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EPL GW-12 Fantrax Player Picks

Another international break has passed and it’s time to get back to work on our Fantrax squads.

Harry Kane - Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League
Now could be the perfect time to climb aboard the Kane train.
Photo by Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Offside via Getty Images

In addition to the usual uncertainty that international breaks inject into EPL game-weeks, this time three clubs will enter GW-12 under new management: Newcastle, Norwich, and Aston Villa have all made changes at the helm within the last week or so.

So in addition to the fatigue and injuries we always have to worry about while players are away on international duty (or being forced to isolate upon their return), this time we’ll also be left to speculate on how the appointments of Eddie Howe (Newcastle), Dean Smith (Norwich), and Steven Gerrard (Aston Villa) will affect our fantasy assets. Moreover, Sunday will mark only the second time that Antonio Conte has taken charge of Tottenham, so his preferred tactics and lineup remain unclear.

Nevertheless, when the transfer deadline rolls around, fantasy managers will have to do the best they can. To help with that, we’ve culled our pick of the crop for your GW-12 Fantrax sides (prices from NMA-11).

[ Note: This week’s pre-deadline confirmed lineups will be Chelsea and Leicester. Come back to NMA during the countdown hour for our GW-12 Pre-deadline and Live Chat to see those and to discuss last-minute opportunities. ]


Goalkeepers

Alvaro Fernandez (NEW vs BRE, $2.25): Brentford is diminished with Fernandez between the sticks in place of David Raya: The Bees have lost both of those matches while conceding five goals. But Fernandez is dirt cheap, and he put up six points against Norwich despite the two goals that the Canaries put past him. He’s an economy option against Newcastle this week.

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Jason Steele (AVL vs BHA, $2.00): Another value play, Steele will deputize for the (1-match) suspended Robert Sanchez. The price is right, but there are risks. Steele has never suited up for a Premier League match before, and Villa could get a “new manager bounce” in their first game under the direction of Steven Gerrard, who will be looking to impress on his home debut.

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Vincent Guaita (BUR vs CRY, $13.09): Patrick Vieira is turning the tide at Selhurst Park. The Eagles haven’t lost a league match in two months, and Guaita has kept two clean sheets in a row (one of them against Man City). Speaking of which, Ederson is similarly-priced and also has a good match-up, but Guaita is likely to make more saves than the Brazilian.


Defenders

Andrew Omobamidele (NOR vs SOU, $6.04): He has started each of Norwich’s last two games, returning 14.5 and 19. And the Canaries kept a clean sheet in neither. He should once again find a way to return more than his price against the Saints.

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Valentino Livramento (NOR vs SOU, $13.93): Tino is a little expensive now, but that’s because he consistently delivers the goods. Averaging nearly 11 ppg, we should be able to place our faith in him visiting the Canaries. (Note, Livramento is a doubt with an as-yet unspecified injury, so follow team news).

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Emerson Royal (TOT vs LEE, $7.71) and Sergio Reguilon (TOT vs LEE, $11.61): These two are expected to play as wing-backs instead of fullbacks under Antonio Conte, and that means more attacking returns. A home tie with leaky Leeds means more attacking returns too.

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Craig Dawson (WOL vs WHU, $7.65): Angelo Ogbonna’s season-ending ACL injury means Dawson is now a lock to start. And he put up 14 points against Liverpool last time, despite the fact that the Hammers shipped two.

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Tariq Lamptey (AVL vs BHA, $2.00): Brighton’s 21 year-old wing-back is your value-play defender this week. For two bucks, you can hardly go wrong, and given his ppg prior to last season’s injury, he could be due to deliver a lot right.

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Reece James (LEI vs CHE, $11.61): The assist against Burnley made it four attacking returns in his last three matches. And only four teams have conceded more goals than Leicester, so James looks well-positioned to extend his purple patch this weekend.


Midfielders

Leandro Trossard (AVL vs BHA, $11.46): He has a goal in each of his last two games, good for 35.5 points over that span. He’s Brighton’s most dangerous man from open play right now, plus he takes pens when Pascal Gross isn’t on the pitch.

