Navigating GW25 to GW30 without using wildcard or free hit

In this article, we review the optimal method for navigating FPL Gameweek 25 to Gameweek 30 without using your wildcard or free hit in Fantasy Premier League. In particular, we focus on transfer priorities for FPL Gameweek 26 and Gameweek 29.

Over the last year or so, we’ve all heard the word “unprecedented” far too many times for our liking, but I hope you’ll allow me to indulge you again because the only word befitting of the upcoming period for FPL is exactly that.

It is unprecedented. Between gameweeks 24 and 29, we are potentially getting 5 double gameweeks (DGW) in a row followed by a blank gameweek (BGW), something which has never happened before.

In GW31 there is a clear fixture swing for many teams. Wolves, Chelsea and Arsenal are amongst the teams who have a fantastic end to the season. Alternatively, BGW29 favourites Leeds and Villa have tough fixtures from GW31 onwards.

Therefore, many are planning on ‘dead-ending’ their team into GW29/30 and wildcarding shortly after. If this is you, or if you have already used your second wildcard, in this article I will explain which transfers and strategies you should be prioritising.

by @FPLHindsight

Below are the fixtures for gameweek 25-30, courtesy of Ben Crellin. This should be your bible for the next 6 gameweeks!

Preparing for GW25

One of the most important things to consider over the coming weeks (unless you are using your free hit), is how you will field a team in GW29. In other words, whilst still attacking GW25-GW28, you should keep in mind BGW29. With that in mind, there is a team that double in GW25 and also play in GW29 – Leeds United.

In gameweek 25 two teams have a double: Leeds and Southampton.

  • Leeds play Wolves (A) and Southampton (H)
  • Southampton play Chelsea (H) and Leeds (A)

Not only do Leeds double in GW25 and play a tantalising fixture against Fulham in GW29, their double of Wolves and Southampton in itself is quite appealing. As such, I would prioritise Leeds over Southampton.

Southampton have the worst xGC in the league over the past 5 gameweeks (10.57), have conceded the most goals (18) and have kept 0 clean sheets over that period. Wolves have tightened up in the last 5 gameweeks with the 5th best xGC in the league (5.08), but you would still fancy Leeds to get a goal or two.

If there is one player to target in GW25 it is Raphinha (£5.3m, 3.6% tsb). He has returned in 5 gameweeks in a row (13, 5, 9, 6, 5) and is a serious captaincy option for his double in GW25. He has the 6th highest xA over the last 5 gameweeks (1.51), and the 8th highest xG. He is also shooting a lot with the 3rd highest shots (13) and is on almost every set piece for Leeds with Phillips injured. He is cheap enough to be benched, but also quality enough to play every week.

Bamford is also likely to have an effective ownership of over 100% at most ranks, and therefore he should at the very least be in your team for GW25, potentially chosen as captain. If not, prepare for a potential massacre on your rank.

An alternative option that many may not have considered is Strujik (£3.9m, 4.8% tsb). Strujik currently posts the highest xG in the league for defenders over the last 5 games (1.02). His xA over the last 5 (0.22) is also fairly impressive for a central defender. As you can see in this tweet, a verified Leeds United journalist suggests that Strujik should be nailed for at least another month, which means he is perfect for BGW29 as well. Doubles in 25, plays in 29, cheap enough to bench consistently, and great attacking threat.

The only thing to consider here is that Leeds do NOT play twice in GW26. Therefore, if you plan on playing the bench boost in GW26, loading up on Leeds players in GW25 may not be the most sensible option. That being said, with the aim of helping you navigate GW25 to GW29 without a wildcard, Leeds United are a fantastic option and should be your priority for GW25.

Preparing for GW26

The recently concluded FA cup 5th round was kind to those managers hoping to navigate this period without a free hit or a wildcard, see here a round up of how the FA cup influenced FPL.

The crooks of it are that it is very likely that both Tottenham and Aston Villa will have a DGW in 26 and play in 29 (their GW29 fixture will be against each other).

