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Weekly Picks

The Bargain Hunter - Week 33

by Steve Rothgeb
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

It's déjà vu all over again.

Much to your delight and much to my dismay, Week 32 played out quite similar to Week 31. I backed some really nice Bargain Hunter picks for the readers and shot myself in the foot with my own squad. You see, this is the time of the season in my opinion to take a calculated risk or two on a low ownership player in an effort to make any headway in the rankings. As a season wears on in fantasy PL, teams begin to look more and more similar as player's reputations are established and everyone is making room for the "must have" elite. To own a player like Eden Hazard at this stage isn't really for the purpose of gaining ground on the rivals ahead of you, it is merely to keep pace. 


So I made a choice, both for my Yahoo XI and my FPL XI, to take a chance on a player who I thought may make some headlines: Daniel Sturridge.


The move looked good to me on paper - Sturridge started in the FA Cup midweek, his fantasy matchup was a home game versus Newcastle United, he cost a mere 10m. Sure there were the negative points - he was coming back from injury and his minutes were not guaranteed. I ignored the negatives.  My gut told me Brendan Rodgers would use him. My gut stinks. 


I was a victim of getting too far ahead of myself. Sure, the concept of moving away from a template XI and taking a chance on players with low ownership is still a valid one to me, but lesson learned, whoever the player is to take a chance on - make sure that player has zero fitness issues.


I pass this lesson on to you as an example of "Do as I say, not as I do." For if you followed my advice last week, you should have fared well. Kelvin Davis scored 16 points, Alberto Moreno 11, Jack Cork 4 and Graziano Pelle 11. An average of over 10 points per pick. Outstanding.


So with my lesson learned, it is time to apply it to Week 33. Remember managers, SIX clubs have a blank - Arsenal, Aston Villa, Hull City, Liverpool, QPR and Sunderland will NOT help you this week. Keeping that in mind, the Bargain choices are limited. Still, there are always a few to consider at every position. Let's take a look:






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Tim Howard (Everton) Some weeks, I have a difficult time choosing between two options at a particular position, but this week, even with six clubs off, I am having difficulty picking one of three budget keepers. The one who did not make the short list, Julian Speroni, was omitted because Palace have kept only one clean sheet since Boxing Day. Joe Hart, who's price is as low as it has been all season comes in second, because even though it is a top four side at home against a West Ham side with injury issues at the forward position, City's defense has been unreliable to say the least. Instead, I have settled on Howard. While Everton have been touch and go in defense, they have kept it clean at home for the past two. Meanwhile, their opponent, Burnley, while having plenty of motivation have hit a goal drought, having not scored for three straight. Danny Ings, who was all the rage in the first half of the season, has stumbled in recent months and the Clarets don't have a plethora of weapons to lean on when Ings is struggling. We have been down this road before Tim, and you have been a horrible fantasy pick for the vast majority of the season. For 4.17m, it's time to put the past behind.


Other Option for Goalkeeper 

Joe Hart (5.17m, home to West Ham United)   






Eliaquim Mangala/Martin Demichelis (Manchester City) As much of a headache as narrowing down my keeper picks to feature just one, I am having even more trouble uncovering a bargain defender this week that I actually feel strong about. It just so happens that many of the defenders who are seeing regular pitch time and costing below 7m are among the clubs that have the week off and the ones that remain do not have great matchups or are a bit of a risk for pitch time. I'd love to back Martin Kelly here. But with the stigma of my Sturridge pick last week and seeing Kelly's minutes lately, I cannot in good faith back him here. The chances are better than 50/50 that he starts in my view, but that is not good enough. If more info comes to light before the deadline, such as Papa Souare being ruled out as he is dealing with a knock, then go for Kelly, who just squeezes into bargain territory at 6.79m. Otherwise, temper expectations this week. Hopefully you have held a budget defender or two over the course of the season like a Ryan Bertrand and you won't need to pick from a pretty weak field for Gameweek 33. If not, my best bet is on Mangala. Yes, City's defense is a major reason they are sputtering toward the finish line, but at home to the Hammers, who have an injury crisis at forward, is enough to give him a shot at a clean sheet in a week where the options are very few. He runs 6.87m. If word comes out that Vincent Kompany will not play, then an even cheaper route to the City defense, Demichelis, can be had for just 5.94m.


Other Options for Defense 

Kyle Bartley (5.32m, away to Leicester)      Philipp Wollscheid (2.82m, home to Southampton)




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Marc Albrighton (Leicester City) The Foxes are scoring goals right now, notching eight over the course of their last three matches. In that span of time, Albrighton has emerged as a prospect. He didn't score or assist in the win over West Brom last weekend but still managed to put up a double digit score, and that is with a yellow card thrown in the mix. He offers plenty of pace on the outside and can whip out a goal from time time. He should be matched up against one of Angel Rangel or Kyle Bartley, both of whom have been riding the bench for the majority of 2015 so perhaps Albrighton can exploit any potential rust from the Swans' full backs. He has a bit of everything in his locker for fantasy points. He can deliver a cross or win corners when racing down the flank. I expect plenty of pressure in the final third for the Foxes as they have been doing in recent weeks. For 6.53m, he has upside for another double digit performance and can allow for that extra budget to go toward the heavy hitters in midfield. I think Lennon is a fine choice as well, but I prefer the discount on Albrighton and feel the Foxes are more goal-hungry than the Toffees.


Other Options for Midfield 


Aaron Lennon (7.62m, home to Burnley)    Nacer Chadli (6.95m, away to Newcastle United)






Jon Walters (Stoke City) There isn't much sexy about backing Walters, but there is always a chance for a nice haul. There are only a handful of players who have a hat trick on their resume this season, and he is one of them. There aren't many attractive options below 10m at the forward position as of this writing, but part of that is due to having to draw conclusions by Wednesday. Both Loic Remy and Romelu Lukaku have yet to be announced fit to play this weekend. If either are ruled out, I like their replacements better than Walters - Drogba at 2.74m and Kone, who may start regardless, at 2.19m. Neither did anything last week to make their inclusion a slam dunk, but look at those prices! If neither look a guarantee though, I would settle for Walters, hope that he can get you a pound per point on your return if he doesn't score or assist (5 or 6 points) or thank the fantasy gods if he does more. Even though their opponents, Southampton, are a solid defensive side, the Potters have shown a consistent ability to break through at least once, having gone without a goal just once in their previous eleven league contests. If he cost any more than his 5.77m, I would likely look elsewhere, but there isn't a forward in the game who has more points on the season and costs less. There is value there.



Other Option for Forward 


Leonardo Ulloa (5.17m, home to Swansea City)





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Steve Rothgeb
Steve Rothgeb is a contributor for Rotoworld.com and WorldSoccerTalk.com, a self-proclaimed fantasy sports oracle, and Tottenham Hotspur fanatic. He can be found on Twitter @FuzzyWarbles.