Guest post: Gameweek 30 blanks estimator

Here is a treat for Fantasy Premier League managers trying to calculate what impact the FA Cup will have on Gameweek 30 Premier League fixtures and their FPL teams. In this guest post, Balders estimates the percentage chance of the games going ahead and provides you with exclusive access to an incredible Gameweek 30 planning tool. Over to Balders:

This weekend sees 11 Premier League sides line up across eight FA Cup matches and if the threat of injuries in these games isn’t enough to make you hold your transfers, the games will also generate a raft of blank fixtures in Gameweek 30.

FA Cup fifth round fixtures

As covered in detail by Diva’s blank and double Gameweek planning series, the winners of these matches will have their FA Cup quarter finals on the weekend of Gameweek 30 and their Premier League matches for that week will be postponed.

Using bookies’ opening lines for the the fifth round matches, I’ve taken a look at the likelihood of each Gameweek 30 match going ahead. The early good news is that Stoke City vs Southampton and Leicester City vs Newcastle United are going ahead, but after that it gets decidedly murky.

Five games in Norwich City vs Manchester City, Aston Villa vs Tottenham Hotspur, Bournemouth vs Swansea City, Sunderland vs Everton and Liverpool vs Chelsea fall into a broad grouping of ‘maybe happening’.

Meanwhile, the teams involved in three games – Manchester United vs Crystal Palace, West Ham United vs Watford, and Arsenal vs West Brom Albion – all face the double jeopardy of either side winning their FA Cup tie, leading to the postponement of their Premier League match.

Gameweek 30 Premier League fixture probability

Due to three FA Cup ties involving two Premier League sides, there will be at least three matches postponed – i.e. six teams facing a blank. Conversely two of these ties should guarantee a Premier League fixture goes ahead and adding that to the Stoke vs Southampton and Leicester vs Newcastle games, we will have at least four matches going ahead. At least eight teams will definitely have a game, but we currently know only four of them.

Gameweek 30 postponement likelihood

Table 1: GW30 postponement likelihoods

Simulating every win/loss situation for these eight FA Cup games, we can build a picture of how many Premier League games are likely to be postponed and the results are show in Table 1.

As we can see, there’s likely to be five or six games cancelled unless there are lots of upsets from lower league sides. Also notable is how many big FPL players are in the most endangered sides and you start to realise how much of a massacre this week could be.

Furthermore, these ‘likelihoods’ discount draws which may force replays in Gameweek 30, thereby postponing two Premier League games if that is when the FA decides to stage replays. If that is the case and there are multiple draws we could see up to eight matches postponed.

As we do not know for certain how the replays will pan out (if there are any), I have ignored them for the above modelling and for a Team Diagnostic Tool that I have created especially for readers here. In my Team Diagnostic Tool you can enter your players into it and it will tell you how good or how your team is shaping up for Gameweek 30 across each position and as a whole.

For example, below is the current outlook for my badly prepared team, showing I most likely won’t have a goalkeeper and I am likely to have between just four and eight outfielders in my current state – though I could have as low as three or as high as 10 outfielders.

Gameweek 30 diagnostic tool

Looking ahead to this weekend, I can see Tottenham and Arsenal’s results are crucial to my squad and if both their FA Cup games go as expected then I’ll be looking at four or five Gameweek 30 players rather than nine or ten.

As we are already within the gameweek of the FA Cup games, there’s not much more we can do than sit and wait it out. However, if you want to see how your team will fare, feel free to open one of the three copies of the tool below and input your team.

If there is visibly somebody else with the tool open and inputting their team, please open another version of the tool so you are not overwriting their team. Each version is designed to only be used by one person at a time.

To input your team, type in your players in cells C3:C17 corresponding to their playing positions in your squad, then next to them input their teams’ FPL abbreviation codes in cells D3:D17. After about five seconds the spreadsheet should then produce a diagnosis for your team.

Tool 1 | Tool 2Tool 3 

During the weekend of FA Cup games I will update the likelihoods to either zero per cent or 100 per cent when we know whether games will be going ahead.


