Yesterday’s EPL games marked the final matches of 2019, and we’re now more than halfway through the season. Having reached that milestone, let’s assess our Fantrax campaigns thus far.
Hall_of_Fame has risen to the throne in the the NMA-11 league, where his 2003 points are 38 better than Team JCUnited1’s and 41 better than Team Tampatonz. Those three teams, along with Whithy Dragons and Sparta FC, have dominated the leaderboard for the majority of the season.
In the NMA-17 league, KMFC PADAWAN continues to rule the galaxy, while his Jedi master KMFC has been exiled to a humble existence on Ahch-To (also known as fourth place). Team minhtruong is in second, with Team c444si in third. As far as I know, these latter two have achieved their accomplishments without the benefit of Force powers. Very impressive indeed.
Some guy named Team David Brian (I’ve heard he’s very handsome) remains in the lead in the NMA-Sub league, followed by Team Captaingerrard and HELLENIC POWER. KMFC is 49 points off the pace in fourth place.
To succeed we have to look ahead though, so here’s what’s coming up this week followed by my picks.
Wednesday 1 January
Brighton and Chelsea lineups should be posted shortly before our deadlines!
- Brighton vs Chelsea
- Burnley vs Aston Villa
- Newcastle vs Leicester
- Southampton vs Tottenham
- Watford vs Wolves
- Manchester City vs Everton
- Norwich vs Crystal Palace
- West Ham vs Bournemouth
- Arsenal vs Manchester United
Thursday 2 January
Alisson ($7.15, LIV vs SHU): If I were shopping for a net-minder this week, I’d look no further than Liverpool’s #1. Alisson is the best keeper in the league, he plays for the best team in the league, and this week he welcomes the Blades’ middling offense to Anfield, where Liverpool are essentially invincible. Hopefully you own him already, but he’s still a great value at $7.15.
Lukasz Fabianski ($5.07, WHU vs BOU): If the prospect of a “no clean sheet, no saves” scenario makes you nervous about Alisson, then maybe Fabianski suits you better. He returned to the lineup on Saturday after a three-month injury layoff and posted six saves and nine points in the losing effort against Leicester. Under a new gaffer at home against the Cherries, he could even add a win and a clean sheet to a tidy collection of saves.
Mamadou Sakho ($1.00, NOR vs CRY): Norwich have found their scoring boots again, having been shut out only once in their last eight games across all competitions. But only three teams have conceded fewer goals than Palace this year, and even if the Eagles don’t keep a clean sheet, Sakho’s cut-rate price almost guarantees he’ll return value.
Joseph Gomez ($3.44, LIV vs SHU): Sheffield’s undefeated road streak was halted by Manchester City yesterday, and on Thursday Liverpool are likely to complete the one-two punch. Gomez represents the cheapest ticket to ride a ‘Pool defense that has now posted clean sheets in four straight games.
Benjamin Mendy ($3.71, MCI vs EVE): Aleksandr Zinchenko was rotated in for the win against the Blades yesterday, so it should be Mendy’s turn again on Wednesday. Everton are undefeated since Marco Silva was sacked, but that streak is likely to end at the Etihad on Wednesday, and Mendy’s bombing runs down the flank will probably have a lot to do with that.
Jan Vertonghen ($7.97, SOU vs TOT), Serge Aurier ($9.87, SOU vs TOT): You can’t find these guys for sale in the discount bin anymore, but given their attacking threat and Soton’s defensive frailty, their prices are justified this week.
Phil Bardsley ($4.71, BUR vs AVL): Bardsley put up eight points against Manchester United despite a yellow card and a failure to keep a clean sheet. He’s averaging 5.5 ppg over his last four matches and could easily exceed that when the Villans visit.
Christoph Zimmerman ($3.53, NOR vs CRY): Zimmerman is averaging 5.2 ppg over his last five matches without a single clean sheet in any of them. He’s unlikely to let you down on Wednesday.
Dwight McNeil ($12.68, BUR vs AVL): McNeil does his best work at home, and there are fewer targets softer than Aston Villa. Plus, three straight fantasy stinkers have nudged his price down nicely.
James Maddison ($18.74, NEW vs LEI): Maddison is a bona-fide Fantrax stud. His productivity was dented a bit by back-to-back games against Manchester City and Liverpool, but he returned to form in a super-sub appearance against the Hammers that generated 7 points in 27 minutes. Now that he’s rested, double-digits seem almost a certainty against the Magpies.
