For Fantasy Premier League (FPL) managers around the world, the international break is a good opportunity to take stock and plan for the final nine Gameweeks of the season.
We caught up with the members of FFS International to ask them about how they use the downtime to help with FPL planning as well as the players that they are targeting for the run-in.
How do you use international breaks to help your FPL planning?
FPL has been running on consecutive weekends since Gameweek 9. This international break is actually a welcome break for us folk at FF Titans. From a players’ perspective, it will be an interesting fortnight as qualifiers will not be played on some continents such as Asia and South America, whereas those representing European countries will face three matches in quick succession. Our key focus over the international break is therefore to keep a lookout for any injuries suffered by the players, as this will help us have a team ready for Gameweek 30 and beyond.
With an international break now upon us, we will be using the time to take a little break from the constant drip-feed of football we have had this season. It’s important to always look after yourself, and I know personally, using the time to mentally switch off from FPL always does wonders for me and can really help in the run-in towards the end of the season. Being based in Australia, it also means a weekend of good sleep without having to watch football in the early hours of the morning! Having a break means coming back to FPL stronger for these closing weeks of the season.
The international break is a high variance period, with a lot of parameters you can not control. Of course, we try to stay informed of injuries and played minutes. But we are not overthinking it: yes, it’s safer to acquire a player who did not play three hours or more during the international break but investing in the best assets (like Harry Kane ahead of the Newcastle trip) remains the main focus whatever their international activity.
Firstly, I try to have a little breather from football for a few days, especially in this congested schedule we’re in. I find it helps make clearer decisions later on. I don’t place much emphasis on how well the players did with their countries but rather their minutes. Naturally, I also try to target those who didn’t travel at all, hoping that just like us FPL managers, they’ll utilise the much-needed rest.
During this specific international break we will be targeting players based on four requirements.
Firstly, players that have something to play for during the run-in (European spots).
Secondly, we will focus on teams that have postponed fixtures that result in a Double Gameweek.
Third, target players that didn’t report for their international teams.
Fourth, hone in on players with easier fixtures.
We’re doing this in Spanish. So you can practice your reading a little bit with this!
Luis: Las fechas internacionales funcionan mucho dentro de una planeación de FPL. Por lo menos en algunos casos es un pequeño descanso de jornadas dobles y blanks que permita cuestionar los próximos movimientos. También para los jugadores es desconectar un poco del “mindset” competitivo y preparar la fase final de la temporada. Con muchas cosas en juego para los equipos y también para los entrenadores de FPL los partidos internacionales son una alerta de lesiones constantes. Tenemos preocupación por los grandes jugadores FPL como Harry Kane (£11.6m), Kevin De Bruyne (£11.9m) o Bruno Fernandes (£11.5m) que seguramente jugarán varios partidos con sus selecciones. Creemos que las jornadas internacionales nos dan para analizar mediante eye test en la mayoría de los casos, ya no solo ownership o stats como xG o xGI. Jugadores como Pedro Neto (£5.7m), Diogo Jota (£6.7m), Bernardo Silva (£7.4m) pueden regresar muy bien de sus compromisos. Y atención a jugadores no convocados con sus selecciones que pueden tener un descanso necesario y empezar a repuntar con sus equipos (Sergio Aguero (£10.3m), Mohamed Salah (£12.4m), Jamie Vardy (£10.1m) y muchos otros).
Gera: Los parones internacionales suelen ser un momento de aburrimiento para muchos managers; no hay juegos ligueros y FPL entra en un aletargamiento extraño en el que incluso hay poco movimiento en cuanto a precios. La estrategia que normalmente adopto durante este periodo consiste en darme un descanso del análisis de datos. El fin de semana intento ver algún juego de selecciones en el que alguno de los activos de FPL participe. Lo hago con el simple objetivo de disfrutar de fútbol y dejar descansar la mente, ya que es muy fácil saturarse de datos que pueden oscurecer el juicio en lugar de aclararlo. Mi recomendación es: desconéctate un poco sin perder de vista lesiones, jugadores clave y posibles convocatorias sorpresas de alguno de los jugadores de la Premier League.
Which players are you targeting from now until the end of the season?
At some point, we expect Manchester City to wrap up the title and shift their focus to the Champions League and FA Cup. We should thus concentrate on players from teams that have a lot to play for. Jesse Lingard (£6.1m) is our top pick for the rest of the season. His form since joining West Ham has been sensational (56 FPL points in seven games). The Hammers are genuine challengers for the top four and Lingard himself needs a good run of form to cement his England spot for Euro 2020.
FPL Side Net
Sitting atop of Fantasy Football Scout’s Season Ticker for the remainder of the season are Liverpool. While their form of late has been very scratchy, the timely return of Diogo Jota (£6.7m) serves as a friendly reminder of what the Portuguese forward can offer.
