Fantasy Premier League has its biggest week of the year, and perhaps ever, starting this Saturday.
There are a whopping 17 matches on in double gameweek 26 (DGW26), the most there has ever been in a single gameweek.
With 14 teams playing all the way up to next Thursday, there is huge potential on offer to improve your rank massively – or fall far down the rankings. It really feels like a make or break gameweek.
Our weekly FPL column is back to provide you with some helpful tips before you save your team ahead of the deadline. We’re going to assume you probably have Bruno Fernandes or Mo Salah, so we’re going to focus on the Premier League teams to focus on, who to transfer in, and the best way to go about it.
FPL GW26 Deadline: Saturday, 11:00am GMT
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Fantasy Premier League: Essential tips for Double Gameweek 26
Don’t take too many hits bringing in double gameweek players
With so many teams playing twice in DGW26, it’s imperative to take advantage of as many of them as possible. If you’ve been paying attention to this column and our podcast in recent weeks, then you will have been planning accordingly in the lead-up to Saturday’s deadline.
My prediction is that more chips will be activated this gameweek than any other, which makes complete sense given how massive it is.
On this week’s episode of The Fantasy Faithful podcast, we spoke to the ninth-ranked FPL manager in the entire world, Kevin Rose, who revealed he would be using his free hit chip. He gave us some insight into who he’s considering for his team, which you can see below:
If you have chips remaining and are not sure what the best plan of action is, then read over our guide for how to get the most out of your chips in the double and blank gameweeks. Every chip is worth considering, including bench boost and triple captain.
For those of you who have already used your chips or want to save them for later, you will have to navigate DGW26 with regular transfers. The temptation with double gameweeks is to take hits to load up players with two games, but do not eschew the players on a single gameweek.
Leeds United assets, for example, could still make big returns against an Aston Villa defence that has been depreciating in recent weeks. Is it really worth taking a hit to get rid of them? It depends on who you’re transferring in, but I wouldn’t think so.
Don’t take too many hits either, as that will defeat the purpose entirely. Taking a hit of 12 points or more is not worth it in this writer’s opinion, even if it’s for the purpose of a bench boost. You’re just tanking your overall rank for little return.
Back Leicester over Tottenham
Many have eyed up Harry Kane (and Son Heung-min) for this week as a potential triple captaincy option. More power to them, but even though I have Kane in my side, I’m not trusting him with the armband. Tottenham Hotspur have been decidedly unimpressive in recent months, and it would be so typical of Burnley’s Nick Pope and a resurgent Fulham to keep them quiet.
I am far more excited by Leicester City‘s assets, however. Okay, yes they also have Burnley, at Turf Moor no less, as well as Arsenal, which will be a tricky tie. But they are in great form and provide a plethora of great options.
Harvey Barnes (£6.8) is my favourite of them, and the most attractive price-wise. His directness is fantastic and he always seems to play some part in Leicester’s goals these days. Only Jamie Vardy (£10.1) has more touches in the box per 90 minutes than Barnes’ 4.61 over the past ten gameweeks, while only Ilkay Gundogan (£6.1) has more goals among midfielders than his six.
Vardy could be an excellent alternative to Kane, and if you can somehow fit the two in your team then all the better. The striker is on penalties and has returned in each of his two starts since returning from injury.
James Maddison (£7.3) has been brilliant lately, but unfortunately is ruled out of the Arsenal game, which may change the dynamic with regard to Leicester assets. I still think they’re worth having, however.
And finally, Ricardo Pereira (£5.9) was suggested as a potential differential by Kevin Rose on The Fantasy Faithful podcast. The full-back has missed most of the season through injury, but could be deployed in a very advanced position by Brendan Rodgers in these next two games.
“You might literally have a double gameweek winger playing in defence,” Kevin points out. One to keep in your thoughts if you’re wildcarding or free-hitting in DGW26.
