Once upon a time in a mysterious isle off Fort Lauderdale, wise vacationing undergrads pondered life’s greatest riddles in Revenge of the Nerds 2: Nerds in Paradise, capping off the discussion with a real whopper:
When it comes to life’s difficult mysteries, sometimes it’s best not to overthink the answers. And perhaps, when confronted by unanswerable enigmata such as that, it’s actually best to just continue drinking and pretending that spring break never ended. So go ahead and grab a tasty adult beverage as we ponder the question of how best to cobble together this weekend’s Togga team as well as going over some longer-term strategy for those in draft leagues.
Planning Ahead: Head-to-Head Draft League Strategy
Remember all those filler players from teams with DGW31 action other than Bournemouth (Crystal Palace, Everton, Huddersfield, Liverpool, Stoke, Watford, and West Brom) who you recently added in to your head-to-head draft league teams? Well, you can go ahead and drop them now. Start mixing in players from the eight teams who will have an extra game for DGW34 (Bournemouth, Brighton, Burnley, Chelsea, Leicester, Manchester United, Southampton, and Tottenham).
For my league, it just so happened that a lot of Chelsea players were available, thus I loaded up on them (Thibaut Courtois, Cesc Fabregas, Victor Moses and Antonio Rudiger), but don’t be afraid to target a different team or adopt a mix-and-match approach depending on availability in your league. (Note: Courtois is currently injured, but is expected to be back fairly shortly.)
Community member yewtee wrote an extremely helpful and insightful FanPost regarding suggested strategy in planning for the upcoming DGW schedule. Much of it deals with chip usage in Official FPL, but there is still plenty to be gleaned for other formats such as Togga, so give it a read:
GW32 Perfect XI Player Picks
Often this spot brings a choice between David De Gea (Manchester United v. Swansea) and Nick Pope (Burnley at West Brom), and this week is no different. I’m going to give the edge to De Gea since he is at Old Trafford, where the Red Devils have allowed the fewest goals (seven) this season, and he welcomes a Swansea side tied for third-fewest goals scored on the road (10). Pope (assuming that he continues to start in place of Tom Heaton) also has a plus match-up against the league’s worst home team, as Albion has managed only 16 goals at the Hawthorns this season.
If you’re hoping the reverse fixture can repeat itself, Marcos Alonso (Chelsea v. Tottenham) is your man, having scored twice in earning 28.5 points at Wembley in GW2. But since he’s the top scorer at the position and this one’s at Stamford Bridge, you may not have needed that to influence your thinking anyway.
Serge Aurier (Tottenham at Chelsea) is on the opposite side of that difficult match-up, but sometimes caution gets tossed to the wind due to recent form. Aurier has been an absolute beast, racking up an average of 23.3 ppg in his past three starts and hitting 20+ in five of his past nine appearances. Aurier has not quite established himself as a guaranteed starter, so you’ll want to keep an eye on team news, but assuming he does make the XI again for the fourth straight time, it’s not a bad idea to keep rolling the dice.
Take a look at the past five home scores for Jamaal Lascelles (Newcastle v. Huddersfield): 21, 12.25, 16.25, 4, 16.5. Now ask yourself where he’s playing this week (it’s easy, just look in the previous sentence), and if you’re too worried about the opposition. Easy peasy.
Nicolas Otamendi (Manchester City at Everton) has scored in double digits five times in his last six away games while averaging 13.9 points, so you shouldn’t worry about him traveling away from the Etihad.
Other good choices in back include Andrew Robertson (Liverpool at Crystal Palace), James Tarkowski (Burnley at West Brom), Antonio Valencia (Manchester United v. Swansea) and Kyle Walker (Manchester City at Everton),
Riyad Mahrez (Leicester at Brighton) has been on fire recently with 23.5 and 24.5 points in his past pair of games, and putting up a robust average of 17.2 ppg across his past seven appearances. Put in spring break terms, he’s been out partying on the beach while everybody else got snowed in.
Pascal Gross (Brighton v. Leicester) has scored double digits in four of his past five outings, averaging 16.7 ppg in that stretch. Being at home against a team that allows the opposition time on the ball should do just fine for the Brighton playmaker.
David Silva (Manchester City at Everton) has three goals and one assist in his past triplet of games, averaging 21.2 ppg in the process. He scored 33.5 points in the past away game at Stoke, so you should not fret too much that the game is outside of Cottonopolis. You will want to check team news later in the week, though, to see if it looks like Pep Guardiola plans on resting any key players ahead of the Champions League clash with Liverpool.
Willian (Chelsea v. Tottenham) has been absolutely volcanic when available since GW14, with 20+ points in seven of his past 13 games, including 30+ FOUR TIMES in that stretch. Spurs’ defense is tough, but sometimes instead of playing it safe you want to throw caution to the wind and go for the gusto.
There’s absolutely no shortage of great options at the position, as Michail Antonio (West Ham v. Southampton), Sadio Mane (Liverpool at Crystal Palace), Son Heung-Min (Tottenham at Chelsea), Mesut Ozil (Arsenal v. Stoke), Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Arsenal v. Stoke), Leroy Sane (Manchester City at Everton), Xherdan Shaqiri (Stoke at Arsenal), and Junior Stanislas (Bournemouth at Watford) are among a plethora of others that I couldn’t fault anyone for picking.
As usual, Mo Salah (Liverpool at Crystal Palace) is the no-brainer here. He’s probably not going to return 63 points again this week, but the Egyptian terror is a match-up proof stud you won’t want to risk leaving out unless you are really in a desperate position in your league.
The second spot goes to teammate Roberto Firmino (Liverpool at Crystal Palace), who isn’t quite as prolific as his strike partner, but is nothing to scoff at either. The Brazilian magician is in a rich vein of form with double digit points in five straight games, averaging 20.4 ppg in that stretch.
If you feel like mixing things up and avoiding an all-Reds attack line (as you likely had in GW31), you may want to consider Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal v. Stoke), Christian Benteke (Crystal Palace v. Liverpool), Romelu Lukaku (Manchester United v. Swansea), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City at Everton), Cenk Tosun (Everton v. Manchester City), or Chris Wood (Burnley at West Brom).
What choices are locked in for your Togga teams? Who are you agonizing over? Is there anybody else not included above who you think will star? Let us know in the comments!