Fulham has been a very friendly fantasy team to target this season with opposing players, as the 19th place Cottagers have conceded by far the most goals (65, or 2.24 gpg, the only team over 2.00 gpg). But should we rethink things following the spirited fight under new interim manager Scott Parker against Chelsea? Especially since Fulham faces mid-table Leicester, who lost in Brendan Rodgers’ first game in charge?
Well, the Fulham game came at Craven Cottage, and the Cottagers still came up short, on the wrong end of 2-1 to a Blues side featuring exhausted stars while regulars Pedro, Mateo Kovacic, David Luiz, and Marcos Alonso rested either largely or entirely. The Foxes, meanwhile, lost 2-1 on a late goal away to a solid Watford FC side, hardly a bad result.
Yes indeed, it’s time to grab a wealth of Leicester players. Rodgers gets his first full week of training, so he should be able to better make an imprint this time out. On top of that, not only is a game at King Power Stadium against Fulham very appetizing, but the next half dozen fixtures are quite favorable as well: at Burnley, v. Bournemouth, at Huddersfield, v. Newcastle, and at West Ham, before the schedule takes a trickier turn. Unfortunately, though, a longer term approach less attractive than in the Official FPL format, as you may want to blow up your Fantrax teams when the double gamers arrive in game-week 32. At the moment at least, the Foxes are not on the guest list at that dance party.
[Note: The prices below are for the standard 11-man NMA league; YMMV.]
James Maddison (M/F, $16.20)
The Madd Man has scored 8+ points in each of the past five games, averaging 11.8 ppg in that spell while actually outshooting forward Jamie Vardy, 15 to 12.
Ricardo Pereira (D, $14.40)
Overall, Pereira is averaging 8.62 ppg this season, which is not good value at retail. But amazingly, he has scored in double digits every single time he has recorded a clean sheet. If you expect a clean sheet against the Cottagers — and the likelihood of that is certainly good — then he should bring you a smile.
Jamie Vardy (F, $11.45)
Vardy is on a tear, scoring in three of the past four games. The only concern is that he left late in the Watford game with a head injury, so be sure to check team news as the deadline approaches to make sure that it looks like he’ll pass fit.
Kasper Schmeichel (GK, $4.76)
Schmeichel is only averaging 2.55 ppg this season, and worse, just 1.93 ppg at King Power. That’s, um, not so good. But here are the scores of the past five keepers who have faced Fulham: Chelsea’s Kepa Arrizabalaga (9 points), Southampton’s Angus Gunn (18), West Ham’s Lucasz Fabianski (9), Manchester United’s David De Gea (16), and Crystal Palace’s Vicente Guaita (10). Sometimes it’s all about the opponent.
Harvey Barnes (M, $2.51)
Sure, the performance at Watford was a stinker for Barnes, as he returned only 1 point. But the promising youngster has notched 4+ points in each of his other games following the January loan recall from West Brom, and he is averaging 5.57 ppg overall.
Youri Tielemans (M, $1.48)
The newcomer has scored 3, 9, 4, and 7 points, and he seems to be developing a nice chemistry with Maddison and Vardy. Good value for about a buck and a half? You betcha!
Of course, it’s not all about Leicester City this week. There are other appealing match-ups to help you round out your squad.
HOPPING MAD REDS
Slipping to second place after the disappointing nil-nil draw at Goodison Park, Liverpool will have something to prove in front of the home faithful. With 16th place Burnley coming to town, the odds will most definitely be in the Reds’ favor.
Sadio Mane (M/F, $17.81)
You’re gonna want cover from Mo Salah (F, $23.60) and/or Sadio Mane with Burnley coming to Anfield. Not only is Mane cheaper, but he has also been absolutely on fire with six goals in his past seven games, whereas Salah has scored only once in his past six tilts, so I’d lean toward Mr. Mane if you can only afford one. You could also go further down the price range to the more inconsistent Roberto Firmino (M/F, $11.57), a tidy alternative to Vardy if the Leicester sniper misses out.
