In this Gameweek 22 preview, we explore the most nailed on players for your Fantasy Premier League (FPL) Gameweek 22 squads, after the mass rotation we witnessed in Gameweek 21.
With Gameweek 21 now over, many FPL managers will be licking their wounds following the absences of a number of highly owned players.
Pep Guardiola was at his trolling best when he left out the likes of Raheem Sterling, Joao Cancelo and John Stones for their encounter with Sheffield United.
Many of those who owned the pair would’ve hoped for Tyrick Mitchell to come off the bench to save face for them, but alas the Crystal Palace left back was also left out.
With three gameweeks, as well as the FA cup fifth round to come in the next 2 weeks, further rotation is likely to take place. Here, I will highlight some players who are rarely rotated if at all, along with the teams who tend to stick to the same 11.
After all, the last thing you want to do is transfer out a rotation risk, only for the player brought in to be benched as well.
Straight to the point – who has played the most minutes?
As you can see in the images below, these are the players that have played the most minutes in each position, fetched from the Premier League website (https://www.premierleague.com/stats/top/players/mins_played).
Please bear in mind that the Premier League decide on player positions in a different format to Fantasy Premier League (e.g., Son is a forward, Dallas is a midfielder).
Little to be said on this section, as we all pretty much know who the number 1 is at each club. Worth noting here that the reason for some differences is that some clubs have played 21, some 20, and some 19.
The standout defenders here are Aaron Cresswell, James Justin, and Andy Robertson who have not only played every minute for their clubs, but also offer a decent amount of attacking threat too.
As you can see here, the potato salad eating legend Tommy Soucek has played the most minutes out of any midfielders in the premier league this season. Bruno Fernandes and Jack Grealish are unsurprising inclusions as Talismen for their teams. There should be a mention for £4.5m hero Zambo Anguissa too.
As you can see, the only forward to play every minute of their club’s minutes is Villa frontman Ollie Watkins. Pedro Neto (midfielder in FPL) tops the charts, with Rashford, Bamford, Wilson, Wood and Kane also playing the majority of their sides’ minutes.
Who are the players and managers we can trust?
Bielsa and Leeds
It turns out Leeds United don’t need 10 days off to get over their fatigue, rather 2 games in a week was just what they needed to get them back into gear.
Following their exploits against Leicester, Leeds assets may well be on the radar of many FPL managers. Given that their starting 11 is scarcely changed, they might be the go-to team for the upcoming period.
During the hectic festive schedule, the only changes manager Marcelo Bielsa made were when injuries to his centre backs forced his hand. Hence, we can expect much the same over the coming period.
With nearly 50% of managers owning striker Patrick Bamford, you don’t need me to tell you that he’s a viable option, but it is no less notable that the England front man has started all of Leeds’ games so far in this campaign.
In fact, he has played 1699 of a possible 1800 minutes in the Premier League this season.
With far fewer owners (13.1%), Stuart Dallas has played all but 9 minutes of his team’s 20 fixtures thus far (1791 out of 1800 available minutes), despite arguably having to cover more ground than any other player in his team.
Classed as a defender by FPL, Dallas has often played in the full back position, but he has also been deployed in midfield on a number of occasions. With 6 clean sheets, 4 goals and 1 assist so far this season, Dallas has provided great value and at £4.8M should continue to do so with a relatively friendly fixture run to come.
Also of interest are the midfield pair of Jack Harrison and Raphinha, both of whom are priced at £5.4M. Since gaining his first start against Arsenal in Gameweek 9, Raphinha has started all 12 games and only come off early in 5 of those games (playing 90 minutes 7 times).
The Brazilian has been a key cog in Bielsa’s system and has accumulated 3 goals and 2 assists in his last 7 appearances. At 1.4% ownership, he could be a brilliant asset going forward.
Similarly, Harrison has managed 4 goals in his last 8 appearances and has started every game he has been available for this season. His ownership of 2.0% is also fairly low considering his success.
Dyche and Burnley
One of the main ingredients behind the success of Dyche’s Burnley side is the fact that he hardly ever rotates his players.
Their defenders in particular are rarely ever rested in the league. The only time Dyche has tampered with his first choice defence this season is when Charlie Taylor has been ruled out with Erik Pieters taking his place at left back.
On the opposite flank, Mathew Lowton has played every league game when available, as have the centre back partnership of James Tarkowski and Ben Mee. As the cheapest member of that backline at £4.4M, Lowton seems the go to option.
Their fixture at Manchester city this week, whilst an extremely unlikely source for a clean sheet, is followed by games against Brighton, Crystal Palace and West Brom so investing in their defence may be wise.
Smith and Villa
Aston Villa have been a revelation this season, so naturally their assets have been in high demand.
In a recent interview, Dean Smith downplayed away any suggestions that he might rotate by saying that his players were fueled by positive results so there would be no need to rotate.
Talisman Jack Grealish and Striker Ollie Watkins both fall in the top 10 in the Premier League for minutes played in their respective positions – both starting every single league game.
Watkins has played every single minute, and Grealish has played every single minute apart from one 87th minute substitution.
Villa’s recent form along with their favourable pricing has seen the English duo gain plenty of interest by FPL managers.
Grealish is the fifth highest scorer in the game with 119 points, and Watkins has 3 goals in his last 4 appearances. Having found his shooting boots in recent weeks, Watkins’ record of starting every league game so far looks set to continue.
The fact that Villa will almost certainly have a double Gameweek in GW26 gives further appeal to him.
With regard to Grealish, there is little to say that hasn’t already been said by so many. He has quite possibly been the best player in the Premier League this season and at £7.7M and a definite starter, is as safe a pick as you can hope for.
Finally, keep an eye on Matt Targett who continues to be a hidden gem in FPL this year. As well as being the sixth highest scoring defender this season, he has played 90 minutes in every game bar one (74 minutes against City). Nailed, attacking, and playing in a solid defence. What isn’t to like?
Moyes and West Ham
The final team I would like to highlight is West Ham United.
Like Villa, they have surprised many with their performances this season and similarly to Dean Smith’s outfit, have largely stuck to the same 11.
Not only is defender Aaron Cresswell the highest scoring defender in the game, he has also played every minute of West Ham’s campaign up until this point.
As previously mentioned, his team mate Thomas Soucek has also not missed a single minute this season, thereby making the pair about as rotation proof as anyone in the game. With fixtures against Aston Villa, Fulham and Sheffield United up next, they are likely to remain great assets.
If you are looking for a route into their attack (either as an addition to Antonio or an alternative) – Bowen is their most nailed attacker, playing 1634 minutes out of 1890 available. I personally fancy him to do well against Fulham and Sheffield United prior to a possible WC25.