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Fantrax Player Picks: Game Week 34

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It’s a double-game week for eight teams in the blog’s main Fantrax league. Are you going to double-dip?

Harry Kane - Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League
Kane won his appeal to have Tottenham’s second goal credited to him, demonstrating his desperation to catch up with Mo Salah in the race for the Golden Boot. He’ll bring that intense motivation to two games this week.
Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images

The administrator of NMA’s main Fantrax league has adjusted deadline dates to match the Official FPL game through the end of the season, so we have eight teams with double-game weeks this go-around.

As always, I recommend that you max out on double-game week players with careful attention paid to rotation risks. Very few discounts are worth preserving this late in the season. Set up your squads to get as many bites of the apple as you can!

Please note that, as always, prices referenced in this article reflect the “Never Manage Alone” league (not the NMA + Bench league, which is following Togga, so its GW-34 is normal, and its GW-35 gives Burnley a one-team DGW while HUD blanks).

Humbly submitted below, then, are my best ideas for your GW-34 Fantrax picks.

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The Doubles:

Manchester United (WBA, bou)

Be aware that United face Tottenham in the FA Cup semi-final on Sat 4/21, just three days after the second game of their double. The league title is effectively out of reach, so Jose Mourinho is sure to rotate and manage minutes with an eye toward the Cup match. But with two games against favorable opposition, the following players should still be in your thinking this week.

Romelu Lukaku ($13.96)

Alexis Sanchez ($14.62)

Paul Pogba ($9.16)

Jesse Lingard ($8.34)

Chris Smalling ($10.32)

David De Gea ($15.33)

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Leicester (bur, SOT)

Leicester have no parallel tournaments to introduce rotation worries, but the fact that they have little to play for in the league may concern some investors. Not me. I will have many of these players in my teams.

Kasper Schmeichel ($7.62)

Ben Chilwell ($5.46)

Riyad Mahrez ($16.46)

Jamie Vardy ($12.36)

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Chelsea (sot, bur)

Chelsea have their FA Cup semi-final vs Southampton on Sun 4/22, just three days after the second game of their double. The FA Cup is now Chelsea’s only opportunity to salvage anything from this season. The common wisdom is that Hazard will be protected for the Cup match, improving Willian’s chances of starting both games. Also keep in mind that Alonso can be fielded as either a defender or a midfielder if you are looking for a way to fit him into your lineup.

Thibaut Courtois ($7.56)

Cesar Azpilicueta ($13.07)

Marcos Alonso ($11.64)

Eden Hazard ($13.10)

Willian ($10.36)

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Tottenham (MCI, bha)

Spurs face United on Saturday 4/21 in the FA Cup semi, but the second game of their double is on Tuesday instead of Wednesday. The extra day of recovery may allay rotation fears somewhat. Regardless, I think we can count on Harry Kane starting twice. He clearly wants to chase Mo Salah for the Golden Boot, so he’ll be shooting on sight against a City defense that will not enjoy the protection that Fernandinho customarily provides. He and the Dane are both expensive, but in a double-game week, investment in either or both is justified if you have the cash.

Ben Davies ($10.53)

Kieran Trippier ($6.68)

Christian Eriksen ($18.76)

Dele Alli ($12.47)

Heung-Min Son ($11.74)

Harry Kane ($21.10)

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Burnley (LEI, CHE)

Ben Mee is out injured, so Matthew Lowton should be nailed-on to deputize. He’s not a bad option for the DGW, but in Fantrax there are probably better options at (or even below) his price point. Johann Berg-Gudmundsson is reportedly back in training and likely to be fit, but if he fails to make the squad for the first match, or if his minutes are managed in order to ease him back in, then Georges-Kevin Nkoudou becomes a nice dollar-store enabler (although he himself has a tight hamstring). Follow team news. I also like Aaron Lennon as a budget enabler this week.

Johann Berg-Gudmundsson ($9.59)/Georges-Kevin Nkoudou ($1.00)

Aaron Lennon ($4.36)

Chris Wood ($7.34)

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Brighton (cry, TOT)

Ezequiel Schelotto is in my team — he’s terrific value for the double. Dunk should also pay off for those of you who are willing to spend more.

Lewis Dunk ($8.99)

Ezequiel Schelotto ($3.09)

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Southampton (CHE, lei)

Southampton face Chelsea in the FA Cup semi on Sunday, 4/22 after the second game of their double on Thursday. Unlike the other FA Cup contenders though, they are mired in the relegation scrum and don’t really have the luxury of resting and rotating. That said, their match-ups are tough and their roster is not filled with a ton of compelling Fantrax talent. I do like Charlie Austin this week though. Only Sergio Aguero has a better goal-per-minute strike rate, and Austin’s price leaves room in your budget for some of the marquee names you will want to squeeze in this week.

Charlie Austin ($4.63)

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Bournemouth (liv, MUN)

Very challenging fixtures. There’s only one name I would even consider, and at his price point I think there are probably better options this week.

Joshua King ($9.22)

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The Singles:

Aaron Wan-Bissaka ($2.76, CRY vs BRI): The only Eagle I would consider this week, and only as an enabler to free up budget. Otherwise your money is better spent on double-gamers.

Terence Kongolo ($3.09, HUD vs WAT): Another solid enabler to allow more DG’ers. Reminder: Huddersfield has a blank in the +Bench League in GW-35.

Seamus Coleman ($4.81, EVE vs swa): Returns potential at both ends of the pitch, at a price that facilitates investment in more DG’ers.

Mo Salah ($25.46, LIV vs BOU): If you still have him at discount I’d hang on. He’s hosting Bournemouth and will be eager to solidify his grasp on the Golden Boot, so the Egyptian certainly has the potential to outscore some double-gamers this week. But if you’re looking at paying retail for him, DG’ers probably offer more bang for your buck.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang ($9.91, ARS vs new): Five goals in four games and nailed-on to start. I’d prefer a DG’er but wouldn’t fault you for rolling with the Gabonese striker this week.

Marko Arnautovic ($11.20, WHU vs STK): West Ham are fighting for survival, and hapless Stoke seem all but doomed. Again, I’d rather spend my money on a DG’er, but Arnautovic’s return potential cannot be denied.

Manchester City (MCI vs tot): Sergio Aguero and Fernandinho are out, so the Citizens will be diminished at both ends of the pitch. Even at full-strength City are slumping right now and have to travel to Wembley this weekend to play the EPL’s form team. Spend your money on DG’ers instead.

Will you be filling up on double-game players? Which single-gamers will you keep? Let us know in the comments below.