The following Fantasy Premier League advice is tailored toward players ofTogga’s Perfect XI. It’s a weekly game in which every Premier League player is eligible to be selected into a 4-4-2 formation. There is no salary cap, no squad restrictions and you pick a fresh XI every week. If you’ve enjoyed this column this year, you can follow the writer for more insight on Twitter @FantasyGaffer and listen to the Talkin Togga podcast.
The Premier League season ends Sunday with one of the best two-hour blocks of the year as all 20 sides kickoff at the same time. For FPL managers, the simultaneous kickoff is bliss as it provides an opportunity to ensure your entire XI has been selected to start without needing any contingency plans. With most clubs playing for little more than pride, selecting players from Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City will be the popular move. Successful managers in Gameweek 38 will not limit themselves in squad selection, though, and should pay close attention to the starting lineups are announced on Sunday. Making key substitutions late on can be the difference between winning and almost-ran.
Selecting the Perfect XI each week isn’t an easy task and even the best-laid plans can use a Plan B, so we’ve provided alternatives for each position. Those designated (d) are differentials–players we expect will be owned by fewer than 5% of FPL managers this week. Togga has added “Own %” to its app so differentials are based on players’ ownership percentage at the time of writing. You can check for updates when you set your squad.
Key Stats: Robles, Everton’s on-again, off-again starter, has recorded 10 clean sheets in his 19 league appearances this season. He did not start in Gameweek 16 when Everton beat Arsenal 2-1. Arsene Wenger’s side knows it must win to have a chance at returning to the Champions League and it has rolled in its last three games, winning against Man United, Stoke and Sunderland by a combined 8-1 score. Robles will get plenty of action in this one. If he manages to keep the clean sheet or registers a big-save day, he could approach the 26.25 points he posted Gameweek 18 against Leicester.
Plan B: Joel Pereira (d; vs. Crystal Palace); Tom Heaton (vs. West Ham); Ben Foster (d; vs Swansea)
Despite Sergio Romero recording six assists (and a penalty save on Manolo Gabbiadini!) against Southampton, Jose Mourinho has indicated it will be Pereira starting against Palace. The 20-year-old Portuguese shot-stopper would be making his first league start against a side that averages 3.5 shots on target per away match. The Special One is likely to field a distinctly second-string squad ahead of a more important Europa League final tie with Ajax, which could see more attacking play from the visitors. This is a risky play, but one that could pay dividends.
Kieran Trippier (at Hull); Cesar Azpilicueta (vs. Sunderland); Matteo Darmian (d; vs. Crystal Palace); Kyle Naughton (d; vs. West Brom)
Key Stats: Azpilicueta was the only regular starter to keep his place against Watford as the second string of Nathan Ake (assist), Kurt Zouma (assist) and John Terry (goal) made the most of its opportunity. Azpilicueta was involved, too, managing to score in the 4-3 thriller and has now scored or assisted in three straight. The goal was his first of the season, to go with his five assists. A clean sheet Sunday against last-place Sunderland seems a foregone conclusion, but Antonie Conte’s starting lineup is anything but a sure thing. If you pick a Chelsea defender (or two) make sure you double-check their roster on match day.
Plan B: James Collins (d; at Burnley); Kieran Gibbs (d; vs. Everton); John Terry (d; vs. Sunderland); Joel Matip (d; vs. Middlesbrough)
The only defender hotter than Collins is Chelsea’s Marcos Alonso. The Hammers center back has started eight straight and is posting consistent double-figure returns. While Collins did score against Sunderland in Gameweek 33, his value is derived primarily from defensive stats: clearances, aerial duels won and interceptions. He has recorded 10 or more clearances in four of his last six and won a total of 14 aerial duels over his last four.
Kevin De Bruyne (at Watford); Eden Hazard (vs. Sunderland); Philippe Coutinho (vs. Middlesbrough); Wilfried Zaha (d; at Manchester United)
Key Stats: Zaha has been remarkably good this season. The Palace midfielder has scored seven goals–more than De Bruyne or Riyad Mahrez (6)–and notched 11 fantasy assists, which bests Roberto Firmino and Mesut Ozil (10). Across the season he is the 18th highest scorer (10th at his position) and he continues to get minutes, having recorded the full 90 minutes 29 times already this year. Zaha has missed just three matches this season, and he is as close to a lock as exists in FPL.
Plan B: Leroy Sane (d; at Watford); Riyad Mahrez (d; vs. Bournemouth); Junior Stanislas (d; at Leicester); Gylfi Sigurdsson (d; vs. West Brom)
Having a fully fit Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus has given Pep Guardiola a number of attacking options. Pep’s bounty is an FPL managers nightmare, with multiple options meaning one star (or more) is inevitably left out. Raheem Sterling was the odd man out against West Brom, as City scored a comfortable three goals. De Bruyne is a must-start, but if you’re stacking City midfielders, Sane or David Silva are the better bets.
Harry Kane (at Hull); Daniel Sturridge (d; vs. Middlesbrough)
Key Stats: It is time to give Kane his due. Entering his penultimate game, the Spurs striker had an average FPL score of 16.34 this term, trailing only the incomparable Alexis Sanchez (17.07). That skyrocketed after his four-goal showing against Leicester on Thursday. Unlike Alexis, Kane gets the bulk of his points from scoring, which is fine, as he scores in bunches. With seven goals and three assists over his last six matches, he is in scorching form. Last time out against Hull he did not score, assist or even record a shot on target, but he did make three key passes. He’s been hitting the target with regularity down the stretch, though, and given that he’ll start, he’s odds-on to score again.
Plan B: Alexis Sanchez (vs. Everton); Gabriel Jesus (at Watford); Jamie Vardy (d; vs. Bournemouth); Michy Batshuayi (d; vs. Sunderland)
Batshuayi is closing out the season in style. After scoring the goal that secured the Blues a second title in three years, the 23-year-old Belgian international earned the start and scored the third of Chelsea’s four against Watford. The start was his first in the Premier League this season, and his 87 minutes marked the first time he’s gotten more than 20 in the league this year. Diego Costa is all but certain to depart London this summer, so Conte may as well give the young striker another opportunity to prove he is ready to assume a larger role next term.