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EPL GW-20 FPL Player Picks

The turnaround window is vanishingly short, and COVID has made team selection treacherous.

Mohamed Salah - Liverpool - Premier League
This week could be one of your last chances to play Mo Salah before he leaves for AfCoN.
Photo by Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images

Please let me be your mostly-reliable gas station attendant from whom you ask directions when you can’t get a cell signal and your GPS is down.

Let’s be real: We are in uncharted territory. Even last season’s postponements are beginning to feel more predictable than the current fixture dumpster fire. In the most recent cruelty for FPL managers who hedged against uncertainty by waiting as long as possible to make transfer decisions, the game’s web server crashed in the final minutes before the GW-19 deadline. Twitter is saturated with… ummm… piquant opinions on the matter.

Also note that we’re now at the halfway point of the season, and according to the rules:

The first wildcard will be available from the start of the season until Tue 28 Dec 05:30 [GMT].

So anyone still holding a first-half wildcard chip must use it or lose it in GW-20. If you’re in that boat, then pull the trigger now so you don’t miss out; you’ll enjoy the luxury of trading both early and late while the rest of us sweat another server crash awaiting late news. As usual, anyone who plays a chip is encouraged to ask questions and/or share strategy in the comments.

With two GW-20 fixtures already postponed (Leeds vs Aston Villa and Arsenal vs Wolves), and with Newcastle vs Man United yet to kick off as I write, and with a fresh game-week coming in less than 24 hours, let’s dive into the chaos!


Goalkeepers

Hugo Lloris (£5.4, TOT vs SOU): The Frenchman is enjoying a nice run under new manager Antonio Conte. Hugo is low key the 6th highest-scoring keeper in FPL, racking up three clean sheets in his last four starts. Currently only 8% owned, he’s a nice differential and plays an early match, so at least you’ll have time to adjust if there is a postponement.

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Jack Butland (£4.4, CRY vs NOR): This is a budget chance, and he hasn’t exactly covered himself in glory most recently against Spurs, but Butland could be an affordable one-week punt at 0.3% ownership. Assuming Vicente Guaita is still out and Palace actually plays this one amid multiple coronavirus cases and a recent request to postpone yesterday’s Tottenham match, Norwich is easily one of the least threatening teams in the PL. If you are enabling a free-hit chip and need funds, this could be the cheapest clean sheet of the week. It’s also an early match, so some crucial team news should be available.


Defenders

Sergio Reguilón (£5.3, TOT vs SOU): Take this with a grain of salt as he did just play 90 minutes on Sunday, but in the previous two matches for Spurs, the Spaniard logged a collective 25 minutes, so he should be in for a start. Also remains under 14% owned at the time of writing and is easily the most attacking defender for Spurs, not to mention adored by Conte.

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Trent Alexander-Arnold (£8.3, LIV vs LEI): TAA is rested after Sunday’s postponement. Leicester is struggling defensively, bombarded by six goals dropped on them by Man City on Boxing Day. Yes, Leicester could score and wipe out clean sheet points, but we all know the most expensive “defender” in FPL history can cover that loss of points with a score, assist, or bonus points. With VvD back from isolation to cover at the back, TAA is basically a winger.

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Nathan Aké (£4.7, MCI vs BRE): He’s cheap, he’s rested, and Man City has Wednesday and Saturday fixtures after just playing Sunday. Someone is going to enable a cheap entry point into defense here. Brentford is the easier fixture of the week, with an Arsenal clash on Saturday. Aké is fit and should start against the struggling Bees that subbed-off Bryan Mbeumo after 41 minutes on Sunday versus Brighton.


Midfielders

Mo Salah (£13.0, LIV vs LEI): He has only blanked twice the entire season, yielding 15 goals plus 10 assists and 20 bonus points. Do not get cute. This is your captain in a sea of uncertainty against Foxes’ leaky defense.

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Heung-Min Son (£10.5, TOT vs SOU): Son has scored in four straight matches and came off at 75 minutes versus Crystal Palace, indicating a slight rest in anticipation of the wild schedule. This week we all just have to hope for XI players on the field, and Son should be one of them.

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Phil Foden (£8.1, MCI vs BRE): After being a naughty boy and getting a very public slap on the wrist by Pep Guardiola, Foden could be a real gem for fantasy points this midweek. He has accrued only 19 total minutes during the last two match benchings, appearing as a substitute on Sunday during a match that was already done and dusted. Even if Pep is still fuming, he needs the Englishman to play so others can rest. He has eight goal involvements so far but is only 10% owned.

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Mason Mount (£7.7, CHE vs BHA): Thomas Tuchel is openly displeased about the fixture congestion and the risk to players recovering from coronavirus and injury. That said, Chelsea doesn’t have a ton of rotation options at the moment, so Mount is about as nailed as you can hope for under the circumstances. He has four goals in his last six, including five bonus points, and hosting Brighton at Stamford Bridge is tempting.


Forwards

Cristiano Ronaldo (£12.5, MUN vs BUR): Thursday feels a long way away, but if all goes well today versus Newcastle, a subsequent matchup versus relegation fodder Burnley at Old Trafford is hard to pass up. Say what you want about the man, but Ronaldo is still the standard for keeping fit, so if he’s able to make the swift turnaround, I’d be hiding behind the couch if he wasn’t in my FPL squad. He has three goals and six bonus points in his last three matches played.

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Romelu Lukaku (£11.5, CHE vs BHA): Owned in less than 9% of FPL teams, Rom came on for ten minutes versus Aston Villa on Boxing Day and changed the game with a goal, an assist, and two bonus points. Chelsea need his physical presence, and he has surely regained confidence after the super-sub performance.

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Michail Antonio (£7.7, WHU vs WAT): He came on Sunday in the 45th minute of a back-and-forth match with Southampton, ultimately losing. West Ham is struggling lately after a wonderful start to the campaign. Getting Antonio back in form will be crucial to pull out of the slump, and he looked bright for the half that he did play, while also not being a Covid-19 absence risk as he’s just returned from isolation.


Stats referenced from premierleague.com

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How are you coping with the schedule insanity as an FPL manager? Do you think just having a starting eleven is a victory? And if you’re playing a chip, what’s your thought process? Please log in and share in the comments! Good luck!

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