Gameweek 38 strategies are all the talk of the Fantasy Premier League community this week.
Managers are looking for tactics either to block off those chasing them or to slide past their rivals above them in mini-leagues.
We’ve put together a panel to help tackle those problems, as well as give you some thoughts on who to replace the suspended Son Heung-min (£8.7m) with.
Who’s on the panel this week?
Always Cheating Podcast – The USA’s number one FPL podcast, hosted by Brandon and Josh, who is currently inside the top 2,000 ahead of Gameweek 38.
Gregor – One of our very own mods, who currently sits at 36k overall and has finished inside the top 1,000 in three of the last five seasons.
Simon March – Fantasy Premier League champion from the 2014/15 season and now a regular pundit on FFScout and the FPL Show.
Question 1 – Brandon
Mr Guinness: Who is the best Son replacement regardless of budget?
Brandon: “On the off chance that you don’t already have Raheem Sterling in your squad, then he’s the main man and a heavy captaincy favourite for Sunday.
“We haven’t seen Sterling sparkle in recent weeks, but Manchester City will be coming up against a comparatively poor side in Brighton and, with the title in their grasp, they will look to put any doubt away early on.
“If you’re ahead of me on the Sterling pick, then Gylfi Sigurdsson is looking poised to be a fruitful differential pick.
“With Everton in excellent form, and Spurs coming off an emotionally draining Champions League win, the Iceland international feels poised.
“However, with only two goals and two assists since GW29, and considering Richarlison could still be out with a rib injury, how bankable is the former Swansea man?
“If that feels too risky, then I’ll point you toward some budget options in what could be the most high-flying fixture of the week: Crystal Palace vs Bournemouth.
“Neither of these mid-table clubs is renowned for their defence (both Sakho and Tomkins remain sidelined for Palace), nor do they have a table position to tighten up for in the final day of the season.
“All signs then point toward a buccaneering shootout.
“The Palace midfielder of choice is Milivojevic, who is essentially Zaha’s shooting boots—the Palace forward loves to go down for penalty calls, leaving Milivojevic to sweep the goals home.
“On the other side would be Ryan Fraser, who is second only to Eden Hazard this season for assists (13).
“Rounding out the budget picks are Redmond and Ward-Prowse, who will surely be leading the attack for Southampton after their rests last week.
“And while both Redmond and Ward-Prowse are peaking very late in the season, they do find themselves hosting Huddersfield, one of the worst teams we’ve seen in the division in some time.
“Pogba should sneak on to this list considering he has a home match against relegated Cardiff City, but considering Manchester United’s current form and mental state, it’s very tough to recommend the Frenchman for your final FPL push.
“However, if Pogba does indeed hit his stride, it could be a risk worth taking.
“The only other clubs left to touch upon are among those that were in action midweek—Liverpool and Chelsea. (I’m intentionally leaving Arsenal and Spurs off of this list simply due to Arsenal’s lack of any consistent midfielders and to Spurs general state of fluctuation with injury, fatigue, suspension, and an eye toward their biggest-ever European match.)
“Liverpool have everything to fight for, and both Mané and Salah have the potential.
“Salah will return from his concussion protocol in time for Sunday, while Mané is just simply in the form of his life.
“I rate the Wolves defence highly enough but Liverpool have shown quite recently how they can impose their will on any team they wish.
“It mainly makes me wish I was heavily invested in Liverpool’s attacking fullbacks, but a midfield swap with either of the two options her feels very strong.
“Lastly, let’s consider Hazard—but not for too long. The Belgian has just played 120 minutes in Thursday evening Europa League match against Frankfurt. The extremely gruelling match might serve to amplify the clichéd Europa Thursday-night hangover, along with the fact that Hazard doesn’t typically perform well away from home, is enough to scare me off of Hazard.”
Question 2 – Gregor
Pukunui: Who is the best replacement for Jiménez? I’d also like Aguero but can’t afford him unless I take a -4 hit and sell Salah as well.
Gregor: “I brought Rashford in for the Huddersfield game and though he and his team are woefully out of form, I am still hopeful of getting a return this week as Manchester United bow out for the season at Old Trafford.
“Previously blighted by a shoulder injury,
“I don’t think there is any doubt that he’s one of the players Solskjær is depending on for next season and I think local boy Rashford will be keen to end the season on a high against the creaky Cardiff defence.
