Welcome to the penultimate edition of AM's Player Picks for the 2013/14 season. Let's begin with a reminder that Week 37 is the FINAL of The RW PL Cup where we crown our winner. 102 teams remain, and you can click here to check whether you're still in with a chance of Cup glory. Good luck to all finalists (including myself).
Week 36 was an excellent one for AM FC, thanks to my hunch selection of Jonjo Shelvey and the decision to hand Wayne Rooney the captain's armband over Luis Suarez. 165 points pushed my Yahoo team up to 519th in the overall rankings, so I'm on the cusp of keeping up that record of consecutive Top 500 finishes. This is the key week to make a final move, and you'll see why when you check out the fixtures.
Week 37 Fixtures
Arsenal v West Brom
Aston Villa v Hull City
Chelsea v Norwich
Crystal Palace v Liverpool
Everton v Man City
Man Utd v Sunderland
Newcastle v Cardiff City
Stoke v Fulham
Swansea v Southampton
West Ham v Tottenham
Man City v Aston Villa
Man Utd v Hull City
Sunderland v West Brom
That's right, it's a double-week for six teams - Manchester City, Manchester United, Sunderland, Hull City, West Brom and Aston Villa.
As I've said countless times before when we are presented with a double-week for a small number of teams, it's up to you how you approach it. However, at this stage of the season, discounts aren't important. There is just one week to go after this, so long-term strategy can be thrown out of the window in favour of short-term gain. In summary, you should be looking to fill your team with 11 double gamers for Week 37. Double the chance, double the fun.
Before looking at the teams with two games I'll give a brief word on the single gamers just in case you want to dabble. The only two teams worth thinking about are Chelsea at home to Norwich and Arsenal at home to West Brom. I'm not keen on Liverpool at Crystal Palace because the Eagles can be very tough to break down at home and Brendan Rodgers' men will be hit hard by that loss to Chelsea in Week 36. It is for that reason that AM FC is currently Suarez-less, although I haven't 100% decided to pull the trigger (i.e. click 'Save Changes') on that decision just yet.
From the double gamers, Manchester United are the side to focus on. Yes, it was only one good half of football against a poor Norwich side, but you could see the confidence flowing through the players and it generated an Old Trafford atmosphere that had not been felt for a while. Rejuvenated under Ryan Giggs' stewardship and looking to restore some pride before the end of the season, United play twice at Old Trafford in Week 37, both winnable games against Sunderland and Hull, so you should be concentrating on their players.
Next come new title favourites Manchester City. They face a difficult trip to Everton in their first game of the double week, but the Toffees will be a bit down in the dumps after blowing their chances of a Champions League spot, so I'm confident City will be up for it and will be able to 'do what they gotta to do' to pick up a potentially title-winning three points. Yaya & Co then face a near-walkover at home to Aston Villa, which is probably the standout fixture of the weekend.
Sunderland face that trip to Old Trafford before a winnable game at home to West Brom, and the team are in relegation-escaping form, so a couple of their players are worth considering. Hull will fancy their chances of beating Villa before their own journey to Manchester, so their attacking players could be of interest. West Brom face two difficult away games so aren't really that appealing, while Aston Villa players should mostly be avoided given their current form and predicament.
With that in mind, click over to the next page to view the Week 34 player recommendations.
David De Gea - The one and only goalkeeper choice for the week in my opinion. De Gea has performed admirably all season and has two winnable home games against Sunderland and Hull. With the majority of single game keepers costing roughly the same and the only other decent double week keeper, Joe Hart, costing more, it's close to a no-brainer.
Phil Jones - The man of one thousand faces started Giggs' first game in charge at right back and put in a solid performance, so there's no reason to think he won't continue. A chance of two clean sheets, plenty of tackles, blocks and the odd shot on target.
Nemanja Vidic - Given the price he's, Vidic is the best value defender of the weekend, assuming of course that Giggs gives the defender two starts to allow him to bring down the curtain on his Old Trafford career.
Patrice Evra - Another United veteran who could be coming to end of his time with the club. Rumours are rife that Evra will follow Vidic out the exit door this summer so I would expect sentimental Giggs to allow the left-back to start the last two games ahead of Alexander Buttner.
Vincent Kompany - The captain remains the best value Manchester City defender for the double week at a price of £12million.
Martin Demichelis - With Pablo Zabaleta currently obsessed with picking up yellow cards, and with Gael Clichy and Aleksandar Kolarov trading places at random, go with Demichelis if you're looking to add a second Manchester City alongside Kompany.
Marcos Alonso - Sunderland's recent upturn in fortunes has been attributed to Connor Wickham and Fabio Borini, but don't underestimate the impact Alonso has charging up the left flank. His stats resemble those of Mathieu Debuchy's earlier in the season and he could go big again with two games in Week 37.
