So here we are. The final gameweek of the 2022-23 Premier League campaign. After 37 rounds of PL action, 1,051 goals, 204 clean sheets, 1,294 yellow cards, and 28 red cards divided between 562 used players spread over 20 teams. Gameweek 38.
If you are leading your FPL mini-league by 20 or more points at this point, a defensive strategy is probably your wisest move. What this strategy should look like depends very much on the team(s) chasing you. If you’re chasing though, looking to close a gap of say, 10 points or more, you’re in Hail-Mary-territory. Now or never. That’s why this week, exceptionally, we are taking a bit more differential approach for each of our recommended fantasy picks for gameweek 38.
Don’t forget, the deadline for gameweek 38 is set at 15h00 (UK time) on Sunday, May 28th, 2023 particularly if you have a free hit left for GW38.
Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per May 26th, 2023)
|TRANSFERS OUT||TRANSFERS IN||POSSIBLE REASONS|
|GK||Pope (NEW), Ederson (MCI), Ward (LEI)||Alisson (LIV), De Gea (MUN), Ramsdale (ARS)|
|DEF||Trippier (NEW), Shaw (MUN), Zinchenko (ARS)||Alexander-Arnold (LIV), Shaw (MUN), Estupiñan (BRI)||TAA form, Shaw injury doubt, Zinchenko injury|
|MID||Martinelli (ARS), Grealish (MCI), Rashford (MUN)||Eze (CRY), Odegaard (ARS), Salah (LIV)||Martinelli injury, Grealish injury doubt|
|FOR||Toney (BRE), Haaland (MCI), Isak (NEW)||Kane (TOT), Wilson (NEW), Alvarez (MCI)||Toney ban, Isak lack of returns, Haaland rotation|
With a current ownership of about 29%, Harry Kane (£11.4m) is the least-owned premium fantasy asset, bar perhaps Kevin de Bruyne. The Belgian though, carries a considerable rotation risk with City’s FA Cup and Champions League finals coming up, while Kane is, well… the polar opposite. The Spurs man will not be rested, he will not be rotated, he will not be dropped, he will not be taken off early. Especially not when you consider the possibility that it might be his last game in a Spurs shirt. The opponent this coming Sunday, Leeds United, have the leakiest defence in the entire league and while they will be fighting for Premier League survival in front of their home fans, we find it very hard to imagine Kane not scoring (a few) here. Sure, Leeds might beat a mediocre Spurs side overall, but keeping out the man who has scored 28 goals and provided 8 assists already this season, and who has scored a goal in each of his last four outings? Unlikely.
We said we’re going a bit more differential overall with our fantasy picks for gameweek 38, so no Marcus Rashford or Bukayo Saka in our non-premium category this time. Instead, it’s the ever frustrating (this season, at least) James Maddison (£7.8m), who has the massive task this weekend of keeping Leicester in the Premier League at home against West Ham. The Foxes have been woeful this season, which explains them currently being two points off safety, but it’s really a tale of two stats. Defensively, they rank amongst the worst in the league, having conceded a whopping 67 goals in 37 league games. Offensively though, they have done alright, scoring 49 goals, which is as many as seventh-placed Aston Villa and just seven less than Manchester United. As far as Maddison is concerned, despite all of the criticism, he only needs a single assist to end up in the double digits for both goals and assists for a second season in a row. The Foxes will need him do achieve that impressive feat and then some against the Hammers, who have secured their Premier League status and are now looking forward to the Conference League final against Fiorentina on June 7th. Maddison has recorded three double-digit hauls so far this season, there could literally not be a better moment than this coming Sunday to record his fourth.
The budget enabler
Our budget enabler for gameweek 38 is Eberechi Eze (£5.7m), who has been on fire of late. Despite Crystal Palace having secured their Premier League status a few gameweeks ago, they have not really been letting up since then and Eze is a major reason for that. The 24-year-old recorded a total of 32 FPL points over the last four gameweeks, courtesy of 3 goals and 1 assist, which is fantastic value when you look at his current price tag. On the final day of the 2022-23 season, Palace are hosting Nottingham Forest, who very recently secured at least one more season of Premier League football. What the effect of this will be on the visit to Selhurst Park is unclear, we can see this one equally becoming a boring encounter or a high-scoring affair, but one thing is for sure (as far as that’s possible in FPL): Eze will be on the pitch for the kick-off at 16h30. On top of that, in the absence of Wilfried Zaha, it looks likely that he will be on penalties, which is a big plus when you’re looking for a budget enabler to help you chase that eternal mini-league glory.
Generally, we try to avoid Pep Roulette, but like we said earlier, gameweek 38 will for many managers be a moment to take one last leap of faith. Therefore, our differential fantasy pick for the final gameweek of the season is Phil Foden (£8.0m). Despite some injury problems and a couple more benchings than expected, the 22-year-old, he has still amassed a very decent 140 FPL points, which actually makes him the second-highest-scoring Man City asset in the official game after Erling Haaland. Foden has started the last four league games for Guardiola’s side, a run over which he scored 1 goal and gave 1 assist, and we’re expecting him to start away at Brentford on Sunday. Part of that expectation is based on another expectation of ours, namely that he probably won’t be part of the starting line-up for City’s two remaining games after gameweek 38, the FA Cup final and the Champions League final. As usual, we strongly recommend keeping an eye on team news and to pick apart Pep’s coming press conference, but at the moment, we see some serious differential potential in the 8.9%-owned Phil Foden.
The captaincy debate for gameweek 38 is probably one of the most interesting ones of the entire season. There are several very good options for the chasers and we have eventually opted for Harry Kane. The Spurs star is simply too good, too consistent and too important for his side. In combination with a season closer against Leeds at Elland Road, that makes him the stand-out captaincy for us on Sunday.
Alternatives to Kane include, of course, the usual suspects Erling Haaland away at Brentford and Mo Salah away at relegated Southampton. Manchester United assets Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford at home against Fulham could deliver big as well, while the likes of James Maddison at home to West Ham, Eberechi Eze at home to Forest and Callum Wilson away at Stamford Bridge are amongst the more differential captaincy picks.