- LazyFPL | The FPL Newsletter
- 📈 GW22: the 4-min cheat sheet 🧠
📈 GW22: the 4-min cheat sheet 🧠
The Premier League returns, and so do we.
🚨 The stuff you should know 🚨
⏰ Gameweek 22’s deadline is Tuesday 30th January, 18:00 GMT.
🤕 Mohamed Salah has a “proper tear” of his hamstring.
👍 Erling Haaland returns to full-time training with the City squad. “Could be ready” for Gameweek 22.
🙏 Gabriel’s involvement will come down to a “late decision”.
👀 Gameweek 25 will be a Double Gameweek, Gameweek 26 will be a Blank Gameweek and Gameweek 29 is highly likely to be a Blank Gameweek.
There’s no guarantee we’ll ever do this, but…
Would you listen to a podcast version of LazyFPL?
5 mins, zero BS, perhaps a bit of banter.
Like it or not, the blank and double gameweeks will be decisive in whether or not your FPL season is a good one.
They act as a sieve, but rather than filtering out chunks of flour from your pancake mix, the blanks and doubles catch the managers too lazy to check the fixture schedule in advance. And there are plenty of those.
Incase it’s not already clear from the name, we are fierce and proud advocates of laziness.
But if we were to pull ourselves from the sofa, put on some clothes that could legally be worn in public, drive to the nearest beach and draw a line in the sand that should never be crossed, it would be at laziness that costs you FPL points.
Our aim is to uphold our unshakeable principles of laziness whilst helping you to navigate the next 17 gameweeks with the relaxed fluency of a chess Grandmaster dismantling an unaware opponent. We’ll do our best.
Remember, if the first half of the season is defined by the trendy stuff (spotting hidden gems, analysing underlying stats, finding the bargains), the second half of the season is defined by the admin: fixture calendars, chip strategy and robust planning.
Whilst the former is undeniably alluring to even the most devout of nuns, it’s the latter that wins mini-leagues. And as the old adage goes; nothing says sex-appeal like a mini-league winner.
Gameweek 22’s fixtures.
Doubles and blanks: what we know.
Ben Crellin has updated his fixture calendar to factor in the outcomes of recent cup results. Here it is:
So Brentford and Man City will definitely play two fixtures in Double Gameweek 25.
It’s likely Luton and Liverpool will join them, but they’ll definitely blank in Blank Gameweek 26. As will Spurs and Chelsea.
Some pretty unexciting teams could enjoy a Double Gameweek in 27 & 28, before 16 teams could theoretically miss Gameweek 29.
It’s worth tipping our hat to Ben, who rightfully gets a lot of credit in this newsletter.
He’s been putting together the pieces for months, diligent and investigative. We like to imagine that his bedroom walls are a tapestry of Premier League crests and calendar cut-outs, all joined together by red pieces of string.
We asked AI to produce an image of this, and it totally nailed it. You’ll find it at the bottom of this email.
Doubles and blanks: what the pros are doing.
We’ll start with James Cooper’s reaction. For those unaccustomed, James is one of the best managers in the world who also happens to hang out in our premium WhatsApp chats, dishing out advice.
My very simplistic take, subject to change: looks to me like Gameweek 29 is going to be a pain in the arse to get through with free transfers, due to the teams blanking and likely volume of blanks. That means I’ll probably play the Free Hit chip in Gameweek 29. And THAT means my transfer plans now are fully focused on getting through Double Gameweek 25 and Blank Gameweek 26.
In other words: for me, free transfers between now and Blank Gameweek 26 are going to be:
(1) getting on triple City (because they double and don’t blank);
(2) I’d say getting at least two Liverpool (because their likely double in 25 is so good); and
(3) when we get to that bit, moving off Spurs and Chelsea to whatever degree necessary (because you’ll be coming out of 25 wanting to bench your Liverpool players, and you need to get a team out in 26).
Meanwhile, the Professor has outlined a gameweek-by-gameweek transfer plan of how he intends to prepare for Double Gameweek 25 and Blank Gameweek 26: the headline is that, like James, he’ll be using free transfers instead of chips to get his squad into shape.
So here’s what to do in simple, no-bullshit English:
1) Free transfers should be used to prepare for Gameweeks 25 and 26.
2) Man City are probably the most appealing team, because they Double in Gameweek 25 and still play in Blank Gameweek 26.
3) Liverpool assets will also be popular for their Gameweek 25 double, but they’ll need to be benched in Blank Gameweek 26 because they don’t play.
4) Depending on how many teams blank in Gameweek 29, it could be a good week to play the Free Hit.
Is Haaland finally back?
As has become tradition in these parts, we’re sharing the latest on the speculation around Erling Haaland’s fitness.
