Last Saturday, the man formerly known around these parts as ‘Blankaku’ provided us with another timely FPL lesson…
If a player let you down in the past, don’t take it personally - if the conditions are right, he can make it up to you (and then some!).
Blankakwho?— FPL Jesus (@FPLJesus) February 4, 2017
If you didn’t captain Romelu Lukaku (EVE, 9.7) and his four goals (what, no assist?), don’t feel too bad - only 7.7% of active squads actually did.
Of course, the reason many managers brought the Belgian in at all was because of his guaranteed fixtures in GW26 and 28, which are now just around the corner.
It’s rightly becoming a dominant factor in the transfer market, in more ways than one.
not only do you have to sell some players you like as they blank in 26, but you also have to keep players you don't as they play in 28— Doug Jones (@apple_bonkers) February 3, 2017
It’s even seen two of the game’s most prized assets named among the most transferred-out players this week.
Is it really time to dump Sanchez and Ibrahimovic?
With both Zlatan Ibrahimovic (MUN, 11.6) and Alexis Sánchez (ARS, 11.8) set to miss GW 26 (and Sanchez in particular almost certain to have a blank GW 28) sellers will no doubt defend their move as canny management.
Here are the updated Blank probabilities for GW28.
Hold on to your FTs: there's a 76% chance that FEWER than 7 fixtures will be Blanks. pic.twitter.com/ey6oB4yrDE— Ben Crellin (@BenCrellin) February 9, 2017
It’s the timing that seems off.
Losses to Watford and Chelsea has seen the gloom descend on Arsenal, but with their prospects of winning the league now almost gone, the Gunners’ Jonah complex should now reliably kick into gear. Cue a high-scoring display against Hull, with Sanchez at the forefront.
The Ibra exodus is perhaps a little more understandable, given the clamour to get Lukaku, but managers could suffer some serious buyer’s remorse when they see the big Swede stare down Watford, and later Bournemouth in GW 27.
Squad value also has a major part to play in this. Remember - if you bought them at £11m mark, if you sell now, they’ll cost you a lot more when you want to buy them back. Can you afford to make sacrifices in your team to do it?
Managers who hold off at least another week and save their transfer will not only benefit from these fixtures, but will have more options to choose from when looking for replacements.
Bank your GW25 transfer if you can.
Before the GW26 deadline we will know the GW28 fixtures.— The General (@FPLGeneral) February 7, 2017
He’s not the Messiah….
Sometimes you simply have to tip your hat to those really gutsy FPL moves.
In what has been one of the most seismic shifts ever seen in the game, the most important and usually the most expensive player of the last five seasons has made way for a 19-year-old kid.
@FFScout_Jonty Goodnight sweet prince. pic.twitter.com/q4F4aBItL1— Tom (@mrtomripley) February 8, 2017
Those who plumped for Gabriel Jesus (MCI, 9.2) before GW23 are sitting pretty with 24 points, and can enjoy watching him take on the league’s newly anointed whipping-boys-in-chief on Monday night. Fair play.
Is it Bournemouth away yet? pic.twitter.com/Tn9vUUKm5a— Arton (@A_MurtiMCFC) February 7, 2017
The prospect of bringing him in now, as close to 150,000 managers seem to be doing, seems an altogether riskier proposition, however.
Sure, his next two fixtures are tempting. But at least one, most likely two blank Gameweeks, possible cup rotation and much tougher opponents than the pair he put the sword (West Ham and Swansea) now await.
102k transfers in since Saturday
bou, blank, sun, probable blank, LIV, ars, che up next
Madness#FPL— FPL Guidance (@FPL_Guidance) February 6, 2017
It’s fair to say that most of us have missed the optimum time to put our faith in Jesus. But the good news is that it will come around again in GW32, after which the only time City will face anyone from the current top 7 until the end of the season will be in a Double Gameweek!
And it should go without saying that if you've saved your Wildcard, Triple Captain & Bench Boost, you have a MASSIVE advantage. #FPL— FPL_Fly🔻 (@FPL_Fly) February 9, 2017
Any move before then seems like the very definition of “chasing points” - let’s see if he’ll prove us wrong again.
The Bonus Points anti-rant
Perhaps tempers were frayed by the sight of all those Jesus and Lukaku points going to rivals, but the allocation of bonus points suddenly became public enemy number one.
So Alonso scores the match-winning goal and gets zero bonus points.
Seriously WTF.#FPL— Liam Smith (@TitusSharktooth) February 4, 2017
Costa two assists and no BPs. Kane only goal and no BPs. Monreal one assist, concedes 3 yet 2 BPs— FantasyFootballTalk (@FPLFantasyTalk) February 4, 2017
Complaining about bonus points has long been one of the favourite pastimes of FPL managers - I suppose it’s like our equivalent of real football managers complaining about the referee!
Simply put, it’s all based on the stats-based ‘Bonus Points System’ (BPS) (colloquially referred to as “baps” in podcasts). Every season the system is tweaked, and managers quickly try to unlock the code of getting the most they can out of it.
For instance, yellow-card magnets like José Holebas (WAT, 4.7) need to score or assist to get any bonus - and sometimes not even then. Cheap, greedy midfielders who take pot-shots from anywhere, beloved by many FPL managers, suffer a -3 BPS hit for every shot off target, so don’t expect much in the way of bonus there.
Less well known are factors like being successfully tackled (-1 BPS), which has seen exciting “direct” players like Wilfried Zaha (CRY, 5.6), Diego Costa (CHE, 10.5), Raheem Sterling (MCI, 7.8) and yes, sometimes even Alexis Sanchez (ARS, 11.8) getting less bonus that we might otherwise expect when it’s all totted up after the final whistle.
In truth, you can tie yourself in knots trying to predict who will get bonus points - and miss out on some good players in the process.
Better to just get on with the business of picking good players and letting the chips fall where they may. If they score some extra points along the way, then that’s, well... a bonus!
And besides, if it was all perfect, what would we have left to complain about except our own bad judgement, eh?
It’s probably the easiest area to neglect, but don’t forget those goalkeepers.
The upcoming blanks are an ideal excuse for David de Gea (MUN, 5.4) owners to sell - both Eldin Jakupovic (HUL, 4.0) and Joel Robles (EVE, 4.7) offer much better value.
In a pattern that should be all too familiar to most of us this season (Hazard, Ibra, Lukaku…), a player who was being written off until recently suddenly seems almost essential again.
Already the most transferred-in midfielder this week, goals in each of his last three games has seen Gylfi Sigurdsson (SWA, 7.4) leap back onto the FPL radar.
One tough trip to Chelsea aside, Swansea’s blank-free fixture schedule could hardly be kinder. Welcome back, Gylfi!
With injured frontman Callum Wilson set to sit out the rest of the season, fantasy managers are on alert to see if Josh King (BOU, 5.3) could be his permanent replacement.
A victim of his own versatility at times, the Norwegian has been in and out of the first team this season, but
His brace against Everton should see him keep his place at least for the time being however, and factors such as his out-of-position appeal, 48.5% shot accuracy, bargain price and availability for Gameweeks 26 and 28 should go a long way towards soothing those rotation worries.
Well, it was fun while it lasted, but the arrival of Saido Berahino and the return of Mame Biram Diouf can only see the amount of minutes handed for Peter Crouch (STO, 4.9) move in one direction.
Still, good with his feet for a big man...