The season’s second game-week with blanks is here, with Manchester City facing Aston Villa at the EFL Cup final on Sunday, leaving Arsenal and Sheffield also without Premier League fixtures. However, we still have exciting matches to ponder as we re-think what players could be added to our squads.
This can be a great opportunity to use helplines such as the free hit, bench boost or even your wildcard in order to accommodate those players who are actually going to feature this week. It’s really better to grab those one-week picks to fill your squad, preferably not at the expense of long-term choices.
Let’s look at the players that can provide us with the points fantasy managers are hoping to grab over the weekend:
Following a clean sheet last week against Aston Villa, McCarthy is a goalkeeper that is a very reasonable price compared to his compatriots. The goalkeeper can be kept with a decent run of upcoming fixtures with the likes of West Ham this week, Newcastle and then Norwich which is why McCarthy can be extremely ideal for the next three game-weeks.
Nick Pope (£4.8m, Burnley at Newcastle)
What a season Pope is having, reaching 10 clean sheets with more to come. He has three clean sheets in the four previous games, including Arsenal and Manchester United. Pope has gained 39 points in the world of fantasy since game-week 23 and expect one more clean sheet against Newcastle since they lack firepower up front.
Plus, Burnley faces only three difficult games of Tottenham, Manchester City and Liverpool for the remainder of the season; the rest are relatively friendly, which is why the points will keep coming from this goalkeeper for sure.
David De Gea (£5.4m, Manchester United at Everton)
The Red Devils’ shot stopper has been in a decent run of form, having kept three consecutive clean sheets including fixtures against Wolves and Chelsea. 19 points since game-week 25 is not a bad number for a goalkeeper, and solid defense seems to be helping his performance too. It’s about time the Spaniard made it into this list. It’s a risky call since he faces Carlo Ancelotti’s Toffees who have found ways to score goals, but this pick can be worth a shot.
Charlie Taylor (£4.2m, Burnley at Newcastle)
Taylor has been the most under-picked defender of the season, but he’s really not a bad option. The left-back has started in 10 Premier League affairs for Sean Dyche, and he has played an integral part in Burnley’s recent form (unbeaten in previous the five games that featured Leicester, Manchester United and Arsenal in straight weeks). With the help of clean sheets in those three fixtures, Taylor has gained 20 points, a boon at his low price. Plus, against a Kane-less and Son-less Spurs side, the Clarets can push for another clean sheet as well.
Wolves are looking to cement their amazing form in defense, having kept three consecutive league clean sheets (four if you count their Europa win against Espanyol last week). It’s stunning to see a club that finds no European game excuse to carry on their momentum and fight for a clean sheet. Siass was the standout player last week against Norwich City, providing an assist, a clean sheet and two bonus points. The Moroccan international has achieved career highs in minutes on the pitch, assists, and clean sheets, and he has two goals this season so far.
Reece James (£5.0m, Chelsea at AFC Bouremouth)
Why would I pick a defender from a team that has not kept a single clean sheet in the league since game-week 24? Because this English full-back has gained Lampard’s trust so he is regularly selected. James is still young but has been learning quickly, and there is always a possibility of a clean sheet as well since the Cherries are struggling to put the ball into the net this season.
Harry Maguire (£5.2m, Man United at Everton)
Manchester United gained three clean sheets in the previous three games. Thanks to those plus scoring against Chelsea in GW-26, Harry Maguire earned 22 points. The English defender loves to scream forward when necessary and is always a threat during set-pieces. The Red Devils’ captain will look to solidify his backline and will hope to justify the price paid for him by United. It’s going to be interesting to see him battling against Everton’s Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
Brendan Rodgers’ side will look to bring back their winning momentum and focus on their back-line for clean sheets as the six upcoming fixtures are against easier teams (at Norwich, v. Aston Villa, at Watford, v. Brighton, at Everton and at Crystal Palace). Soyuncu has the cheapest price tag in that line, and with a few clean sheets being expected, he’s a decent option to be in your squad for the longer term.
