Gameweek 38 offers Fantasy Premier League (FPL) managers a final opportunity to identify a differential to inspire a final push up the rankings.
This time, we’ve selected low-owned picks at West Ham United, Tottenham Hotspur and Bournemouth, who we think have the potential to make an impact.
As always, to qualify, the player must have an ownership of 5% or less at the time of writing.
- FPL ownership: 0.8%
- Price: £5.9m
- GW38 fixture: lei
Lucas Paqueta (£5.9m) has started to find his feet in the Premier League, showing his class in Sunday’s 3-1 win over Leeds United.
The Whites started strongly but momentum shifted as soon as Paqueta, who was a regular starter for Brazil at the 2022 FIFA World Cup, was able to get on the ball, making things tick.
He got an assist for Manuel Lanzini’s (£5.0m) goal late on, but he should have scored himself, when he came close to finding a breakthrough in the first half.
With the freedom to roam, Paqueta racked up 106 touches, more than any other player on the pitch and the most he’s made in a single Premier League match all season. He also registered four shots, whilst creating three further chances for his team-mates.
“I think we’re beginning to see someone who we brought to make assists and score goals if he could. He’s looked much more settled. Still at times I think, don’t do so much, and we’re trying to show him that, but he’s got it in his blood. He always wants to make the hard pass, which is a good thing because it probably leads to a goal. We need to see more of it but today I thought he was really, really good, exceptionally good and played a big part in a lot of things we did.” – David Moyes on Lucas Paqueta
West Ham rotated heavily in Gameweek 36 in between UEFA Europa Conference League semi-finals, but David Moyes named a much stronger team in Gameweek 37. Now, the Hammers will have seven and 10 days respectively of rest on either side of their Gameweek 38 clash with relegation-threatened Leicester City, so you’d expect them to field a first-choice XI.
As for Leicester, they were much better defensively in a 5-3-2 at St James’s Park on Monday night, keeping their first clean sheet since the FIFA World Cup, but it’s worth noting Newcastle United hit the woodwork three times and racked up 2.19 expected goals (xG), compared to the Foxes 0.09 xG.
If a similar approach is adopted against West Ham, which Dean Smith did hint at in his post-match interview, Paqueta will be key in breaking down their deep block.
With each passing game, Paqueta is starting to look like a £51m player. He has the quality of pass to create chances out of nothing and could be an excellent final-day differential.
- FPL ownership: 3.6%
- Price: £7.8m
- GW38 fixture: lee
Dejan Kulusevski (£7.8m) enjoyed an excellent six-month spell when he joined Spurs last season, registering five goals and nine assists in 18 Premier League appearances.
This season, he has struggled to replicate that form, mainly due to several injury setbacks, with increased competition for a place in the side after the arrival of Richarlison (£8.4m).
However, the Swede was one of the few Spurs players to catch the eye in Saturday’s 3-1 defeat by Brentford, playing a significant role in their best attacking moments.
Deployed as a roaming no. 10 in Ryan Mason’s 4-2-3-1, Kulusevski created five chances for his team-mates, which included the assist for Harry Kane’s (£11.4m) opener. He then teed up Son Heung-min (£11.5m) for a chance and created another opportunity for Kane, before his creative influence faded later in the second half. Still, it was his best performance in ages, with his quality shining through.
Speaking about the possibility of playing Kulusevski as a no. 10 in the future, Mason said:
“I’m not sure. I think he can operate centrally or on the right side very well. We wanted to bring some pace in with Danjuma today and push up high and get in behind as much as possible and we got into the pocket so many times with Harry and Deki [Kulusevski] in that first half and created quite a few openings.” – Ryan Mason on Dejan Kulusevski
Spurs have struggled as a whole during a difficult 2022/23 season, but now visit Leeds on the final day, who will have to go for victory at some point, raising the prospect of Kulusevski, Son and Kane getting some joy on the break. It’s also worth noting the Whites have conceded seven goals in their three matches under Sam Allardyce so far.
Potentially up against Junior Firpo (£4.5m) if he reverts to the right flank, you get the feeling Kulusevski’s flair and creativity will be key on Sunday, potentially making him a great differential.
- FPL ownership: 3.7%
- Price: £5.6m
- GW38 fixture: eve
Dominic Solanke (£5.6m) has been a key player for Bournemouth this season.
The Cherries talisman has scored six goals, more than any other team-mate bar Philip Billing (£5.0m), while no FPL forward can match his 10 assists.
He’s blanked in each of his last three appearances, but the former Liverpool striker enjoyed an excellent April and was subsequently nominated for the Premier League player of the month award.
In that time, he registered 22 shots in the box, a league-leading total in his position.
Bournemouth manager Gary O’Neil often says Solanke needs to be “watched closely” to be fully appreciated, and his off-the-ball work and link-up play will be key on Sunday, when the Cherries visit another relegation-threatened side, Everton.
The Toffees know that a win on the final day will ensure Premier League safety. However, they have struggled at Goodison Park of late, conceding 11 goals across their last four home games against Manchester City, Newcastle, Fulham and Spurs.
It’s also worth noting the Cherries’ previous meeting with Everton took place in Gameweek 16, just before the FIFA World Cup break, and saw O’Neil’s troops register a fine 3-0 win.
Spearheading the attack for Bournemouth, Solanke – who is also on spot-kick duty – could step up at Goodison Park on Sunday and finish the season strongly.