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Time to take a few hits?

Why you should think twice before taking hits in Blank Gameweek 31?

With just 4 fixtures set to take place in Gameweek 31, many Fantasy Premier League managers face the prospect of fielding just 6 or 7 players. This will inevitably lead to a fair amount of panic, perhaps even pushing a few into making wholesale changes on top of the free transfer that is available on a weekly basis. Now unless you have a complete lack of Liverpool ‘coverage’, this is something we would advise strongly against so let’s explain why by looking at the GW31 goal projections.

EPL Goals - GW31

Let’s start with the defenders. The chances of a clean sheet for 6 of the 8 teams in action falls in the 20% to 36% range. It’s therefore quite easy to see that none of these defenders would be expected to better 4 points, the cost of a transfer based on their projected clean sheet bonus points and game minutes.

Looking at this group as a whole, Huddersfield Town’s Christopher Schindler has accrued the most bonus points (13) which equates to less than 0.45 per appearance but that still wouldn’t be enough to get him over the 4 point mark. There is also the possibility that he could fail to see out 60 minutes for one reason or another, while he could easily pick up negative points for collecting a caution.

Offensive points will be needed to warrant their inclusion but with the possible exception of Everton’s Leighton Baines it is difficult to make a strong case for any of them. Baines has set pieces in his locker and could easily find himself back on penalty kick duty following Gylfi Sigurdsson’s injury set-back and another spot-kick miss from Wayne Rooney last weekend.

If you don’t own a goalkeeper from any of the 8 sides then you probably haven’t been planning very well but at least the men between the sticks have ‘save’ points to fall back on, while the small possibility of a penalty stop might also add to their appeal should you need to bring one in.

So, do midfielders and forwards fare any better?

Well, when we take a look at our ‘Armband’ ratings for GW31, it is easy to see why Liverpool players stand out so much. The Reds may no longer have their ‘Fab Four’ but the power trio of Mo Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mané all make plenty of appeal, with the Egyptian surely in the running to be the ‘most-captained’ player in a single FPL game week.

GW31Contribution Expectancy (Goals & Assists)
Mohamed Salah28.93%35.88%22.25%12.94%
Sadio Mané44.72%35.99%14.48%4.81%
Roberto Firmino45.16%35.90%14.27%4.67%
Jermain Defoe55.87%32.52%9.47%2.14%
Xherdan Shaqiri56.73%32.16%9.11%2.00%
Junior Stanislas56.80%32.13%9.09%1.99%
Steve Mounie63.81%28.67%6.44%1.08%
Josh King64.51%28.28%6.20%1.01%
Callum Wilson65.87%27.50%5.74%0.89%
Wayne Rooney67.03%26.81%5.36%0.79%
Christian Benteke69.17%25.50%4.70%0.63%
Cenk Tosun69.61%25.22%4.57%0.61%
Wilfried Zaha73.45%22.66%3.50%0.39%


Players from all of the other sides are less likely to be directly involved in a goal than actually scoring or assisting. Wayne Rooney and Xherdan Shaqiri have been in amongst the bonus points for the majority of the season and the latter in particular has had a much improved season, having been involved in 13 of the 28 goals that Stoke City have scored.

Jermain Defoe would be interesting if you knew he was guaranteed a start, with the Cherries having the pick of the fixtures against bottom club West Brom, while Wilfried Zaha of Crystal Palace is one to monitor, after returning from injury to feature in the 2nd half against Chelsea last Saturday.

However, it’s likely to come down to ‘gut’ feeling if you do pull the trigger on a few transfers so the best advice is to keep those transfers to the minimum!


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