The hectic festive fixture schedule often prompts a mixture of excitement and fear for FPL bosses, with Premier League sides likely to rotate more than usual during the congested period.
But owners of West Ham players, in particular, may have reason to fear the worst this winter.
The Hammers are the least-changed team so far this season, and look to be gearing up for an increase in squad rotation as Christmas draws near.
David Moyes’ side face Burnley, Arsenal, Norwich, Southampton, Watford and Crystal Palace between 12 December and 1 January, a game roughly every three days.
But as the team with the fewest changes to their lineup each week, Moyes may be forced to start rotating more regularly after a hectic first half of the season.
The Hammers have fielded an unchanged lineup seven times in the league this season and average just 0.71 changes per game – most of the league’s teams average two changes or more.
Moyes has made no more than two lineup changes from one game week to another this term, a fact which seems unusual given his team’s involvement in a number of competitions.
West Ham have played 15 Premier League games along with six Europa League ties and two League Cup fixtures – they are currently still in three cup competitions and sit fourth in the league.
Fighting for meaningful results on four fronts is a task not taken lightly by the most successful clubs in the world – West Ham will have to be carefully managed over Christmas to make sure they are fresh enough to do themselves justice.
That rotation policy already looks to be creeping in at the London Stadium, with Moyes making two changes to his lineup in both game weeks 14 and 15.
So, which players could be affected from an FPL point of view?
West Ham’s most owned players are Michail Antonio (39.6%) Said Benrahma (19.8%) Aaron Cresswell (9.7%) Declan Rice (5.8%) and Jarrod Bowen (5.6%).
All have played more than 1,100 minutes in the league so far this season – serious injuries to any of them would make a major dent in Moyes’ plans.
Antonio began the season sensationally with four goals and four assists in his opening three games, but has since gone off the boil.
He still ranks No 1 for Threat and Creativity among all PL forwards, but has added just two goals and one assist since GW3.
As West Ham’s only FPL-categorised forward, will he be carefully managed through December?
Benrahma similarly has seen a dip in goal contributions after a quick start – would a Christmas rest have him returning to form in the new year?
Bowen, however, appears to be in fine fettle with two goals and four assists since GW10 – at £6.5 million he looks a huge bargain for a midfielder, but will he get regular minutes over Christmas?
These are questions Moyes and FPL managers around the world will be pondering – for FPL bosses, getting 11 players on the pitch may be the priority.
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