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Fantrax EPL Player Picks: Game-Week 11

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After months of picking off players in onesies and twosies, COVID has finally scrubbed the weekend plans of two entire clubs. If you now need to go shopping for replacement players, or if you’re just looking for some upgrades, read on for my take on game-week 11’s best buys.

Caoimhin Kelleher - Liverpool - Premier League
You probably have no idea who this guy is, but Caoimhin Kelleher could be wearing Liverpool’s #1 jersey this weekend.
Photo by Paul Ellis/PA Images via Getty Images

First things first: If you haven’t heard, the Aston Villa / Newcastle match that was scheduled for Friday has been postponed due to a COVID outbreak at Newcastle’s training ground. Public health authorities have shut it down, rendering the Magpies’ unable to prepare for the match. Therefore, with the FA’s blessing, the two clubs have mutually agreed to try again another day.

The immediate ramification for Fantrax managers is that as it stands, any players we hold from these two clubs now have a blank game-week in round 11. Secondly, the transfer deadline is now extended until Saturday, just prior to the Burnley / Everton match. (As always, be sure to log in to our Pre-Deadline/Live Chat thread for confirmed lineups for that tie, as well as the latest team news from across the league.)

In the longer term, the postponement means that Villa will now hold two games in hand, and Newcastle one. It also means we could see a heretofore unanticipated double-game week for these two clubs, depending on when the league decides to schedule the make-up.

Bottom line: Make sure you account for this match cancellation before you finalize your GW-11 squads.

On to the picks.


Goalkeepers

Edouard Mendy ($11.79, CHE vs LEE): Mendy has clean sheets and double-digits in five of his six league starts. Leeds is fearless and will attack even away from home, but that may just mean that Mendy will get some save points as a cherry on top.

Vicente Guaita ($8.26, WBA vs CRY): Palace’s defense is a solid outfit, and the Baggies have scored only seven goals all season.

Kasper Schmeichel ($13.28, SHU vs LEI): The Blades are off to the worst start in EPL history, taking just a single point from ten games. And they’ve scored only four goals along the way, so Schmeichel’s prospects for a victory and clean sheet look bright.

Ederson ($8.49, MCI vs FUL): The Cottagers shocked Leicester over the weekend, but don’t expect lightning to strike twice. Win points are a virtual certainty, and a clean sheet should be in the cards as well.

Caoihmin Kelleher ($2.20, LIV vs WOL): Alisson picked up a hamstring issue during the Brighton & Hove Albion game on Saturday, and in Tuesday’s 1-0 UCL victory over Ajax on Tuesday, it was Kelleher instead of Adrian who got the call to deputize. The 22 year-old was excellent, making several outstanding saves including a superb stop late in the game to preserve the win and the clean sheet. After the match, Jurgen Klopp’s praise for the 22 year-old was effusive, so it’s difficult to imagine the Irishman won’t be rewarded with his first EPL start this weekend. He’s your GK value play for GW11, and has Fulham coming up as his opponent in GW 12 if Alisson is still out.


Defenders

Ben Chilwell ($13.98, CHE vs LEE): In the seven games he has played he has managed to amass five clean sheets, two goals, and two assists. The match with Leeds will be open, so I expect him to collect points at both ends of the pitch.

Patrick van Aanholt ($4.78, WBA vs CPL): Now finding his feet after returning from a long injury absence, he has averaged over 9 ppg across his last three matches. Grab him while his price is still low.

Wesley Fofana ($7.48, SHU vs LEI): Fulham held the big Frenchman to just two points last week, but that was a fluke. This week he visits the Blades who probably couldn’t score if the team bus dropped them off at a brothel. With a clean sheet Fofana should clear double-digits.

Joel Matip ($2.64, LIV vs WOL): Back from injury, he played the full 90 in Tuesday’s clean-sheet victory over Ajax in the Champions League. And with ‘Pool’s defense depleted by injuries you’ve got to figure he gets another 90 this weekend. Wolves are a tricky opponent, but Liverpool are ridiculously good at home, so Matip makes a handy enabler this week.

Benjamin Mendy ($2.46, MCI vs FUL): Mendy’s return to the lineup was marked by a goal and a clean sheet. Oleksandr Zinchenko started the Champions League match against Porto on Tuesday, so it should be Mendy’s turn again for the tasty tie with Fulham on Saturday.

