GW-9 was another rough week for me in our NMA-11 league. Except for Trent Alexander-Arnold’s 3 points, my defense actually did well, with Tom Heaton producing 10, Diego Rico 13, and Matt Targett 21. But the rest of my team was a mess, with midfielders Kevin De Bruyne, Manuel Lanzini, Sadio Mané, and Harry Wilson combining for a total of 13 points, plus forwards Teemu Pukki and Harry Kane collecting only 7 points after Sergio Aguero’s no-show goose egg.
So despite owning a lot of names I felt good about, I finished on a very mediocre 67 points, behind 55 other players in the league. That places me 10th overall, with a grand total of 838 points. Team tampatonz won the week with 114 points — good enough for 2nd place overall, just 16 points behind Sparta FC, who sits atop the pile with 904.
I did better in the NMA-17 league, where nice scores from Yerry Mina, Diego Rico, and Jack Grealish helped me reach 90 points for the week despite zeroes from Aguero and Mo Salah — two of my heaviest hitters. But that was still 28 points short of the total for the week’s winner, Team C444si. That league’s overall leader is Stats&Luck with 1084, but KMFC is in hot pursuit, trailing by just 6. I sit about 100 points behind them in 25th.
My best performance occurred in the NMA-Sub league, where strong returns from Heaton, Rico, Mina, Andrew Robertson, and Nicolas Pepe propelled me to 97 points and a 3rd-place finish. Notably, Mina and Pepe were subbed in by the league’s algorithm after Aguero and Salah failed to appear. When arranging your starters and reserves, don’t forget that that’s how this league works! Sir Boy United won the week with 105 points, but my 97 were enough to see me to the top of the overall leaderboard with a total of 939. Just as he is in the NMA-17 league, Ken is also nipping at the leader’s heels here, where KMFC is just 7 behind.
As happy as we were to put the international break behind us and return to EPL action in Game Week 9, this week the specter of mid-week European tournament competition looms large. Here’s a run-down:
Yesterday Manchester City smashed Atalanta 5-1 in Champions League action at the Etihad. Sergio Aguero, Riyad Mahrez, and Raheem Sterling all started and went the distance, with Kun notching a first-half brace before Sterling did him one better with a second-half hat trick. Rodri Hernandez pulled a hamstring and was replaced by John Stones, while Nicolas Otamendi and João Cancelo came on in the second half for Kevin De Bruyne and Benjamin Mendy, respectively. Jesus and the two Silvas were unused subs.
Tottenham also played a CL fixture last night, rebounding from their troubling league draw with Watford to crush Red Star Belgrade 5-0 in London. Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min each notched a brace, with Erik Lamela also finding the net. Serge Aurier lined up at right back and went the distance. Eric Dier replaced Son in the 68th minute, while Juan Foyth and Giovanni Lo Celso replaced Jan Vertonghen and Dele Alli shortly thereafter. None of these substitutions seemed to be forced by injury.
Tonight Chelsea and Liverpool have Champions League games, while tomorrow sees Manchester United, Wolves and Arsenal in Europa League action. Be sure to follow lineups and team news from those matches for developments that could affect rosters this weekend.
The weekend’s full menu is listed below, followed by my picks. Be mindful that we have a Friday deadline this week — do not miss it! And of course, Southampton vs Leicester is the opening match, so we should have those two confirmed lineups for that game ahead of the Fantrax buzzer. Tune in to our Pre-Deadline Chat for that, as well as all the other team news you need to know ahead of Game Week 10.
Friday 25 October 2019
- Southampton vs Leicester
Saturday 26 October 2019
- Manchester City vs Aston Villa
- Brighton & Hove Albion vs Everton
- Watford vs AFC Bournemouth
- West Ham United vs Sheffield United
- Burnley vs Chelsea
Sunday 27 October 2019
- Newcastle vs Wolves
- Arsenal vs Crystal Palace
- Liverpool vs Tottenham
- Norwich City vs Manchester United
Roberto Jiménez (WHU vs SHU, $2.75): The Blades are averaging less than one goal per game, and Jiménez’s nine saves for the Hammers last weekend showcased his ability. Still priced below $3, he won’t need a win or a clean sheet to return value, but both could be possible against Sheffield. He’s in all three of my Fantrax squads this week.
Rui Patrício (NEW vs WOL, $9.29): Newcastle has scored only one goal over their last four games, while Patrício has averaged almost 12 ppg over that same span. I typically don’t like to pay up for keepers, but if I had cash to burn on a premium-priced option this week, Patrício would be my guy.
Hector Bellerin, Kieran Tierney (ARS vs CRY, $2.20): The Gunners have found it difficult to maintain any kind of consistency this year, and Monday’s loss to Sheffield United brought that struggle into painfully stark relief. Neither Bellerin nor Tierney has played a minute of league football yet this season, but could Unai Emery now be ready to field one or both of these two fullbacks? Follow team news for clues — they could be killer enablers at home against an Eagles team that is averaging less than one goal per game.
