We’re reaching the business end of the Fantasy EPL season, and the fixture re-arrangements have already caused havoc for Fantrax Draft Managers! Following on from our Blank Gameweek 28 article, we’re now focusing on Blank Gameweek 31. Read below for all the tips on how to handle this Draft Premier League headache!
Why Blank Gameweek 31?
Gameweek 31 will feature SIX postponed fixtures due to a clash with the FA Cup Sixth Round. Therefore, we’re left with just four Premier League fixtures:
- Burnley v Watford
- Liverpool v Crystal Palace
- Tottenham v West Ham
- Wolves v Bournemouth
N.B. The six postponed fixtures will be rearranged for later on in the season, most likely to be during Gameweek 34 or 37! We’ll keep you posted on when these are likely to be.
What’s The Strategy?
First things first – look at your own squad and work out how many of your players are impacted by Blank Gameweek 31. Next, work out how many of your players without a game are droppable or streamable and can be replaced by a player with a game. This will give you a rough idea of the number of players you’ll be able to field during Gameweek 31.
Secondly, do the same thing for your Blank Gameweek 31 opponent. Work out how many players they will have missing, and how many players they will potentially drop to the free-agent pool ahead of your fixture. You’ll have to make a judgment call on who you think they would be happy to drop from their roster for a player that does have a fixture.
With so many games postponed, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to field a full side. Compare your team to your opponent, and work out what kind of match-up it is likely to be. If you own a roster full of good players from the sides who are without a game, don’t be afraid to sacrifice the Gameweek. These players without a game will have a Double Gameweek further down the line – you’ll be almost guaranteed to win that one!
League Placement and Opponent
It is also important to look at your current placement in the league table, and who where your Gameweek opponent currently is in the table. You need to decide if it’s in your best interest to potentially drop a good player without a fixture, for a decent player with a fixture.
If you’re coming up against a fellow title rival, then you’re going to want to field a strong side. Therefore, it would probably be worth dropping a good player, for a decent player. On the flip side, if you’re playing a manager who is towards the bottom of the league, and has a poor squad, or isn’t really trying anymore, then you can probably get away with fielding a weakened team for Blank Gameweek 31. This will enable you to keep hold of most of your players, and still be in with a shot of picking up three points!
In any case, you need to find a good balance between players who do or don’t have a match, and make a decision on which games or players you need to be targeting. There’s no point destroying your team just for one Gameweek! These postponed games will be re-arranged for a few Gameweek’s time, and therefore a Double Gameweek will be on the cards.
Fantasy EPL Players To Target
The following players are the best Fantasy EPL prospects to target for Blank Gameweek 31. The players mentioned below either have ownership of below 60% or are good players to target for trades. Some of these players also have good fixtures prior to this Gameweek, and would, therefore, serve you well before Gameweek 31 too! The table below sets out the teams with the best upcoming schedules:
Bournemouth host Crystal Palace in Gameweek 30, and then face a trip to Wolves in Blank Gameweek 31. Therefore, these players shouldn’t be your priority, as The Cherries face a hard fixture in Gameweek 31. But still, some Bournemouth players are worth targeting!
Low Ownership Assets
Philip Billing (40% ownership) is the best low ownership asset here to target. Although the Danish midfielder is certainly in the category of ‘consistent-ish scorer who’s guaranteed to start’. Billing won’t set the world alight, but he’s worth an add if you need a Blank Gameweek 31 midfielder! We wouldn’t recommend bringing in any Bournemouth defenders, but Aaron Ramsdale (24% ownership) could be worth adding if you need a goalkeeper. Junior Stanislas (3% ownership) started in Gameweek 29, after Joshua King was ruled out with an injury. He’s a wildcard option to keep an eye on!
There are only two players from Bournemouth we would consider targeting for a trade; Ryan Fraser (88% ownership) and Joshua King (84% ownership). Fraser has struggled so far this season, but the Scottish winger looks to be getting back to near his best. His recent form has been fairly encouraging. King returned from injury and bagged double-digit scores in Gameweek 27 and 28, but he missed Gameweek 29 with another injury. Keep an eye on the injury news ahead of Blank Gameweek 31… the Bournemouth forward could miss out.
Burnley face a trip to Manchester City in Gameweek 30, but have a potentially productive fixture at home to Watford during Blank Gameweek 31. Therefore, we would recommend trying to get hold of some Burnley assets now, but only if you can afford to bench them for Gameweek 30.
Low Ownership Assets
The key target here is Charlie Taylor (46% ownership). We’ve highlighted the Burnley left-back multiple times over the past few months, as he’s been scoring incredibly well, and doesn’t need clean sheets! Pick him up if you still can. Phil Bardsley (19% ownership) is a decent alternative. Elsewhere, Jay Rodriguez (24% ownership) is worth a punt as he continues to perform well in the starting eleven. Jeff Hendrick (5% ownership) is a decent low-ownership midfield option for larger leagues.
