After 42 days in the desert, FPL returns. And like three wise men chasing a star, FPL managers come hunting green arrows. Unlimited transfers offer you the chance to attack the fixtures and shepherd your way up your mini-league table.
Read on to learn more about our best picks based on fixtures heading into the Christmas period and beyond.
Don’t miss the bookies’ predictions for gameweek 17
Best defensive picks based on fixtures
Bernd Leno – Fulham – £4.5m – 1.7% TSB
Definitely a pick that could be described as a fixtures play; Fulham sit third on the defensive fixture ticker for the first eight gameweeks.
First for saves made per 90 (4.5) the German shot-stopper has two double-digit hauls this season. With a double in GW19 and a capable backup who rotates well with Fulham’s number one, Leno is a shrewd pick in your team to restart the season.
Danny Ward – Leicester – £4.1m – 28.6% TSB
In terms of looking at the fixture ticker, Leicester rate poorly. But if you look at Ward as a pairing with Leno, it makes for better reading. Using the rotation, you face a top six opposition just once, when Leno faces Chelsea (H) as part of his double.
Ward has had an unprecedented upturn in form of late and is an outstanding option at his price.
Joao Cancelo – Man City – £7.4m – 53.7% TSB
Manchester City are top of the defensive fixture ticker over the next eight gameweeks as well as two double gameweeks and Pep’s men will be looking to improve on their defensive form of late.
Two goals, two assists and six clean sheets so far this season shows why it’s worth keeping faith with Cancelo.
Reece James – Cheslea – £5.8m – 12.6% TSB
Second for defensive fixtures over the next eight with a double in Gameweek 19, Potter will have had plenty of time over the break to work his magic and improve the Blues’ defence.
Freshly returned from injury, Reece James makes for an explosive pick and, given the fixtures, seems worth the risk.
Marc Cucurella – Chelsea – £5.1 – 7.5% TSB
Chelsea’s fixtures look so good over the first eight games that a defensive double-up is tempting. Cucurella has had an underwhelming start to life at Chelsea but things could improve given more time for Potter to get his ideas in place. Definitely a “fixtures play”, it’s a risk that could pay off massively.
Gabriel Magalhaes – Arsenal – £5.2m – 13.7% TSB
Arsenal sit fourth in the ticker over the first eight gameweeks and boast the joint best defence in the league in terms of goals conceded. A double in Gameweek 23 only adds to the appeal of their defensive assets.
Gabriel provides the most threat and has had plenty of rest over the last month. He’s seems like a good pick.
Neco Williams – Nottingham Forest – £4.0m – 23.4% TSB
Like Danny Ward, this is another pick that when looking at overall fixtures may seem a bad option but he does have the best fixtures out of the three £4.0m and less options (Patterson & Bueno) and he provides decent cover for Gabriel on the weeks he faces tougher opposition.
Best attacking picks based on fixture
Kevin De Bruyne – Manchester City – £12.5m – 37.6% TSB
Going without Salah is always a risk. But from a purely fixtures point of view, De Bruyne has both easier fixtures and more fixtures given he has two doubles in the first seven gameweeks. A Manchester City double-up in attack looks like a good idea and the Belgian playmaker has 13 returns (3G, 10A) in 13 starts this year. He has also had a good rest after his national team’s early exit from the World Cup. With great fixtures and two doubles, De Bruyne seems an obvious choice as our second premium.
Dejan Kulusevski – Spurs – £8.0 – 4.7% TSB
Spurs are second for fixture difficulty over the first five fixtures after the break as well as benefitting from a double gameweek in Gameweek 20. The Swede returned from injury and looked threatening immediately. After a month of getting back to full fitness, he’ll be raring to attack the Christmas period.
Mason Mount – Chelsea – £7.5m – 6.5% TSB
Chelsea sit second in terms of attacking fixtures for the first six fixtures and beyond up to Gameweek 30. They look good in the short term too, with Bournemouth (H) and Nottingham Forest (A) up first before a double gameweek in Gameweek 19.
Mount looks like Chelsea’s most nailed attacking asset and with a decent goal and assist threat, he seems like the obvious choice.
Marcus Rashford – Manchester United – £6.7m – 19.2% TSB
In attack, we can afford to think more short term and with Nottingham Forest (H), Wolves (A) and Bournemouth (H) up first after the break, Marcus Rashford is very tempting. In good recent form for club and country, the man from Manchester should be able to capitalise on his opponents weak defences in these fixtures.
Andreas Pereira – Fulham – £4.6m – 23.6% TSB
Fulham’s good fixtures and good value options call for a double up in attack. Pereira has been by far the best pick at his price, creating the second most chances in the league for all players, behind only Kevin De Bruyne. He’s an easy choice at his price point.
Erling Haaland – Manchester City – £12.2m – 82.8% TSB
As if you needed any more reason to get Erling Haaland in your Gameweek 17 Fantasy Premier League wildcard team. Man City boast the best fixtures in an attacking sense over the first five fixtures and beyond all the way up to GW29. They also have two double gameweeks to come in the next seven (vs Spurs (H) and Arsenal (A))
Aleksandr Mitrovic – Fulham – £6.8m – 19.1% TSB
Fulham are fourth in the fixture ticker over the first six games with the added bonus of a double gameweek in Gameweek 19 versus Leicester (A) and Chelsea (H). Mitrovic has been a bastion of consistency and given their good fixtures, you can expect this to continue.
Che Adams – Southampton – £6.4m – 1.1% TSB
Playing none of the top six and six of the bottom eight in their first ten games means there are differential opportunities to be had at Southampton.
Che Adams is in the top ten amongst forwards for penalty area touches, shots on goal, big chances and non-penalty expected goals.
Odhrán Brennan is a data journalist for a sports data company, living in Finland. He’s been playing FPL since the 06/07 season and is a long-suffering fan of both Arsenal and the Republic of Ireland national team. You can follow him on Twitter here