  • Tottenham will likely have a DGW26 of Burnley (H) & Southampton/Fulham
  • Aston Villa will likely have a DGW26 of Leeds (A) & Everton/Sheffield United

Tripling up on Spurs and Villa between now and GW29 should give you 5 and 6 fixtures from these clubs respectively whilst others may only have 3 in that time, as well as giving you as many as 6 options for GW29 (note that at this point their GW29 fixture is not 100% confirmed but is very likely). Their fixture runs add incentive, as if it were needed, for us to make the most of their assets.

Tottenham’s fixtures include Burnley, Crystal Palace and one of Fulham or Southampton whilst Villa play the likes of Leeds, Sheffield United, Newcastle Everton, and Wolves before they face off against each other.

In other words, having assets from both of these teams will prove very useful for GW29, and before a very appealing double gameweek in 26 would be the perfect time to double and triple up on their assets.

Most managers will already have some coverage from these teams. If, however, you don’t and you feel it may be too much to bring in 4 or 5 players at once, it might be wise to prioritise Tottenham initially. Burnley and one of Southampton or Fulham is probably more appealing than Villa’s fixtures of Leeds and one of Sheffield United and Everton, especially if it is the latter.

Moreover, Villa will probably have another DGW in either GW27 or 28. On paper, their second double is easier so even if you can’t afford to bring their assets in for GW26, the ship would be far from sailed.

Options like Emi Martinez, (£5.2M), Jack Grealish (£7.8M), Matt Targett (£4.9M) and Ollie Watkins (£6.5M) are probably the most enticing from a Villa perspective.

As far as Spurs are concerned, its hard to look past the dynamic duo of Kane and Son. Looking at the defences they are likely to face in the double gameweek 26 (especially Burnley), due to their low-block tactics if you can only prioritise one of the two I would suggest opting for Harry Kane. Harry Kane is probably the standout captaincy for GW26 too.

Either way, your priority for GW26 should be Aston Villa and Tottenham players. Do NOT be afraid to take a hit or two, they usually pay off for double gameweeks.

Preparing for GW27 and beyond

Following their recent clean sheets against Tottenham and Liverpool, Brighton have been gaining some attention and their performance against Aston Villa would only have validated that further. However, even prior to this, their underlying statistics suggested that they should have been keeping a lot more clean sheets than they were.

Their xGC of 0.87 per game is bettered only by Manchester City. Their fixtures for gameweek 27 onwards are very appealing, in particular their fixture in GW29 at home to Newcastle (another blank gameweek player to add to our squads). Alternatively, if you’re already set up for GW26 with Spurs and Villa assets and you can afford the luxury of an extra transfer, moving to Brighton early could prove extremely beneficial as they play West Brom in GW26 – see their upcoming fixtures below.

Not only are Brighton’s defensive stats impressive, but their chance creation stats are also incredibly impressive (see this tweet for some incredible stats on Pascal Gross and Brighton). All of the data points to Lewis Dunk (£4.9m), Ben White (£4.4m) or Dan Burn (£4.2m) being a fantastic option, and prioritising them in any of the next 4 gameweeks before GW29 should prove fruitful.

If you go into GW29 with even as few as 7 players from the teams mentioned above (Leeds, Tottenham, Villa, and Brighton), it should provide you with enough cover for the blank, as many will be without a free hit too. If one of the likes of Arsenal and West Ham are in form coming into GW29, bringing one of their assets in ahead of this GW is also an option.

Arsenal in particular have a very nice run of games following GW29, so bringing in an Arsenal player directly before the blank gameweek may be a very good move (see their fixtures after GW29 below).

Summary

If you focus on bringing in Leeds assets in GW25, Villa and Spurs in GW26, and Brighton in GW27 you should not only attack the upcoming double gameweeks, but also prepare yourself very well for blank gameweek 29.

  • GW25 – Leeds are the priority.
  • GW26 – Spurs and Villa are the priority.
  • GW27 – Brighton are the priority.
  • GW29 – Arsenal could be a good option.

Hopefully this article has given some structure to your planning and began encouraging you to think carefully about the upcoming schedule. Either way, it should be fairly comfortable navigating the next five gameweeks without using any chips.

Attack the double gameweeks, but keep in mind how you plan to navigate blank gameweek 29.

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