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Game Week 4 Fantrax EPL Player Picks

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It’s Wednesday already, and that means it time to sort your Fantrax squads. Step inside for my thoughts on your best choices.

Sergio Aguero - Manchester City - Premier League
With Jesus sidelined by a hamstring injury, Sergio Aguero looks certain to start this weekend. He hosts Brighton at home — do you dare go without him?
Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

We’re only three days out from the most recent English Premier League fixtures, but some teams have already seen action again. Crystal Palace and Norwich were eliminated from the Carabao Cup last night, while Southampton, Brighton, Aston Villa, Watford, West Ham, and Sheffield United all advanced to the next round. After-action reports indicate that Michail Antonio suffered an ACL tear, Tim Klose and Matt Targett did their hamstrings, and Nathan Redmond picked up an ankle issue.

Everton, Bournemouth, Burnley, Newcastle, and Leicester all play today. In addition, Wolves have a Europa League playoff match tomorrow. Be sure to follow lineups and injury reports from all these games for news that could affect this weekend’s league matches.

Okay, on to the picks. Below are the fixtures, followed by my player recommendations. Remember that the SOU v MUN match is the early game, so we should have confirmed lineups in advance of the Fantrax transfer deadline. Tune in here for that info, and for all the other news you need to know to maximize your fantasy returns this week.

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Saturday 31 August 2019

  • Southampton vs Man United
  • Chelsea vs Sheffield Utd
  • Crystal Palace vs Aston Villa
  • Leicester vs Bournemouth
  • Manchester City vs Brighton
  • Newcastle vs Watford
  • West Ham vs Norwich
  • Burnley vs Liverpool

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Sunday 1 September 2019

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Goalkeepers

Tom Heaton ($3.40, CPL vs AVL): Heaton collected 12 points on the strength of his win and clean sheet against Everton on Friday, and yet despite this his price actually dropped. On Saturday he travels to Selhurst Park to face an Eagles offense that has scored only 2 goals this season. He’s in all of my Fantrax squads this week.

Adrián ($5.54, BUR vs LIV): Amazingly, Liverpool have yet to keep a clean sheet this season. Also amazingly, Burnley are in 6th place and have scored 5 goals. But a win for the Reds seems certain here, so at $5.54 Adrián should return value even if the Clarets manage to spoil his clean sheet.

Rui Patrício ($9.00, EVE vs WOL): Everton have scored only one goal so far, and Wolves have allowed only two. Wolves play yet another Europa League match tomorrow, but this time it’s at the Molineux, so at least there won’t be any travel fatigue.

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Defenders

Diego Rico ($3.40, LEI vs BOU): In only his second full appearance since recovering from a knee injury sustained in March, Charlie Daniels was rushed to the hospital after reportedly dislocating his knee cap in the 32nd minute of the Manchester City match on Sunday. He will likely face another prolonged injury absence, which could hand Rico another run in the S11. Rico put up 6 points without a clean sheet in Bournemouth’s season opener, before being pushed to the bench by the return of Daniels.

Emerson ($8.97, CHE vs SHU): Emerson has returned 16, 11, and 12 so far, all without the benefit of a single clean sheet. He’s shaping up to be a Fantrax points machine (this year’s Digne), and I see no reason why that pattern shouldn’t hold when the Blades visit Stamford Bridge this weekend.

Yerry Mina ($5.80, EVE vs WOL): Mina is averaging almost 8 ppg and hosts a Wolves side that has scored only two goals this season.

Caglar Soyuncu ($3.94, LEI vs BOU): Although Soyuncu notched an assist last time out, it’s his defensive play that warrants your fantasy attention. He’s averaging 6 ppg, mostly through tackles won, blocked shots, interceptions, etc. And Leicester’s defense has conceded just two goals so far, so a clean sheet could be a nice bonus this weekend as well.

Joel Matip ($8.59, BUR vs LIV): Matip scored last time out, but even without the goal he would have returned 8 points. He looks like Jurgen Klopp’s preferred partner for Virgil van Dijk, and Klopp is working hard to make sure his side stop leaking consolation goals.

Oleksandr Zinchenko ($7.55, MCI vs BRI): Benjamin Mendy wasn’t fit enough to even make the bench against Bournemouth, so it seems likely that Zinchenko will continue at left back this weekend. He put up 9 points in his last home match, and that was against Spurs to whom the Citizens conceded two goals.

Ashley Young ($7.97, SOU vs MUN): The Saints beat Brighton over the weekend, but both goals came only after Florin Andone’s red card reduced the Seagulls to ten men. The Saints have only scored one other goal this season, so United will fancy their chances for a clean sheet on Saturday. Luke Shaw is out with a hammy, so Young should be set to deputize. When he subbed in after Shaw’s injury on Saturday, Young collected 8 points in just 56 minutes.

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Midfielders

John McGinn ($12.37, CPL vs AVL): McGinn’s price has risen to a height that might begin to give folks pause, but the guy just can’t stop piling up points, with 15, 20, and 11 so far. The most threatening asset in Villa’s midfield, he looks a good bet to continue to thrive against the Eagles this weekend.

