Do you need a new gameweek to "Brighton up" your day? Well, so do I.
Last week, I told readers in so many words that "if you only make one transfer for the round, make it Shane Duffy." I also went on to say that when it comes to the armband, "Would you give it to this player in a single-fixture gameweek, even a really good one on paper? Because, if not, you shouldn't make him a double gameweek captain."
Good grief, did that go, well, whatever the opposite of "swimmingly" is. Look, it is one thing for a player to not work out. It's another for him to be a part of a club who were outscored 0-7 in two home games. We were just in time to witness the worst football Brighton had to offer all season. I mean, the last time I felt that victimized by a Seagull, one snatched a giant soft pretzel out of my hand while relaxing on the beach. This felt much worse than loosing a pretzel. You see, even though I touted Heung-Min Son as the preferred captain option, and Son did get an assist off the bench to give those who captained him something, Son never found his way into my squad. So, I decided to give Duffy a go. Now I just want him to go away.
That said, ol' Fuzzy cannot help but be in generally good spirits when it comes to football. It has been a heck of a week to be a Spurs supporter and their recent results certainly took the sting out of "The Duffy Experiment". So now we shift into the final "BIG" gameweek of the season. Double Gameweek 35, where we have our customary set of ten fixtures, plus eight clubs playing in four additional games. Here are the eight clubs that will play twice for you this week: Arsenal, Brighton, Manchester City, Manchester United, Southampton, Tottenham, Watford and Wolves. If you are carrying a Brighton player over from the previous round though, you may as well consider that player a single gameweek option because based on form and their two fixtures, it is difficult to imagine any big hauls coming from the Seagulls.
Now, despite the importance of this big round as our FPL season wears down, this week's column is going to be a bit of a bore in comparison. Reason being, most of us have now already used up either our Free Hit chip or our 2nd half wildcard ahead of this round, so the practice of using a ranking system to touch on several players, like I had been doing in recent weeks, is not needed at this point. With the exception of Brighton, there has not been much of a shift in the ranks because last week's rankings heavily weighed in this week's fixtures. So, click on last week's column for a larger scope of players to target for this round, but this column is going to return to its normal arrangement, because there are a handful of players I want to discuss in more depth.
Right, I've got a 400+ page report to read, so let us hurry up and get cracking on Week 35:
*Just as a reminder, keepers should always be the last position to think about using transfers for, unless there is an urgent need. So, when you see who I have listed here, bear in mind that my keeper advice does not carry as much weight as the outfield positions.
Player to buy: Bernd Leno - Better late than never. After spending most of his first season at Arsenal off the fantasy radar due to poor returns, the Gunners have tightened up considerably. The have kept six clean sheets in their last seven competitive appearances.
Player to sell: Kasper Schmeichel - Leicester was a single-gameweek club during these "double days" and proved one match is enough to be a viable fantasy option. There are single-gameweek players worth holding onto, and I will get to them, but Leicester not only have a single match this round, their last three are against Arsenal, Manchester City and Chelsea. It is time to offload their assets.
Player to hold: Vicente Guaita - Rather than removing Guaita for a double gameweek option, I would take out whoever your other keeper is, because after this round, Palace end the season with 2 of 3 at home and all three have point potential.
Player to avoid: Rui Patrício - What a season Wolves have had in their return to the top flight. I said in preseason that I felt they had the strongest side I had ever seen from a promoted club and they have had a very successful campaign. Let us be clear about one thing though - they did not find success through clean sheets. Patricio has kept a single clean sheet since Week 17...you know, half a season ago? Get you some Jota, or get you some Jimenez, but I would not try to invest in the back here.
Player to buy: Kieran Trippier - Spurs are in good form. Yes, Kyle Walker-Peters is a thing. I called it not long ago. And I know rest and rotation has been common this season for Trippier. But, we are coming down to the nitty gritty here and Spurs need their best to both finish top 4 and to try and pull off a Champions League miracle. I want Trippier for my run-in.
Player to sell: Marcos Alonso - Alonso was dropped last week and, while if I had to bet, I would lean toward him making the XI this weekend, it is a very light lean. In reality, it's pretty close to 50/50 for me and I think we will see him benched at least a couple more times before the season ends. I say you cut bait and not look his way again this season.
