And then, there was one.
The final gameweek of the season is upon us. Time to take one more pass through the league and decide upon who your final transfer will be. But, before we can tackle that objective, let us take a look back at the penultimate week of the season, double gameweek 37, as I attempt to share my own experience without having a nervous breakdown.
How to put a positive spin on this? Well, they say there is a first time for everything and Week 37 was the first double gameweek I can recall in all my years of plying FPL where I did not end on a green arrow. You know, when you set up an XI that comprises ten double gameweek players and Mo Salah, PLUS you unleash the triple captain chip, you don't even imagine a scenario of whether it will be a green arrow week or a red arrow week, you simply daydream about how far a climb up the ranks this round will take you. But, for the most part, everything went wrong. Of the ten players with two fixtures in my XI, half of them only started once. Of the remaining five, four did the business. Jan Vertonghen led the way with 15 points, followed by expected returns from David de Gea, Marko Arnautovic, and Harry Kane. That leaves one player unspoken for.
I am calling you out, Gabriel Jesus!
Yes, like many of you out there, I was on the Jesus train heading into the last round. Not only was he an attractive double gameweek option, I had him labeled as essential. All of the stars were aligned. Playing time did not have to be an issue. Jesus was guaranteed to start twice. Fixtures were not an issue. Both matches were at home and both against sides that were promoted this year. Team form was not an issue. With the title already in the bag, City showed back in Week 36 that they were interested in breaking records and were scoring for fun. It really was a can't-miss scenario. That said, when the gameweek began with Manchester United losing to Brighton, I had a pretty good feeling things were not going to go well. I had just said last week that Brighton would not even be considered for double gameweek investment and they were already on a clean sheet before Saturday.
But hey, plenty of you out there had a much better time of things. Just to give an idea of how you can get things right in unexpected fashion, take a look at the XI of the round's top scorer. The top score was 180 points with a team that had Jack Cork starting. Meanwhile, the manager's bench scored 38 points. All those points locked out and he still manages to pull off the best week, moving up ONE MILLION spots in the ranks. I lift my cup to you, Selby Forest. My season may be ending in forgettable fashion but you serve as a positive reminder that dreams can come true, even with Jack Cork in your XI.
Right, it has been a topsy-turvy season and we will barely have time to catch our breath before the World Cup kicks off and then we are immediately gearing up for the next campaign. There is still one more chance to improve your position with Week 38, so make your final pick a good one. Unless you have a defensive crisis at keeper or in defense, I think your best chance to make one final splash is with an attacking player, but I will give a look at all the positions.
Last call for FPL 2017/2018. Let's take a look at Week 38...
As has been my motto all season and for years running, you should not be spending your transfers at this position unless it is absolutely necessary or you consider every other spot in your squad to be perfect. Scanning the starters around the league, as of this writing, the only managers who would need to address this position are owners of Thibaut Courtois. He missed the midweek match with Huddersfield, dealing with a nagging back problem. He is considered probable for the final match, so you could be safe. If your second keeper is a current starter, just keep Courtois in and allow the substitute to do his job if need be. So not only is this position only a concern for Courtois owners, it is only a concern for Courtois owners without a second keeper who starts. If that is you, then flip him for Petr Cech. One other possible concern is for Nick Pope owners. I have not read anything confirming Tom Heaton gets a start this weekend but it just makes sense for me that he does. He has worked his way back from a long injury layoff, so it would be a noble gesture to the club captain.
This is a pretty clear choice for those that need to address this position. With goals in consecutive matches, Patrick van Aanholt has once again emerged as a major attacking threat that can be had for a reasonable price of 5.2m. He is tops in the form chart among defenders. Then consider Palace are at home against basement-dwelling West Brom, and you have a legit chance to get returns on both sides of the ball. If you want super-cheap, Kevin Long is the best option with Burnley at home to Bournemouth. Marcos Alonso is still the main attraction among the premium options. If I were caught not having enough for him, I would also give Virgil van Dijk a thought as I feel Liverpool have a good shot at a clean sheet and he is the safest Red regarding rotation risk.
When I had my Week 37 side officially locked in, the first thing I did was look ahead to Week 38 so that I could determine who my final transfer in would be. It did not take long for me to come to the conclusion that Wilfried Zaha ticked all of my boxes. Here you have a midfielder who is really a forward these days and he is in form. As stated above, Palace have the best possible fixture, at home to a side already relegated. His 7m price is nice too, because you can swap out a mid-priced option, rather than risking letting go of a premium option that goes on to burn you. The same could be said about Marko Arnautovic. He is also a forward these days, has been pretty consistent in providing returns and West Ham are hosting Everton, so I am expecting a goal or two from the Hammers. If you went without Raheem Sterling in Week 37, perhaps you can get the best of both worlds by buying him now. He was given a full rest in City's midweek game, so I expect him to start and have a good chance to produce. Liverpool have not scored in two straight league games, which means they are either in a rut or will come out like gangbusters on the final matchday against Brighton. Mo Salah is still looking for that historic goal, so I expect a start. If his price is too steep, I am cool with a punt on Sadio Mane here.
Shocker, I am going to tout Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang here. Not having him last week really hurt. While it could be looked at as "chasing points" by bringing him in now, I still think it is a sensible move. The form is clearly there and Huddersdfield, while no pushovers, are capable of getting blown out. Of course, Harry Kane needs to be in the conversation. I expect Tottenham to wrap up their season at home with some goals and a brace from Kane feels inevitable. If you need someone below the 10m mark, then I would go back to Liverpool for attacking options and bring in Roberto Firmino. Finally, Jordan Ayew serves as the budget option of the position. He has gone without a goal in the last four and Swansea are probably resigned to the fact that they have been relegated thought they are mathematically still alive. Still, I expect a good showing in front of the home crowd against last place Stoke.
TOP CAPTAIN CHOICES
1) Mo Salah
2) Harry Kane
3) Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
That's it from me this week folks. Please, bear in mind much can change between the publishing of this column and the FPL deadline on Sunday. Remember, some injuries are not revealed until just before the deadline. Always try to refrain from executing your transfers for as long as possible to avoid wasting it on a player who turns out to have had a problem in training. That said, if you only have just enough money for the player you are looking to bring in and that player is at risk of rising in price, then sometimes you need to take a calculated risk and hope the fantasy gods will be kind to you.
Good luck, and may your arrows be green.