Fantasy Football tips, Gameweek 31: 3 key player picks to beat your competition
There have been multiple warnings in previous weeks about the scarcity of matches in Gameweek 31. If you log in to your fantasy football team this week and notice that you have only three active players, there are a few options.
• Invent, patent and build a time machine – read back through the multiple warnings on this site and make strategic transfers to enable a fully active squad of players available for GW31.
• Play the glorious Free Hit chip on offer: available to use once per season and allows for unlimited free transfers on a single gameweek. At the next deadline your squad is returned to how it was before.
• Curl up in a ball, hold your knees up to your chin, rock slowly back and forth while you weep watching your three-man squad return a shambolic score.
• Take the hit. Multiple hits may be required. It’s worth noting that Manchester United and Wolves play twice in Gameweek 32, so leave players from those clubs alone.
On with the frisking of fixtures. This week you’ll get player picks with an ownership of 3% or less as usual, to try to flush out some differential options for your team...
Joel Matip, Liverpool (DF, £4.8m)
Owned by: 1%
- Bournemouth v Newcastle
- Burnley v Leicester
- West Ham v Huddersfield
- Fulham v Liverpool
- Everton v Chelsea
Do you know how difficult it is to find a decent Liverpool pick with under 3% ownership?
Trent Alexander-Arnold (£5.6m, 21.1%), Virgil van Dijk (£6.6m, 30.9%) or the third-most picked player in the game, Andrew Robertson (£6.4m, 38.4%), are all solid options for this week – but where’s the fun in that?
Joel Matip has impressed this season and it should be noted that he’s started in each of Liverpool’s last eight league fixtures, keeping one of the self-proclaimed best defenders in the world, Dejan Lovren, on the bench.
Liverpool have kept four clean sheets during that run, and on current form look a decent bet to add another against a Fulham side against the ropes as we head into the final stretch.
Matip managed a goal against Bayern Munich in the Champions League midweek, and although naysayers will point out that it was a calamitous own goal, he still ended up on the scoresheet. So there.
Realistically, going into Gameweek 31 without a full complement of Liverpool players (Fulham, for crying out loud!) feels unwise. At £4.8m, Matip offers an affordable route into your squad.
Manuel Lanzini, West Ham (MF, £6.4m)
Owned by: 0.3%
Last week we went for Bournemouth’s David Brooks, and since then his ownership has risen from 3.8% to 5.1%, making him ineligible for selection this week.
Bournemouth looked impressive with the returns of Brooks and Callum Wilson to their starting lineup, and he remains an affordable option. Alas, we will need to look elsewhere for these purposes.
West Ham welcome Huddersfield to the Olympic Stadium this weekend, and logic suggests that the Hammers should take three points from a Huddersfield team that feels all but mathematically relegated by this stage.
There are two midfielders to consider from West Ham. Manuel Lanzini has been reintroduced to the team after a horrible injury over the past four matches, playing 90 minutes just once and 206 minutes in total. Huddersfield feels like a good opportunity for the Argentine to shine in front of a home crowd against a Terriers defence which has performed only marginally better than Fulham’s, Cardiff’s and (somewhat surprisingly) Burnley’s this season.
The second option is Robert Snodgrass, who has two assists in his last three starts. At £5.0m he’s the cheaper option, although with Michail Antonio waiting in the wings to play, his starting position is under threat. Given this rotation risk and Lanzini being looked after since his return, the Argentine seems like the differential of choice here.
Ayoze Perez, Newcastle (FW, £6.1m)
Owned by: 1.5%
Slim pickings here this week with a cap of 3%.
Marko Arnautovic surely looks good value to start his first league match in 10 following injury, but despite that and his flirtation with the Chinese Super League, the Austrian still has 7% ownership.
It’s a similar story elsewhere: Josh King (7%), Jamie Vardy (12.3%), Callum Wilson (16.9%) Gonzalo Higuain (5.3%), and don’t get us started on Roberto Firmino (16.4%).
And so it’s on to Newcastle and Ayoze Perez. Two goals and an assist in his last game is impressive, but it doesn’t tell the full story: in his last four games, the Spaniard has registered 13 shots as Newcastle have taken nine points from their last 12.
Miguel Almiron’s arrival has seemingly injected more life into Newcastle’s attack; Perez appears to be a beneficiary and should have opportunities against Bournemouth, in what should be a close match.
So there’s three picks with a COMBINED ownership of 2.8% – drop a tweet to @FantasyYIRMA with your differential selections ahead of GW31.
FantasyYIRMA started in 2012 focused primarily on news and previews for the Fantasy Premier League, and has now managed consecutive fantasy coverage across 259 gameweeks. Losers.