Buckle up. We have an unprecedented “Super Game Week” ahead of us. To create a pseudo-break, the league warped the schedule across two weeks so some teams played two games early and then others played two games late. The result was at least one match scheduled each day for 10 days in which everyone got two games in twelve days, with a rest either before or after, but there was nowhere to cut them into neat 20-team single-game rounds for fantasy. FPL chose to go with a whipsaw sequence of game-weeks, a GW plagued by blanks immediately followed by a mirror GW loaded with doubles. Fantrax opted for one long DGW Jan 12-21 for all teams.
And then the league dropped one of the early-season missed matches (BUR-MU) plus one of the recent Covid postponements (MCI-AV) into the mix [ and then Covid just caused another swap: FUL replaces AV against TOT this Wednesday! ], so now we have four teams scheduled to play three games, while everyone else still has two. Below is each EPL team’s match-ups, sorted by half-weeks to help you navigate [table needs an update to replace AV-TOT with TOT-FUL]:
|Team||Game 1 (Jan 12-14)||Game 2 (Jan 15-18)||Game 3 (Jan. 19-21)|
|Team||Game 1 (Jan 12-14)||Game 2 (Jan 15-18)||Game 3 (Jan. 19-21)|
|Aston Villa||EVE||@ MCI|
|Brighton||@ MCI||@ LEE|
|Chelsea||@ FUL||@ LEI|
|Crystal Palace||@ ARS||@ MCI|
|Everton||@ WOL||@ AVL|
|Manchester United||@ BUR||@ LIV||@ FUL|
|Newcastle||@ SHE||@ ARS|
|Southampton||@ LEI||@ LEE|
|West Brom||@ WOL||@ WHU|
Before getting into the match-ups and players picks, let me say I’m a huge proponent of the loading up on players with extra games. I believe in creating as many chances as possible for points. An extra game is the best way to do that. I’m looking to have all 11 in my lineup this week from those four teams. The games are tightly scheduled, so certainly there will be rotations, but I’m making the assumption that key players will get minutes in all three games.
Caveat: Risks are magnified by the ten-day stretch during which we won’t be able to react to bad news (except by throwing things at our offending screens), so dialing up nailed-on starting status is a priority, especially in NMA-11, so you may want to dial up your own caution even higher than mine. You might also want to look at who’s one yellow-card away from suspension.
That said, there are really great options for the teams with triple games, including two of Fantrax’s top four midfielders. These are guys you’d be looking at with two games, but the additional game makes them hard to pass up. However, if you have key players at good discounts, you’re probably still holding onto them in their double week.
Let’s look at the 4 teams with three games:
Manchester City has three home games, two of those against bottom half teams. Of course, Pep roulette makes many Citizens a bit risky, I like CIty’s defense against these teams.
Fulham has a tough set of games. All matches are tough for Fulham this season, but the murderers’ row of Spurs, Chelsea and Manchester United in eight days does not auger well for any fantasy assets from Craven Cottage.
Manchester United goes on the road for all three games. Ole’s men visit two low-scoring teams before and after a key match-up against Liverpool. United has been excellent on the road, especially on the offensive end, posting six wins and a draw while averaging three goals per game away. However, the defense has not kept a clean sheet outside of Old Trafford.
Burnley has another tough set of games (MU, WHU, LIV). They have recently improved defensively at least, but offensively they still are struggling to score.
There are also solid double options, so I’m not saying don’t look, especially after Villa was just replaced by Fulham among the triple-gamers.
Ederson ($11.35)The top pick for me on the week in goal. Ederson has allowed only one goal in his last six games. He isn’t called upon to make many saves, so he needs clean sheets to put up big points.
Emiliano Martinez ($14.59). He’s not my top pick because he’s a little pricier than Ederson, and Covid still hangs over Villa. But it’s hard to argue against the top-scoring keeper in Fantrax. He has earned double-digit points in his last six games, with three of those over 20. The high point totals come from the saves he’s required to make. With the match-ups this week, you can expect more saves, even if you shouldn’t expect shutouts.
