Three gameweeks to go. Not to be defeatist, but if you’re not currently in the top 20 of the overall standings (out of 6,308,211 people), you’re probably not going to win the overall competition.
But fear not: beating Jim from the office in your mini-league will give you the same satisfaction as the seven-night UK break including VIP hospitality at two 2019/20 Premier League matches on offer for the overall winner. Yes!
There are no more double gameweeks, but fear not: Friday brings with it a new fixture filled with the possibility of fantasy points galore. Liverpool take on Huddersfield in a match that could realistically end up as a cricket score if the Reds hit top form.
It’s always worth pointing out that this column focuses on the differential options, so while we may be limited to three picks with under 5% ownership, know that going big on the high ownership Liverpool assets isn’t a bad thing here in general – even if one of them was swanning about New York at the start of the week. Yes, Mo Salah, you…
Joel Matip, Liverpool (DF, £4.9m)
Owned by: 1.2%
Full-backs Andrew Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold have deservedly taken the plaudits this season thanks to their attacking returns in the league’s best defence.
Virgil van Dijk, meanwhile, must have read Dejan Lovren’s comments from last summer about being recognised as one of the world’s best defenders and thought to himself: “Hold my beer.”
It’s worth noting that Matip has started Liverpool’s last 13 league matches, and while he doesn’t offer the same attacking threat, he does provide an affordable route into Jurgen Klopp’s tight backline.
There have been murmurs of rotation with a Champions League semi-final on the horizon, but Klopp really should be putting his best team out where possible with the title race as it stands. That now includes Matip alongside Van Dijk.
David Silva, Manchester City (MF, £8.5m)
Owned by: 4.3%
Kevin De Bruyne coming off with yet another injury last week was a sorry sight. A run of three straight games and quick return to form had made the Belgian a viable option for the remainder of the season, but it simply wasn’t to be.
Phil Foden took his first league start well with a goal, but feels like too much of a rotation risk to go with here. That leaves the mercurial David Silva as our midfield pick for the week, coming in with a low 4.3% ownership. Six goals and six assists is admittedly below what would be expected from the Spaniard, but with wins required at Burnley, Leicester and Brighton to clinch the title, Pep Guardiola would be daft not to start one of City’s most consistent performers in recent seasons.
In addition, Silva’s lovely new hair is growing to the point where it has the potential to blow beautifully in the upcoming May breeze – adding to the common thought that he is one of the most aesthetically pleasing players in the Premier League.
(Finally, he also won’t face retrospective action after kicking Manchester United’s Andreas Pereira in the chest during Wednesday night’s derby. Which is handy, because otherwise we’d have to pick someone else.)
Christian Benteke, Crystal Palace (FW, £6.3m)
Owned by: 0.5%
The prospect of bending our own ownership rules this week to include Aleksandar Mitrovic was strong, following the end of his goal drought. Then news broke that his former club Anderlecht were being investigated for potential money-laundering by Belgian detectives, who have launched raids on the club’s offices. So then we thought, ‘nah’.
It leaves us scraping the barrel for a forward <5% with a run of decent games. Ayoze Perez was an option following four goals in his past two games, but a horrible fixture against Liverpool in GW37 has paved the way for an uber differential.
Christian Benteke made a mockery of an Arsenal team that seem to be hell bent on pressing self-destruct in the final stretch. At 0.5% he’s certainly something different for your team, and with Everton, Cardiff and Bournemouth to end the season, he could finish the season strong.
A goal drought of 358 days is nothing when you consider that some of us haven’t scored in top-flight football for over 30 years. Palace boss Roy Hodgson praised the link-up play between Benteke and Wilfried Zaha, and will surely keep his Belgian front man in the starting line-up despite a woeful season.
FantasyYIRMA started in 2012 focused primarily on news and previews for the Fantasy Premier League, and has now managed consecutive fantasy coverage across 264 gameweeks. Losers.