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Week 28 Fantrax EPL Player Picks: Emotional Distance

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There is not much turnaround time between Weeks 27 and 28, so don’t delay making changes to your Fantrax fantasy Premier League teams!

Sergio Aguero - Manchester City - Premier League
Sergio Aguero is at the Etihad, which makes him a pretty automatic Player Picks headliner.
Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

I am a big fan of the FX-to-FXX sitcom You’re the Worst. For those of you who have no idea what the heck that is — and I suspect that is a vast majority — it’s centered around Jimmy (played by Chris Geere) and Gretchen (Aya Cash), who never have enjoyed successful relationships due to the fact that they are self-centered and self-destructive, respectively, but somehow manage to discover love together.

It is a far from perfect show, perhaps most notably because it features a rich, accomplished writer and a rising music executive who live in the most amazingly perfect house straight out of Dwell magazine in the ultra-hip Silverlake district of Los Angeles. Who could root for characters like that? Then again, maybe therein lies the meta-genius of it all. Unless you also happen to be a terrible, toxic person yourself, you’re not really supposed to root for them.

After many ups and downs, laughs and cries, sexual improprieties and other fanciful binges, the show now careens verily and merrily toward its end, with the fifth and final season revolving around (SPOILER ALERT!) the upcoming nuptials of Jimmy and Gretchen. Lest we devoted viewers get too excited (ANOTHER SPOILER ALERT!), recent episodes have more than heavily hinted that there will not be any light at the end of the tunnel, which should not be a surprise on any level. After all, the theme song consists of these words only: “I’m gonna leave you anyway. I’m gonna leave you anyyyyway. I’m gonna leave you any way.” We’ve always known how things would ultimately end, even if we may have tried to trick ourselves into hoping for the slightest glimmer of character growth from, and happiness between, Jimmy and Gretchen.

It’s only natural to view fantasy Premier League through the same lens. At this time of the season, as we also see the end coming all too quickly, repeat after me: Do not get too attached to your team. Do not get too attached to your players. Don’t expect them to grow, learn and mature before your eyes. Keep an emotional distance!

Sure, if you have an enormous discount on a player, you may want to hold on to him. But every week that passes, as we get closer to the end of the season, the calculus veers from long-term productivity to short-term dividends, and it becomes time to operate primarily on a week-to-week basis. After all, when the season is over, the fantasy players you hold so near and dear to your heart are most definitely going to leave you anyway. (At least for the summer.)

With that in mind, who are the best bets for this set of Tuesday / Wednesday games?

[Note #1: Prices listed below are barn door costs for the standard NMA league ahead of the salary update. YMMV.

Note #2: There are FOUR games which should have the starting XIs posted ahead of Tuesday’s Fantrax deadline: Cardiff v. Everton, Huddersfield v. Wolves, Leicester v. Brighton, and Newcastle v. Burnley.]

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GOALKEEPERS

David De Gea (Manchester United at Crystal Palace, $12.12)

Just take a look at De Gea’s last four scores away from Old Trafford: 16, 22, 32, and 16. Palace is coming off a remarkable four-goal effort but still has one of the weakest attacks in the league.

Rui Patricio (Wolves at Huddersfield, $8.63)

At Bournemouth, Wolves continued their annoying habit of giving up one goal and failing to keep a clean sheet. But this match is at Huddersfield, which has scored by far the fewest times of any team in the league. So if Patricio and Wolves are going to get back in the clean sheets, this is the week.

Tom Heaton (Burnley at Newcastle, $4.67)

Heaton is averaging 9.75 ppg in his 8 games this season, earning fewer than 5 points only once. He’s averaging 9.5 ppg on the road, so that’s not a problem. Sure, Newcastle is coming off a rousing victory, but so is Burnley.

Jonas Lossl (Huddersfield v. Wolves, $1.88)

For those of you who hate paying much over the bare minimum for keepers, Lossl’s your man. He’s coming off a 10-save, 12-point effort in the loss at Newcastle, and now he’s home facing a mediocre Wolves offense.

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DEFENDERS

Fabian Schar (Newcastle v. Burnley, $8.36)

I’m not a big fan of paying much for defenders, but I can see doing so for Schar given his contributions on both ends of the pitch. Schar has returned 9+ points in four of the past five games, with eight shots (3 SOT), two goals and an assist in that time. At home to Burnley offers a fairly good chance at the clean sheet bonus as well.

Jeffrey Schlupp (Crystal Palace v. Manchester United, $5.36) [D/M eligible]

Schlupp has averaged 12 ppg starting the past three games, and he notched 15 points at Leicester without benefit of a goal, assist or even shot on target.

