Welcome to Week 33 of my player picks for the Yahoo Fantasy game. Before I begin please note The 2015 Rotoworld Cup quarter-final results (from Week 32) will be published over the weekend. Please keep checking back to see if you made it through to the semi-finals in Week 35.
Despite two zeros from no shows Daniel Sturridge and Jores Okore plus disappointing returns from Harry Kane and Eden Hazard, AM FC managed to accumulate 117 points in Week 32, which moved me to a new season high global rank of 287th overall. Juan Mata, Alexis Sanchez, Kelvin Davis and Aaron Cresswell were the men I have to thank, with useful contributions from Alberto Moreno, Philippe Coutinho and Matt Phillips.
Week 33 brings us a reduced fixture list due to the FA Cup semi-finals, with just seven Premier League matches taking place. Arsenal, Liverpool, Aston Villa, Hull, Queens Park Rangers and Sunderland DO NOT PLAY A MATCH in WEEK 33. However, Liverpool and Hull (along with Chelsea and Leicester) have a double-week in Week 34, so you may want to hang on to one Liverpool discount if you feel it’s too valuable to lose. My advice would be to scrap all but your very best discounts from the other teams (i.e. keep Alexis Sanchez) and use your bench wisely with a view to fielding at least ten certain starters this week.
Week 33 Fixtures
Chelsea v Man Utd
Crystal Palace v West Brom
Everton v Burnley
Leicester City v Swansea
Man City v West Ham
Newcastle v Tottenham
Stoke v Southampton
As always you'll want to focus on the teams that appear to have a clear advantage over their opponent. Manchester City - despite their poor run - look to be the standout team as they host West Ham, with in-form Crystal Palace at home to West Brom and improving Everton hosting Burnley all worth focusing on.
The big game of the weekend is obviously Chelsea v Manchester United, and it should be a cracker, but I would be careful about investing too heavily in either side as it's difficult to predict the outcome. Keep your Hazard, your Fabregas and your Mata at discounts but don't go beyond this.
Elsewhere you may want to look at Tottenham for their trip to Newcastle, although the players from both sides appear to have started their summer breaks early, and you could always take a punt on picking a goal-scorer from the Leicester v Swansea and Stoke v Southampton matches.
With that in mind, click over to the next page to view my Week 33 recommendations.
Joe Hart - Despite all Manchester City's struggles, there is an opportunity to purchase Hart for just £5million after the capitulation at Old Trafford. This price cannot be sniffed at when City are playing at the Etihad in a reduced game-week, so I recommend you get involved.
Tim Howard - £1million cheaper than Hart and at home Burnley. Everton seem to have turned the corner and Howard has started to look like his old self again.
Julian Speroni - Speroni completes the trio of recommended goalkeeper and I'm pleased to say that my colleague Rob Allen agrees with the selections. To quote Mr Allen "This week he makes the cut and although I very much doubt he’ll keep a clean sheet I don’t see any other result but a Palace win. He hasn’t scored loads week in, week out, but he should cover his paltry 5.93m cost."
Ryan Taylor - Despite his side's miserable form, Newcastle's set piece taking defender Taylor continues to put up massive points. If you're holding him at his March level (£2millon-ish) you're laughing. I wouldn't blame you for investing at full price.
Ryan Bertrand - Another monster haul from Bertrand last week as the Saints kept another clean sheet, and he remains a superb option, especially if you're holding him below £10million.
Martin Kelly - As mentioned last week, one of my big regrets for the season is dropping Kelly at 1.00 when I thought Pape Souare had been purchased to replace him. Souare did make a rare start at Sunderland before picking up an early injury and being replaced by Kelly. Expect the ex-Liverpool man to start against West Brom.
Kieran Trippier - The Burnley right back is over 50 fantasy points clear of his nearest defensive rival and continues to average 10 points per game. Only Leighton Baines can get close to him, and the two players will meet at Goodison this weekend. It could be a great battle!
John Stones - However, Baines isn't my defensive pick from the Everton backline. That honour goes to Stones, who costs half the amount and is in with just as good a chance of a clean sheet.
Martin Demichelis - Reports suggest captain Vincent Kompany is struggling with the injury which forced him off in the Manchester derby, so Demichelis should be sure of a start and the Argentine costs less than £6million. A clean sheet awaits.
Aaron Cresswell - Cresswell has been a season-long favourite for myself and (I'm sure) most of our readers. It's a tough fixture, but he's taking free kicks now.
Phillip Wollscheid - A ridiculously cheap way of getting a certain defensive starter in to your team, with Stoke's Wollscheid to partner Ryan Shawcross against Southampton.
Kyle Bartley - With Kyle Naughton out injured and Neil Taylor suspended you can add covering full-back Bartley to your team for a reasonable outlay as the Swans travel to Leicester.
