First things first, in case you hadn’t realised yet (in which case you should probably ramp up your FPL gameweek preparation routine): due to the League Cup final between Manchester Cheaty and Aston Villa taking place on Sunday, March 1st, the Premier League encounters between Man City vs Arsenal and Aston Villa vs Sheffield United were postponed. These four teams will have a blank weekend, which leaves us with a relatively hard to predict and surprisingly premium-less gameweek.
We usually define a premium FPL asset as one priced £10.0m or higher, and currently seven players fall into this category. Of those seven players, four (Auba, De Bruyne, Aguero, Sterling) have a blank gameweek and one (Kane) is injured, leaving us with Salah and Mané. Due to this situation and for the sake of more variation in the future, we are lowering the premium qualification threshold to £9.0m. This adds another seven players to the current list of potential premium picks, including Jamie Vardy (who will feature in this article), Son (out injured) and Firmino. As we wrote before, GW28 feels like a round that could hold some nice surprises, just like slotswise does for casino players, so here are our fantasy picks for this weekend.
Finally, don’t forget that the deadline for gameweek 28 is set at 19h00 (GMT+0) on Friday, February, 28th, 2020.
How did our fantasy picks for the previous gameweek fare?
|Premium||Mo Salah||West Ham (H)||7|
|Premium||Sadio Mané||West Ham (H)||8|
|Non-premium||Danny Ings||Aston Villa (H)||2|
|Non-premium||Raul Jimenez||Norwich (a)||5|
|Differential||Patrick van Aanholt||Newcastle (H)||15|
|Differential||Enda Stevens||Brighton (H)||7|
|Captain||Mo Salah||West Ham (H)||14|
Most transferred in/transferred out players (as per February 26th, 2020)
|TRANSFERS OUT||TRANSFERS IN||POSSIBLE REASONS|
|GK||Henderson (SHE), Ryan (BRI), Button (BRI)||Pope (BUR), Schmeichel (LEI), McCarthy (SOU)||Sheffield’s blank GW provides an opportunity to swap Henderson for in-form goalies Pope, McCarthy, or Schmeichel.|
|DEF||Lundstram (SHE), Baldock (SHE), Kelly (CRY)||Saiss (WOL), Pereira (LEI), Söyüncü (LEI)||Lundstram’s and Kelly’s continued benching, in combination with good defensive form for Wolves and good upcoming fixtures for the Foxes.|
|MID||Grealish (AST), De Bruyne (MC), Son (TOT)||Fernandes (MU), Richarlison (EVE), Martial (MU)||United’s form since the arrival of Fernandes plays a big part here, in combination with Son’s potential season-ending injury.|
|FOR||Aguero (MC), Vardy (LEI), Firmino (LIV)||Vardy (LEI), Aubameyang (ARS), Calvert-Lewin (EVE)||For Vardy, it’s mediocre form vs good upcoming fixtures, while Auba and DCL are in form and scoring.|
Premium fantasy picks
We always try to vary a bit, especially when it comes to our premium fantasy picks, but one of the official game’s best performing assets is in great point-scoring form and has a pretty favourable fixture coming up in a small, but complicated blank gameweek. Mo Salah (£12.8m) is facing Watford at Vicarage Road on Saturday evening in what should be one of the more predictable games this weekend, result-wise. The Reds equalled Man City’s 2017/18 record of 18 successive Premier League wins on Monday by beating West Ham at Anfield, so by beating Watford, they will make this impressive record theirs. They say the records don’t bother them much, which we believe up to a point, but we can’t imagine that this possibility to get themselves into the PL history books does not provide that little bit of extra motivation. As far as Salah goes, he has recorded 40 FPL points over the past four gameweeks, courtesy of 4 goals, 1 assists and 6 bonus points. If the Reds beat the record, their Egyptian talisman will likely have something to do with it.
For our second premium pick, we have gone with fixture over form, combined with the player’s undeniable FPL pedigree. Leicester striker Jamie Vardy (£9.7m), though still the current Premier League top scorer (17 goals, tied with Aubameyang), hasn’t scored a goal since gameweek 18. He missed gameweeks 18 and 19 due to injury, but in the six games since then, he recorded just a single assist for a total of 12 FPL points over that run. It should be noted that the last three games were against Chelsea (home), Wolves (away) and City (home), but still, these are not encouraging stats for the Englishman. The upcoming run of fixtures is a lot more appealing though, with Norwich (away), Villa (home), Watford (away) and Brighton (home) in the next four. Leicester are a quality side and Vardy will inevitably start scoring again, so why not coming Friday night at Carrow Road, home of the league’s second-leakiest defence.
