What is a blank gameweek ?
A ‘blank gameweek’ is a term that is commonly used to describe an event that happens in season-long fantasy football such as the Official Fantasy Premier League (FPL) game. It refers to a situation where a number of teams have no league fixture scheduled between the start and end dates of the gameweek in question.
At the start of a new league season, FPL organisers will announce a schedule of gameweek dates, based on official fixtures released by the Premier League. If any game is postponed for whatever reason, it will be rearranged to a later date, where it falls into a different gameweek (often referred to as a double gameweek).
When are the blank gameweeks?
Although adverse weather conditions can result in postponements, that is quite rare nowadays, so the first blanks gameweeks of the season usually occur when the latter rounds of cup competitions are scheduled for the same weekend. These tournaments will take precedence over league fixtures, resulting in Premier League matches being rearranged to a later date.
The EFL Cup Final and the 5th round of the FA Cup will both be blank gameweeks in the 2016/17 FPL season. Southampton are scheduled to play Manchester United in the final of the league cup in GW26, so the Premier League games featuring these sides (the Manchester derby and Southampton vs Arsenal) will be rearranged, while any team that progresses to the 5th round of the FA Cup and their scheduled league opponents for the game round dates that coincide with those cup ties will also have a blank in GW28.
Astute Fantasy Premier League managers will plan around this, by making transfers to ensure that their squad isn’t made up of too many players without fixtures when these scenarios occur.