That means that we are likely to have a number of absentees in our FPL squads, including no fixture for the game’s most owned player: Erling Haaland (£12.1m).
So should we consider selling Haaland as a short-term move? And what about Marcus Rashford (£7.4m), who has a double gameweek coming immediately after this month’s international break?
Do the Haaland hokey-cokey?
Experienced fantasy managers have long had a rough plan for increasing their number of players for this blank gameweek by selling Haaland in the short term.
The Premier League’s top goalscorer has no league game this week, followed by a single fixture in Gameweek 29 at home to Liverpool (while 12 of the 20 clubs double). The theory is that you can sell Haaland this week then buy him back in Gameweek 30, which means only losing him for the visit of Liverpool.
In the meantime, you can add a forward who has three fixtures to Haaland’s one over the same period with the likely potential of outscoring the Norwegian in that spell.
It’s a strategy which has already been widely adopted and, as things stand, he is the most transferred out player ahead of Gameweek 28.
Among the list of popular replacements is Aston Villa’s in-form Ollie Watkins (£7.4m), who is the most transferred-in forward this week, with six goals in his last seven games. Crucially, Watkins doubles in Gameweek 29 while he also has a favourable fixture this weekend at home to Bournemouth.
Harry Kane (£11.7m) is also a popular acquisition, with the Spurs striker remaining on track for his best-ever season in FPL. He has 20 goals already, including two last weekend.
The case for Kane is slightly less attractive given his single gameweek after the international break, but he is likely to be the most-captained player in the impending limited-fixture schedule because of his excellent record against Spurs’ opponents, Southampton.
However, even by losing the City man for one game we could be severely punished, despite him being an unconventional captain pick as a single gameweek option for the Double Gameweek 29.
Haaland issued a stark warning to his sellers in the Champions League on Tuesday, hitting five goals against RB Leipzig and showing a clear hunger for more when he was subbed after an hour. But he blanked in the reverse fixture, a 1-0 defeat at Anfield in October, and despite a turbulent defensive season Liverpool have not conceded more than three goals in any one Premier League game.
Price change mechanism
The other factor to consider when selling a player in FPL is their relative value. Players can increase or decrease in price throughout the season in £0.1m increments and by a maximum of £0.3m per gameweek.
Fantasy Premier League does not disclose the mechanics of the price change algorithm, which generally happens overnight and is based on differing variables.
Navigating to the “List” tab of the “Transfers” page on the FPL website allows managers to see the current price, selling price and purchase price of their entire squad.
Upon the sale of a player, a fee of 50 per cent (rounded up to the nearest £0.1m) is applied to any profits made on that player.
This is particularly important to note for those players who have increased in price the most this season, with blank gameweek assets Haaland, Rashford and Brighton’s Kaoru Mitoma (£5.5m) all within the top 10 price risers.
In the case of Haaland, owners who bought him at the start of the season at £11.5million have seen his price rise by £0.6million to £12.1million.
On selling, managers will receive £11.8million and then may potentially need to spend an additional £0.3million to buy him back in Gameweek 30, losing crucial team value in the process.
This team value could be particularly important for those with a Wildcard or Free Hit to play, as it impacts the budget of the overall squad and may allow less room for premium players.
|Player||Current Price||Selling Price||Purchase Price (GW1)|
Rash to sell Rashford?
The advice for owners of Rashford is different to that of Haaland this week, particularly because Manchester United have a Double Gameweek 29.
The price factor previously mentioned is important here, especially for managers who bought Rashford early in the season — and who can stand to lose a potential £0.5million in player value if they move him out and then bring him back in.
Selling a player with two fixtures in the next two gameweeks for one who has three fixtures limits the margin for success. And then there’s Rashford’s current form.
He’s likely to be the captain favourite for Double Gameweek 29 too and, with an international break in between the next two gameweeks, booking in a transfer to immediately buy him back doesn’t make good sense as it’s a period that can be unpredictable with injuries.
There is some concern that the four-game suspension for Casemiro could impact United’s momentum and clean-sheet potential, so the sales of Luke Shaw (£5.2m) and Bruno Fernandes (£9.7m) are more plausible, with the latter potentially set for a deeper role in the coming weeks with the Brazilian banned.
The advice for selling Haaland can also be extended to most other City assets as a strategic way of optimising for the upcoming fixture schedule.
Liverpool blank in Gameweek 28 and although they double in 29, the fixtures couldn’t be much worse, with away trips to City and in-form Chelsea. I think it’s the right decision to sell.
We are also seeing some movement to sell Brighton players ahead of Blank Gameweek 28 but, in general, these players should be benched, ready to return for their attractive double in Gameweek 29 against Brentford and Bournemouth.
It’s fine to have just 10 players for this weekend, but if you are in a situation with three Brighton players already (potentially not their optimal three), selling one for a single-week punt on a Gameweek 28 player could pay off in the short-term to optimise the triple-up for Double Gameweek 29.
(Top photo: Catherine Ivill via Getty Images)