Navigating the blank and double gameweeks is essential for every Draft Fantasy Football Manager. This period during the season run-in can make or break your season, so we’re here to provide some hints and tips on the best strategy, as well as players to target.
GW31 sees the first major obstacle for Draft Managers this season, as the FA Cup quarter finals coincide with the Premier League fixtures that weekend. What does this all mean? Only ten teams have a game, and as a result there are only five fixtures!
Got it? Now let’s look at the best strategy to go about navigating the blank gameweek, and which teams and players you should be targeting.
📝 The GW31 Fixtures 📝
Bournemouth v Newcastle
Burnley v Leicester
Everton v Chelsea
Fulham v Liverpool
West Ham v Huddersfield
📚 Lets Talk Strategy 📚
Firstly, look at your own team. Work out how many players you have with a GW31 fixture as things stand. Next, work out how many of your players without a game are dropable or streamable, and can be replaced by a player with a game. This will give you a good idea of the number of players you could field during GW31.
Secondly, do the same thing for your GW31 opponent. Work out how many players they have, and how many players they could potentially get from the free agent pool over the course of the next few weeks. It’s time to make a judgement call on who you think they would happily drop from their side for a player with a fixture.
Now its literally just a game of comparisons. Look at the number of players you and your opponent each have, as well as the quality of the players in question. If you will be able to field 8 to 10 players of decent quality, and it looks like your opponent will be similar, then bring in some players to make that happen. Just don’t compromise dropping any good players to make it happen!
If, on the other hand, it looks like you will only be able to field 3 or 4 players, regardless of quality, and your opponent has Salah, Robertson, Van Dijk, Arnie, Anderson, Fabianski, Fraser, King, and Wilson, then just forget about it. Stop reading this article, and write off GW31!!!
📈 League Placement 📈
You also need to assess your current placement in the league table and decide if it’s in your best interest to potentially drop a good player without a fixture, for a decent player with a fixture. This strategy is particularly useful if like us, you play a Head-To-Head style league, and you’re coming up against a fellow title rival. You’re going to want to field a strong side; it would therefore be worth dropping a good player for a decent player.
Look at your particular situation, find a good balance between players who do/don’t have a match in your squad to suit your needs, and make a decision on what you should be prioritising!
There’s no point destroying your team just for one gameweek. Players with a blank in GW31 will probably have a double in GW32. Writing off GW31 to ensure you win the match when your players have the double gameweek could be one option you take.
One additional aspect of this to take into consideration, is the GW33 blanks which coincide with the FA Cup Semi Finals. Teams that have a guaranteed GW31 and GW33 should be your priority, as they will give you a consistent number of points across this three match period. The GW33 fixtures are still up in the air, but some teams already have a confirmed fixture. We’ll now talk through the prospects of team guaranteed to feature in both gameweeks first:
🔴 Liverpool 🔴
📝 GW31 Fixture: Fulham (Away)
✏️ GW33 Fixture: Southampton (Away)
🔮 Team Prospects: The biggest team with a GW31 fixture is undoubtedly Liverpool. The title chasing Reds are playing Fulham away, and will be the focus of manager’s attention. That being said, there shouldn’t be many Liverpool players floating around in the free agent pool!! Liverpool also have a good GW33 fixture, as they face a trip to Southampton. Two great fixtures for Liverpool during the upcoming blank gameweeks!
⚽️ Attacking Players: Obviously the attacking trio of Salah (100% DFF / 100% Fantrax), Firmino (94% DFF / 100% Fantrax), and Mane (98% DFF / 100% Fantrax) will be taken in all active leagues – you could attempt to trade in one of these guys! In terms of attacking players that you could bring into your side from the Liverpool midfield, there actually aren’t many options. Klopp has been rotating his midfield three a fair amount, but it looks as though Wijnaldum (18% DFF / 47% Fantrax) and Fabinho (14% DFF / 66% Fantrax) are best placed for GW31. Lallana (25% DFF / 17% Fantrax) looks set to start in GW31, after performing well in GW30, and only coming on as a late substitute in the Champions League tie. Milner (29% DFF / 87% Fantrax) could also get the nod for GW31. Shaqiri (56% DFF / 79% Fantrax) has seen his game time significantly decrease over the last month or so, and Keita (47% DFF / 55% Fantrax) looks set to miss out with a minor injury.
