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The Armband: FPL Gameweek 34 Captain Rankings

Adam Zdroik

Adam writes on sports ranging from NFL and MLB to soccer and college basketball. Outside of writing, he has worked with a professional soccer team, Sporting Kansas City, and in the stats department at ESPN. He is a former Streak for the Cash winner and Michigan State graduate.

After one of the better weeks of the season, Gameweek 33 fell off to mostly drab performances, at least from a fantasy perspective. There were plenty of goals Ė only three matches didnít reach a total of three. The main issue was that most of the players didnít produce all that much outside of Harry Kane and a mess of midfielders, a couple of them from Stoke. Romelu Lukaku, Sergio Aguero and Alexis Sanchez found the back of the net, but that was all they did. Diego Costa and Chelsea couldnít do anything at Man United, while Zlatan Ibrahimovic only played eight minutes.

Technically, it wasnít a terrible week, it just wasn't filled with fantasy points as most of them were spread fairly evenly between the teams. To be exact, no one had a brace and only Kevin de Bruyne had two assists. There were a few with one goal and an assist, but not many.

For Gameweek 34, a few doubles have popped up with the entire gameweek stretching from Saturday to Thursday. Crystal Palace (at Liverpool, v. Spurs) Manchester United (at Burnley, at Man City) and Middlesbrough (at Bournemouth, v. Sunderland) each have two matches. Unfortunately, the Red Devils are on the road, Palace face top clubs and there arenít many you want on a fantasy team from Boro. So while itís a double gameweek, it doesnít change everything.

Ibrahimovic is the guy most will turn to for the armband even with two on the road. In his recent return from suspension, he isnít getting more shots off, heís just been more efficient with two goals and an assist against Everton and at Sunderland. But scoring at Burnley and Man City wonít be easy. Burnley have allowed 14 goals at home this season and City have allowed 15. Antonio Valencia could be in the discussion now that heís back in the lineup, but the chances of a clean sheet are probably as good as Ibra scoring.

Christian Benteke is playing his best of the season, but scoring at Liverpool and against Spurs is another tall task. Still, his goal rate on the road canít be overlooked (nine goals) and when Palace hosted the Reds back in October, that match produced six goals. Andros Townsend is worth an add at a minimum, with a goal and three assists in his last three matches, and Wilfred Zaha is in that same boat, having not missed the score sheet in back-to-back weeks since February.

If youíre a big Boro fan or want to do the opposite of everyone else, Alvaro Negredo has scored in each of his last two starts, which is the first time you can say that about him this season. Otherwise, thatís about it unless you believe Boro can hold Sunderland scoreless, making Ben Gibson a far-fetched captain pick.

On the other end of Palace, Liverpool are rolling with Philippe Coutinho scoring thrice and assisting once in the last four matches and Roberto Firmino scoring or assisting in each of the last five. Both of those guys have been more reliable than Divock Origi. City are at home, but itíll be difficult to captain Aguero or any of them over someone like Ibrahimovic. Going off that, the same can probably be said for Costa and Eden Hazard hosting Southampton. While the Blues struggled last match, theyíll be back at Stamford Bridge against a team that has struggled against top competition Ė namely last weekendís 3-0 loss to Man City.

Only a month ago, Gylfi Sigurdsson wouldíve been a sensible pick against Stoke, but the Swans have just one goal in their last five matches and are headed toward relegation. Hull may be the better team to back against Watford. They donít get many clean sheets, but Andrea Ranocchia continues to charge forward with two goals and an assist in his last four matches.

In London, Arsenal are the better team to back against Leicester, with Alexis finding the back of the net once again Monday via free kick. Mesut Ozil maybe has better numbers of late, but Alexis is still the play. Spurs travel to Crystal Palace, who have 10 points in their last four matches, but allowed two against Leicester last Saturday. Kane is the obvious choice, while anyone who thinks Heung-Min Son can stay in form, then you canít back down from captaining him now. Oh, and Romelu Lukaku is on the road, so best to stay away.