David de Gea ($6.58) He’s the affordable pick of the week. I don’t trust United’s defense on the road (or really at home either), but he’s an affordable enabler.
John Stones ($4.42) The England defender has been a catalyst for City’s improved defense. I expect at least one clean sheet, and I’m assuming at least two if not all three starts. Rúben Dias ($8.43) is another solid option, and he’s more likely to start all three. I may go with both City central defenders.
Kyle Walker ($5.99) I’m also looking at Walker who returns after sitting out for COVID protocols. He’s City’s best option on the right, and there’s too much uncertainty on the left for me to look that way.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka ($10.63) I don’t love United defenders this week (especially Maguire who’s on four yellow cards), but AWB does get forward enough to make him tempting over a three game span.
Matthew Cash ($12.89) Villa defenders have climbed in price after their early season successes. Cash is the most expensive and consistent of the bunch. You have to assume that he and the other Villa defenders get all three games, making them attractive options over more risky rotations options (City defenders, for example).
James Tarkowski ($10.32) The same rationale is true for Burnley defenders. There won’t be much rotation, so you can assume all three games. Ben Mee has been mentioned for a while now on this blog as an option, so many of you may him at a nice discount. But if I’m paying full price, I’m looking at Tarkowski.
Pablo Mari ($2.25) The Gunner’s center back has been a key part of their positive past few games. He is still cheap and has a decent pair of games. He’s worth at least barndoor watch if you don’t need a cheap filler this week.
Bruno Fernandes ($23.29) I’m assuming most of you have Bruno on the cheap, but if for some reason you don’t, it would be hard to keep this triple-gamer out of your squad in the form he’s in (four goals and three assists in his last four games). He’s the top earning midfielder in Fantrax.
Jack Grealish ($22.03) The second highest scoring mid in Fantrax. I’m a huge Grealish fan. He simply puts up fantasy points, and you can assume he will play
all three both games. Fun fact: His league-leading 73 fouls-suffered are just 1 fewer than the next two combined. Caveat: Grealish sits on four yellow-cards; one more in Villa’s first match will bump him out of the second.
Kevin De Bruyne ($17.80) I just don’t see Pep resting KDB. These are big games for the Citizens who can find themselves back in the title race with results in these games. He hasn’t even had his best year, yet he sits 4th in Fantrax earnings (Son Heung-Min is 3rd).
Anwar El Ghazi ($10.50) El Ghazi has six straight double-digits games. He’s half the price of Grealish. He’s been aggressive and on target. Bertrand Traore ($8.56) is often on set pieces and even cheaper. There are options here. I’m choosing from these options over Ollie Watkins ($11.22), who has played well but hasn’t scored or put up good points recently.
Paul Pogba ($5.23) I’ll be honest that I may be breaking my own internal vow to never have him back on my team... but he’s cheap, playing consistently, and has been getting back at least his value. Pogba is a potential enabler (which sort of makes me chuckle) but I could see him in my squad if cash becomes tight.
Anthony Martial ($8.79) While I don’t love United’s back line this week, I am going to have at least one forward in my squad. With Edinson Cavani suspended and Mason Greenwood misfiring, Martial is the top option up front for Ole, so he could get starts in all three games. The same can be said for Marcus Rashford ($14.73) who is a little less goal reliant to put up fantasy points.
Raheem Sterling ($11.85) Sterling has been City’s most consistent attacker not named De Bruyne (at least in terms of playing time). I do assume he won’t start all three, but I can see minutes in all three. Pep has so many options in attack especially with Sergio Aguero back (but isolating as I write), so it’s hard to trust that any will get more than 2 starts. Sterling is the best bet for me.
So how many triple-gamers are you going with? Do you see any other must-have triples to buy if we don’t already have them? What discounted players are you keeping for two games? How are you managing the Covid risks for both matches and individuals? What’s your overall thinking going into the super game week? Please share your Fantrax thoughts in the comments below!