Blank Gameweek 31 FPL Strategy Guide by @FPL_Audit
Posted by @FFPundits_Drew
9:48pm Mar 7 2018
3 FPL strategies by @FPL_Audit to consider for the Blank Gameweek 31 schedule
The time is upon us FPL bosses – it’s the business end of the season, where making informed strategic transfers can really help you propel your FPL squad up the standings in your private mini-leagues.
This article will be looking ahead to blank Gameweek 31, recommending players you’ll likely want to integrate into your teams as well as weighing up the merits of potential strategies/scenarios you could use to help successfully navigate Gameweek 31.
I’d also like to say a massive thank you to FantastyFootballFix.com for providing me with the graphics from their fantastic Player Comparison Matrix tool – a MUST for all Fantasy Premier League bosses.
Strategy 1 – The Free Hit
Whilst the popular opinion amongst FPL pundits is to use your Free Hit chip in Blank Gameweek 35, using the chip in Gameweek 31 could prove to be a differential approach and see you looking at a huge green arrow for the week.
Many of your mini-league rivals will be struggling to field nine, ten or eleven players and most likely taking 4 or 8 point hits and more to do so.
We have evaluated the 4 fixtures indepth and have produced the below squad we would opt for if we were to use the Free Hit chip for Gameweek 31.
Which starting 11 and formation you’d opt for would obviously come down to your decision on the day, but hypothetically, wouldn’t it be nice being spoilt for choice in Gameweek 31.
Jonas Lössl vs. Crystal Palace (H)
A recent upturn in Huddersfield’s form gives renewed hope of clean sheets and Lössl is the highest scoring goalkeeper of all available options for the gameweek.
Huddersfield won the reverse fixture 3-0 on the opening day of the season and Lössl is always among the saves.
Jack Butland vs. Everton (H)
When Stoke keep clean sheets, Butland inevitably gets bonus points and with Everton only scoring 2 goals in their last 4 away games he’s a real option.
Of all Premier League keepers he leads the way for average number of saves per game (3.8), and thus provides great potential for some extra save points.
Seamus Coleman vs. Stoke City (A)
After a long-term injury the Irish FPL favourite returned last gameweek with an assist and will be looking to inject some much-needed life into big Sam’s floundering Everton side.
Despite Everton’s poor away form, there is no denying Coleman’s quality and he always carries the threat of attacking returns, as displayed by his 4 goals and 4 assists last season.
Virgil van Dijk vs. Watford (H)
VVD is the most nailed on starter in a defence that have looked incredibly solid in recent weeks, particularly at home.
Of all the fixtures this would be the one where you could predict a clean sheet with some degree of conviction.
Van Dijk can also provide a menacing threat with his head from corners and set-pieces.
Charlie Daniels vs. West Brom (H)
Daniels was like gold dust for FPL managers in the previous two seasons and despite not quite reaching those attacking heights thus far this season he still offers a great option into the Bournemouth back-line for this home fixture against bottom of the league, West Brom.
Christopher Schindler vs. Crystal Palace (H)
As above with Lössl, Huddersfield are looking a team in form and always put a good performance in at home. Schindler is always among the bonus when the Terriers keep a CS. In their 6 clean sheets, Schindler has amassed 11 bonus points! (0, 3, 0, 3, 2, 3)
Moritz Bauer vs. Everton (H)
Stoke have only conceded 1 goal in their last 3 home games and this form, coupled with Everton’s poor performances away, could point to a Stoke clean sheet.
Swiss right back Bauer appears to be the cheapest nailed on player in the Potter’s defence and as a full back could always nick an unexpected assist.
Mohamed Salah vs. Watford (H) [Captain]
Definite Captain. Everyone has run out of superlatives for Mo Salah and rightfully so, he is the highest scoring player in the game, ahead of his nearest rival by over 50 points.
If you’ve even considering going into Gameweek 31 without him, you’re doing FPL all wrong!
