It’s been a typical international break — some genuine injuries, some suspicious injuries, and a manager sacked. All this leaves us with the usual uncertainty regarding the upcoming game week. Who will be fit? Will travel fatigue or fixture congestion see some players granted a rest? And will the appointment of Claudio Ranieri spark a “new manager bump” at woeful Fulham?
I don’t have the answers to these questions, but I do have ideas about where to invest your Fantrax dollars this weekend. Read on to find out.
Note: Spurs vs Chelsea is the late game on Saturday, and all other fixtures that day kick off simultaneously. We therefore should have confirmed lineups for them ahead of the deadline — and that includes some rotation-prone sides like Man City and Liverpool, so tune in to our pre-deadline chat to hone your Fantrax squads!
- Brighton vs Leicester
- Everton vs Cardiff
- Fulham vs Southampton
- Manchester United vs Crystal Palace
- Watford vs Liverpool
- West Ham vs Manchester City
- Tottenham vs Chelsea (Late Game)
- Bournemouth vs Arsenal
- Wolves vs Huddersfield
David De Gea (MUN v CRY, $7.72): United have allowed 21 goals this season. But this week they host Palace, who are tied with Southampton for the league’s second-worst offense. You can probably count on some save points from DDG this week too — he hasmade 42 stops so far this season.
Joe Hart (BUR v NEW, $6.10): Newcastle actually sit one position higher in the table than Burnley due to goal differential. But only three teams have scored fewer goals than the Geordies, and Hart leads the league in saves. That makes Aargh, Joe Hart, Aargh, this week’s Fantrax goalkeeper value play.
Rui Patricio (WOL v HUD, $9.13): The Wolves have the 5th best defense in the Prem, and they’ll host the worst offense this weekend when the Terriers come to yap at them. Even better, Patricio is also averaging over 3 saves per game.
Charlie Daniels (BOU vs ARS, $4.15): Adam Smith suffered a serious knee injury in GW 12, so Daniels looks set for a sustained run in Bournemouth’s starting lineup. He has Arsenal this week followed by City next, so his short-term match ups are not great, but at $4.15 he could make a useful enabler.
Kevin Long (BUR v NEW, $3.05): Long is deputizing while James Tarkowski recovers from groin surgery. With Newcastle’s anemic offense coming to visit Turf Moor this weekend, Long’s price tag makes him a bargain.
Lucas Digne (EVE v CAR, $11.95): He has now put in 8 straight 90-minute league shifts, returning double-digits in 6 of them. I see no reason not to expect more of the same at home against Cardiff.
Andrew Robertson (WAT v LIV, $12.65): He’s expensive, but Liverpool boast the league’s joint-best defense, and Robertson also offers attacking potential. He’s a good bet against Watford if you can fit him in.
Victor Lindelof (MUN v CRY, $4.00): With 8 goals this season, Palace are tied for the EPL’s second-worst attack. Lindelof is a cheap route to the potential United clean sheet.
Ryan Bennet, (WOL v HUD, $6.31): Like Patricio: Wolves boast one of the best defenses in the league, and the Huddersfield offense is the worst. Bennet is the least-expensive Wolves defender who is CS-eligible and likely to start.
Fabian Delph (MCI v WHU, $3.11): Benjamin Mendy left the hospital on crutches over the weekend after undergoing knee surgery. Delph will likely replace him at left back, and Saturday’s fixture against West Ham looks tasty. Indeed, at $3, Delph should be set-and-forget for weeks. (Eligible as D or M).
Robbie Brady (BUR v NEW, $2.19): Brady surely used the international break to continue to build his match fitness after recovering from a hamstring injury, and could now be ready to put in a full shift. Even if he doesn’t go the full 90, for $2 you almost can’t lose.
Richarlison (EVE v CAR, $17.08): The tough match up against Chelsea brought his price back down to earth a bit, and his prospects look much more favorable hosting the Bluebirds this weekend. (Eligible as M or F).
André Schürrle (FUL v SOU, $12.01): The appointment of Claudio Ranieri should serve as extra motivation for the German winger this weekend. Will we see a “new manager bump” in his performance? (Eligible as M or F).
David Silva (WHU v MCI, $15.13): With Kevin De Bruyne unavailable and Bernardo Silva a serious doubt, Silva seems assured of a start for this week’s plum fixture against the Hammers. One caveat: He tends to underperform away from home, but so do virtually ALL of City’s midfielders. Another one to watch: Ilkay Gundogan ($7.44) is fit again and is a terrific bargain if he looks set to start.
Leroy Sané (WHU v MCI, $12.71): During Mendy’s injury absence earlier this season, Pep tended to look to Leroy Sané to provide width on the left wing. If Pep adopts the same tactic while Mendy is sidelined again, then the young German represents terrific value for money. (Eligible as M or F).
Anthony Martial (MUN v CRY, $11.72): With 6 goals in his last 5 games, it’s amazing that you can still pick him up for less than $12. He pulled out of the French national squad due to an adductor injury, but it’s likely that he’ll return to United’s lineup for the favorable match against Palace. (Eligible as M or F).
Ki Sung-yeung (BUR v NEW, $3.96): Ki deputized for Jonjo Shelvey in GW 12, notching 10 points without a goal or assist. Shelvey remains a doubt for the trip to Burnley, so Ki is a great value this week if he looks set for another start.
Rúben Neves (WOL v HUD, $11.93): Wolverhampton’s midfield string-puller is averaging more than 11 ppg over his last three games, and this week the Wolves host 19th-place Huddersfield. Neves also hogs virtually all set pieces, including PKs.
Aleksandar Mitrovic (FUL v SOU, $12.96): It has been six game weeks since Mitrovic last found the net, but this week he’ll be trying to impress his new manager against the 17th-place Saints.
Jamie Vardy (BRI v LEI, $11.54): Vardy is another who hasn’t put an onion in the basket in quite a while. But he tends to do OK on the road, and at his price he’s a decent shout against Brighton.
Raheem Sterling (WHU v MCI, $20.90): He’s cheaper than Sergio Aguero and tends to do better than Kun away from home. It’ll be a punch in the gut if he doesn’t start though, and with Pep you can never be 100% sure. Follow team news.
Manolo Gabbiadini (FUL v SOU, $3.95): Danny Ings ($12.07) is an injury doubt for the clash at Fulham. And since the Cottager’s new gaffer will likely focus on shoring up a porous defense that has conceded 31 goals in 12 games, I think Gabby is a better gamble than Ings this weekend. He scored last time out and costs less than $4.
Raúl Jiménez (WOL v HUD, $14.95): He’s perhaps a bit pricey, but he’s by far the Wolves’ most dangerous attacker, and his opponent this week is feckless Huddersfield.
Sadio Mané (WAT v LIV, $16.19): Only 5 teams have defenses that are stingier than Watford’s, so I’m reluctant to endorse paying retail for Mo Salah this week. Mané is available for $7 less, so that’d be how I’d roll if I were sizing them both up to tilt at the Hornets.
Which of these players are on your mind this week? What players are you contemplating who aren’t on my list? What changes do you expect Claudio Ranieri to make at Fulham, and will we see a new manager bump? Please tell us your thoughts in the comments below!