I had written up a fair bit of this week’s fantasy article detailing the reasons why you should shy away from West Ham United players and heavily invest in Liverpool players. Then, late on Thursday, several stories developed that made me have to scrap my previous writings and line of thinking.
First we heard from Swansea City manager Francesco Guidolin that several key players, most notably Gylfi Sigurdsson and Ashley Williams, will not be involved at the weekend. This obviously benefits West Ham and their fantasy options which pushes them wholly back into the ‘buy’ column.
Then you have Liverpool who earned a 3-0 victory against a very talented Villarreal side in the Europa League which will now see them play in the final on May 18th. This is devastating news for FPL managers as Jurgen Klopp’s priorities have clearly shifted away from the Premier League. This shift in focus and effort is sweeping throughout the league and, considering it is a double game week, is happening at the worst time!
So let us look through the teams with doubles in match week 37.
Chelsea: Sunderland (A), Liverpool (A)
We all know that Tottenham was the last match circled on Chelsea’s calendar. Now you have to wonder how inspired Guus Hiddink’s men will be considering seventh is the highest they could place this season. Eden Hazard and Diego Costa will probably be the first two to beg for minutes as they try to regain form and fitness heading into Euro 2016. Willian, Fabregas, and Pedro are the only fantasy relevant players I would expect to finish DGW37 with more than 120 minutes played.
Everton: Leicester City (A), Sunderland (A)
Everton haven’t given up in the past week, they packed it in months ago. Lukaku has been an abject mess, Tim Howard is on his way out of the club, Leighton Baines and Seamus Coleman have been shadows of their former selves, and John ‘worth £40m’ Stones has been sloppy for most of the season. Ross Barkley has once again failed to take the next step in his development, but at least he continues to put in meaningful shifts. Barkley is the only Everton player that is worth owning through the end of the season.
Liverpool: Watford (H), Chelsea (H)
Liverpool players were the best investment for this double game week up until, oh, about 10pm Thursday. Now Jurgen Klopp has to decide if he’d rather push his stars in the Premier League in order to try and eek out a sixth place finish OR rest them, play his best eleven against Sevilla, and earn a Champions League berth next season. Hmmm, what a difficult choice! So who can you trust this week? No one worthwhile. How many minutes of rest do you think Sturridge, Coutinho, Firmino, Milner, and Moreno got? Did you guess eight minutes? If so, you nailed it! There is a chance a couple of these guys play over sixty minutes this week but, even if they do, I doubt they will be playing at full speed.
Manchester United: Norwich City (A), West Ham United (A)
Louis Van Gaal may be one step out the door, but this Manchester United side have plenty to play for with Champions League football well within reach. Last week’s draw with Leicester was a huge one and now Rashford, Martial, Smalling, and De Gea are all seeing significant increases in ownership. It’s very likely all of those players get two starts this week and you have to like the attacking players against Norwich and West Ham who have each kept just one clean sheet in their last five matches. The defense is a little less promising due to their matchup against West Ham who are the only team to score 2+ goals their last five times out.
Norwich City: Manchester United (H), Watford (H)
Things are not looking good for Norwich. Had they played Dieumerci Mbokani in thirty or more matches they would undoubtedly be safe by now but no. ‘Let’s give Cameron Jerome eighteen starts. That should help!’ said only Alex Neil. Anyway, the Norwich midfield was a great source of cheap points early in the season with Brady, Hoolahan, and Howson. Crazily enough, those three finished within a point of each other. Are any of them ownable? Absolutely not. No outfield Norwich player finished in the top twenty-five at their position.
Sunderland: Chelsea (H), Everton (A)
I felt a lot better about Sunderland players last week. It looked as though they’d be up against two sides who were already thoroughly on the beach in Chelsea and Everton. Since then, both sides scored two goals and showed significantly more effort than in previous weeks. Defoe still holds value as he will get the start in every remaining match for Sunderland, but if you brought in any of their defenders you may want to move on as a clean sheet isn’t particularly likely.
Watford: Liverpool (A), Norwich City (A)
Watford are in a tough predicament as all signs point to an unjustified sacking of manager Quique Sanchez Flores. A lot of people are buying into Troy Deeney after last week’s performance against Aston Villa where he scored two goals. Keep in mind, however, if that match had been five minutes shorter he’d have ended that match with just two points or less for the eighth time in ten matches. Gomes and Cathcart are the only other Watford players worth a look this week.
West Ham: Swansea City (H), Manchester United (H)
With Liverpool likely to rest most of their best players, West Ham becomes the go to for fantasy points this week. Payet is obviously a must own and must captain, and could even be considered a triple captain. You should absolutely own three West Ham players this week with Antonio, Lanzini, Cresswell, and Adrian the best options. I’m not as keen on Andy Carroll but I’d be remiss to not mention that Swansea have allowed the most set piece goals and most headed goals in the Premier League this season.
TEB Fantasy Football League – Top Ten
Matthew Freeman still holds pole position going into the final two weeks of the season but with just 70 points covering the top ten, any team could still win the title. Simon Dixon moves ominously into second place at the expense of David Gilbert while winner two seasons ago Daniel Bright moves to within 55 points of the leader.
|2||Crystal Phallus FC||Simon Dixon||59||2,137|
|3||Chelsea Dagger||David Gilbert||43||2,131|
|4||There can only be 1||Jonathan Bailey||56||2,114|
|5||Mané Kurian FC||James Kearney||59||2,111|
|6||Dynamo Dan Dan||Daniel Bright||64||2,108|
|7||Money Cabaye Success||Matt Jones||52||2,102|
|8||E Pluribus Anus||Rory Jackson||58||2,101|
|9||Best Weston||Asher Weston||52||2,095|
|10||The Remarkable Ones||Mark Saunders||48||2,093|