Summary for the lazy.
⏰ Gameweek 19's deadline is 16:00 GMT, Monday 2nd January
🔥 Chelsea and Fulham have a Double Gameweek
🤝 Cody Gakpo priced at £8.0m
🤕 Toney stretchered off in GW18, Robertson also leaves the pitch injured
Stay to find out how many managers captained double own-goal hero Wout Faes.
Happy New Year! Did you party last night? Or were you sat indoors, watching Jools Holland, waiting for a socially acceptable time to excuse yourself and go to bed?
Either way, they say you should start the year as the you mean to go on, so we're starting ours by sending you lot - all 17,018 of you - an email about FPL.
Because that's what we intend to do for the whole of 2023.
...but also because we're on the precipice of yet another deadline. There's a phrase in Britain: "you wait ages for a bus, and then three come along at once". Apparently, the same goes for gameweeks too.
The good news: Gameweek 20 doesn't start until Friday January 13th, giving us some much needed respite.
The bad news: Gameweek 19 doesn't end until Thursday January 12th.
Strap in. Strap on. Let's get into it.
Make nineteen a double
The reason Gameweek 19 doesn't know when to quit is because of the rearranged Fulham vs Chelsea, which means Chelsea and Fulham are our Gameweek 19 doublers. In other words, it's the posh-London-club double.
The meat of Gameweek 19 is, like those jeans you optimistically chose to wear on Christmas Day, also quite stretched out. Here's how the whole gameweek looks:
Chelsea will play Man City at home, then, a week later, they'll make the long and treacherous journey to Craven Cottage.
Meanwhile, Fulham have Leicester away before they host Chelsea.
Will you be multiplying your stake in these teams?
Mitrovic's penalty miss in Gameweek 18 means a few dunces might just overlook him, which makes him all the more appealing for us. More on him soon.
Otherwise, we'd urge caution over attacking this double too aggressively. Keep hits to a minimum and ensure your Free Hit is firmly sheathed.
The key stats
These stats aren't fully complete, because Gameweek 18 hasn't actually finished at the time of writing. Still, Toney being in the most transferred in AND the most transferred out is great to see.
Note: the bookies' odds only apply to the first round of fixtures: not the combined odds of Fulham vs Chelsea too.
Cody Gakpo gets a price
If you want Cody Gakpo, he'll cost you £8m.
Is £8.0m the right price or a shite price? I asked the Professor.
Thankfully there is no rush to bring in Gakpo and I've been left in a position in which I can sit on the fence and not make any sweeping judgements regarding whether or not he's going to be a hit.
At the moment, you're not going to want to toy with your midfield that likely consists of 5 of the following: Martinelli, Almiron, Odegaard, Saka, Salah, De Bruyne, Andreas.
At £8.0m, he's certainly interesting. But there is the Eredivisie to Premier League tax to consider and, given we have so many doubles on the horizon, it's a perfect opportunity to let the chips fall where they may and make a decision on Gakpo at a later date.
One thing I will say is that if Jota is out until March there is an opportunity for Liverpool to play Gakpo as a second striker off Darwin with Diaz on the left and Salah on the right. If that scenario plays out it's going to be interesting to say the least.
Should you get rid of Kevin De Bruyne?
In the two Premier League matches played since Belgium sagged out of the World Cup, Kevin De Bruyne has scored an incredibly disappointing three points.
We decided to lift up that pale bonnet of his and take a look under the hood.
With a combined 1.91 xGI (expected goal involvement), it looks like Kevin is unlucky not to have a return since the Premier League resumed.
These stats are pretty consistent with De Bruyne's season as a whole. A huge xA (9.11) accompanied by a much lower xG (3.42). In fact, over a two-gameweek stretch, his post-World Cup stats are actually superior to his standard output.
But what about his positioning? Is it true that De Bruyne has been "playing deeper" since Gameweek 17 as so many managers claim?
Here's a comparison of his touch maps (the left shows Gameweek 1-16, the right shows Gameweek 17-18):
It's hard to make a definitive statement here. De Bruyne was no stranger to dropping deep in Gameweeks 1-16, and whilst he's been less advanced on the right-hand-side in recent gameweeks, he's been more progressive on the left too.
