Fantasy Premier League 2022/23: Gameweek 26 tips and advice from experts | Football News
Sky Sports continues its weekly column, bringing you essential tips from the best Fantasy Premier League managers in the world.
In our latest column, Holly Shand and Gianni Buttice discuss all things FPL ahead of the latest gameweek, including wildcard tactics and whether to keep or sell Liverpool players.
Would you wildcard in GW26 or save that for GW27 or later?
HS: I think this is slightly team dependent: I’m personally going for the wildcard this week since I have no Brentford and Brighton players right now and feel overexposed on Newcastle United and Liverpool assets for their tricky fixtures this weekend. I think either this week or next week now looks like the optimal strategy, particularly with minimal disruption for Blank Gameweek 28 and 32.
GB: There is great benefit to Wildcarding this week, so much so I have decided to hit that magic button myself. The FA Cup saw a number of upsets, which has led to fewer postponed fixtures in the blank Gameweeks of 28 and 32 as well as fewer fixtures in what we expect to be double Gameweeks in 34 and 37.
With this in mind, we are less likely to need our chips for these periods and can now concentrate on setting up our teams (with a wildcard) for some exciting double Gameweeks on the horizon. A well-executed wildcard this week allows you to have the full quota (six) of double Gameweek players in 27, field a strong 10 player team in blank 28 and then have 13 players playing twice in double Gameweek 29, which gives you a bench boost option.
If you were wildcarding who are your must-have players?
HS: A triple up on Brentford seems like a good idea since they have six fixtures in the next four: David Raya, Ben Mee and Ivan Toney is the optimal triple up. I also like the utility of Brighton assets in this period, with Karou Mitoma the safest pick of their attackers. Don’t drop Erling Haaland or Marcus Rashford through this period, despite the blanks. Spurs assets also are wise picks, with Harry Kane a lock and potentially one of the wing-backs. I’ll be holding triple Arsenal too.
GB: I will be concentrating my wildcard efforts on going big on Brentford, Brighton and Arsenal players. Brentford play five times in the next three Gameweeks and Raya, Toney and Rico Henry have all caught my eye. Likewise, Brighton have some good-looking double Gameweeks ahead and always look like they’re capable of scoring two goals a game, so I will be doubling up on their midfield with Solly March and Mitoma alongside Pervis Estupian, who offers a brilliant assist threat.
Picking three Arsenal players feels like a bit of a lottery at the moment because there are so many big FPL points scorers in that team, but Bukayo Saka will be the first name in most managers’ squads. I am likely to compliment him with two players who are flying high at the moment over two players who have performed consistently well all season. Knowing I will likely be offloading these players by Gameweek 29 (because they don’t double), I am looking at the in-form Gabriel Martinelli and Oleksandr Zinchenko over Martin Odegaard and Gabriel.
Other names locked in my wildcard are Kane, who now shouldn’t have a blank Gameweek for the remainder of the season (because Spurs lost in the FA Cup), alongside Kieran Trippier, Rashford and Haaland.
With the news of a potential ban for Toney this season, are you happy bringing him in or staying away?
HS: I’m going to bring him in and risk it. I’m hoping the results of an FA hearing won’t transpire until April anyway. We do need to be mindful that he could face a two-game suspension if he hits 10 yellow cards too – he’s currently on eight but as the talisman, he’s a fine option in the meantime.
GB: FPL is often about risk reward and the ceiling is so high for Toney with Brentford’s good fixtures that I simply can’t avoid him. At a time when popular mid-priced forwards Eddie Nketiah (now a minutes risk) and Aleksandar Mitrovic (goal shy of late) aren’t producing high FPL returns, he is an easy transfer in. To add even more jeopardy to transferring in Toney, we also have to acknowledge he is on eight yellow cards and a further two yellows before Brentford’s 32nd league fixture will see a two-match ban. Still worth the risk.
Who is the best captain option for GW26? Saka, Kane or Haaland? Anyone else you are considering?
HS: I’m struggling with this decision, with all of that trio in the frame. Haaland has a home game which always benefits his output, but I still feel tempted to go with Saka given that he’s on penalties and has the easier fixture on paper. It’s been a busy week for him, though, whereas Haaland had some rest in the FA Cup in midweek.
GB: There are two obvious captain choices this week and I can’t argue with either. Haaland vs Saka is a difficult decision for managers, both with home advantage and both on penalties, something I always like from my captain.
Haaland had a rest in the week and is the game’s most deadly player, but we can’t ignore Newcastle have one of the best defensive records in the league. While Saka has the stronger fixture on paper, you might argue there is a greater spread of points in the Arsenal attack, with three or four players sharing the goals, unlike at Man City where everything is funneled towards Haaland.
With that said, I am likely to captain Saka, who was super impressive in Arsenal’s 4-0 win over Everton on Wednesday. I’m backing the fixture and expect Arsenal to score big against weaker opposition in Bournemouth.
Would you be keeping or selling Liverpool players if you had them in your team?
HS: Liverpool assets are a sell for me, given their wavering form and the blanks in the schedule. Mohamed Salah is too expensive and the other attacking options are rotation risks. Their defensive consistency is a bit of a minefield at the moment too. It’s the perfect time to jump off ahead of the visit of Manchester United.
GB: If I wasn’t on a wildcard I would absolutely be holding my Liverpool players, who look like they could have turned a corner with victory against Wolves. Sure, the Man Utd fixture isn’t easy but home advantage might swing it and in GW27 they play Bournemouth who are conceding goals for fun at the moment.