The dreaded gameweek 30 has arrived.
There are just four Premier League fixtures this weekend because of the FA Cup quarter-finals so there are some big calls to be made on how to navigate this period.
The questions to ask yourself are as follows – if you’ve got a Free Hit is it worth playing it? If you’re not playing a Free Hit is it worth taking points hits on transfers? And crucially how many players do we actually need to be starting in this gameweek?
The first thing to say is don’t sign players just for gameweek 30 if they’re not going to be good assets for your team in the longer-term. The average score this week is likely to be low so don’t go chasing points unnecessarily because there’s no need to fear you’re going to be left behind.
That’s also why you can probably get away with fielding a team of seven or eight starters this week particularly if you make the right choice with the captaincy.
Fantasy 606 – listen to the latest podcastMy captain’s armband is definitely going to Harry Kane for Tottenham’s home game against West Ham and if you haven’t already got him then try and find a way to get him into your team.
That’s definitely not a signing just for gameweek 30 because if Kane maintains his sparkling form then you’re going to want him for the rest of the season.
If you are going with the Free Hit this week then have a good look at the four fixtures and decide where you think the FPL points are going to be scored. It’s no use having a spread of players across all eight teams involved because they’re very likely to cancel each other out, particularly in terms of defensive returns.
So firstly which team do you think is likeliest to keep a clean sheet?
That’s a question I put to Chris Sutton and Statman Dave on the Fantasy 606 podcast this week as I asked them to build their suggested Free Hit teams for gameweek 30.
Chris (3-4-3): Aaron Ramsdale, Gabriel, Kieran Tierney, Pontus Jansson, Son Heung-min, Manuel Lanzini, Raphinha, Dejan Kulusevski, Ivan Toney, Raul Jimenez, Harry Kane
Dave (3-5-2): Jose Sa, Matt Doherty, Ricardo Pereira, Conor Coady, Bukayo Saka, Son Heung-Min, Harvey Barnes, Philippe Coutinho, Gabriel Martinelli, Alexandre Lacazette, Harry Kane
As you’ll see from his line-up, Chris is backing the Arsenal defence away at Aston Villa and has gone for a Gunners’ triple-up there with Ramsdale, Tierney and Gabriel.
Dave prefers Arsenal’s attacking assets and he fancies Wolves to keep Leeds out at Molineux so has picked Sa and Coady while hoping for the bonus of returns from Pereira against Brentford and Doherty against West Ham.
Both teams include Son and Kane, which I would definitely recommend and Chris has added Dejan Kulusevski as well who is quickly becoming popular having provided seven attacking returns in his first seven starts for Tottenham.
Dejan Kulusevski has impressed since joining Tottenham on loan from Juventus in JanuaryChris also said he doubted Spurs would be able to keep West Ham out so he’s chosen Lanzini in the Hammers midfield. Who can forget that late thunderbolt he scored at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in a dramatic comeback last season?
He’s gone for two Brentford players hoping for attacking returns at Leicester – Toney is the obvious choice after five goals against Norwich and Burnley and the Jansson selection is because of the Foxes’ problems at defending set-pieces.
Conversely Dave has gone for Leicester winger Barnes in that game and I think he is going to be a hugely popular signing whether you’re on a Free Hit or not.
That’s because Leicester are the only team to play in gameweek 30 who we know will definitely have two fixtures in gameweek 33, away at Newcastle and Everton.
They will also have further double gameweeks to come as they’ve still got 12 Premier League games to play in the last 9 gameweeks of the season.
Barnes looks like the best bet to me right now as I would prioritise Leicester’s attacking assets over their defenders, we’re not sure when Jamie Vardy is going to be back from injury and we can’t be certain of James Maddison’s fitness either.
It’s also difficult to be sure who’s going to start up front in Vardy’s absence, whether that’s Kelechi Iheanacho or Patson Daka.
We’ll talk more about double gameweeks 31 and 33 in next week’s preview but it’s why it might be a good idea to bank your free transfer this week if you can to take two into gameweek 31 when Burnley and Everton will both have two fixtures.
Gameweek 33 could potentially see 10 teams doubling up but we’ll know for certain after the FA Cup quarter-finals this weekend. Now that could be ideal for a Free Hit chip if you’ve still got one so try and hold on to it this week if possible.
Alistair Bruce-Ball presents the Fantasy 606 podcast alongside former Premier League winner Chris Sutton and Statman Dave. The latest episode previewing Gameweek 30 is available on the BBC Sounds App.