There’s a bumper Gameweek 35 in store for more than eight million Fantasy Premier League managers worldwide, with Southampton’s players potentially key to climbing the rankings.
Saints have a key role to play in the FPL run-in, facing Liverpool and Crystal Palace in GW35 when more than half of the league only play once.
What’s more, Saints then play host to relegation-threatened Fulham in GW36 when big guns Manchester United, Chelsea, Leicester and Arsenal are not in action.
This is why Saints’ stars could be in demand ahead of the Friday transfer deadline. Here’s who you should be targeting…
Goalkeeper: Fraser Forster £4.0m
Ralph Hasenhüttl was giving nothing away when asked which of his goalkeepers would start at Anfield in today’s pre-match press conference, but the manager did make it clear that game time would be shared between Forster and Alex McCarthy over the remaining five matches.
This makes it tough to trust either stopper to start both games in Gameweek 35, but Forster represents great value as a back-up keeper, allowing the bulk of your budget to be used elsewhere, but still chipping in with potentially valuable bench points when required.
ralph hasenhüttli am not really a big friend of having a clear no. 1 sometimes... the good thing is we have two goalkeepers we can trust. this is something of an advantage, i think.
on the battle to be saints' starting goalkeeper
Defender: Jannik Vestergaard £4.7m
Available to play after his red card against Leicester was rightly rescinded, Vestergaard just edges out Kyle Walker-Peters and Jan Bednarek as Saints’ best defensive option.
The trio are identically priced, but the Dane possesses the biggest goal threat, and Walker-Peters may have his hands full against the likes of Sadio Mané and Wilfried Zaha, potentially limiting his assist potential.
Midfielder: James Ward-Prowse £5.8m
The most tempting Saints asset this week has to be Ward-Prowse. An FPL dream as he churns out 90 after 90, Danny Ings’s absence means the skipper is also benefiting from spot-kick duty, helping himself to 10 points against Leicester as a result.
What’s more, Liverpool and Palace are both among the seven clubs to concede 10-plus goals from set-pieces in the Premier League this season – another reason why Vestergaard should be under consideration, as Ward-Prowse’s prime target from dead balls.
Forward: Ché Adams £5.7m
Another man who becomes a more enticing option without Ings is Adams, who looks guaranteed minutes at the moment, particularly after producing a tireless shift against Leicester.
With seven goals and six assists this season, his 13 goal involvements ranks only just behind Saints’ team leaders Ward-Prowse and Ings (both 14). Racking up 114 FPL points so far, Adams is comfortably the most productive sub-£6m forward in the game.
Still got your Free Hit up your sleeve? Fill your team with as many players as possible who play more than once in GW35 to maximise your points return…
Goalkeeper: Emiliano Martínez (£5.4m)
There’s not a standout option between the sticks this week, so best to play it safe with Martínez – the most-owned and highest-scoring goalkeeper in the game for a reason.
The beauty of the Villa stopper is not only his 14 clean sheets, but also his tendency to rack up saves and bonus points, leading to six double-digit hauls this season.
Defender: Harry Maguire (£5.5m)
Have you had a good look at the GW35 fixtures? Manchester United now have not one, not two but THREE matches to play, so a full quota of Old Trafford assets is where the smart money lies.
Whilst Luke Shaw offers a higher ceiling, he’s unlikely to start all three fixtures, whereas Maguire is like United’s Ward-Prowse – he hasn’t missed a minute all season.
Midfielder: Bruno Fernandes (£11.5m)
Sorry for stating the obvious, but Fernandes is surely a must-have this week – not just to own, but to captain.
Will he start all three games? Who knows, but he’s surely nailed on to start at least two of them, which is enough to end the debate, even if Aston Villa, Leicester and Liverpool are not the most generous opponents.
Midfielder: Mason Greenwood (£7.2m)
Completing our three-man United selection is Greenwood, who has six goals in his last seven appearances ahead of the Europa League second leg against Roma.
With Anthony Martial and Daniel James injured, and Edinson Cavani’s minutes carefully managed, Greenwood should start at least two of United’s unique triple-header.
Forward: Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£7.5m)
He may not be returning points at the same rate as he was before Christmas, but Calvert-Lewin was on target last time out against Aston Villa, who he faces again next Thursday.
Before then is a trip to West Ham, who have been shipping goals freely of late without Declan Rice to protect the back four. Everton are also a considerably better side away from Goodison Park, so don’t let two games on the road put you off.
Don’t forget to get your transfers sorted by 6.30pm BST on Friday and be sure to consider the Free Hit chip if it’s still available. Good luck, Saints fans!