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EPL Game Week 29 Fantrax Player Picks: Barn Door Edition

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This weekend’s picks are in, and the barn door is still open (‘til midnight Pacific)! See who I’m recommending in time to grab them before prices rise!

Romelu Lukaku - Manchester United - Premier League
Lukaku notched a brace in today’s match with Crystal Palace. Is it time to jump aboard his train, or is he just trolling us again?
Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

The midweek matches have just finished, and the weekend’s matches will soon be upon us. With no further ado, let’s jump right into the fixtures and picks. First thing to notice is that there are no blanks, no doubles, no weird deadline day, and no late Monday game. In other words, a straight-up weekend:

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Saturday

Sunday

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Goalkeepers

Mat Ryan (BRI v HUD, $4.00): His total over the last 4 games? How about -17 (Yes, negative a lot). But don’t worry. This week he hosts hapless Huddersfield. Watch after the barn door closes; his price will probably drop.

Rui Patricio (WOL v CAR, $8.54): Clean sheets seem to be a thing of the past for Wolves. But home against Cardiff could be the magic for conjuring one again.

David De Gea (MUN v SOU, $12.34): The goal conceded to Crystal Palace today halted DDG’s 3-game clean sheet streak. But a Saints visit offers him a great chance to start a new one.

Willy Caballero (FUL v CHE, $1.00): Got the start today due to Kepa’s on-pitch insolence in the Carabao Cup, and registered a win with a clean sheet against Tottenham. If that’s enough to win the Argentinian another start this weekend, then he’s a fantastic value for the “London Darby“ Craven Cottage. Watch Sarri’s presser to read his tea-leaves.

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Defenders

Gaëton Bong (BRI v HUD, $4.75): The Cameroonian left-back offers you a cheap route into the possible clean sheet, and he should also add some attacking phantoms to the mix too.

Joel Ward (BUR v CRY, $1.00): Obi-Wan Bissaka has been sidelined with a minor hammy; if he can’t recover in time for the weekend, then Joel Ward will deputize again. Good short-term enabler — he even pinched a goal in the loss to United today.

Havard Nordtveit (FUL v CHE, $1.00): Fulham are lousy, and a clean sheet against Chelsea seems unlikely, but the the Hoffenheim loanee only costs a buck.

Joel Matip (EVE v LIV, $4.20): Liverpool boast the best defense in the league, and Matip put up +11 today. His owners could again see double-digit returns if ‘Pool keep a 4th consecutive clean sheet at Goodison Park.

Nicolás Otamendi (BOU v MCI, $5.02): Injuries to others, as well as his suspension from the second leg of the March 12 Champions League match with Schalke, mean that Otamendi is almost a lock to start this weekend. He doesn’t cost much, and his average ppg is higher than his price.

Chris Smalling (MUN v SOU, $5.63): Re-established in the S11 after returning from a long injury absence, he has posted 20 points over his last 3 games.

Fabian Schär (WHU v NEW, $8.88): Offering fantasy owners great potential on both sides of the ball, Schär is a great choice for the trip to face the Hammers.

Daryl Janmaat (WAT v LEI, $4.07): José Holébas is back from suspension, so it’s time to ditch Adam Masina if you’ve been riding that horse. But Kiko Femenía is still out with a hammy, so Janmaat should continue at right back. The Dutchman put up 9 points today despite Liverpool’s 5-0 pasting.

Ryan Bennett (WOL v CAR, $7.25): In Fantrax I don’t really love any of the Wolves defenders, but it’s hard not to include one when they host Cardiff. My choice this week is Bennett.

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Editor’s Pick:

Laurent Koscielny (ARS v TOT, $4.88): Has netted in 3 of his last 5 to earn 71 points (14 ppg!) across that span. Those five matches include Chelsea and Man City, so anything is possible at home hosting Spurs in the more consequential of this weekend’s London Derbies. Of course, it is a derby, so YMMV.

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Midfielders

Pascal Gross (BRI v HUD, $7.86): Brighton’s talisman hosts Huddersfield this week. If there were ever a time to buy him, it would be now, right? Not so fast: He was taken off the pitch yesterday with a muscle injury. Follow team news — if he recovers he could be gold.

Dwight McNeil (BUR v CRY, $5.63): The youngster was replaced by Robbie Brady at halftime, but the veteran was unconvincing. McNeil could continue in the S11 then, and Burnley’s favorable run of fixtures continues this weekend when the Eagles visit.

