About a week ago, the Premier League announced that it would go on haitus through at least April 3 due to concerns surrounding Covid-19. Given recent developments, the EPL today extened the hiatus through at least April 30, while easing the customary rule that every season must be completed by June 1.
Official FPL posted an article on the subject if you would like to read. Otherwise, I have noted the key takeaways below with some strategic tips for managing your team during the hiatus.
WHAT IS THE FPL IMPACT?
These are the main takeaways:
- WHICH GAME WEEKS ARE POSTPONED? Game Weeks 32 through 35 have been postponed, adding to the previously postponed Game Weeks 30 & 31. GW36 will be the earliest possible return.
- WHAT ARE THE FANTASY DEADLINES? Fantasy deadlines for all game weeks will remain unchanged, including for those which have been postponed. Upcoming deadlines are as follows:
GW31: Friday, March 20, one hour before the first originally scheduled kickoff (a kickoff which will obviously not actually happen).
GW32: Saturday, April 4, one hour before the first originally scheduled kickoff (again which will not happen).
GW33: Friday, April 10, one hour before the first originally scheduled kickoff (again which will not happen).
GW34: Saturday, April 18, one hour before the first originally scheduled kickoff (again which will not happen).
GW35: Saturday, April 25, one hour before the first originally scheduled kickoff (again which will not happen).
GW36: Saturday, May 2, one hour before the first originally scheduled kickoff.
- HOW IS SCORING DONE FOR POSTPONED GAME WEEKS? Since no games were played, all players will score zero points in each postponed game week. However, managers could actually get a negative score if they went over their allotted free transfers and were stuck with a points penalty.
- WHAT HAPPENS IN HEAD-TO-HEAD LEAGUES AND FPL CUP? If two competing managers both earn zero points, they will draw. If a tie-breaker to determine the winner is involved, it would be decided via coin toss. However, as negative points hits will apply, a manager could lose outright if stuck with a points penalty.
- HOW ARE TRANSFERS IMPACTED? Any transfers made in postponed game weeks will not be restored.
- HOW ARE CHIPS/BOOSTERS IMPACTED? Likewise, any chips/boosters put into play — bench boost, free hit, second half wildcard, or triple captain — will not be restored.
- WHAT HAPPENS TO THE POSTPONED FIXTURES? The hope is that the postponed fixtures will be rescheduled. If so, they would be part of a future game week(s), rather than applying retroactively to postponed game weeks.
HOW SHOULD WE MANAGE OUR TEAMS DURING THE HIATUS?
- TRANSFERS ARE USE-IT-OR-LOSE-IT, SO GO AHEAD AND USE THEM. Every fantasy team gets one free transfer per game week. If you do not wish to play a transfer, you may hold it over for the next game-week, but you may only hold two free transfers in any given game-week. If you are at the maximum of two free transfers before GW31, it’s use it or lose it for one of those transfers, so go ahead and start using one or both. The same situation applies for game-week 32-35, which means you have a real opportunity to make over your team. Since so many game weeks have been postponed, you now have a huge haul of free transfers with which to refashion your FPL side, albeit in piecemeal fashion rather than at all at once as with a free hit or wildcard chip. Don’t hesitate to start that process if you have a number of changes you’d like to make. You can start by dropping recently injured players such as Steven Bergwijn, Gerard Deulofeu, Martin Dubravka, Ricardo Pereira, Lucas Torreira, et al., whom you may have been stuck holding if you have had to prioritize making other moves (then again, watch out for anyone who might return before the league!).
You will want to look to add players from teams who may get to play an extra game (Manchester City, Sheffield United, Arsenal and Aston Villa) if the full season is restored, as well as those with favorable match-ups starting in GW36 such as Manchester City (v. Bournemouth in GW36, at Watford in GW37, v. Norwich in GW38) or Southampton (v. Brighton in GW36, at Bournemouth in GW37). Who checks both of those boxes? Manchester City! So if you’re not at the maximum of three Sky Blues, consider getting there (after spinning your own personal Pep Roulette wheel).
- DO NOT PLAY ANY CHIPS FOR A POSTPONED GAME WEEK. Do not play a chip from GW31 through GW35, or it will be lost. If you find that you want to play a chip in GW36, try to wait for official announcement that the games will definitely resume before doing so. If you do play a bench boost or triple captain chip for GW36, though, you will have a chance to cancel it before the deadline. (Wildcards or free hit chips cannot be canceled once put into play.)
- GET READY TO USE YOUR CHIPS STARTING IN GAME WEEK 36. Game weeks 30 through 35 are gone. If all (or even many) of the postponed games end up being played, there will be a horde of fixtures crammed into game-weeks 36, 37 and 38 (it is also possible that new game-weeks may be tacked onto the schedule). You have only four chips at most, and you can only play one chip per game week, so if you have three or more chips left in your pocket, it’s simple math, you’ll probably need to play one in each of the final three game weeks.
- KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR EPL, FPL AND PLAYER NEWS. Uncertainty reigns, as this situation is very much in flux. It is not out of the realm of possibility that fixtures from Game Weeks 30 through 35 will be not merely postponed, but canceled entirely... or the resumption might pick up where the league left off in gw-30. It is also very possible that some future Game Weeks from 36 through 38, or perhaps even the entire season, will be postponed or canceled. Several players and teams have been touched by the coronavirus, so be sure to keep an eye out for health news on top of the usual injury news.
And on top of all that, some contracts may expire before the season can complete. Beware of players who may move in the summer transfer window before the season can finish :o
PS: Fantrax is another whole (much more sane) kettle of fish. Because our resident sysadmin / genius Jeff can fix the Fantrax schedules at will, our Fantrax leagues will all roll with the changes as rationally as the Premier League allows. If the EPL schedules all remaining nine game-weeks in the month of June, then our Fantrax leagues will have nine game-weeks (and salary recalcs) to suit.
How have your FPL teams been impacted by the EPL suspension of play? How will you be managing your fantasy team during the postponed game weeks? Please share your thoughts in the comments!