Last week was rough. I dropped from 13th to 32nd. From the best score on the week to... well not the best score. KDB didn’t start. TAA got sick. Sa and Marcal both seriously disappointed at home. Sometimes you get it wrong, even after getting it really right the week before.
But I’m gonna take one week at a time.
Prices are creeping up. It’s becoming harder and harder to fit new players in (and near impossible to let certain others go). I’ll assume that most of us have Romelu Lukaku and Cristiano Ronaldo at dirt-cheap earlier prices, meaning that the other nine choices make all the difference.
Chelsea and Man City open the weekend with the early game and confirmed lineups. EDIT: It looks like Man United vs Aston Villa is now also in that time slot, giving us FOUR lineups to be confirmed before our deadline!
Chelsea & Man City have each conceded only once while scoring 11 and 12 goals respectively. Too many questions for me to have lots of players on my squad from this one. But this should be a fun watch, and it’s a match that matters.
While reading these picks and making your own plans, keep in mind that many EPL sides are playing midweek EFL Cup matches this week and/or midweek UCL matches next week, so injuries, suspensions and rotation could interfere.
Kepa Arrizabalaga (CHE vs MCI, $4.09) I was surprised to see Kepa start, but he should keep his place with Mendy still out. This is an interesting one. Chelsea is home and has conceded once. City was shut out at home last weekend by visiting Southampton. But we know what City can do, which could mean lots of saves... or it could mean goals-allowed. I am very tempted.
Asmir Begovic (EVE vs NOR, $3.20) With Pickford out for a few weeks, Begovic steps between the posts for the Toffees. It was a rough start for him, but Norwich has scored only twice, both at home, so the Canaries are scoreless on the road. The price is right, and it’s a relatively safe bet, especially in NMA-17 where your other keeper is probably a steady asset at a large discount.
Virgil van Dijk (BRE vs LIV, $9.08) If you’re getting VvD at this price, you may be a week too late, BUT... For this matchup he may be worth it. Any Liverpool defender is a good choice, but he’s nailed on to start and has been putting up points.
Emerson Royal (ARS vs TOT, 7.23) I feel like I’m a week late on this one too. In his two starts, he has earned 12 and 8.5, and that’s with THREE goals against in each game. With Tanganga back (also a solid pick @ 4.97 if you think he’ll play), I have some rotation worries. But Royal put up good numbers on both sides of the ball. The Gunners have looked better overall the last two weeks, but they still haven’t scored more than once in a game.
Lucas Digne (EVE vs NOR, $12.50) He still is taking corners and set pieces, but Digne has not yet put up the numbers of recent years. Still, this matchup is eye-catching, even at his price. Norwich currently sits rock bottom of league on zero points with fewest goals scored and most conceded (expect that to become a steady player-pick drum-beat this season until/unless the Canaries improve a lot). That’s a good mixture for a defender like Digne who has a high ceiling for serious points on both sides of the ball.
Marc Cucurella (CRY vs BHA, $5.46) The newcomer to Brighton got his first start last weekend and earned back his value. He is playing more as a midfielder than a defender for 4th-place Brighton (yes you read that right). It’s also a solid matchup against the Eagles who have been shut out three times, which makes him a good option as an enabler this week.
Said Benrahma (LEE vs WHU, $12.46) Benrahma was back on the scoresheet again against Man United. West Ham has scored 11, and Leeds has given up 12. The Hammers are attacking, and he is a major part of that push forward. It’ll be an open game.
Leandro Trossard (CRY vs BHA, 12.44) Trossard has a goal plus an assist over his last two matches. Palace is struggling, so there’s an upside to this matchup, and Brighton has been finding ways to score and win. Trossard has been involved in much of that.
Mason Greenwood (MAN vs AST, $12.74) I think the young England forward (who is listed as mid) is due. Since Ronaldo joined, Greenwood hasn’t scored. But I wouldn’t worry. He continues to be active and confident on the ball. It has been two games without a goal, but I could see him getting back on the scoreboard against an inconsistent Villa side.
Allan Saint-Maximin (WAT vs NEW, $12.25) I think ASM should stay on your radar. He has a goal or assist in four of his five games, and Watford has yet to keep a clean sheet.
Michail Antonio (LEE vs WHU, $16.17) I’m still a little upset about the red card. For many of you with Antonio at a discount, it meant selling him for the week. He’s now pretty expensive, but it’s leaky Leeds. He’s going to have chances for sure, and at least the week off means he’s well rested (and motivated).
Demarai Gray (EVE vs NOR, $7.11) We’ve already seen three goals from the new Everton forward. He has been active and lively in the attack. And now Everton plays anybody-against-Norwich (most goals against... by a full five-goal margin). If you can’t afford the likes of Salah or MAntonio (or even if you could), Gray @ 7.11 against Norwich begging for selection.
Cristiano Ronaldo (MAN vs AST, $10.54) I’m going to include him one last time for those asleep in the back. If you don’t have him, get him. Even at this price he’s still a bargain.
Diogo Jota (BRE vs LIV, $11.03) Jota is the cheapest way into Liverpool’s attack, although Mane and Salah are usually more productive if you have the money. This is not as easy a game as it looks. Brentford has yet to concede more than one goal in a game, but the Bees also have yet to play a top team like Liverpool (we thought they did when they opened against Arsenal, but in hindsight... not). Liverpool has been held to single goal only by Chelsea, scoring three goals three times.
Caveat (on all Liverpool assets): The Reds have only two day’s rest before their Tuesday Champions League clash away at FC Porto, so Klopp may rotate and/or manage minutes almost anywhere. YMMV
Are you looking at anyone in the marquee opening matchup? Maybe defenders on both sides? You do already have CR7 and Lukaku cheap, right? What is the best matchup of the weekend? What other hidden gems are sitting out there? Please share your Fantrax thoughts and questions in the comments!