The Premier League season is all but over, though don’t tell that to the teams fighting relegation. Wins by Leicester, Sunderland and Hull have dragged seemingly safe Newcastle and Aston Villa back into the danger zone which will make for some exciting matches down the stretch. Burnley and QPR are all but down, but we’d have said the same for Leicester just a few weeks back. (Before we get too caught up in these scenarios, remember that “motivation” doesn’t always translate to the result the team desires. Players on both sides are professionals playing for contracts this season and the future, so no team is just going to lay down because they have “nothing to play for.”) Let’s take a look at the best picks by position for Gameweek 36.
David De Gea – ($5,800) – Manchester United – United have the best chance at a win and a clean sheet in the early slate, and we know De Gea is a world class keeper. Palace will likely generate some chances at home but they lack a pure finisher and United are organized well enough to cover set pieces. He’s a bit pricey but if you have the budget he’s worth it.
Shay Given – ($4,600) – Aston Villa – Given replaced American Brad Guzan last week and led Villa to a win. He should get another chance and West Ham’s attack is a shell of their early season form. Villa are among the best options for a clean sheet in a strange slate and he is meaningfully cheaper than De Gea..
Others to Consider – Steve Harper, HUL ($4,800), Hugo Lloris, TOT ($5,100).
Kieran Trippier – ($6,000) – Burnley – The clock is nearing midnight for Burnley, which is unfortunate for fantasy players come next season. But we can continue using Trippier, particularly in matches where Burnley can challenge for possession. His price is elevated so he probably won’t win you any GPPs without a couple of assists, but he’s about as reliable as it gets for 10 points.
Antonio Valencia – ($5,500) – Manchester United – Valencia came through with 9 points last week and we’ll return to him in what is a difficult week for defenders. United should have a good bit of the ball and Valencia is responsible for crosses sent in from the right side. That’s enough to give a nice floor with clean sheet and assist upside.
Ryan Taylor – ($2,900) – Newcastle – Expecting a clean sheet from Newcastle would be foolish, but Taylor has plenty of other attributes that generate fantasy points. In addition to taking set pieces and being a prolific crosser, Taylor is expected to fill in at left back and West Brom’s defense gets shredded on that side of the field. The price is certainly fair.
Others to Consider – Eric Dier, TOT ($5,500), Andrew Robertson, HUL ($4,500) – if starting, Alan Hutton, AVL ($3,200) – if starting.
Ahmed Elmohamady – ($6,700) – Hull City – Elmohamady has been consistent all year but has stepped up as Hull’s matches have gotten a bit more tense. This week he is a sneaky great play as Burnley concedes a tremendous amount of crosses on the left side of their defense. Hull should control possession at KC Stadium and should attack from the flanks through Elmohamady and Brady.
Ashley Young – ($5,600) – Manchester United – The slate does not set up well with typical goal-scoring midfielders, so we will likely want to chase crosses. Young has earned himself a new contract by being one of Van Gaal’s most reliable wingers. He’s typically good for 8-10 points with room for more if he can get a goal or assist.
Leandro Bacuna – ($3,700) – Aston Villa – Delph is a much better player, but Bacuna brings those sweet, sweet crosses at a discount. Alan Hutton may reclaim his position at right back and would be preferred to Bacuna as he is eligible for clean sheet bonuses, but whoever starts there should have a great opportunity to fire in crosses against sieve-like West Ham.
Others to Consider – Stewart Downing, WHU ($6,900), Charlie Adam, STO ($6,000), Marc Albrighton, LEI ($4,300).
Christian Benteke – ($9,000) – Aston Villa – Benteke is a pure goalscorer in outstanding form, at home, in an important game against a terrible defense. You probably don’t need us to tell you to play him, but we would select him over Kane.
Robin Van Persie – ($9100) – Manchester United – RVP was a mess for United last week but turned in a fantastic fantasy game for our purposes. Assuming he remains at striker, he should have opportunities against Palace as well.
Saido Berahino – ($7,000) – West Brom – This selection is not for the feint of heart, but to win GPPs we need some contrarian plays. Berahino has combined for 1 point in his past two matches – that’s a disaster. But Newcastle’s back line has been horrific and is in even more dire straits due to some red cards. If Berahino can’t muster a solid fantasy game in this situation, we can comfortably write him off for the foreseeable future.
Others to Consider – Harry Kane, TOT ($10,300), Graziano Pelle, SHN ($8,900), Dame N’Doye, HUL ($7,200).
Robbie Brady – ($4,200) – Hull City – Brady has taken to his role as the primary crosser down the left flank and provided 5+ crosses in each of his past 4 matches. Nothing has been converted which has kept his price down. While we like Elmohamady on the other side as well, Brady is cheaper and is due to have a cross or set piece headed in.
Shane Long – ($4,300) – Southampton – Saints carry a plethora of mildly above average wingers which has affected Long’s pitch time. But a slew of injuries and JWP’s suspension should mean Long has to go a minimum of 75 minutes, and that is more than enough time for him to do some damage against Leicester.