FPL GW13 Tips: How to manage your bench during Christmas period?

There is a hectic Christmas period ahead. There are five Fantasy Premier League gameweeks in 18 days between 15 December and 2 January.

In average, that is 4.5 days of rest for teams between gameweeks. So, prepare your squad for potential rotation and injuries.

Let’s start with our FPL GW13 Tips.

Tips for FPL GW13

Best captain pick for GW13

With Liverpool playing against Tottenham, a lot of our regular captain picks (Salah, Mane, Son, Kane) cancel each other out in this fixture.

Although, they are among best FPL assets of this season and they still could (and probably will) do well even in this tough fixture.

However, the fixture is probably the only thing we can predict in FPL with 100% certainty, so we like to pick a captain that has an easy game in upcoming gameweek.

But this approach has it limitations, too. We will not go to such an extreme to pick, for example, Jack Grealish against Burnley as one of our captain options.

Although he will likely do well in that game.

We like to pick proven premium FPL assets as our captain picks, and this week we will focus only on two armband contenders (instead of three as usual).

2. Bruno Fernandes (SHU (A))

Manchester United have really great fixture in GW13.

They face Sheffield United who is at the bottom of Premier League table with only 1 point collected and 21 goals conceded.

Only WBA, Fulham and Leeds have conceded more this season. Also, only these three teams conceded more xG against than Sheffield United.

The blades also failed to keep a single clean this season so far. And who else to pick as best captain option from Manchester United squad if not their talisman Bruno Fernandes?

Portuguese has been outstanding this season so far. He has been involved in 63 % of Manchester United Premier League goals what is very impressive.

Fernandes is averaging 7.55 points per match in all 2020/21 games and 11.2 points per match in away matches.

In away games, Manchester United are doing very well. They won all 5 away Premier League games this season with great score 16:7 (in comparison, they have score 3:10 in home games).

Manchester United are scoring more than 3 goals per away match and they face the last team from the league table.

That is screaming for captaincy for a player, that is involved in more than 60 % of Manchester United goals.

1. Kevin De Bruyne (WBA (H))

The attacking strength of Manchester City is not the one we were used to during previous seasons.

They are struggling in front of the opposition goal and they scored only 17 goals this season so far. 11 teams scored the same or more goals than them.

Although City have one game less (blank in GW1) it is still quite disturbing statistic for team like them.

However, they face West Bromwich Albion in GW13. WBA conceded more goals (25) and more xG (23.94) than any other team.

So even struggling Manchester City could do very well against them.

With 56 points (5.6 points per match) Kevin De Bruyne is Manchester City’s FPL top scorer.

He is their most important player and with the rest he got in Champions League, we expect him to start the majority of City’s games during this tight Christmas schedule.

De Bruyne is the most active Man City player with 4.01 shots and 3.25 key passes per 90 minutes.

This season, he has underperformed his xG by 2.87 as he has only 2 goals from 4.87 xG. That is very positive sign as he is getting into great chances. 

However, he is failing to convert them.

Manchester City play against the worst defense in GW13 and despite Bruno Fernandes being great captaincy option against Sheffield, we picked Kevin De Bruyne as our number one GW13 captain.

At the end of the gameweek, however, it may not even matter if you chose De Bruyne or Fernandes as your captain, as both may have double-digit hauls at that time.

How to manage your bench during Christmas period

Christmas period is on of the most important periods in FPL. In January, everything will be different in overall ranking.

FPL Managers who got to the top 1K or top 10K mainly due to “lack” rather than “skill” might suffer significant rank drop.

And skillful managers who were a bit behind in the ranking might finally start making some ground and moving upwards.

During this Christmas period, your FPL season can be make or breakHaving playing bench is going to be important part of your FPL strategy during Christmas.

So, we prepared few tips and ideas how to manage your bench during thisperiod

1. Do not overthink the rotation

The rotation and Christmas FPL period are connected terms in the FPL Community. But there is one thing you must realize.

