Gameweek 18 Fantasy Premier League transfer trends and tips from Nima Kafai (overall rank 1,102 in the 19/20 season). Nima reviews the FPL transfer trends each Gameweek and uses the Hub’s OPTA, Prediction, Comparison and Fixture tools to help you identify the best FPL transfers and top tips for Gameweek 18.
Looking ahead at postponed fixtures
Like many FPL managers, I was set on the Wildcard Gameweek 16, Free Hit Gameweek 18 and Bench Boost Gameweek 19 strategy. This seems to have been ruined with the late announcement of fixtures being moved. Burnley, Aston Villa, Manchester United and Manchester City are now the only teams with a future in the Blank Gameweek 18 as well as two fixtures in Double Gameweek 19.
We have now heard of Aston Villa positive cases which could lead to Villa and Tottenham not having a fixture in Blank Gameweek 18. Even one of the Villa games in Double Gameweek 19 is in doubt. The latest regarding Aston Villa is inconclusive, to say the least, they could have 0, 1, 2 or 3 games:
Villa and Newcastle both lost their FA cup 3rd Rd ties so AVL vs NEW could be moved to FA Cup 4th Rd weekend (DGW19) or 5th Rd midweek (GW23).
Aston Villa could have 0, 1, 2 or 3 games in GW19. https://t.co/9RpcUjbzmX
— Ben Crellin (@BenCrellin) January 9, 2021
The cancelled Shrewsbury vs Southampton FA Cup game can also lead to some further complications as outlined by Mr. Double Gameweek himself, Ben Crellin:
If the FA Cup draws mean that Southampton vs Shrewsbury can't be moved to Round 4 weekend then there are two options:
1. Move LEE vs SOU out of DGW19 so SOU vs SHR can be played in GW19
2. Give Southampton a bye to Round 4.
— Ben Crellin (@BenCrellin) January 7, 2021
Gameweek 18 Deadline – Tue 12th January at 16:30 GMT
I highly recommend waiting till Tuesday afternoon for your transfers (or activation of Free Hit/ Wildcard chips), anything could happen between now and then. I have used my first wildcard to set-up for a Bench Boost in Gameweek 19 but may hold off using any more chips until we have confirmation of the state of play for Gameweek 18.
Transfer Trends series will be focusing on rating a popular or interesting transfer combination within the top six most transferred IN and OUT players. This week the topmost transferred in player is Kevin De Bruyne (£11.7m) and he is replacing the top most transferred out player, Mohamed Salah (£12.5m).
Without further ado, onto the Gameweek 18 transfers trends (Fixture Ticker for Gameweeks 18-23 is at the end to help navigate the medium-term when analysing popular transfer combinations):
Gameweek 18- Top transfers in
These are the six most transferred IN players in the lead up to Gameweek 18:
Kevin De Bruyne (£11.7m)- Manchester City
Fixtures: Brighton (H), Crystal Palace (H), Aston Villa (H) and West Bromich Albion (a)
De Bruyne’s double-digit haul of 13 points from a goal and an assist vs Chelsea in Gameweek 17 will have put him firmly back on FPL manager’s radars again. He has been underperforming his underlying numbers for a while with only three goals this season (despite a 6.27 xG).
The Belgian international has created the most Big Chances in the Premier League this season (14) despite Manchester City missing two games so far this season. In total, he has created 45 chances, only behind Grealish (£7.7m) 55 chances and Fernandes (£11.3m) 52 chances.
Underlying stats this season:
- 1,188 mins (14 appearances/ 13 starts)
- 61 touches in the penalty box
- 49 shots (14 on target)
- 24 shots inside the box
- 9 big chances
- 45 chances created (14 big chance created)
- 3 goals (6.27 xG)
- 8 assists (7.89 xA)
It’s been documented this season that Manchester City has not been the same attacking force as prior years under Pep Guardiola however their defence has been in absolutely top form so they have continued winning games. I would go as far as saying they have one of the best defences in the Premier League this season.
Many of us were lured in after the 5-0 victory vs Burnley back in Gameweek 10 but that was followed by six goals in the next five matches. Three away goals against Chelsea is ideal form ahead of what place Man City as first in the Fixture Ticker for fixtures in the next six Gameweeks. In my opinion, Man City have the best combination of upcoming fixtures and current form. De Bruyne is one of the only nailed on picks in the team as well as the designated penalty taker.
The match in Gameweek 18 vs Brighton is the best fixture in the Gameweek. Man City have created the second most Big Chances despite playing one game less than most this season. Brighton have very much been underperforming this season; their underlying stats have been much better than their results would suggest. They seem to be in a rut and are in 17th in the table only three points above the relegation zone.