49 thoughts on “Guest post: Gameweek 30 blanks estimator

  1. Thanks for the great guest post and for sharing this awesome tool Balders. The tool suggests I’m currently most likely to have between seven and nine players in Gameweek 30. Hopefully, with four free transfers between then and now, I’ll be in a position to ride out the blanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, managers will have to make their own adjustments for injuries and suspensions. The number of permutations that went into Balders’ tool was huge so I suspect adding injuries and suspensions on top would be a step to far. Simpson should be available for selection in Gameweek 30 if he avoids another suspension or injury.


    • Balders says:

      If I started logging the details of every player the spreadsheet would go into literally 100,000s or rows, however there is a quick shortcut round this. If you leave a player’s team box empty then they will be excluded from the calculations.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ruth_NZ says:

    Just a comment or two on DGW/BGW strategy.

    The tendency at the moment seems to be to panic about fielding 11 players in GW30. But that’s not the be all and end all.

    If you force your transfers with GW30 in mind you could miss some pretty big points between now and then. Personally I won’t mind missing a defender in GW30 (and fielding 10 players) if that means I can have the attackers I want in GW27-32. Alternatively, if I want to make an extra transfer for a GW30 defender that I think will help me in GW31-32 as well then it’s a cheap hit if I choose to go that way.

    I am assuming I will wildcard into GW33 by the way so I am only interested in looking as far as GW32 right now.

    The last point is that we don’t know when any replays required from this weekend will be needed, nor do we know about the possible DGW in GW29 or possible additional fixture(s) in GW30. There is no substitute for a manager working the options out for themselves and there will doubtless be “…but your tool said…” comments when the actuality comes out different to the prediction.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Balders says:

      Haha that’s why I caveat in the article that it ignores the possibility of replays so it’s likely overestimating things. On this point I’ll just add in my latest understanding on what may happen going by precedent over the last 10 years.

      “Monday 7th March is available to everyone but Chelsea vs Man City to have a replay, however that would mean playing it 2 days after a PL game.

      The alternative is the replay gets moved back to GW30 and both teams suffer a blank gameweek. The QF would then likely get pushed back to April 4th in that case.”

      Furthermore I highly highly doubt dgw29 is an option as teams would have to play Saturday-Monday relatively early in the season, especially as there are already designated slip dates in weeks 34 and 37.


      • Ruth_NZ says:

        Thanks Balders but I don’t need your assessment, I have my own. 🙂

        I won’t argue about what may or may not happen because neither of us know. My only point is that there are possibilities out there that could screw the whole basis you are working on. Even the notion that GW28 fixtures won’t be moved to accommodate FA Cup replays is uncertain.

        Nice tool though. It has made me realise that I’ll probably need to replace Payet sometime in the next few weeks.


        • Balders says:

          Cheers, I’m just running on 21st century precedent that PL games have not been moved for FA Cup replays. Rather they’ve been pushed back the QF or played Saturday/midweek*.

          *this has been Saturday/Monday a couple of times since the FA’s fine for putting Spurs vs Bolton on a CL night in 2010.

          If precedent is broken I can but hold up my hands and say I didn’t expect it, but usually people follow the trodden path and I back the PL & FA to do the same with their fixture rescheduling.


          • Ruth_NZ says:

            Yep. We don’t know is all I can say (and I said that already).

            Trouble is precedent has already gone out of the window. It is highly unusual for a full PL schedule to be set midweek to clash with potential 5th round FA Cup replays, they didn’t do that in 2013/14 (World Cup) or 2011/12 (Euros) and in the intervening seasons they even left a weekend free for the FA Cup 6th round.

            There is also a problem with late season midweek slots that don’t clash with CL/EL games – last season GWs 31, 34 and 37 were available, this year there are only 2. That will almost inevitably mean some teams playing Saturday-Monday in a European week.

            I am all for good planning but if you are planning with a background of uncertainty it’s as well to know it. The circumstances of this season are quite unique and may well result in some unpredictable scheduling outcomes.

