Well, it looks like one of those weeks where four of the “Big Six” teams face tricky fixtures, but two of the top sides have extremely welcoming affairs. So should you load up on Chelsea and Manchester City, or spread things around more? If you own discounts, should you hold for long term results or gamble on short-term gain? Those are the big questions, so take a look at the players who look likely to provide prosperous returns in order to come up with the right solution for your team.
Caveat: You’re rolling with Benjamin Mendy @4, Marcos Alonso @10, Aleksandar Mitrovic @7 etc etc if you have them at such discounts, but it’s tough to recommend those stars at their currently astronomical retail prices. These are the recommendations for your slots that need filling...
Kepa Arrizabalaga ($7.62, Chelsea v. Cardiff)
The new Blues’ backstop is averaging 8.75 ppg, and he’ll be expected to improve on that tally at Stamford Bridge against the anemic Bluebirds. A clean sheet win gets you 10 points as you know, and if he makes any saves, that should be some gravy on top. Crystal Palace’s Wayne Hennessey is also a pretty good option at around the same price point, but Kepa is at home.
Alex McCarthy ($7.15, Southampton v. Brighton)
McCarthy has had two huge games (22 and 19 points) along with two nothing-burgers (2 and -2). At home against Brighton, I think you know which result is more likely.
Rui Patricio ($5.33, Wolverhampton v. Burnley)
Burnley’s defense has vanished into the Bermuda Triangle this season, and while its offense has been in hiding, that’s pretty much always been the story. You should never expect too much scoring from the Clarets, particularly on the road. Patricio started off poorly, averaging 2.5 ppg in his first pair of games, but has perked up with 12.0 ppg across his past two, and all signs point to continued momentum.
Jonas Lossl or Ben Hamer ($5.02 or $3.20, Huddersfield v. Crystal Palace)
Lossl kept 7 clean sheets in 19 games at Kirklees last season, and he’s already one-for-one this campaign. Crystal Palace isn’t bad, but they’re not great either. They’re really pretty middle of the road, right? Hamer is expected to be fit following injury, so if you do want to go with a Terrier keeper, be sure to check team news to see which way David Wagner is leaning.
Kieran Trippier ($9.31, Tottenham v. Liverpool)
It’s a tough match-up, sure, but Trips has returned value in all three of his fixtures so far regardless of difficulty: 18 v. Fulham, 9 at Manchester United, and 11 at Watford.
And if you already own Trippier @4, then hold tight, strengthen your Fantrax password, and pray he isn’t injured this season!
Jonny ($6.71, Wolves v. Burnley)
The H-less Jonny started off slowly, averaging 2.0 ppg in his first two games, but he has picked it up with a 10.0 ppg mark in the past pair. He should be able to keep that going against the Clarets.
David Luiz ($6.51, Chelsea v. Cardiff)
“Sideshow Dave” Luiz averaged 7+ ppg each of the previous two seasons, and while he hasn’t done much so far in the first four games this campaign, you really don’t need much on top of the expected CS bonus to return value, given his price.
Jannik Vestergaard ($5.99, Southampton v. Brighton)
You could pay more for Ryan Bertrand, Wesley Hoedt, or Cedric Soares. But why would you, when you can get about the same return for cheaper? Vestergaard has been a major reason for the Saints’ improved defense this season, and he should help keep that theme going at home against Brighton.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka ($5.80, Crystal Palace at Huddersfield)
As David has done long before me, I’ll continue singing AWB’s praises. All he does is score fantasy points... at least when he doesn't get sent off for a last-defender pro take-down. Other than the -3 debacle against Liverpool, AWB has returned 11 and 18 points this season, after averaging 9 ppg last year. Not bad for the cost, eh?
Diego Rico ($4.41, Bournemouth v. Leicester)
The newcomer scored 8 points at Chelsea when his suspension ended so he could finally take the wing-back spot from Charlie Daniels. If you’re looking for a “defender” who belies the name for this week and beyond (his fixture list to the end of October is mouth-watering), then cheap Rico’s your man. The argument against adding him, of course, is that nobody wants to be reminded of this (best viewed after drinking 3+ beers — You’ve been warned!):
David Silva ($11.97, Manchester City v. Fulham FC)
With Kevin De Bruyne injured, David Silva is Pep Guardiola’s go-to-guy pulling the strings in midfield. He has scored 10 and 14 points in his two home games so far, so you should count on another double digit effort in an expected wide open game against Fulham.