Jack Grealish ($8.18, CPL vs AVL): Grealish doesn’t appear to have the upside potential that his Scottish midfield partner offers, but his average ppg is still higher than his price, and he costs a third less than McGinn. He also scored as a late sub in last night’s Carabao Cup game, so the young man does have goals in him.

Ross Barkley ($5.54, CHE vs SHU): While Mason Mount has understandably grabbed all the attention, at nearly $13 Mount is now fully-valued in the NMA-11 format. But Barkley is still a bargain. He has accumulated 11 points in just 148 minutes of play this season, and looks set to start in the #10 role for the home match against the Blades on Saturday. Happy to shoot from anywhere at any time, his Fantrax returns should easily exceed his price this weekend.

Youri Tielemans ($6.09, LEI vs BOU): No goals or assists yet, but we know this guy’s quality. The home match against the Cherries will offer him a nice opportunity for his first attacking returns of the season.

Kevin De Bruyne ($11.97, MCI vs BHA): KDB’s assist against Bournemouth was his fourth of the season and made him the fastest player in Premier League history to notch 50. You should already have him, but if you don’t, it’s time to wake up.

Emiliano Buendia ($8.78, WHU vs NOR): So far Buendia has recorded two assists, three SOTs, five ACs, and two CFs. The engine that drives the Canaries’ offense, he also takes set pieces. I expect another productive day when he faces the Hammers on Saturday.

Todd Cantwell ($8.78, WHU vs NOR): No one has been able to keep a clean sheet against the Canaries yet, and I don’t expect that to change when they take their dynamic offense to the London Stadium this weekend. Like his teammate Buendia, Cantwell is averaging 9.33 ppg. But he’s been playing closer to the pointy end of Norwich’s spear, with a goal and two assists to his credit so far.

Manuel Lanzini ($7.40, (WHU vs NOR): This week the Hammers welcome a Norwich side that is fully committed to playing open football. That philosophy makes the Canaries fun to watch, but it also tends to leave their defense exposed — they’ve conceded a league-worst eight goals so far. Lanzini is averaging over 9 ppg, and has a great chance of putting up his third double-digit performance in a row on Saturday.

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Forwards

Wesley ($7.77, CRY vs AVL): Wesley has managed an SOT in every game he’s played this season, and on Friday he finally broke his Premier League duck in the 2-0 victory over Everton. Still priced very reasonably, he’s a solid play this week.

Tammy Abraham ($7.57, CHE vs SHU): After pedestrian performances in the first two league games and a missed PK that cost Chelsea the UEFA Super Cup, Abraham finally announced himself on Saturday. The 21 year-old notched the game’s first goal in the match with Norwich, then bagged the winner in the 68th minute. He should keep his start and looks an excellent value for the visit of the Blades.

Jordan Ayew ($5.71, CRY vs AVL): He was dropped to the bench for the Eagles’ second game of the season, but returned to the S11 for Saturday’s trip to Old Trafford. He rewarded his manager’s faith by scoring the game’s opening goal. Benteke went the distance in last night’s Carabao Cup loss while Ayew was a 73rd-minute sub, so Ayew should be set to start again this weekend. His price is low and the opponent favorable. Two SOTs and he’ll have paid you back.

Roberto Firmino ($12.62, BUR vs LIV): Mohamed Salah’s retail price is too high for me now, but Firmino is still a good value. He took 6 shots (one on target) against Arsenal, and his creativity is probably underrated because the flashy men who play on either side of him tend to steal the spotlight.

Sergio Aguero ($19.25, MCI vs BHA): Hopefully you bought him on the barn door before his two-goal, 21-point performance against Bournemouth rocketed his price up above $19. But with Jesus sidelined by injury and the Citizens welcoming Brighton to the Etihad this weekend, Kun is worth the outlay even now.

Harry Kane ($14.91, ARS vs TOT): Two things we know about Harry Kane: One, he typically struggles in August. Two, his scoring record against Arsenal is almost unbelievable: He has netted in eight of the last nine North London Derbies. One of those things will have to give this weekend, but at less than $15 for one of the league’s elite strikers, I’d be comfortable gambling that he makes it nine out of ten. (At $9.28, Son Heung-Min is a fine choice as well).

Sebastien Haller ($10.77, WHU vs NOR): Haller put up 9 against Manchester City and then was benched with a knock for the trip to Brighton. He started against the Hornets on Saturday though, exploding for a brace and 24 points. At 25 the Frenchman is entering the prime of his career. He scored 15 goals in 29 Bundesliga appearances last season. At $10.77 he’s priced right for what will be an open game against the Canaries. Buy now and then hang on for a West Ham fixture list that includes only one Big Six side in the next nine games. (Haller was an unused sub in the Carabao cup loss last night, so he’ll be fresh for Norwich.)

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Which players are you eyeing this weekend? Did you pick up any of Game Week 3’s big performers on the barn door? Which players do you wish you owned but just couldn’t fit in? Please tell us in the comments below.

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