The snooker player Steve Davis once said that when trying to build up a break, he would always try to think three shots ahead. This week in fantasy football, you might be wise to do similar – albeit perhaps not quite so far into the future.
As we approach Gameweek 30, it’s critical that you keep GW31 in mind if you decide to bring in any new additions into your fantasy squad – only 10 teams are playing, after all. GW31 fixtures include: Bournemouth vs Newcastle; Burnley vs Leicester; West Ham vs Huddersfield, Fulham vs Liverpool and Everton vs Chelsea
So on with the fixture-frisking. This week will include three player picks with ownership of 5% or less, who also have fixtures in the next two gameweeks…
Ben Chilwell, Leicester (DF, £5.0m)
Owned by: 2.5% • Fulham (GW30), Burnley (GW31)
Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold offers excellent value at £5.5m, but at almost 20% ownership we have to look elsewhere to get our defensive pick for this week.
Team-mate Joe Gomez is reportedly close to a return and expected to be back for GW32 – so at 1% ownership and £4.8m, keep him in mind for the coming weeks as a cheap way into the Anfield side’s defence.
All of this means that we have to look elsewhere for a defensive bargain ahead of this weekend. Former Liverpool manager, new Leicester boss and current Celtic object of dismay Brendan Rodgers made a losing start to his reign with a late 2-1 defeat at Watford. Thankfully for him, upcoming fixtures bode better.
Ricardo Pereira previously made this column but now sits with the cool kids at 14.1% ownership. Instead, team-mate Ben Chilwell has performed well this season and can add to his three assists, particularly if Rodgers has his full-backs pushing forward. The 22-year-old ticks all the boxes for this week.
David Brooks, Bournemouth (MF, £5.0m)
Owned by: 3.8% • Huddersfield (GW30), Newcastle (GW31)
One of Eddie Howe’s best recent achievements at Bournemouth is the shrewd acquisition of David Brooks from Sheffield United for a reported £10m (rising to £11.5m). The 21-year-old Wales international has impressed this season in a Cherries team that has knocked four goals past a top-six club this campaign, and always shows willing going forwards.
Six goals and four assists is an impressive return for his debut season in the top flight. With Brooks back from injury and expected to be in the lineup for GW30, he’s the perfect enabler to spend money elsewhere. £5.0m is a snip for the midfielder, and crucially, Bournemouth fall into the 50% of Premier League sides that actually have a match in GW31.
The impending return of Calum Wilson to this team also bodes well for the Brooks-Meister-General (it could catch on), given that they’ve linked up well throughout the season.
His midfield team-mate Ryan Fraser (£6.1m) is heavily owned in comparison at 20% of all FPL teams, and it feels like overkill to double up on Bournemouth midfielders. Both offer value going into GW 30/31, but Brooks can be the differential if that’s what you need at this stage of the season.
Gonzalo Higuain, Chelsea, (FW, £9.6m)
Owned by: 4.2% • Wolves (GW30), Everton (GW31)
If you think featuring Higuain in consecutive previews is a bit of a cop-out, you’d be absolutely right. However, the criteria for selection is tight. Had Marko Arnautovic been expected to regain his starting berth at West Ham, the Austrian would have been looked at for selection – but despite not playing a full 90 since GW21, he’s still owned by 7% of managers (that’s over 436,000 teams).
Higuain bagged against Fulham in GW29, and should have scored more in that match. But the signs of improvement are there. He enjoyed a night off Europa League action at Stamford Bridge, sitting on his backside as heart-throb Olivier Giroud led the Blues’ line instead.
Refreshed and ready for action, Chelsea face Wolves (GW30) and Everton (GW31) with Higuain sure to get chances. His ownership has now crept up to 4.2%, so it’s probably the last time you’ll see him in this column. A strong finish to the season could help Higuain get close to double figures, if he can build on his current record of three goals in five Premier League games so far at Chelsea.
FantasyYIRMA started in 2012 focused primarily on news and previews for the Fantasy Premier League, and has now managed consecutive fantasy coverage across 258 gameweeks. Losers.