In-form Spurs pair among four double-ups

We’ve put together our Scout Picks ‘bus team’ ahead of Double Gameweek 33 of Fantasy Premier League (FPL).

This is a new feature we first rolled out in February and it’s essentially a rough, first draft of our regular XI, which gets finalized and published much closer to the deadline.

Those final picks will cement our weekly selection based on the Scout Squad long-list entries, midweek minutes and fresh injury updates but this ‘bus team’ – a term coined by the Always Cheating boys – will discuss the players who are likely to be in the running.


Here it is, then: our early, rambling thoughts on the runners and riders up for selection in Gameweek 33, followed by the preliminary picks themselves.

THE LIKELY LADS

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We start with a team who aren’t actually ‘doubling’ in Gameweek 33: Tottenham Hotspur.

The Lilywhites are in a rich vein of form, winning six of their last seven Premier League matches and scoring 25 goals in the process – that’s as many as Burnley have managed all season.

Son Heung-min (£11.1m) Harry Kane (£12.6m) are leading the charge, with Dejan Kulusevski (£6.3m) certainly an option if we needed to make a saving in Friday’s Scout Picks: since the latter made his full debut in Gameweek 26, this trio are first, second and third for FPL points. Even going way back to when Antonio Conte first took charge in north London, Son and Kane are the leading points scorers in their respective Fantasy positions.

Newcastle United’s ‘double’ is arguably the pick of those in Gameweek 33, as they are on home soil in both games and face opponents who will be in cup action just three days before they head to Tyneside.

Only four goals have been conceded by Eddie Howe’s troops in their last six home matches, so Martin Dubravka (£4.4m) Fabian Schar (£4.4m) – who can’t be beaten by any defender for goal attempts over the last seven Gameweeks – again come into the thinking.

Allan Saint-Maximin (£6.8m) and the penalty-taking Chris Wood (£6.7m) are less convincing picks given their shortage of goals but with Ryan Fraser (£5.3m) Joe Willock (£5.6m) significant injury concerns at the time of writing, attention has to switch to the Magpies’ forward line. Palace and Leicester are at the wrong end of the table for set-piece goals conceded this season, which could help the cases of Wood and Schar.

Leicester’s double similarly ranks them high up the season Ticker, although they have two away games and both Newcastle and Everton have been better on home soil. Rotation risk is the biggest concern with the Foxes due to their continued involvement in Europe and Brendan Rodgers delivered on his pre-match promise of making changes on Sunday, with only four players retaining their places.

Kasper Schmeichel (£4.8m) should at least be immune from that tinkering and now has a much stronger defense in front of him (when they themselves aren’t rested!), while James Maddison (£6.9m) Harvey Barnes (£6.6m) might just be the worth the risk despite the likelihood of managed minutes. Maddison is on a phenomenal run, with 14 attacking returns in as many starts – plus another goal arriving as a substitute in Gameweek 27. Even Mohamed Salah (£13.3m) can’t match that level of output, although the Egyptian is predictably trouncing Maddison for expected goal involvement (xGI) in that time.

Barnes – who was among those benched on Sunday – isn’t far off his teammate, with 10 returns in his last 13 starts, and has had 14 shots in the box since Maddison last had even one such effort. Profligacy is an ongoing issue with Barnes, however, with just three goals arriving in 2021/22 from 53 shots.

IN CONTENTION

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Gameweek 32 was a dismal audition for Manchester United assets but very much in keeping with their so-so form under Ralf Rangnick. An away match at Liverpool doesn’t offer up much hope of returns, either, so the appeal of Bruno Fernandes (£11.6m) Cristiano Ronaldo (£12.2m) rests squarely on the shoulders of bottom-of-the-table Norwich City, who the Red Devils struggled to see off in the reverse fixture. Stats fans will have noticed that the two United attackers sit second and joint-third respectively among all Premier League players for xGI minus penalties over the last six matches, however.