Stuart Armstrong (£5.2m, Southampton at West Ham)
If you’re looking at a budget level, Armstrong is not a bad option. He has three goals in the previous six games, with 16 attempts in his last four games. Southampton’s midfielder will look to keep his form consistent, and find the gaps to put the ball in the net which makes him worth having since his next fixtures are against friendly teams (at West Ham, v. Newcastle and at Norwich)
Mason Mount (£6.1, Chelsea at Bournemouth)
Chelsea has a better winning ratio in away games than at home so far this season. With Frank Lampard’s shift in formation where Mount is playing as a number ten alongside Ross Barkley, the English midfielder has been running behind opposition defenses, finding impressive gaps for himself and teammates.
Unfortunately, he has not been able to score or provide much in his previous few matches, but the recent shift in play and position can help Mount find the quality he displayed at the beginning of the season.
James Maddison (£7.4m, Leicester at Norwich)
The young English playmaker has faced a difficult dip in form lately, not scoring or providing since GW-22. However, he’s the heart of the Foxes, the one who prefers to have most of the ball during the game to create chances, which is why Maddison will look to bounce back in the following six friendly fixtures. Tough call to make, but if it’s a hit, this midfielder will get you points.
Anthony Martial (£8.0m, Man United at Everton)
Yes, the Frenchman plays striker for the Red Devils, but he is still considered in the midfield category in FPL. With Rashford still out for several months, Martial is Solskjaer’s major hope of scoring goals. The chip he put past Watford’s keeper and defender just shows how magical this forward can be, reaching double figures in goals and adding three assists this season. His fellow teammates will always look for the former Monaco player to put the ball in the net, which is why having him in your squad is not a bad call at all.
Bruno Fernandes (£8.2m, Man United at Everton)
What an impact this Portuguese magician has made at Old Trafford, seeming to adjust well with his new teammates. Just three games in, Fernandes has won the man of the match award by scoring and providing twice. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looks to build his tactics and style of play around the attacking midfielder.
He has the ability to hit a screamer, is involved in set-pieces including free-kicks and from penalty spot, is creating chances and has the most of the ball to go for a quick counter, always looking to put one in the net. These are the attributes of a player that fantasy managers would love to have in their squad which is why having him at this price is absolutely worth it.
Richarlison (£8.3m, Everton v. Man United)
Since Carlo Ancelotti’s takeover, Everton has picked up points with fantastic form, and Richarlison has been one of the forwards putting the ball back in the net. The Brazilian has two goals and an assist in the past two games for the Merseyside club but it is worth mentioning the upcoming fixtures won’t be easy for them at all with Manchester United at home, Chelsea away and Liverpool at home again. However, Richarlison is key for the Italian manager to aim for a Champions League spot.
Danny Ings (£7.1, Southampton at West Ham)
Ings has suffered lately in front of the goal, scoring just once in the previous five matches, but the English striker is still having a remarkable season with 15 goals so far. The quality is there, and Southampton will look to him when they need goals, which is why it won’t be long till he puts the ball in the net. David Moyes is struggling with his West Ham back line, so Ings has the perfect opportunity to get back to goal-scoring form.
Raul Jimenez (£7.9m, Wolves at Tottenham)
The Mexican international has scored four goals in the last five game-weeks, and he has the second most shots in the box after Mo Salah, with 18 in those matches. Jimenez is extremely lethal inside the box with his feet or looking for a header. Facing a shaky and dull Tottenham side, the striker will make life difficult for Jose Mourinho’s centre-backs. Jimenez has 12 goals and six assists this season so far and will look to help his side’s dream alive for a run into a Champions League spot till the end of the season.
Jamie Vardy (£9.7, Leicester at Norwich)
The Vardy Party has not been in hot form in 2020, with no goals from the English striker since game-week 19, which is a long drought considering how he had been scoring consistently for fun. As mentioned before, with easier fixtures coming up, Vardy will look to find his form and bounce back. Plus, we all know the quality this guy has, providing so many points over the years so it’s okay to be loyal and have some trust too.
Are you planning on using your wildcard or free hit chip for this week, or holding off? What players are you planning to pick or drop, and how are you preparing for the blank week? Take the poll and let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
Are you using one of your chips in Week 28?
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Using bench boost chip
Using free hit chip
Using second half wildcard chip
Not using any chips