🛡 Defensive Players: In terms of Liverpool defenders, it’s much the same as above. The elite players will be taken, and the ones left over don’t offer us much in terms of guaranteed starts or consistent points. Allison (94% DFF / 99% Fantrax), Van Dijk (95% DFF / 100% Fantrax), Robertson (95% DFF / 100% Fantrax), and Alexander-Arnold (65% DFF / 99% Fantrax) will be gone in all active leagues, which leaves us with a toss up between Lovren (24% DFF / 60% Fantrax), Matip (12% DFF / 52% Fantrax) for GW31. Lovren returned to the match day squad in GW30, and he could earn a GW31 start. Matip started in the mid-week Champions League fixture, so Lovren could start in GW31.
🎯 Draft Fantasy Targets: Wijnaldum or Lallana would probably be the ones to bring in out of the Liverpool midfielders, if you did fancy taking a punt on one, but there are better options at mid-table sides. All of the big names will be taken. Lovren would be a decent addition to your squad if he’s a free agent – he looks set to start after Matip played in the Champions League.
🎲 Togga Targets: Lallana is the player we’ve tipped in our GW31 Fantrax Chaps Choices, after he performed well in GW30. Wijnaldum may also be a decent shout, as he’s been playing well when he does feature. Lots of rotation though, so the midfield three really is hard to predict. There also doesn’t look to be many options for Liverpool defenders; pick up Lovren or Matip if you can! It looks as though Lovren may start alongside Van Dijk after being on the bench during the mid-week Champions League fixture.
🦁 Chelsea 🦁
📝 GW31 Fixture: Everton (Away)
✏️ GW33 Fixture: West Ham (Home)
🔮 Team Prospects: The Blues have been on poor form recently, but they do have guaranteed GW31 and 33 fixtures! The key thing here though, is that Chelsea’s big name players will be taken, and their available players will be of poor quality! Let’s take a more detailed look.
⚽️ Attacking Players: Obviously Hazard (99% DFF / 100% Fantrax) and Higuain (99% DFF / 86% Fantrax) will be taken in all active leagues. Other than that there actually aren’t that many options… Willian (99% DFF / 99% Fantrax) and Pedro (99% DFF / 91% Fantrax) are very good players, but are being rotated a lot, and will be taken in most leagues anyway. Behind them, it looks as though Kante (52% DFF / 96% Fantrax), Jorginho (29% DFF / 64% Fantrax) and Barkley (18% DFF / 42% Fantrax) will be the midfield three for GW31. Kovacic (14% DFF / 37% Fantrax) and Loftus-Cheek (5% DFF / 25% Fantrax) both started in the Europa League, so we expect them to miss out at the weekend.
🛡 Defensive Players: Similar to the above, the players you will want from the Chelsea defence will all be taken. Azpi (97% DFF / 100% Fantrax) , Rudiger (84% DFF / 87% Fantrax), and Luiz (68% DFF / 96% Fantrax) should get the nod, but these will all be taken in active Draft Leagues. Alonso (99% DFF / 100% Fantrax) seems to have been ousted by Emerson (20% DFF / 14% Fantrax), so Emerson is worth a punt – Alonso was the one to start in the Europa League. It doesn’t look like Christensen (13% DFF / 16% Fantrax) will feature in GW31, after starting in GW29.
🎯 Draft Fantasy Targets: Emerson is worth a punt – it looks like he may now be preferred to Alonso, but other than that, every Chelsea player you would want is currently taken. The Chelsea central midfielders don’t offer us much interest.
🎲 Togga Targets: Same as above, all Chelsea players that you would want at the moment will be taken. Emerson is worth a punt now he looks set to start, and Barkley could be a good shout too – he usually scores well on Togga, and should start in GW31 after missing out in the Europa League.
