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Fantrax EPL GW-21 Player Picks (Friday Deadline!)

KDB returns! Toney returns!

Kevin De Bruyne gets instructions from Pep Guardiola - Manchester City - Premier League
Kevin De Bruyne took to the field in last week’s FA Cup action
Photo by Richard Sellers/Sportsphoto/Allstar via Getty Images

GW-21 comes after a week packed full of FA Cup and League Cup drama. In addition to being drawn into the magic of the tournaments, we keep a close eye on our Premier League assets. Most importantly we look on with an eager eye at returns from injury, Kevin De Bruyne being the highest profile after having been out since GW-1.

We also have the additional headache of numerous African and Asian players going off for international duty for the next few weeks.

The other big news is that Brentford talisman Ivan Toney returns from his 15 month absence!

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For what it’s worth, GW-21’s only early match is Friday’s Burnley hosting Luton Town. We Fantrax managers will see those two lineups confirmed in the countdown hour before our deadline, but I don’t think many will take advantage. Still, even a player on a mediocre team can tally points against another cellar-dweller, so YMMV. NMA’s advice is to look only at the home side (if any) in such contests because poor teams rarely travel well.

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Caveat: Arsenal FC, Crystal Palace, Brentford & Forrest don’t play until Saturday January 20. Firstly, some players could be affected by midweek cup replays (if snow & ice don’t scratch them). Secondly, their Saturday matches could be affected by the snow & ice expected to sweep England (including snow in London) during the week, so check the latest weather advice at deadline time... Maybe I’ll decide to buy a guaranteed Burnley player after all. YMMV.


Goalkeepers

Djordje Petrovic (CHE vs FUL, $3.22)

Petrovic has stepped up well in the absence of Sanchez and looks determined to keep his place even after his return. Chelsea is slowly improving and will back themselves against Fulham in this west London derby fixture. Petrovic is still priced as a great enabler.

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David Raya (ARS vs CRY, $7.70)

Raya is one of the cheaper premium keepers in the game currently. Arsenal is struggling at the moment — back to back league losses plus a defeat to Liverpool in the FA Cup. Raya will come back into the side as current first choice keeper for the league campaign as Arteta looks to steady his ship.


Defenders

Pedro Porro (MUN vs TOT, $18.43)

A premium pick but for good reason, Porro delivers consistently — seven assists so far this season. Visiting Old Trafford is historically a tricky fixture, but Man United has been up and down, so Porro will likely have opportunities to add to his tally.

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Ben Mee (BRE vs NOT, $4.37)

The experienced defender offers decent value for money after returning from a couple of weeks out. Brentford should be boosted by Toney’s return up front, and Mee offers a fair goal threat from set pieces.

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Pervis Estupinan (BRI vs WOL, $6.49)

He followed-up his recent league goal with a goal in the FA Cup win over Stoke. Estupinan is a great attacking asset, and the rare clean-sheet last time out (Brighton’s first of the season!) is a small reason to be optimistic.


Midfielders

Kevin De Bruyne (NEW vs MCI, $1.00)

Very missed by an ever so slightly struggling City side, expectations are high that De Bruyne will take the Citizens back up to the next level. At $1, he’s a screaming bargain if he plays even 45 minutes against an off-the-boil Newcastle side. If you don’t buy him now, then at least have him on your barn-door short-list.

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Cole Palmer (CHE vs FUL, $12.32)

Palmer continues to be the bright spark for Chelsea, the player driving them forward with some consistency. He has a high ceiling, proven by his brace plus assist last time out.

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Leon Bailey (EVE vs AST, $10.11)

He had a couple of blanks before last game-week, but Baily looks to be coming into another purple patch. Aston Villa is continuing impressive form, offering a host of strong attacking options with expansive play.

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Michael Olise (ARS vs CRY, $11.23)

Word from the Palace camp is that Olise is backed to return from injury in this one. He has been in excellent form with contributions in each of his last four league games (four goals plus an assist), so he could cause out-of-form Arsenal further problems.


Forwards

Richarlison (MUN vs TOT, $11.07)

Pressure is now on Richarlison who won’t be phased. He’ll be the source of inspiration for a Tottenham side missing Son. Spurs have acquired the services of RB Leipzig forward, Timo Werner on loan, so that will add a bit of competition.

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Diogo Jota (BOU vs LIV, $8.16)

$8 is a decent price for a player who delivers strong returns when fit. Jota returned from injury in recent weeks with two assists plus a goal in his last two outings. Liverpool will rely on him in Salah’s absence.

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Ivan Toney (BRE vs NOT, $1.00)

It may have been a long while since Toney featured in the top flight, so match sharpness is a clear concern, but he has been playing competitively at the ‘B’ level, including a hattrick against Southampton’s U-23s last week. He’s full of big talk on how he wants to repay his club, so a goal on his return would be a perfect way to do so — His stock could rise fast.


How are the foreign nations’ cups and January transfer window impacting your team? Are you forced into any changes this week? Who else should be on our radar in GW-21? Please log in and let us know in the comments!

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