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Fantrax EPL Game-Week 16 Player Picks: Barn Door Edition

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Put down those leftovers and get to work on your teams — the deadline is tomorrow — early tomorrow!

Nick Pope - Burnley - Premier League
The Christmas season seems like just the right time to bring in a guy named “Pope”.
Photo by Visionhaus

Game-week 15 has literally just ended, but game-week 16 is already upon us. The deadline is only hours away, so we need to dive straight into the picks. As a result, this article has gone to press before the GW 16 price adjustment, and quoted player prices therefore reflect GW 15. The barn door shuts tonight at 18:00 Pacific / 21:00 Eastern / 02:00 GMT, so get your shopping done before then to save some dough!

Just a couple of things to keep in mind before we get down to business though. First, Fulham, Tottenham, Liverpool, and Newcastle are the only four teams that have more than just a single day off between their GW-15 and GW-16 matches. Consequently we can expect rest, rotation, and injuries to wreak havoc on our fantasy squads. Yay!

Second, GW 16 opens with Crystal Palace hosting Leicester, so we should have confirmed lineups for that match ahead of the Fantrax deadline. Because of what I mentioned in the preceding paragraph, that information will never be more valuable than it is this week. If you have doubts about players in your squad, this match offers you precious certainty.


Goalkeepers

Robert Sanchez (BHA vs ARS, $2.82): Was Arsenal’s win yesterday a turning point or just a one-off? It’s too soon to know for sure, but if you need a cheap GK, Sanchez remains your man. Today’s 2-2 draw with West Ham United was Brighton’s third in a row, but he’s never failed to return value in any of those matches.

Nick Pope (BUR vs SHU, $15.22): Leeds put an end to Burnley’s four-game undefeated streak today, but before that Pope had piled up over 120 points in his previous six games. Meanwhile, Sheffield United lost again yesterday, sitting bottom with only two points and eight goals on the entire season.

Illan Meslier (WBA vs LEE, $10.82)): Meslier had a monster 34-point haul in today’s 1-0 victory over Burnley, and the Frenchman again looks a good bet for the trip to the Hawthorns to face West Brom’s feeble attack.

Hugo Lloris (TOT vs FUL$13.88): One of the league’s best defenses will host one of the league’s worst offenses when Spurs welcome the Cottagers this weekend, and that should spell good news for Hugo Lloris.


Defenders

Charlie Taylor (BUR vs SHU, $12.45): Add Taylor’s value going forward to the potential for a clean sheet against the Blades, and he’s worth the spend this week. Ben Mee ($8.81) is another good play.

Cesar Azpilicueta (CHE vs AVL, $3.42): Ben Chilwell and Reece James both made surprise starts yesterday after recovering from injuries that had been expected to keep them out. But with only one day of rest before Chelsea plays again, you’ve got to imagine that one or both of them will be given a breather for the Villa game. Azpi is capable of deputizing for either, and he returned double-digits last time he filled in.

Joel Matip (NEW vs LIV, $4.88): A low-risk approach to this fixture. Post-publication edit: Matip was withdrawn from today’s match with an injury. His replacement, Rhys Williams ($1.00), could now be your low-risk route into Liverpool’s D. If you’re feeling more daring (and have the budget), then go for Trent Alexander-Arnold ($9.73) instead.

John Stones (EVE vs MCI, $4.36): Against a Toffees side that will be without Richarlison and (probably) James Rodriguez, Stones offers the best combination of price, potential, and security of starts.

Alex Telles (MUN vs WOL, $4.81): Luke Shaw put in a full shift yesterday, and Manchester United still has two more games this week. You’ve got to think Ole Gunnar Solskjaer rotates Telles in on Tuesday in order to spare Shaw from playing three games in seven days.

Serge Aurier (TOT vs FUL, $8.64): Doherty was handed the start against his former club today, so it should be Aurier’s turn again on Wednesday. And that makes for good timing: Spurs host 18-place Fulham, who have scored only 13 goals this season. Sergio Reguilon ($7.48) was withdrawn at the hour mark today, so he should be ready to start again on Wednesday as well.


Midfielders

Bertrand Traore (CHE vs AVL, $7.05): After opening the scoring against Crystal Palace yesterday, Traore was sacrificed to shore up Villa’s defense after Tyrone Mings was sent off. That means he’ll be rested and fresh for a quick turn-around tomorrow.

Anwar El-Ghazi (CHE vs AVL, $6.70): Yesterday the “Notorious AEG” put up his fourth goal in four games, earning a ridiculous 88 points over that span. He’s on pens and is still reasonably-priced.

Christian Pulisic (CHE vs AVL, $4.94): This game has all the makings of a cracker, which means Pulisic should have plenty of room to operate. He’s averaging more than 10 ppg over his last four games, despite scoring only once during that span.

Raphinha (WBA vs LEE, $6.39): His returns have exceeded his current price in each of his last four games, and this week he travels to play the lowly Baggies.

Marcus Rashford (MUN vs WOL, $13.69): He has four goals in his last five games, and Wolves are struggling for consistency.

Tanguy Ndombele (TOT vs FUL, $5.34): He seems to have finally nailed down a role in the S-XI, and even though he rarely goes the full 90 he’s one of the few Spurs middies besides Son who regularly scores well. True to form, he was taken off in the 70th minute after scoring today, but that just means he’s likely to be recovered and ready to go again on Wednesday.


Forwards

Ollie Watkins (CHE vs AVL, $10.15): Seven SOTs and a bazillion chances over his last three matches, but he just can’t seem to drop the onion in the bag. It’s coming though, and even without a goal he posted 22 points yesterday.

Olivier Giroud (CHE vs AVL, $2.86): I thought Frank Lampard might have started the big Frenchman against his former side, but he didn’t. Indeed, Chelsea’s gaffer has now preferred Tammy Abraham for two league matches on the trot. But Giroud had two goals over the three games prior to that, and with only one day separating round 15 from round 16 for Chelsea, I think Giroud gets the nod to face the Villans.

Ferran Torres (EVE vs MCI, $3.11): Jesus remains sidelined with a positive coronavirus test, and Pep Guardiola is still treating Sergio Aguero with kid gloves. Consequently Torres was handed a start yesterday, and made good by scoring City’s second goal before making way for Kun. The early withdrawal means that he should be ready to go again tomorrow. Aguero ($1.40) will likely come on for him again though, so that makes Kun a reasonable play too.

Mohamed Salah (NEW vs LIV, $22.60): His goose egg (in real life as well as Fantrax) against West Brom broke a four-game scoring streak. But that will drop his price after the adjustment tonight, so wait and see if you can afford to bring him in in the morning. ‘Pool’s pen-taker could be worth it against Newcastle.

Che Adams (SOU vs WHU, $12.35): Adams tends to do pretty well at St. Mary’s, especially against clubs that are mid-level and lower. I like him for the home match against the Hammers.

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So how are you handling the quick turnaround? Doing your shopping on the barn door? Or jumping in during the countdown hour on Monday? Please let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

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