Only seven games (eight, for some) remaining in the 2017/18 Premier League season. With that in mind, here are some of the things you should consider when going through your fantasy options...
Teams who have secured their Premier League status for next season
We have seen historically a performance dip from teams that have secured their Premier League status but are too far from clinching a spot in Europe. They just go through the motions, especially after hitting the magical 40-point mark, in which last season’s Watford are a perfect example of this problem. After clinching 40 points in 32 matches, they went on to lose all their remaining games, scoring just three goals and conceding 16.
For this season, Everton and Leicester have just hit the 40-point mark, and Bournemouth and Watford are looking likely to join them soon. As such, picking players from these teams can be risky with the managers even giving chances to fringe players instead, and selecting players who will be playing against them might be a good idea!
Teams in the relegation zone
At the other end of the league table, the likes of West Brom, Stoke City and Southampton are occupying the bottom three, and their struggle for survival might very well bring out the best in them. In fact, a team with their relegation fate confirmed might be even more dangerous, as they will be free from pressure and have nothing to lose anymore.
So, do consider players like Stoke’s Xherdan Shaqiri and the returning Charlie Austin for Southampton.
The Golden Boot race
There are only three contenders for this season’s Golden Boot at this point: Mohamed Salah, Harry Kane and Sergio Aguero. Okay, the Argentine is the most unlikely to win of the trio because, despite having a game in hand, he is seven goals short of Salah's current tally (28). Furthermore, they both have the same UEFA Champions League distraction, facing each other over two legs.
Meanwhile, Kane looks set to return from injury to rejoin the fight. Although he is four goals behind Salah, he no longer has to worry about the Champions League as well as also has a game in hand over Salah. These three should continue to bang in the goals, but whether or not you can fit all three in your team is another story.
The Bench Boost
If you have not used the Bench Boost chip yet, you most probably are looking to cash it in during the potential double gameweeks in Gameweek 37. With Tottenham potentially facing Newcastle and West Brom, Manchester United taking on Brighton and West Ham, and Manchester City clashing with Huddersfield and Brighton, it is very tempting indeed.
However, by then both Manchester clubs have a high chance of having nothing left to play for, if they have both secured first and second place respectively, and rotation is a very likely possibility. As such, the use of Bench Boost could be futile if key players end up not being included in the line-up or playing at half capacity.
So, you should consider using it for Gameweek 34 instead when plenty is still at stake for most teams, which will reduce the risk of rotation. For Gameweek 37, you should use your Triple Captain instead on someone like Harry Kane, whose team might still be battling for a top four spot and who is aiming to win the Golden Boot. However, speaking of the England international...
The World Cup
With Russia 2018 on the horizon in less than three months, don’t be surprised if players start negotiating with their managers for fewer minutes at the tail-end of the season. Even Kane, should he drop too far back in the race for the Golden Boot, might give up the chase and cut down on playing time to get enough rest in preparation for the World Cup, especially since he’s only just returned from injury.
There are many players out there who are desperate to play at the World Cup. For those who are still auditioning, it might be worthwhile to pick them, as they will likely play all out to show their worth. The risk lies in those players who are assured of a spot, as even if they play the full 90 minutes in each match, they might play in such a way to minimise the risk of injury. And when that happens, their potential drops as well.