Fantasy Premier League: Time to start thinking ahead to a round with just four matches

Fantasy Premier League: Time to start thinking ahead to a round with just four matches
How many of your players will play in the 29th round?
How many of your players will play in the 29th round?
We have a 27th round ahead of us in the Fantasy Premier League, but let's be honest - the most important thing now is how we prepare for Gameweek 29, and that's what this week's piece will mainly be about!

Why is that? Well, it is in Gameweek 29 that we are facing the one round of the season that is in no way like any other, because it takes place during the FA Cup quarter-finals. This means that the league matches of the teams competing in the cup will be postponed, and so, after the results of this week's FA Cup 4th round, it appears that we will only get four games in the 29th FPL round.

How do we deal with this?

There are actually two possible solutions, both of which have their pros and cons. One is more popular and the other less so. I will recommend one of them, but do not take me as an oracle.

The simplest solution is to use the Free Hit, which allows you to swap out all your players for one week only, after which you will return to your previous lineup. In this case, you can confidently build a lineup consisting solely of players who will be playing in the 29th round.

The second strategy is that you largely sacrifice the 29th round and play it with half your lineup. In doing so, you probably lose ground on other players, but you leave yourself a Free Hit, which is an extremely valuable commodity, for later in the season. 

I stick to this method every year. I suffer a slight short-term loss because of this, but then in the later double gameweek (when postponed matches are played), I use my Free Hit and I have a full lineup playing two matches within one round, which is extremely valuable. 

Who will play in the 29th round?

However, it's not as if you can completely ignore what happens in round 29. We still have three free transfers until then, so it's worth sourcing the players who will play then to best prepare your squad. Unless, of course, you intend to take advantage of the Free Hit, in which case you are not interested.

The fixtures scheduled for the 29th round don't feature many top teams: Burnley vs Brentford, Luton vs Nottingham, Fulham vs Tottenham and West Ham vs Aston Villa. These aren't teams that we have many players from in our squads, so a lot of us will be in for a really tough time. Who should we focus on?

Well, it will almost be a requirement to have Ollie Watkins (8.9), who more than half of FPL players have. In addition, the popular players should be from Tottenham, who are among England's top teams and have a relatively easy game against Fulham. Beyond that, Jarrod Bowen (7.7) and Ivan Toney (8.2) are the standouts. Let's face it - not many Burnley, Luton or Nottingham Forest players will be in our squads.

As a consolation, I'll tell you that at the moment I barely have two players in my squad who will play in the 29th round. However, I intend to use the next three transfers to buy players who will play in it, which will take me up to five. I should warn you straight away, however, that I still have a Free Hit available, which I intend to use in one of the double gameweeks, as well as a Wildcard, which I will save for the end of the season.

So each of you has to decide how to prepare for the 29th round, but it's best to make that decision by Saturday afternoon, because that's the deadline for the next round, and we know that in FPL as in chess, thinking long-term pays off. 

Who to captain

Before we move on to the recommended players, it's worth focusing on the next round for a moment, because, after all, we've got the standard 10 games coming up and we've got a lot of points to score in it.

After his feat in the FA Cup, when he scored five goals against Luton, the obvious choice for captain is Erling Haaland (14.5). Admittedly, Manchester City will be playing a Manchester derby against the Red Devils, but it would be difficult to dispense with the Norwegian who is in such good form.

However, if one wants to break out of this trend, one can look at Bukayo Saka (9.2), Heung-Min Son (9.6) or Watkins. Arsenal will play away against Sheffield United, so we expect goals from the Gunners. Spurs will play at home against Crystal Palace, so there is a good chance the Korean will be involved in his team's goals. The Aston Villa striker will instead face a Luton defence that has become accustomed to conceding a fair number of goals. However, let's remember that the priority is Haaland.

And consider, too, that Jurgen Klopp ruled out the possibility of Mohamed Salah (13.0) playing this weekend at his press conference. The Egyptian is therefore ruled out as an option for captain.

Who to buy

Jarrod Bowen (7.7) - West Ham's leading scorer not only scored a hat-trick in the match against Brentford but will also be playing in the 29th round. If anyone takes advantage of the Free Hit, they shouldn't bother, but if anyone isn't going to, this should be a transfer priority for them. Bowen will then be one of the most owned players and definitely worth having in the squad. However, there is nothing wrong with acquiring him now that he is back to scoring goals and now his team will play against Everton.

Heung-Min Son (9.6) - Ange Postecoglou has already confirmed that Richarlison (7.1) is out of action for two or three weeks, and this makes the Korean even more valuable. It's a similar case to Bowen's in that he'll also play in the 29th round and is also worth having right now. After returning from the Asian Cup, he has now had plenty of time to rest, as Tottenham played their last game a fortnight ago.

Ivan Toney (8.2) - If you are already preparing for the quiet week and already have Bowen and Son in your squad, the next in line to bring in is Toney. The Brentford striker may not now be worth as much as 8.2m, but he;ll be worth even more in the 29th round. With only eight teams playing, and mostly those in the bottom half of the table, the Bees striker will be one of the bigger guarantees for points. The downside for him, however, is that he will have played against Chelsea and Arsenal by then. Nevertheless, his purchase is worth thinking about.

Radim Horak (one of the best Czechs playing in Fantasy Premier League)

Heung-Min Son (9.6) - Tottenham didn't play a game the previous weekend and also didn't compete in midweek, so he could prepare for the match against Crystal Palace with peace of mind. Spurs are one of eight teams to play in a fortnight's time so their players are a good target for FPL players, especially those who don't want to use the Free Hit. A key figure for Tottenham is Son, who will be looking to improve on his tally of twelve goals and six assists this season. With Richarlison out, Son should play in the number nine position too, where he has been excelling this season. 

Jarrod Bowen (7.7) - It's well known that if someone scores 20 points in one FPL game, he's a popular transfer a week later. The whole of West Ham, Bowen included, benefited from the return to action of Lucas Paqueta (6.0), without whom the Hammers looked much worse. Bowen himself had been waiting for a goal for as many as seven gameweeks, but he scored a hat-trick in the last game against Brentford and his team will now face Everton, Burnley and also Aston Villa in the 29th round. The Englishman will therefore certainly be in the lineup of players who opt for the Free Hit then. Given his calendar, however, I see no reason not to bring him into your team two weeks earlier.

Cole Palmer (5.7) - The third midfielder in my recommendations, and also an honourable mention for players who will benefit from the Free Hit in the 29th round and are not yet preparing for it. Chelsea's current results are very poor, but it must be remembered that The Blues still have two postponed games before the end of the season and Palmer, who has been frequently sold in recent weeks, costs just 5.7 million. That's a great price for the team's central figure and penalty taker, especially as his team will now play against Brentford and Newcastle, who have not had a good defensive game recently. I believe the young Englishman will repay the trust.


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