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Fantrax EPL GW-35a Player Picks: Just a Normal Weekend

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Fantrax is handling EPL schedule turbulence differently from FPL; there will be no DGW for us.

Manchester City v Paris Saint-Germain - UEFA Champions League Semi Final: Leg Two
Is Kun going to lead the line again for City in a preview of the Champions League Final?
Photo by Matt McNulty - Manchester City/Manchester City FC via Getty Images

While official FPL has a double game-week encompassing both this weekend and the midweek to follow, Fantrax has a separate game-week for each set of matches: This weekend we get a rather normal set of all 20 teams starting on a Friday deadline (with confirmed lineups from Leicester vs Newcastle) and ending with Monday evening’s match.

Then Fantrax gives us a salary recalc and transfer window before the midweek matches kickoff on Tuesday in their own mini game-week that we’re dubbing “GW-35b” , which will contain the “second” matches of FPL’s DGW. While it gives dedicated FPL managers a headache for Fantrax to do anything different from their favorite fantasy platform, all Fantrax managers can take cheer from the fact that we get an extra trade window and expect to see confirmed lineups from the Man United vs Leicester match on Tuesday.

So... Right now you are adjusting your team to include players for the normal raft of games to be played Friday, May 7 through Monday, May 10.

The “DGW” teams that FPL cares about now are just over the horizon; they’ll play Tuesday, May 11 through Thursday, May 13 in GW-35b. That means we have a little motivation to look ahead at those matches and maybe lean toward players on those teams, but we don’t have to, not yet. We can turn toward them during this weekend’s barn door or the short window following the salary recalc after Monday’s match (02:00 BST in the UK’s Tuesday morning).

Just to make it even more exciting and treacherous, the recently cancelled Man United vs Liverpool match has been wedged into midweek; Liverpool no longer blanks, and Man United will have a mini-double within a week with blanks (in FPL, ManU now has a crazy TGW)! Are we having fun yet?

Jeff will write a bonus player-picks article for GW-35b. In case you do want to plan ahead, these are the teams that will play then:

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Here are the games in GW-35a that we’re planning for right now:

Friday, 7 May

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Saturday, 8 May

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Sunday, 9 May

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Monday, 10 May

Ten matches, all twenty teams — What could be simpler?


Goalkeepers

Mat Ryan ($2.57 ARS vs WBA) Has Ryan really claimed the starting spot between the sticks for the Gunners? I certainly don’t trust it yet, but IF I hear that he’s going to start, then he’s high on my list.

Martin Dubravka ($4.57 LEI vs NEW) So it wasn’t a great game vs Arsenal, mostly because he was limited to two saves. I think Leicester will test him more often, and he was making saves (8, 4, 4) before the Arsenal game in which he had only two.


Defenders

Trent Alexander-Arnold ($15.31, LIV vs SOU) He’s back as the best buy as a defender. It’s a decent matchup with a clean sheet possibility, but I’m more interesting in seeing him continuing to push forward and take set pieces. And he should play again in blank GW-35b.

Patrick van Aanholt ($6.99, SHU vs CRY) Sheffield United has only two goals in seven matches, shut out in the other five. PVA is an interesting choice this week. He pops up for a random big game every now and again. Palace has not been great, so this really is about which team is worse: Sheffield’s offense? Palace Defense? I’m betting on Palace being a little less bad.

Rayan Ait-Nouri ($5.09, WOL vs BHA) RAN (not sure that will catch on) has claimed the wing back spot for Wolves. He is getting forward and taking some turns on some set pieces. Brighton scored two vs leaky Leeds last week but hadn’t scored in the previous three. You also can’t expect a shutout from Wolves.

Benjamin Mendy ($2.97, MCI vs CHE) Mendy recently had the kind of performance we hoped for at the beginning of the season, before the (more) injuries. He’s cheap and dangerous going forward. Aymeric Laporte is another option if you’re looking to have some City defenders. They still are the best team and defense in the league.


Midfielders

James Maddison ($14.55, LEI vs NEW) Maddison hasn’t put up great points since his return. But let’s not forget that Newcastle’s defense also just isn’t great. He put up six shots last game and created multiple chances. I (again) see this being a breakout game for him.

Michail Antonio ($9.95, WHU vs EVE) I assume you are looking at Jesse Lingard, but two goals in Antonio’s return to the lineup mean Everton’s defense will have more offensive options to deal with against the Hammers. He won’t be in too many lineups, so could be a difference maker.

Allan Saint-Maximin ($7.54 LEI vs NEW) On a normal day he’s most likely earning his value back. On a good day, he’s capable of much more. The Foxes are in 3rd for a reason, but their only two clean sheets in the last 11 games have been against weakness: Sheffield United and West Brom. His price makes him a solid value play.

Gareth Bale ($8.48, LEE vs TOT) When he has started, he has been fantastic. A hattrick last game and a goal in the previous mean he’s likely to stay in the lineup for Ryan Mason who seems to fancy him more than Mourinho did. Spurs are five points out of 4th place. They need wins and Bale gives them another keen attacking edge going forward. Also, if Bielsa pushes Leeds forward as per usual, then Kane + Son + Bale should be a delight to watch.


Forwards

Sergio Aguero ($2.47, MCI vs CHE) He scored in previous game, and it was one of those Kun goals that you just have to love. This preview of the Champions League Final is not an ripe matchup, but I can’t imagine Pep running out anything like he will for that later big game, so we most likely see Aguero again. Kun at $2.47 (how can I resist?) enables you to go after other big names. Raheem Sterling ($12.66) is another interesting City option who should start.

Kelechi Iheanacho ($7.69, LEI vs NEW) He just keeps putting up points. Let’s review: Nine goals in his last eight games plus assists in each of his last two. He’s in double digits points in all but one of those nine. Oh, and he plays Newcastle who hasn’t shut out an opponent since March 7 (cough again West Brom cough). It’s hard to keep him out of your lineup.

Harry Kane ($25.55, LEE vs TOT) Kane was disappointing last week as Spurs scored four and he barely cracked the fantasy scoresheet. But he is Harry Kane, and he can score in bunches, and his last three road games earned over 20 each. He’s pricey, so you’d be risking a lot on him.

Mo Salah ($18.17, LIV vs SOU) He’s cheaper than Kane but more of a risk. It doesn’t feel like he’s scored three goals in his last four matches, but he has. He’s been missing chances that a year ago he was burying. Southampton continue to concede goals, and the Egyptian has scored in his last two home games. Plus he now has game midweek (the recently rearranged Man United match).


What matchups are you most excited about? What holes do you need to fill? What other hidden gems are you considering? Do you have any questions?

And now that it’s getting late in the season, have you managers in both of our Fantrax leagues noticed your NMA-11 and NMA-17 squads diverging in any interesting ways?

As usual, please share your thoughts in the comments below!

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