Curtis Davies - Not in his best fantasy form, not cheap, and two away fixtures, but you cannot ignore the top scoring double-week defender. Davies has never relied on clean sheets to rack up points, so he's perfectly capable of repaying any faith shown.
Ryan Bertrand - A clean sheet in either game is highly unlikely, but Bertrand remains well priced and has been picking up decent fantasy scores in recent weeks.
Yaya Toure - Manchester City's talisman knows he has the chance to drive his side to a second Premier League title in three seasons, and we saw what he's capable of against Crystal Palace. Yay is unlikely to let anyone down, provided he doesn't pick up another injury.
Samir Nasri - With David Silva still struggling from that ankle injury it will be down to Nasri to provide the spark from the wing and he's getting in to the box plenty, even if that doesn't always transfer to fantasy points.
Antonio Valencia - I am of the opinion that Valencia is the only attacking Manchester United midfielder set to start both games, with Shinji Kagawa, Adnan Januzaj, Ashley Young, Nani and Tom Cleverley (cough) more likely to share minutes. This is based on nothing more than a hunch, so feel free to disagree.
Chris Brunt - West Brom have two tough games but set piece takers are often able to bypass the strength of their opponents, so Brunt is worth considering if you're not feeling confident about the starting status of Manchester United's midfielders.
Adam Johnson - With the news that Andros Townsend will miss the World Cup, AJ has a slim chance of sneaking in to England's squad, but he'll need three big performances before the end of the season. We know he's capable when in the mood, and Sunderland are playing well.
Mark Albrighton - I'm a big Albrighton fan and find it astonishing that the winger has barely made an appearance this season, but he has found himself back in the team recently and has been their most creative player. Despite his team's recent struggles, he's an interesting alternative pick if you're looking to do something different.
Graham Dorrans - The midfielder only worked his way back in to the team back in Week 30, but has been extremely consistent for Pepe Mel while averaging 11 Yahoo fantasy points per week. I prefer Brunt because of set pieces, but Dorrans is still a solid option for the double week.
Mohamed Salah - The first of only three single-gamers on my list, Salah is likely to get another start due to his Champions League ineligibility in midweek, he'll be fresh, his pace from the wing is likely to cause Norwich plenty of problems and he costs just £8million.
Wayne Rooney - News has started to circulate regarding the return of Robin van Persie to training, but he's likely to be eased back in, so Rooney remains the number one pick given his display against Norwich. Two nice home fixtures, taking set pieces, penalties and shooting from all over the place, he should probably be your captain too.
Sergio Aguero - Still looking a bit rusty after numerous injuries in recent months, but he's one of the best players in world football on his day, so only a fool goes without Aguero for a double week with the title within reach. AGUERRROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
Juan Mata - There were a lot of angry fantasy managers last Saturday as the news filtered in that Mata had been banished to the bench, but those scowls turned to smiles in the second with a two-goal cameo from the bench. That performance should be enough to get the nod against Sunderland, and another decent display will mean two starts.
Fabio Borini - With Connor Wickham missing from the Yahoo fantasy roster you're left with penalty taking Borini, and he's an excellent alternative pick given his current form.
Edin Dzeko - The Bosnian striker has overtaken out-of-form Alvaro Negredo as the first choice partner to Aguero and is scoring goals. I wouldn't expect too much from the Everton game, but Aston Villa follows.
Shane Long - The signing of Long and Nikica Jelavic in January was the catalyst for Hull getting themselves out of trouble, and with Long missing the FA Cup final (he's cup tied), he'll want to take out his frustrations in the league before the end of the season.
Luis Suarez - Just to be clear, I'm almost definitely dropping him for the double week, but I wouldn't blame anyone for keeping him for Liverpool's key trip to Selhurst Park.
Demba Ba - The previously forgotten man seems to be getting the nod to lead the line in the Premier League, and he'll be licking his lips at the prospect of facing Norwich. There are only a few games left to prove to potential suitors that he's worth the gamble of a summer offer.
So those are the players I'm considering for Week 37. Apologies for the lack of invention - some weeks, all the best options are just really obvious. Check back here on Friday for Neal's team and injury news post.
My own team currently looks like this:
Starting XI: De Gea, Vidic, Kompany, Jones, Evra, Brunt, Nasri, Yaya Toure, Mata, Aguero, Rooney (C)
Subs: Bertrand, Rodwell, Nocherino, Davis
It's a rarely used 4-3-3, 11 double gamers, Mata in for Suarez, with the plan to buy the Liverpool man back at full price for the final week of the season. I really like the team and it could be final barring any unexpected team or injury news on Friday.
How's your team shaping up?
- Sports & Recreation
- Manchester City
- Manchester United
- Aston Villa
- Wayne Rooney
- Luis Suarez
- Ryan Giggs