Gameweek 31: Fantasy Preview
This is the biggest week of the fantasy season with 15 games involving double game weeks for ten teams. Transfers should be used to load your starting XI with players who have two games, although GW34 has eleven matches and GW37 13 games. The big question in double game weeks will be player rotation.
There is one game to check announced lineups: the Chelsea-Arsenal match.
Saturday, March 22 Chelsea (20-6-4) vs. Arsenal (19-5-5) Chelsea won easily in Champions League. The Blues' only game in week 31 has them coming off a wretched Premier League performance at Aston Villa. Willian and Ramires are suspended. I suggest transferring Eden Hazard and Branislav Ivanovic for double game players. Arsenal play twice and offer fantasy potential in Olivier Giroud, Santi Cazorla, and solid defenders like Per Mertesacker, Laurent Koscielny, and goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny. The Gunners have had two goals in three games from Tomas Rosicky.
Cardiff (6-7-17) vs. Liverpool (19-5-5) Sad-sack Cardiff play one game for the week and will be cannon fodder for the Reds. I urge having three Liverpool players in this match and for the rest of the season. Steven Gerrard has three penalty goals in two games and Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge are on fire.
Everton (14-9-5) vs. Swansea (7-8-14) Both teams have double game weeks and offer good fantasy point potential including Tim Howard, Romelu Lukaku, Leighton Baines, and Seamus Coleman for Everton. Swansea brought Michu back for the first time against WBA after a three-month injury layoff. Wilfried Bony is a good pick for two games.
Hull (8-6-15) vs. WBA (5-13-11) The Tigers play twice and offer fantasy value in Shane Long, Nikica Jelavic, and Curtis Davies. A big factor is two games against mediocre teams. The Baggies only play once so none of their players are recommended.
Manchester City (19-3-5) vs. Fulham (7-3-20) Manchester City play twice and this match has cricket score potential. David Silva was tremendous against Hull and Edin Dzeko finally scored. Sergio Aguero is a fragile risk but Yaya Toure offers great fantasy potential, especially in City's second game against Manchester United. Joe Hart is in good form.
Newcastle (13-4-12) vs. Crystal Palace (8-4-17) Newcastle play twice, but Loic Remy is out injured. That leaves little value for the two games. Crystal Palace only have one game, so no players are recommended.
Norwich (7-8-15) vs. Sunderland (6-7-14) The Canaries only play once, so no players are recommended. The Black Cats go at it twice. Vito Mannone is solid in goal, but Adam Johnson has gone three straight games without a score.
West Ham (8-7-14) vs. Manchester United (14-6-9) The Hammers play twice with Andy Carroll scoring for the first time in 2014. Kevin Nolan is a good player for two games and Adrian is a fine choice in goal. Manchester United are recharged after Wednesday's Champions League thumping of Olympiakos. They have a double week following a terrible performance against Liverpool. Robin van Persie went from looking out-of-sorts to a hat trick Wednesday, but after being stretchered off he is an injury doubt. Wayne Rooney is a tireless presence. Juan Mata's playmaker engine is sputtering.
Sunday, March 23 Tottenham (16-5-9) vs. Southampton (12-9-9) Tottenham came close in Thursday's Europa League action against Porto. Nader Chadli had a brace for the low-scoring Spurs. Emmanuel Adebayor is an injury doubt but Tottenham only play once, so no players are recommended and the same goes for the Saints.
Aston Villa (9-7-13) vs. Stoke (8-10-12) Aston Villa will be "stoked" after their home result over Chelsea, but they only play once as will Stoke, so no players are recommended.
Tuesday, March 25 Manchester United vs. Manchester City Game two for both teams and one of the marquee matches of the season. You never know if this match will be a high-scoring affair or if goals will be in short supply. I think you'll see five goals between the two teams.
Arsenal vs. Swansea Game two for both teams and a home game with high scoring potential.
Newcastle vs. Everton Game two for both teams and a likely Everton clean sheet.
Wednesday, March 26 West Ham vs. Hull Game two for both teams.
Liverpool vs. Sunderland Game two for both teams and a possible goal fest for the Reds' scoring machine.
Recommended fantasy captains: Luis Suarez, Daniel Sturridge, Steven Gerrard, Wayne Rooney, Oliver Giroud, Wilfried Bony, Yaya Toure, or David Silva.