There is so little time to rest for the players that almost every player will be rotated. There will be unexpected benchings every gameweek.

Every one of your players might get benched. Make peace with that. Do not overthink it. Every FPL manager is in the same situation.

We all will find some of our players benched during this period. 

You can miss out on big portion of points if you try to avoid some players (like Sterling) only because you think they are rotation risk.

If a player (who is good FPL asset) is a regular started for his team, it does not matter if he gets benched once in 5 games.

He will score plenty of points in the other four games. Just do not miss out on opportunities due to fear of player being benched. Because he will be benched anyway. 

Just pick the players you think that will score the most points.

2. Have playing bench, not strong bench

Yes, you need playing bench in this period. No, you do not need strong bench. Focus on having 2 playing players on the bench of your FPL team.

You can forget about reserve keeper and 3rd place in your bench (it is extremely unlikely you will need them, so it does not worth the effort and wasted transfers or wildcards to bring playing players to that position).

3. Two points - that’s what you should expect from your bench player

In order to maximize expected output of your starting XI, your bench players should be 4.5 m (or less) players that are regularly scoring 2 points week and week out.

No, Souček and players over 4.5 million are not great bench options. You can never time when they score goals so you will likely end up with two points from them anyway.

For example, Souček returned more than 3 points only in 33% of matches. So there is 67% probability than you will got 3 or less points from him when you will need him as your sub.

That is not worth the extra 0.5 million over 4.5m players. You should rather use those 0.5 million elsewhere in your team to maximize the expected FPL points output of your starting XI.

We think it is better to play Souček in your starting XI or not have him at all rather than having him on the bench.

4. Defender as the first sub

If you are not playing 5 at the back (and you are probably not), your first sub should almost always be 4.5 million defender.

Ideally low rotation risk centre back with green fixtures during Christmas. However, if he has really bad fixture like LIV (A) where he is likely to score 0 or 1 point, you can move 4.5 million midfielder like Romeu who is more likely to score 2 points to your first bench spot.

Even that we focus on getting 2 points from our bench players, having 4.5m defender as first sub will maximize the chances of getting occasional clean sheet points from your bench player.

This 4.5 million defender will be likely from non-top-6 team. Last season, non-top-6 teams have kept 135 clean sheets in 38 gameweeks.

That’s 9.64 clean sheet per team. And that’s 0.25 clean sheets per non-top-6 team per gameweek. This is big simplification, but with having a 4.5 million defender as your first sub you still 25% probability of getting clean sheet points.

It is a higher probability than 4.5 million midfielder scoring a goal or registering an assist.

Although it is not the 33% chance of occasional attacking return from Souček, it is a solution that costs 0.5 million less. And those 0.5 million can be vital elsewhere in your team.

Of course, a defender can score 1 point instead of 2 when conceding 2 goals. That’s why you really want a defender with great fixtures during Christmas period.

And if the fixture is bad, you put your 4.5 m midfielder as your first sub to minimize the risk and ensure 2 points.

Scout pick for GW13

Let’s finish our tips for GW13 with the scout selection.

Goalkeeper

Ederson

6.0 m | WBA (H)

Defence

Zouma

5.7 m | WOL (A)

Dias

5.6 m | WBA (H)

Cresswell

5.2 m | CRY (H)

Bellerin

5.2 m | Sou(H)

Midfield

De Bruyne (C)

11.8 m | WBA (H)

Fernandes

10.9 m | SHU (A)

Salah

12.3 m | TOT (H)

Bowen

6.4 m | CRY (H)

Grealish

7.8 m | BUR (H)

Attack

Bamford

6.2 m | NEW (H)

We are preparing one last tip for the upcoming gameweek: Clean sheet Odds for GW13. It will be live soon.

If you are interested not just in FPL but also in soccer predictions, you will find very interesting predictions at 1X2 Soccer Predictions.

Good luck in gameweek 13!