Player to hold: Sead Kolasinac - Kolasinac was my preferred Arsenal representative last week for those on their wildcard...and then, he didn't show up. Unai Emery made many changes and has been doing more and more of it lately, making Kolasinac and pretty much all Arsenal options a risky investment. Hold Kolasinac though, because, in theory, his absence last week should see him return this weekend and, with a little luck, he starts the second match of Arsenal's double as well.
Player to avoid: Manchester City defenders - If you already own one, that's fine. No need to rush to drop him ahead of a double gameweek. I have a feeling Pep will stick with a set back four for the final three rounds of the season, but I worry there will be several one-start-only defenders among his crop of options. Plus, I do not expect City to keep out Spurs and Manchester United anyway. There are cheaper DGW defenders out there who are safer bets.
Player to buy: Kevin De Bruyne - KdB is back. It has been pretty much a lost season for the talented midfielder because of injuries, but he is determined to finish strong in order to be a dominate influence in the league again next season. He has been racking up assists lately with ease and I anticipate a cracking goal or two before the season is over so give me this low-ownership/high-potential option for the run-in.
Player to sell: Everton and Leicester options - Whether you are talking James Maddison, Youri Tielemans, Richarlison or Gylfi Sigurdsson - all legit fantasy options in recent weeks, these are the single-gameweek clubs with good talent that I would replace for double gameweek prospects. Both the Toffees and the Foxes have a pretty tough final three-pack of fixtures to help let these players go.
Player to hold: Mo Salah/Sadio Mane/Eden Hazard - These are three single-week options that I feel are worth keeping, or at least keeping one of them. Plus, regarding Liverpoool - they play home to Huddersfield in Week 36. Do you really want to sell Reds a week before that tasty matchup? Hazard, I can be more open to getting rid, but still have him in my personal squad and I am finding it difficult to offload him.
Player to avoid: Arsenal mids - This is a tricky one because I think there will be points somewhere in the Gunners' midfield, but I think it is just too risky to nail the right one. Henrikh Mkhitaryan feels the closest to being a sound investment, but if was not in the XI this Sunday, I cannot say I would feel shocked. Best, I feel, to limit investment in Arsenal's attack to the forward position.
Player to buy: Raúl Jiménez - In my view, the player who should be in more fantasy XI's this weekend than any other. Between form, fixtures, price, consistency, and now the FA Cup out of the way, Jimenez is a player you gotta have for the run-in.
Player to sell: Jamie Vardy - After a 0-1 loss to Newcastle, no DGW this round and a tough final three games, I think it is time to ship Vardy out. He provided nice returns for a while so enjoy what he did for you and get a replacement.
Player to hold: Alexandre Lacazette - I hyped Lacazette last week and wouldn't you know it - for only the second league game all season, he did not step out onto the pitch. His form was sharp before that Watford match and I expect he was a part of a massive rest/rotation move by Emery, making him sure to start this weekend, feeling fresh, and I would pick him over Aubameyang if I knew only one of them would start both games.
Player to avoid: Fernando Llorente - It is understandable that when a player like Harry Kane goes down to injury and the person who stands to benefit most from it is a cheap fantasy option, you want to target that cheap option. Such may be the case on paper for Llorente, as he is the only true "second striker" on the roster. But, truth is, Heung-Min Son, Lucas Moura and even Dele Alli are all capable of playing the forward role. Llorente also does not have the stamina to start both games of Tottenham's double I would expect.
TOP CAPTAIN CHOICES
2) Raúl Jiménez
That's it from me this week folks. Please, bear in mind much can change between the publishing of this column and the FPL deadline on Saturday. Remember, some injuries are not revealed until just before the deadline. Always try to refrain from executing your transfers for as long as possible to avoid wasting it on a player who turns out to have had a problem in training. That said, if you only have just enough money for the player you are looking to bring in and that player is at risk of rising in price, then sometimes you need to take a calculated risk and hope the fantasy gods will be kind to you.
Good luck, and may your arrows be green.