EPL IS BACK! As if you need a reminder!
Not only is it back, but we restart on a double game-week and a ton of questions and great match-ups!
It feels a bit a like the beginning of the year when I’m not sure what managers are thinking, which makes predicting lineups a little interesting. So as much as possible, I’m going with sure things. But... there is also an EPL rule adjustment for the rest of the season allowing five subs. There are pluses and minuses to that rule — I think starters won’t go a full 90 as often, but players who don’t start have a better chance for some minutes. So it’s going to be a fun end to the season.
So many intriguing and important match-ups this week too! Double weeks for Arsenal, Manchester City, Aston Villa, and Sheffield United. Tottenham vs Manchester United is a titanic game. Everton vs Liverpool in their always contentious derby! Champions League places on the line! Relegation is going to go to the wire!
Here. We. Go!
Here are the matchups and schedule week 30:
Wednesday, June 17:
Aston Villa - Sheffield United
Manchester City - Arsenal
Friday, June 19
Tottenham - Manchester United
Saturday, June 20
Brighton - Arsenal
Bournemouth - Crystal Palace
Sunday, June 21
Newcastle - Sheffield United
Aston Villa - Chelsea
Everton - Liverpool
Monday, June 22
Manchester City - Burnley
[NOTE: Prices shown are for the NMA Fantrax XI league; YMMV.]
Double Games: (Arsenal, Man City, Sheff. U, Aston Villa)
Ederson ($8.70, MCU, vs ARS, MCU, vs BUR, ): Two home games makes Ederson a potential good buy. City have been inconsistent this season in the back, but he’s cheaper than Henderson and Leno. Reports are that LaPorte is back too, which makes City stronger at the back.
Dean Henderson ($12:41, AVL, vs SHU, NEW, vs SHU): It was confirmed that Henderson will finish the season with the Blades. This is huge news as Sheffield U push for Champions League. He has been fantastic this year. Even though both games are away, neither Villa nor Newcastle score lots of goals, even at home.
Pepe Reina ($1.00, AVL, vs SHU, AVL, vs CHE) Two home games makes him at least tempting if you’re looking to free-up money to spend on big-money players in other positions. Clean sheets may be unlikely, but he had been making saves and I expect that to continue.
Bernd Leno ($12.53, MCU vs ARS, BHA vs ARS): Two away matches makes this a little bit of stretch for that price. Under Mikel Arteta, Arsenal have been better at the back, and Leno has been solid between the posts this year, but I think this money is better spent elsewhere.
Matt Targett ($9.57, AVL, vs SHU, AVL, vs CHE) Targett gets forward a ton, and with two home games, there could be a lot of chances for him. Not the best match-ups, but he has been consistent, and there’s no reason to think that would change.
Kieran Tierney ($1.01 MCU vs ARS, BHA vs ARS): The summer transfer was often injured before the extended break, never able to show what he can do. This extra time off could bring back an explosive player. Maybe worth the risk at that price with a double week. I’m looking at both Hector Bellerin ($2.97) and Pablo Mari ($1.00) as cheap options too.
George Baldock ($9.78, AVL, vs SHU, NEW, vs SHU): Really this is a shout for any of Sheffield’s back line players. I’m not sure they are worth the price (high floor, low ceiling. Baldock has more goals and assists than the others and is slightly cheaper.
Aymeric Laporte ($2.56, MCU, vs ARS, MCU, vs BUR, ): Watch the injury reports on him, but Laporte is probably the best of the choices for City at the back. With so many options and so much rotation, it’s hard to trust that some of the defenders for City will get more than one full game of 90.
John McGinn ($10.65, AVL, vs SHU, AVL, vs CHE) I’ll begin with a word of caution as he hasn’t played since December, but McGinn was having an excellent season before his injury. He is half the cost of Jack Grealish ($20.77), and I wonder if McGinn being back has a negative impact on Grealish’s points moving forward. Villa are fighting to stay up in the EPL, and McGinn is a player they need back in form.
Kevin De Bruyne ($22.86, MCU, vs ARS, MCU, vs BUR, ): As along as he is healthy, he should be in your lineup. He is the best player in the league (in my humble opinion), and he has 2 home games. He is worth the price... and you probably already have him at a huge discount anyway ($5.90 anyone?)
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang ($18.68, MCU vs ARS, BHA vs ARS): Besides KdB, Aubameyang feels like a player you have to have for this double week. Second in goals thus far, he is shooting for the golden boot. Always capable of a big game, and he has two chances this week to make that happen. He’s in my squad.
Dani Ceballos ($4.79, MCU vs ARS, BHA vs ARS): Dani had been playing well for Arteta and the Gunners before the break. He did split kicks with Ozil ($4.92), but the midfielder was active and involved. He’s a cheap way into a double game midfielder with a big upside.
Riyad Mahrez ($16.92, MCU, vs ARS, MCU, vs BUR): Mahrez has found his form this year, and after KdB has been City’s most explosive player. I’m not sure he gets 180 minutes, but I would think he starts one and subs in the other. For that price, that’s a bit of a risk, but it’s week 30, time to make a move! Bernardo Silva ($9.64) and David Silva ($7.82) each should be in the conversation with the same caution, but the cheaper prices come with less of an upside.
Sergio Aguero ($15.30, MCU, vs ARS, MCU, vs BUR): Something made me hesitate when thinking about recommending him, maybe it was his four goalless matches before the break or the rotation risk... but then I remembered that Kun Aguero with 16 goals on the season is playing two games at home. Leave him off your team at your peril. It’s too hard to predict what Pep will do with Gabriel Jesus ($9.33) or Raheem Sterling ($9.42). Like Mahrez, you have to think they will play... but how much? And now a healthy Leroy Sane ($1.00) will be claiming minutes. None besides Kun are worth the risk for me.
Nicolas Pepe ($12.34, MCU vs ARS, BHA vs ARS): Pepe had been starting for the Gunners before the break and while he can be inconsistent, he also can break out for massive games. He could be a differential pick this week, and I anticipate he sees more time over 2 games than Alexandre Lacazette ($9.17)
I am not in love with any of the single game match-ups. So if you’re going with a single game player, I’m assuming it’s because you’re keeping that player on a big discount, you just have a hunch, or you’re investing in players who are returning from injury (most notably Paul Pogba and Harry Kane) and could help you finish the season strong.
However, there is a long list of such single-gamers who should be on everyone’s Fantrax barn-door radar (Bruno Fernandes anyone?). Because of recovery from DGW buys, this week’s barn-door planning could be worth a whole article (hint, hint!). Lacking that, be sure to hang with our matchday live chat to discuss the best opportunities.
Are you going heavy on the double week? If not, what single game players make your roster? Who are you most excited to see suit up again? Which game most intrigues you? and who is on your barn-door watchlist? Please share your comments, suggestions, and cheers below!