Some weeks are just not like the others. This upcoming week — a double game week for half of the teams — that most definitely applies. So sit down, buckle up, and get ready for a wild ride!
Double game teams (10): Brighton, Cardiff, Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Fulham, Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham, Watford, Wolves
Single game teams (10): Arsenal, Bournemouth, Burnley, Everton, Huddersfield, Leicester, Liverpool, Newcastle, Southampton, West Ham
As you prepare for peeling out, what player should you be sure to build your team around in DGW-32? After all, assuming he plays twice, that means a double-double (!!) for your captain... or a triple-double (!!!) if you go with the triple captain chip.
Chris: Manchester City Forward Sergio Aguero
I already highlighted Crystal Palace defender Jeffrey Schlupp as a good pick for this week. But while Schlupp is a high-quality differential and enabler, I’m not going so far as to tag him as the essential player who could rise to captain. For that designation, I’m looking at Manchester City sniper Sergio Aguero. Admittedly, the huge negative is the rotation risk inherent in a heavily congested schedule: a whopping nine games across all competitions from March 30 through April 28.
But I’ll focus more on the positives. The Citizens are locked in a brilliant battle for the league title with Liverpool, and thus cannot afford to take any games off. City’s DGW has a better amount of rest than some, playing on Saturday and then Wednesday rather than Saturday/Tuesday or Sunday/Wednesday. Kun is Pep’s security blanket, the only player in the Sky Blues’ attack to play 60+ minutes in each of the past eight EPL games. And perhaps most importantly, even if he doesn’t start twice, Kun should only need one start and one bench appearance to generate big points, given that his team’s tantalizingly tempting two fixtures are at 19th place Fulham and home to 18th place Cardiff.
David: Chelsea Midfielder Eden Hazard
My top pick for this DGW is Eden Hazard. Although the marquee assets from the two Mancunian clubs are also attractive, none of them are as assured of two starts as the Belgian. Hazard has also been in fine form lately, with three goals and an assist in has last six league games -- good enough to put him in the FPL bonus three times over that period. His opposition is also very favorable, with a trip to 18th-place Cardiff followed by hosting 15th-place Brighton. Finally, I always like to choose designated PK takers in DGWs, and Hazard is the undisputed owner of that role for Chelsea.
Matzy: Watford Midfielder Gerard Deulofeu
Most managers will approach double game-weeks looking to capitalize on the talent of the “Big Six” clubs. To maximize those talents in your squad, money needs to be found from enablers. Gerry D is one of three midfielders with a current price under 6.0m who has earned over 100 points. In only 23 appearances he has tallied 7 goals and 5 assists. We have also seen Deulofeu come off the bench to make an instant impact alongside Troy Deeney, which will quell some fears even if he does not start both matches. His ownership sits at a meager 5.5% overall, and Fantasy Football Fix cites a live ownership of 10.1%. Those numbers both seem far too low for a dynamic, budget-friendly, attacking midfielder at less that 6.0m.
Omar: Tottenham Forward Harry Kane
The FPL herd will likely target the essential Manchester City assets like Sergio Aguero and Raheem Sterling, but it is Tottenham’s Harry Kane who occupies my thinking for DGW-32. Kane is back to his best form, getting amongst the goals on international duty for England. He faces a difficult away trip to Liverpool in his first DGW tie, but it is the April 3rd clash against Crystal Palace that screams big haul. Spurs will unveil their spanking new stadium and you can be sure that Kane will want to write his name into history by scoring early and often in the first EPL fixture on their new home ground. A hattrick is not out of the question.
Stall: Manchester City Forward Sergio Aguero
The obvious picks are Raheem Sterling or Sergio Aguero. Weak opposition and both bang in form, any free hit will have them unless Pep tells us something different. Considering the strength of the opposition and tough fixture run to come, there is always the risk one or both miss minutes over the two games. With Kun facing less competition for his starting spot compared to Sterling, I take him as the better pick to start twice.
Outside the duo, I have a gut feeling for Chelsea forward Gonzalo Higuain. I’m not convinced he will turn into a consistent performer in the Premier League at this stage of his career, but I can see him turning recent close moments into an explosion somewhere before the season’s end. Doing so in a double game week seems about right to me.
What do you think of our Staff Picks above? Whom would you pick (and why)? Are you still undecided regarding who your captain will be? Which single-game players do you expect to outperform their double game alternatives? Are you playing a chip — and if so, which one? — or instead going chipless? Take the poll below and please share your thoughts and questions in the comments!
Who is the most must-have player for DGW32?
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Other (name in comments)