🍬 Everton 🍬
📝 GW31 Fixture: Chelsea (Home)
✏️ GW33 Fixture: Arsenal (Home)
🔮 Team Prospects: Everton have been on shocking form recently, and much like Chelsea, the players that will be available are of poor quality, and its therefore probably not worth bringing them in! If you own Siggy or Digne, then keep hold of them, but the rotation players are probably not worth the bother. The Toffees also have tough fixtures for both of the upcoming blank GWs!
⚽️ Attacking Players: As mentioned above, Siggy (67% DFF / 100% Fantrax) is worth having, but he will be taken in all active Draft Leagues. Other than that, Everton have lots of players of decent quality, but none that really stand out. Any of Richarlison (69% DFF / 98% Fantrax) Walcott (41% DFF / 64% Fantrax), Bernard (13% DFF / 28% Fantrax), Calvert-Lewin (18% DFF / 24% Fantrax) could be worth a punt. Look towards Richarlison or Calvert-Lewin out of these if they are free agents; both scored in the GW30 defeat to Newcastle.
🛡 Defensive Players: Digne (43% DFF / 95% Fantrax) is the standout option in the Everton defence. Other than him, Keane (38% DFF / 90% Fantrax), and Coleman (34% DFF / 60% Fantrax) are worth a look if your’e after an Everton defender. Zouma (10% DFF / 21% Fantrax) will be ineligible for the Chelsea game, so Mina (25% DFF / 19% Fantrax) should partner Keane.
🎯 Draft Fantasy Targets: Calvert-Lewin or Richarlison are worth a punt, but other than that, none of Everton’s fringe players with low Draft Fantasy ownership stand out, and the Toffees have tough games for both GW31 and GW33.
🎲 Togga Targets: As above really. Calvert-Lewin has done well in recent weeks, but other than that none of their fringe players with low Fantrax ownership stand out, and the Toffees have tough games for both GW31 and GW33.
🦊 Leicester 🦊
📝 GW31 Fixture: Burnley (Away)
✏️ GW33 Fixture: Huddersfield (Away)
🔮 Team Prospects: Leicester have upped their game in recent weeks, picking up two wins out of the last three. The Foxes are on the cusp of an enticing fixture list, which includes both GW31 and GW33. They also have a new manager in Brendan Rogers… new manager bounce incoming??? The Foxes face a trip to Burnley in GW31 and a trip to Huddersfield in GW33. Considering their fixture list, Leicester players should still be in your thinking.
⚽️ Attacking Players: In terms of attacking players, Vardy (76% DFF / 99% Fantrax) and Maddison (51% DFF / 99% Fantrax) will obviously be taken in all active leagues. This does leave us with a couple of enticing options, however. New signing Tielemans (0% DFF / 57% Fantrax) has two assists and a goal in his last three games, and Harvey Barnes (1% DFF / 38% Fantrax) has played well after returning from a productive loan spell at West Brom. Both of these Chaps look like good investments considering the fixture schedule of Leicester. Gray (6% DFF / 34% Fantrax) is a slightly under the radar pick, that you take a punt on in the hope that he keeps his place for GW31.
🛡 Defensive Players: Maguire (66% DFF / 98% Fantrax), Pereira (51% DFF / 100% Fantrax) and Chilwell (35% DFF / 88% Fantrax) are the best options from the Leicester defence; snap up any of these three immediately if they are free agents in your Draft League! Other than that, Evans (3% DFF / 14% Fantrax) looks to be the most solid of the picks from the Leicester defence. Morgan (2% DFF / 4% Fantrax) played in the GW29 defeat to Watford, but was on the bench for GW30.
🎯 Draft Fantasy Targets: Tielemans and Barnes are the key targets here, as there is a chance that these two Chaps could be free agents in your Draft League. Look towards Gray also; he started in the GW30 victory, and has a decent chance of keeping his place. Evans is the defender you should be looking at; he’s the most likely to be a free agent out of the starting defenders.
🎲 Togga Targets: Same as above really, Tielemans and Barnes have done well on Togga scoring in recent games, and should be signed up now if you can! Gray is probably worth a punt, and obviously Maguire, Pereira, and Chilwell should be snapped up if you can; they score very well on Togga. Evans is the best bet for a defender if you’re looking towards Leicester for GW31.
