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Game-week 28 Fantrax EPL Player Picks: Fill in the Blanks!

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Four EPL clubs have blanks in GW-28. Whether you’re looking to replace players from those teams or are just in need of a squad refresh, let’s walk through your best options.

Bruno Fernandes - Manchester United - Premier League
After just three games in a Red Devils shirt, Bruno Fernandes has established himself as a linchpin of the team’s attack. Will he be in your Fantrax side this weekend?
Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

After a weird game-week 26 that spanned a fortnight, game-week 27 returned us to a relatively normal Saturday-Sunday-Monday spread. We’ve got another three-day weekend coming up in GW-28, but this one starts on Friday. I repeat: We have a Friday transfer deadline this week — don’t miss it!

But there’s another twist too. Four teams have blanks this week: Arsenal, Aston Villa, Manchester City, and Sheffield United. In bench leagues you can just move players from these teams to the sidelines, but in Fantrax-11 you’ll have to decide whether to sell them or hold on for a guaranteed zero. If you’re selling, see below for some ideas on replacement candidates.

And of course, be sure to check in at NMA for our Pre-Deadline Chat, where you’ll find the team news you need to make informed squad selections, as well as confirmed lineups for the week’s first match: Norwich vs Leicester.

Let’s get after it.

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Friday 28 February

Saturday 29 February

Sunday 1 March

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Goalkeepers

Nick Pope ($10.35, NEW vs BUR): Burnley is on a five-game unbeaten streak since their 0-3 drubbing at the hands of Chelsea on January 11. Over that period Pope has conceded only two goals while stacking up 21 saves and a staggering 79 points. This week he faces a Newcastle side that has scored the joint-fewest goals of any team in the league.

Willy Caballero ($1.00, BOU vs CHE): Caballero costs a buck and plays the Cherries, who have the second-lowest goal total in the Prem. He’s your value-play GK this week.

Alisson ($13.19, WAT vs LIV): Before Monday’s 3-2 victory over West Ham, Alisson had conceded only one goal in his last eleven games — that’s ten shutouts from eleven matches. The narrow victory over the 18th-place Hammers came on the heels of a 0-1 Champions League loss to Atletico. The bear has been poked, and Watford will probably be sorry.

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Defenders

Marcos Alonso ($5.83, BOU vs CHE): Remember this guy? He rose from the fantasy grave to start against Tottenham on Sunday, and he scored the winner. His last league appearance prior to that was two months ago, also against Spurs, where he kept a clean sheet and put up 20 points. He’s a good play if he keeps his spot against the Cherries this weekend.

Reece James ($6.18, BOU vs CHE): His likelihood of starting is more secure than Alonso’s, and we’ve seen his Fantrax potential when he’s on his day.

Phil Bardsley ($4.86, NEW vs BUR): Bardsley is a mid-priced ticket to ride a surging Clarets side that will square up to Newcastle’s feeble attack this weekend.

Scott Dann ($2.15, BHA vs CRY): He notched a clean sheet and an uncharacteristic 13 points against Newcastle. Don’t pin your hopes on another double-digit return against the Seagulls, but at $2.15 he makes a handy enabler.

Djibril Sidibe ($9.44, EVE vs MUN): He’s gone off the Fantrax boil for a few games now, but Carlo Ancelotti will relish the thought of beating United in front of the home fans. We should see Sidibe bomb down the right flank with regularity, and Luke Shawful doesn’t have what it takes to contain him.

Joseph Gomez ($5.90, WAT vs LIV): Monday’s narrow win over the Hammers notwithstanding, Liverpool boast the league’s best defense — by far. On the other hand, Watford sport the league’s joint-worst offense. The West Ham game and the CL loss to Atletico will only harden Liverpool’s resolve, and Gomez is the cheapest way in.

Kyle Walker-Peters ($1.60, WHU vs SOU): Forced to miss the Aston Villa game because of a calf injury, his manager thinks he’ll be ready to return to training this week. Follow team news; he’s a great value if he starts.

