You have to love the timing of everything. There's an expression that says "it will all equal out in the end" but, when it comes to timing, it simply is not true. Some folks will have better timing than others at the end of the day. I fall in the "others" category. There is a corner store I go to all the time. When I go there, the store is always packed, and I end up at the back of the slowest line. The cashier has to switch out the receipt tape in the register or the customer is fumbling to find change - a task done quick and simple in normal circumstances, but, you know, when you are on your cell phone talking about which Fast & the Furious was the best, it can become a little more time-consuming. I swear to you, whenever I pass by the store, but have no need to go in, the place is empty. I find myself trying to create a need, just so I can buy something without waiting in line. It is not the store's timing - it doesn't matter if it is a weekday or weekend, day or night, holiday or eve of holiday - it's my timing...and, more often than not, it stinks.
Case in point - this week's column. Oh, I had big plans breaking down last weekend, where I put up a healthy 90 points, getting myself back inside a top 50k overall rank. My picks in the column reflect the success as well. Whether you took a chance on Heung-min Son a few weeks back or Wilfried Zaha most recently, odds are, if you've been following my advice, things are going well for you too. The only trouble spot was backing Antonio Valencia the past couple of weeks. He looked the clear defender to invest in coming out of the last international break and ahead of the double gameweek next weekend, but he's got one of those "nagging" injuries - the bane of every FPL managers' existence ahead of a DGW. In general though, there has been plenty of fist-pump-worthy moments both in the column and in the game since last weekend but, due to some technical issues and bad timing, I cannot waste a moment longer patting myself on the back.
Putting my thoughts together this week, there is nothing much to add strategy-wise as we approach the final turn of the FPL season. We now know the rescheduling of every postponed match and exactly how each double gameweek fixture looks like. If you are a seasoned veteran, or have been following the advice of one, like myself, then you are still waiting with a wildcard on standby, along with your bench boost chip and triple captain chip. Now, I used my triple captain chip already, getting a disappointing return from Sergio Aguero, but I still have the other pieces in play, along with the All Out Attack chip - a chip whose power is minimal unless you have impeccable timing which, I have already established, does not exist in my universe.
This should not be a week where you use one of your valuable chips. The AOA chip though, go ahead and use it. I probably will this weekend because I am not excited about having to choose from David Luiz away to United or Maya Yoshida home to city and Jordi Amat is worthless - not as a person, mind, but in FPL right now. So, welcome to the XI James Morrison. Home to Liverpool - eh, you never know. This should be a week where you are either saving your transfer to have an extra for next week's DGW or you are buying a player who has a DGW next week. With only three clubs on a double, that really narrows down the selection for "Players to Buy", so perhaps it makes sense in the end that I keep it short and sweet for Week 33...
Right, so here are my picks, with brief analysis, unless when a pick has a clear need for further explanation...
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TO HAVE AND TO HOLD
So now it is time to look at the players to think about ahead of Week 4. As a reminder, there are four categories of players which I feel are worth mentioning week to week when making decisions about transfers....
1) Players to buy
2) Players to sell
3) Players to hold onto
4) Players to avoid buying
I will also include later in the section, my top choices for the captain's armband. While I will consider every player from A to Z, it is pretty hard to look past the A (Aguero) or the Z (Zlatan).
Right, so let's dive in...
*Just as a reminder, keepers should always be the last position to think about using transfers for, unless there is an urgent need. So, when you see who I have listed here, bear in mind that my keeper advice does not carry as much weight as the outfield positions.
Player to buy: Wayne Hennessey - Four cleanies in the last six for Palace. They had one ALL SEASON before that. Double next week.
Player to sell: Tom Heaton - Not saying you need to, but not owning him for the run in shouldn't hurt much. Only two more home games for Burnley.
Player to hold: Petr Cech - If you held this long, it's because you have a 2nd option who has been delivering. Well, hold on now, he may be back for Monday.
Player to avoid: David de Gea - Not only are the other DGW34 keepers better value for their price, I think they both outscore de Gea from here until season's end. United's run-in is brutal.
Player to buy: Joel Ward- Patrick van Aanholt is training again, but Ward is the only safe pick for next week's double if you are buying a Palace defender now. I originally thought Mamadou Sakho would be nailed on, but I was alerted by a reader on Twitter that Sakho is unavailable for the Liverpool half of the double gameweek, as that is his parent club.
Player to sell: Chelsea defenders not named Marcos Alonso - Said it last week and look what happened. Chelsea cannot keep it clean but Alonso delivered, equaling the point haul of the other 4 Chelsea defenders who played, combined.
Player to hold: Stoke defenders - Little production here but may as well give them one more run out this week home to Hull.
Player to avoid: Kieran Trippier - Reward potential? Absolutely. Trippier is made for the fantasy game. But, he is one so-so shift away from giving the right-back spot back to Kyle Walker.
Player to buy: Wilfried Zaha - Said it last week, will back him again for obvious reasons, the main one's being form and pending DGW.
Player to sell: Riyad Mahrez - When the Foxes started to get hot last month, Mahrez got in the points, but it has been three dry games in the row, the last of which, he only played half an hour. Leicester's DGW in Week 37 isn't too attractive either, playing Manchester City and Spurs.
Player to hold: Josh King - Brutal fixtures ahead for Bournemouth but King provides too much value for his price to ditch. Author's Note: This pick and analysis has been left unchanged from last week, basically because I was spot on. King grabbed another goal in a tough fixture.
Player to avoid: Andros Townsend - I was looking at him as a possible sneaky counter-move to all who are aboard the Zaha Express, but Townsend was on crutches immediately after the Eagles' victory over Arsenal. I tend to avoid buying players last seen on crutches. It's kinda my thing. He could come into reckoning ahead of next week's deadline though.
Player to buy: Zlatan Ibrahimovic - Maybe it will be another over hyped DGW player, but if you aren't buying Zlatan this week, you should be selling a forward to free up cash for him. He is your Week 34 captain. Yes buying a player in a week where he plays the top club in the league normally doesn't sit well in one's mind, but it has been ages since Chelsea have kept their opponent out.
Player to sell: Jamie Vardy - In better form than Mahrez (mentioned in the midfield section) but Leicester with three straight on the road - an improved Palace defense, a Gunners defense that should have Petr Cech back and an always-tough trip to the Hawthorns. He's the one you need to transform into Zlatan between now and next weekend.
Player to hold: Romelu Lukaku - No DGW's for the run-in but plenty of nice fixtures for the Toffees regardless, including home to Burnley this weekend.
Player to avoid: Alvaro Negredo - When it comes to gearing up for DGW34, don't bother with Middlesbrough attacking players. In fact, Middlesbrough attacking players, as a phrase, should be publicly banned.
TOP CAPTAIN CHOICES
1) Romelu Lukaku
2) Dele Alli
3) Harry Kane
4) Alexis Sanchez
5) Sergio Aguero
That's it from me this week folks. Please, bear in mind much can change between the publishing of this column and the FPL deadline Tuesday. Remember, some injuries are not revealed until just before the deadline. Always try to refrain from executing your transfers for as long as possible to avoid wasting it on a player who turns out to have had a problem in training. That said, if you only have just enough money for the player you are looking to bring in and that player is at risk of rising in price, then sometimes you need to take a calculated risk and hope the fantasy gods will be kind to you.
Good luck, and may your arrows be green.