In short, it appears Haaland might be available for Burnley on Wednesday. We know he’s back in full training, which is progress. Pep Guardiola - an ever trustworthy source - said this: “we’ll give him three or four days and hopefully he can play against Burnley and he can play his first minutes, we’ll see.”
That doesn’t exactly inspire confidence, but it sounds like Haaland could well feature - be it on the bench (more likely) or in the starting line-up (less likely) - in Gameweek 22.
As with Kevin De Bruyne’s drip-feed back to regular football, many expect Haaland’s minutes to be managed. An obvious yet somehow still mad stat: he hasn’t played a game since December 6th.
Our advice? Transferring in a £13.9m player who is still an injury doubt is an odd decision, even if the player in question is actually a Norse God. We’ll be waiting to see the outcome of the Burnley game before ushering him back in.
Should you buy Kevin De Bruyne?
At the time of writing, Kevin De Bruyne has already been transferred in by well over 1m managers. The hysteria around his return is akin to the chaotic Black Friday scenes where shoppers stampede to grab a discounted telly, only instead of shoppers it’s FPL managers, and instead of a cheap plasma screen it’s a rather expensive Belgian with newly grown curtains.
Listen, there’s a decent chance you’ve already pulled the trigger here anyway, but for what it’s worth, buying De Bruyne is not a bad decision.
Not only is he an excellent footballer (this is the sort of cutting-edge footballing insight you subscribed for, right?), but he also aligns perfectly with our recommended Double and Blank Gameweek strategy, which, for now, is to use free transfers to buy Man City and Liverpool players.
Besides, if he keeps up his current output, he’s averaging 48 FPL points per 90. No brainer.
What’s happening with Salah?
Last week it was revealed that Mohamed Salah’s hamstring has a “proper tear”. Not one of these fake, poser tears. A proper tear. For proper hamstrings.
What might’ve been a fairly complex situation in which the Egyptian was hoping to return to compete in AFCON has been made much simpler by the fact that Egypt have just been knocked out of the tournament. Which is awfully considerate of them.
Thus, his injury can now be viewed through the lens of any other injury: a Premier League return date is merely a question of when he’s fit.
He’s been given a recovery horizon of 3-4 weeks. Double Gameweek 25 starts on 17th February. It’s touch and go, but as the Professor points out in his latest email, even if he manages to make it back, is he really going to be in a position to play twice in quick succession?
It doesn’t scream captaincy material.
For now, Salah and his proper tear are shelved until a concrete return emerges.
Gameweek 22’s Best Captain.
With Mohamed Salah out and Erling Haaland still a doubt, the wild west of captaincy selection continues to go unsupervised.
Most of the “big teams” - i.e. the ones you might look at for captaincy inspiration - are playing away or playing each other.
There are two exceptions: Spurs and Man City.
If you own an attacker from Man City - be it Kevin De Bruyne, Phil Foden, Julian Alvarez or, for the hipsters, a Bernardo Silva or a Jeremy Doku, giving them the armband at home to Burnley feels like an easy win. Their last five home results against Burnley were: 6-0, 2-0, 5-0, 5-0, 5-0.
Richarlison at home to Brentford is interesting, so too is Ollie Watkins at home to Newcastle. Let’s not forget that Newcastle are far and away the worst team for xGC (expected goals conceded) over the past four gameweeks, even without that freakish Liverpool game. Are we overlooking Watkins simply because Newcastle used to be good in defence?
For us, if you’re splashing out on Kevin De Bruyne you should really be captaining him. His transformative impact on games from the bench since his return is enough to suggest that he’s ready to start. Ollie Watkins is our favourite “differential” pick.
The key stats.
Here are the key stats for Gameweek 22.
The Professor’s team.
Another strong gameweek for the Professor means he’s now within fondling distance of the top 100k.
Current rank: 328k.
Current plans: he’s planning to bring in Kevin De Bruyne. Cole Palmer is likely the one to make way.
Captain: Kevin De Bruyne.
Here’s what his team would look like if he makes that move, courtesy of Fantasy Football Hub’s MyTeam.
Bench still TBD.
Fancy trying MyTeam? Fantasy Football Hub are running a 7-day free trial, with 30% off after that. It’s a beast. Try it here and you’ll be helping us out too.
Other stuff we found interesting.
Trent Alexander-Arnold returned off the bench in the FA Cup after a stint on the sidelines.
James Maddison could make a return this gameweek too. He’s been out since Gameweek 11.
Jurgen Klopp has announced his intention to leave Liverpool at the end of the season (but you already knew that).
Gabriel was eventually given that second goal against Palace, with Saka awarded an assist. No change to FPL points as per their rules.
Here’s that AI-generated pic of Ben Crellin’s war room.
Right, we’ve gone to sporadic Premier League action to non-stop Premier League action, so we’ll be back in your inbox this Friday morning. See you for your post-coffee poo ahead of Gameweek 23.
The LazyFPL Team.
How did we do?