            Liked by 1 person

  3. Excellent stuff Balders, thank you and Diva for sharing.

    I’m planning to have six guaranteed gw30 players in my team from gw27 and with another three FT’s available until then I might be able to field at least nine without disrupting it too much.
    A surprise Palace win at White Hart Lane would do wonders for my team!


  4. Great Post Diva and Balders, and that’s a fantastic tool!! This could be a really valuable week for those of us who do our research (and those of us wise enough to lean on yours).



  5. :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D says:

    Tks a lot Balders. I really appreciate your work u have put into this. If your percentages prove correct then I will likely be able to scrape through few 30 without taking a hit.


    • Ruth_NZ says:


      Bothering to post something other than “thanks…great…please will someone tell me what players to get” is lack of appreciation is it?

      Actually I don’t think Balders needs anyone crawling up his ass but I’m sure he’ll be relieved to know he has a volunteer if the occasion arises.


  6. Chris says:

    Just a thought regarding an unexpected move in GW29 or equivalent:

    If Everton and/or Man C reach semi finals, they would have 3(!) games to reschedule, right?
    This should increase the likelyhood of DGW29 for especially Liverpool – Everton.

    Or are there other possible DGWs as well as 34/37?


    • GW34 and GW37 are the only weeks with space set aside for displaced games. The games will have to be played before GW38 so if they don’t fit in those slots they will have to fit them in somewhere. The problem with GW29 for a Merseyside derby is it comes before we find out if Everton would reach the semi-finals. As Liverpool are already out of the FA Cup, if Everton beat Bournemouth in the fifth round I suspect they will wait until they know whether Everton needs GW37 for a displaced GW35 match before rescheduling the postponed GW27 match.

      Of course, replays could throw an extra spanner in the works!


  7. Jaffalicious says:

    This is a very insightful post Balders. Fantastic work! Great blog as well Diva!

    It’s nice to know that some people never change, isn’t that right Ruth_NZ? 😉


  8. Charlie_Killer says:

    Thank you for this usefool tool 🙂 But I’m a bit confused – which one is final version of the file? After inputting my team into all three, the results are different…


    • Ruth_NZ says:

      People do love to simplify. And then they post surmise as fact.

      Until we know which FAC5 games need replays and when they will be played as well as the FAC6 draw then what you have written above is NOT certain.

      For example – if Everton draw Arsenal/Hull in FAC6 and the Arsenal/Hull replay happens on the 12/13 March (one possibility) then the GW30 game Sunderland v Everton would go ahead.

      The situation is more complicated than most people want to deal with, unfortunately.

      Liked by 3 people

        • Ruth_NZ says:

          What’s the point?

          I just read the slurs and lies being posted about me on FFS. Nice. I haven’t posted there for 6 months or more and still it continues.

          Better to make the same ignorant mistake as everyone else than be the one to point it out I guess.

          In future I’ll just say nowt.


  9. RussD says:

    I admire your precise comments, Ruth, and miss them on FFS. I loved your analysis last summer, and whilst the vitriolic critisism you received surprised me, the way you stood up for yourself and highlighted the inaccuracies in others arguments kept me hugely entertained.

    I wish you would come back but I can understand why you do not.


  10. FPL Silver says:

    Why is everyone arguing about something that we’ll all find out on Monday anyway. Rather than people fighting against each other claiming that their theories are right why don’t they just accept that there are a number of various possibilies that and that everything will become clear on Monday.
    Let things unfold but one thing I will say is that no game is yet postponed therefore nobody can be 100% sure what will happen. Rather than argue here and on a poor guys comment on ffscout who just wanted known facts wait until Monday and everything will be clear.
    Surely this makes more sense than pointlessly arguing over nothing. So please the next time you want to get into an argument over this please consider that you won’t have to wait long before everything becomes clear.


  11. Ruth_NZ says:

    OK then, here’s my first take…

    The interesting thing for me after this weekend’s FAC results is the big DGW in GW34. GW30 will be almost a non-event now with Spurs losing, everyone and their dog will be able to field 11 I would imagine.

