And he sang
Ooh ooh child, what d’you think the cold winter’s gonna last forever?
Ooh ooh child, now’s the time for all the people to get together
As the first of May approaches, what is grabbing the attention of us Fantasy Managers? The sun? Nope. Planning the summer? Nope. Coitus? Nope. It’s the double Gameweek 34 and all the machinations of setting up our team to finally pull off that perfect team. Know that you are not alone as you join us in All Things FPL’s (ATFPL) Gameweek 34 Fantasy Premier League (FPL) preview and its captain picks, heavy hitters, clean sheets, punts, and the big ol’ rumbling gut.
The double Gameweeks for Chelsea, Liverpool, Leicester, and Hull City are enticing and much of the focus of the Foreplay will be on viable Fantasy targets from these four teams, starting off with Eden Hazard. He is the default captain pick, the best player for the upcoming Premier League champions and the likely PFA player of the year. If you want to play it safe just captain the top midfielder in ATFPL’s Midfielders Watchlist and the player with the second highest Captain Foresight score of the Gameweek. All other players will be differential picks.
You might have raised an eyebrow that Hazard only has the second highest Captain Foresight score of the Gameweek. Who could be rated higher and why? Raheem Sterling is who and fixtures are the reason. While both Liverpool and Chelsea have two away games in Gameweek 34, Chelsea have to travel to the Emirates to face an Arsenal team that seldom concedes at home while Liverpool’s two games offer more opportunities of goals. Sterling has also been threatening away from home, managing a chance every 33 minutes — a bit better than Hazard’s 35 minutes — and averages a fine looking 5.21 points per game. He could be the secret weapon in your mini-league battle this Gameweek.
Not excited about the double Gameweek, or can’t play either Hazard or Sterling? Manchester City’s Sergio Agüero is the best single-game option, playing at home against Aston Villa. While Villa are in good form following Tim Sherwood’s appointment, City are just too good at home not to score. Over the season they lead the league in minutes per attempts and number of goal attempts in the box and are third in goals scored. El Garitero’s Flutter points out that Agüero has recorded the most shots in the box and got the most big chances over the last two Gameweeks and with the news that Silva is fit, the Argentine international is likely to again play up top on his own where he is lethal.
The second Liverpool player in the Foreplay, Philippe Coutinho, is only in the Heavy Hitters due the double Gameweek. Despite his undeniable talent, he’s neither a prolific goalscorer nor a consistent assister. More of a punt in regular Gameweeks, he’s still on course to best his record for minutes in a season, goals, and assists and enjoys the benefits of matchups against teams in West Brom and Hull City that are conceding a high number of big chances of late.
Branislav Ivanović makes what is a rare defender’s occurrence in the Heavy Hitters. After Chelsea’s defensive display against Manchester United, Stoosher recommends a double up on the defence if you want to triple up on Chelsea players. And who better than the highest scoring FPL defender, averaging an impressive 5.06 points per game. If you can afford him, he’s your best pick out of Mourinho’s backline.
Another mention in Stoosher’s What We Learned, Jordan Henderson, is enjoying his best Premier League season and is on a fantastic run of four goals and four assists in his last six league games. He’s a budget option compared to Sterling and Coutinho and could finish the season close to an FPL double-double (10 goals-10 assists). Given his price, he’s also easier to keep after the double Gameweek, making him a fine option for those only looking for one transfer punt this week.
The last Hitter — and the least Heavy — is Leicester’s Jamie Vardy. He’s the best option for a Leicester team playing fine attacking football, as Tommy’s Weekend Numbers pointed out. Leicester are creating chances, getting off goal attempts in the opposition penalty area, and generally going for goals in their quest for Premier League survival. Also, priced only at 4.6 million, he’s the friendliest of budget options upfront.
Highlighted in Darsh’s Differentials, Esteban Cambiasso has produced eight key passes and registered three goal attempts in the last four Gameweeks. In addition, he’s a cheap option in midfield, on set piece duties (in a team with Robert Huth), and is a differential. Don’t go crazy and captain him, but he’s a fine filler option this Gameweek.
Cesc Fàbregas is likely to keep his spot behind the striker if José Mourinho again plays a double defensive pivot of Nemanja Matić and Kurt Zouma or Ramires in front of the backline. While the Spaniard’s production has dropped of dramatically he’s still scoring at an acceptable pace (a goal and two assists in his last four league games) and is on set pieces. Do not get him over Hazard, but it’s not unreasonable to expect a decent return in two games from the league’s assist leader.
And then to the puntiest of Punts this Gameweek in striker Loïc Rémy. A frustrating figure in the last two Gameweeks due to his injury, denying many Fantasy Managers the cheap Chelsea striker they so craved after the injury to Diego Costa, the French striker could yet play a part in the double Gameweek. However, it’s a big risk with Mourinho doubtful that the striker will be ready for the match against Arsenal:
Didier, for sure is good. Remy, not for sure. Diego, let’s make a decision tomorrow.
The ATFPL Clean Sheet Consortium likes the look of…
…Chelsea’s John Terry, playing a double Gameweek for the best team in the league with the best defence in the league
…yet another double Gameweek pick in Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet more likely to keep clean sheets with Martin Skrtel back in Liverpool’s lineup.
…a cheap option in Stoke City’s Geoff Cameron, playing at home against Sunderland, one of the poorest attacks in the league.
Big ol’ Rumbling Gut Pick
Hull City is the least attractive double Gameweek team in a long time, almost devoid of decent Fantasy options. However, Dame N’Doye is a differential pick with some promise of points. He has three goals and an assist in his seven starts and is at least an option in Steve Bruce’s setup. ATFPL’s gut rumbles for the Senegalese striker.