Fantasy football scout tips gameweek 34: Marcus Rashford, Alvaro Negredo, Christian Benteke and more

Mark Critchley
The Independent

Double gameweeks are usually welcomed with open arms by legions of fantasy managers, but this week’s jam-packed set of Premier League fixtures offer slim pickings.

Manchester United, Crystal Palace and Middlesbrough all play twice in gameweek 34, but only the relegation-battling Boro’s fixtures are especially tempting.

A word of caution, too: sell your West Bromwich Albion assets as they ‘blank’ this week. Their trip to Manchester City has been rescheduled on account of City’s FA Cup semi-final.

All in all, it is hard to identify six bona fide ‘picks’, but here’s a half a dozen players who stand at least a half-decent chance of returns.

Marcus Rashford

Fresh from that crucial Europa League quarter-final goal against Anderlecht and a brilliant display in the win over Chelsea, Marcus Rashford is at the forefront of many managers’ minds this week.

At only £6.5m, he can be classified as a low-to-mid-price option in attack and cheap way into United’s double-header against Burnley (A) and Manchester City (A).

The chief concern, as with all United assets, is rotation. Jose Mourinho has a congested schedule to contend with and Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s injury only increases the likelihood of Rashford’s minutes being managed.

Alvaro Negredo

Middlesbrough’s fixtures may be enticing, but their form is not. Steve Agnew’s side look all but certain to return to the Championship next season and worse still, they struggle scoring.

Their one hope in attack is Alvaro Negredo, who has scored twice in the last three. Meetings with Bournemouth and Sunderland provide him with a chance to improve that tally.

You should bear in mind though that as a team, Boro have only scored a total of four goals since January 31.

Christian Benteke

Benteke has scored three in his last four appearances (Getty)
Benteke has scored three in his last four appearances (Getty)

There is a lot of fantasy hype surrounding Christian Benteke this week, off the back of three goals in his last four gameweeks and Crystal Palace’s forthcoming double.

When you consider that Sam Allardyce’s side face a trip to Liverpool and a visit from in-form Tottenham Hotspur though, such enthusiasm is dampened somewhat.

Nevertheless, Benteke has the form and motivation will surely be high when he steps out onto the pitch at Anfield. A risk, but it could pay off.

Patrick van Aanholt

Staying with Palace and another risky move, Patrick van Aanholt’s return from injury presents a chance for attacking returns from defence.

The marauding full-back is a well-established fantasy favourite with a low ownership rate and ignited Palace’s revival with a crucial goal against Middlesbrough before his recent layoff.

The only concern is whether he will start, with Jeffrey Schlupp having filled in a left-back throughout Van Aanholt’s absence.

Harry Maguire

Maguire is finally making good on all his attacking promise (Getty)
Maguire is finally making good on all his attacking promise (Getty)

Not a double gameweek player, but one of the few defensive options who offers a good chance of a clean sheet and attacking returns this week.

Hull City are solid at home and come up against a Watford side that does not travel well.

Maguire and other members of the Tigers defence will be confident of keeping Walter Mazzari’s side out, and the man himself will hope to add to his tally of two goals in his last three outings.

Josh King

Canny fantasy managers have had Josh King in their side for a few weeks now, but there’s still plenty of time to join the party.

Granted, he plays for one of the eight clubs who have no double gameweeks from now until the end of the season, but his next four fixtures are all favourable.

Bournemouth start with Middlesbrough at home this weekend, then travel to basement club Sunderland, before visits from Stoke City and Burnley.

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