Gameweek 34 Preview: Fantasy Premier League #FPL
Written by John Wallin @FantasyGaffer
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Its finally here – the week you’ve waited to use your wildcard, bench boost and triple captain. Shame the rules have conspired so viciously to make such a joyous occasion illegal. Well, against the rules of a game Mike firmly believes should be shuttered. A delightful reminder here that if you care about fantasy football at all, weeks like this are maddening and you should really be playing FPL draft instead of this barmy format. Nonsequitur enthusiasts rejoice; rejoinders abound below.
DGW: Bournemouth (liv MUN); Brighton (cry TOT); Burnley (LEI CHE); Chelsea (sot bur); Leicester (bur SOT); Man Utd (WBA bou); Southampton (CHE lei); Tottenham (MCI bha)
Defender – Antonio Valencia, Manchester United
United play Sunday and Wednesday so there is little reason to suspect Valencia will be rotated and there is every reason to think he’ll earn at least one cleansheet. Since converting to his current defender role his attacking returns have been muted, primarily coming from assists. This season he’s shifted slight and has the three goals with just one helper, but likely will not need to be heavily involved in the final third for the Red Devils to see off West Brom and Bournemouth. 11.6% selected at writing and priced £6.9m; an expensive option but a better bet than Chelsea options who have two on the road and should see some rotation with most of the squad fully fit.
Midfielder – Eden Hazard, Chelsea
We’re stealing a march here by writing at halftime of the West Ham match, but Hazard has seen negative net transfers in 11 of the past 14 weeks, and has seen his price drop to £10.6 as his ownership sticks around 7%. In the midst of a four match blank streak, the poor run of FPL form is his longest since the start of the season. 11g, 5a in 1991′ have been bolstered by 23 BPS; he’s on pace to match his 2016-17 returns of 16g, 11a 33 BPS but will likely run out of matches to get the double-double his play deserves. Chelsea have two road matches here and there may be some tactical midfield rotation but with Saturday-Thursday matches there isn’t any reason to suspect Hazard will be rested in either tilt.
Forward – Jamie Vardy, Leicester
Vardy isn’t the smoldering cauldron of rage scoring he was in 2015-16, but his 16 goals have already surpassed 2016-17 (13) while his 22 BPS are just two shy of last season’s tally. DGW in 34 and 37 and a price-tag of £8.9m make him an attractive option for those still trying to claim ‘arry Kane’s “goal” from the weekend. This column, and indeed most of this site, have suggested you can go far without Kane and a front three including any of Kane (12.8), Morata (10.6) or Lukaku (11.6) require some cost-savings elsewhere. And he’s one to hold if you’re eyeing Man City’s pressure-free run-in of Swansea, West Ham, Huddersfield + Brighton, and Southampton. Pep’s squad aren’t going to take their foot off the pedal or get any less expensive.
Captain – Alexis Sanchez, Manchester United
Picking Dele Alli last week was a coin-flip decision over Christian Eriksen. Whoops. This week’s is as well with Alexis Sanchez the winner over Paul Pogba and Rom Lukaku. Bless this three-sided coin. Like last week when stacking Spurs was the play, stacking United’s attack (or two + Valencia) is the smart play. Alexis is still somehow rated a fucking midfielder. At least he’s priced £11.5m. Still with only 3.1% ownership he is not just an amazing differential but well-worth the triple captain in this one.
Outsider – Wilfried Zaha, Crystal Palace
Wilf is back fully fit and getting amoung the scorers again. A goal and two assists since his return (three and a half matches worth of minutes), the attacker boasts just five goals with five assists and, remarkably, NO bonus points. Coupled with his relatively high price (£6.8m) and the success of bargain-bin teammate Milivojevic (£5.0m |10 goals |19 BPS), Zaha is overlooked and under owned with fewer than 5% of managers selecting him. True he only has one match in GW34 but he doesn’t blank the rest of the season and follows the home clash with Brighton thusly: Watford (a), Leicester (H), Stoke (a), West Brom (H).
Draft – Trent Alexander-Arnold, Liverpool
Togga’s draft game has kept the schedule far more manageable with only the originally scheduled matches being counted in GW34. In GW35 only Sean Dyche’s side having the double while GW37 will have loads of doubles. You know what? There’s a full article on FPL draft schedule already done. Point being – just one match here for TA-A and everyone else in draft. He hasn’t been outstanding in the draft game lately, but averages over 8pts per week for the season. His Togga ownership sits at 43%, he’s a nailed-on LFC starter and he’s created 18 chances this season without an assist. Liverpool will be attacking from all quadrants at Anfield against the Cherries and Trent will be involved. He’s also a good bet for the cleansheet with Klopp’s side continuing to show firm resolve in front of the home fans.