The January transfer window means that we have additional players and lineups to consider as we head into week 21. Joao Felix, fresh from the Darwin School of how-not-to-enter-the-EPL, certainly started his Chelsea time in a way that the other newcomers will hope not to repeat.
There is intrigue at the top of the table, but the bottom of the table is sight to behold. All three teams in the relegation zone sit at 15 points; Above them, one team has 16 points, and three more have 17. And there is still almost exactly half a season left, most teams having played 19.
It’s an odd season overall when Chelsea vs Liverpool is a mid-table clash; Everton vs West Ham is a huge relegation six-pointer; Fulham plays Tottenham with a with a chance to move above them into 5th; and Arsenal leads by eight glorious points over both Manchesters.
But there’s a lot to play still. Every game and point matters when it’s this close.
Prices are “barn door” salaries from Fantrax’s NMA-11 league. They’ll will update about ten hours after the Spurs vs City game.
We will see confirmed lineups for Liverpool vs Chelsea early on Saturday. Come back to NMA for our Pre-Deadline Chat in the countdown hour for those.
Wayne Hennessey ($1.00, BOU vs NOT)
Dean Henderson is out injured for about five weeks, so Hennessey will get the next several starts. Forest has won two straight and now plays against a sinking Bournemouth squad that has failed to score in the last four games, all losses. What more could you ask from a 1-dollar man?
Bernd Leno ($12.26, FUL vs TOT)
Leno has been racking up saves and points, and he has helped push Fulham up to 6th in the league. He has made 21 saves over his last four games, so even without a clean sheet, Leno is producing. It’s also huge game for both teams.
Ethan Pinnock ($10.84, LEE vs BRE)
Even at $10, Pinnock is a good value. Only fantasy superstar Kieran Trippier has more points among defenders since the EPL restart. He has returned fewer than double digits only three times since he began playing in October. Leeds are all over the place too.
Matt Doherty ($5.09, FUL vs TOT)
Doherty is back to going forward often, and he has started the last four. Even with conceding two goals against the Gunners, he managed over 10 points. At that price, he’s a good bet to get at least his value back in return.
Serge Aurier ($8.72, BOU vs NOT)
I’m not sure Aurier can keep pace, but he does have double digit scores in seven of his last eight games. It’s a good matchup too (read above for Hennessey).
Christian Norgaard ($6.55, LEE vs BRE)
Since his full-time return, Brentford has been fantastic — The Bees have won three straight. Since the World Cup, he’s third in total points among midfielders. He has produced that well even while tallying only one assist (and no goals). This means he’s always finding phantom points and can have even bigger games if he does grab a goal or assist. At his price, for that consistency, and against Leeds, he’s a good bet.
Kaoru Mitoma ($6.15, LEI vs BHA)
Mitoma has three goals in his last five games and only once has tallied under double digits fantasy returns. Mitoma is aggressive and challenges players. Brighton is scoring goals too, with 12 over their last four. Add his affordable price to a matchup against struggling Leicester, and you have a nice enabler.
James Ward-Prowse ($13.92, SOU vs AST)
JWP has always been a solid fantasy option. He now has four goals in as many games. I know, Southampton is not very good, but he certainly is. It’s a decent home matchup as well, if such a thing exists for Southampton.
Emiliano Buendia ($4.97, SOU vs AST)
The Villans have scored at least one goal per game in the last six, and they’re playing a porous Southampton defense. He’s cheap and inconsistent, but he has two goals in three games. Oh, and did I mention Southampton’s defense isn’t very good?
Evan Ferguson ($2.13, LEI vs BHA)
Ferguson started the last two matches for Brighton, and the team scored seven goals. He scored one of those himself and assisted two others. He’s still very cheap, but he won’t be for long. It’s a very good matchup as well.
Eddie Nketiah ($3.00, ARS vs MAN)
He really should have scored against Spurs. He’s active and getting chances. He needs very little to earn back his value, even against a United team that is playing well.
Ivan Toney ($20.27, LEE vs BRE)
Yes, he’s very expensive, but there’s a reason. He has scored in four consecutive games, including a brace. He’s in a form that that top strikers sometimes find. There are enough enablers out there to find the cash if you want him.
Are you looking to any new signings right away? I’m taking a wait and see approach. I’ve shied away from streaking Man United players as they play Arsenal. Are you grabbing them on the barn door before prices rise? Where else are you looking?