Well, at this writing, there are exactly ten matches slated for the weekend. We know that can change quickly... and change again.
This would be a relief after the craziness of last week. At least we get Ghanaian (Partey, Ayew (2), Amarty...) and Algerian (Mahrez, Benrahma...) players returning after crashing out of Afcon, and the league has said that the coming winter break before GW-24 will not be used to make up games. But with COVID still running wild, who knows if we might drop a match.
So for now, let’s look at these games and players as currently scheduled.
Prices are from before the recalculation, so YMMV.
[ Our one early game of the week is a big relegation three-pointer with Watford hosting Norwich so those two lineups should be confirmed in the countdown hour before our deadline. Come back to NMA for our Pre-deadline & Live Chat to see those plus other late breaking news! ]
Ben Foster - WAT vs NOR, 5.92
I’m not really sure if Norwich can score in two straight. It’s a big game for Watford too. Foster’s affordable and going to make the saves that he should.
Kepa Arrizabalaga - TOT vs CHE, 1.58
Kepa has been a good value pick while Mendy is away. He had five saves against Man City, and he has picked up solid points even without a Chelsea clean sheet. Tottenham has been improving, but I think this is a decently safe bet.
Kevin Trippier - LEE vs NEW, 1.00
It was the performance that we’ve come to expect and will need if he’s going to stay on rosters. Per usual, Newcastle did NOT keep a clean sheet. But the right back still found 11 points. He is going to make Newcastle better. They’re going to need more than him, but he’s a starter and a great 1.00 choice, so just lock him in and leave him.
Hassane Kamara - WAT vs NOR, 1.00
Here’s another new defender to the league. He earned a solid 8 in his first game without the clean sheet. I’m not running to get him as a season keeper, but for that price, against Norwich at home, and a check on the lineup, he’s worth a look.
Rayan Ait-Nouri - BRE vs WOL, 5.48
He’s coming off an injury, but he played a full 90 and got an assist. He rarely has a bad fantasy game. Wolves have been playing very solid in the back. Only City has a better goals-against tally for the season. He’s a good price and it’s a decent matchup.
Philippe Coutinho - EVE vs AVL, 1.00
What a debut! He came on with Aston Villa down two. He scored the second and was a big part of the build up for the first. He can be a special player. It’ll be fun to see what he can do with a start and most of a game. I’m going to assume he’s on corner and most set pieces. Everton will be with a new manager.
Kevin De Bruyne - SOU vs MCI, 12.50
In case you’d forgotten, the goal against Chelsea was a reminder of what KDB is capable. Besides the spectacular, he is simply involved so often in the Man City attack that the points can add up quickly. When he plays (and at this price), he is hard to keep out of your squad.
Raphinha - LEE vs NEW, 15.57
I’m not sure where Leeds would be without him. Even when he’s not scoring goals, he is THE key player behind most of Leed’s success. He gets a nice match-up against a leaky Newcastle defense. I must also mention Jack Harrison’s ($7.18) good run of form. He is worth a look after a hattrick last game and a goal before. He was on a lot of rosters last season. Is his form back?
Gabriel Martinelli - ARS vs BUR, 8.64
Martinelli has been a danger coming in from the left for Arsenal. He’s a mid-priced option with a high up side if Burnley is finally able to field a team.
Roberto Firmino - CRY vs LIV, 5.04
He’s going to start and he’s going to be involved. Diogo Jota ($14.35) will be a popular choice (rightly so), but I think the much more affordable Firmino offers better value in the Liverpool attack. He had an assist and will look to build on that against Crystal Palace, whose only clean sheet since November was against Norwich.
Alexandre Lacazette - ARS vs BUR, 6.89
The Frenchman has a goal (2) or assist(2) in the four games before playing Man City and is now up against the current 20th place team. He had last weekend off, but the Gunners play an EFL Cup semi against Liverpool tonight (Thursday), so check his minutes to see if he’s still rested.
Ollie Watkins - EVE vs AST, 9.47
Ollie couldn’t capitalize on his four shots last game. But I’m wondering if Coutinho is going to have positive effects on the other attacking players around him. Danny Ings is another player who might benefit.
Are you not yet convinced that there will be 10 games? Maybe less? Who are you looking at? Whom do you want to drop, and what holes do you need to fill? Have you seen any news about returning Afcon players being available this weekend? How much did salaries change from the barn-door prices above? Did anyone actually become cheaper? Please log in and share in the comments below!