“That said, there are other options in that price bracket that I would certainly consider.
“Aleksandar Mitrović sits on top of the Goals Imminent table and takes on former club Newcastle at Craven Cottage whilst Callum Wilson goes to Crystal Palace on the back of three double-digit returns in his four previous away games since returning from injury.
“On Agüero, well I certainly wouldn’t be taking Salah out for a hit presuming he’s passed fit. Having missed out in mid-week, I think Salah will be eager to secure another Golden Boot and make sure Liverpool take full advantage of any potential slip up by Manchester City, regardless of how unlikely that may be.“
Question 3 – Simon
Jack: Is it worth selling someone for a hit if you know they won’t play on the final day of the season?
Simon: “Generally speaking, a hit for the final Gameweek of the season is risky due to the fact that you obviously only have the one chance for it to pay off.
“Even a couple of points at this stage of the season can have huge implications for ranks and mini leagues so sacrificing them isn’t something we should take lightly.
“In this case however, and assuming you don’t have a viable sub, the downside is also fairly minimal given it’s the classic (and maybe apocryphal) ‘2 point hit’, so I’d be tempted to go for it though it does, of course, depend a lot on the player(s) you’re looking to bring in.
“If there’s a player that you feel could score really well, and the only thing standing between you and them is a hit, then a hit makes sense to me.
“Obviously, a hit also means you’re making more than one transfer, so you can also factor in the cumulative value of the replacements.
“But switching a non-playing player for a player who, in all probability, will blank just for the sake of having eleven players is, of course, a much bigger risk.
“I’d probably only do this if I was really desperate and even then, I’d think long and hard about whether it’s actually worth it.
“Psychologically, it’s easier to take hits when we feel we have nothing to lose but taking a reasoned hit can be a viable strategy even if you’re doing well.
“For example, if you’re leading your mini league and there’s an obviously dangerous player that your competitor(s) have and you don’t, I wouldn’t be afraid of taking a hit to bring them in as cover, provided that the hit isn’t, itself, enough to put you behind your rivals.”
Question 4 – Josh
Blackwell Bellies: I am playing the Free Hit chip for the final Gameweek. Do I choose form or fixtures?
Josh: “A Gameweek 38 Free Hit is tricky!
“I would expect tons of rotation, especially with relegation and Champions League spots locked in.
“Who has something to play for? Liverpool and Man City. So, I’d get three of each.
“For the Reds, I’d suggest Mane, Salah and Alexander-Arnold while the best Manchester City options are probably Aguero, Sterling and Laporte.
“Boring, I know, but you can be nearly certain those six players will start and I’d be surprised if at least five out of six didn’t get pick up returns.
“That leaves five remaining starting spots.
“I’d consider Fraser (neck-and-neck with Hazard for the assist lead – I’d be shocked if he doesn’t have a bonus written into his contract if he wins it) and Pogba (who I expect to shoot relentlessly and shamelessly from anywhere on the pitch) for my two remaining midfield slots.
“I’d opt for Deeney and Zaha as my other forwards. They both have great home fixtures, Zaha’s in good form and Deeney will be looking to find it before the FA Cup final.
“That leaves one defender slot – I’d opt for Luke Shaw or, if you don’t trust that anyone can keep
Question 5 – Gregor
Podorsky: Given that Liverpool and City are the only remaining teams with anything to play for in the final Gameweek, which other matches will likely have a few goals in them?
Gregor: “The last Gameweek of the season is notorious for throwing up a lot of goals with clean sheets at a premium and I don’t think that will be any different this season.
“I fancy Southampton to bag a few as I think they will play their strongest team this week and will look to cut loose in their final home game against the normally obliging Huddersfield defence.
“I’d also be looking at the Crystal Palace vs Bournemouth game as the hosts don’t look as resolute without the likes of Sakho and Tomkins and only Fulham and Huddersfield have conceded more goals away from home than the Cherries this season.
“I would also say that the Watford vs West Ham fixture has the makings of a good game and even though I might be a bit wary of Watford assets as they could have one eye on next weeks FA Cup final, West Ham’s form has improved of late and the likes of Antonio and Arnautovic could prove to be decent differentials this Gameweek.
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