Sergio Reguilon ($7.95, TOT vs ARS): Matt Doherty is back from COVID isolation to challenge Serge Aurier for a starting berth at right back, but on the other side of Tottenham’s defense, Reguilon seems to have solidified himself as Jose Mourinho’s first-choice left back. While the North London derby is usually a hotly-contested affair, the Gunners are off to their worst start in the club’s Premier League history. In his last two games Mourinho has held Chelsea and Manchester City scoreless, so Reguilon could profit at both ends of the pitch this weekend.


Midfielders

Pascal Gross ($6.39, BHA vs SOU): I can’t even remember how long it has been since Gross has made a Player Picks article. But the German has worked himself back into Brighton’s lineup and has now started the last four matches in a row, averaging over 10 ppg across that span. The home tie with the Saints should provide more opportunity for profit.

Hakim Ziyech ($7.20, CHE vs LEE): I like the idea of a Chelsea asset for the home match against Leeds this week. With Christian Pulisic and Kai Havertz still working on match fitness, Ziyech seems like the best value in Chelsea’s midfield. He was subbed off in the 67th minute of yesterday’s UCL victory over Sevilla, so he should be fully-recovered and ready for Leeds this weekend.

Richarlison ($10.69, BUR vs EVE): The 23 year-old Brazilian is averaging 15 ppg since returning from suspension. This week he squares up to Burnley, who shipped five against City last week.

Kevin De Bruyne ($15.06, MCI vs FUL): I’m terrified that Pep could take the opportunity to rest KDB against the feeble Cottagers, but I’m even more terrified to go without KDB against the feeble Cottagers. Plus, he was an unused sub in the mid-week UCL match, so fingers crossed for Saturday...

Michail Antonio ($8.93, WHU vs MUN): He’s back from injury, and his price has dropped to less than $9. That’s terrific value for the Hammers’ talisman, who is also their primary penalty taker now that Mark Noble isn’t a regular starter anymore. Unfortunately, Antonio has been ruled out for GW 11 (Thanks Stall!).


Forwards

Danny Welbeck ($5.99, BHA vs SOU): Welbeck has now started three games in a row for the Seagulls, and with Neil Maupay unavailable this weekend he will likely make it four. Over his three starts, he has amassed more than 37 points, including a 17 point performance against Liverpool last weekend without a goal or assist. Welbeck could be a great differential for GW 11.

Jamie Vardy ($17.07, SHU vs LEI): He’s not cheap, but he is ridiculously good away from home: Vardy is averaging almost 22 ppg on the road this season. In fact, all of his best performances in the 2020-21 campaign have occurred on a pitch other than the King Power. Also: The Blades are are very bad football team.

Diogo Jota ($10.39, LIV vs WOL): With four goals in his last five games, he’s in better form than any of his Liverpool peers, and he’s less expensive too.

Gabriel Jesus ($5.76, MCI vs FUL): With Raheem Sterling, Riyad Mahrez, Phil Foden, Ferran Torres, and Sergio Aguero all uncertain prospects for GW 11 due to form, fitness, or rotation, I’d be eyeing Jesus as my choice of Sky Blue forwards for this weekend’s cherry fixture. While no Citizen is ever immune from Pep Roulette, Sergio Aguero is now nursing a new knee issue and has not returned to training, and Ferran Torres started at the tip of City’s spear in Tuesday’s UCL match. That should mean a start for Jesus this weekend is as sure as anything can ever be in a Guardiola side.

Harry Kane (24.23, TOT vs ARS): His price is astronomical, but his scoring record in the North London derby is remarkable: ten goals in eleven meetings. Plus, Arsenal have been fairly terrible this season. Caveat: Harry missed training on Wednesday but is still expected to be ready on the weekend; YMMV. For a mere $4.00, Gareth Bale could be a good punt this weekend too.

Tammy Abraham ($9.55, CHE vs LEE): Tammy has contributed to three goals in Chelsea’s last four matches. He took a seat on the pitch and signaled for a sub in the 80th minute of the Tottenham match, but he left under his own power and is expected to recover in time for this weekend’s clash with one of his club’s oldest and most bitter rivals. But follow team news: If Tammy doesn’t pass fit, then it might be time to give Olivier Giroud ($2.20) some love. The Frenchman scored four (yes four) goals against Sevilla Wednesday night.

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Are you dropping any Villans or Magpies due to the postponement of their game? Do you have any you will hold through this blank game-week? Are you treating your NMA-11 team differently then your NMA-17 team? Please tell us about your COVID-induced transfers, as well as the rest of your GW11 plans, in the comments below!

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