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Weekly Picks

The Bargain Hunter - Week 34

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

Fill my eyes - with that double vision...
No disguise - for that double vision...

What? We have a massive double gameweek ahead of us and I am the only one tappin' his toes to some Foreigner?

Yes, Steve, you are. It would have been embarrassing enough to publicly declare that you were doing so in 1982. And everyone knows the only band from that era you can admit to liking in 2015 is Journey. Never mention Foreigner again. Put away the 8-track player.

Duly noted.

So before we look ahead, a quick recap of the results of Week 33: Howard (12 pts), Mangala (11 points), Albrighton (6 points) and Walters (3 points).

Overall, a solid week, with the Walters score the only disappointment. I still back the decision though. I had a feeling Stoke were going to get a couple of goals on a Southampton side that rarely concede more than one. It just so happened that Walters didn't play a part in either.


Tim Howard is back in my good graces then, and though City defenders have been disappointing for much of the season, I watched what I thought was Eliaquim Mangala's best shift in a Sky Blue shirt. Leicester were in the goals again, and though Marc Albrighton didn't have a goal or an assist, he returned a point per pound spent, which to me is a success.


Right, so here we are. Week 34. Double gameweek for four clubs: Chelsea, Liverpool, Leicester City and Hull City. After neglecting to add Charlie Austin to my Yahoo XI in our last double gameweek, I have understandably kneejerked in the opposite direction, filling up as many double gameweekers as I can. At the moment, I am sitting on nine. So in a perfect world, I would have 11 men playing a total of twenty matches in this gameweek, and I am hoping to break 200 points.  Let's take a look at part of the way I plan to get there:





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Julian Speroni (Crystal Palace) There is only one keeper in bargain range with a double this week, and I cannot in good faith recommend him as the top option. That being said, Alan McGregor is currently in my Week 34 XI, as I struggle to decide who to downgrade elsewhere. I cannot see McGregor doing more than something in the range of 0-6 points, with a solid chance of a negative return. That said, for 1.42m, all you need is a few points to get a solid return on investment. It becomes a matter of what you feel you will get back from the money you save by going McGregor and how it is spent elsewhere. A safer play would seem to be Speroni at 4.37m. In spite of their home loss last weekend to West Brom, one would imagine the Eagles should outright beat Hull City, and based on how poor the Tigers' attack has been lately, a win plus clean sheet looks a realistic wish. I suppose the problem I have in committing is that I am paying three times the price for a keeper playing half the games vs the McGregor option. The truth is, I am waiting on clarity regarding the Chelsea striker position before the deadline. There is more on that below, but come Friday, I assume I will be going Speroni and leaving my double gameweek greed for the remaining 10 positions in my XI.


Other Option for Goalkeeper 

Alan McGregor (1.42m, away to Crystal Palace, home to Liverpool)   RISKY PLAY






Alberto Moreno (Liverpool) Liverpool's two fixtures in this gameweek are on the road, as are Chelsea's, so we may be in for a week where none of the clubs playing twice pull off two clean sheets. Still, if one club can do it, it would seem the Reds have the best chance. One match is at the Hawthorns, and while the Baggies have been scoring goals of late, the Tony Pulis philosophy is still intact, so a tight affair where goals may be hard to come by is a reasonable expectation. The tastier matchup is with Hull City, who have been struggling in attack during their gradual descent toward the relegation zone. By the time the Hull v Pool match kicks off, the Tigers may already be on the wrong side of the zone. Alberto Moreno, 7.51m, has been a bit of a regular in The Bargain Hunter lately, and he is one of the first names I scrolled through to find to add to my Week 34 team. Martin Skrtel is a fine play if you have the cash, but Moreno has been as good a value for 2.5m less. Gary Cahill makes the list as an option below in spite of costing .7m more than what I would consider a bargain in a typical week. In a double gameweek though, he has to be mentioned here. And is also in my current XI.


Other Options for Defense 

Gary Cahill (8.69m, away to Arsenal, away to Leicester)    James Chester (6.55m, away to Palace, home to Liverpool)




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Nemanja Matic (Chelsea) Of the midfield bargains that are playing a double this week, although there is very little glitz in the selection, I have to nominate Matic as the top option in terms of value and what I perceive to be guaranteed pitch time. Matic is an absolute engine, so fatigue during the busy schedule does not worry me. While the Blues have some more attacking minded midfield options that are priced under 10m, specifically Oscar, their chances of starting both are much less likely. This is because Cesc Fabregas has recently moved into a more attacking position, with Ramires partnering Matic behind the Spaniard. I would have loved to back Steven Gerrard here, and he may prove to be the one I should have touted, but I worry that he will only start one of two for the Reds. If you feel Gerrard will start both or do enough damage with one, I cannot fault rolling the dice on him. He looks enticing at 8.38m. The trio I have nominated in this section though, while not nearly as prolific in fantasy as Stevie G, are all very likely to start both and cost 3m less. Matic depends on dirty work for his points and if he can somehow dodge a yellow card or two, should be a safe bet for 8-10 points. Again, nothing spectacular there, but it is productive. And there is always a chance he could do something special to double that projection. He goes for 5.58m.


Other Options for Midfield 


Emre Can  (5.03m, away to WBA, away to Hull)    Jake Livermore (5.35m, away to Palace, home to Liverpool)






Dame N'Doye (Hull City) This is supposed to be the week where everyone locked in Diego Costa and Daniel Sturridge at the forward spot. Surely, with four games between them, they could have done enough damage to eclipse 100 fantasy points. It wasn't meant to be though, and the status of who is going to be playing up top for both clubs for Week 34 is still unclear. Sturridge may well start the weekend, but because of his injury issues and seeing him have a recent setback makes me think Brendan Rodgers will not play him in both, regardless of how good Sturridge says he feels. One cannot turn to Mario Balotelli and I hope no explanation is needed (cue hat trick). With Chelsea, similar problem. We know for sure Costa is out of the conversation. But then there is Loic Remy and Didier Drogba. Both have question marks as to their status as of this writing. My XI, for now, has reserved enough cash to accomodate Remy should I have reason to feel confident at the deadline, and that could easily become Drogba if his ankle issue is behind him. Until then, the space belongs to N'Doye, who currently checks in at 6.18m. I have little to offer in terms of praise for N'Doye's recent performance, and the Tigers in general have not been sharp, but I am sure they are reminded every day this week as they look at the table that they are level with Leicester on points and they need to start getting results. That motivation makes me think that, given two matches, N'Doye is going to find paydirt. While he hasn't been scoring lately, he has been taking his shots. He's been among the league leaders in shots over the four gameweek stretch before last week's scheduled blank. More than anything though, unlike Liverpool, Chelsea and Leicester, he is a forward who is nailed on for both games. One last thing about the Chelsea situation: Drogba is still one to consider as long as he stands to play some part in the gameweek. Even if he starts just one, you are getting him at a price of under 2m.


Other Option for Forward 


Leonardo Ulloa (7.51m, away to Burnley, home to Chelsea) 

MONITOR: Loic Remy, Didier Drogba





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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.