1.) What is the best Wild Card and Bench Boost strategy for Official Fantasy Format?
The two options I see here are using your Wild Card either in Week 33 or in Week 36, which means you will then most likely want to use your Bench Boost for the double week in either Week 34 or Week 37. Looking at the strength of each double week, using your WC now in Week 33 looks the best option. Firstly, Week 34 has a much stronger set of fixtures for the teams playing twice, i.e. United and Arsenal playing at home twice to weaker opposition. Secondly, Week 34 has one more double week fixture than Week 37 (that's 5 fixtures v 4 fixtures respectively). This allows you a bit more flexibility when creating your Week 33 squad, aiming to make sure each position is filled with a potential double game player. While I think this week is the best week for the WC/BB play, you must also be aware of the missing fixtures in Week 35. This means assembling a squad with 11 players from Arsenal, Liverpool, WBA, Newcastle, and Manchester CIty will allow you to navigate Week 35 with a full team. You can bench any Everton or United players during Week 35 to save for the next double in Week 37. Happy Wild Card play!
2.) Is the Crystal Palace v Everton match (double in Week 33) worth the investment given both teams poor form?
Crystal Palace have failed to win any league matches in 2016, a damning statistic for a team that had dreams of fighting for European places. While they managed to score twice on West Ham last game week, CP have been utterly woeful not only in front of goal, but also at the back. It's obvious, but, you can't lose a match if you don't concede. Everton have also had a poor season by their standards, currently sitting 12th (albiet with 2 matches in hand over a number of teams). Just finishing in the top half of the table is now looking increasingly like Roberto Martinez's goal. So should we be investing for their double match in Week 33? I look at it in a couple different ways. Firstly, any time a player has two matches it will increase the likelihood of a good fantasy week. However, both Everton and CP have a blank in Week 35, which means you have to balance your Week 33 squad to make sure you will have 11 starting players for that week (see above for the teams that will help you with this). Crystal Palace also has a wretched Week 34 double in which they play away to both Arsenal and United. On current form, I'd be opting to restrain my squad selection from having too many Everton or CP players (especially the latter) and looking to navigate Week 35 with only a few non-playing picks.
3.) Will Spurs stay on script or falter again?
It has been a fantastic season for Tottenham, above their bitter rivals Arsenal and the only realistic challenger to what is shaping up to be an unimaginable title for Leicester City. However, Spurs dropped two crucial points away to Liverpool last game week, compounded by the Foxes narrow win over Southampton, means they face a 7pt gap to at the top. Over taking that point gap won't be easy in any sense of the word as Spurs will face United at home in Week 33. Historically, this match has always favored Manchester United, who have also conceded the second fewest goals (27) just behind Spurs themselves on 25. One could imagine a very tight contest here like the previous match with Liverpool. With van Gaal's team picking up momentum in the race for CL qualification, this match could be a pivotal for both sides.
4.) Does Benitez have enough time to save Newcastle, or was he doomed from the start?
Rafa Benitez has had a rough time upon his return to English football since he took over the crisis that is Newcastle United. With a paltry single point from 3 matches, Benitez might be realizing he bit off more than he could chew. Rafa hasn't found himself in this kind of position while a manager, but does have the know-how to turn things around. Whether or not he has enough time is a completely different matter. When he took charge on March 11th, Newcastle had just previously lost an all important match to fellow strugglers Bournemouth 3-1. With Benitez firmly in front of the helm, the results haven't been any better as Newcastle lost yet another match to fellow relegation candidate Norwich City 3-2. With only 7 matches remaining and a 6pt gap to safety, results have to change now if Newcastle want to survive another season in the Premier League.
5.) Can West Ham "do the double" over London rivals Arsenal and push on to CL qualification?
It was a significant stumble from the Hammers against Crystal Palace, allowing United (with their narrow victory over Everton) to slide 2pts clear in 5th. West Ham are now 3pts off 4th place with the same amount of games played, meaning they must continue to perform while hoping the teams above drop more points. With United facing second placed Spurs, West Ham have an opportunity to reclaim 5th should United leave White Hart Lane empty handed. Slavan Bilic's side have already shocked many of the top teams this season, most notably Arsenal, whom they beat 2-0 at the Emirates on Aug 9th. Dimitri Payet is in fantastic form, with no one taking free kicks better than the Frenchman at the moment. With Europe in their sights, the match against Arsenal will be anything but straight forward. Arsenal themselves have regained momentum and will be looking to finish the season strong. This should be one of the more exciting matches for Week 33.
What questions do you have for Week 33? Anything I failed to cover here please comment down below!