The most chaotic Fantasy Premier League season in history is almost over!
I’m sure I’m not the only manager who is looking forward to the summer break to recharge the FPL batteries before doing it all over again next season.
With just three gameweeks to go, those who have chips remaining should look to deploy them in Gameweek 36 or Gameweek 37 (or both), with each gameweek being a double for a lot of clubs.
If you’ve got two Free Hit chips left, you can’t play them in back-to-back gameweeks, so the first one must be used this week and the second for Gameweek 38. The Athletic’s Holly Shand covered the Gameweek 36 Free Hit in her piece a few days ago.
If you’re not Free Hitting in Gameweek 36, it’s a great time to use your Triple Captain. Some of the best assets in the game have two fixtures… and something still to play for.
The three standout candidates are Liverpool’s Mohammed Salah (£13.3 million)Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne (£11.9 million) and Tottenham’s Son Heung-min (£11.0 million), who is chasing Salah down in the race for the Golden Boot. Salah has 22 goals for the season with Son on 19, but since Gameweek 26 closed it’s 10-3 in Son’s favour.
The Double Gameweek 36 fixtures for these three options are as follows:
Salah: Tottenham (home), Aston Villa (away)
De Bruyne: Newcastle United (home), Wolves (away)
They are: Liverpool (away), Arsenal (home)
All three are excellent options. Your individual goals will come into play here. For example, if you’re happy with your overall ranking and/or mini-league position, I think Salah is the safe play. If you’re looking to make up ground, De Bruyne and Son have much lower ownership than the Liverpool man.
I don’t own De Bruyne, but if I did, he would be getting the armband this week. City have the best fixtures and the Belgian was substituted after 72 minutes in their Champions League elimination by Real Madrid on Wednesday, which should see him now start both Gameweek 36 matches.
The optimal gameweek to play the Bench Boost chip will be determined by your current squad set-up. A website I’ve found very useful this season is fpl.team. It shows you what your team will look like in future gameweeks and will help you decide whether to Bench Boost in Gameweek 36 or 37.
Everton have back-to-back double gameweeks, which makes budget midfielder Anthony Gordon (£4.6 million) very attractive for the Bench Boost regardless of which gameweek you use it in. Everton tick the box of still having something to play for too. Even though I’ve already used the Bench Boost chip, Gordon could be joining my squad this week.
Another Bench Boost option at Everton is Jordan Pickford (£4.8 million). He recorded his biggest points haul of the season (10) thanks to a string of fantastic saves in their 1-0 home win over Chelsea in Gameweek 35, scooping all three bonus points.
Despite also having back-to-back doubles, I would steer clear of Leicester City as it’s too difficult to predict which of their players will get two successive starts in the league. Gordon is a much better pick than their slightly cheaper Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall (£4.4 million) and there are plenty of mid-priced midfielders who are more assured of minutes than James Madison (£6.9 million). At this stage of the season, avoid buying rotation-risk players.
Making up the trio of sides with two doubles in a row are Aston Villa.
When it comes to cheap options for a Bench Boost, Matthew Cash (£5.3 million) is the pick of their defensive assets. If he is too expensive, Lucas Digne (£5.0 million) could be a great differential for the run-in having returned to action earlier than expected last weekend following a collarbone injury. Emiliano Martinez (£5.5 million) has registered successive clean sheets, which brings the Villa goalkeeper into the frame as well for an end-of-season punt for Bench Boosters.
Villa’s Gameweek 37 double — Crystal Palace (home) and Burnley (home) — looks much better than their Gameweek 36 of Burnley (away) and Liverpool (home). Their midfielder Jacob Ramsey (£4.7 million) is fine for a Bench Boost if you already own him but Everton’s Gordon is the pick if you’re in the market for a bargain-basement midfielder.
The trickiest position for Bench Boosters is up front.
If Eddie Nketiah (£5.5 million) keeps his place as the first-choice Arsenal striker, and it looks like he will, he’s the best of the cheap forwards for Gameweek 36. Arsenal face Leeds United (home) then Tottenham (away).
Norwich’s Teemu Pukki (£6.1 million) has two games in Gameweek 36 as well, against West Ham United (home) and Leicester (away). Although Norwich became the first confirmed victims of relegation last weekend, Pukki is somehow the fifth highest-scoring forward in the game this season — which tells you all you need to know about FPL 2021-22’s forwards!
It is hard to make a case for Watford’s Emmanuel Dennis (£5.9 million)who has only scored one goal since Gameweek 26. I’d rather go for Ivan Toney (£6.9 million) of Brentford if budget permits, even though he doesn’t have any double gameweeks. When it gets to his sort of price, though, Ollie Watkins of Villa and Everton’s Richarlison (both £7.5 million) are worth the extra outlay.
Keep an eye on Richarlison’s disciplinary issues before buying him this week, as he could be facing a ban.
Best of luck for Gameweek 36, folks — especially if you are playing a chip!
You can also follow Mark on Twitter @FPL General or at patreon.com/fplgeneral
(Photo: Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images)