Gylffi Sigurdsson ($9.92, Everton v. West Ham)
Siggy has hit double digits twice so far, and he will be asked to step up again with Richarlison still suspended and Theo Walcott injured. At home against the horrible Hammers’ worst-in-league defense, that’s a gimme.
James Maddison ($8.40, Leicester at Bournemouth)
The Madd Man has earned at least 8 points in three of his four games, so you can’t stop rolling with the promising youngster, particularly against the Cherries who do not boast a lock-down defense.
Lucas Moura ($8.01, Tottenham v. Liverpool)
No, I don’t necessarily expect Lucas to keep up his form given the tough match-up against Liverpool. But I do expect him to keep starting, and his price is still extremely affordable, so it’s not a bad lottery ticket if he does manage to keep rolling.
And if you own him at $4.33... Hold with a death grip until we hear bad news, which we hope won’t happen all season!
Mohamed Elyounoussi ($6.39, Southampton v. Brighton)
Elyounoussi scored 12 points in his only home start so far, and this fixture promises another good return for the dynamic attacking midfielder.
Mateo Kovacic ($3.81, Chelsea v. Cardiff)
Kovacic has been a bust so far from a fantasy perspective, averaging only 1.7 ppg. But he attempted six shots against Bournemouth, and it feels like only a matter of time before he explodes. At his cheap price and with this fixture, why not now? At the very least, put him and his price on your barn-door short list against any emergency that may open a slot during the weekend.
Sergio Aguero ($19.13, Manchester City v. Fulham)
Kun has disappointed in three of the four games... but he got a hat trick and 39 points in the other one. You could get stuck with another dud here, but you don’t want to miss out if he goes off. Counting last season, he has 18 goals in his past 19 home games, so there’s a good chance he will bring joy to the Etihad.
Eden Hazard ($18.12, Chelsea v. Cardiff)
Hazard has 17 and 18 points in his two starts so far, (49 points in 223 minutes overall), so you can pretty much bank on 15+ while hoping for 20+ given this weekend’s locale (The Bridge) and competition (just lost 1-3 at home to Norwich in the EFL cup).
Wilfried Zaha ($14.28, Crystal Palace at Huddersfield)
Zaha burned many fantasy owners with his unexpected injury no-show in GW4. But the talented Eagle is expected to pass fit this weekend, and he has scored 10+ points in each of his three games so far this season, and he returned double digits in both games against Huddersfield in 2017-18.
Gabriel Jesus ($13.59, Manchester City v. Fulham)
If you can’t afford Kun, his young strike partner is a good alternative. Gabriel is averaging 16.5 ppg in the two home games so far, and he should get the start given the absence of KDB along with injury doubts in midfield surrounding Bernardo Silva and Raheem Sterling.
Pedro ($10.96, Chelsea v. Cardiff)
Whomever starts up top among Alvaro Morata or Olivier Giroud should prove a good option, but it’s unclear which Maurizio Sarri will go with. Whether Pedro makes the XI is not as much of a concern, given that he has done well so far in both roles, averaging 10.7 ppg in his three starts and notching 14 points in his lone substitute appearance.
Reminder: This week’s early match is the Liverpool at Tottenham (Wembley) barn-burner, so those teams’ starters will be announced before the roster deadline. Therefore, despite the toughness of the match, those players gain some value from the nailed-on start (or option to sell if not starting). All Fantrax managers should join NMA in our Pre-Deadline Chat in the hour(s) before kickoff to share news, confirmed lineups, and panic-buy recommendations!
How many changes are you making to your team? Which players are you counting on for fantasy glory this week? Are there any other players who weren’t mentioned above that look good to you? Who’s on your barn-door watch list? Do you enjoy seeing (and chattering about) one or more confirmed matches’ starters at deadline time? Let us know in the comments!