At last, GW-31 is almost upon us. The international break doesn’t appear to have left a trail of injured players, although keep an eye on late news and players returning late (or fatigued) from distant places.
This is yet again a double week, but for only two teams. Neither has been attractive recently, but it generally makes sense to go big on double-game players. The choices are complicated by several single gamers having very attractive fixtures. So probably the best course will be to go big on selected double-gamers but not exclusively.
The early game (on Saturday) is Liverpool vs Watford, which looks a very good fixture for in-form Liverpool. There is some risk of rotation at Liverpool due to a heavy upcoming schedule, so you should definitely check on team news in the countdown hour before the match. For non-UK based players, the UK switched to British Summer Time last weekend, so make sure you pick the right hour!
With that in mind, here are my picks for the week. Prices are from F-11 (F-17 will be a little lower).
Nick Pope (BUR vs MCI, BUR vs EVE $14.55): Here’s the only keeper with two home games. One is against Man City, so there is a risk that he gets pummeled but potential reward that he makes more saves. He has been negative in his past two games, but he did really well before that. If Ben Mee is back in defense, that should improve Burnley defensive chance all around. Pope’s an expensive risk, but I am likely to take it.
Jordan Pickford (WHU vs EVE, BUR vs EVE $14.55): The only other option for me because I can’t see value in single-gamers this week. Two away games, and Everton has been woefully out of form, but he can score big even in defeat (witness consecutive losses to Southampton and Man City where he tallied 31.5 points over the two games).
Burnley defenders appeal to me — they are likely to be very busy against Man City, and they could shut out feckless Everton. Collins is suspended, so in central defense either Mee could be back, or perhaps Long will get his first game of the season. I’m looking at those who should get two games though.
Connor Roberts (BUR vs MCI, BUR vs EVE $5.13): Two games and a decent price. His scores have exceeded his current price in seven of his last ten games, so it would be a surprise if he doesn’t do well over the two games this week.
James Tarkowski (BUR vs MCI, BUR vs EVE $15.57): He is expensive, but he’s the mainstay of the Burnley defense (especially in Mee’s absence). He has scored only one goal this season, and that was in GW-1, but with their backs to the wall the Clarets are at their most dangerous. Another one wouldn’t surprise me.
Mason Holgate (WHU vs EVE, BUR vs EVE $5.84): He’s the cheapest Everton defender who’s likely to get two games. Jonjoe Kenny or Vitalii Mykolenko would be interesting based on price, but they haven’t been starting regularly.
The early game will allow us to check on which Liverpool defenders are starting — if there is rotation there could be a cheap option. Konstantinos Tsimikas or Joseph Gomez perhaps, and at their basement prices they would both be great enablers.
If it wasn’t for the double, I would definitely be on Tariq Lamptey (BHA vs NOR $7.48), and I am still tempted anyway. He can rack up points in all sorts of ways in Fantrax, and he’s playing against Norwich!
Anthony Gordon (WHU vs EVE, BUR vs EVE $9.61): One of the bright spots for Everton recently, he gets two chances at a fairly decent price.
Aaron Lennon (BUR vs MCI, BUR vs EVE $3.68): It’s hard to get excited about Burnley midfielders, but there are surely going to be some good points here if you can pick the right one. I’m going for Lennon based on price, but without a lot of enthusiasm.
Kai Havertz (CHE vs BRE $6.98): 52.5 points over his past three games, but he had scored very little before that, so his price is still quite low. It’s another good-looking fixture. Mason Mount is also tempting, but he’s a lot more expensive.
Son Heung-Min (TOT vs NEW $18.91): With a lot of budget picks freeing up cash, perhaps you can afford Son. He had a couple of quiet games but came back with a bang last time. If he’s too expensive for you, then Dejan Kulusevski costs only $4.42 and has been performing well.
Wout Weghorst (BUR vs MCI, BUR vs EVE $2.29): His returns have dropped off, but for two games at this price I am prepared to gamble that he returns to form at least against Everton.
Richarlison (WHU vs EVE, BUR vs EVE $6.15) and/or Dominic Calvert-Lewin (WHU vs EVE, BUR vs EVE $6.15): I am keeping an eye on Everton team news. Both of these players are cheap, but that’s because they haven’t been doing much. If the Toffees are to turn around their season, surely one (or both) of them needs to do something... YMMV
Harry Kane (TOT vs NEW $17.45): Double-digit points in seven of his past eight games — He is back in form and correspondingly expensive now. He’s still worth it I think, but a lot of you already have him at a lower price, so keep him.
Mo Salah (LIV vs WAT $24.34): He’s so expensive, but he’s always difficult to leave out, especially when the fixture looks good. Keep an eye on who starts though (this is the early game). Luis Diaz could be a great alternative who would save you over $22!
How many double-gamers are you going for? Which single-gamers look too good to resist? Are you holding onto others at discount? Please share your thoughts and questions in the comments!