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Fantasy Premier League, Gameweek 28

Preview
There is a quick enough turnaround before the next fantasy gameweek, but a full set of fixtures to get excited about – and some potentially more straightforward outcomes than in Gameweek 27. Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City all have home fixtures – respectively, against Watford, Tottenham, Bournemouth and West Ham – while Manchester United face a tricky trip to in-form Crystal Palace.

There are some enormous games at the foot of the table, too. The pick of them is Southampton v Fulham, with the hosts’ mini-revival under Ralph Hasenhuttl an increasingly distant memory and the visitors in even worse shape beneath them. Doomed Huddersfield host Wolves, who haven’t lost in their last eight in all competitions, while Cardiff go to Everton and Brighton head north to face managerless Leicester. Newcastle and Burnley have between them lost just once in 10 Premier League games – the two meet at St James’ Park on Tuesday.

Chelsea-Tottenham is undoubtedly the pick of the bunch, and not just to see who Maurizio Sarri selects in goal. We go elsewhere for our captain’s pick, however – to Anfield, in fact…

Captain’s pick

Ever wary of Pep Guardiola’s rotational system, even taking into account the minor injury crisis at the Etihad, we are avoiding Manchester City and instead backing the seemingly out-of-form Mo Salah on the back of one simple statistic. The Egyptian has played three times against Watford since joining Liverpool 18 months ago, and has scored six goals – including four in the fixture at Anfield last season.

Since Watford rejoined the Premier League in 2015, their record at Anfield is abysmal: three games, three defeats, one goal scored, 13 conceded. Their recent defensive record is impressive, and Liverpool certainly haven’t been firing on all cylinders, but regular left-back Jose Holebas remains suspended – if Salah takes up his usual position on the right, he could give Adam Masina a torrid evening on Wednesday night.

Value selection

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Wolves wing-back Matt Doherty has been a favourite Fantasy Prem pick since early in the season, but anyone who doesn’t currently have him in their squad might want to consider him for this week. His team’s opponents on Tuesday night, Huddersfield, have demonstrated a weakness at defending balls into the box all campaign – whether it be low crosses towards the far post, crosses directly to a target man or cut-backs towards the penalty spot.

Either way, Doherty has shown this season that he is capable not only of delivering all of these for assists, but also of arriving at the far post to tap them in – as he did for a late winner against Newcastle in December (below). The Irishman is the highest-scoring defender outside the top six and, after Huddersfield on Tuesday, Wolves host Cardiff at the weekend. Points could be imminent.

Goalkeeper watch
Goalkeeper is often an overlooked position in Fantasy Prem, but it can throw up some excellent-value recruits. Not surprisingly, Liverpool stopper Alisson leads the way on 128 points – but there are plenty of cheaper options who aren’t that far behind him…

Neil Etheridge
Cardiff, £4.7m, 113 points

Second only to Alisson on the keepers’ list, and that in a team currently 17th in the league and with a goal difference of -27. An ever-present for Cardiff in the Premier League this term, Etheridge has kept seven clean sheets and saved three penalties. Without him, the Bluebirds would surely be in the relegation zone, and the bonus points he picks up make him a reasonable choice. Cardiff’s upcoming fixtures are at home to Everton and West Ham, with a trip to Wolves in between.

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Ben Foster
Watford, £4.6m, 105 points

One point ahead of Tottenham’s Hugo Lloris but almost a million cheaper, Foster (above) has kept clean sheets in three of his last five league games for the Hornets. He has been one of his team’s star performers this season, but he might not be one to look at for fantasy purposes just now – three of Watford’s next four league opponents are Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United.

Lukasz Fabianski
West Ham, £4.7m, 104 points

The reigning Polish player of the year is another to avoid this week, with West Ham away at Manchester City on Wednesday. The Hammers face a more sympathetic run after that, with three home games from four and their one away trip in that spell at Cardiff, and Fabianski has picked up good points despite keeping only four clean sheets so far this season. In fantasy terms, he has outscored both Kepa Arrizabalaga and David de Gea so far.

Martin Dubravka
Newcastle, £5.0m, 99 points

The Slovakian number one could be worth a look in the short term. In their next four fixtures, Newcastle host Burnley and Everton, and travel to Bournemouth and Wolves. Rafa Benitez’s men are looking an improved unit these days – the only defeat in their last five league games came in the dying seconds against Tottenham at Wembley – and Dubravka already has eight clean sheets this season. There may be more to come.

Fantasy Premier League, Gameweek 28

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