Japhet Tanganga ($2.08, TOT vs WOL): He only managed 1 point against Chelsea on Saturday, but he’s likely to do better at home this weekend if he gets another start. Sure Wolves are tough, but Tanganga put up 12 points when Spurs hosted City, and 6 when Liverpool visited.

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Midfielders

Richarlison ($18.33, EVE vs MUN): He’s expensive, but he has returned double-digits in five of his last six games. And I don’t see United keeping a clean sheet in this one.

Harvey Barnes ($10.49, NOR vs LEI): Barnes is the only Fox who hasn’t been affected by the two-month funk that has afflicted the rest of Leicester’s attack corps. And while the league’s worst team will present his mates with a perfect opportunity to snap out of their slumps, Barnes still strikes the best balance between price and potential.

Allan Saint-Maximin ($6.81, NEW vs BUR): Newcastle’s attack is fairly lackluster, but ASM isn’t the reason why. The Magpies’ most dangerous man is likely to be an integral part of whatever damage the Magpies can do on Saturday.

Lucas Moura ($9.58, TOT vs WOL): He collected 10 points against Chelsea despite no goals or assists, and he’ll continue to lead the line this weekend against Wolves.

Stuart Armstrong $5.90, WHU vs SOU): Three goals and eight shots on target over his last five games. He could be a great differential pick against the Hammers.

Michail Antonio ($5.69, WHU vs SOU): He’ll line up as a striker for West Ham on Saturday, but you can line him up as a middie. At $5.69, that easily justifies his value for a home match against the Saints.

Sadio Mané ($18.19, WAT vs LIV): The Senegalese assassin is particularly deadly away from Anfield, and this week Liverpool travel to 19th-place Watford.

Diogo Jota ($11.18, TOT vs WOL): Jota followed Thursday’s Europa League hattrick against Espanyol with a brace against the Canaries on Sunday. Priced reasonably at $11.18, it’s worth rolling the dice that his sizzling form will continue.

Bruno Fernandes ($2.48, EVE vs MUN): United’s new-boy has piled up 40 points in his three games in a Red Devils’ jersey, and yet he’s still available for only $2.48. If he’s not already in your squad, grab him now before his price climbs higher.

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Forwards

Neal Maupay ($12.36, BHA vs CRY): On Saturday Graham Potter reinstalled Maupay to the starting lineup for the first time in a month, and the player promptly thanked his manager by nodding in his side’s only goal. That should be enough to see him make the S11 again this weekend.

Matej Vydra ($2.92, NEW vs BUR): Two starts and two goals. He’s deputizing for Chris Woods, but at this rate the injured Kiwi may find himself stuck on the sidelines even after he recovers.

Jay Rodriguez ($7.99, NEW vs BUR): Another Claret who is seizing upon the opportunity provided by injures to Chris Wood and Ashley Barnes, Rodriguez has amassed 46 points over his last four games.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin ($12.22, EVE vs MUN): Since Carlo Ancelotti took over at Goodison Park, no player in the EPL has been more consistent than DCL. Seven goals in his last nine games, and two in his last three (see the video below for his latest — it’s a peach). And yet he’s still priced very reasonably.

Anthony Martial ($12.78, EVE vs MUN): A goal in each of his last two, and over the last four months he’s only had two games where he’s failed to register a shot on target.

Steven Bergwijn ($1.81, TOT vs WOL): After posting double-digits in each of his first two games, he pulled a -1 stinker against Chelsea on Saturday. I expect him to bounce back at Spurs Stadium this weekend, and his bargain-bin price tag will help you stretch to other players you might be eyeing.

Raul Jimenez ($16.81, TOT vs WOL): Four goals in his last five games, and Spurs have only kept two clean sheets from their last eleven.

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Who are you selling ahead of the blanks this week? What bargains are you grabbing quickly? Where are you splashing the cash? Please share with us in the comments!

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