Before we get to my picks, I wanted to provide a brief overview of how the next two gameweeks will be scored. There will be no double gameweek in GW34, meaning that this gameweek will include the weekend fixtures as well as Monday’s match. GW35 will start next Tuesday and run through the following Monday, meaning Burnley are at a premium with two matches and Huddersfield are not an option since they blank. As for my GW35 column, you can expect to see my tips published very early next week.
Saturday — Southampton v Chelsea; Swansea vs. Everton; Huddersfield vs. Watford; Burnley vs. Leicester; Crystal Palace vs. Brighton; Liverpool vs. Bournemouth; Tottenham vs. Manchester City
Sunday — Newcastle vs. Arsenal; Manchester United vs. West Brom
Monday — West Ham vs. Stoke
Tuesday — Brighton vs. Tottenham
Wednesday — Bournemouth vs. Manchester United
Thursday — Leicester City vs. Southampton; Burnley v Chelsea
Saturday — Watford vs. Crystal Palace
Sunday — Stoke vs. Burnley; Arsenal vs. West Ham; West Brom vs. Liverpool; Manchester City vs. Swansea
Monday — Everton vs. Newcastle
As usual, here is a brief guide to maximize my player recommendations. This column serves the purpose of providing you with weekly free agent/waiver-wire adds for Togga draft leagues. Each week, I research and identify players with the best value available in more than 50 percent of all leagues. The players selected are then given one of three specific labels. Streaming options are players worth adding for a single gameweek. These players are best suited for owners dealing with injuries or suspensions. Short-term adds are players worth holding for a specific duration. In most cases, players are given this label because of a boost in form or increase in playing time. Long-term adds are players worth adding based on potential. Essentially, this tag is reserved for players with a good shot at becoming a reliable contributor (more risk, more reward).
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Arthur Masuaku, West Ham (12 percent): A nailed-on starter since David Moyes took charge at West Ham, Masuaku was on pace to be the club’s top fantasy defender prior to his six-match disciplinary ban. Despite the lengthy layoff, he showed no signs of rust on his return to action in the 3-0 win over Southampton — he helped keep a clean sheet and grabbed an assist on his way to 24.5 fantasy points. Masuaku wasn’t able to replicate those numbers in the 1-1 London derby draw at Chelsea, but he should get back on track when the Hammers host Stoke City in GW34. Both Nacho Monreal (21.25) and Ryan Bertrand (14.50) scored well in recent outings against a Stoke side allowing an average of 8.95 points to opposing left-sided defenders the last five matches. In addition to the success of the above-mentioned duo, Masuaku has returned an average of 8.87 points per match since transitioning to an advanced role on the left wing. The 24-year-old, who leads all defenders in successful dribbles (63), is my top streaming defender for 12-team leagues.
Leighton Baines, Everton (49 percent): If you’re in search of a defender who has good value rest of the season value, Baines is one of the better options. Everton benefit from a favorable schedule that features matches against Swansea City (A), Newcastle (H), Huddersfield (A), Southampton (H) and West Ham (A). On top of two seemingly solid clean sheet opportunities against Swansea City and Huddersfield, Baines’ value is boosted with his role as a penalty taker. The veteran left-back has also posted two clean sheets and averaged 9.12 points over the last four matches. Baines is someone to target in leagues with 10 or more teams.
Ryan Fraser, Bournemouth (26 percent): With Junior Stanislas ruled out for the rest of the season, Ryan Fraser is the Bournemouth player to add. The Scotland international enters this weekend’s trip to Liverpool after a first-rate performance in GW33. Playing on the right side of midfield in the 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace, Fraser led the Cherries in crosses (15), successful crosses (6) and chances created (6). Furthermore, the 24-year-old played a hand on both of his club’s goals. Fraser recorded his four assist of the season when he teed up Lys Mousset and later provided the corner that led to Josh King’s tap-in. Having provided three goals and three assists over his last seven starts in midfield, Fraser is the winger Eddie Howe will likely rely on without Stanislas. All things considered, Fraser gets my stamp of approval for managers in leagues with 10 or more teams.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Crystal Palace (12 percent): Wan-Bissaka is someone to consider in deeper leagues because of his high floor from defensive actions and successful dribbles. Despite facing Tottenham, Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool during his first six senior starts, the 20-year-old managed to return an average of 7.50 points per match. Having established himself as Roy Hodgson’s first-choice right-back, Wan-Bissaka benefits from being a midfielder in fantasy because he doesn’t lose points from goals conceded. I like him as a sleeper option in 12-team leagues against Brighton.
Charlie Austin, Southampton (13 percent): While it may seem bold to look at Southampton for their match against Chelsea, Charlie Austin’s offensive efficiency actually makes him one of the best streaming options. Why? When Austin has been fit this season, he has been nothing less than brilliant. In six starts, the 28-year-old has scored five goals and returned an average of 15.58 points. Across those matches, the Englishman averaged a goal every 100 minutes and put 13 of his 21 shots on target. After scoring as a substitute against Arsenal last weekend, Austin will be expected to return to the starting XI against a Chelsea defense that hasn’t kept a clean sheet since GW27. Upcoming matches against Leicester City and Bournemouth also boost Austin’s appeal. Leicester has posted just one clean sheet in their last eight outings, while the Cherries have recorded just one shutout in their last 19 outings. Bottom line: Austin is the forward to add in 10-team leagues.
Danny Welbeck, Arsenal (44 percent): Regardless of what you think of Welbeck, he could be the solution for managers who need a forward for the final stretch of the season. The 28-year-old began his hot streak with a brace against AC Milan last month and followed with a pair of man of the matches performances this week. In the 3-2 win over Southampton, Welbeck scored two well-taken goals and provided a sublime flick to set up Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s opener. On Thursday, he slotted home a clinical finish after a well-timed one-two with Mohamed Elneny against CSKA Moscow in the Europa League. The England international has now scored four goals in his last four starts, a run of form that has him in prime position to deputize for the injured Henrikh Mkhitaryan. With the pool of readily available forwards rather slender, Welbeck is a surprisingly valuable late-season add in 12-team leagues.