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Weekly Picks

Fuzzy Logic: Week 36 Rankings

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

Caution: Playing fantasy Premier League at this stage of the season can be Hazard-ous to your health.

 

With the season winding down, despite having a gameweek where eight clubs did not play, we got a clear glimpse of how the landscape can change at this stage for fantasy football managers. In the final weeks, new players tend to emerge that normally are left out of the conversation. Last season, Connor Wickham fit that description to a tee, transforming from a fantasy afterthought to an essential commodity as he went on a goal frenzy to help Sunderland stave off relegation. In Week 35, we saw what might be this season's version in Kelechi Iheanacho. Another young prospect got a rare chance to start in Jeffrey Schlupp and a couple of established stars showed the class and form that used to be so dependable in Cesc Fabregas and, yes, Eden Hazard. Just because names like Ross Barkley and Odion Ighalo continue to hover near the top scorers for the season at their postion does not mean that they are attractive players to own right now.

 

We are also beginning to see what the effects are of clubs who have motivation to achieve and clubs who do not. After spending much of the season watching Newcastle United and Sunderland come up on the losing end of their matches, they are now fighting for their lives and it is apparent, as both were able to grind out draws against strong opponents last weekend. Meanwhile, clubs like Stoke City, Swansea City and AFC Bournemouth continue to sputter toward the finish line with little left to play for and it showed as those three clubs were beaten over the weekend by a combined score of 12-1. One cannot underestimate the impact these situations have on fantasy football and managers should react accordingly when planning their transfers or selecting who to start or who to bench.

 

This week, we also learned who the Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year are, and it is hard to argue with either selection. Riyad Mahrez was a world-class player this season, leading Leicester City to what is an all-but-official league title. He has amassed seventeen league goals and eleven league assists in this campaign, outperforming Eden Hazard in each department from the previous season, Hazard having won the same award. What is amazing is how Mahrez cost less than half the price of Hazard when the season started. At 5.5m, he was the same price as Jack Colback. Think about that for a second, but be careful because it is liable to make your head spin. Speaking of bargain midfielders, Dele Alli exceeded even the loftiest of expectations with his first season in the top flight, guiding Tottenham to a likely 2nd place finish in the table and of the club's most impressive seasons in recent memory. Double digit goals and assists is outstanding considering he wasn't a starter in the first month of the season and will likely be on the sidelines for the final three games. He was still a teenager a couple of weeks ago. In the FPL game to date, Mahrez and Alli have combined for exactly 400 points, with the pair costing a total of 10.5m at the start of the season. By comparison, Wayne Rooney alone cost that much back in August and he has yet to hit the 100 point mark. While the storyline of this season in reality will deservedly be the success of Leicester City, when folks look back on it in fantasy terms years down the road, it will be the tale of the bargain player crushing the established stars.

 

Next week is the all-important final double gameweek of the season, so managers should be looking for transfers this week with that in mind. They should also consider the state of mind of the clubs as we enter the final stages - more on that below. First, let us take a look at the ten matches on tap this weekend... 

 

 

 

 

Week 36 Fixtures


Everton v AFC Bournemouth

Newcastle United v Crystal Palace

Stoke City v Sunderland

Watford v Aston Villa

West Bromwich Albion v West Ham United

Arsenal v Norwich City

Swansea City v Liverpool

Manchester United v Leicester City

Southampton v Manchester City

Chelsea v Tottenham


 

So let's examine the state of affairs for these clubs and see who is still checking in and who has checked out. It is not, by any means, an exact science that will guarantee direct results for you in fantasy with every pick you make, but it should provide a solid guideline when weighing all decisions across the board. I see two matches where both sides have checked out - Everton v Bournemouth to start the weekend, and Watford v Aston Villa. I see goals from both sides in the first of these and a potential 0-0 in the second. Matches where both sides are still checking in - Manchester United v Leicester, surely. One is aiming for top 4, the other aiming for the title. Arsenal v Norwich - Arsenal should win easily here, attempting to finish above City and keep their distance from United, but Norwich are fighting relegation and will give all they have, which shouldn't be enough. Chelsea v Tottenaham - yes, the Blues are too little, too late when it comes to table status, but this is a derby between rivals, there doesn't have to be anything on the line other than pride in this one for both sides to give maximum effort. To a lesser extent, Southampton v Man City - teams above them need to start dropping points, but the Saints are still within a sniff of Europa League and are finishing the season in good form while City are looking to stay above Arsenal and will want to win to build confidence heading into the 2nd leg of their Champions League clash with Real Madrid.

