Fantasy football scout tips gameweek 30: Jamie Vardy, Antonio Valencia and Troy Deeney pick of the Premier League

Mark Critchley
The Independent

The Premier League returns this weekend after the final international break of the season, meaning fantasy managers have an uninterrupted run of eight gameweeks to jostle for points and positions.

Fixtures which immediately follow internationals are notoriously hard to predict and, true to form, there are few stand-out options this time around.

Nevertheless, we have examined the form and the fixtures to pick out six of the best. How many of them are in your team?

Jamie Vardy

For perhaps the first time since the start of the season, it is time to consider one of last season’s stand-out players. He has returned in each of his last three, with a brace against Liverpool, an assist against Hull and a goal and assist in the win at West Ham United.

A home fixture against Stoke this weekend promises much on paper, as does Sunderland’s visit in midweek, but a slight word of warning: both will probably sit deep, soak up pressure and hope to stifle Leicester’s counters, which may

Antonio Valencia

Seamus Coleman’s horrific leg break while playing for the Republic of Ireland scuppered a number of fantasy managers’ plans, though that was hardly the main talking point after Neil Taylor’s tackle on the Everton defender.

Nevertheless, decisions have to be made, and many Coleman owners have swapped him out for Manchester United’s Antonio Valencia, the Premier League’s other stand-out right wing-back this season. It sounds like a no-brainer, especially with West Bromwich Albion visiting Old Trafford this weekend, but beware United’s jam-packed April and the risk of rotation in weeks to come.

Alfie Mawson

Alfie Mawson has proved effective at both ends since his debut (Getty)
Alfie Mawson has proved effective at both ends since his debut (Getty)

Four goals in 15 appearances is an excellent record for a centre-half, especially one making his first steps in top-flight football at the age of 23.

Mawson’s impressive form has hardly gone under the radar, with many fantasy managers investing in him as a cut-price defensive option already, but if you’re not already riding the bandwagon, this weekend’s visit of low-scoring Middlesbrough presents an opportune time to jump on.

Troy Deeney

Ignore the own goal against Crystal Palace last time out, we’ll put that one down to bad luck. Deeney has been quietly picking up points since mid-January.

Nothing explosive, mind. A goal here, a goal there, but it all bodes well considering Watford’s run of favourable fixtures, starting with basement club Sunderland’s visit to Vicarage Road this weekend. West Bromwich Albion travel down on Tuesday, and Swansea and Hull are on the horizon.

Dusan Tadic

Dusan Tadic had a good international break, but signing him comes with a risk (Getty)
Dusan Tadic had a good international break, but signing him comes with a risk (Getty)

A tricky call, here. On the one hand, Tadic has form on his side after a goal and two assists in Serbia’s 3-1 win over Georgia during the break. His fixture is favourable too, with a leaky Bournemouth visiting St Mary’s on Saturday.

This potential comes with a risk, though. Tadic has finished just four of 20 games he has started under Claude Puel and, after voicing his frustrations earlier this week, his manager described the comments as ‘not a good response’.

Josh King

Staying with the Solent derby, Bournemouth’s King earns a place in our picks on the strength of his performances in recent weeks.

He followed his hat-trick against West Ham with an assist in the win over Swansea, and though Benik Afobe is likely to start up front, the former Manchester United youth can still contribute from midfield. King’s a cut-price option, too.

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