The week in Fantasy Premier League: Kane quarrels, saving Salah and Double Gameweek differentials

Owning Harry Kane has been a frustrating experience for Fantasy Premier League managers at times this season, but nobody was prepared for this.

Owning Harry Kane has been a frustrating experience for Fantasy Premier League managers at times this season, but nobody was prepared for this.

Transferred in by over 100,000 managers, everything seemed to be going to plan as he duly notched against Stoke, before confusion reigned just minutes later.

The goal (and all-important FPL points) were eventually awarded to Eriksen, before Kane’s bizarre crusade to take a goal from a teammate revealed the full extent of his lust for a third Golden Boot.

The men in robes at the aptly-named dubious goals panel eventually agreed, but it all came too late for over 1.7 million FPL managers to benefit.

The fact that it happened in what was one of the lowest-scoring weeks of the past five seasons, only rubbed salt in the wounds of Kane owners.

Everyone else breathed a sigh of relief, while simultaneously heaping the kind of unrelenting ridicule on the Spurs striker man we’ve seen since the days of John Terry.

Although he certainly took it to new levels, the fact that Kane is obsessed with records and personal achievement won’t come as a galloping shock to anyone - what was far more revealing was the reaction of another Golden Boot contender.

No, not him...

 

What to do with Mo Salah?

Despite being on course to become the all-time leading FPL points scorer, the absence of Mo Salah (LIV, 10.5) against Everton was enough to spook managers into making him the most-sold midfielder in the game this week.

One expertly-taken goal against Man City and a solitary word in a rare personal tweet later, and many were wondering if they had made the right decision.

 

It will be a long goodbye for some, as they comfort themselves by bringing the ghost of Salah into their Free Hit squad for BGW35 when he faces doomed West Brom.

Given Klopp's unapologetic rotation in the 2016 Europa League campaign, it’s almost certain that Salah's minutes will be managed in some way - but this may not fully kick in until as late as GW36.

Liverpool's place in the top four is not quite as secure as some may think - if Chelsea can win while Liverpool draw over the next three games (hardly unthinkable, even given Chelsea's form), victory in the pair's GW37 clash at Stamford Bridge would give the Blues a shot at securing fourth place in the final game of the season.

Having returned an average 9.5 points in home matches this season, the top-scoring player in FPL could ironically become a differential for those willing to go against the grain and captain him this week.

 

Selling him by GW36 makes sense, but keep your options open for what could be his glorious GW38 swansong in your FPL team (particularly if Harry Kane’s aura manages to score another few goals). With almost two weeks to recover for any Champions League final, he’ll be looking to finish in style against Brighton at Anfield.

For those who waved goodbye to the Egyptian King, for the time being at least, can now look forward to the feeling of seemingly boundless potential a Double Gameweek player can bring.

 

Choosing the best Double Gameweek players

Unfortunately, the excitement of DGW34 won’t last long for some managers who have already used their Free Hit chip, followed as it is by a blank for all DGW teams other than Burnley.

Those Free-Hitting this week can roll the dice on triple Man United cover and have the option of what could be a season-changing differential captain in the form of 3.6%-owned Alexis Sánchez (MUN, 11.5).

One clean sheet in their last eight fixtures doesn't inspire confidence, but the price is right for Leicester defenders like Ben Chilwell (LEI, 4.4) and Wes Morgan (LEI, 4.4) as they prepare to face Burnley and Southampton - teams who have both failed to muster an average of one goal scored per game this season.

In a strange quirk of fixtures, Chelsea also face Burnley and Southampton, and could be afforded one last chance to redeem themselves against the goal-shy sides.

Short-term punts on the likes of Pascal Groß (BHA, 6.0), José Izquierdo (BHA, 5.9), Chris Wood (BUR, 6.3) and Charlie Austin (SOU, 5.8) are also viable options.

 

For those Free Hitting in BGW35, it’s smooth sailing as players from Brighton, Chelsea, Leicester, Man United, Southampton and Tottenham all provide the promise of two Double Gameweeks.

The idea that a scorned Christian Eriksen (TOT, 9.4) will develop a new-found greed is probably a bit fanciful, but he has been in impressive form, regardless.

 

QUICK TIP

Squad rotation will become a factor for teams still involved in cup competitions - look for those red spots in Ben Crellin’s latest spreadsheet to see which players could be particularly vulnerable, and when.

BUY

  

After months in the FPL wilderness, early-season favourite Romelu Lukaku (MUN, 11.6) has fought his way back into our plans in recent weeks.

The consummate ‘flat track bully’ will fancy his chances against an improving but ultimately hapless West Brom team, as well as a Bournemouth side who haven’t enjoyed a clean sheet at home since last November.

 

TRY

Burnley have recovered their form in recent weeks and are now in the pole position to achieve their first taste of European football for 50 years (unless Southampton win the FA Cup).

With Ben Mee possibly out for the rest of the season with a shin problem, Kevin Long (BUR, 4.0) has become a bargain-basement option for their relatively kind, blank-free season run-in at a time when team value tends to take a hammering.

GOODBYE

 

Now without a league win for almost three months, there is little to suggest that Stoke will hang on to their Premier League status.

Moritz Bauer (STO, 4.5) might be worth holding as an out-of-position cheapie, but without even the false promise of a Double Gameweek in the offing, it’s time to jettison any remaining Potters still lingering around your squad.

 

Top of the League

 

A stellar 51 points, in the context of the week, saw Kevin Fahy and his Repeal Madrid side extend their lead at the top of the Official Irish Examiner League.

Points from captain Aubameyang, Vardy and a long-overdue attacking return from Azpilicueta did the business. Still to play his second wildcard, Bench Boost and Triple Captain chips, a spot in the world’s top 10 could yet be in reach.

Just one point separates Eoin O'Brien and Seamus O’Dowd in second and third.


Lifestyle

Review: Murder of Garcia Lorca gives backdrop to chilling tale

Harris returns 20 years later to magical characters of ‘Chocolat’

Michelle Darmody: Baking with herbs

Product Watch: Skincare acids not as scary as they seem

More From The Irish Examiner