 

So that leaves the one-sided affairs. The matches with only one club playing all out. This is where fantasy production should be mined for your squad. Newcastle, Sunderland, West Ham and, too a lesser extent, Liverpool. The two northern England sides look in good shape to pick up points this weekend against clubs that have checked out for a while. West Ham should keep up their level of play at the Hawthorns, but mind we have already seen the Baggies play spoilers. Jurgen Klopp is the reason Liverpool will play their best. Yes, Europa League is the priority and perhaps this evening's result could make the situation a bit more clear, but one thing is definitely clear already, Swansea has completely checked out.

 

 

Follow the RotoWorld_PL team on Twitter: Galin | Jeremy | Neal | Nik | Steve | Ben | Rob | Matt | Andrew

 

 

What follows are my top picks at each position. It doesn't matter what format you play, these rankings will help you figure out how players at each position compare with one another, and can help you on transfer decisions in the FPL.com game, who to start or bench in draft leagues, and who is worth putting up the cash for in salary-based leagues. You will also see how I have begun to highlight prospects that are especially valuable in formats like Playtogga, Fantrax and DFS, so that they are given the credit they deserve. At the end of the day though, nothing gets the points flowing more than goals, assists and clean sheets. Keep in mind that extra weight has been given to Everton and Crystal Palace players because of their double gameweek. If you play in a league that only the originally scheduled fixture, then you need to drop them considerably farther down the rankings. So without further ado, let's get cracking...

 

 

GOALKEEPERS

 

1) Petr Cech

2) Heurelho Gomes 

3) Karl Darlow 

4) Vito Mannone - read more about him in this week's Bargain Hunter.

5) Kasper Schmeichel 

6) Adrian

7) David de Gea

8) Joe Hart

DEFENDERS


1) Hector Bellerin 

2) Laurent Koscielny

3) Patrick van Aanholt

4) Aaron Cresswell 

5) Nacho Monreal

6) Pablo Zabaleta 

7) Aleksandar Kolarov

8) Christian Fuchs 

9) Scott Dann 

10) Toby Alderweireld

11) Jamaal Lascelles

12) Chris Smalling

13) Jan Kirchhoff

14) Danny Rose

15) Sebastian Prodl

16) Branislav Ivanovic

17) Charlie Daniels

18) Matteo Darmian

19) Alberto Moreno

20) Cesar Azpilicueta

 

 

 

MIDFIELDERS

 

1) Alexis Sanchez 

2) Dimitri Payet 

3) Kevin de Bruyne 

4) Mesut Ozil 

5) Eden Hazard 

6) Riyad Mahrez  

7) Roberto Firmino 

8) Andros Townsend 

9) Christian Eriksen 

10) James Milner

11) Pedro

12) Cesc Fabregas

13) Georginio Wijnaldum

14) Philippe Coutinho

15) Wahbi Khazri

16) Gylfi Sigurdsson

17) Michail Antonio

18) Erik Lamela

19) Ross Barkley

20) Dusan Tadic

21) Josh King

22) Aaron Ramsey

 

Follow the RotoWorld_PL team on Twitter: Galin | Jeremy | Neal | Nik | Steve | Ben | Rob | Matt | Andrew

 

 

 

FORWARDS

 

1) Sergio Aguero 

2) Harry Kane 

3) Daniel Sturridge 

4) Jermain Defoe 

5) Andy Carroll - read more about him in this week's Bargain Hunter.

6) Kelechi Iheanacho

7) Romelu Lukaku 

8) Diego Costa 

9) Odion Ighalo 

10) Marcus Rashford

11) Fabio Borini

12) Troy Deeney

13) Anthony Martial

14) Danny Welbeck 

 

 

 
So there you have it. The best of the best to consider for Week 36. Keep in mind that Liverpool still have a Europa League match tonight to get out of the way, so there could be injuries or playing time to assess with Reds prospects heading into the weekend. I have Coutinho ranked lower than usual because I fear he is the most susceptible to a bench role against the Swans. Other players worth considering provided there is positive news on their fitness include Yaya Toure and Leo Ulloa. You can keep track on everyone's status as we report on all the news coming out of the press conferences ahead of Week 36 here at Rotoworld.
 
 
 
Good luck this week fellow managers, and may your arrows be green.

 

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.