Fantasy Premier League blank gameweek 18: Kevin De Bruyne, Alexandre Lacazette, Callum Wilson and more

This is the Premier League’s first proper ‘blank gameweek’ of the season, with several teams out of action and many popular fantasy picks like Mohamed Salah, Jamie Vardy and Patrick Bamford not playing.

For those who still have the Free Hit chip available, this is a good time to use it. You will be able to pick an entirely new squad of players for one week only, with your old players returning for gameweek 19.

Remember though, you can only use the Free Hit once and this will not be the last blank gameweek of the season. 

Another is expected in gameweek 29, while several clubs compete in the FA Cup quarter-finals, and further postponements are likely due to the virus.

Whether you decide to use the Free Hit or not – or, worst case scenario, if you’ve already used it – here are some players to look out for in blank gameweek 18…

Kevin De Bruyne

It is time to invest in Manchester City. Not only do Pep Guardiola’s side look like they are getting back to their best, but they are about to embark on a favourable run of fixtures including four home games in their next six.

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De Bruyne may not have always delivered points this season but he is taking more shots on goal without losing any of his creative prowess. A 13-point haul against Chelsea last time out suggested he could finally be coming into form too.  

Alexandre Lacazette

A few weeks ago, few fantasy managers would have touched Arsenal with a bargepole but a combination of good fixtures and the blank mean that many on a Free Hit will triple up on players from Mikel Arteta’s side.

Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith-Rowe and Rob Holding are all decent budget options and so is Alexandre Lacazette, given that his £8.3m price tag is modest enough for a forward. Crystal Palace visit the Emirates with the top flight’s third-worst defence.

Joao Cancelo

City’s defence has been the most impressive this season by some distance and though these are still early days, Cancelo appears to be nailing down his place in Guardiola’s rotation-heavy starting line-up.

The right-back – who sometimes turns up on the left – not only promises clean sheet points but attacking returns too, even if he is yet to translate the chances that he creates into assists and fantasy points. That may finally change against Brighton on Wednesday night.

Marcus Rashford

Bruno Fernandes will be heavily backed with the captaincy for Manchester United’s trip to Burnley and it would be unwise to go without him this week, but Rashford offers another less-travelled route to points.

Rashford has five goals in his last seven games, is priced at an affordable £9.6m and is a relatively differential pick in around 14 per cent of squads.

Callum Wilson

Wilson has not been on the radar of many managers this season but has quietly ticked along with a decent number of points for a cheap price. After eight goals and four assists, he is still just £6.5m.

The Newcastle striker’s ownership will see a significant jump this week, however, for a trip to basement-dwelling Sheffield United. Wilson could profit against Chris Wilder’s shaky defence and has the added bonus of penalties.

Honourable mentions: Karl Darlow, Ruben Dias, Romain Saiss, Son Heung-Min, Emile Smith-Rowe

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