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Fantrax EPL GW-19 Player Picks

COVID continues to blow holes in our fantasy teams. If you’re shopping for replacements, step inside.

Leeds United v Arsenal - Premier League
Few players are in finer form than Gabriel Martinelli right now.
Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images

Although the EPL decided only Monday to plow forward instead of pausing in the face of England’s Omicron surge, two of GW-19’s fixtures (the two earliest) have already been called off. Liverpool vs Leeds and Wolves vs Watford are off due to COVID outbreaks at Leeds and Wolves. With testing revealing new cases literally every day (Michail Antonio is the latest big-name player to test positive), it will be no surprise if more fixtures follow suit.

Fortunately, this is Fantrax where we managers have the luxury of unlimited transfers right up until deadline, and our deadline (on Sunday!) allows us to see some lineups confirmed. That means we’ll have the agility to react to shifting circumstances, so be sure to follow our Pre-Deadline Chat for breaking news.

On the bright side, as the schedule stands we should have ten eight confirmed lineups ahead of the transfer buzzer: Burnley, Everton, Man City, Leicester, Norwich, Arsenal, Tottenham, Crystal Palace, West Ham and Southampton. Unfortunately, responding to postponements and COVID absences will mean parting with steep, long-standing discounts on marquee players. Depending how huge those are, some of us will swallow a zero or two instead — Ugh!

As usual, all prices below come from our NMA-11 League; in NMA-17 YMMV.


Goalkeepers

Alvaro Fernandez (BHA vs BRF, $5.18): Fernandez is still relatively cheap and will face one of the league’s most anemic offenses on Sunday. Until/unless we hear that some cheap deputy will start for a top team, he’s the only netminder who would interest me if I were buying this week.


Defenders

Kieran Tierney (NOR vs ARS, $9.92): Tierney has been crushing it since winning back his starting role, averaging more than 10 ppg. There’s no reason to expect his production to fall against the flightless Canaries. And Nuno Tavares played the mid-week Carabao Cup fixture, meaning Tierney should be set to feature again on Boxing Day.

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Cedric Soares (NOR vs ARS, $1.10): If Takehiro Tomiyasu remains unavailable for the trip to Carrow Road, then Cedric Soares is a cut-rate route into Arsenal’s defense. Check in to our Pre-Deadline Chat in the countdown hour to see Arteta’s confirmed lineup.

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Charlie Goode (BHA vs BRF, $1.69): An enabler who has a shot at clean sheet points this week. Goode is unavailable with a hamstring injury.

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Tariq Lamptey (BHA vs BRF, $4.11): His average return exceeds his price (which is rising!) even though he rarely gets clean sheets.

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Marcos Alonso (AVL vs CHE, $12.14): Lately he has been outperforming his partner on the opposite flank, and he costs a bit less than Reece James too.

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Oleksandr Zinchenko (MCI vs LEI, $4.54): If Cancelo continues to cover the right-back position, then Zinchenko should be set for another start at left-back. An assist plus a clean sheet put his returns over the 20 point mark in the Newcastle game, and there should be more to come against a Leicester side that has conceded 27 goals this season.

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Diogo Dalot (NEW vs MUN, $3.82): It appears that Dalot has become Ralf Rangnick’s preferred right-back, and St. James Park should be fertile ground for continued fantasy production.


Midfielders

Gabriel Martinelli (NOR vs ARS, $8.17): I like Mikel Arteta’s entire stable of top-tier attacking middies for this fixture, but Martinelli costs less than Bukayo Saka, returns more than Martin Odegaard, and is more assured of starts than Emile Smith Rowe.

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Mason Mount (AVL vs CHE, $16.98): He’s expensive, but with six attacking returns over his last five games, he has every chance of returning value against a Villa side that will not simply park the bus. Injuries/illnesses across the Chelsea squad virtually guarantee he starts, and he did not come into the midweek EFL Cup win over Brentford until the 65th minute, so he’s even half-rested.

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Phil Foden (LEI vs MCI, $11.46): Benched for disciplinary reasons for the tasty Newcastle fixture, Foden should now be well-rested and ready to lead the line against leaky Leicester.

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Kevin De Bruyne (LEI vs MCI, $10.40): He was relatively quiet in the 4-0 thumping of Newcastle, but are you willing to bet against him when the Citizens travel to the King Power?

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Son Heung-Min (TOT vs CRY, $13.35): Patrick Vieira’s Crystal Palace is no easy win, but Son is far and away Tottenham’s best fantasy asset. He is his team’s leading scorer and has the highest points-per-game of any Spurs outfielder.


Forwards

Alexandre Lacazette (NOR vs ARS, $5.95): He has been a bit profligate in front of goal, but his price is right, the fixture is good, and you’ve got to think his time is coming. BTW, Eddie Nketiah notched a hattrick in the mid-week Carabao Cup fixture, prompting Arteta to state that he deserves more pitch time. We’ll have Arsenal’s lineup ahead of the buzzer, so if he’s in it you could hardly go wrong for $1.10.

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Raheem Sterling (MCI vs LEI, $11.08): At long last, Sterling seems to have found form, scoring in each of his last three matches. He could be poised to extend his streak against Leicester’s poor defense.

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Cristiano Ronaldo (NEW vs MUN, $11.61): Those who held on to CR7 through United’s blanks will be happy to have him in their squads for this tasty fixture, but his price isn’t prohibitive for those who don’t already own him. He’s the only Red Devil attacker I’m excited about this week.

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Andriy Yarmolenko (WHU vs SOU, $1.10): Michail Antonio’s positive COVID test could mean a run-out for Yarmolenko. Luckily we won’t have to guess: Check the Hammers’ confirmed lineup in our Pre-Deadline Chat. If instead Antonio ($10.69) clears COVID protocols to make the starting-11, then he’s an excellent choice too.


Stats by fantasyfootballscout.co.uk, fantrax.com, and fantasy.premierleague.com.

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How do your Fantrax teams look in light of this week’s fixture scratches? What’s the biggest discount whom you might jettison? Will you carry a zero in your NMA-11 squad? Which of the five (for now) early matches has you drooling ahead of confirmed lineups? What deputies might you snap up if they get rare starts? On whom would you like to park cash thus raised? Please login to share your thoughts and questions in the comments below!

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