One thing seems certain: De Bruyne's creative output doesn't appear to be harmed by his positioning.
As with Darwin, here we have another player who shows a lot of statistical promise but is yet to convert it into cold, hard FPL points. These are the best players to keep hold of.
If you own De Bruyne, it means a week ago you believed that he would continue to provide frequent assists and occasional goals, as he does every season.
Don't let two matches of underperformance contradict that assertion: the stats suggest he'll be back at it before long.
The best captain for Gameweek 18
Ooo, here we go. The Double Gameweek makes this a more intriguing captaincy choice than usual. Do you go for Haaland against Chelsea, or punt for a doubling player?
As controversial as it is, we at FPLTips.com believe that FPL should be as fun as possible for managers (despite Pep Guardiola's unwavering insistence that it should be the opposite).
Therefore, we will always captain a doubling player. 180 minutes of captaincy is just more fun than 90. Come at me.
Mitrovic is the obvious choice amongst the doublers, but hold your Serbian horses: he's on four yellows. Painfully, he still has to survive another two matches before the total for a ban rises to 10.
In other words, if he's booked against Leicester, he'll miss the game against Chelsea. If he's booked against Chelsea, he'll get both of his Gameweek 19 games but miss Gameweek 20.
A headache indeed.
This comes down to your risk appetite. Andreas Pereira has two attacking returns in his last four gameweeks, and might feel hard done by not to have had more. He's the safer option if you're after 180 minutes of action, along with nailed Chelsea assets like Mount, Kepa or even someone like Cucurella.
But there's no doubting that, if he can circumnavigate disciplinary action, Mitrovic is the standout option. We're rolling the dice and picking the Serb.
The Professor's Gameweek 18 team
Ranked at 20,607 (although, at the time of writing, Gameweek 18 still hasn't concluded), here's how the Professor lines up for Gameweek 19.
This is what he has to say:
"No transfers. Mitrovic Captain. Martinelli on my bench. James still stinking up the place. When have I ever failed you, dear reader?
Remember, this is all preliminary and subject to change before the deadline. No doubt I'll be in our Premium WhatsApp group right up to the buzzer going over every area of this squad.
I can't see Pep not playing Cancelo away to Chelsea. Walker? maybe he doesn't get in but I don't mind Patterson off the bench this week. Andreas over Martinelli is close and I need to run the numbers some more but I adore doubles.
Mitrovic captain over Haaland despite Chelsea's lacklustre defensive data. Doubles: they are my muse.
I also really, really want to build two Free Transfers up for the post-FA Cup third round double announcements.
So this is me provisionally. Can Martinelli outscore Andreas? Yes. Can Haaland or Salah outscore Mitrovic with one less fixture? Yes. Will I be sitting behind the couch claiming 'well at least Andreas and Mitrovic have another fixture' after those two things happen? Potentially.
The Prof is using the BetterFPL Chrome extension here, which is why his team view is so much better than yours. You can use the code FPLTIPS to try it out for a month for for free (usually it's 10 days). Check it out here.
And they were all yellow
We thought it'd be wise to remind you of the players still teetering on the edge of a one-match suspension. Luckily, @FPL_Raptor has done the hard work for us.
Wout the Faes?
Did you have a rubbish gameweek? Well, at least you didn't captain Wout Faes, who scored a brace of own goals to hand Liverpool a 2-1 win over Leicester.
If you owned him, please hit "reply" and let us know. We'll give you a shoutout in the next newsletter.
Who needs transfers anyway?
You know all the stress, heartache and pain we go through to field a decent looking team every week?
Well, apparently it's a waste of time. This team, shared by Fantasy Football Hub, is just inside the top 6k after 18 gameweeks having never made a single transfer.
Some news: we're working on a few really good rewards for those of you who get others to sign up to this newsletter. However, we're really interested to know whether you'd actually recommend us.
Is this newsletter something you'd share? Or would you rather keep the good stuff to yourself?
Would you tell others about this newsletter?
Or would you rather keep it to yourself?
Okay, we're out. It's New Years Day and there's football to watch.
The FPLTips team.