image from kitbag.com
Hi, and welcome to The Kitsman’s weekly Fantasy Premier League segment. Today marks Gameweek 26, we are into the second half of the Premier League season, and thus, the business end of the FPL timetable. I will be using OPTA, understat.com, fantasyfootballhub.co.uk, and other stat-based FPL resources to collate a comprehensive summary to advise you in your quest for Fantasy dominance.
The biggest Double Gameweek in FPL history, need I say more? With only Leeds and West Ham featuring once, 18 of the 20 Premier League teams will have two fixtures in GW 26. If you still have any FPL chips available, there is hardly a better time to make use of them, with this being the last league wide DGW of the season.
Harvey Barnes (6.8m) – At 6.8m, Barnes will be a popular choice among FPL players this week, especially after Jack Grealish’s injury, sidelining him for the next Gameweek and potentially beyond. He has incredibly similar attacking numbers to his fellow Midlander, registering 9 goals and 5 assists this 20/21 season, with 2 of each occurring in his most recent two PL fixtures. On the topic of injured number 10s, Leicester will be without Maddison for GW 26, so whilst the quality of his chances might be lower, I expect Barnes to be more direct and shoot more often, which bodes well for the likely influx of new owners.
Heung-Min Son (9.5m) – *Underlying stats do not support this pick*, but I have a gut feeling this is where Son, and Spurs, return to form. When paired with Kane, Son’s chance creation increases incrementally, averaging 1.2 big chances per 90. However, Son will count himself lucky that he is facing one of the PL’s worst defences on current form in Burnley, who might view their recent draw at home vs. WBA as somewhat of a scalp, and Fulham, who have conceded the most big chances in the PL in 20/21.
Ola Aina (4.5m) – Despite being the defensive unit to ship more big chances than any other team this season, Fulham have the PL’s in-form defence, and of their unit, Ola Aina is a consistent starter and the most likely offensive threat. In the last 5 GW’s, Aina has registered a goal and an assist and has scored 27 points in that period, the most of any Fulham defender. With an ownership of just 0.5% coming into GW 26, Aina is THE differential pick heading into DGW 26.
NOT (If using an FPL Chip)
John Stones (5.2m) – Selected by 23.1% of FPL owners, Stones is a popular choice among FPL players, and was The Kitsman’s FPL Recommendation for GW19, where he scored a season-high 21 points. There is no doubt that when Stones plays, he is highly fancied to score well, and will likely play over half of the remaining fixtures this season, but with Laporte’s reintegration into the team resulting in City not missing a step, there will be a high degree of rotation in the CB position between he and the Englishman. For 0.9m extra, Ruben Dias is City’s most assured outfield starter, and is worth the extra outlay.
Michail Antonio (6.5m) – Facing the PL’s best defence, Antonio might struggle to impact the game versus City in the way he has been doing of late. If you are planning on using the Free Hit chip, Antonio is a certain miss, as not only is he facing Manchester City, WHU have only one fixture in GW 26, making the probability of a big score for the forward unlikely.
JURY IS OUT
Jesse Lingard (5.9m) – At 5.9m, Lingard is very fairly priced, and his recent form suggests he might present excellent value. Since his switch to WHU in January, he is averaging 8.5 points, higher than FPL mainstays such as Fernandes, Gündogan and Salah in 20/21. However, the underlying stats suggest this form isn’t likely to persist, as he has scored his 3 WHU goals from an xG of just 0.78 and is yet to register an assist from a 0.20 xA. Yet, he is no doubt one to watch, as we have seen excellent spells of form from the Man Utd loanee in the past
The Kitman’s RECOMMENDATION
Lucas Digne (6.1m) – Digne went from being one of the most popular players on FPL at the start of the 20/21 season, to having a 9.4% ownership going into GW 26, therefore represents an exciting differential pick. He is Everton’s in form creator, and since his reintroduction in GW18 after injury, he has created more chances than any other Everton player. Facing the sterile attacks and fragile defences of WBA and So’ton, Digne has a good chance of a clean sheet and attacking contribution in both of his GW26 fixtures.