This article will try to pick a few players who can help you catch up or kick on in your FPL mini-leagues. Below are @FPLFanatix‘s featured picks ahead of GW28 and beyond. Keeping the blank GW31 in mind, my picks will cover mostly the players having a fixture in GW31 with a few non BGW31 players thrown in.

All aboard the “most expensive defender of all time” bandwagon?

First up is Liverpool’s record signing – Virgil Van Dijk. Controversial and an everlasting transfer saga, but LFC finally got their man in the beginning of January 2018 for a club record £75m fee. A mountain at the back, Van Dijk’s leadership and calmness is something Liverpool have missed for years. VVD has played just 3 games this season but a CS and a bonus point last week against his old club followed by a clean sheet at Porto in a convincing victory. In the last two games alone, Van Dijk has won all (7) aerial duels and won a total of 17 duels across both games while losing just 4. His underlying stats are far superior to similar priced CBs and clearly indicate his excellent potential as a bps magnet. Priced at £5.5m in FPL and with a modest ownership of 6.0%, Van Dijk can be a great option, more so with the Otamendi, Alonso, Jones/Smalling exodus. Van Dijk has absolutely plum upcoming fixtures with West Ham, Newcastle and Watford all at home in the next four with the Watford game being in the blank GW when more than half of the PL teams will have a blank. Is VVD too attractive an option to pass?

Time for some Icelandic magic in our midfield?

Next up, we go across Merseyside to an Evertonian in the form of Gylfi Sigurðsson. Fond memories of previous seasons come to our minds when we think of Siggy as an FPL prospect. A move to Everton in summer of 2017 seemed to make him an even better prospect but he has been extremely underwhelming this season. A return of 4 goals and 4 assists this season is measly when you compare to the last three seasons over which he has amassed 27 goals and 27 assists (3.7 points per game this season compared to nearly 5 points per game over the last three seasons).

However, he has been better recently with a decent form of 5.7 points per game in FPL. His underlying stats and set pieces duty can make him a better pick compared to his more popular teammate Walcott. With a goal and an assist in GW27, Siggy has the potential to go on a good run. Siggy is £0.5m cheaper than his starting price and is decently priced currently at £8m. With an extremely slender ownership of 2.5%, he can be a super differential and just like Van Dijk, has kind fixtures on the horizon with a game in BGW31 as well. Time to go back to a previous FPL legend?

The notorious (on the pitch and off it) Riyad is back?

Next is a non BGW31 player but one that warrants our attention and possibly a place in our squads. Riyad Mahrez. The Algerian was enjoying a stellar season (8 goals and 10 assists) before the (surprise, surprise) transfer window hit us and he put in a transfer request on deadline day with a move to Manchester City very much on the cards. Now, just like Alex Hunter (for all the FIFA 18 fans :-p), the move failed and Mahrez ended up being stuck with the Foxes for at least 6 months more. Riyad went absconding for a bit then as the failed move was too much to take but he seems well and truly back now. Got a run in for half an hour in Manchester City’s drubbing, and then set up Vardy for the only goal in their FA cup match vs Sheffield United. His form and underlying stats have been brilliant this season. Add to that, the mouth-watering, eye-popping sea of green in their upcoming fixtures right till the end of the season is too tempting an offer. Mahrez’s ownership plummeted after the deadline day and is now a pretty nice differential at an ownership of 6.8%. He does not have a game in BGW31 but with the kindest upcoming fixtures of all teams, can he be a shrewd buy for your teams?

Shaqiri’s stats don’t lie?

Last is Stoke’s midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri. He has been scintillating form this season with 6 goals and 6 assists already which is beating both of his earlier seasons. At a stunning return of 7 points per game in terms of FPL form, Big Shaq is an absolute steal at £6.2m. Shaqiri’s underlying stats absolutely crush similarly priced midfielders making him an attractive prospect going forward as well. With an ownership of under 10%(TSB 9.6% at the time of writing), he makes a decent differential as well. Additionally, Shaqiri like the earlier mentioned prospects also has a fixture in blank GW31 with an attractive EVE(H) fixture. Will you consider him, not just for GW31 but earlier as well?

Anyone else come to mind? Join the conversion on Twitter

That’s it for me this week. I’ll be back for GW29 with some more differentials and punts that might help you. Please share this if you like the article and follow me on Twitter over at @FPLFanatix if you like what I write.

Also, please follow @FFootballHub and visit fantasyfootballhub.co.uk for many more interesting articles that can help you build a successful FPL team and soar through those ranks. May your arrows be green!

All underlying stats and player comparisons used here are from www.fantasyfootballfix.com and their paid subscription feature.