With Christmas done and dusted, don’t lose steam on us just yet! There is another congested period coming up, with GW 21 running from Saturday to Sunday, and GW 22 from Monday to Thursday before we get a well-deserved 10 day rest.
Remember: Neither Tottenham nor West Ham play in GW 21, but both return have a double game week bonanza in GW 22!
Here is how I plan to navigate the next two game weeks:
GW 21: Jordan Pickford (@ Bournemouth)
Schoolboy (Pickford) is going hard after that England #1 shirt in Russia. He’s been a very good fantasy option under Sam Allardyce, and I like him against a Bournemouth team that will shoot and look to attack, but is lacking firepower with Junior Stanislas and Jermain Defoe expected to be out with injuries.
Tottenham has a very nice double fixture in GW 22, so I’m backing their French international keeper to provide a clean sheet at Swansea and a few saves against the visiting Hammers.
GW 22: Jan Vertonghen and Davinson Sanchez (@Swansea; West Ham United); Angelo Ogbonna and Aaron Cresswell (West Brom; @Tottenham)
For the weekend slates, I opt to double up on the Chelsea defenders and gamble a bit on two defenders at favorable away matches. The Chelsea dynamic duo is essential; the other two are educated guesses who have the ability to rack up phantom points such as tackles, interceptions and aerial duels even if they concede a goal or two.
For GW 22 it’s far more straightforward with Tottenham’s centreback pair and West Ham’s two most dynamic defenders playing two matches. Some will question why I skipped Tottenham fullbacks, but the (very) strong risk of rotation is a big deterrent that obviates the advantage of the double game week.
GW 22: Christian Eriksen, Dele Alli and Heung-Min Son (@Swansea; West Ham); Manuel Lanzini (West Brom; @Tottenham)
It’s three relatively straightforward picks for the weekend matchups and one huge wildcard (Brunt). If you feel like playing the white-hot Jesse Lingard instead of either Brunt or Pogba, that’s also a sensible choice. I’m a little concerned about the two December 31st matches (Crystal Palace v Manchester City and West Brom v Arsenal), which is why I’m avoiding Togga stars like Kevin De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling, Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez.
I think teams will have their hearts and minds on the New Year celebrations, so many of the big stars will have short outings in preparation for GW 22 and beyond. The only team that will put in a strong effort is relegation-threatened West Brom, and who epitomizes “trap matchup” more than Chris Brunt? I think the Northern Ireland international can outscore many of the bigger name stars on Sunday.
Come GW 22 I’ll be relying on the Tottenham and West Ham stack — Easy.
GW 21: Mohamed Salah (Leicester); Alvaro Morata (Stoke)
GW 22: Harry Kane (@Swansea, West Ham); Marko Arnautovic (West Brom; @Tottenham)
Mo Salah (or Roberto Firmino if you prefer) are good plays against a defensively suspect Leicester City. Alvaro Morata will also feature against a defensively suspect squad that is dealing with injuries at the back.
If you’ve read my entire column, my two forward picks for GW 22 will come as no surprise -- Easy.
Happy New Year!
How has the festive period treated you? Did your Togga PXI deliver joy or lumps of coal during the Holidays? What’s your New Year’s resolution for Togga PXI or FPL? Share your thoughts and wishes in the comments below!