James Maddison (WAT v LEI, $15.73): When wunderkind Youri Tielemans joined Leicester on loan, it wasn’t clear whether he would improve the fantasy prospects of the players around him or cannibalize them. His effect on James Maddison has been obvious. In the three games before Tielemans arrived, Maddison averaged 6 ppg. Since the young Belgian joined the side, Maddison has averaged 14 ppg. That kind of fantasy productivity makes Maddison worthy of consideration despite his relatively steep price.

Youri Tielemans (WAT v LEI, $1.00): If you don’t have the juice for Maddison, Tielemans is the value-play alternative. He only costs a buck and is averaging over 5 ppg.

Sadio Mané (EVE v LIV, $17.08): He has been on a scoring tear lately, with today’s brace bringing his total to 6 goals in his last 6 games. He’s an excellent alternative to Mo Salah if you don’t have the funds to buy the Egyptian for the Merseyside Derby.

Kevin De Bruyne (BOU v MCI, $3.93): Far and away the best value in the Citizens’ midfield. Double-digit returns for two games in a row, and still priced below $4.00 (until midnight anyway).

Paul Pogba (MUN v SOU, $21.49): Expensive, but under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer he has become one of the league’s best players in both real life and fantasy. And with United stricken by injuries, he’ll have to carry even more of the load against the Saints.

Scott McTominay (MUN v SOU, $1.00): He’s likely to continue in the 11 due to United’s injury woes, and he hasaveraged 6 ppg over his two matches. A bargain-basement alternative to Pogba.

Miguel Almirón (WHU v NEW, $1.29): He has helped spark a rejuvenation of Newcastle’s offense, and he’s still dirt-cheap. 24 points in 180 minutes... and now he’s starting.

Also dirt cheap in the Hammers’ midfield is Manuel Lanzini — not yet firing on all cylinders, but worth keeping an eye on.

Son Heung-Min (TOT v ARS, $14.71): His form has cooled. But the Spurs-Gunners rivalry is deep and bitter, so I think Poch will start Son in this important grudge match. He’ll be a handful for Arsenal’s shaky defense.

Michail Antonio (WHU v NEW, $10.17): He returned -1 today against City, but that can be forgiven. Hosting the Geordies will offer him a fine opportunity to return to his recent purple patch of form.

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Editor’s Note: James Ward Prowse has had a wonderful run, earning many points over the last two months, but he got a zero against the only top-six side he faced. His next two matches are at Man Utd and hosting Spurs, so he may be one of those late season “don’t be too attached” men who should make way for shorter term gains listed above. Again, YMMV.

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Forwards

Chris Wood (BUR v CRY, $8.27) & Ashley Barnes (BUR v CRY, $11.25): Newcastle shut these guys down, but they’ll regroup for the home game against the Eagles. Pick the one you like better, or the one you can afford.

Gonzalo Higuain (FUL v CHE, $1.97): Higgy has gone quiet since the brace against Huddersfield, but “traveling” (a scant mile west) to Fulham is a tonic for any striker’s mojo. At less than two bucks, he’s a screaming bargain.

Wilfried Zaha (BUR v CRY, $14.97): He returned but a single point against Manchester United today, but otherwise Zaha has been in blistering form. He’ll torment Burnley. Michy Batshuayi ($1.87) is a cheaper alternative who is also now starting and playing well.

Sergio Aguero (BOU v MCI, $19.02): Eight goals in his last five games, and Jesus remains a doubt with a hammy.

Raheem Sterling (BOU v MCI, $19.93): Rested to the bench after his Carabao Cup exertions, he played only 35 minutes today but still earned double-digit (+11) points. I think he starts from the opening whistle against Bournemouth and earns more than that.

Romelu Lukaku (MUN v SOU, $9.29): Marcus Rashford was healthy enough to make a late sub appearance, but Lukaku’s brace today is probably enough to earn him another start.

Harry Kane (TOT vs ARS, $20.27): He costs a pretty penny, and he doesn’t seem 100% recovered from his ankle injury yet, but his scoring record in the North London Derby is notoriously good.

Marko Arnautovic (WHU v NEW, $10.30): Arnie missed today’s match with City due to illness, so follow team news. If he looks set to start, he will get chances when the Geordies visit London Stadium (and he could depress Felipe Anderson’s upside).

Raúl Jiménez (WOL v CAR, $16.34): The Mexican’s form has cooled lately, but the home fixture hosting Cardiff will be a ripe opportunity to get back on the scoresheet.

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Keep in mind that Spurs v Arsenal is the early match this week. We’ll have confirmed lineups for that game in advance of the Fantrax deadline, so be sure to tune in to our Pre-Deadline Chat for the scoop.

Who looks good to you this week? Who are you avoiding? Who are you dropping to make way for new prospects? What future schedule twists are affecting your decisions this week? Let us know in the comments below!

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