GW26 Fixtures: ARS, bur
With just two wins in their last five matches, Everton doesn’t exactly scream “high priority” when it comes to FPL transfers. Indeed, they lie 13th in the form table over the past matches, behind the likes of Fulham, Burnley and even Crystal Palace.
However, the past few matches have shown that there is value in plumping for the Toffees in DGW26. They scored three goals away to Manchester United, two at Anfield, and are one of only three teams to score against Manchester City since the beginning of January.
Their weak performance against Fulham at home means we can’t take FPL returns from them for granted, but their fixtures look irresistible, at least on paper.
As noted on The FPL Wire this week, Southampton are conceding a big chance every 34 minutes, which currently is the worst rate in the league. West Brom, meanwhile, have conceded a whopping 55 goals in 25 games this season, by far the most in the Premier League.
As I said on The Fantasy Faithful podcast this week, my plan was to bring in Jamie Vardy to triple up on the Leicester attack. However, I’ve changed tack and gone with Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£7.6) instead.
While I believe Vardy is the better option judging by his underlying numbers, Calvert-Lewin is in great form having returned two goals and two assists in his last three matches. You would expect him to find more returns against two teams who can’t keep the ball out of their own net at the moment.
The England striker is the best pick among the Everton options, as I wouldn’t have a huge amount of faith in their defensive or midfield assets. If I was on a wildcard or free hit, I would be tempted by Lucas Digne (£6.1), who provides a great differential at 7.8 percent ownership.
The full-back has two assists over the past ten gameweeks, bettered only by Luke Shaw (4), although the Everton man has played three fewer games. Digne’s underlying creative numbers are also quite good, and he often takes indirect free-kicks too. The defence is a worry, however, as their 1.38 goals conceded per match is the seventh-worst in the league, while Jordan Pickford is liable to make a mistake at any moment.
Richarlison (£7.9) would present an interesting differential, but again I would only consider him if I was on a wildcard or free hit.
Everton’s GW26 Fixtures: SOU, wba
Prioritise Man City’s defence over their attack
Based on that, one might think that their attacking options are all must-haves, especially since they have scored the second-most goals (50) in the league. But it’s their defence that you should be prioritising for your FPL team.
Man City have conceded as many league goals as they have kept clean sheets: 15. That is an outrageous statistic, as is the fact that they have gone behind in just one match since 21 November: against Cheltenham Town in the FA Cup.
Ruben Dias (£6.1) is the most nailed-on pick in the backline, with John Stones (£5.2) the next best bet. The Portuguese centre-back has been rotated once since GW14, while the Englishman has been rested twice in that time. Joao Cancelo (£6.1) has the highest ceiling for returns among City’s defenders, but he is more prone to rotation.
Owning two of those three is a must, but if the prospect of playing Pep Roulette is too stressful for you, then consider putting Ederson (£6.1) in nets. The Brazilian goalkeeper’s ceiling for FPL points isn’t that high, but barring injury he will start every single match.
Of the attacking options, the one to transfer in is my guy Ilkay Gundogan (£6.1), who we suggested as an absolute must-own a month ago. He has scored four goals and made two assists since then.
As brilliant as he is, I don’t have a lot of faith in Raheem Sterling (£11.6) as an FPL asset these days, although I would definitely hold him if you already own him. Although Phil Foden is also excellent, he’s too prone to rotation for my liking, so avoid him.
If you are on a wildcard or free hit, though, then Bernardo Silva (£7.4) could be a one week punt that delivers big dividends. The Portuguese midfielder is more expensive than Gundogan and Foden, but has started every league match since GW14, and is in the team of Ola Hovde – the current world number one in FPL.
Even him starting in the Champions League in midweek doesn’t worry me about him being rested for the Premier League. The only match in all competitions he has missed was that cup tie with Cheltenham. But the thing that attracts me to him is his ownership, which stands at 1.3 percent. If he were to haul in DGW26 then your rank would soar.
A gamble, certainly, but one worth considering.