Fantasy football tips: De Bruyne, Kane, Vardy, Salah - how to replace big-money players

Ali Bruce-Ball header

A week is a long time in fantasy football, particularly when it's a double gameweek.

Hopefully you're coming into gameweek 20 on the back of a bumper score, maybe off the back of a cleverly played Free Hit, Bench Boost or Triple Captain chip, and you've been rejoicing in lots of little green arrows reflecting a charge up your mini-leagues.

But the landscape seems to have shifted somewhat with the two top-priced assets in the game on their way out of lots of squads - Kevin de Bruyne with his hamstring injury and Mohamed Salah compiling just 11 Fantasy Premier League points in his past five outings.

Add Jamie Vardy's absence and Marcus Rashford possibly facing a spell on the sidelines to that and suddenly the whole competition is looking rather different.

It spells opportunity. If you are selling these guys then it means lots of money to spend elsewhere in the squad, but it also opens up the game as a whole.

The obvious temptation when selling one of the big-money players is to replace him like for like - Raheem Sterling in for De Bruyne or Sadio Mane in for Salah - and if you've not already got Bruno Fernandes in your midfield then I would definitely advise you to go for him. Equally, bringing in Harry Kane for Vardy is a sensible move if you can work it within your budget.

But if you do own them, or you just want to think outside the box, then let's not just look at the price tag, let's look at the form.

Manchester City's Ilkay Gundogan costs just £5.5m and has scored four goals in his past five games. Or you could dip into the Leicester squad - James Maddison (£7.1m) is in sparkling form, racking up 27 points in his past three appearances and faces Everton (a), Leeds (h) and Fulham (a) in his next three games.

Ilkay Gundogan
Ilkay Gundogan has scored five Premier League goals for Manchester City so far this season

Harvey Barnes is actually £0.3m cheaper than his team-mate but continues to get in those fantastic goalscoring positions and has converted them into three goals and an assist in the past five games.

Jack Grealish is another great option at £7.7m and a good long-term bet, with Aston Villa set for some more double gameweeks further down the line as they play catch-up. Or how about Paul Pogba at the same price? He has sparked into life with those match-winning goals for Manchester United at Burnley and Fulham.

Son Heung-min is the other obvious alternative and don't forget if you've still got your second wildcard in your back pocket then you can always bring De Bruyne and Salah back in when fitness allows it or form demands it.

Elsewhere, the double Manchester City defence looks like it is definitely the way to go after eight clean sheets in their past 10 league games with Ruben Dias and John Stones starting nine of those in tandem.

Aymeric Laporte is close to a return to action though so don't be surprised by the odd bit of rotation here and there, such as Joao Cancelo annoyingly sitting on the bench for most of the 4-0 win against Crystal Palace.

West Ham striker Michail Antonio is back and looking like a great asset again. Chris Sutton stole a march in the Fantasy 606 league in gameweek 19 by ignoring Statman Dave's advice to go for Vardy and taking an educated punt on Antonio instead. He was rewarded with an 18-point haul with goals against Burnley and West Brom.

Michail Antonio
Michail Antonio has scored five goals for West Ham so far this season

Finally, the captaincy choice for gameweek 20 is a particularly interesting one. Manchester City are away to West Brom, so if you are prepared to play Pep Guardiola roulette then there's still a myriad of options there. Tottenham host Liverpool so do you fancy the likes of Kane, Son, Salah or Mane to go big in that one?

Probably the safest bet is Manchester United at home to Sheffield United where Fernandes, Rashford or Pogba could be your man, but if you're a gambler how about Leeds' Patrick Bamford away to Newcastle or Ollie Watkins for Villa away to Burnley?

In this most unpredictable of seasons it's difficult to call.

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