The fixture list is one of the most valuable pieces of information available to a Fantasy Premier League 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
Without even looking at the standard of opposition, two teams immediately stand out by virtue of having more games left. While Everton and Aston Villa both have 10 fixtures remaining, it’s worth pointing out that very few of Villa’s look easy on paper.
Although it makes sense to stock up on a few players from these clubs to take advantage of double gameweeks, it would therefore 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.
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.
Two more upwardly-mobile clubs with relatively gentle run-ins are London-based Arsenal and West Ham.
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 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, beginning with back-to-back six-pointers in the weeks ahead.