Where do we even start?
As a fantasy manager it was an utterly infuriating weekend. (Chris does a great job with a review here) All that time checking stats and form and match-ups went completely down the drain.
I had figured that this week I would put the players names into a hat and pull them out. Throwing darts works too. If you’re into technology there are some good free randomizing websites out there to help. Just seems like a much less painful process after last weekend.
But isn’t this why we love the Premier League!? Isn’t this why we play fantasy EPL!? We look for as much information as we can, and in the end the players play and surprise and thrill and disappoint us each weekend. And we keep coming back for more!
Saturday 7 March
- Liverpool vs Bournemouth (early game; XIs available before the deadline)
- Arsenal vs West Ham United
- Crystal Palace vs Watford FC
- Southampton vs Newcastle
- Sheffield United vs Norwich City
- Wolverhampton vs Brighton & Hove Albion
- Burnley vs Tottenham Hotspur
Sunday 8 March
Monday 9 March
Wednesday 11 March
A few quick high level notes before getting to the players.
Double Games: I’m a huge believer in grabbing as many double game players as possible. Arsenal and Man City have been rotating quite a bit, which makes it hard. But I think there are a few must-haves for the week.
Liverpool - 3 losses in 4 games (Champions League and Watford, and FA CUP vs Chelsea). It will be interesting to see how they respond. I personally think this takes a little of the pressure off of them, so I see them bouncing back with comfort and vengeance. Plus Liverpool are a different team at home. The numbers are staggeringly good. And you have to think Anfield will be in full support mode. But…. you never know.
Burnley - Only conceded 2 in their last 6 games and they haven’t lost in those 6, which is the second best run of games besides…
Arsenal - Only Arsenal have a better run, with 7 games without a loss. They have 7 goals in the last 2 games and now have the double game week.
Brighton - They have not won in 7 games. They have not kept a clean sheet in those games, and have only been shut out twice.
Wolves - 6 goals in their last 2 games. Playing for a Champions League spot. Good match-up.
Manchester City vs Manchester United. I’m really curious about this one. City certainly have the better team, but planning just isn’t as sharp or consistent (not counting De Bruyne, of course) for City as it needs to be, plus the Citizens aren’t playing for much in the league any more. Whereas, United still have a lot to play for. Looking forward to it!
Also, for good measure I have used an online randomizer to pick one additional bonus pick per position for this week. (He had to be at least a probable starter to make the list). Seems worth a shot, since I don’t have a dart board.
[NOTE: Prices shown are for the NMA Fantrax XI league; YMMV.]
Alisson ($12.64, LIV vs BOU): 14-0-0 at home in the EPL this year. The Reds have conceded only 11 goals.
Leno ($11.32, ARS vs WHU, MCU vs ARS): He has been a standout keeper this year. The City game could be tough, but you have to at least consider him, especially with the first game home to West Ham.
Ederson ($8.91, MAN vs MCU, MCU, vs ARS): City’s defense has been inconsistent this year. He doesn’t get a lot of saves, but United and Arsenal might change that. He’s a little cheaper than Leno.
Alex McCarthy ($4.76, SOU vs NEW): Any keeper home to Newcastle has a chance to be a good pick.
Pepe Reina ($1.38, LEI vs AVL ) Leicester hasn’t scored in 3 games, and Pepe has 7 saves in his last 2. I know Caballero is only a $1.00, but Everton are scoring too much for me to consider that.
Randomizer Bonus Pick: Tim Krul ($6.15, SHU vs NOR): I swear this was random. Does anyone really think they could perform like that again!? It’s only Sheffield United after all.
Marcos Alonso ($7.53, CHE vs EVE): Seriously? Where has he been!? 3 goals in 2 games. He is listed as defender but he is in the opponent’s box as much as he’s defending in his own. Not a great match up, as Everton are scoring goals, but hard to pass up the potential for big games.
Patrick Van Aanholt ($10.91, CRY vs WAT): While Watford was very good last week, I’m not sure they will continue in that form. CP have 2 straight clean sheets and PVA is getting up the field and into the attack.
Matt Doherty ($11.83, WOV vs BHA): He went a little cold for a while, but his last two games have been really productive.
Charlie Taylor ($7.32, BUR vs TOT): Taylor has been very consistent for Burnley on this nice little run. The center backs are scoring more, but for that money I’m looking elsewhere.
Leighton Baines ($2.14, CHE vs EVE): Keep your eyes on the injury report for Lucas Digne, but if Digne is out, Baines is a viable option. He is taking corners and set pieces again. Even without clean sheets, he has earned 8 and 10 in his last 2 games.
Scott Dann ($2.62, CRY vs WAT): You’ll get your money’s worth for this price.
