Whisper it quietly but it’s nearly Christmas, and you know what that means. Shedloads of Premier League football that you barely have time to prepare for amongst all the turkeys, tinsel and glad tidings. So let me try and lend a helping hand as we steer our RealFF squads through the Xmas fixture jungle. Many of you will have experienced the fantasy Xmas pileup before but for those who haven’t here are a few handy hints to help you pick up festive points a plenty:

Transfer windows – During January many leagues will have transfers locked to avoid the quickest fingers picking up those big money signings. With some huge clubs struggling so badly there could be some serious money spent, and it just wouldn’t be fair if e.g. Dybala signs for Arsenal (bit of a stretch!) and the first manager to spot him gets him. What this means is between around gameweeks 21 to 24 you can’t drop or pick up players. Therefore it’s highly important you have a solid squad to ensure your team can cope with any injuries or loss of form. Having 15 regular starters is an absolute must. I’d highly recommend dependable centre backs e.g. Dunk or Tarkowski over rotation fodder full backs such as Mendy or Luke Shaw, regardless of how sexy their attacking flair may be. Make sure you take the time over the xmas break to plan ahead.

I’d highly recommend dependable centre backs

Target good fixtures – The next four gameweeks prior to the January freeze are a great chance to pick up points. With fixtures so close together players can often hold form really well, so targeting those with high upside and good fixtures can reap big rewards. This year from an attacking standpoint Palace, Villa and Man Utd really stand out with some lovely fixtures over the festive period. Have a look to trade for or pick up Zaha, Milivojevic, Wesley, Grealish, El Ghazi, Mcginn, Rashford and Daniel James. If clean sheets are your jam then Palace and Sheffield United stand out. Cahill and Kelly are probably the safest Palace defenders right now, the Sheff Utd setup is very consistent so there’s plenty of options there.

If clean sheets are your jam then Palace and Sheffield United stand out

Avoid bad fixtures – cling grimly to stars with bad fixtures over the next four weeks rather than looking to trade and you could lose serious ground. Wolves are knackered due to their European exploits, not ideal when you’re about to face Spurs, Man City and Liverpool in the next four. Consider using the prolific Raul Jimenez as trade bait if you own him, I can see him getting some rest over those tough games. West Ham only have three games over xmas, none of them appeal. I suspect Pellegrini could be looking for work in the New Year as their Xmas points could be a complete pipe dream.

Look out for blanks – Liverpool and West Ham don’t play in gameweek 18 due to Liverpool’s World Club Cup / Carabao Cup double commitments. It’s only one week, but maybe make sure you don’t have half a squad of Liverpool and West Ham assets. I’ll leave it to you which team’s players you shed!

Cheers,
Gaffer

Follow me @realffgaffer on twitter