Well here we are, the final week of the season once again. The last time the Premier League season came down to the final weekend, Manchester City edged Liverpool back in 2014. There’s something familiar about this, except Liverpool have some extra magic now. Will it be enough? I cannot wait to find out.
It’s been a great ride and, as always, I am truly humbled and thankful that you spend your time here on a weekly basis. It’s something I will never take for granted. Enjoy the final weekend and then the summer, and we’ll see you here for the start of next season!
Without further delay, here are the bargain hits and misses ahead of Gameweek 38. 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 – Mark Travers (Bournemouth)
This is not a typo or some random dude off the street, but I don’t blame you for not knowing the name. But how about this for a 19-year-old goalkeeper’s Premier League debut: five saves, a clean sheet and a bonus point against Champions League finalists in Spurs. Mark Travers looks like the keeper of the future for Bournemouth with both Asmir Begovic and Artur Boruc aging, and so Eddie Howe did what Eddie Howe does and gave the youth a chance at the big-time with the Cherries’ safety already secure for another year.
As of a week ago, Travers didn’t exist in the system, making him as big of a bargain as you could possibly find. And after his debut performance, now the young goalkeeper has been called into the provisional Irish national team and looks primed for a second start in the season finale against Crystal Palace. If you need a keeper or more likely a backup for the final weekend, Travers is a fun pick with another chance at showcasing his latent talent.
DEF – Seamus Coleman (Everton)
It’s an Irish theme so far in the final edition of this season’s Bargain Hunter, but if he’s available on your waiver wire, no defender looks like a hotter pick than Seamus Coleman. The Irish international has been instrumental to the Everton resurgence in the last two months as the Toffees have recorded an astonishing eight clean sheets in the last 10 Premier League matches including shutouts against Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool.
And if they can hold a struggling, Harry Kane-less Tottenham scoreless, that would mean clean sheets against five of the top six in the final months of the year. In last week’s 2-0 win over Burnley, Coleman also scored and recorded two bonus points to give him 70 FPL points in his last nine Premier League appearances. The only problem is that Coleman is available in only a third of our final sample of FPL Draft leagues, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t check, because Coleman looks like a premium buy.
DEF – Vincent Kompany (Manchester City)
I can’t recall a more likeable figure in the Premier League than Vincent Kompany. For all of the terrible things that Manchester City stands for as a club, its captain is a pretty stand-up guy, and he’s taken things to a new level in the last month It’s been a tough couple of seasons for the Belgian international due to injuries but you could see the catharsis in his expression after saving Manchester City’s season with a rocket of a goal in the 70th minute on Monday against Leicester.
As he looks to earn a new contract before it ends this summer, the fact that Sunday could very well be Kompany’s last game in a Manchester City shirt practically guarantees him a starting spot with the Sky Blues looking like a shoe-in for a clean sheet against Brighton after recording four straight, including massive wins over Spurs and Manchester United. I’m banking on both the facts and the feels when it comes to this pick, but with City just a win away from their second straight title, I like Kompany, available in 65 percent of FPL Draft leagues, in any defense.
MID – Ryan Babel (Fulham)
In Gameweek 25, I recommended adding Ryan Babel after he recorded two assists in his second appearance since arriving at Fulham. Since then, the former Liverpool man has started every game and has become the Cottagers principal playmaker and scorer, contributing to nine of the relegated club’s 17 goals since his arrival. And in recent weeks, Babel has found his groove with his four of his Premier League career-high five goals coming since Gameweek 31.
I’ve never picked a winter transfer who performed at such a level from the get-go, which makes me wonder what the Dutch international has in store for the final weekend against Newcastle with Fulham in such good form at the moment. Yet somehow Babel has fallen under the radar as he is still available in 60 percent of FPL Draft leagues despite being one of the most productive FPL players since his arrival. My final piece of advice for the season: Take a chance on Babel and watch him shine one more time.