Fantasy Premier League Week 31: Time for a Free Hit
There are only five Premier League fixtures this weekend, so with plenty of manager's playing their Free Hit chip, Paul Robinson has taken a look at the best and worst options...
"The Egyptian hasn't been delivering the points in recent weeks, but he looked much better at Bayern on Wednesday, and hopefully that will build his confidence ahead of the trip to Fulham."
Six to like
Sadio Mane - £9.9m. The first of three Liverpool players to be featured in a positive light this week is Sadio Mane. He is the Reds' form man and he scored twice at Bayern during the week - the first of which was a sublime finish. He can be a bit hit or miss, which is why I'm not giving him the armband, but with 16 league goals to his name this season and a fixture against the division's worst defence, he simply cannot be ignored.
Trent Alexander-Arnold - £5.6m. The second Liverpool player of interest this week is Trent Alexander-Arnold as he offers the most value for money in Jurgen Klopp's teams' defence. They have a strong chance of keeping a clean sheet at Craven Cottage anyway, and with his runs forward and his set-piece ability, he offers great attacking threat too. The young right-back is also a bit of a bonus points magnet.
Declan Rice - £4.7m. West Ham's Declan Rice appears to be a decent FPL prospect as he is classified as a defender, but actually plays in a holding midfield role. He has contributed two goals this season, but obviously also picks up four points for a clean sheet, and with the Hammers facing Huddersfield this weekend, they have every chance of not conceding.
Jamie Vardy - £9.0m. The former England striker was back in form last week as he netted a brace against Everton in a 3-1 win. The Brendan Rodgers effect has already taken hold at the King Power, and I quite fancy them to do well at Burnley on Saturday. The Clarets have seen their good run come to an end, as they have now lost their last three matches - conceding a total of nine goals. Expect JV to take advantage.
Callum Wilson - £6.4m. Another player who returned to scoring ways last week was Callum Wilson, but unlike Vardy, he hadn't actually failed to deliver in his previous appearances. The Bournemouth striker had been out injured since January, but prior to that he had netted two in two. He returned to the team last weekend with a goal in the Cherries' 2-0 win at Huddersfield, and this weekend they are at home to Newcastle.
Eden Hazard - £10.9m. I have been pretty cold on Eden Hazard in recent weeks but with only 10 Premier League teams in action this week, I feel like I have to include him. He scored for the first time since the start of February last Sunday, and he should be primed for this fixture having sat on the bench in the Europa League on Thursday. The Blues are at Everton this week and with the Toffees conceding goals for fun, the Belgian winger could be set for a big haul.
Miguel Almirón - £6.0m. I am not sure if this constitutes a huge punt as Newcastle's record signing has been playing well since he joined the Premier League. He has only contributed one assist though, so it's not like he's been delivering for fantasy managers. His stats have been decent enough however, and he could be on the brink of rewarding those who have put their faith in him. A trip to the Vitality should bring goals for Newcastle, and they achieved some good results on the road this term.
Marko Arnautovic - £6.8m. Ever since Marko Arnautovic flirted with the idea of moving to China he has not performed well for West Ham. In fairness he hasn't had too many minutes, but he hasn't been doing much when he is on the field. Last week he was brought on at half-time in their 2-0 defeat at Cardiff, and I think he will likely be given the nod against the Terriers on Saturday.
Two to avoid
Richarlison - £6.5m. The Brazilian scored at St James' Park last weekend, but he hasn't really delivered on his price tag. In the FPL game he is only £6.5m, but there are plenty of other decent mid-price options in midfield, and his ownership remains quite high. Everton also have to take on Chelsea this weekend, and while they aren't in the best form, neither are the Toffees.
Ayoze Pérez - £6.1m. I am pretty confident that there will be plenty of manager's transferring in the Newcastle forward this week, but despite his two goal salvo last weekend, I am not convinced by his fantasy prospects. All of his league goals have come at St James' Park this season, and there are better Newcastle options available.
Mohamed Salah - 13.4m. An unoriginal captain's choice this week, but I can't get away from Mohamed Salah. The Egyptian hasn't been delivering the points in recent weeks, but he looked much better at Bayern on Wednesday, and hopefully that will build his confidence ahead of the trip to Fulham. Salah against that Fulham defence must worry Scott Parker, and it really wouldn't surprise me if Salah delivered in spades this weekend.
You can read all our Premier League Previews in our EPL section right here on betting.betfair.com
*Remember the deadline to submit your teams for GW31 is 14:00 on Saturday.