Which players are essential with Gameweek 31 just around the corner? And will Manchester City and Tottenham assets outscore the competition in the coming month despite blanking? The boffins at The Stats Zone have in recent weeks been fine-tuning the complex algorithms needed to bring you the answers to these sleep-depriving questions in the form of a game-changing new tool: player projections.
The interminable wait for Gameweek 31 to arrive – and the business end of the FPL season to begin – is almost over. The past few gameweeks have been a purgatory of sorts for fantasy managers, with medium-term thinkers seemingly punished for their careful planning and steady accruement of non-blanking GW31 assets. West Brom and Crystal Palace adrift at the bottom of the Premier League form table, Stoke City winless in five games, Bournemouth without a victory in their last three, Everton plumbing new depths of insipidness on their travels; any FPL manager stockpiling players from these clubs with one eye on Gameweek 31 has had scant early reward for their laudable groundwork.
Have we been paying too much attention to the looming four-match gameweek and overlooking assets without a GW31 fixture? Yes and no...
Unsurprisingly, given their favourable fixture list and unaffected GW31 match, Liverpool players are expected to score heavily over the next three gameweeks. Mohamed Salah (£10.6m), Roberto Firmino (£9.4m) and Sadio Mane (£9.4m) are predicted to rack up over 60 points between them across Liverpool’s games against Manchester United, Watford and Crystal Palace, with Salah – who already has 24 goals and 10 assists to his name – forecast to score over 50% more points than any other FPL player over this period.
Perhaps the headline news from these player projections is the indication that Huddersfield’s Steve Mounie (£5.7m) is set for a bumper three gameweeks. With home matches against Swansea and Crystal Palace – whom Mounie bagged a brace against on the opening weekend of the season – and a trip to Newcastle to come, the Terriers have perhaps the most appealing fixture list of the eight teams with a guaranteed game in GW31. The Beninese striker has quietly notched two goals, two assists and five bonus points in his last three games for David Wagner’s side.
Though they are without a match in Gameweek 31, the projections are nevertheless tipping up Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero (£11.9m), Kevin De Bruyne (£10.4m) and Raheem Sterling (£8.7m) to haul big from GW30-32, while Tottenham’s Harry Kane (£12.9m) also bucks the blanking trend with a double figure forecast.
Attack-minded players are well represented in the table above, but what are the prospects for the men charged with repelling these marauding must-owns?
Loris Karius (£4.8m) tops the three-GW projection table for goalkeepers, having kept three clean sheets and saved a Harry Kane penalty over the course of Liverpool’s last five league games.
For those FPL managers who have perhaps exceeded their quota of Liverpool players in their 15-man squads, Stoke’s Jack Butland (£5.0m) warrants consideration for those who are desperately seeking sticksmen. The Potters have conceded only four goals in their last six games, while no ‘keeper has saved more shots (103) than Butland in the Premier League this season.
A goalkeeping differential over the next three gameweeks – and a budget buy to boot – is Watford’s Orestis Karnezis (£4.5m). The Greece international has toppled Heurelho Gomes as the Hornets’ first-choice custodian and has kept three clean sheets in his last five games. Owned by only 0.1% of FPL managers, Karnezis is projected to score 11.44 points in Watford’s forthcoming games.
Further projection analysis will follow next week, while The Stats Zone’s Gameweek 30 coverage continues with the regular team news feature on Friday.