Boxing Day sure did bring some fireworks to the EPL! Everton stomped Burnley 5-1, Liverpool crushed Newcastle 4-0, and Spurs demolished Bournemouth 5-0. In all, a total of 33 goals were scored across 10 games, and only 4 of 20 teams failed to find the net.
The deluge of goals resulted in some banner Fantrax performances: Twenty-two players earned 15+, seven players registered 20 points or better, and three players even surpassed 30 points (Eden Hazard, Felipe Anderson, and Paul Pogba).
Hopefully many of those players were in your squads! Our own Chris Manfredi certainly had some of them in his. He tied Team sokaik80 for the top NMA League performance for the week with a whopping 186 points!
Will Game Week 20 bring Fantrax managers even more joy? We shall soon see. Below are the fixtures, followed by my picks.
- Brighton v Everton
- Fulham v Huddersfield Town
- Leicester v Cardiff
- Tottenham v Wolverhampton
- Watford v Newcastle
- Liverpool v Arsenal
- Crystal Palace v Chelsea
- Burnley v West Ham
- Southampton v Manchester City
- Manchester United v Bournemouth
Please note that due to the short turn-around between the mid-week and weekend fixtures, this article is publishing before pricing adjusts, so we’ll start with some barn-door opportunities, and then YMMV.
Sergio Rico ($1.75, FUL v HUD): Make no mistake: Fulham are awful. But Huddersfield have only scored 12 goals this season, and they’ve only scored more than 1 goal away from home once. For $1.75, I’m rolling with Rico this weekend.
Ben Foster ($7.70, WAT v NEW): Newcastle’s offense is the second-worst in the league, and the loss to Chelsea will dent Foster’s price.
Jordan Pickford ($7.21, BRI v EVE): A string of 5 games without a win or or a clean sheet steadily drove Pickford’s price down. But the improvement in Everton’s fixtures began with Burnley yesterday, and continues this weekend with Brighton (who will be without star goalkeeper Matt Ryan, who has departed for the Asian Cup).
Ben Gibson ($1.00, BUR v WHU): Gibson was handed his first Premier League minutes of the season yesterday, and he rewarded his manager’s faith with a goal. If he retains his start, he won’t need to do much against West Ham to justify his price.
Lucas Digne ($13.50, BRI v EVE): If he’s not already in your team, you’re way late to the party. He’s averaging over 11 ppg and notched a brace yesterday. Everton’s upcoming fixtures are kind, so grab him right now before the barn door closes on the 27 points he collected yesterday. Below are his two goals; they’re both worth watching.
Yerry Mina ($1.75, BRI v EVE): The man who this summer tied the record for the most goals scored by a defender in a single World Cup (three) finally netted his first Premier League goal yesterday. If you don’t have the cash for Digne, Mina is a budget-friendly alternative.
Ryan Sessegnon ($7.11, FUL v HUD): He announced his return to fitness yesterday by scoring almost immediately upon his second-half introduction. He makes the list this week because of his opponent, and because he offers you the flexibility to line him up at any position except goalie. (Eligible as D, M, or F)
Trent Alexander-Arnold ($11.79, LIV v ARS): Arsenal’s attack is formidable, but their defense is not. TAA should find some attacking joy against the Gunners, and a clean sheet would be icing on the cake.
Dejan Lovren ($3.80, LIV v ARS): Injuries to others mean he’ll keep his place, and I wouldn’t be shocked to see him poke a loose ball into the net again.
Juan Foyth ($3.12, TOT v WOL): He’s averaging 7 ppg and picked up 10 yesterday. He’s a cheap route into what has become one of the league’s best defenses lately, and since Wolves don’t score much away from home, the potential for a Spurs clean sheet is there.
José Holebas ($12.57, WAT v NEW): A little pricey, but his attacking threat and set-piece duties make him worth the extra cash for this fixture. If you want a cheaper route into the potential Watford clean sheet, Kiko Feminía ($6.63) has a lower ceiling but is half the price. (Both are eligible as D or M)
Robbie Brady ($1.95, BUR v WHU): He sat out against Everton, but that could mean he starts against the Hammers (check latest news at deadline time).
Johan Berg Gudmundsson ($11.21, BUR v WHU): After missing the previous two games through injury, JBG returned to action as a second-half sub against the Toffees. In 27 minutes he mustered 6 crosses. He should be in the S11 for the visit of West Ham, and I expect double digits from him.
Sadio Mané ($15.20, LIV v ARS): He was unlucky not to score against Newcastle. Arsenal’s flimsy defense will have fits trying to contain him. (Eligible as M or F)
Oleksandr Zinchenko ($1.66, SOU v MCI): Fabian Delph was shown straight red (and 3-match suspension) for a poor tackle yesterday, so I would expect Zinchenko to line up at left back (but as a mid in Fantrax) this weekend. He’s a steal at $1.66.
