Welcome back to Fantrax Player Picks! We’ve just gotten through the second international break of the season, keeping an eye on our key assets. South American players have the extra threat of quarantine; their respective clubs will do all they can to bring them back in time and avoid problems like we saw in the last international break. Stay tuned.
[ Our one early game of the week is Watford hosting Liverpool, so those are the two confirmed lineups we should see in the countdown hour before our deadline. Come back to NMA for our Pre-deadline Chat to see those and other late breaking news! ]
Alex McCarthy (SOU vs LEE, $8.62) The Saints shot-stopper is one of the cheapest starters in the game at the moment. He has kept a couple of clean-sheets recently, including an impressive away clean-sheet against Man City. Leeds is without talisman Patrick Bamford and could be without Raphinha as well, which will mean goals will be harder to come by.
Aaron Ramsdale (ARS vs CRY, $13.54) Ramsdale looks to have cemented himself as the Arsenal #1, impressing since his transfer. He has kept three clean-sheets in four matches so far for the Gunners, and he has a great chance for another with a home fixture against an inconsistent Crystal Palace.
Valentino Livramento (SOU vs LEE, $9.62) Livramento has been a real bright spark and benefits from the same clean-sheet potential mentioned for Alex McCarthy. Livramento also did well to win a penalty against Chelsea last time out, so there may be more attacking returns to come.
Aymeric Laporte (MCI vs BUR, $6.50) This looks to be the easiest fixture of the weekend as Manchester City hosts struggling Burnley at the Etihad. Laporte stands a really strong chance of starting this weekend, offering a budget option into a premium defense. Laporte also offers up attacking returns, having bagged himself a goal already this season.
Ben Chilwell (BRE vs CHE, $8.00) The England defender was the bane of fantasy managers last game-week, dropping his positional rival Alonso to the bench. Chilwell scored and earned a clean sheet to rub salt into the wounds of Alonso’s owners. Chilwell should hold the starting slot in the Chelsea side, offering great value.
Allan Saint-Maximin (NEW vs TOT, $11.07) With the club takeover by the Saudi crown prince formally completed, Newcastle has been the talk of the football world recently. Saint-Maximin is a player who could thrive under the new ownership, but he’s even more important at this moment. Having tallied two goals plus three assists this season, he faces a Spurs side that has struggled lately.
Kevin De Bruyne (MCI vs BUR, $11.83) De Bruyne has been going under the radar for a while now, having struggled with injury and form since his return. But we can hope he’s turned a corner since scoring in a tense draw with Liverpool last game-week. De Bruyne featured for Belgium in two Nations League fixtures during the break, delivering in both, and now he has a great chance to keep up the form against struggling Burnley.
Andros Townsend (EVE vs WHU, $16.80) The Everton newbie continues to shine in the absence of Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin. The winger is playing with great confidence at the moment, having scored in both his previous matches, so you wouldn’t bet against him this weekend. His opponents from West Ham have started positively but haven’t yet tightened up at the back.
Son Heung-min (NEW vs TOT, $18.31) With strike-partner Harry Kane struggling for form, Son continues to show his importance in this Tottenham side. Kane has yet to get off the mark and looked jaded for England, but Son is steadily popping up with the goals and assists. Newcastle may have a new owner, but the players are the same and unable to keep the goals out.
Cristiano Ronaldo (LEI vs MUN, $8.04) Ole Gunnar Solskjær came under fire recently for not starting Ronaldo in GW-7, a move that backfired when Man United was held to a draw by Everton. Ronaldo continued his soaring goal-scoring run in international football with four goals in two matches, including a hattrick. Ronaldo will surely start this weekend and has a point to prove within the league. At this price (and especially at his former price!), does anyone not have him?
Hwang Hee-chan (AST vs WOL, $7.51) Hwang is turning heads after his brace against Newcastle last time out, giving him three goals on the season so far. He’s partnering well with Raul Jimenez and is worth backing after his last performance, especially for the price. After a slow start, Wolves are starting to show some good form.
Romelu Lukaku (BRE vs CHE, $8.98) Lukaku disappointed his owners last time out by failing to score in a game where Chelsea scored three. Chelsea has a great run of fixtures to look forward to and it’s hard to imagine anyone not backing Lukaku during this time. Get in quick before his stock rises!
What do you think of my picks for this week? How are you reacting to a busy GW-8? Are you going to take any punts? Please let us know your thoughts!