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EPL Player Picks Week 31

Unfortunately a pair of games for Villa and QPR confuse matters this week. Who do the NMA community like for week 31? We will start the ball rolling.

Two busy men in week 31 and both with a point to prove.
Two busy men in week 31 and both with a point to prove.
Christopher Lee/Getty Images

The Premier League is back and so are the single game double week challenges.  Last season we had a couple occasions where picking the double gamers wasn't the correct strategy.  Usually though, most of the time going with as many DG players as possible is the correct play.

Week 31 gives us just two sides with twice the opportunity, Aston Villa and Queens Park Rangers.  QPR face away games at West Bromwich Albion and Villa.  Villa themselves get a trip to Manchester United before hosting QPR midweek.  Lets start off looking at their likely suspects.

Super cheap keepers - for a reason!

Rob Green

Available under £3 played Green twice in week 28 with 10 saves, 2 losses and 4 goals allowed for a total of 5 points.  There is a fair chance he will duplicate his last double week but if you fancy QPR can pinch a draw or better he could go over 10pts.

Brad Guzan

Around 5m Guzan should in theory be a busy keeper in game one at least.  Likely to make 4-5 saves and maybe concede a couple you will would be happy with positive points after game one.  Match two though offers a chance for a clean sheet and win.

The Villa defence pick

With Ron Vlaar contract running down and him injury prone, I had hoped the pairing of Clarke and Jores Okore were cemented as first choice until season's end.  News that Okore has suffered swelling on his knee makes him a doubt to play twice, even at all.

With Vlaar, Okore, Philippe Senderos and Nathan Baker carrying injury, Villa have Ciaran Clarke as their only fit CB.  Alan Hutton 8.59m may play in the position in at least the first game with Matthew Lowton coming in at LB 5.33m.

Ciaran Clarke

The only fit CB is the pick then for 7.64m.  He has a game average of 6pts so you can hop to see 12pts+ for your money.

The Rangers defence pick

Steven Caulker

The regular CB has returned just 8 and 5pts in his last two but in week 28 he racked up 24pts with no clean sheet, assist, goal or SOT.  True,Tottenham/Arsenal are more powerful attacking opponents than the two he faces this time but they were home games.  With two aways this time the number of blocked shots etc has to be similar.  A few pounds under 12m he is my premium defensive pick this week.

The Villa midfield

Scott Sinclair/Charles N'zogbia

They both have had their moments since the arrival of Tim Sherwood and neither are certain two gamers having been benched by Sherwood since he became manager.  Sinclair perhaps gets into the better attacking situations and his pace will be needed on the break in game one.

Fabian Delph

He is a pricey 9.51m and has returned 3, 7, 6 and 7 in his last four so nothing to excite you.  Prior to Sherwood arriving I had kept an eye on him as he had been putting up 9pt games.  I'm unsure if there is a link there.  He feels like a gut pick for me this week.  I'm tempted even at his price.

The Rangers midfield

Matt Phillips

The young scot was a great pick up in week 28 scoring 17pts.  He followed that with a 21pt single game before scoring blank last time out.  Perhaps signs of a inconsistent young player or perhaps after his goal against Palace there was a plan for him against Everton.  At his price of 7.35m you have to like him in your 11.

Joey Barton

Often the villain he may have stolen some of Phillips points last time on return from his suspension.  He owes his teammates and the QPR fans a sequence of performances in the remaining games.  At 7.92m he may well return twice his value or better.

The Villa attack

Christian Benteke and Gabriel Agbonlahor

The pair looked a true double act at Sunderland didn't they.  The injury to Benteke during the last game effected things and we will need to look out for team news on his return.  I'm not sure I can commit to Gabby even as a double gamer.  I may roll the dice on Benteke though if fit.

The Rangers attack

Charlie Austin

Austin was a monster in week 28 returning 40pts.  Key may have been that both games were a home.  However, Austin is consistent and playing for a summer move so I expect to see a hungry young player over the two games.  Bartons return will add some bite to the side and add some supply into Austin.  I don't see a second 40pt game but I would take a 20-25pt score if not.

Single game options

Thibaut Courtois

Always that slight concern Peter Cech gets a game but Courtois on discount will be many players pick this week.  Make sure you have bench cover!

Robert Huth/Matt Upson/Aaron Cresswell

If you have either at 4 or less holding for the Leicester double coming, they may be a decent shout to fit others in.  You would be delighted with any clean sheet but the pair have racked up phantoms and both are dangerous from set plays.

Holding Cresswell at 1m?  if so a pick that can outscore a double gamer on his day.

Eden Hazard

Fantastic player only getting better and better.  I keep predicting his brace and I will do so again against a Stoke side that no longer defend great away from home.

Juan Mata

Two goal hero last time, Mata is a cert to start against Villa.  Very hard not to pick him at under 6m if you bought on the BD.

Gylfi Sigurdsson

I may always have a fantasy soft spot for Siggy and had this been a single game week he would be a certain pick.  I like the fixture but he needs at least one goal to make him worthwhile.

Wayne Rooney

Certain starter and due a big points return.  Loves playing and punishing Villa and only 11.49m

Diego Costa/Alexis Sanchez/Harry Kane/Cesc Fabregas

If you hold any at deep discount I would stick to them.  The Chelsea boys a have a double coming up and Kane and Sanchez are two of the few 30+plus monsters in our game.

Jermain Defoe

At 6m I love the Defoe pick this week.  A Sunderland side having two weeks to work with their new manager against a Newcastle side who concede plenty of chances.  Often this fixture has been a tight affair but I think this may be more open and Defoe could double or triple his value this week.

Kun Aguero

I'm scared to sell him despite no goal in 2015 within the Premier League.  Tough game but one with plenty of space.  City must win, will know the Chelsea and for that matter the Arsenal/Man Utd results before kickoff.

As it stands before any work on my side it shows


Okore, Cresswell, Huth

Phillips, Hazard, Mata, Sinclair

Kun, Sanchez, Austin.

Barton site on my bench.  I will without doubt add more double gamers so Sanchez seems likely to go and Kun/Hazard are under danger.

With a double week i'm always aiming for around 150 pts and barring a freak week with braces from my single game attackers, that looks unlikely.  I'm still not within the top 1000, something I havent failed to do for a few seasons.  With that being my end of season game (I've gone all Arsene Wenger with his top four goals) I may have to gamble with a side with as many DG as I can.

What players am I missing?  Where is the value in the double gamers?