⚒ West Ham ⚒
📝 GW31 Fixture: Huddersfield (Home)
✏️ GW33 Fixture: Chelsea (Away)
🔮 Team Prospects: Now then, this is what we like. A decent team with guaranteed fixtures, who should have a few hidden gems for us to tap into. West Ham face Huddersfield at home in GW31, and will be looking to bounce back after a disappointing defeat to Cardiff last time around.
⚽️ Attacking Players: Obviously Arnautovic (66% DFF / 96% Fantrax) and Anderson (60% DFF / 99% Fantrax) will be taken in all active Draft Leagues. Therefore, you need to be looking towards the likes of Lanzini (12% DFF / 58% Fantrax), Snodgrass (4% DFF / 56% Fantrax) or Antonio (32% DFF / 73% Fantrax). All three of these Chaps are worth a punt this weekend if you can. Lanzini has played well since returning from injury, although he hasn’t gained any attacking returns. Antonio hasn’t started the last two games, but he could be recalled after the GW30 defeat to Cardiff. Snodgrass could also be a decent option, as he keeps on starting, and scores fairly well. Nasri (15% DFF / 35% Fantrax) seems out of favour, so we wouldn’t recommend bringing him in. Hernandez (25% DFF / 39% Fantrax) has been featuring a fair amount recently, but we’re not sure on what the GW31 team will be after such a disappointing display last time around from the Hammers.
🛡 Defensive Players: Rice (7% DFF / 28% Fantrax) is the best option here, as he’s a defender playing in midfield. Although West Ham have been fairly poor at the back this season, you’ve got to back them playing at home to Huddersfield! We would expect the defence to be Cresswell, Diop, Ogbonna, and Fredericks, although Balbuena and Zabaleta could easily be brought into the side. Cresswell and Diop are the safest bets here.
🎯 Draft Fantasy Targets: As mentioned above, Antonio, Snodgrass and Lanzini would be worth a punt from the attacking players. Rice is also worth bringing in on Draft Fantasy, as he’s classified as a defender on this platform. Cresswell and Diop are worth a look if you want a West Ham defender.
🎲 Togga Targets: Looking at the ownership statistics, there doesn’t look to be many attacking options from the West Ham front line. With Lanzini’s ownership still sitting at 58% he looks like a decent bet, and Snodgrass also scores fairly well on Togga. It is hard to predict the West Ham side after such a poor display in GW30 though. As Rice is classified as a midfielder on Fantrax, Ogbonna is perhaps the best option for a defender as he gains decent scores for winning aerials. Balbuena is now back to full fitness though, so he could take over partnering Diop in defence. Cresswell is perhaps the best Togga option, as he’s guaranteed to play, despite not having a great points per game average this season.
🍷 Burnley 🍷
📝 GW31 Fixture: Leicester (Home)
✏️ GW33 Fixture: Bournemouth (Away)
🔮 Team Prospects: Burnley had a real upturn in form around the start of the year, but they have actually lost three games in a row now. Don’t let this put you off though, the Clarets face Leicester at home in GW31, as well as Bournemouth away in GW33, and there should be some decent options from the free agent pool in most Draft Leagues.
⚽️ Attacking Players: The three main targets here are Ashley Barnes (18% DFF / 56% Fantrax), Wood (30% DFF / 44% Fantrax), and McNeil (1% DFF / 41% Fantrax). These three Chaps were focal points for Burnley during their recent good run, although Wood and McNeil have struggled for points in recent weeks. Other than these three, the likes of Westwood (1% DFF / 35% Fantrax) and Gudmundsson (18% DFF / 88% Fantrax) and could bring good points during the upcoming blanks.
🛡 Defensive Players: In terms of defensive acquisitions, the main two to focus on here would be Heaton (19% DFF / 41% Fantrax) and Tarkowski (32% DFF / 89% Fantrax). These are the standout picks for us from the Burnley backline. If Tarkowski is taken, then look towards Mee (11% DFF / 53% Fantrax) or Taylor (1% DFF / 7% Fantrax). Bardsley looks set to start in GW31, having played the last few at right back. He will face competition from Lowton, as ever, so maybe steer clear of the right back slot.