Joseph Gomez ($5.90, LIV vs BOU): He gets the least amount of coverage, but last week was a reminder about how important he is to that back line. This is more a shout out to those who just do the work on the field, than it is to his fantasy numbers. Check injuries if you’re considering him.
Hector Bellerin ($2.97, ARS vs WHU, MCU vs ARS): He’s the cheapest way into Arsenal’s defense, and he has been starting consistently. David Luiz is an option too, but much more expensive.
Kyle Walker ($5.94, MAN vs MCU, MCU, vs ARS): Much the same as Bellerin. It’s hard to say who will play in the back for City nowadays. Walker seems to be the most consistent.
Randomizer Bonus Pick: Nathan Ake (LIV vs BOU) : To be clear, I do not recommend this pick. Bournemouth have not kept a clean sheet since December 14th. Liverpool will be playing with less pressure and a little chip on their shoulder. But then again... he could end up with a goal off a corner and clean sheet.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang ($19.77, ARS vs WHU, MCU vs ARS): I think he has to be in your lineup. West Ham give up lots of goals (15 goals in their last 6 games) and now he has an extra game. Aubameyang scores lots of goals (5 in his last six and tied for top goal scorer with 17). The math just makes sense here.
Kevin De Bruyne ($23.41, MAN vs MCU, MCU, vs ARS): He leads the league in assists with 16 and is probably the front runner for player of the year. He is matchup proof and now had 2 games to dominate. I see him as a must have player who should play most of both games... unless his back injury continues to keep him out.
Another Manchester City Midfielder (MAN vs MCU, MCU, vs ARS): Bernardo Silva ($9.87), Riyad Mahrez ($17.19), and David Silva ($8.01) could be solid choices any week. Not sure any will play all 180 minutes, but it seems like each would get at least one start plus time in the other fixture. For me, Mahrez is a bit pricey, but when he starts he often scores, and I think he starts at least one.
James Ward-Prowse ($4.76, SOU vs NEW): I’ve said this before that Newcastle are just bad on the road. He was in double digits for his last 2 games.
João Moutinho ($15.33, WOV vs BHA): Diogo Jota is the hot hand, but Moutinho is the play maker. 9 crosses last week. I sort of feel he is due a big game.
Solly March ($5.52, WOL vs BHA): March has scored 9, 8, and 12 in his last three games, with no goals or assists. It’s not a prime match up, and Brighton has rotated a little, but I think he will keep his position with the way he has been playing.
Mesut Ozil ($4.67, ARS vs WHU, MCU vs ARS): Arsenal’s midfield can be tricky to pick, but Ozil still is the play maker. He always has potential for a big game, so with two chances this game-week, he makes for an interesting player. Nicolas Pepe just seems too much of a rotation risk for that price.
Bruno Fernandes ($4.14, MCU vs MUN): If you don’t have him already, I feel a little sorry for you. He has been just what United and fantasy players needed in the transfer market. He’s on corners. He’s playing with confidence. Even if you didn’t get him early, the price is still right but won’t be for much longer.
Randomizer Bonus Pick: Matt Ritchie (SOU vs NEW): He took 9 corners last week and 7 shots (none on target).
Mo Salah ($20.78, LIV vs BOU): Salah has 5 goals in his last 4 home games. He is pricy but a single gamer who could be worth it.
Sergio Aguero ($15.54, MAN vs MCU, MCU, vs ARS): He played in the FA Cup on today, Wednesday, scoring a goal as usual. So we know he is healthy. I worry about rotation, but Man City are just better with him, and he continues to score.
Another Manchester City Forward (MAN vs MCU, MCU, vs ARS): Gabriel Jesus ($15.26) and Raheem Sterling ($14.98) also will probably share starts but will get minutes in the bonus game. Are you willing to take a gamble?
Danny Ings ($16.36, SOU vs NEW): He didn’t start last week, which hurt many a fantasy team. He will be back this week, and it’s Newcastle.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin ($13.47, CHE vs EVE): 5 goals in 6 games. He just can’t stop scoring. Not sure how his price has stayed reasonable, but it is.
Troy Deeney ($6.65, CRY vs WAT): Maybe I’m just still feeling warm and fuzzy after their performance last weekend. Deeney normally is on penalties. He’s a manageable price and it’ll be interesting to see if Watford ride the momentum and crash after such a high.
Steven Bergwijn ($2.62, BUR vs TOT): He scored again and remains, at least for fantasy purposes, the only relevant Spurs attacker.
Randomizer Bonus Pick: Wilfried Zaha (CRY vs WAT): Not a terrible random pick, which makes me a little cautious. Crystal Palace have won two straight, but haven’t been scoring much either. Zaha always has a chance for a big game.
Have you taken drastic measures yet? Staying with your normal strategy? Who are you looking to for the week? How many double game players can you fit in?