Here we are, the final double gameweek of the season before we get into what should be a hectic final three weeks of the Premier League season. Given the chance to double your points, I put together a list of four players who all play twice in the upcoming gameweek.
Of last week’s picks, only Cardiff City’s Víctor Camarasa returned any points with his assist on Tuesday against Brighton. But of my recent picks, Ryan Babel continued to shine with a goal, assist and three bonus points for Fulham while Luka Milivojevic, Ayoze Pérez and Chris Wood all scored.
Without further delay, here are the bargain hits and misses ahead of Gameweek 34. I’m welcoming all suggestions and debates on Twitter (@gastelumEPL)— I would love to include your thoughts here in this column next week and throughout the season. If you don’t want your name mentioned, just let me know; otherwise, I’ll be sure to give your Twitter handle a shout-out.
All of the stats used in this column come straight from the good folks at Fantasy Premier League on a weekly basis. Our friends at FPL.com take the data from a thousand private leagues, all of which consist of eight teams, in order to minimize the impact of data from public leagues where autopick drafting is more prevalent.
Of course, it’s just a sample size, so it’s not hard and fast; but it should give us a good idea of the tendencies of FPL Draft leagues and managers. Remember, the waivers deadline is a full 24 hours before the first game of the week, and the lowest-placed team in your league gets the first pick.
One-week Pick (OWP) - When a regular is suspended for a match, ineligible to face his parent club as a loanee, or his fill-in looks to deputize for only a week while the regular nurses a minor injury, this is where to find some replacements. They should only be looked at when you really need help at a position that week alone, and not looked at as long term plays. Best for salary cap leagues with unlimited transactions, not so much for draft leagues.
Short-term Pick (STP) - When a regular faces a multi-game suspension, an injury layoff lasting 2-5 weeks, international commitment, etc., this is where you look for players that can offer more beyond one week but do have a limited shelf life in most cases. Worth using a waiver claim or spending a bit more of your free agent budget (FAAB) than the One Week Buys. Can be useful in salary-cap format as long as you are comfortable with possibly needing to transfer them out in a few weeks.
Long-term Pick (LTP) - When a regular is either facing a month or more out or has lost his spot seemingly to someone better, these are the players that emerge as potential long-term investments and are therefore the most valuable of the group and worth paying up. Great for any format, but especially valuable in draft leagues with limited waiver claims.
GK – Angus Gunn (Southampton)
This isn’t the first time that I’ve featured Gunn in this column and it probably won’t be the last. The fact that he is able to keep Alex McCarthy and Fraser Forster out of the starting lineup is quite a feat in itself, but Gunn seems to have secured his spot as Ralph Hasenhuttl’s No. 1 keeper. The manager has helped the club rise from the dead after looking destined for relegation and has Saints not only poised to survive, but even a spot in the top 13 doesn’t seem implausible.
That’s mostly because of the club’s remaining schedule, including a double gameweek this week against Newcastle and Watford as they come off a big win over Wolves. And to end the season, Saints will face Bournemouth, West Ham and Huddersfield Town, meaning there’s plenty of clean sheets to be had for Gunn and the Southampton defense. Available in nearly 90 percent of FPL Draft leagues, Gunn looks like a great pick to have in goal for the remainder of the season as Saints look certain to secure their spot in the Prem next season.
DEF – Shkodran Mustafi (Arsenal)
My original Arsenal pick for the end of the year was Sokratis, but his two-match ban for yellow card accumulation quickly put an end to that. Rather, you should consider the undervalued Shkodran Mustafi. The German international is just one FPL point behind the highly rated Sead Kolasinac, but is taken in only 48 percent of our latest sample of FPL Draft leagues and has a more consistent role in Unai Emery’s defense, which has recorded three clean sheets in the last four games while conceding only four goals from their last eight.
And the Gunners closing schedule is something to behold with a spot in the top four clearly within their reach as they currently sit fourth on 66 points with a game in hand. There’s bound to be loads of clean sheets in the final month with Crystal Palace and Wolves in the double gameweek this week followed by Leicester City, Brighton and Burnley to end the season. That should make Mustafi a bona fide bargain buy for the rest of the season and an every day starter at that.
MID – Nathan Redmond (Southampton)
Nathan Redmond hasn’t really lived up to the hype since his arrival on the south coast when he recorded a seven-goal season after a six-goal, four-assist effort with Norwich City as a 22-year-old the season before. But after scoring only one goal with Saints last season, Redmond has shown that he can bounce back with five goals and four assists this season, which have all come since mid-December.
Last week, Redmond put together one of his best performances in a Saints shirt with two goals in a 3-1 win over Wolves. And with a double gameweek this week against Newcastle and Watford, it no longer looks like a big risk to have Redmond in your lineup, especially when you consider that he is widely available in FPL Draft leagues with just 36 percent ownership. Even as a fifth midfielder, a move for Redmond in the double gameweek looks like an easy decision to make.
FWD – Fernando Llorente (Spurs)
With a fairly serious injury to Harry Kane, Fernando Llorente became the hot pick in FPL circles last week. The Spanish international even recorded an assist in the 4-0 win over Huddersfield Town in what was his first start since Gameweek 26. And with a double gameweek this week against Manchester City and Brighton, Llorente looks like an especially appealing pick. However, FPL.com has flagged the Spaniard as an injury doubt with a knock, so keep an eye on the injury updates this week with a Champions League game on Wednesday.
And with Spurs facing West Ham, Bournemouth and Everton to end the season following the double gameweek, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Llorente’s ownership (currently at 22 percent of out latest sample of FPL Draft leagues) double by the end of the season given his potential for massive returns as Spurs fight a battle for a top-four finish. As a third forward, Llorente looks like a valuable asset who can start in just about any FPL Draft lineup.