FPL Bargain Bin: Gameweek 34 Value Picks

FPL Bargain Bin: Gameweek 34 Value Picks

This article is part of our FPL Bargain Bin series.

The final weekend in April can only mean one thing; the Premier League finale is quickly approaching. With five gameweeks remaining this season, the final push for your fantasy team begins now. There are six teams that have an extra matches remaining on their fixture list which can provide significant fantasy value. It is important to remember that the extra 90 minutes for each player is worth a guaranteed assist in fantasy points and is 75 percent of the value of a defensive clean sheet or goal from a forward. In a game where those stats are significantly important for success, and in a sport where those stats are completely unreliable (14 players have a point per match ratio better than 50 percent and every team has a clean sheet ratio below 50 percent), the guaranteed points can provide a significant boost.

This week, there are four clubs that have the benefit of playing twice (Arsenal and Sunderland have a double gameweek the second-to-last week of the season). With a limit to the number of transfers and only five weeks remaining, you have to be smart with who you buy and who you sell. It would be best to leverage a purchase that can remain on your roster for the remainder of the season and sell off someone that might not have significant value over the next five weeks. But which teams/players fall into those categories? I'm glad you asked. Let's take a look and start with which team's players you should feel comfortable selling.

Aston Villa

Four points, four goals and one clean sheet over the last two matches has made Aston Villa players look enticing. However, that may be the last we see Villa players provide much value this season. Before they close out the season at home against Burnley (which may be a crucial match for both teams' survival) they will play four matches against teams that rank in the top-10 in both scoring and defense. I know I've had to publicly apologize to Christian Benteke for not believing in his comeback, but he and his teammates have a tough run of matches coming up and will have little fantasy value.

Crystal Palace
There may not be a more added or talked about player than Yannick Bolasie right now. Crystal Palace also have scoring options in Jason Puncheon and Glenn Murray. All three are great, but the problem is that all three take away from each others' fantasy values. Only one player can score a goal and only one can get an assist on a Premier League goal. If there are multiple players that are all most likely to be a contributor, their expected production will dip. Of the Eagles' five remaining matches, all of their opponents rank 11th or better in goals allowed this season. They are hitting a stretch of the schedule that could see a bunch of single-goal games, which means tough running trying to pick which Palace player will score. There are better options out there for the rest of the season, and now is a great time to cut bait and get return on your investment.

Manchester United
The return of Robin van Persie sounds nice, but it may not be great for fantasy owners. With van Persie back on the pitch, Marouane Fellaini will likely move back into the field and relinquish some of his attacking role. We also saw Wayne Rooney shift into more of a midfielder role last week that caused a drop in production earlier this season. Defensively, United will also be hitting a tough stretch of the schedule, with three of their last five on the road and three of the last five against top-10 attacks.

Tottenham Hotspur
Much like Manchester United, three of Tottenham's last five are on the road. Included in the last five are difficult matches against Southampton, Manchester City and an improving Everton. It may be difficult to pull the trigger on selling Harry Kane, and there will certainly be better midfield options than Christian Eriksen at his price point. Additionally, Tottenham's defense has not provided much value up to this point and it will not get any better before the end of the season. If you have a Tottenham defender, look elsewhere.

West Bromwich Albion
Speaking of selling defenders… When Tony Pulis signed on to managed West Brom, everyone and their mother jumped on the Baggies' defensive train. There was hope that cheap defensive options could return good fantasy value. Alas, it has not been the case this season. West Brom still rank in the bottom half in goals allowed, and have a tough run of fixtures coming up. Their best chance for a clean sheet comes in a trip to Newcastle, as the other four matches are against Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester United. If you have not yet sold your Baggie defenders, this is the time to do so.

Now that you have an idea who you can feel comfortable selling, you can focus on where to spend your money. Obviously if you're selling Benteke or Rooney, you are going to look in the same price vicinity for a replacement. However, if you are selling players like Fellaini, Boaz Myhill, Murray, Bolasie, etc., you will be looking for bargain players to buy in their place.

The double gameweek brings plenty of opportunity, but it also brings confusion. For instance, the health of the Chelsea forwards is a mess. A player like Loic Remy or Didier Drogba would be an obvious selection in a double gameweek with Diego Costa (hamstring) out, but uncertainty about who will play makes it difficult to know where to turn. With Chelsea not playing until Sunday, the uncertainty in the lineup could leave you with a blank space on your roster in a crucial double gameweek. That, obviously, is less than ideal.
So then, who do you purchase? Let's take a look at solid bargain options for Gameweek 34 that also should return value through the rest of the season.

Asmir Begovic
Only one team has scored fewer away goals than Sunderland's 11 this season. It's a fine matchup for a better-than-most-think defense. The Potters rank seventh in shots allowed in home matches and will match up well against a Sunderland squad that struggles to get shot attempts (third fewest away shot attempts per match this season). After the Sunderland match, Stoke gets away matches against Swansea City and Burnley to go along with home matches against Tottenham and Liverpool. The good thing is the hard matches are at home while the easier ones are away, which could lead to Stoke City stealing an additional clean sheet or two before the season is over.

Kurt Zouma
A double gameweek certainly boosts Zouma's value, but being a defender in the Chelsea lineup already has it benefits. In just 11 appearances (six starts) this season, Zouma has posted four clean sheets. With the season winding down and Chelsea looking to coast to a title, it is likely the team will see what they have in the youngster and find ways to keep him in the lineup (take note of his defensive midfielder role last weekend). After the double gameweek, which features an expected park-the-bus away match against Arsenal followed by a trip to Leicester City, Chelsea finish with three of the last four at home and could provide more chances for clean sheets.

Jordon Ibe
Being a Derby County fan, it's safe to say there are not a lot of people that have seen Ibe play this season more than I have. Trust me when I say the skills he flashed briefly with Liverpool before getting injured are legit. He scored five goals and added an assist before being returned to Liverpool at the start of 2015 and I still miss him in a Derby uniform. He has a double gameweek this week and will get some extra value by the absence of Daniel Sturridge (hip). Even when (or if) Sturridge returns, Ibe will likely continue to see playing time. And against opponents such as Queens Park Rangers and Crystal Palace, he could get some offensive production.

Jamie Vardy
Vardy gets a mention for a second week in a row for a couple of reasons: The first and obvious one is the double gameweek. Sure, one of the matches is against Chelsea, but he'll get three points just for being out there 60 minutes. The match against Burnley is worth the chance to see if he can add a goal or assist. The second is the uncertainty of health with David Nugent, who missed out last weekend and could continue to miss time. Finally, after Gameweek 34, Leicester has a very manageable schedule. Outside of a visit from Southampton, the Foxes will face Newcastle United, Sunderland and Queens Park Rangers, who all rank in the bottom-five in goals allowed.

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Chris Mosinski
Fantasy sports connoisseur and expert soccer prognosticator.
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