I was headed for a fall
The I looked up and saw the writing on the wall
Like a full force gale, Fantasy Managers were lifted up again by the double Gameweek 34. Now for the week after as we try to keep the momentum going, so join us in All Things FPL’s (ATFPL) Gameweek 35 Fantasy Premier League (FPL) preview and its captain picks, heavy hitters, clean sheets, punts, and the big ol’ rumbling gut.
Despite failing to deliver in the double Gameweek, Eden Hazard is still this week’s captain pick of choice. With six double digit performances at home and playing against a less than stellar Crystal Palace defence, it is no wonder Hazard has the highest Captain Foresight score of the Gameweek. If Chelsea win this could be the last game Fantasy Managers can safely captain Hazard as José Mourinho will likely rotate, rest, and substitute his key players early with the title already secured — this point was made in Stoosher’s always excellent What We Learned.
Comparisons of Sergio Agüero’s underlying numbers for Gameweeks 29-31, where he blanked, and Gameweeks 32-34, in which he scored four, are examples of the value of relying on underlying numbers instead of results only. In the earlier, scoreless Gameweeks Agüero actually had more goal attempts, shots inside the box, and key passes — it was an indication that he would soon score or assist again. And score he did. Still sporting decent numbers and now on top of ATFPL’s Strikers Watchlist, the Argentine has scored four goals in three matches and is a fine pick against a Tottenham team conceding a slew of big chances each game.
With Hull’s numbers looking better and Olivier Giroud not scoring in his last two, the Frenchman is the least attractive of the captain picks. Still, if Arsenal play to their potential they will win at Hull and Giroud will get chances. You should value both Hazard and Agüero higher, but Giroud is a decent pick if you have neither or are desperate for something different to make up ground in your mini-league.
In addition to Giroud, Arsenal have a plethora of Fantasy options in midfield. Two stick out: Alexis Sánchez has the best underlying numbers and Aaron Ramsey is a value pick. Comparisons between them reveal this fact with Sánchez dominating goal attempts. The Chilean is the better pick but Ramsey is a good option, both for this Gameweek and to fill your team with Arsenal players for the double Gameweek 37.
Wayne Rooney sneaks into the Heavy Hitters despite Manchester United’s lacklustre performance against Everton and the continued threat of Louis van Gaal playing him in midfield. West Brom are hard to break down (except, surprisingly, against QPR and Leicester) but United at home should be too strong for Tony Pulis’s men. Rooney will get his chances is likely to score.
This Gameweek’s Risk v. Reward player, Harry Kane, is included due to Manchester City’s poor defensive record in the latter part of the season. Spurs welcome City to White Hart Lane and, as noted in Tommy’s Captain Foresight, City haven’t kept an away clean sheet since Gameweek 16. The downside is Kane’s, and Spurs’s, waning form, but Kane has demonstrated an ability to score against the top teams with goals against both Arsenal and Chelsea at the Lane this season.
Cesc Fàbregas has been overlooked in recent games due to Hazard’s tremendous efforts. He is still the third highest ranking midfielder in the FPL and is collecting points at an acceptable rate — a goal and three assists is a fine return in a six game streak including Manchester United at Stamford Bridge and Arsenal away. The trouble is fitting the Spaniard in your team if you have Hazard already and that Chelsea are likely to secure the Premier League title this weekend. So it is more of a play-him-if-you-have-him scenario with Fàbregas — do not go transferring him in at this juncture.
Swansea have quietly amassed 50 points under Garry Monk, their highest ever point tally in the Premier League. A big part of that success have been the performances of Gylfi Sigurðsson in the attacking midfield role. He’s scored six goals and assisted ten times this season, resulting in five double digit returns. The Icelandic midfielder tops Swansea in goal attempts for the season (61) as well as shots on target (23), key passes (68), and successful passes in the final third (277), and is a fine pick for this Gameweek’s home fixture against Stoke City.
Highlighted in Darsh’s Differentials, Aston Villa’s Christian Benteke has scored eight goals and assisted once in his last seven league matches — he’s described as “unplayable at times” in Stoosher’s What We Learned. With good underlying numbers, and a decent schedule up ahead, the powerful striker is a fine differential being owned by less than 5% of Fantasy Managers.
Leicester’s Jamie Vardy features in back-to-back Foreplays as a punt on the back of three goals and three assists in his last six league games. His upturn in form coincides with Leicester’s as the relegation battlers have suddenly sprung to life with four wins in six. The Foxes face a Newcastle team in the doldrums under John Carver and are a good bet to comfortably win; expect Vardy to get a fair few chances upfront.
The ATFPL Clean Sheet Consortium likes the look of…
…Chelsea’s John Terry, coming off a 16 point double Gameweek, playing at home against a Crystal Palace team on back-to-back games without scoring.
…Luke Shaw for Manchester United playing at Old Trafford against West Brom. Not only are West Brom likely to offer minimal attacking threat, Shaw has also been excellent going forward in his last two games.
Big ol’ Rumbling Gut Pick
Siem de Jong’s injury was unfortunate for both player and club as the midfielder had shown great promise in his early games for Newcastle. Although coach Carver has declared that De Jong will not start in the game against Leicester, ATFPL’s gut rumbles for a goal or an assist from the talented Dutchman.