Non-premium fantasy picks
Our first non-premium is actually more of a premium asset in terms of price, but considering the lack of quality picks this weekend and with away games being his speciality, we’ve included him for GW28. Roberto Firmino (£9.7m) has scored 8 goals and provided 8 assists so far this season, and all of those goals were scored away from Anfield. He blanked in the last two rounds, though not for a lack of effort or chances, but in the five gameweeks before that, he scored 2 goals and provided 3 assists for a total of 31 FPL points over that run. This weekend’s opponent Watford has improved considerably since the appointment of Nigel Pearson at the end of last year, but we doubt whether the Hornets can withstand Jurgen Klopp’s side on their way to their 19th consecutive PL victory and Liverpool’s first Premier League title in 30 years.
James Maddison (£7.4m) is in a bit of a similar situation to the earlier mentioned Jamie Vardy, in the sense that it’s been a quiet few weeks for him by now. His last return, a goal at Saint James Park, came all the way back in gameweek 21 and the six rounds since then saw him record just 11 FPL points. As goes for Vardy though, Leicester’s difficult run of fixtures has now come to an end and a set of more favourable encounters is on the horizon. Maddison did not return recently, but that doesn’t mean he had no opportunities to do so against strong opposition: 13 chances created over the past four weeks, a tally only beaten by De Bruyne and Grealish. Leicester are a well-oiled machine and a great team with plenty of offensive outlets, but Maddison is involved in most of the attacking threats, including from set-pieces. We can definitely see him improve on his current 6 goals and 5 assists against Norwich on Friday.
A differential fantasy pick or two
As you probably realised by now, we have faith in Leicester getting back to their more consistent winning ways soon, after a run of difficult fixtures that saw them concede second place to Manchester Cheaty. The return to form should start with a comfortable victory at Vicarage Road, which is why our first differential fantasy pick for gameweek 28 is Jonny Evans (£5.2m). His fellow defenders Pereira, Söyüncü and Chilwell all boast a higher ownership than the Northern Ireland international, but he is actually the second-highest-scoring defender amongst the Foxes with 101 FPL points. Evans already has 8 clean sheets, 1 goal and 2 assists to his name, as well as 10 bonus points, and we believe those tallies could be improved over the coming weeks. First up is Norwich, who have conceded a worrying 26 goals in 13 home games, while scoring just 18. Overall, the Canaries have failed to score in their last three Premier League games and Leicester will be hoping to make that four in a row.
Our final fantasy pick of the week actually combines most of the factors that make a player the perfect differential FPL asset. Southampton’s Shane Long (£4.6m) is very cheap, he has obtained a starting spot in one of the league’s more in-form outfits, he is in decent form, he has a favourable run of fixtures coming up, and his current ownership sits at a mere 2.3%. He has scored just 2 goals so far this season, but these did come in the last five gameweeks. He started all of those games, usually up front with Danny Ings, and recorded a more than decent 22 FPL points over that period. We expect him to line up from the start once again this Saturday, when the Saints are visiting West Ham. Without counting Southampton 0-9 loss against Leicester in GW10, the Hammers boast the second-worst defensive home record in the league, having conceded 25 goals in 13 games. Overall over the past four weeks, they have conceded a league-high 14 goals and 63 shots inside the box, so it looks like the perfect moment to bring in Long.
For gameweek 28, we are basically repeating our armband pick by putting it on Liverpool’s Mo Salah. The Egyptian repaid our trust on Monday with a goal and we are hoping for a similar scenario on Saturday. We expect him to start as part of Jurgen Klopp’s strongest possible eleven and we hope that the possibility of breaking the Premier League record for consecutive victories will give the Reds and Salah in particular just the little nudge needed to turn this one into a goal-scoring bonanza.
If you don’t feel confident about Liverpool’s chances this weekend, Leicester are the clear other stand-out candidate. The Foxes play Norwich away on Friday evening, which, despite the recent downturn in results and FPL output, brings the likes of Jamie Vardy and even James Maddison into the mix. Outside of Liverpool and Leicester, pickings are slim, though. You could take a punt on Ings away to West Ham, or on Newcastle to keep a clean sheet at home against Burnley. The Wolves defence might keep a clean sheet at the New Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday and there might be goals in Everton vs Man United, but if you can go for a decent Fox or Red, that’s our alternative recommendation.
The FISO Forum Captain poll for GW28 shows Salah, Mané and Vardy are the stand out choices.
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