Diego Rico (WAT vs BOU, $8.02): Diego is averaging nearly 10 ppg over his last five games, and the Hornets are still winless. Rico is looking pretty suave right now.
Benjamin Mendy (MCI vs AVL, $2.59): Oleksandr Zinchenko suffered a knee injury that kept him out of the mid-week Champions League squad. Details are vague, but it sounds like he could miss the league game this weekend as well. Mendy started both last weekend and in CL, then was taken off in the 70th minute against Atalanta, so he must be in Pep’s thoughts for the tie with Aston Villa. At just $2.59, he’s a crazy good value if he looks set to start again.
John Stones (MCI vs AVL, $3.14): Rodrigo Hernandez pulled up with a hamstring injury last night and was replaced by Stones. The Englishman could be in line for a home start this weekend, and like Mendy, he’s terrific value at a hair over $3.
Aaron Cresswell (WHU vs SHU, $7.63): Cresswell failed to pass fit for the visit of the Eagles after picking up a knock against Everton. But he should be ready to resume his role as Manuel Pellegrini’s preferred left back this weekend, and he’s averaging 10.75 ppg.
Pascal Gross (BHA vs EVE, $8.44): Brighton’s 28 year-old German has been showing glimpses of the Fantrax stud that he was in years past. A play-maker who has also pumped in 15 accurate crosses this season, he has produced double-digits in each of his last two matches. He also takes set pieces, including spot kicks.
Mason Mount (BUR vs CHE): Mount has scored in three of his four away games this season, returning 9 points in the only one where he didn’t crack double digits.
Theo Walcott (BHA vs EVE, $6.54): Walcott flashed his brilliance against West Ham over the weekend, notching an assist and 16 points in a stellar attacking performance. He’s as inconsistent as he is talented, unfortunately, but for $6.54 he could be worth a shot for the trip to the Amex.
Harvey Barnes (SOU vs LEI, $7.00): Barnes provided the helpers for both goals in the 2-1 victory over Burnley, and represents good value at $7.00.
Kevin De Bruyne (MCI vs AVL, $16.59): He was subbed off in the 67th minute of the mid-week Champions League match, presumably with an eye toward preserving him for this weekend. The Premier League champs host a newly-promoted team on Saturday, setting the stage for the league’s best player to shine.
Todd Cantwell (NOR vs MUN, $10.18): Cantwell has managed double-digits in every home game except for one, and the only time he fell short he finished on 9.
Manuel Lanzini (WHU vs SHU, $7.80), Andriy Yarmolenko (WHU vs SHU, $7.52): These guys pretty much cost the same and have the same average return. Lanzini gets more phantoms and has a safer floor, while Yarmolenko is more of a direct attacking threat and has a higher ceiling. Pick the one who suits your style.
Alexandre Lacazette (ARS vs CRY, $9.76): Lacazette has played in two home games this season, and scored in both. After the shocking shutout loss to Sheffield United on Monday, Unai Emery will look to energize his attack, and that could mean a start for the Frenchman.
Chris Wood (BUR vs CHE, $11.48): Four goals and 58 points over his last four games, and yet he remains reasonably priced for the visit of the Blues.
Tammy Abraham (BUR vs CHE, $17.66): Six of his eight goals have come on the road, and since cracking Frank Lampard’s S11 Abraham has delivered double-digits six out of seven times.
Callum Hudson-Odoi (BUR vs CHE, $3.93): Not enough cash for Abraham? No problem. CHO costs less than $4 and is averaging 8 ppg.
Sergio Aguero (MCI vs AVL, $20.70): He put in a full shift in last night’s mid-week CL game, scoring twice, but was rested for the league trip to Crystal Palace on Saturday. I don’t expect Pep to keep Kun in his track suit for two league games in a row, especially since this one will be at the Etihad, where he tends to be preferred over Jesus. The Villans have promised to attack the Citizens, and an open match could offer Aguero the opportunity to run wild. He’ll be on PK duty too.
Anthony Martial (NOR vs MUN, $7.48): Sidelined since August, Martial returned to the squad for a 6-minute cameo last time out. He still may not be ready for a full shift, but he’s cheap and faces Norwich’s porous defense. He may not need to see much pitch time to return value.
Raul Jimenez (NEW vs WOL, $13.22): Although his Fantrax return was marred by a yellow card last time out, Jimenez has produced a goal and two assists over his last two games. Wolves are undefeated in their last six games across all competitions, and their Mexican striker / spot-kick taker appears to be returning to form.
Who else is in your thoughts? And whom are you worried about dropping? Are there any special cases in the alt Fantrax leagues where more slots beckon? Please share in the comments below!