If you’re like me, you get excited about double game-weeks. I have difficulty resisting the siren call of a player who will have two bites of the apple. But like mermaids luring sailors to a watery death, sometimes those players can be traps.
Such was the case in DGW-25, in which only Leeds and Southampton played twice. Seduced by double-gamers, I paid four points for an extra transfer to bring in both Raphinha and Danny Ings, dropping Dominic Calvert-Lewin to make way for Southampton’s talismanic striker. But after doing jack-squat in Southampton’s first game, Ings was benched for their second, finishing his DGW on just three points — a point short of the four that DCL collected in just one game. So instead of DCL’s four points, my net on Ings was negative one.
In retrospect, perhaps the menu of DGW players on offer was too small to justify my enthusiasm. Maybe my lust for DGW players impaired my ability to make clear judgments about their actual potential vis a vis single-gamers.
But game-week 26 treats us to seven extra matches, creating doubles for fourteen clubs. The pool of players who will play twice is thus much larger, and that means two things. First, we have a wider range of DGW players from which to choose, which allows us to better factor form and matchups into the selection calculus.
And second, it means that many fantasy managers will field squads filled with double-gamers, meaning that we could fall far behind if we don’t get it right. We are in effect playing two whole game-weeks with six teams blanking in the second (LEE, SOU, WHU, ARS, BRI & NEW).
It therefore makes much more sense to invest in double-gamers this week than it did last week. Indeed, DG’ers are the only players I’d consider bringing in this week. But we must still make our choices with care. Below are the players I would target.
Emiliano Martinez (Aston Villa, £5.3, @LEE, @SHU): He has three shut-outs in his last five, averaging 7.4 ppg over that span. He’s the top keeper in FPL, and his double game-week matchups offer opportunities for both saves and clean sheets.
Ederson (Man City, £6.1, WHU, WOL): City’s defense has become nearly impregnable, with the league-leaders keeping clean sheets in ten of their last twelve league matches. Ederson’s double game-week fixtures could easily make it twelve from fourteen.
Alphonse Areola (Fulham, £4.5, @CPL, TOT): They may be relegation-zone dwellers, but scoring on them ain’t easy lately. Areola has now collected clean sheets in three of his last four, and he’s likely to get at least one more in DGW-26. Areola is a good value play this week.
John Stones (Man City, £5.2, WHU, WOL): He’s likely to play twice, cheaper than Joao Cancelo and Ruben Dias, and carries some goal threat. I already own Dias, but if I didn’t I’d be looking at Stones.
Matt Targett (Aston Villa, £4.9, @LEE, @SHU): He’ll have two good chances for clean sheets this week, and he offers the potential for attacking returns as well.
Luke Shaw (Man United, £5.1, @CHE, @CPL): Like Targett, he offers returns from both sides of the ball. He’s in the best form of his life lately, racking up FPL points like crazy.
Lucas Digne (Everton, £6.1, SOU, @WBA): Two tasty matchups offer clean sheet potential as well as attacking returns.
Mo Salah (Liverpool, £12.6, @SHU, CHE): Liverpool is in a funk, but the Egyptian talisman has still mustered four goals in his last five games. He’s one of those guys I’m scared to be without in a double game-week.
Bruno Fernandes (Man United, £11.6, @CHE, @CPL): Nailed on starting and taking PKs, he has fifteen goals plus twelve assists in the EPL so far this season, including a goal in each of his last four games. If you don’t already own him, I’d love to hear why.
Marcus Rashford (Man United, £9.6, @CHE, @CPL): With two goals and three assists in his last four matches, he makes a nice alternative to Bruno if you can’t stretch your budget to fit in the Portuguese star. In fact, I’d even consider adding Rashford if you already have Bruno.
Kevin De Bruyne (Man City, £11.8, WHU, WOL): He was back in the starting-XI against Arsenal, and the fact that he was rested in the UCL today suggests that he’ll get significant minutes across the EPL DGW. He’ll also solve the PK crisis at City too (unless Sergio Aguero returns), and that alone could make him worth the spend.
Ilkay Gundogan (Man City, £6.1, WHU, WOL): Gundo was the league’s best player prior to the recent injury that kept him out of GW-24. KDB’s return could dent his minutes, especially since Gundo was named to the starting lineup for City’s Champions League against Borussia M’gladbach today, while KDB was rested. Pep’s roulette wheel could be spinning faster than ever this weekend.
Raheem Sterling (Man City, £11.6, WHU, WOL): Likely to get two starts and has thirteen attacking returns across his last fourteen games. He has been Steady Eddie lately.
James Maddison (Leicester, £7.1, ARS, @BUR): With attacking returns in eight of his last eleven league games, the Englishman is in the midst of a purple patch. He aggravated a hip injury last time out though, so follow team news. If he doesn’t pass fit, then Harvey Barnes (£6.9) makes an excellent alternative.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton, £7.6, SOU, @WBA): One of the league’s most prolific goal-scorers, he should be fully-recovered from his hamstring niggle and ready to start now. One of the week’s best-buys based on form and fixtures, he will be captain for many.
Ollie Watkins (Aston Villa, £6.5, @LEE, @SHU): Ollie has goals in four of his last seven games, and his price is easy on your budget.
Edinson Cavani (Man United, £7.9, @CHE, @CPL): He’s currently yellow-flagged with a muscle injury that has kept him out of United’s last two matches, but follow team news. If he passes fit he’s a great choice for DGW-26.
Jamie Vardy (Leicester, £10.1, ARS, @BUR): Vardy has posted attacking returns in both of his starts since returning from injury, and I always like penalty-takers in double game-weeks.
Harry Kane (Tottenham, £11.1, BUR, @FUL): Mourinho’s men have lost five of their last six league games, and Kane boasts just a single attacking return over the three EPL games he’s played since returning from injury. But on paper Spurs have favorable DGW-26 fixtures (probably even better than Everton’s), and Kane’s talent is undeniable. He’ll also be a popular captain choice this week.
Mbaye Diagne (West Brom, £6.0, BRI, EVE): The Baggies’ new-boy is a nailed-on starter who is getting good chances. He’s someone to consider if you need a good cut-rate forward option, especially if you’re looking for a differential.
Are you piling into double-gamers this week, or do you smell a trap? How many DG players will be in your starting-XI? Will you play any chips? Where will you place the armband? How are you managing your bench? Please take our poll, and then explain your DGW-26 plans in the comments!
Who is the best captain for DGW-26?
This poll is closed
Kevin De Bruyne
Other: specify in comments