James Tarkowski (98% ownership) and Dwight McNeil (95% ownership) are the best players to target for Blank Gameweek 31. These two Chaps are key to everything Burnley does and should score well between now and the end of the season. Ben Mee (84% ownership) and Ashley Westwood (74% ownership) are also worthy trade targets, but their value is significantly lower. Try and offer mid-range players for these two. Chris Wood (64% ownership) has now returned to the team, and is also worth trying to acquire ahead of Blank Gameweek 31; he scored against Tottenham in Gameweek 29.
Crystal Palace face Liverpool away in Blank Gameweek 31, so really not great prospects! However, they do have a nice fixture beforehand, so you would still benefit from bringing in a couple of their players if you can. Palace players will give your side a boost for the next game, and will then provide you with at least a few points during the Blank Gameweek. If you’re struggling to get a full side, and are prioritizing Gameweek 31, then The Eagles are still a team to target!
Low Ownership Assets
Two players stand out for us from the below 60% ownership group: Christian Benteke (40% ownership) and Gary Cahill (10% ownership). Benteke has been on amazing form recently and is guaranteed to play between now and the end of the season, due to the injury problems at Palace. We’ve highlighted the Belgian forward a lot in recent weeks, and he’s certainly a trade target as well as a low ownership asset! Cahill has gone slightly under the radar in recent weeks, after positing some really solid points scores. The veteran center back has gained 15 points or more in three of his last four games! Scott Dann (4% ownership) is a good alternative to Cahill.
The trade targets mentioned here aren’t amazing, as Benteke is by far Crystal Palace’s best asset at the moment. Wilfried Zaha (98% ownership), Jordan Ayew (72% ownership) and James McArthur (66% ownership) are worth an offer, but none of them score amazingly well. It’s worth sending an offer over to exchange a mid-range player for all of these, but nothing more. Zaha actually has fairly poor numbers, as he only seems to score well when gaining attacking returns. Don’t be fooled into offering up a FWD1 or MID1 for Zaha!
Champions elect Liverpool are a really worthy addition to Blank Gameweek 31. The Reds face Crystal Palace during this weekend, and play Everton in the run-up. Obviously bringing Liverpool players into your Draft Premier League team is advisable for Blank Gameweek 31, and beyond!
Low Ownership Assets
Low ownership asset and Liverpool shouldn’t really be used in the same sentence. The runaway Premier League leaders really don’t have many options that could be available from the free-agent pool. Naby Keita (44% ownership) is perhaps the only option out there worth a punt. The midfielder has done well in recent weeks but is currently carrying a minor injury. We wouldn’t recommend taking a gamble on any other low ownership players until we reach Blank Gameweek 31 itself.
All the big names are obviously trade targets, but you would need to give up your soul to trade them in at this stage of the season. Therefore, we’ll pick out a couple of players that could be achievable in a trade if you’re looking to prioritize Blank Gameweek 31. Joseph Gomez (88% ownership) and Jordan Henderson (82% ownership) are two players that sit below the 100% ownership mark and could be brought in if you offer up decent value. Gomez should come back into the side for Lovren this weekend, and Henderson is due back from injury soon.
Tottenham have a nice fixture at home to West Ham during Blank Gameweek 31, and play Manchester United beforehand. Not the best of schedules, but Mourinho’s squad should provide a few options for you to explore. See below for our tips on the players to target!
Low Ownership Assets
Much like Liverpool, there isn’t much on offer from the group of Tottenham players with below 60% ownership ahead of Blank Gameweek 31. Giovanni Lo Celso (55% ownership) is worth adding to your squad if he’s a free agent. Erik Lamela (46% ownership) is worth a gamble now that Bergwijn has been ruled out. Other than that though, we don’t like the look of any of the other low ownership Tottenham assets.
There are three key trade targets from Tottenham if you’re looking to strengthen for Gameweek 31 and beyond. Lucas Moura (98% ownership) and Serge Aurier (94% ownership) are the pick of the bunch for us. Moura has been performing really well since the start of the year, and he’s guaranteed to play due to the injuries to Kane and Son. Aurier is possibly the only Tottenham defender that we can trust, as he scores well for attacking statistics despite conceding lots of goals. Although he was dropped for Gameweek 29!
Watford were the ones to end Liverpool’s attempt at an undefeated season, and therefore, they are incredibly hot right now! The Hornets face Leicester in Gameweek 30, followed by Burnley in Blank Gameweek 31. We would highly recommend signing Watford players now, and playing them through the next three weeks!
Low Ownership Assets
The good thing about Watford is that they have lots of low ownership assets to target! Top of our list are defenders Adam Masina (14% ownership) and Christian Kabasele (11% ownership). These two Chaps have been on great scoring form in recent weeks, and are the pick of the defenders for us. Kiko Feminia (2% ownership) is also a decent player to target, after returning to the side in Gameweek 28.
