Welcome to the GW21 REVIEW – IN THE END

So it starts with this, 

One thing, and I don’t know why, it doesn’t even matter how hard we try… 

But the FPL gods just seem to keep messing with us. One week it’s raining points and the next it’s an FPL drought.

Speaking of trying hard,  let’s just go straight into the weeks big scores, because thanks to the cheat code of fantasy himself this was one of those huge haul weeks where the average score was 65pts and many of us were chasing entry to the 100 club. But then, a hattrick from Haaland, the most popular captain pick since the fantasy magician that was Thierry Henry, incidentally FPL’s most expensive player ever at £14.5m, will always make our scores look big! 

As a matter of fact this week we lost Duncan Galloway from the Conts league, who tried so hard, but in the end, a very decent score of 63pts didn’t even matter.  

One player though who absolutely nailed it this week was Simon Chatten (15th) with a great total of 103pts via a rather impressive Wildcard! 

That means he beat the average teams even without Haaland’s haul. Well played that man indeed.

Simon Chatten’s team

Now, that’s a great score and actually compares really well to this weeks top scoring team which only got 122pts, it’s always good when you are less than 20 off the team of the week score in a big scoring week. 

Team of the Week for GW21

A massive 91% of teams in FFUK gave the armband to Haaland this week, including poor Duncan. This means that as usual, it’s all about Differentials! Yep, we hear it all the time, on every stream, podcast and article we read. But I think often the desire to have the differentials can hinder us by hiding the real truth, that it’s the boring regular template like players that keep our teams high and rising (and I mean the ones already scoring not the hopeful ones).

To remind myself of a time when I tried to pick those differential based teams, early on in my fantasy playing (for those of you old enough to remember that’s a team that would have had Sutton as a centre back, Le Saux, and Stig Inge Bjornaby!). 

I however, learnt the hard way that for every 100pt game week that team full of differential picks brings, there are 6 or 7 following where where we are vastly off the pace, howling towards the fantasy gods and cursing our luck. Which means the big scores just keep us swimming behind all those template players. The chance to say “oh I have that player they are all talking about” – insert a Dennis based shudder, is fun but a whole team of them. Well, it doesn’t even matter how hard you try. You’re ultimately going to lose out. 

Let me help our troubled minds as we look through the week briefly. 

This was definitely a template week. As well as the Norwegian meat shield we had returns from the all of the usual suspects. Trippier (8), Kepa (9), Rashford (7), Kane (6), KDB (6) and Newcastle / City’s defence minus Cancelo but this is the new normal with Cancelo moving to Bayern. 

The usual United defence points didn’t materialise which could be worth monitoring after three nice clean sheets in recent weeks against Bournemouth, Wolves and Forest they have now had three blanks on the trot having played City and Arsenal so maybe a few more to come with those harder fixtures out of the way.

Arsenal continue to look good and they have a double coming up, so get your triple Arsenal in soon. 

Liverpool continue their downward trend with no reason to keep last seasons top scorer Salah in your team. Even the penalties have dried up (Liverpool haven’t had a league penalty in 27 games now). They created one big chance and had one shot on target in the second half…how the mighty fall in the Premier League. 

Newcastle defensive assets continue to return and soon the double / triple defence will be a viable option, just having Tripper isn’t gaining you any points now with him on course to break the most points by a defender record previously held by Robinson in the 2018 seasons.

Brighton are turning into this years European place chasers. Great to watch and great for the cheap differential if you have Mitoma (10pts) or March (3 double figure returns in last 5 weeks) or even the old fantasy fav Gross (90 total points and Brightons top point scoring player). Brighton are a serious team now so remember this as the fixture ticker is still listing the games v Brighton as “green” ones which is misleading when planning your transfers… it’s also got Liverpool as and spurs as hard fixtures which is also not playing out so well. 

This season it seems that things are even more like this, we have more engaged managers than ever before so the classic benchmark of finishing in the top 100-150k is now going to be more like 250-300k. So, because of this, and to give hope to those in my boat, I thought it was a good opportunity to reiterate that with the vast majority of teams wanting to play the differentials and jumping on the latest bandwagons it’s always worth knowing that true consistent rank rises come not from suddenly gaining 40pts in one week because of the 6 differentials in your team but actually from getting 6-8pts above the average score every week. This is done with three differentials not 5 or 6 and staying with the players who are known to perform every week. 

We shouldn’t really call it the “template” team. It’s easier to pick them if you call it the “Common Sense” team. 

An example of this would be that yes it’s great to cover United, Leeds etc for their upcoming double in GW22, and all of the advice is there to read. Common sense would say get Shaw, Rashford, Rodrigo and then it’s one of Fernandes or another defender which is down to your own budget choice. However, there will be loads of “differential” chat mentioning players like Casemiro, Gnonto, and any Leeds defender. These are players that sound good and yet in three weeks you are trying to shift them because it turns out they are holding you back or costing you -4 in week GW25 when Manchester United blank. 

That final point is the important one, long term having three from Man U and Newcastle as well that lovely differential pick of Mitoma looks great going into this gameweek, but think about how if you spend your two transfers this week to make those United and Brighton moves then you have 7 players in your team who now blank in GW25 and that doesn’t account for those with Toney who also blanks. That’s 7+ players who get you points in GW22 and then with only 3 transfers left before GW25 those picks are costing you a minimum of -4pts just so you can field a full team. So you have to be sure that your extra double game week player gets you more than 6pts extra, or you haven’t broken even in the transfer (-4 for the hit, + a minimum of 2pts for a playing player in GW25). Ok, that’s enough from me and my weird cautious approach and crazy outdated rules lol. You are all probably doing much better than me and this is merely the ramblings of a disgruntled Liverpool fan who’s slowly slipping into an FPL coma. 

So one thing, before I go. 

It really does matter to us it seems.

So keep trying hard, to get a bit further up

In the End. 

Harvey Smith (198th)

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