Fantasy football tips for gameweek 16: Mohamed Salah, Cristiano Ronaldo, Harry Kane, Phil Foden

Alistair Bruce-Ball

With all the uncertainty around illness and injuries before gameweek 16 it would be wise to leave it as late as possible to make your transfers this week.

Don't forget, it's an early deadline at 18:30 GMT on Friday before Brentford's home game against Watford.

At the time of writing it seems very unlikely that the Brighton v Tottenham game will go ahead on Sunday following the Covid outbreak in the Spurs camp, and Leicester City have also reported some positive tests within their squad before the game against Newcastle.

Leicester are due to host Tottenham the following Thursday, so the impact will continue to be felt in the next few gameweeks and we need to plan accordingly.

Time to splash out for Ronaldo?

Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo
Is it time to splash out big money for Cristiano Ronaldo?

One thing I'm certainly not going to change for gameweek 16 is my choice of captain - Mohamed Salah will get the armband once again for Steven Gerrard's return to Anfield with Aston Villa.

It was a slight surprise to see Salah start in the Champions League away to AC Milan on Tuesday night, but it wasn't a surprise to watch him improvise another superb finish. We've only seen him record a double-digit FPL score once in the past six gameweeks, but he's still blanked just once this season and that was all the way back in gameweek 2.

The next decision for many managers will be whether to splash out £12.4m on Cristiano Ronaldo, and then whether to put him up against Salah as captain for Manchester United's trip to Norwich.

A couple of potential routes to do that could be through selling your big Tottenham assets - either a straight switch with Harry Kane or making the money required by replacing Son Heung-min with a cheaper midfielder, and then bringing Ronaldo in for one of your other strikers. Ronaldo in for Vardy is another option, but there's almost a £2m shortfall that needs to be made up with that move.

Ronaldo is definitely the most desirable United option, and although he will undoubtedly get rested now and again with six Premier League games coming up in the space of 23 days, that will be the same for whoever you sign - and United's fixtures do look tempting.

I would like to see a little bit more of Manchester United under Ralf Rangnick before making any decisions on who else to go for. We mentioned Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho in dispatches last week, Mason Greenwood's clever finish caught the eye against Young Boys on Wednesday, Diogo Dalot has started the past two league games at right-back and costs just £4.4m.

We also must not forget Bruno Fernandes, who could be a potential replacement for Salah in our midfields when the Egyptian is away at the Africa Cup of Nations.

A case for the defences

The other subject that came up for discussion in this week's Fantasy 606 podcast is whether we should be sticking with our big-hitting defences.

So many managers have doubled up on Chelsea and/or Manchester City players at the back, and neither team has managed to keep a clean sheet in the past three gameweeks.

Sadly they've not provided the attacking returns either with Reece James, Marcos Alonso and Joao Cancelo returning the sum total of 10 points between them, but Statman Dave's message was "stick with it" because these are the guys that will occasionally bring us the whopping 20-plus point hauls that can send you shooting up your mini-leagues.

If you do want to downgrade one of them to make money for other purchases though, you should consider West Ham's Vladimir Coufal at £4.7m who looks like he'll be starting regularly again with Ben Johnson out injured, and Matty Cash for £5m who got in some great attacking positions for Aston Villa when I commentated on their 2-1 win against Leicester last weekend.

Bernardo Silva (£7.6m), Mason Mount (£7.5m) and Jarrod Bowen (£6.5m) are three of the most popular signings so far this week. I like Bowen in particular because he's currently only at 4.6% ownership and, from gameweek 18, West Ham embark on a run of games you'd expect them to do well in.

Silva has played the full 90 minutes in Manchester City's past 10 league games and scored six goals in the process. He's also had a rest in midweek, but I'd like to hear from Pep Guardiola about Phil Foden's injury after coming off at half-time against Leipzig on Tuesday. He costs £500k more than Silva but is only owned by 6.7% of managers compared with 23.3% for Silva, and I love the idea of a Foden-Ilkay Gundogan double in my midfield. That really is playing Pep roulette, but the rewards could be worth the risk.

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