Elsewhere, Will Hughes (16% ownership) is a decent player to pick-up, after some good form in recent weeks. Etienne Capoue (35% ownership) is a good option if you need a consistent scoring midfielder who’s guaranteed to play. We wouldn’t recommend signing Roberto Pereyra despite the injury to Gerard Deulofeu. Pereyra scores really poorly in Togga scoring.
Ismaila Sarr (60% ownership) is obviously the key trade target here, after his huge 35 point haul against Liverpool in Gameweek 28. We would give up quite a lot to get a trade for Sarr over the line, especially if you’re targeting Blank Gameweek 31 as one that you can win! Elsewhere, Troy Deeney (92% ownership) and Abdoulaye Doucoure (89% ownership) should also be key trade targets. These two chaps are invaluable to Watford’s play and will score very well between now and the end of the season.
West Ham face a pretty tough schedule over the coming weeks, so we’re not overly keen on their assets. If you can get hold of some of their highest-scoring players then they should serve you well. But with a Blank Gameweek 31 fixture against Tottenham and a game against Wolves in the run-up, West Ham has perhaps the hardest schedule of the teams featured in this article.
Low Ownership Assets
West Ham has a few options that can be considered low ownership assets. The first is new signing Jarrod Bowen (33% ownership), although he should be owned in all active Draft Leagues. Bowen started his first game in Gameweek 28 and got himself on the score-sheet. Pablo Fornals (42% ownership) is also worth an add, as he’s trying to work his way back into contention under Moyes. Mark Noble (29% ownership) is usually a handy squad player to own, and slot into your team when you need a guaranteed starter; pick him up and stash him for Blank Gameweek 31 if you can.
We find it hard to trust the West Ham defenders, and they have a hard upcoming schedule, so we wouldn’t recommend signing any of the back-line. One player to look at stashing away if you can if Tomas Soucek (12% ownership). The January signing played very well in his first three games for The Hammers, and returned to action as a substitute in Gameweek 29.
Michael Antonio (82% ownership) is the key West Ham trade target. The bustling midfielder has performed very well in the last two games and is worth offering up a FWD2 or MID2 to try and bring him in. Antonio is very injury prone though! Elsewhere, Sebastian Haller (95% ownership) is worth looking at, but he isn’t guaranteed to play every game, so his value isn’t that high. And Declan Rice (63% ownership) is worth trying to acquire for one of the lesser names in your squad. He usually performs consistently around the six to eight points per game mark. We wouldn’t recommend trying to acquire Felipe Anderson or Robert Snodgrass, as they may not feature in Gameweek 31.
Wolves are perhaps the side with the easiest fixture list over the next couple of games, but they are also a very good side. Therefore, there won’t be many low ownership Fantasy EPL gems to target in the run-up to Blank Gameweek 31. If you can get hold of any starting assets from Wolves (apart from Coady), we would recommend you do so!
Low Ownership Assets
Unfortunately, there is only one low ownership asset that we would recommend signing: Romain Saiss (32% ownership). The Wolves defender has been scoring consistently well in recent weeks, but his downfall is that he’s categorized as a midfielder by default on Fantrax. Conor Coady (19% ownership) is another option, but he scores historically poorly in Togga scoring! Very clean sheet dependent.
Elsewhere, if you’re in a deeper league with no real options, taking a punt on Pedro Neto (5% ownership) or Daniel Podence (9% ownership) could potentially pay dividends.
All of the big-name players from Wolves would be worth targeting in trades, but three players, in particular, stand out for us at the moment. Matt Doherty (98% ownership), Diogo Jota (96% ownership) and Willy Boly (94% ownership) are three players that are really hitting form at the moment. All three of these players have had ups and downs this season, for differing reasons, but these players are really hitting their stride now. Make some big plays for these players, as they should be top performers for Blank Gameweek 31 and beyond!
Are You Ready?
So there you go, Chaps. Some strategy tips to consider for Blank Gameweek 31, as well as under the radar players to target. If this fixture is one that you’re targeting to win, then bringing in a few of the Fantasy EPL players mentioned above will serve you well. Don’t forget though, players missing out in Gameweek 31 will have a Double Gameweek further down the line!
Having an active Fantrax Fantasy EPL league is absolutely essential. Follow these tips to maintain an active league for the whole season!!
Follow The Fantasy Football Chaps on Twitter @TheFFChaps for all the latest!
Fantrax was one of the fastest-growing fantasy sites of 2019 and we’re not stopping now. With multi-team trades, designated commissioner/league managers, and drag/drop easy click methods, Fantrax is sure to excite the serious fantasy sports fan – sign up now for a free year at Fantrax.com.