Most Fantasy Premier League (FPL) managers will be heavily affected by the lack of Liverpool, Arsenal or Chelsea assets in Gameweek 27 as a result of the clash with the League Cup final. On the other hand, Burnley play twice, after their Gameweek 22 clash with Leicester City was rearranged for Tuesday 1st March.
As a result of the awkward nature of this round of matches, almost 40% of Fantasy Football Scout users who responded in our poll have said they are planning to activate a Free Hit.
We’ve produced a position-by-position guide to pick out the best FPL options in each position, whether you’re using a Free Hit this week or even just free transfers.
All stats taken from this article are from our Premium Members Area.
The most-bought player of Gameweek 27 so far, Burnley’s new signing Wout Weghorst (£6.5m) brought a goal and assist to their impressive 3-0 win at Brighton and Hove Albion. He was already on the radar of many members of the FPL community upon arrival, having netted 59 goals in 118 Bundesliga matches and 31 in 60 during his time at AZ Alkmaar.
The 6ft 6in Weghorst is a like-for-like Chris Wood (£6.7m) replacement – some would say upgrade – and seems to have quickly adapted to English football. His popularity is boosted by Burnley’s sheer number of fixtures, as well as the underwhelming landscape of FPL forwards right now. The Dutch international not only plays twice in this Gameweek, opponents Crystal Palace and Leicester have each kept just one clean sheet from their last six and seven matches respectively. The two sides are also notoriously bad for defending set plays, which should interest Weghorst given his aerial prowess.
One thing worth mentioning, however, is that the expected goal involvement (xGI) stats suggest Weghorst overachieved against the Seagulls, more than any other player at the weekend. His expected tally of 0.09 goal contributions means he outdid that by 1.91.
The dramatic ending to Tottenham’s 3-2 win at Manchester City came from, of course, Harry Kane (£12.2m) – the man heavily linked with a move to the Etihad all summer. Now on seven league goals for this campaign, the match reminded us of his fantastic partnership with Son Heung-min (£10.7m). Their 36 goal combinations now equal the all-time Premier League record set by Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard.
FPL managers hope this can reinvigorate Kane, as it is only the third time he has exceeded six points in a match this season. 15 of his 21 starts have resulted in a maximum of two points but he is showing signs of improvement under Antonio Conte.
His average position on the pitch has gradually moved up in recent weeks – typically, his most defensive average coincided with Saturday evening’s season-high score of 13.
Yet his recent statistics are completely different to what came before. Between Gameweeks 3 (his first start) and 17, a total of 31 shots ranked 18th and an xGI of 4.74 was bettered by 29 others. Since Gameweek 18, he is number one for both, with 42 shots and 8.21 xGI.
Add this to being up against a Leeds United defense that have conceded ten goals in their last three matches and those utilizing a Free Hit may not want to overlook such FPL pedigree.
Southampton striker Armando Broja (£5.4m), on loan from Chelsea, certainly passes the eye test when on the pitch. Yet the main benefit he brings FPL managers is being a goal-scoring striker at a price so low that he enables squad depth, formation flexibility and a potential Bench Boost.
Gameweek 27 puts the Saints at home to last-placed Norwich City who, although they have improved under the guidance of Dean Smith, have been unable to build upon two successive January wins.
The main concern over Broja was once game-time: of Southampton’s 2,250 minutes of action, the 20-year-old has played just 1,220 of them (54.2%). But he’s now much more of a fixture in the starting XI than he was, making the line-up in 10 of the last 11 games. His average of 5.1 points per start is also near the top among FPL forwards.
The Manchester United forward has already dropped once in price in recent days, having just blanked for the fifth time in his last six starts. Interim manager Ralf Rangnick has shown a willingness to occasionally rest Cristiano Ronaldo (£12.4m), which isn’t good enough for a premium FPL forward.
Yet facing Watford at home is still worth a Free Hit consideration, despite the Hornets’ improved defence keeping their second clean sheet in four matches on Saturday. There may be concerns that this fixture falls between a Champions League clash with Atletico Madrid and a Manchester derby but there is a free week between Watford and the latter.
Ronaldo is the third highest-scoring FPL forward so far, only beaten by Mohamed Salah (£13.1m) for both goal attempts and shots inside the box. Even over his last six appearances, he comes joint-fourth for attempts and has played fewer minutes than the three above him.
THE OTHER CANDIDATES
There aren’t many other forwards to choose from this Gameweek, taking into account the three teams not appearing and those who either don’t use an FPL striker or have too much rotation. Crystal Palace regularly switch around, taking away some Odsonne Edouard‘s (£6.6m) appeal and Aston Villa demoted Ollie Watkins (£7.6m) to the bench in Gameweek 26.
Both Teemu Pukki (£5.8m) Ivan Toney (£6.5m) scored in their earlier meetings with Southampton and Newcastle United, as did Raul Jimenez (£7.5m). The Wolverhampton Wanderers man is a very popular pick amongst those FPL managers considering a Wildcard, as their fixture run is about to improve. Opponents West Ham have also kept only three clean sheets in their last 17 matches, all against sides in the bottom three.
If Allan Saint-Maximin (£6.9m) returns from a slight knock, he has a strong chance of repeating his ten-point haul from Newcastle’s Gameweek 12 clash with Brentford. Eddie Howe’s side are unbeaten in over two months and will see this as a must-win match.
Elsewhere, Everton’s and Watford’s strikers won’t be backed against both Manchester sides, whilst Michael Antonio (£7.7m) has never scored a Premier League against Wolves in six attempts – and has found the net on just two occasions in his last 17 appearances in the current campaign.
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