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Conor Gallagher (BUR vs CRY, $14.68): He costs a pretty penny, but fully half of his starts have resulted in double-digit returns, and he’s averaging more than 12 ppg. This week his opposition is relegation-fodder Burnley which has conceded 17 goals.

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Bernardo Silva ($10.38) has been a consistent performer lately. Also, if he’s healthy, I’m never sorry to have Kevin De Bruyne ($11.18) in my squad. But if I have to pick just one City middie for GW-12, then it’s Phil Foden (MCI vs EVE, $10.54). He’s thriving as Pep’s center forward, and his returns can be explosive. Against an Everton side that conceded three to Aston Villa and five to Watford, Foden could be set to blow up again this weekend.

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Marcus Rashford (WAT vs MUN, $6.75): Rashford has a been a bright spot in what has generally been a dim period for Man United. Eased in slowly after recovering from shoulder surgery, he has nevertheless scored two goals in just 125 minutes of play. Rashford has now had an additional two weeks of idle international break to build fitness, so I expect him to start and see significant minutes in this must-win game for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

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Milot Rashica (NOR vs SOU, $6.79): The Canaries picked up their first win of the season last time out, and now they have a new manager to boot. Rashica has been one of their most dangerous-looking players recently, racking up double-digit returns in each of his last two games, and his prospects should only improve under the attack-oriented Dean Smith.

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James Ward-Prowse (NOR vs SOU, $13.00): Without the benefit of a goal or assist, Southampton’s set-piece maestro returned 15 points in his most recent game. A match against the Canaries should provide him with ample opportunities to flourish, Norwich’s potential new-manager bounce notwithstanding. Keep an eye on team news; JWP withdrew from the England squad due to illness but is expected to recover in time for the weekend.

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Son Heung-Min (TOT vs LEE, $14.95): Tottenham’s leading scorer will be invigorated by the appointment of Antonio Conte, and Tottenham Stadium will be fertile ground for the Korean when leaky Leeds comes to call.


Forwards

Ivan Toney (BRF vs NEW, $9.94): While his mere two goals this season have certainly been a disappointment to those Fantrax managers who had higher hopes for him, Toney has nonetheless averaged over seven ppg. He’s on pens too, so I’m willing to back him for the home match against the league’s second-worst defense.

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Romelu Lukaku (LEI vs CHE, $6.88): The big Belgian has been training all week, so he’s going to get minutes at the King Power on Saturday. For $6.88, he’s worth the spend even if he doesn’t start.

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Diogo Jota (LIV vs ARS, $10.70): I’d love to recommend Mo Salah here (and if you already have him at a sane price then you should absolutely keep him), but at $25.58 his astronomical retail price makes him too much of a risk. Luckily Jota makes an excellent alternative. Roberto Firmino’s hamstring injury means the Portuguese is a virtual lock to start against Arsenal, and Jota has a knack for scoring against big-name opponents, with goals against Chelsea and Man City, plus a hattrick against United.

(BTW, Jota makes for an excellent buy-and-hold option well beyond GW-12. Firmino will be out of action almost until the African Cup of Nations begins, at which point Mo Salah and Sadio Mané will both become unavailable.)

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Cristiano Ronaldo (WAT vs MUN, $8.51): CR7 for $8.51 in a must-win game against Watford? Yes please.

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Harry Kane (TOT vs LEE, $12.97): He’s inexpensive, he’ll be the spearhead of a revamped Antonio Conte attack, he’s on pens, and he plays leaky Leeds. Oh, and also, he scored seven goals for England over the international break. You read that right — a hattrick against Albania followed by four goals against San Marino. All indicators point in one direction: Buy.


Stats for this article were sourced from fantrax.com, premierleague.com, and fantasyfootballscout.co.uk.

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So what holes do you have to fill this week? Which of our picks do you already have on board? And whom did we leave out? Please share your thoughts and any questions in the comments below!

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