Chris Smalling (Manchester United at Crystal Palace, $5.22)

A la Schlupp, albeit for Manchester United, Smalling has returned to the XI recently, earning 8 points in each of the past two games.

Sead Kolasinac (Arsenal v. Bournemouth, $4.73)

While he’s been attractive in the Official FPL format, the Tank has been disappointing this season in Fantrax. But he’s really come on lately, averaging 10 ppg in the past five games.

Nathaniel Clyne (Bournemouth at Arsenal, $2.99)

Clyne has scored 4+ points in each of his 6 starts this season, and has fared well against “Big Six” competition with 10 against Manchester United and 8 versus Chelsea, so you shouldn’t worry about him coming up short on the trip to the Emirates.

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MIDFIELDERS

Paul Pogba (Manchester United at Crystal Palace, $21.24)

Pogba is averaging 15.9 ppg at home this season, even managing 12 points in the nil-nil draw with Liverpool. United should enjoy far more offensive joy against Palace.

Raheem Sterling (Manchester City v. West Ham, $20.47) [M/F eligible]

The Citizens are a machine at the Etihad, so loading up on Sky Blue assets should be a priority, and Sterling is as good a place to start as any. The dynamic winger has scored 16, 14, and 29 points thanks to two goals and assists each across his past three home games.

James Ward-Prowse (Southampton v. Fulham, $7.24)

Fantasy managers would normally be excited to load up on a team welcoming the league’s most porous defense, but unfortunately this week it’s 18th place Southampton doing the honors. With Danny Ings out injured, JWP is probably your best bet at Saints’ joy on the offensive end.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Arsenal v. Bournemouth, $6.13)

Mkhy has returned to Unai Emery’s XI, posting 5 and 19 points in the past two weeks. He should keep the joy going at the Emirates against the vulnerable Cherries.

Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City v. West Ham, $4.04)

Not a dollar-man anymore, but still way under-priced since returning to fitness.

Isaac Hayden (Newcastle v. Burnley, $3.69)

Hayden has exploded for a goal and three assists in the past five games, averaging 9.8 ppg in that stretch. Can he keep it going at St. James’ Park against Burnley? Why not try to find out?

Ryan Babel (Fulham at Southampton, $1.11) [M/F eligible]

Babel scored his first goal for the Cottagers on Saturday, and easily could have made it two. That put his average up to 6.8 ppg, and he’ll have a nice chance of exceeding that at Southampton.

Miguel Almiron (Newcastle v. Burnley, $1.00)

A whirl of activity with 4 shots (3 SOT), the MLS transplant returned 16 points in 81 minutes on Saturday despite failing to notch a goal or assist. That brought him up to 19 points in only 99 total minutes of action since the trip across the pond. For a buck, that’s absolute gold! Grab him on the barn door if you haven’t already.

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FORWARDS

Sergio Aguero (Manchester City v. West Ham, $19.57)

Kun is averaging 16.4 ppg at the Etihad this season, boasting two straight hat tricks. 14 of his 17 goals (and 4 of his 6 assists) have come at home!!! Now a West Ham side that has conceded the 14th most times in the league comes to Manchester. You simply can’t risk not having Aguero in your team.

Harry Kane - Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League
Back in the XI, back in the goals.
Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Harry Kane (Tottenham at Chelsea, $19.57)

Recovered from injury, the Tottenham talisman returned to the XI at Turf Moor, scoring a goal and returning 18 points. Spurs go on the road again, this time to Stamford Bridge for a London derby. But don’t panic, Maurizio Sarri’s Chelsea defense is not nearly as imposing as those of Jose Mourinho or Antonio Conte.

Raul Jimenez (Wolves at Huddersfield, $16.22)

Jimenez has four goals plus an assist in the past five games, and now Wolves face the worst team in the league.

Alexandre Lacazette (Arsenal v. Bournemouth, $14.07)

Lacazette has surprisingly usurped Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as the more reliable Arsenal forward, starting the past seven games and scoring in five of them.

Ashley Barnes (Burnley at Newcastle, $10.72)

I don’t exactly expect Barnes to keep up his four-game goal-scoring streak, but I didn’t think he would poach the winner against Tottenham, either. Sometimes you just have to keep riding the hot hand (or foot, or head).

Michy Batshuayi (Crystal Palace v. Manchester United, $1.00)

Even though it was far more luck than skill, the Batsman scored a goal in his first EPL start for Palace, returning 17 points. It will be tougher sledding against the Red Devils’ top notch defense, but Batshuayi is active enough that he should more than return value on his bargain basement (barn door) price tag.

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What players are you buying on the barn door? Which others have you jettisoned? Are you keeping any one-week deputies who were covering blanks in GW-27? Who else is on your radar? Please let us know in the comments below!

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