Predicted Points and Opta Stats
The Predicted Points Tool has De Bruyne for 7 points vs Brighton (1st amongst all players in Gameweek 18). The Belgian international is still 1st in the long term for predicted points between Gameweek 18 and 25 too.
De Bruyne has been in fine form this season. With the Double Gameweek fixtures at home on the horizon, De Bruyne feels like a must-buy at this point in time.
I admit that the Salah to De Bruyne move is perfectly viable if you are not going to be using a Free Hit to navigate Gameweek 18 and want to bring De Bruyne into the team as your Captain. Longer-term though, I would have a plan to get Salah back for the Double Gameweek 19 fixtures at Anfield.
Considering that many are bringing him in for Salah, it is only fair that we move onto analysing Salah both over the course of the season and also his more recent form too.
Gameweek 18 – Top transfers out
These are the six most transferred OUT players in the lead up to Gameweek 18:
Mohamed Salah (£12.5m) – Liverpool
Fixtures: Blank, Manchester United (H), Burnley (H) and Tottenham (a)
Salah and Liverpool have been out of form over the last three matches only scoring one goal in total against West Brom, Newcastle and Southampton. Over that spell of matches, they’ve gained only two points out of nine in the Premier League.
Salah has blanked in all three of these games in comparison to only blanking two out of 13 matches he started prior to that. Liverpool are 3rd for Shots in this period of games with 45 but their Shots on Target is only 7 and places them in 17th. They have not been clinical and played both Mane (£11.9m) and Salah in the FA cup game vs the Aston Villa U18 team to try to get some momentum before the next Premier League match.
Underlying stats this season:
- 1,349 mins (16 appearances / 15 starts)
- 137 touches in the penalty box
- 54 shots (26 on target)
- 40 shots inside the box
- 14 big chances
- 27 chances created (6 big chances created)
- 13 goals (10.38 xG)
- 4 assists (4.93 xA)
Salah has no fixture in Gameweek 18 and his last three blanks mean he is the most transferred out player this week with 360k managers selling him. So let’s compare his underlying numbers with De Bruyne who is his most popular replacement in the market.
Comparison of Gameweeks 12-17
We can see both a comparison of his stats over the last six Gameweeks vs over the full season in the two Comparison Tool screenshots below.
Comparison of Gameweeks 1-17
I am a big proponent of the Salah to De Bruyne move for those who are not utilising a Free Hit to navigate Blank Gameweek 18 and would like to Captain De Bruyne.
Personally, I will be upgrading Son to De Bruyne in Double Gameweek 19 and keeping Salah for the double too. I will be using a Free Hit on Gameweek 18 though.
For those who sell Salah this week to De Bruyne, it makes sense as the highest upside move considering Salah doesn’t play a match. De Bruyne edges Salah on the Predicted Points tool between Gameweeks 18 and 21. He is expected to be 1st with 35.3 points vs Salah in 5th with 25.5 points predicted points.
If you do not have a lot of value tied up in Salah then I can understand selling him for Gameweek 18 to bring in De Bruyne or Sterling as a captaincy option. However, if that is the case then I would still make a plan to bring him back for his two home fixtures in Double Gameweek 19.
If you already own De Bruyne and are still keen on selling Salah to chase upside elsewhere, then my favourite alternatives with both Blank and Double Gameweek fixtures are Fernandes (£11.3m), Rashford (£9.6m) or Sterling (£11.4m).
Fixture Ticker schedule for best transfers in of attacking players
Here is a view of the upcoming six Gameweeks where teams are ordered based on the leakiness of the defences they face. You can access this on the Hub’s Fixture Ticker to play around and adjust filters if you want to get inspiration for which teams to be targeting in the medium term with your transfers
Fixture Ticker schedule for best transfers in of defensive players
Here is a view of the upcoming six Gameweeks where teams are ordered based on the potency of the attacks they face.
l look forward to hearing your thoughts and discussing your transfers in the lead up to the Gameweek 18 deadline at 16:30 GMT on Tuesday 12th January.
If you are looking to follow more of my content or interact on all things FPL, follow me on Twitter. You can also read my Gameweek 18 Free Hit Team Reveal and Chip Strategy for the Blank and Double Gameweeks on AllAboutFPL here: https://allaboutfpl.com/2021/01/fpl-gw-18-free-hit-team-reveal-best-combination-and-tips/
Good luck with Gameweek 18!