David de Gea (£5.1m) and the much-maligned defense will also be relying heavily on the visit of the Canaries for returns, although Alex Telles (£5.0m) is a bit of a differential shout given that Luke Shaw (£5.0m) is injured and Norwich have conceded more crosses from their right flank than any other side this season.

Scout Picks staples Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City are all on home soil in Gameweek 33 but there is a bit of hesitation about their assets this time out. It’s not the lack of a ‘double’, really, so much as their involvement in cup ties abroad and at home before we even get to their Gameweek 33 fixtures. Their FA Cup semi-finals, for instance, all take place after Saturday’s FPL deadline has passed, so we can’t react to the latest line-ups and any fresh injuries as we try to second-guess what their managers are thinking.

Still, Joao Cancelo (£7.0m), Andrew Robertson (£7.3m), Trent Alexander-Arnold (£8.4m), Rece James (£6.3m), Antonio Rudiger (£6.2m), Mohamed Salah (£13.2m), Mason Mount (£7.5m) Kevin De Bruyne (£11.8m) all ought to be in the conversation for Friday’s selection, with the top three encountering the defenses of Brighton, Manchester United and an injury-hit Arsenal at good times.

With Kane, Son, Fernandes and Ronaldo all in the running for the big-money attack slots, there is perhaps more chance of the premium defenders getting a look-in as there don’t look to be too many obvious clean sheet opportunities among the seven teams who double. In fact, our RMT points projections table for Gameweek 33 doesn’t feature any defenders in the top 25.

The defenses of Southampton and Arsenal are not in great nick at present, with Saints making sure they squeezed in their annual losing run and pasting-to-nil before we reached the end of 2021/22. The Gunners, meanwhile, have been ruffled by the loss of Kieran Tierney (£5.0m) and Thomas Partey (£5.0m) to injury, conceding five goals across Gameweeks 31 and 32. The two sides’ attacks will fancy their chances when they meet at St Mary’s on Saturday, then, with Che Adams (£6.8m) continuing to get opportunities – including four big chances – even during Saints’ five-match winless run. Bukayo Saka (£6.8m) Gabriel Martinelli (£5.3m) head the queue for the Gunners, with Alexandre Lacazette (£8.4m) suffering a form slump.

THE LONG SHOTS

Along with Saints’ defenders, you’d be hard-pressed to make a case for any Brighton and Hove Albion players, even factoring in their win over Arsenal at the weekend. Trips to Spurs and Manchester City don’t bode well for returns at either end of the pitch for the Seagulls.

There’s another doubling team we’ve not yet mentioned. FPL managers have gone big on Burnley assets in the last two Double Gameweeks with mostly grim results, with Sunday’s defeat to 20th-place Norwich further incentive to avoid the Clarets. At the back, they’re on the division’s longest current run without a clean sheet, while further forward they’ve scored in just one of the last six matches. Nick Pope (£5.4m) and especially Wout Weghorst (£6.4m) haven’t given us much recent reason to invest and are pretty much living off their exploits in Double Gameweek 26.

We’d be minded not to get too carried away by Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall‘s (£4.4m) haul on Sunday, which tripled his attacking return count for the season. He’s looking like a very nice Bench Boost option and a fine enabler for the run-in; it’s just a pity he’s in a Fantasy position where we’re not short of goalscoring, chance-creating options. An average of one shot in the box every 235 minutes suggests he’s not about to go on a run of big scores.

Rotation is a concern for many of the names we’ve mentioned here but not Mr 90 Minutes, James Ward-Prowse (£6.4m). A nailed starter when fit, he guarantees appearance points in Gameweek 33 if little threat from open play – but you simply don’t when he’s going to get a free-kick or penalty that he will convert with the usual aplomb.

Most of the stand-out ‘single’ Gameweekers we’ve already mentioned but West Ham and Brentford assets have favorite fixtures against sides in the bottom three, with Ivan Toney (£6.8m) Bryan Mbeumo (£5.2m) belatedly discovering the form many of us had pinned our hopes on earlier in the campaign. Toney now has eight goals in as many starts, while Mbeumo has almost doubled his attacking return count since the international break.

GAMEWEEK 33 BUS TEAM


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