George Santayana once said that “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”. With this in mind, jamieFPL embarks on a study of past double gameweeks, and unearths some remarkable trends that we should all take heed of for the rest of this season.
Navigating the double gameweeks has been an integral part of Premier League Fantasy Football success since the birth of the online game. Whilst we mostly see fixtures rescheduled due to domestic cup commitments, over the years we’ve been gifted DGWs due to freak weather conditions and even riots in London.
So despite The FA Cup’s best efforts to limit future DGWs by scrapping replays, it looks like they’re here to stay, in one capacity or another. Therefore, it’s a good idea to learn from the mistakes made in previous years or you could find yourself repeating them.
The statistics within this article are taken from DGW 34 & 37 from the 2015/16 season, and DGW 31 & 37 from the 2013/14 season. We’ve selected these two seasons as they had the highest amount of DGW fixtures from the last five years.
Don’t transfer out your in-form players on the basis of them only having a singular fixture.
We’ve all been there…Wildcard activated and the Bench Boost chip ready to be slammed down on the table for the impending double gameweek. Why have 11 DGW players when you can have 15? Why have Alexis Sanchez when you can have Glenn Whelan who has TWICE the amount of time to return the points?!
It sounds so obvious doesn’t it? But you just wait until you’re presented with that opportunity.
Whilst it does make sense to ‘load up’ on double gameweek players if you’ve saved your Wildcard and Bench Boost to play one after the other, we still highly recommend that you hold on to your in-form players or those who have a high ownership percentage.
In Double Gameweek 34 & 37 last season (2015/16) the highest scoring players were Sergio Aguero (26 points) and Lamine Kone (21 points) respectively, who both had just one fixture during the double gameweek.
Whilst we’re not suggesting Lamine Kone was either in-form or highly owned, we’re stressing that the highest scoring players won’t necessarily be those playing twice. In fact, from our data sample, 27.5% of the top 20 highest scoring players had just one match in DGW31/34 combined and 35% in both DGW37 fixtures.
The correlation between DGW37’s highest scorers and league motives
Players with something left to play for in the league are more likely to return points than those who don’t.
Whilst you’d hope that thousands of pounds per week in wages falls into the category of ‘something left to play for’, there’s a clear correlation between the highest scoring DGW players and league motives.
75% of the top 20 highest scoring players from DGW37 in both 13/14 & 15/16 where either involved in the relegation battle or pushing for the title, top four or European football.
The relegation battle is usually a good source for points when it comes to the final double gameweek of the season. From our sample range, we’ve seen inspired performances from the likes of Sunderland (both years), Aston Villa & Norwich when faced with relegation.
Unbelievably, Sunderland players actually account for 25% when you combine the top 20 highest scoring players in DGW37 from both years.
Whilst the sample range is too small to pull a forecast of this year’s proceedings, it’s fair to say that you shouldn’t necessarily favour the big clubs and popular players in the final stages of the season.
Be wary of rotation in double gameweek 37
Year after year we watch managers load their teams with double gameweek players only to watch them play less than 100 minutes across both fixtures. A congested fixture list will lead to an increase in rotation, so it makes sense to approach the final DGWs with an understanding that nobody is safe.
Those of you who still have your Bench Boost chip intact might want to consider playing it in DGW34 as opposed to DGW37 in order to increase your chances of accurately selecting players who will play on both occasions. If you are saving it until the penultimate gameweek, it may be wise to again look towards teams who have ‘something to play for’, as their managers will be less prone to rotation if the fixture needs to be won.
ADDITIONAL NOTES: At the time of writing this article the Double Gameweeks had not been confirmed. Now that we know DGW34 doesn’t present much potential for points, I’ve decided to cross out the above sentence that recommends using Bench Boost in GW34 as apposed to GW37.
However, the point still applies and managers should be very caution of rotation when planning their transfers. The wonderful Peter Blake – who also featured in the first edition of FFMag – recently shared this table on Premier League player usage statistics. The table visualises what we can expect from the final weeks of the season and as Peter said on his tweet: “’tis the season for rotation, learn to accept it.”
If you’re looking for looking for more advice on the impending fantasy football double gameweeks, then I strongly recommend that you take a second to download the FREE Fantasy Football E-Magazine and have a read. It contains several in-depth FPL articles that focus on the strategy & tactics behind Fantasy Premier League success, and has more articles like this that focus on double gameweeks and chip usage. It also contains a mini-league with prizes for the highest scoring managers in DGW34 & 37.