Sky Sports continues its weekly column, bringing you essential tips from the best Fantasy Premier League managers in the world.
Is this the week to use Bench Boost or save for GW34?
Holly Shand: I think Gameweek 29 is the week to Bench Boost if you are well set up for it. We generally find a wider range of factors come into play as we head towards the end of the season, where the focus of teams or players can be away from the outcome of league games. There could be a dilemma for Erling Haaland owners though, whose inclusion in Saturday’s lunchtime kick-off against Liverpool remains unclear right now.
FPL Family: Injuries over the international break will likely have caused some headaches for FPL managers. With flags on a number of heavily owned assets such as Haaland and Rashford, as well as the likes of Sanchez and Ward, many managers might find they don’t have a full squad. Gameweek 29 could be an excellent week for a bench boost if you have a full starting 15, however, saving the chip for Gameweek 34 makes sense if there is any doubt about having a full squad playing.
Would you transfer out an Arsenal midfielder for a player with two fixtures?
Holly Shand: I think it’s worth it to bring on board a Manchester United or Brighton midfielder, given their form and volume of fixtures over the coming weeks. I still think it’s fine to retain one of Saka or Martinelli through the upcoming period though as they are form players that can deliver even in challenging fixtures as the Gunners hunt down the title. Martin Odegaard is an easier sell, especially for those doubled up on Arsenal midfielders right now.
FPL Family: Arsenal are the in-form team in the league, however with no more doubles until the end of the season many managers are looking to sell their assets. Whilst I can get on board with swapping out Arsenal defenders for the likes of Liverpool, Brighton or Man Utd defenders who have multiple doubles, I think holding the Gunners’ attacking assets is going to be key.
Players like Martinelli and Saka will be remaining in my team. Their form and Arsenal’s push to win the league mean I think they could easily outscore many of the players who play twice over the coming weeks.
Are you benching all your players with single games – including Arsenal assets?
Holly Shand: When it comes to the single gameweek options, Arsenal attackers at home to Leeds United and Harry Kane away at Everton shouldn’t be benched lightly. I believe that Kane has the potential to outscore all of the double gameweek forwards and should be started if you are keeping him for Blank Gameweek 31 and giving him the start in this fixture. Arsenal midfielders could be benched this week in favour of those players with two fixtures.
FPL Family: No, I’m planning to play Saka, Kane and Martinelli this week. Last time Arsenal had just one fixture in a double gameweek Martinelli got eight points while Gabriel scored 14. Both Arsenal and Spurs have attractive fixtures so benching their assets would be a risk this week.
Who is the best captaincy option this week?
Holly Shand: Right now I have the armband on Marcus Rashford despite his injury flag and I’m hoping for positive news of his availability from Erik ten Hag in his press conference on Friday. Bruno Fernandes also provides a credible option if he makes his way into my squad ahead of the deadline. I also like the look of the Brighton midfielders, with Kaoru Mitoma likely to wear the vice-captaincy armband for me this week. We can be sure a Brighton midfielder will haul this week, but picking the right one is a challenge.
FPL Family: If Marcus Rashford is ruled fit then he is the stand-out pick for the captaincy. His 94 points since Gameweek 17 is the highest-scoring midfielder in the game in that period. However, the likes of James Maddison and the Brighton midfielders are also great differential captaincy alternatives.
Who is the best Danny Ward replacement?
Holly Shand: Brighton’s new No 1 Jason Steele (£3.9m) is an easy switch for those with limited funds in order to gather a backup goalkeeper. He’s got great utility with a double this week and further planned fixtures creating more doubles coming in the schedule. Elsewhere, David De Gea could be a good option for those with funds in the bank, with Manchester United facing three doubles between now and the end of the season.
FPL Family: Jason Steele looks a great option as he seems to be holding that starting spot at Brighton. He also has the benefit of a double gameweek in 29 and again in 34 as well as a further fixture still to be rearranged.
David De Gea also looks like a good option ahead of a double this week and a further double in Gameweek 34.
What differential options are there for those playing catch-up?
Holly Shand: Liverpool have been one of the form defences in recent weeks, making Andrew Robertson a key asset, with four clean sheets in six. Robertson has created nine chances in this spell, notching an assist from three big chances created.
In midfield, West Ham have everything to do for the season run-in, with star man Jarrod Bowen coming back into form, with two assists in his last five league games.
Up front, Dominic Solanke could be a key contender in the Cherries’ final phase of the season, with two assists in his last five games. He is on penalties too, with Spurs in Gameweek 31 the only red fixtures in the Premier League’s fixture difficulty rating.
FPL Family: Solly March, Alexis Mac Allister and Pervis Estupinan are all still differentials in the game. They are also in great form and still have 13 fixtures this season rather than the 10 that the majority of players have left.
Bruno Fernandes could also be a fantastic differential as he is currently owned by just 8.1 per cent of managers. United have a good double in 29 and play twice again in 34. So with the exception of Gameweek 32 where they do not play, Fernandes could be a great way to boost managers’ overall rank and mini-league positions.