    Assuming Arsenal come through against Hull, there should be 12 teams with a GW34 DGW as it looks. The reason for that is that GW34 now becomes viable for the outstanding Newcastle v City game postponed from GW27. Here are the teams concerned with their likely DGW fixtures:

    Arsenal – CPL WBA
    WBA – WAT ars
    Liverpool – bou CHE
    Chelsea = MCY liv
    United – AVL CPL
    Palace – ars mun
    Sunderland – nor EVE
    Everton – SOT sun
    Hammers – lei WAT
    Watford – wba whm
    City – che new
    Newcastle SWA MCY

    The other outstanding game (Everton v Liverpool) there still appears not to be a slot for. I’d imagine a Monday will be found for that at some stage.

    So, what does that tell us? Well, firstly a wildcard to enter GW34 with 15 DGW players (and BB) shouldn’t be a problem unless people are addicted to their Spurs and Leicester assets (and neither have stellar fixtures that week though Leicester have a good one in GW33). Whether the blanks in GW35 will make that more or less palatable depends on the FAC QF results in GW30.

    Secondly, Arsenal and United would have fantastic DGW fixtures, Chelsea and City relatively poor ones. Of the other teams, Sunderland and Everton look OK whilst Palace have it very tough.

    So, I think the FAC results make it more likely for me that I will wildcard into GW33 and play BB in DGW34, only dependant on the FAC QF results really. Off the top of my head, the teams most likely to blank in GW35 are Palace, Everton, Bournemouth, Chelsea, Sunderland, Arsenal, West Ham and United (though if Everton beat Chelsea in the QFs it could be 6 teams not 8 and other permutations are possible).

    That more likely scenario would mean 5 teams having both the GW34 DGW and a fixture in GW35 with City, Liverpool and Watford having quite favourable ones. Given the ability to enter GW35 with 2 FTs, that would mean that a wildcard team with 15 DGW players would need 9 from those 5 teams in DGW34 in order to field 11 in GW35. 3 City, 2 Liverpool, 2 Watford, 1 Newcastle, 1 WBA – something like that. Or possibly keeping one Spurs and one Leicester player and going into GW34 with 13 DGW players, meaning only 7 needed from those 5 teams.

    Well, anyway, these are my musings. It’s not so much a matter of predicting the detail, but seeing that the basis of my upcoming transfers will relate to when I intend to wildcard it is valuable (for me at least) to sketch the scenario out. Maybe others will find some interest in it too.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. Ruth_NZ says:

    Hey Balders…

    I noticed on FFS that you reckon “Liverpool will have the holy grail of doubles in both 34 and 37 with no blank week in between”. Why is that?

    One would assume that Liverpool v Chelsea from GW30 will go into GW34. That leaves their outstanding game at Everton. But if Everton reach the FAC SFs then presumably Everton v Southampton from GW35 will go into GW37. That would leave no slots for the postponed Everton v Liverpool game unless GW37 becomes a TGW (meaning Everton would need to play Saturday-Monday-Thursday-Sunday to finish the season, something I doubt they’d appreciate).

    So, if Everton beat Chelsea on 12th/13th March I’d have thought that the Everton-Liverpool game would be scheduled earlier, maybe on a Monday in a European week. GW32 or GW33 could be possible options. Or did I miss something?

    Personally I think holding Liverpool assets through GW30 if possible could prove beneficial in case they do get a ‘surprise’ DGW in 32 or 33. Moreno might even get to stay in my squad. But probably not. 😉


    • Ruth_NZ says:

      PS Correction – the GW35 game that would need re-scheduling would be Palace v Everton and that makes it even more likely to block GW37 because either a Palace or Everton win in the QFs would cause it.

      Obviously the GW32 or 33 option would require Liverpool to be out of the EL by then. If they manage to get through the next 2 rounds and Everton do beat Chelsea or Palace beat Reading then an Everton TGW could be the only option left. 😕

      Everton’s GW37 fixtures in that case would be Leicester (a), Palace (a) and Liverpool (h). With Bournemouth (h) in GW36 and Norwich (h) in GW38. Enough to make their players quite essential. But with a schedule like that surely you’d expect rotation.


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