The Premier League shares the spotlight with the FA Cup this weekend. Whilst that means a glut of live matches to watch, it plays havoc with fantasy football. A reduced fixture list of just five matches means some careful planning is needed.
If you’ve been planning for this for a number of weeks, you are probably sitting quite comfortably reading this. With only 10 teams in action, there will be plenty of FPL teams with less than 11 players this week. There is an argument for playing the Free Hit chip this week. That will allow you to make unlimited changes for one week only and your team will revert for week 32. This is a get out of jail card if you’re sitting with only a handful of players set to play. The only question is whether that chip could be used in another way. For example there will be weeks (expected to be 32 and 35) where many teams play twice, so you could get a points bonanza by picking a team full of players playing twice.
With just the five matches to look at, we are able to analyse each game to pick out the potential value. With Tottenham, Arsenal and both Manchester Clubs not in league action, this looks like being one of the trickiest weeks yet.
1) Bournemouth vs Newcastle (Saturday, 3pm)
With just one place and three points separating these two teams, a tight mid-table clash is expected. For all the Magpies are tough to break down away from home, they don’t often win on the road which makes Bournemouth favourites here. The Cherries looked a different side with Callum Wilson (£6.4m) back to lead the line with chief protagonist Ryan Fraser (£6.2m) returning to points scoring form. On the negative side, Eddie Howe has some defensive injuries to deal with at the moment with Steve Cook, Adam Smith and Simon Francis out of this one. That should mean Nathan Ake (£5.1m) is partnered by Chris Mepham (£4.5m) whilst Artur Boruc (£4.1m) has been preferred in goal recently.