Welcome to AM's Players To Watch for Gameweek 29 of the 2019/2020 Premier League season. This week I’ll be filling in for Nik. You can normally find my name on Tuesday nights under The Bargain Hunter column for FPL Draft, but I’ll gladly trade my FPL Draft expertise to focus more on the official FPL.com game and similar salary cap leagues.
As long-time readers of Nik’s columns will know, the advice in seasons' gone by had revolved around games that would allow you to make unlimited transfers each gameweek, selecting an entirely new 11 players if you so wished. Unfortunately Yahoo Fantasy Premier League is a glorious but distant memory, as is Togga's Perfect XI game which inspired his previous Rotoworld column.
Starting in August 2018, Nik made a point of mixing things up by generalizing the player recommendations given each week. So now, whether you're playing Official FPL, FPL/Fantrax Draft, Fantrax Salary Cap, Sky Sports, The Sun, The Telegraph or any number of other the fantasy games available to fans each season, we’ll now be offering my top picks for the week ahead, mixing "must-haves" with hunch picks and players flying under the radar. Hopefully this will offer something for everyone, whether you're considering captain options, looking to make a transfer or picking up a free agent in draft.
Saturday 7 March 2020
Liverpool vs. AFC Bournemouth
Arsenal v. West Ham
Crystal Palace v. Watford
Sheff Utd v. Norwich
Southampton v. Newcastle
Wolves v. Brighton
Burnley v. Spurs
Sunday 8 March 2020
Chelsea v. Everton
Man Utd v. Man City
Monday 9 March 2020
Leicester v. Aston Villa
Wednesday 11 March 2020
Manchester City v. Arsenal
Well now, by the looks of it we have a double gameweek on our hands with both Manchester City and Arsenal set to play Wednesday amid the Champions League festivities. With that in store, I think it would be smart to go all-in on the two club’s attacks especially with the Manchester derby promising plenty of fireworks. Meanwhile, Liverpool open the gameweek against Bournemouth after suffering their first loss of the season, and a humiliating one at that against relegation-threatened Watford. I’d be surprised to see the title favorites score less than three goals. In injury news, Jamie Vardy is expected to return while Gerard Deulofeu will miss the rest of the season with an ACL injury. And with that, I’ll leave you to the week’s picks. Thanks for indulging me in AM’s Players to Watch, I hope I can be a super sub once again!
Marcos Alonso (DEF - Chelsea v. Everton) – I don’t know about you but nothing excites me more as an FPL manager than opening the app and seeing my defenders score a goal, especially when it’s unexpected. But Marcos Alonso has made quite a habit out of surprising us in recent years to the point where we have started to expect goals from him—except this year, where his playing time has floundered under manager Frank Lampard. One look at the last two weeks will tell you that the Spanish international is back in form with a goal against Tottenham and two last week against Bournemouth to give him 24 points in FPL.com. As the goalscorer of Chelsea’s last three goals, here’s to hoping Alonso is back to his goalscoring best with a favorable schedule that should provide some clean sheets through the end of the season.
Riyad Mahrez (MID – Manchester City @ Manchester United, Manchester City v. Arsenal) – Originally, my captain pick for the week would have been Kevin De Bruyne, but manager Pep Guardiola confirmed that the star playmaker missed the midweek FA Cup fixture with a minor shoulder problem that makes him doubtful for the Manchester derby. I think having a Manchester City attacker is crucial for the double gameweek, and with Raheem Sterling just coming back from injury and Sergio Agüero receiving spotty playing time, Riyad Mahrez looks like our best bet for the double gameweek. Mahrez has proven that if he gets the start, he comes to play and rewards FPL managers with a solid differential. In each of his past seven league starts, the Algerian has recorded three goals and four assists. That’s why I’m looking no further than Mahrez for my Man City pick this week.
Patrick Van Aanholt (DEF – Crystal Palace v. Watford) – Year after year, it just seems like a good idea to have Patrick Van Aanholt in your team. The wing-back is an attacking menace and often provides enough attacking points to counteract his club’s defensive shortcomings. However, this season Palace have recorded seven clean sheets as they enter Roy Hodgson’s favorite part of the season: the final stretch where Palace separate themselves from the relegation bottom-feeders. Palace have recorded clean sheets in their last two and PVA scored his third goal of the season in Gameweek 27 to give them the win over Newcastle. At home against a Watford club that I expect to still be stuck in the clouds after that rousing win against Liverpool, I’m banking on van Aanholt to come through in attack if not in defense.
Diogo Jota (FWD - Wolves v. Brighton) – The Portuguese international’s popularity has taken a hit in salary cap leagues where he was recategorized as a forward instead of a midfielder, but Diogo Jota seems to have found his groove in recent weeks. In a 3-0 win against Norwich City in Gameweek 27, the forward was on the doorstep of a hat-trick, contributing to all three goals with two goals and an assist. In the following week, Jota scored and assisted once again in a win over Spurs. Not just this week against Brighton but beyond with such a favorable schedule (West Ham, Bournemouth, Aston Villa), I’m betting on Jota to come through and continue his good form for Wolves as the club push for another improbable European berth.
Captain: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (FWD – Arsenal v. West Ham, Arsenal @ Manchester City) – With Kevin De Bruyne’s injury and Sergio Agüero’s inconsistencies, I’m going with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as my captain pick in the double gameweek. I’m heavily banking on the Gunners’ first fixture against West Ham for Aubameyang’s main source of points, but the trip to Manchester City with the Sky Blues missing Aymeric Laporte could be a shootout as well. The star forward is in great form of late coming off a two-goal showing against Everton last week to give him three league goals in the last two games. I’ve personally already made the switch from Aguero to PEA for the week ahead with an eye toward the rest of the season, which also saved me some money for another purchase down the line. But for the week ahead, Aubameyang looks like the best captain’s pick available for the healthy, in-form options available.
Honorable Mention: Nicolas Pepe (MID — Arsenal v. West Ham, Arsenal @ Manchester City
That's it for Gameweek 29's Players to Watch. Check out the Rotoworld PL homepage to access a host of fantastic content to get you ready for the weekend. If you have any questions about a specific player or your own fantasy team then feel free to hit Nik up on Twitter (@nikarg) or me (@gastelumEPL) and we will get back to you.
Thanks for reading - good luck to all managers this weekend!