Jota is playing ‘out of position’ in FPL terms and Liverpool only face one team in the top four for the remainder of the season (Manchester United in Gameweek 34). With Mohamed Salah (£12.4m) failing to deliver with his big price-tag, a sideways move to his teammate could be a wise choice for managers looking to take a calculated risk.
FPL Side Net
At this stage of the season, it is more important to focus on teams with something to play for rather than just looking at the fixtures. I would target, for instance, Brighton (trying to avoid relegation) and Chelsea (playing for the top four).
Antonio Rudiger (£4.6m) is one of the most rotation-proof assets among a very solid Chelsea defence. Having only missed one match since his arrival, Rüdiger has helped transform Chelsea’s backline into one of the best in Europe.
Danny Welbeck (£5.5m) is a fun player to own as a third striker. Whilst his xG involvement stats are not as good as some of the other lower priced forwards, but he is a proven talent and his Premier League experience could be key as Brighton will have to battle till the end to secure their Premier League survival.
Owning Marcos Alonso (£5.7m), with his 13 goal attempts (10 inside the box) and 10 chances created in his last six matches, is probably the biggest rush you can get in FPL today – especially as he’s only 2.5% owned.
I have owned him since Gameweek 23 and considering Chelsea have conceded only once in their last six matches, topping the league for expected goals conceded (xGC) despite playing Man Utd, Liverpool and Leeds, I can’t help but feel a big haul is imminent.
After being benched for those tougher matches and the fact he’s not with the Spanish national squad, it looks promising for his minutes after the international break.
Fantasy Football South Africa
Jack Grealish (£7.5m) looks set to be fit and available for Aston Villa again after the international break. With Villa desperately needing their talisman to provide an attacking spark and having two postponed matches which need rescheduling, Grealish looks like a great option as the Villans try to re-find their form.
Conor Coady (£4.8m) is about to benefit from Wolves’ fixture swing ahead of Gameweek 31. With appealing matches and his new-found attacking threat, he could be a great differential. With team-mate Willy Boly (£5.4m) back in the frame, the Wolves defence should be back to their formidable selves – therefore the potential ceiling for Coady’s points looks great until the end of the season.
Fantasy Football South Africa
Kai Havertz (£8.2m)
El mediapunta alemán cuenta con compromiso internacional lo que nos garantiza una carga de minutos que lo pueden ayudar a generar ritmo de competencia. Va a ser importante para Tuchel que se integra más en este ritmo para incluirlo en la famosa “Tuchel Roulette”. Havertz está condicionado por la amplia selección que Chelsea tiene en esa zona del campo (Mount, Ziyech, Pulisic, Werner). Pero con solamente 2.8% de selección puede ser considerado un diferencial; el cual está empezando a complacer nuestro “eye test” desde su partido vs Atlético de Madrid en UCL. Confiamos en que Havertz puede tener un último tramo de temporada similar al que su compañero Pulisic la temporada pasada, recordando que Chelsea está en la pelea del Top 4 y que muchos de sus jugadores están llamando mucho la atención en FPL
What’s happening in the world of FFS International?
FF Titans will cover the international break from an Fantasy perspective alongside their regular coverage around UCL Fantasy and FPL. You can find this content here.
FPL Side Net
March was a very busy month for the FPL Side Net podcast, with lots of content in the lead-up to the Double and Blank Gameweeks. Pete also joined Sam from FPLFamily for an episode of Scout the Gameweek, where they discussed FPL Side Net, their content and the challenges of FPL managing in Australia.
FPL Froggies continue to publish one podcast per Gameweek. Their unique selling point is that the podcast is in French, so if you are a French-speaking FPL player or if you want to learn the language by listening, you can find their podcast episodes in all platforms.
Fantasy Football South Africa
Watch Fantasy Football South Africa’s latest offering below:
Esta semana tendremos un episodio especial hablando del factor miedo y de como atacar con todo la recta final de la temporada. Recientemente hemos superado los 300 seguidores en Twitter y estamos muy felices por esto. También subimos episodios semanalmente como:
nuestro episodio semanal en spotify. Cápsula de capitanes.
Y constantemente en instagram y twitter compartimos datos sobre jugadores, nuestra liga, algunos memes, clips sobre nuestros episodios y una cápsula en IGTV llamada “Free hit” donde presentamos 15 jugadores claves previos a las jornada por venir.
Queremos que la comunidad en habla hispana de FPL siga creciendo y seguir generando contenido sobre Premier League pero sobre todo ir conociendo personas en el camino y aprender de su forma de ver FPL en sus vidas.
Find out more about FFS International here.
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