Rihad Mahrez ($16.75, MCI vs EVE): Everton have steadied the ship since Marco Silva was sent packing, but Mahrez’s home form has been imperious — he’s racked up 60 points in has last four matches at the Etihad.
Paul Pogba (ARS vs MUN): Pogba’s per-minute production since returning from injury extrapolates to over 19 ppg, so at just $2.81 he seems like a no-brainer. Follow injury news though: He failed to make the bench on Saturday and did not train today.
Emiliano Buendia ($11.77, NOR vs CRY): Norwich’s string-puller is averaging almost 10 ppg over his last five matches and hogs set pieces.
Moussa Djenepo ($6.07, SOU vs TOT): The 21 year-old’s average return exceeds his price, and he put up 7 points in just 27 minutes upon his return from injury absence on Saturday. On Wednesday he’s likely to feature from the opening whistle.
Christian Eriksen ($6.52, SOU vs TOT): On Saturday Eriksen was granted his first start since November 3, and his tidy 18-point return served us a clear reminder of his huge fantasy potential. The Dane’s stated ambivalence over his future at Spurs has generally caused Mourinho to keep him at arm’s length, but with Son Heung-Min still suspended, Eriksen’s performance on Saturday could see him named to the S11 again this round.
Felipe Anderson ($9.87, WHU vs BOU): Rested on Boxing Day, he’s almost certain to start against a Bournemouth side that has won only one of its last 9 matches.
Michail Antonio ($5.52, WHU vs BOU): Antonio is a bargain — his average return easily exceeds his price. He was rested to the bench on Saturday, so like Anderson he looks set to start on Wednesday. And they both could be boosted by a new-manager bump now that Manuel Pelligrini has been replaced by David Moyes.
Neil Maupay ($12.59, BRI vs CHE): Maupay has registered a goal or an assist in four of his last five starts. And he was rested to the bench on Boxing Day, so we can feel pretty comfortable about his place in Brighton’s starting lineup on Wednesday.
Chris Wood ($9.87, BUR vs AVL): Wood has definitely gone off the boil lately; he’s managed only a single goal across his last seven games. But he’ll get few opportunities better than a home match against Aston Villa to rediscover his form: The Villans sit in the relegation zone and have conceded a third-worst 36 goals.
Mo Salah ($17.11, LIV vs SHU): Paltry returns in his last two matches have seen his price ease a bit, and although he hasn’t gotten much rest over the festive period I think Jurgen Klopp will need him in the lineup to help unlock Sheffield United’s tight defense.
Sergio Aguero ($12.20, MCI vs EVE): Aguero put in 80 minutes yesterday after returning from injury only recently, so his certainty for the S11 against the Toffees is not 100%. But Pep Guardiola does seem to favor the Argentinian over Jesus at the Etihad, and Kun’s price is almost comically low for the quality you’re getting.
Anthony Martial ($11.50, ARS vs MUN): With three goals, five SOTs, and 37 points over his last two games, Martial is in the zone right now. And Arsenal are winless in their last five and have conceded seven goals over that stretch.
Danny Ings ($16.21, SOU vs TOT): Ings is enjoying a career season so far. He’s joint-third among the league’s goal-scorers and trails only Jamie Vardy and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the race for the Golden Boot. And while the appointment of José Mourinho has turned Tottenham’s record around, clean sheets remain scarce for The Special One: They’ve managed only one across his ten games in charge.
Harry Kane ($17.11, SOU vs TOT): On Wednesday King Kane takes his world-class talent to St. Mary’s Stadium to face a Saints defense that is second-worst in the league. Tottenham’s talisman has one of the highest fantasy ceilings in the game, and this is the type of fixture where we could see that kind of production from him.
Troy Deeney ($5.16, WAT vs WOL): Wolves boast a rather well organized defense, but Deeney takes pens and will only cost you an Abe Lincoln. If you need a budget-friendly forward for this round, he’s your guy.
Raul Jimenez ($16.66, WAT vs WOL): Although Adama Traore has been the one who’s caught the eye lately, the Spanish winger’s fantasy returns tend to suffer on the road. I favor Jimenez for the fixture against the 19th-place Hornets, then.
With the pace of league fixtures now slowing a bit, are you still worried about rotation for any of your players? Did you bring anyone in on the barn door? Who are you dropping this week? Please share your plans in the Comments below.