🎯 Draft Fantasy Targets: Wood and Barnes are the best two targets for Draft Fantasy (sign them immediately if you still can!!!), along with Tarkowski if you’re after a defender. Heaton is a great shout if you need a goalkeeper for GW31 and 33. Westwood is worth a look in deeper leagues – he’s been popping up with attacking returns since the start of the year.
🎲 Togga Targets: Barnes is the Chap to target in Togga scoring… he usually scores well without a dependacny on attacking returns. Wood and McNeil are good shouts, but both have struggled in Togga scoring the last three games. Westwood continues to be a good under the radar Togga scorer; he’s well worth a punt if you’re after a midfielder. Tarkowski is highly owned in Fantrax, so look towards Mee or Heaton if you want a Burnley defender or goalkeeper.
🍒 Bournemouth 🍒
📝 GW31 Fixture: Newcastle (Home)
✏️ GW33 Fixture: Burnley (Home)
🔮 Team Prospects: Bournemouth face Newcastle at home in GW31, and Burnley at home in GW33, so they look like a great team to target. The Cherries have been consistently inconsistent this season, but you’ve got to back them for these games considering the fixtures!
⚽️ Attacking Players: Bournemouth’s main attacking threats are likely to be taken in all active Draft Leagues, but there is an outside chance that Wilson (66% DFF / 92% Fantrax) or Brooks (24% DFF / 74% Fantrax) would have been dropped by a fellow manager after their recent injuries. Obviously Fraser (56% DFF / 95% Fantrax) and King (49% DFF / 98% Fantrax) will be taken. Other than that, there aren’t many options across the Cherries’ attacking outlets that you could tap in to unfortunately.
🛡 Defensive Players: In terms defensive assets, Ake (40% DFF / 65% Fantrax) should be the priority if you’re after a Bournemouth defender. Considering his talents, and the GW31 and 33 fixtures that Bournemouth have, we’d recommend snapping him up. Other then that, the Bournemouth backline has been fairly changeable due to injuries. It looks like the defence for GW31 will be Ake alongside Clyne (7% DFF / 19% Fantrax), Mepham (0% DFF / 3% Fantrax), and Daniels (4% DFF / 15% Fantrax). Boruc (1% DFF / 14% Fantrax) has taken over as number one goalkeeper, and is a solid option if you need a keeper.
🎯 Draft Fantasy Targets: If Brooks or Wilson have been dropped by a fellow manager, snap them up immediately! Ake is worth signing if you can, but look to Clyne, Daniels, or Mepham if he’s been taken in your Draft Fantasy League. Clyne is probably our preferred pick her for Draft Fantasy scoring.
🎲 Togga Targets: Ake is the best target here; he gained 14.25 points during the GW30 victory over Huddersfield. Daniels and Mepham also scored well during this fixture, and they, along with Clyne, look like decent options for GW31 in Fantrax leagues. It looks like all of The Cherries’ attacking outlets will be taken in Fantrax leagues, based on the high ownership of all of their main attacking outlets.
🐶 Huddersfield 🐶
📝 GW31 Fixture: West Ham (Away)
✏️ GW33 Fixture: Leicester (Home)
🔮 Team Prospects: Huddersfield are all but relegated, and are on very poor form. Yes they have a guaranteed fixture in GW31 and GW33, but it’s almost definitely not going to be worth bringing in any of their players during this period. The one player that has caught our eye in recent weeks on Fantrax however, is Stankovic (0% DFF / 8% Fantrax) – he’s bagged 40 points over the last three games, and looks like an absolute magnet for points in Togga scoring leagues. We backed him for GW30, and we’ll be doing the same in GW31!!
Other than that, Togga favourites Mounie (17% DFF / 50% Fantrax), Billing (0% DFF / 64% Fantrax), and Mooy (0% DFF / 70% Fantrax) have actually performed fairly poorly in recent weeks, so it would probably be wise to avoid those three for GW31.