Eden Hazard - The top scoring Yahoo fantasy midfielder. A good week is 30 points, a bad week is still a decent 8 points. He'll be staying in my team until the end of the season, no matter the fixture.
Crystal Palace Midfielders - Take your pick, with Yannick Bolasie, Wilfried Zaha, Mile Jedinak and Jason Puncheon all certain to start (barring injury) in support of Glenn Murray. None of them are bad picks. My preference if money is no object would be Jedinak purely due to the fantasy consistency he's shown throughout the entire campaign, although Zaha looks the best values up against make-shift Baggies full-back Chris Brunt.
David Silva - With Yaya Toure currently doing his best impression of me playing football with a hangover I cannot recommend him, so the City midfield option tempting me is Silva. There were glimpses of the partnership with Aguero clicking at Old Trafford and he'll be the man West Ham need to watch out for.
Aaron Lennon - Lennon wasn't known for his goal-scoring exploits at White Hart Lane but the little winger has two goals already for Everton and is slotting nicely in to Roberto Martinez's system. The Toffees are on their best run of the season and should do plenty of attacking against Burnley.
Mark Albrighton - After a season of sitting on the bench Albrighton was brought on at half time against West Ham in Week 31 and helped change the game. The winger then started against West Brom in Week 32 and was influential in another victory to give the Foxes hope of a miraculous escape. A former fantasy favourite, he's well priced for the massive home game with Swansea.
Juan Mata - Rejuvenated in recent weeks, Mata is a definite "hold" if you were lucky enough to grab him for anything less than £10million, as Manchester United travel to his ex-club Chelsea.
Cesc Fabregas - Fabregas is continuing to reward fantasy managers who have kept faith all season. It's now three goals and 16 assists for the campaign - not bad at all.
Christian Eriksen - Last chance at the fantasy saloon for the Danish midfielder, who has flattered to deceived over the past month, as Spurs travel to Newcastle.
James Milner - There have been countless pathetic performances from Manchester City players recently but Milner is one man who always gives 100% effort, and he should start against West Ham. A wildcard option if you want a City midfielder but can't afford Silva.
Wayne Routledge - For some reason I have a hunch that Routledge is the Swansea midfielder to go with against Leicester. The winger is well priced and it feels like he's due a goal.
Sergio Aguero - Aguero hadn't scored for Manchester City in some 500+ minutes until he opened the scoring at Old Trafford, and he went on to grab a second goal late on to provide Pellegrini with a solitary positive to take away. You would expect the Argentinian to get himself on the score-sheet again as West Ham visit the Etihad.
Glenn Murray - Murray's renaissance since Alan Pardew arrived is absolutely extraordinary, with the striker recalled from a loan spell at Reading before bagging six Premier League goals in his past six games and picking up three assists. Fantasy scores of 14, 17, 15, 20 and 21 points should put the Eagles striker high on your list priorities for Week 33 as they host the Baggies.
Harry Kane - Two games without a goal (having scored a hat-trick the previous match) and Kane is already being written off by fickle football fans across the country. Honestly, I heard a Liverpool fan on TalkSport saying this was proof the 21-year old is "overrated and actually rubbish." I prefer to focus on the fact Kane can reach 30 goals for the season if he can bag against Newcastle, a side giving away goals for fun at the moment.
Romelu Lukaku / Arouna Kone - Lukaku has missed the last two games with a hamstring injury, and while Martinez expects the striker to be fit in time for Saturday’s game with Burnley he claims he will not pick him unless he is 100% ready. That could mean Kone is the safer option if you fancy Everton to put a couple of goals past the Clarets. Ben Dinnery will update us on Friday.
Graziano Pelle - Pelle had gone a staggering 1245 minutes without a Premier League goal but finally broke the hoodoo against and it would be no surprise if he goes on a bit of run between now and the end of the season.
David Nugent - Jamie Vardy is the obvious Leicester striker choice if you're expecting the league's bottom side to continue their goal-scoring explosion, but I actually prefer an alternative for Week 33. Nugent costs almost £4million less than Vardy, is getting plenty of chances and is the club's designated penalty taker.
So those are the players I'm considering for my Week 33 Yahoo team. Please make sure you check back here on Friday for Ben Dinnery's wonderful team and injury news column where he'll run through all the important info ahead of Saturday's 2:00pm BST deadline.
My own team page currently looks like this ...
XI: Hart, Wollscheid, Cresswell, Kelly, Albrighton, Lennon, Mata, Hazard, Murray, Kane, Aguero
Subs: Okore, Upson, Sinclair, Schmeichel
It needs some work, but it's a decent starting point with 11 probably starters. The main problem is no bench cover for any outfielders but there is potential to free up funds by starting with Schmeichel in goal and downgrading Hart to a £1million bench keeper, or by downgrading Kane to Lukaku. Too risky? Possibly. Follow @nikarg and I'll tweet an updated line-up on Friday.
How's your Week 33 team looking?