The much talked about blank gameweek 31 is finally upon us. The weeks of planning and strategising over transfers and chip strategies are hopefully about to come to fruition. Whether you are on a free hit or looking to take hits to enhance your squad for GW31, picking the right players this week could see significant gains when many will be fielding a decimated team. With this in mind I’ve had a look at BGW31’s most consistent performers, most explosive performers and players who may hoover up the week’s bonus points.
The usual risk calculation when taking a -4 point hit gets a bit muddled at this time of the season with chip usage and blanks adding a layer of complexity to the decision making process. However it is still important to be confident of a player’s ability to cover the 4 points lost and the following table shows the BGW31 players who have most consistently scored 4 or more points this season.
Robertson is top of the list having scored 4 or more points in 20 gameweeks this season, he’s one of four Liverpool defensive assets to feature with van Dijk (18), Alisson (17) and Alexander-Arnold (12) all amongst the top 15. Liverpool’s attacking assets also feature prominently with Salah (17), Mane (13) and Firmino (12) regularly registering attacking returns. It’s hard to imagine many live teams that won’t be tripled up on Liverpool and the decision around them is more likely to come down to whether you load up on their attack or defence, Fulham away hardly looks the most daunting of fixtures at either end of the pitch. Chelsea’s GW31 task looks a stiffer test with a trip to Everton following close after a midweek Europa League clash away to Kiev. The short turnaround could be troublesome and may lead FPL managers to be reluctant to invest in a Chelsea defence which has been fairly consistent this season. Hazard has been used sparingly in the Europa League so far and despite being much maligned as an FPL troll has surprisingly returned 4 or more points on 17 separate occasions, a tally that matches Salah. Blank planning saw a lot of attention turn to Leicester players and despite a disappointing lack of points recently Pereira is tied with Vardy for their most consistent performer this season with both having scored 4 or more on 12 occasions. Bournemouth’s Callum Wilson (13) is their most consistent despite missing a number of games through injury and interestingly Nathan Ake (11) has more 4+ point games than the popular Ryan Fraser (10).
The beauty of being on a free hit is that you can take a punt on a player who might not be consistent, but has the ability to be explosive, without being stuck with them in your squad for the long term. The following table shows BGW31 players with the most 10+ point returns so far this season.
Hazard (8) tops the list for 10+ point scores just ahead of Liverpool pair Salah (7) and Mane (6). Fraser has been particularly explosive this season, registering double figures in 6 of the 30 gameweeks so far and looked reinvigorated with Wilson (4) back in the side last weekend. Felipe Anderson (5) has been decidedly out of form in the last few gameweeks but along with Arnautovic (3) could easily add to an impressive tally of double figure returns, in about the easiest fixture you can get at the moment, against Huddersfield at home.
Identifying players that are so called bonus point magnets in FPL can be a useful skill. The nature of the bonus point system means that players recording multiple returns in a single gameweek will likely receive bonus points but being able to select players that still consistently pick up bonus points from just a single return (goal/assist/clean sheet) can provide invaluable extra points over the course of a season. The following table shows the single return bonus points for selected BGW31 players.
Vardy has scored 17 bonus points in 11 single return games this season giving him an average of 1.55. Mane and Firmino both have an average of 1.25 bonus points per single return coming from 8 games each and Firmino has returned bonus points in all 5 games where he’s registered just a single goal. Hazard also does well when scoring just a single goal in a game getting maximum bonus points on 3 of the 4 occasions he’s done it this season. Salah on the other hand is renowned for his aversion to bonus points and averages just 0.3 per single return.
There looks to be a fairly solid spine to GW31 teams that the majority of engaged owners will be looking to own. Fabianski, 3 Liverpool, Hazard, Wilson, Fraser and Vardy will surely feature in a large number of teams with Hazard looking a must have as a consistently explosive bonus point magnet. There is also some potential to take a chance on differentials around the more popular choices with the relatively low owned Arnautovic, Ake and Rüdiger all having the ability to score well.