⚫️ Newcastle ⚪️
📝 GW31 Fixture: Bournemouth (Away)
✏️ GW33 Fixture: No Guaranteed Fixture in GW33
🔮 Team Prospects: Newcastle face Bournemouth in GW31, and although they don’t have a guaranteed GW33 fixture, they should have some decent options for players that you should consider. Bournemouth are pretty inconsistent, so Newcastle could easily put in a decent performance.
⚽️ Attacking Players: Newcastle have quite a few players who you could target here, and a few of them will be under the radar. Rondon (28% DFF / 70% Fantrax), Almiron (0% DFF / 71% Fantrax), and Ritchie (10% DFF / 80% Fantrax) are the pick of the attacking players, as well as Perez (40% DFF / 74% Fantrax) – he bagged two goals and an assist in GW30!! Young midfielder Hayden (0% DFF / 35% Fantrax), has performed well in recent weeks, but has struggled for points the last two games. Shelvey (1% DFF / 32% Fantrax), Ki (0% DFF / 3% Fantrax), and Diame (0% DFF / 5% Fantrax) will be competing for the central midfield slot alongside Hayden, after Longstaff has suffered a serious injury.
🛡 Defensive Players: We wouldn’t recommend any of the Newcastle backline actually, as Schar (2% DFF / 65% Fantrax) is suspended, and Lascelles (21% DFF / 63% Fantrax) may miss GW31 with injury. Lejeune (0% DFF / 11% Fantrax) would be the best target if you did want a Newcastle defender. Manquillo (0% DFF / 2% Fantrax) and Yedlin (6% DFF / 16% Fantrax) have been rotating at right wing back, and Ritchie has been operating as the left wing back.
🎯 Draft Fantasy Targets: Any of the forwards/midfielders mentioned above would be a good addition to your Draft Fantasy squad. Almiron is probably the best midfielder to target, and Rondon gives you a forward with guaranteed minutes. Perez is also on great form. Lejeune is actually the best option for a defender, but with Schar and potentially Lascelles missing the GW31 game, it would be best to steer clear of the Newcastle defence, especially as Wilson is now back fit and firing for Bournemouth!
🎲 Togga Targets: Based on the Fantrax ownership statistics, its unlikely that Ritchie or Almiron will be free agents in many Draft Leagues. Snap up either of those two immediately if you can – Ritchie is a consistently good Togga scorer, and Almiron scored an amazing 24 points during his full debut in GW27… that was without a single goal or assist! Rondon has upped his game in Togga scoring in recent times, and Perez performed very well in GW30! In terms of defenders, Schar was the standout option for Togga scoring, but he’ll miss GW31 through suspension. Lejeune scores pretty well on Togga, so he’s the best pick if you did want a Newcastle defender in your Fantrax league.
🏠 Fulham 🏠
📝 GW31 Fixture: Liverpool (Home)
✏️ GW33 Fixture: No Guaranteed Fixture in GW33
🔮 Team Prospects: Fulham face Liverpool in GW31, and don’t have a guaranteed GW33 fixture, so we would recommend ignoring most of their assets for these purposes. Babel (5% DFF / 43% Fantrax) and Mitrovic (63% DFF / 98% Fantrax) are worth owning, and Chambers (2% DFF / 47% Fantrax) has some value in Togga scoring leagues, but other than that we wouldn’t consider getting on the Fulham bus for GW31.
So here we have it, Gameweek 31 is coming up this weekend, and we’ve only got five Premier League fixtures…! You need to consider your specific situation, make a judgement call on what you should be doing, and then work out which of these players to sign, when you should pick them up.
📝 Ownership Statistics 📝
The quoted ownership statistics were taken from Draft Fantasy and Fantrax. Check them out if you’re after an online platform for your Draft Fantasy Football League! Draft Fantasy uses a scoring system similar to the standard Official FPL game, where as Fantrax mainly uses the more intelligent scoring system made famous by Togga.
🔥 Hot or Cold Player Rankings ❄️
Our Hot or Cold Player Rankings are here to outline the current prospects of key Draft Fantasy Football Players. Our ‘Hot‘ or ‘Cold‘ status will help take away your emotional attachment to certain Premier League players, and bring in the players that you need to help you dominate your Draft League. Use these hints and tips to increase your chances of success!