Xherdan Shaqiri vs. Everton (H)
Everton have lost 6 in a row away from home at the time of writing and Shaqiri is in frighteningly good form, with 3 goals in his last 4 games – FPL hot property and an essential for Gameweek 31.
Junior Stanislas vs. West Brom (H)
When fit, the Bournemouth winger is a bit of a cult hero for FPL managers. Stanislas is a potent threat when he’s in the side, scoring 7 goals last season – with just 0.5% ownership, he could be a great differential gamble.
Gylfi Sigurdsson vs. Stoke (A)
Despite not finding his feet thus far in his Everton career, Siggy’s quality still speaks for itself. He’s on set pieces and has created 4 chances and registered 2 shots on target in his last 3 games, worth a look.
Wilfried Zaha vs. Huddersfield (A)
The Ivorian looks to be back from injury, prior to GW 31, and should be straight back into Roy Hodgson’s side. Despite not being match practiced, Zaha is capable of huge double figure hauls and we’d be looking for him to hit the ground running in this fixture.
Roberto Firmino vs. Watford (H)
Firmino is having a barnstormer of a season, he’s the third highest scoring striker in the game, only trailing FPL royalty; Harry Kane & Sergio Aguero – with 4 goals in his last 5 home games, he’s absolutely essential for this fixture in my opinion.
Christian Benteke vs. Huddersfield (A)
The big Palace target man has hit a rich vein of form, returning points in 7 of the last 8 Gameweek’s – definitely worth a punt considering the limited options available up-top in the other teams for Gameweek 31.
Steve Mounie vs. Crystal Palace (H)
A goal and 2 assists in his last home game and a goal away at West Brom have put Mounie back in favour as the main man for Huddersfield. His form can’t be ignored, particularly for this fixture, which looks relatively easy on paper.
Strategy 2: Still holding your Wildcard?
If, like myself (CB), you still have your invaluable second Wildcard chip left, then we would recommend going into Gameweek 31 with a core of 3x Liverpool players, Shaqiri, and then depending on how many Blank Gameweek 31 players you already have in your squad, trying to get two, three or even four more of the players we’ve mentioned above, prior to the Gameweek 31 deadline.
Taking a punt (and even a hit) on a few of these players could pay great dividends in the short-term – you could then look to Wildcard and move them on in Gameweek 32 or 33, prior to the Double Gameweek’s in 34 & 37.
In terms of your Liverpool trio, Firmino & Salah are almost essential and from there you have two options; either tripling-up on their attack through Mane, or going for a defensive option in the form of VVD, Robertson or Karius.
We personally prefer the more balanced approach of adding a defender but Liverpool could well put 4 or 5 past Watford at home and Mane could well get a haul so, comes down to a coin flip, gut instinct decision here.
Other notable players worthy of a gamble for the Gameweek are:
Bournemouth: Callum Wilson, Josh King & Nathan Ake
Huddersfield: Zanka & Rajiv van La Parra
Crystal Palace: Patrick van Aanholt & Luka Milivojevic
Stoke: Kurt Zouma
Everton: Theo Walcott
We woudn’t recommend any West Brom players for Gameweek 31 due to their awful form and undeniably, being the worst side in the league. Likewise, with Watford players due to the extremely tough fixture away at Anfield.
Strategy 3: No Wildcard left?
If you have found yourself in this scenario, you will need to be more cautious about who you bring in for the Gameweek, as you won’t be able to shift on any deadwood as quickly as a player with the Wildcard to fall back on.
Realistically, you should only be looking to field 3x Liverpool players (as mentioned above), then only a couple of blank Gameweek 31 players with good fixtures in the weeks afterwards.
Huddersfield & Bournemouth both have favourable fixtures in the short-term after the blank, as do Watford and even the dreaded West Brom!
We hope you’ve found this Strategic Guide to Gameweek 31 informative & useful and if so, please follow us on twitter – @FPL_Audit – for further opinions and insights on all things FPL!
BEFORE YOU GO: Be sure to join myself and the Fantasy Football Pundits this weekend on Starting 11 for some Gameweek 30 daily fantasy football action by hitting the banner below.
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