here’s the ORP League as we re-join the action:
Luke leads the way but has used two of his three chips already. This looks like being a wise strategy now that there’s a distinct lack of double weeks ahead. With the madness to come in the next 6 weeks or so, I think I’d rather have the points on the board!
These unprecedented times mean we are in uncharted territory. Most gameweeks will be staggered with games on TV spread across several days of the week. You’ll need to keep a close eye on deadlines and that starts this Wednesday, with the unusual deadline of 5pm BST. This is ahead of the first game kicking off at 6pm. This gameweek finishes on Monday night and the next one starts on Tuesday 23rd…you get the idea. Frantic doesn’t begin to cover it.
Good luck with whatever you choose to do with your teams but most importantly, just enjoy football being back!
You can follow Dave on Twitter @CM9798