Why 15 DGW Players Might not win you the Mini-League
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[fusion_dropcap boxed=”no” boxed_radius=”” class=”” id=”” color=””]T[/fusion_dropcap]he big Double Gameweek is upon us. You’re probably rubbing your hands together and muttering ‘excellent’, as you smugly navigate through your squad overflowing with DGW players.
The interface so crammed with upcoming fixtures you’ve had to enlarge your monitor’s tab or go full landscape on a mobile device just to view your team. Who cares if you’ve included Nathan Redmond, he’s got two matches and you’ve topped it all off by activating bench boost.
However, it’s not that simple. Approach with caution, as more fixtures on the screen doesn’t always translate to fantasy returns or even minutes on the field. I found this out playing the American equivalent of Fantasy Premier League last week, and believe the lessons learned from MLSFantasy can be useful in preparation for Double Gameweek 37.
Symptoms: High temperature, tunnel vision.
Common Causes: Wildcards, DGWs.
MLSFantasy shares the same love-hate relationship as FPL, although one major difference is that wildcards are handed out every gameweek to counteract the frequency of DGWs, two of which have already been played after just 10 gameweeks.
It’s the most recent DGW (Round 10) I want to discuss. Three clubs (Toronto, Orlando and Sporting Kansas) had an extra fixture compared to the rest of the field and although MLS is much more unpredictable than the Premier League, this trio are considered to be in the top tier of their respective leagues.
So as expected, the majority of fantasy players stacked up on the maximum amount of players (4 in MLSFantasy, compared to 3 in FPL) from at least two of these clubs, leaving just a couple of slots remaining, often on the bench, for single gameweek players.
Just as FPL managers begin to gloat over their Double Gameweek coverage, it was the same story in MLSFantasy. Users plastered their squads on twitter/reddit in the typical ‘look how good my team is’ or, as was actually the case, ‘look how many DGW players I have’ fashion.
The belief that a lesser player with an additional fixture would outscore a better player with one match had really set in, so you can guess what happened next…
Yes, here it is, the Round 10 top-scoring XI, featuring just three Double Gameweek players. 82% of the final ‘Dream Team’ was dominated by single gameweek talents, and most notably four of the front five; which I will discuss later.
This leads me onto the first tip in terms of selecting DGW players. Midfielders and strikers are more susceptible to rotation. Here a formation with five at the back (note: five central defenders) was the highest scoring, with just one offensive DGW player making the cut (Feilhaber).
We should take note of this ahead of this week’s busy FPL schedule. I’m predicting that, similar to Gameweek 36, it will be the goalkeepers and central defenders who are the safest options to secure minutes and points.
Locate DGW players who will get at least 120mins.
If you have activated your bench boost and planned accordingly beforehand, the maximum amount of DGW players you can field is 15. Think of this as 30 matches throughout Gameweek 37.
Excluding captaincy picks, we can now generate the maximum output you can produce solely from minutes played; 2pts for every 60mins played. Being an FPL nerd, you have probably done the simple maths already, but just to confirm; 30 matches x 2pts = 60pts.
Now that sounds great, but I can tell you right now, that won’t be the case come the end of the gameweek. The last stretch of the season is a minefield for rotation, niggling injuries and change of personnel.
There has never been a better time for clubs and managers to switch things up, give bit-part players a runout and even test new systems. This is most applicable to the sides safe from relegation or else too far away from qualification spots.
I’m not a fan of the term ‘nothing to play for’, as there’s always a motive for every club in every match. See it as playing with less pressure, rather than for nothing, although there’s no mistaking that some will adopt a more laid back ‘on the beach’ approach. Damn, there’s another cliche!
The fact still remains that you can gain a huge advantage just by having players who consistently start and finish a match. Not only can they bag you the appearance points (twice), but they also have an increased chance of contributing to goals, assists and bonus points, simply by being on the park for a longer period.
With this in mind, you have to be smart with your DGW selections. Below I have arranged some categories to help you find players likely to play over 120 minutes during the Double Gameweek.
I have not included goalkeepers, as it’s fairly obvious who will and will not be playing. I have also excluded players who are competing in additional competitions where fixtures clash (e.g Man United in Europa League) and minutes will be dented.
As seen in the MLSFantasy Round 10 Dream Team, those situated in the centre of a backline are most immune to rotation, while fullbacks are prone to rotation due to a higher workload. Below I have highlighted options from each DGW club, along with their seasonal minutes played having started a match (injuries excluded).
These are the types of offensive players who are 100% dogged and/or backed by their manager to cope with busy schedules, or in some cases have such a lack of competition that they’re relied upon heavily in terms of firepower at their club, I’m looking at you, Defoe. This lot will rack up the minutes even during a hectic Double Gameweek.
Don’t forget single gameweek players, especially Lukaku.
As I touched upon earlier, four out of five offensive players in the most recent DGW Dream Team in MLSFantasy were, in fact, single gameweek players.
In my opinion, the majority of Gameweek 37 squads popping up on the forum discussions seem to lack quality single gameweek players. Here I like to use Gabbiadini and Lukaku as examples.
Gabbiadini’s popularity is a clear case of tunnel vision. The gangly Italian is a quality player, but due to Claude Puel’s conservative approach, has hardly had a sniff of the ball in the opposition’s area over the last three gameweeks, as well as being hooked on the 59th, 58th and 68th minutes in three of the last five gameweeks.
“He has two fixtures though”, is the common response to questioning, and really that is the only thing going for him. Nobody knows if he’ll start both DGW matches or even reach the 60 minute threshold, especially with Southampton’s fixtures being three days apart, their stable position in the table, and of course, the mention of a Charlie Austin return.
This is where I’ll add Romelu Lukaku to the mix. Some may have forgotten, but the Belgian remains the Premier League top-scorer on 24 goals. With a three-goal lead on his nearest competitor (Harry Kane, who has a match in hand), there will be no chance of rotation as he looks to wrap up this award and possibly put himself in the shop window for Champions League football next season.
He couldn’t ask for a better fixture. Lukaku faces a Watford side who are not quite mathematically safe, but more or less in the clear on 40 points, six above the relegation zone, with a game in hand.
They have conceded nine times in their last three fixtures, and Lukaku will be hungry to add to the couple he notched in the reverse fixture this season.
This contest will be played out in Lukaku’s favourite stomping ground, Goodison Park. Using Fplbet’s Home/Away Statistics, I found that he’s contributed to 67% of his goals, 83% of his assists and 71% of his bonus points in this venue during the 2016/17 season.
Lukaku is extremely explosive, which is the main reason why you can compare him to a DGW striker, such as Gabbiadini. There’s no mistaking that Gabbiadini has the potential to nick a goal across his two fixtures versus Middlesbrough (a) and Man United (H), but Lukaku has the potential to trump this in a single fixture.
Just remember, Lukaku has hit a double digit total in nine gameweeks this season, five of these following a blank (as pictured). His consistency to add a second goal and three bonus points to the first is the reason he’s scored 21 points more than any other FPL forward this season.
Everton’s number 10 is the definition of a streaky FPL player. His struggle to find the net in his last three matches can either be used as justification to steer clear in favour of DGW strikers, although, in my opinion, he becomes increasingly volatile as his games without a goal build up.
It all points to one thing: the daunting realisation that GW37’s Dream Team probably won’t be comprised exclusively of DGW players. If you’re toying with removing a great player with a single match this week, it may be time to think again.
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