Trent Alexander-Arnold (D, $13.37)
The Notorious TAA has scored 20+ points in each of his past two games, and is averaging 12.0 ppg at home this season. If you don’t mind paying up for a defender, you should be rewarded.
Joel Matip (D, $5.34)
Matip has been sensational filling in for the injured Dejan Lovren, particularly at home where he’s averaging 9.0 ppg.
PRANCING IN THE PALACE
Crystal Palace v. Brighton is the only match that will show us confirmed lineups during the countdown to the Fantrax deadline.
Palace and Brighton are only separated by two spots in the standings, but with Palace in pretty good recent form and being home at Selhurst Park, several Eagles look to be standout selections.
Luka Milivojevic (M, $16.98)
Milivojevic scores most of his goals from the penalty spot. Meanwhile, Brighton has conceded the most PKs (eight) in the league. Sound like a tempting combination?
Wilfried Zaha (M/F, $15.17)
Zaha has been on fire lately, with five goals and an assist in his past five games, and he’s notched double digits in seven of his past eight tries.
Jeffrey Schlupp (D/M, $7.14)
Since returning to the XI, Schlupp has averaged 11.0 ppg in five games, emerging as an integral part of the offense with a score and a helper.
Wayne Hennessy (G, $3.09) or Vicente Guaita ($3.99)
Hennessey scored 7 points in the victory over Burnley, and seems likely to get the start again. But if Roy Hodgson turns back to Guaita, he’s averaging 4.86 ppg, and would have a mighty good chance at exceeding that mark.
Michy Batshuayi (F, $2.44)
The Batsman has breathed a bit of life into the Palace attack, notching double digits in three of his five appearances for the London side.
OTHER HOOFERS TO FILL OUT THE DANCE FLOOR
Sergio Aguero (F, Manchester City v. Watford, $19.29)
Kun has scored 15 of his 18 goals at the Etihad, and those lopsided efforts have resulted in a 16.08 ppg average at home. Where is this game? You guessed it, right in the cozy comforts of Cottonopolis!
Harry Kane (F, Tottenham at Southampton, $20.06)
The Tottenham Talisman has netted seven times in his past eight affairs, and while Spurs hit the road, it’s against 17th place Southampton who have conceded seven times in the past four games.
Nathaniel Clyne (D, Bournemouth at Huddersfield, $3.34)
Clyne returned only one stinking point midweek, but that was against Manchester City. This game is against Huddersfield. The loaner from Liverpool is averaging 6.0 ppg in his eight starts this season, so you shouldn’t mind plunking down a bit over three clams on him.
Gonzalo Higuain (F, Chelsea v. Wolverhampton Wanderers, $2.89)
Higgy has been feast or famine in his five games so far, but at less than 3 buckaroos, you won’t feel much pain if he goes quiet, and you get a gosh darn good shot at joy.
Florian Lejeune (D, Newcastle v. Everton, $2.70)
Lejeune is averaging 5.25 ppg on the season, and now a tepid Toffees’ attack which has suffered three clean sheets in its past four games comes to St. James’ Park.
Jan Gorenc Stankovic (D, Huddersfield v. Bournemouth, $1.93)
Stankovic has started the past pair of games, delivering 8 and 5 points in a defensive midfield role. Not bad for under two samoleons, eh? On top of that, the Cherries are abysmal on the road, where they have the 2nd worst differential (-22) of any team in the league.
Manuel Lanzini (M, West Ham at Cardiff, $1.00)
Following a long injury recovery and a return to full fitness, Lanzini made his first start of the season against Newcastle, earning 5 points. In each of his prior three seasons, he has averaged at least 6.9 ppg. The dynamic — and blindingly cheap — Argentine should be able to get back into flying form as 18th place Cardiff visits London town.
Are you loading up on Leicester or another team, or instead looking to spread things around? And are you looking ahead to the disrupted schedule coming our way? Let us know your thoughts and questions in the comments!