With just eight teams in action in Fantasy Premier League (FPL) Gameweek 30, Free Hit usage is about to spike again.
Not far off 40% of the site readers in our sidebar vote said they are planning to activate the Free Hit chip this week, so it’s with this in mind that we have produced a position-by-position guide to pick out the best and most discussed options in each category.
All stats taken from this article are from our Premium Members Area.
JOSE SA/WOLVES DEFENDERS
Clean sheets look particularly hard to call in Gameweek 30, but the likeliest source of defensive returns will surely come at Molineux, where Wolverhampton Wanderers entertain Leeds United.
Across the season, only Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool have allowed fewer goals than Wolves, yet their expected goals conceded (xGC) tally is vastly higher, ranking in the bottom half.
A huge reason for this overachievement has been Jose Sa‘s (£5.3m) 99 saves (see below), a total only beaten by Illan Meslier (£4.8m) David de Gea (£5.2m). The game’s second-highest scoring stopper has been consistently excellent in 2021/22, and is probably the stand-out ‘keeping option this week.
Conor Coady (£4.8m), meanwhile, offers Fantasy managers a secure route into Bruno Lage’s defence.
Following Sunday’s haul, the 29-year-old is up to joint-sixth in the defender standings, with his 4.2 points per match total trumping that of team-mates Romain Saiss (£5.0m) and Max Kilman (£4.6m), who also look a little more susceptible to a spot of rotation in light of Willy Bolly‘s (£4.9m) return.
As for the wing-backs, Jonny (£4.5m) has produced 14 points across his last three appearances and there is potential to do well, but it is worth noting that he is only recently back from a long-term injury, while Ryan Ait-Nouri (£4.4m) Marcal (£4.2m) are eating into each other’s minutes on the left.
AARON RAMSDALE/ARSENAL DEFENDERS
Aaron Ramsdale (£5.1m) has been in superb form for Arsenal this season, keeping 12 clean sheets and conceding just 20 goals across his 23 Premier League outings.
As a result, the England international’s 5.0 points per match average is the second-best among first-choice goalkeepers, only behind Liverpool’s Alison (£6.0m).
The Gunners’ clean sheet prospects in Gameweek 30 may look a bit iffy, given that Aston Villa have scored nine goals in their last four home matches, but Ramsdale can, at least, compensate with some save points.
However, there are equally good options to select in defense.
Kieran Tierney‘s (£5.1m) attacking returns may have dried up of late, but he continues to offer a threat in the final-third, while Gabriel Magalhaes (£5.3m) is the slightly more expensive alternative who has already chipped in with three goals this term, all from set-pieces.
As for the cheaper alternatives, Ben White (£4.5m) is a name worth mentioning for bargain-hunters, after collecting bonus points on three occasions in his last six appearances.
MATT DOHERTY/SERGIO REGUILON
Given the lack of obvious clean sheet opportunities in Gameweek 30, perhaps the best bet is to back attack-minded options from the eight defences in question.
Since Antonio Conte took charge, Matt Doherty (£4.8m) has one of the best rates of expected goal involvement (xGI) among defenders, whilst also contributing four attacking returns (one goal, three assists) in his last three starts.
Yes, he’s not completely nailed with Emerson Royal (£4.7m) lurking, but given the obvious upside, he’s probably worth the risk.
Meanwhile, Sergio Reguilon‘s (£5.2m) minutes suddenly look more assured in light of Ryan Sessegnon‘s (£4.3m) injury, and it’s hard to argue against his underlying numbers when handed starts, as he ranks third across the season for xGI among defenders:
Team news will also be important this week: Jarrod Bowen (£6.8m) Michael Antonio (£7.5m) could both be absent for opponents West Ham United due to injury, which may help the Lilywhites’ chances of a clean sheet.
KASPER SCHEMICHEL/LEICESTER DEFENDERS
Kasper Schmeichel (£4.8m) and budget defender Daniel Amartey (£3.9m) may come into consideration from Leicester City’s ranks.
With two clean sheets in their last three matches, the Foxes have offered improvement at the back, although defending set-pieces remains an ongoing issue, which was again apparent in the 2-0 loss to Arsenal in Gameweek 29.
Across the season, the defense hasn’t been very good at all, either, as they rank 17th for xGC:
However, in a week of limited options, backing the home side against Brentford isn’t the worst idea, given that Thomas Frank’s side have managed just five goals in their last six away games.
Whilst Aston Villa will likely concede in Gameweek 30, Steven Gerrard’s full-backs attacking threat means that they are worth considering.
Matthew Cash (£5.2m) is second among Fantasy defenders for penalty box touches in 2021/22, and has delivered four attacking returns in as many matches over the last fortnight.
Meanwhile, if Lucas Digne (£5.1m) is ruled out due to the hamstring injury he picked up in Gameweek 29, Ashley Young (£4.7m) is an intriguing differential shout, having registered seven crosses in 80 minutes at West Ham United on Sunday, whilst also taking on a share of set-pieces.
Brentford, West Ham and Leeds defenders will certainly remain differentials, however, given their clean sheet records on the road, but Ethan Pinnock (£4.5m) Pontus Jansson (£4.5m) could, at least, capitalise on Leicester’s post-European hangover and their aforementioned vulnerability at dead-ball situations.
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