Three weeks left; that’s all we get. It’s May on Sunday, and if you’re like me that’s not necessarily a good thing since that means one of the greatest stories that anyone has ever witnessed in sports is coming to an end.
Not to mention the fantasy season, and if you’re like me you definitely want more time to make a run at the title. But at least this week we can get back to normal with no FA Cup obligations to kill any momentum we had from the double gameweek in Week 34.
I find it hilarious, in a self-deprecating sort of way, that I recommended adding Mamadou Sakho to your team on the very weekend that he fails a drug test. There was probably a better chance of Leicester winning the title at the beginning of the season than that. But speaking of Leicester, I made up for it by suggesting Leonardo Ulloa, who scored two goals in Jamie Vardy’s stead.
Without much more delay, here are the bargains for Week 36. I’m welcoming all suggestions and debates on Twitter (@gastelumEPL) and hopefully I can include your thoughts here in my column. Here’s a quick run-down of the different types of buys I refer to in this piece:
One Week Buys (OWB) - When a regular is suspended for a match, ineligible to face his parent club as a loanee, or his fill-in looks to deputize for only a week while the regular nurses a minor injury, this is where to find some replacements. They should only be looked at when you really need help at a position that week alone, and not looked at as long term plays. Best for salary cap leagues with unlimited transactions.
Short-term Buys (STB) - When a regular faces a multi-game suspension, an injury layoff lasting 2-5 weeks, international commitment, etc., this is where you look for players that can offer more beyond one week but do have a limited shelf life in most cases. Worth using a waiver claim or spending a bit more of your free agent budget than the One Week Buys. Can be useful in Fantasy Premier League (FPL.com) format as long as you are comfortable with possibly needing to transfer them out in a few weeks.
Long-term Buys (LTB) - When a regular is either facing a month or more out or has lost his spot seemingly to someone better, these are the players that emerge as potential long-term investments and are therefore the most valuable of the group and worth paying up. Great for any format, but especially valuable in the FPL.com game.
GK – Vito Mannone (Sunderland)
Have you seen the numbers this guy has put up in the past few weeks, let alone April as a whole. The Italian goalkeeper has recorded three clean sheets in four April starts and is on back-to-back shutouts at the moment. The most surprising of all came this past weekend when Sunderland somehow held Arsenal scoreless as Mannone picked up six saves as Man of the Match. In FPL.com, Mannone has 21 points in the last two weeks combined (only the penalty-saving monster that is Heurelho Gomes has more). I would consider a long-term buy as Mannone is the best bargain keeper you can find at the moment, valued at £4.3 in FPL.com and taken in just 17.9 percent of Fantrax leagues. With a double gameweek next week and with four games remaining (all against teams outside of the top eight), Mannone looks like a steal.
DEF – Kolo Toure (Liverpool)
Alright, so I really messed up by offering up Mamdou Sakho last week, but there’s no way I could have known he would hear this news hours before he was set to take the field. Since Sakho will not play until the case is resolved (he has until today to respond to the charge, before a suspension or second test), I’m suggesting another Liverpool player who has dealt with a drug ban. Jurgen Klopp has already said that Toure will get more playing time, just like he did against Liverpool, with Sakho out. With Liverpool in the Europa League this week, I expect Klopp to go with a watered-down lineup, likely giving Toure another start. Even with a weakened side, I still like the club’s chances at a clean sheet against Swansea City, who have been outscored 7-0 in the last two games. Consider Toure a short-term buy at best, but his value really lies in daily fantasy this week.
DEF – DeAndre Yedlin (Sunderland)
It makes me so happy to include Yedlin in my bargain picks, mostly because it means an American outfield player is actually doing very well for himself in the Premier League (cue: memories of Clint Dempsey at Fulham). Yedlin has played the full 90 minutes in each of the past nine Premier League matches and has recorded three clean sheets in the past four matches against West Brom, Norwich and Arsenal. And with Stoke City, Chelsea, Everton and Watford up next, I think there is a good chance of a few more clean sheets. Yedlin is only available for £4.4 in FPL.com, but I think he would make a better pickup in draft leagues as Fantrax said he is available in more than 90 percent of its leagues. Who knows, maybe he’ll throw in an assist here and there.
MID – Yannick Bolasie (Crystal Palace)
Bolasie didn’t play in the club’s last Premier League game, a midweek loss to Manchester United, as he was nursing a minor injury in order to be ready for the FA Cup semifinal. And that is where he showed his true form, scoring a goal against Watford to help the Eagles move on to the FA Cup final against United. In fact, Bolasie has now scored in his last two appearances—he scored a great goal against Arsenal two weekends ago that stole a point at the Emirates. Now that he’s back in form, I like what Bolasie has to offer, especially in FPL.com where he is valued at £6.0. If he’s available in your draft league, it’s a no-brainer to pick him up, but that’s unlikely. But with Newcastle, Stoke and Southampton left to go, I think there will be plenty of points coming from this winger.
FWD – Andy Carroll (West Ham)
I can’t believe I’m actually recommending Andy Carroll in fantasy Premier League, but guy completely earned it. Carroll has been on an absolute tear this month with five goals in the last three matches (remember that hat-trick against Arsenal?). Only Sergio Aguero has more goals (seven!?!) in April than Carroll, but Aguero can’t touch Carroll’s goals per minute ratio of one goal every 50 minutes this month. It’s not even a question of who is the biggest bargain available right now, £6.4 in FPL.com and available in 37 percent of Fantrax leagues. Go with the man-bun/cornrows/Riff-Raff look.