With less than a week to go until the return of Fantasy Premier League, it’s time to start making the most of your unlimited free transfers!
As usual, your focus should be on the teams with favorable matchups and the players whose form defies fixtures. But also, don’t forget the upcoming double game-weeks. Chelsea and Fulham each play twice in GW-19, plus Man City and Tottenham play twice in GW-20, so setting up your squad for those doubles should factor into your transfer decisions over the next couple of game-weeks.
Also, be sure to follow team news for injuries that emerge from the Carabao Cup’s Round of 16 playing this week.
Kepa Arrizabalaga (£4.5m, Chelsea vs Bournemouth)
He’s a tempting inexpensive option but there are concerns about his fitness. Kepa has regained his confidence since Graham Potter placed his trust in him, and the Cherries are not prolific goal-scorers. Hopefully the World Cup pause has afforded Kepa sufficient time to recover from his plantar fascia issue, but keep a close eye on the press conference before you settle on him as your your GK this week.
Jordan Pickford (£4.5m, Everton vs Wolves)
Pickford was fantastic in FIFA World Cup 2022 as England’s number one goalkeeper. If he doesn't get you the clean sheet against basement-dwelling Wolves, bonus points and save points could help make up the difference.
Ederson (£5.4m Leeds vs Man City)
The Brazilian goalkeeper barely broke a sweat at the World Cup: Second fiddle to Alisson, he made just a single appearance. He’ll require no rest before returning to duty for his club then, and his potential for returns is good against a wasteful Leeds United side.
Kieran Trippier (£5.6m, Leicester vs Newcastle)
FPL’s best defender wasn’t his country’s first-choice right back in Qatar, so he’s another who will be fresh and ready to pick up where he left off when the Prem fires back to life. Trippier’s 96 points is the highest among FPL defenders, and his ownership of over 65% means it’s risky not to have him in your side. Away to Leicester can be a tricky fixture, but Trippier is always capable of returns due to his set-piece ability and attacking talents.
Joao Cancelo (£7.4m, Leeds vs Man City)
Just as Trips wasn’t first-choice for England, Cancelo wasn’t first-choice for Portgual, so he’ll be rested and ready for the trip to Elland Road. He holds the record for the most touches in the attacking third among all EPL players this season, which demonstrates his threat going forward. That’s the kind of player we all like to have in our FPL teams.
Reece James (£5.8m, Chelsea vs Bournemouth)
James was out for a while with a knee injury that forced him to miss the World Cup, but he has returned to full training for Chelsea and could be in line to start when the league resumes. The Chelsea defender has the most chances created among Blues players, which means if you are looking for attacking defenders then Reece James definitely gives you that.
Out here scoring bangers... ✊ https://t.co/qdJKBJqx5T pic.twitter.com/hkwYXmoBl2— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) December 15, 2022
Diogo Dalot (£4.8, Man United vs Nottingham Forest)
Dalot has had a great season, with his impressive club form continuing on into the World Cup tournament as a member of Portugal’s defensive corps. With his sharp ability to cut through defensive lines and slip in the right pass, it’s no wonder he’s the 9th most-purchased player ahead of GW-17. The home fixture against drop-zone dwellers Forest doesn’t hurt either.
Editors note: Dalot was withdrawn early from Portugal’s quarterfinal game against Morocco and missed training ahead of United’s Carabao Cup clash with Burnley on Wednesday. The extent of his injury is unclear; follow team news.
Miguel Almiron (£5.8m, Leicester vs Newcastle)
In hot-red form before the World Cup break, Almiron has scored 4 goals plus 2 assists in his last six games and is the #1 midfielder in FPL this season. Next up for Newcastle is Leiecester, who have shipped loads of goals.
Bruno Fernandes (£9.8m, Man United vs Nottingham Forest)
Much to Ronaldo’s chagrin, Bruno was Portugal’s best player at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. And after CR7’s acrimonious departure from Old Trafford, Bruno now looks set to reclaim many of the roles and duties he had before Ronaldo arrived. We could very well be about to witness the rebirth of Bruno at Manchester United. And what could be more conducive to that than a home fixture against Forest.
Harvey Barnes (£6.9m, Leicester vs Newcastle)
Barnes is Leicester’s most in-form player. He ranks among the league’s top ten for shots on target and has racked up 34 points over his last 5 games.
Bukayo Saka (£8.0m, Arsenal vs West Ham)
This pick could as easily be Saka’s counterpart, Martinelli. Both Gunners have been causing absolute havoc for opposition defenses. Saka had a great performance at the World Cup which makes him a better pick based on recent form than than his partner, Martinelli. He hasn’t played since England’s Dec. 10 loss to France, so he should be ready for Monday. And the injury to Jesus means Arteta probably can’t afford to rest him even if he’d like to.
Kevin De Bruyne (£12.6m, Leeds Vs Man City)
He’s been more of an assist machine than a goal-scorer this season, with reliable league performances and consistent FPL returns. But his shockingly poor performance in the World Cup may now have fantasy managers wondering if he has lost his form. If you ask me...... I doubt it!
Erling Haaland (£12.0m, Leeds Vs Man City)
This one is as obvious as it gets, so let’s not waste any characters here.
Alexander Mitrovic ( £6.8m, Crystal Palace Vs Fulham)
Mitro almost picks himself with himself with a double gameweek coming up on the horizon. Fulham is a very attack-oriented team and fixtures don’t seem to matter too much for the Serbian striker, who has already scored four goals against Big-Six clubs this season. He is on four yellow cards, though, so one more before GW-20 and he’ll incur a one-match suspension. Consequently, if he didn’t have a double gameweek coming up, I’d have probably gone for Anthony Martial (£6.7m) instead, who has three great fixtures to restart the season (NFO, wol, BOU).
Darwin Nunes (£9.0m, Aston Villa Vs Liverpool)
Nunes is the name on everyone’s lips lately, with a great performance against Southampton in Gameweek 16. He wouldn’t have made my list based only on that single performance, but the Uruguayan striker also scored a brace in Friday’s friendly against AC MIlan. He looks more determined than ever, and playing against the shaky defence of Aston Villa shouldn't be too much of a problem, even if Emi Martinez’s World Cup form was scintillating.
Harry Kane (£11.6m, Brentford Vs Spurs)
Harry Kane’s 28 shots on target ties him with Erling Haaland for most in the Premier League this season. But the England international doesn’t just score goals; he also provides assists. And that’s a feature and that distinguishes him from the big Norwegian.
We get to tackle the FPL restart with unlimited free transfers, but if you snooze you lose! Time to wake up and get back to work!
What do you make of our picks this game-week? Are you going for any differentials? Please let us know your thoughts in the comments below!