Leroy Sané ($16.47, SOU v MCI): Raheem Sterling has failed to register even a shot on goal in the past two games, so Sané seems a better bet for the trip to Southampton. Riyad Mahrez ($11.79) is also a good choice if he looks set to start. (Both are eligible as M or F)
Kevin De Bruyne ($1.36, SOU v MCI): City have suffered three losses in their last four games, slipping down to third place (a full 7 points adrift of Liverpool). Pep will be forced to field his best team this weekend, and KDB will certainly be among them. That price may never be seen again.
Paul Pogba ($14.03, MUN v BOU): Boom! José is gone, and Pogba has exploded, putting up 19 points on Saturday and a mind-blowing 35 yesterday. Hopefully you barn-doored him. If not, then you have a few more hours.
Anthony Martial ($11.60, MUN v BOU): Martial missed out yesterday due to illness. If he recovers, that enforced rest could mean he starts against Bournemouth. (Eligible as M or F)
Christian Eriksen ($11.11, TOT v WOL): Only four teams have better defenses than Wolves. But Eriksen excels at home, and Spurs are scoring for fun lately. He’s a bargain at $11.
Son Heung-Min ($13.15, TOT v WOL): Six goals in his last 5 games, and averaging 18.6 ppg over his last 7. I have no idea how his price has stayed as low as it has. He’s at risk for a rest, and he’ll leave soon for the Asian Cup, but in Fantrax’s unlimited transfer format, I can’t argue with anyone who brings him in for now (especially if you do it before the barn door closes). Besides, if you join us for the Pre-Deadline chat you’ll know whether or not he’s starting. (Eligible as M or F)
Robert Snodgrass ($9.94, BUR v WHU): Snoddy has been on a tear lately — the Watford match was the first game in five in which he failed to score or assist, but he still put up 9 points. He blanked again against the Saints today, but again put up 9. The trip to Burnley will present him with a prime opportunity to get back on the scoresheet.
Felipe Anderson ($17.73, BUR v WHU): He’s pricey, but he was all over the Saints on his way to collecting 33 points from two goals and 4 SOTs today. We are witnessing a genuine break-out here: His 8 goals only halfway through this campaign equal his maximum for any full season he’s played since his professional career began. And oh, by the way, he scored a brace and put up 29 points in the reverse fixture with Burnley back in November. Get him on the barn door if you want him because his price is about to jump.
Roberto Pereyra ($14.32, WAT v NEW): The wonder goal against Chelsea yesterday extended Pereyra’s double-digit Fantrax streak to 4 games. With feeble Newcastle visiting Vicarage Road next, I see no reason he can’t make it 5. His golazo comes at about the 1:20 mark (and incidentally, Hazard’s goal at the 0.55 mark was his 100th for Chelsea):
Aleksandar Mitrovic ($14.32, FUL v HUD): Mitrovic hasn’t scored since his two-goal, 25-point haul against Southampton on Nov. 24th. But the tilt with fellow drop-zone dwellers Huddersfield is critical to Fulham’s survival hopes, so the Cottagers will pour everything they have at the Terriers. That bodes well for Mitrovic’s fantasy returns.
Jamie Vardy ($11.30, LEI v CAR): Leicester’s hitman has 3 goals and one assist in his last 5 games. And Leicester have just achieved back-to-back victories against Chelsea and Manchester City. With both player and team in fine form, I’ve added Vardy to my side.
Mo Salah ($22.90, LIV v ARS): Anyone who saw Brighton run circles around Arsenal’s defense understands why Mo Salah is worth his steep price this weekend.
Sergio Aguero ($15.10, SOU v MCI): For all his skill, young Gabriel Jesus is probably not equipped to lead a struggling City back to the mountain top. Pep therefore needs Kun to rediscover his form — and quick (and some fine KDB service may help with that). I think the Argentinian gets the call for the crucial match against Southampton.
Harry Kane ($22.12, TOT v WOL): He has scored or assisted in 7 of his last 9 matches (and one his blanks was just a 16-minute cameo). We’ve now entered the second half of the season, so the Golden Boot race will increasingly fire his mind. He’ll be motivated by the fact that he’s currently one goal shy of league-leader PEA (and tied with Mo Salah).
Gerard Deulofeu ($6.04, WAT v NEW): After double-digit hauls in the two games prior, Deulofeu’s 1 point return against Chelsea was a disappointment. However, the forward’s real-life play against the Blues was sharp and dangerous, so if he brings that play to the match with Newcastle I think his Fantrax owners will be amply rewarded.
Which of my Fantrax picks do you think will score best in Game Week 20?
This poll is closed
Kevin De Bruyne
How many of Game Week 19’s big performers did you have? Who are you bringing in for this week, and who are you moving out? Let us know in the comments below.
Also, please note that there is no early game this week. Game Week 20 opens with simultaneous kickoffs from BRI v EVE, FUL v HUD, LEI v CAR, TOT v WOL, and WAT v NEW, all at 15:00 GMT/10:00 EST. Join us in the NMA Pre-Deadline Chat for confirmed lineups for those fixtures ahead of the transfer deadline.