AM's Week 38 Fantasy Player Picks

Paul Gilham

A detailed look at who you should be considering for your Yahoo fantasy line-up ahead of the Week 38 deadline as another terrific season comes to a close.

And so we come to the end of the season. It's a shame that the major issues of title winners and relegated teams have already been resolved as the final day can often offer the best drama of the entire campaign. However, there are two teams with something very big still to play for - Tottenham and Arsenal will battle it out for 4th place and a chance to qualify for next season's Champions League.

ARSENAL @ Newcastle
TOTTENHAM v Sunderland


Arsenal have a vital 1 point lead so they will travel to Newcastle with their destiny in their own hands. If they win at St James' Park, they will finish in the Top 4 for an astonishing 17th consecutive season under Arsene Wenger. Spurs must beat Sunderland at White Hart Lane and hope Arsenal draw or lose to stand any chance of snatching it from the Gunners. If Spurs draw and Arsenal lose, Arsenal will still take 4th as they have a far superior goal difference.

I'm obviously praying for a slip up from Arsenal, but if Tottenham do finish 5th I still feel it's been a great first season for Andre Villas-Boas. Having lost both Luka Modric and Rafael van Der Vaart before the season began he has had to make do without Younes Kaboul and Sandro for the majority of the season and a lack of strikers with Emmanuel Adebayor having "one of those years" and Jermain Defoe injured for large portions of the campaign. If Tottenham can take all 3 points from Sunderland they will have amassed their own highest ever Premier League points total and you can't really complain too much about that.

So Spurs and Arsenal are definitely the teams to focus on for the final week, but it's also worth looking at:

LIVERPOOL v QPR
SWANSEA v Fulham
WEST HAM v Reading
MANCHESTER CITY v Norwich


Liverpool have been doing just fine without Luis Suarez and I expect them to give relegated QPR a final thumping on Sunday, with Daniel Sturridge in outstanding form. You also have to fancy Swansea to end their excellent first season under Michael Laudrup with a bang at home against notoriously poor travellers Fulham, and West Ham should have far too much for woeful Reading, with the Hammers fans whipping up a fine atmosphere at Upton Park for the final game of a decent season. I also expect Man City to put on a bit of a show in front of the home fans against a Norwich side whose minds may already be on the beach after they secured survival last weekend.

So for the final time, here are the players worth looking at ...

KEEPERS
Lloris - The pick of the keepers if you have the funds with a must-win game at home to Sunderland, but there are some cheaper options.
Boruc - At home to Stoke and priced below 5.00, he represents good value for the final weekend.
Robles - Facing a Benteke-less Aston Villa and costing just 1.00, he's the man I'll be selecting this weekend to free up funds elsewhere.

DEFENDERS
Dawson - Still well priced, he'll captain Spurs for this vital match, he has a clean sheet chance and is always a threat at set pieces.
Coates - The bargain of the week, he should partner Jamie Carragher in the center of Liverpool's defence against QPR and costs less than 2.00.
Jones - The ugliest man in football should get another start for Manchester United's trip to West Brom and he's another fine value pick below 5.00.
Taylor - The Swansea full-back is finally at the end of his injury nightmare and could earn a start in the final game of the season.
Debuchy - He's not had a particularly good time of it recently, picking up cards and giving away penalties, but he's guaranteed a start and costs less than 2.00.
Bardsley - A trip to Spurs in hardly idea, but Barsley loves a speculative long shot and if you're holding him at his barnoor price you only require one to hit the target for him to return his value.

MIDFIELDERS
Bale - The Welsh wizard is obviously the top option for the week, but can you afford him without severely impacting the rest of your team? I imagine most fantasy managers will pick him so if you are trying to close a gap perhaps consider going without him and strengthening the rest of your midfield and attack.
Walcott - Bound to cause Newcastle all sorts of problems with his pace, but too expensive at his current price so I hope you had him last week or grabbed him on the barndoor.
Cazorla - You have him.
Coutinho - The little man never ceases to impress me whenever I watch him play, his movement and skill will be the stuff of nightmares for QPR.
Michu - He's had an amazing first season in the Premier League (as I predicted, hat-tip to myself) and will be looking to end it with a bang against hapless Fulham. But could it be his last game for Swansea? You have to feel a bid from a bigger club could come in this summer and it may be too good for Swansea to turn down.
Yaya Toure - I have a fairly solid hunch he'll grab a goal against Norwich and as such he'll be in my team this week.
Lennon - A cheap way to include a Spurs midfielder if you choose not to go with Bale.
Collison - A bargain option at home to Reading if he's set to start for West Ham again.
Shelvey - As above Jonjo is a great filler if he's going to start against QPR.

STRIKERS
Sturridge - As mentioned in my fixture analysis he's on fire and will almost certainly grab a goal and whole bunch of shots on target this weekend.
Podolski - You have to feel he'll start again after two goals on Tuesday night and if he does he's a fine choice, although Olivier Giroud is available again after suspension.
Adebayor - It's no coincidence that Ade is showing his best form at the end of the season with his future at Tottenham in question and potential suitors watching him, but while he's scoring goals I don't care one bit. Expect him to make it 3 in 3 against Sunderland.
Aguero - AGUERO!!!!!!!!! Ok, so it's not going to be as explosive as the last day of the 2011-12 season, but I still expect City to win at a canter and Sergio is finally looking fully match-fit.
Dempsey - Deuce has been quietly effective all season for Spurs and his excellent display against Stoke will ensure another start this weekend.
Carroll - With his Liverpool and West Ham future in doubt he'll want to knock in a goal to remind people that he still exists, and you don't get a better chance than at home against Reading.
McManaman - He'll be auditioning for a move straight back to the Premier League so expect another big performance from the young winger.
Bent - Could forgotten man Darren Bent get a rare start in place of the suspended Benteke? If so he's dirt cheap so could be a cheeky punt.

My own team is currently:

Robles, Bardsley, Coates, Dawson, Cazorla, Yaya Toure, Michu, Walcott, Adebayor, Podolski, Sturridge


As you can see I'm going without Gareth Bale at the moment as I try to do something a different to keep my dreams of a Top 100 finish alive. I'm currently 190th overall so will need a monster week of 150+ to have any chance but I haven't given up hope after securing a massive 170 points in Week 37 which pushed me up almost 155 places in the standings. There's still a possibility that I bring Andy Carroll in for either Podolski or Adebayor in attempt to further my differential picks compared to the sides above me, but I'll wait until closer to the deadline (which is on Sunday this week) to make that decision.

That's it for my Player Picks for the 2012-13 season. Thank you so much to all our readers for another fantastic year of support here on NeverManageAlone.com, I hope you've enjoyed playing the Yahoo game, reading our opinions and that come Sunday night you'll have been successful in your own aims of a Top 100/Top 500/Top 1000 finish (winning your private leagues in the process).

Good luck this weekend - I'll post the NMA Blog Cup Final results (from Week 36) early next week to crown our champion!

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