Getting your team selection correct in Draft Premier League is just as essential as your pre-season draft or your weekly waiver wire claims. And that’s exactly why we’re here to help with our Gameweek 31 Start and Sit article! We’re here to help you with some of the big Fantasy EPL decisions you may need to make for the upcoming fixtures.
Gameweek 31 Start and Sit
Whether you’re an obsessed EPL fan like our FantraxHQ team, or a casual player new to the world of Fantasy EPL, you know to start your attacking players against relegation-threatened sides. We’re not going to waste your time dealing with the obvious! The goal of this article is to delve into notable players across each Fantrax position and let you know if you should be starting or sitting those players.
Our format is as follows: We will be choosing 2 different teams. One will be our starts of the week, made up of non-obvious, low-rostered players. The other will be our sits of the week, made up of highly rostered, normally started players.
Starts of the Week XI
Average % Rostered: 25%
There are a couple of key fixtures highlighted this week to look to for potential streamers to pick up and feel confident starting, including Everton-Fulham, Southampton-Palace, Wolves-Brentford, and Tottenham-Bournemouth. Starting in goal, Jordan Pickford had a bit of a drop-off in form toward the end of Frank Lampard’s tenure but has been much improved with Sean Dyche at the helm. A Dyche team usually has a decent chance of a clean sheet against teams outside the traditional big 6, but even if he concedes, England’s number 1 should manage a few saves against a Fulham team that can create chances but will be missing their principal chance converter.
Michael Keane is another Toffee to consider; the former Burnley man has worked his way back into the lineup after being nailed to the bench by his former boss. Fulham’s attacking style should generate a lot of aerial duel opportunities, and Keane alongside his CB partner Tarkowski will relish the opportunity for those 1.25 pointers on aerial wins and clearances. On the opposite side of the pitch, look for Kenny Tete to make his return to the starting lineup after Fulham’s disappointing loss against West Ham last week. Cedric wasn’t bad, necessarily, but a shakeup should be on the cards to get Fulham looking like a semi-competent Premier League team again. If Tete remains on the bench, Cedric is also a decent option; both tend to ghost well and are up against a similarly toothless attack from Everton. Turning our attention to the Saints-Eagles game (no, I’m not talking about NFL), ghost point magnets Jan Bednarek and Joachim Andersen will both be crucial to their teams’ respective hopes of getting a result at the weekend. I know you’re thinking about the 5 goals Palace just put past Leeds, but fortune favors the bold and Bednarek can deliver double digits on counting stats alone. Andersen will be hoping Palace can keep their mini hot streak going and add a clean sheet to his solid displays since Roy Hodgson resumed service.
Continuing the Palace love-in, Jeffrey Schlupp was a man possessed against Leeds, completing 7 take-ons on the way to 18 points. Southampton may offer a bit more steel in midfield, but Schlupp has proven to be pretty much fixture-proof when it comes to delivering at least his floor of 6-ish points. Marcus Tavernier is another fantasy favorite who we’re tipping to return to the lineup with a bang. He’s been out injured for most of the second half of the season, but reminded us all of his quality and upside potential with an excellent goal off the bench a couple weeks back. With Hamed Traore struggling for form and fitness, Tavernier could slot back into the role of Bournemouth’s chief creator. Kevin Schade and Joao Gomes are newcomers to this post. Schade has had to wait for his opportunity with Ivan Toney avoiding a ban, but the German has played well in cameo appearances and worked his way into the starting lineup last week. He should continue at left wing in a formation switch that would allow Bryan Mbeumo to return to the lineup as well. Schade has the makings of a very solid fantasy asset, and we could see him solidify himself as a first-team option over the rest of the campaign. Gomes is less of an attacking threat, but was on some long-range set pieces for Wolves last week to bolster his points from more expected sources given his role as a defense-first central midfielder.
Up top, Carlos Vinicius gets the nod as a potential benefactor of those aerial duel chances I mentioned previously. He’s certainly not as potent a goal threat as Mitrovic, but don’t let his 0-point display against West Ham dissuade you from giving him another shot; Fulham were uncharacteristically poor in attack on the day, but should have Solomon, Willian and Pereira available to feed their stand-in striker. Finally, if Arnaut Danjuma gets a start this weekend ahead of Heung-Min Son or Dejan Kulusevski, it’s worth taking a punt to see what he’s all about. Maybe the fact that he’s playing against his former team will spur him on to fantasy success.
Sits of the Week XI
Average % Rostered: 60%
Many teams have been able to get the better of Liverpool this season, but we’re backing the Reds to score well against a Leeds side still reeling from their heavy defeat last week, hence the call to avoid Illan Meslier (and pretty much any other Leeds defensive assets) this week.
Another team you’ll likely want to fade defenders from is Nottingham Forest ahead of their match against Manchester United. Particularly if they line up in a back-three, the fantasy prospects of the CBs look dire, even for recent fantasy favorite Felipe. It remains to be seen whether Frank Lampard will keep the faith with Ben Chilwell after his sending off in the Champions League midweek, but if he happens to call upon Marc Cucurella instead, steer clear. The Spanish fullback hasn’t been anything like the player he was at Brighton, for fantasy or real-life purposes. Kurt Zouma and Timothy Castagne have both had their moments this season where they’ve provided game-winning scores for fantasy managers, but betting on them to do so this week facing Arsenal and Man City, respectively, is not a wise choice.
In midfield, we’re sticking with the fantasy-maligned Bruno Guimaraes. He remains nearly 100% rostered despite only contributing one double-digit score (12.5 with an assist) since the beginning of 2023. Don’t let the name value keep you from trading him or even kicking him out of your side, especially at this stage of the season. Christian Norgaard has seen a similar drop-off in fantasy production for Brentford of late. He can surprise with the occasional point explosion, but it usually needs a goal contribution. Not something you can reliably predict. Lucas Paqueta switches from a starter last time around to a bench candidate against Arsenal, who should prove too difficult an opponent for the Hammers. Jacob Ramsey is another player who’s been in good form recently that could falter a bit when taking on defensively sound Newcastle. Bench if you can, but if you’re in any doubt of not fielding a full team and he’s starting in the early game, it’s not the worst decision to play him.
Up top are two strikers who on their day can put up huge scores but, as was the case with Zouma and Castagne, you’d have to be very brave to put your hopes on Danny Ings or Patson Daka doing much of anything against the league’s top two sides this weekend. Avoid.
Make sure you also check out our official EPL content partner, The Draft Society, for all the latest! Check out their Fantrax Weekly Player Projections page for more player evaluations for the upcoming week!