The fixture list is one of the most valuable pieces of information available to an FPL manager when selecting a squad.
To help in that department, the FPL website offers a Fixture Difficulty Rating system (FDR) which assigns a score out of five to each match, based on the opponent and which team is at home.
However, that system is limited. For example, a score of one is never assigned to a match and few receive a rating of five.
Buried in the FPL website’s code is another metric called ‘strength’, which appears to power the FDR rating. We’ve used the latest strength values to create an alternative rating system – which uses the full range from one to five – and applied it to this season’s remaining matches.
Veer away from Villa
While two teams immediately stand out by virtue of having more games left, it's worth having a look at who they're up against. Everton and Aston Villa both have ten fixtures remaining, one more than many rivals, though Villa's don't look particularly winnable.
Jack Grealish & Co. still have to play Liverpool, Manchester City and Spurs away from home, and face Everton, Manchester United and Chelsea at Villa Park.
Although it makes sense to stock up on a few players from these clubs to take advantage of double gameweek possibilities, it would be advisable not to put too much faith in Dean Smith’s side.
Liverpool may be in uncharacteristically bad form at the moment, having suffered from multiple injuries, but their run-in offers hope of finishing the season strongly.
Of the 16 Premier League clubs with nine matches still to play, Jurgen Klopp’s side have the easiest on average. What’s more, they don’t currently have any blank gameweeks - so there is no chance of owning Liverpool players unable to contribute between now and the end of the season due to scheduling.
Wolves back in the hunt
Like the Reds, Wolves’ season has been disrupted by a long-term injury to one of their key players: striker Raul Jimenez.
However, just two defeats in their last seven league outings suggests that they are turning a corner, and a set of remaining fixtures almost as welcoming as Liverpool’s could see them start to climb the table.
Their final nine fixtures include five against teams in the bottom half of the table: Fulham, Sheffield, Burnley, West Brom and Brighton.
Two more upwardly-mobile clubs with relatively gentle run-ins are London-based Arsenal and West Ham.
Looking a little further ahead, four of the high-flying Hammers’ last five matches are against clubs in the bottom half of the table, so expect their players’ prices to climb as May approaches.
Bail on the relegation battle
While owning players motivated by being in a relegation battle can be preferable to those who are already on the beach as the end of the season approaches, most of the clubs still in danger of the drop face tricky run-ins.
An improving Fulham have just eight games remaining (being one of only two teams to have already played 30 matches) while West Brom, Brighton and Newcastle all have few winnable fixtures still to play. Of the current bottom six, Burnley have the kindest run-in, with games against Newcastle, Fulham, Leeds and Sheffield still to come.
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