The winter break has arrived, allowing overworked players an opportunity to rest and bombard Instagram feeds with topless selfies from their sun-drenched training camps.
There’s no rest for the humble Fantasy Premier League manager, however, with the break staggered in such a way that there’s Premier League football dominating TV listings even during the so-called “break”
Most years, this would also be the time that the race for the Premier League title really begins to hot up but the second half of this campaign is essentially an elaborate victory lap for Liverpool.
However, the rest of the table is as tightly-packed as ever, with more than half the table still well in contention for a much longer-after European place.
If you’re looking to cement your own standing this month, here’s a few ideas for Gameweek 26.
Mo Salah, Liverpool
Just try and say no to that face. Just try. Picture: Julian Finney/Getty Images
It doesn’t take much analytical rigour to arrive at the conclusion that including Mo Salah in your team might bode well but sometimes you’ve just got to reach for the low-hanging fruit.
And it doesn’t come much lower than an on-form Salah preparing to face off against the porous defence of Norwich City.
This top versus bottom game seems like it could easily turn into a goal-fest and you can bet that Salah will be there to reap the rewards if it does.
Cost: £12.7m Points: 165
Adama Traoré, Wolverhampton Wanderers
Adama has been simply unstoppable this season. Picture: Bryn Lennon/Getty Images
The muscular Spanish forward’s breakout has been one of the stories of this season, combining the vision and technique you would expect of a La Masia graduate with the overpowering athleticism of a Super Bowl star.
He’s also developed a habit of showing up when Wolves need him most, such as when he put two past Manchester City to give his side another famous victory.
This weekend’s game against Leicester – a major rival for Wolves in the quest for Europe and a side who have looked vulnerable in recent Gameweeks – will provide just such a stage so don’t be surprised if Traore proves to be the difference-maker once again.
Cost: £5.8m Points: 103
Nick Pope, Burnley
Nick Pope has been at the heart of Burnley's fort-like defence this season. Picture: Nigel Roddis/Getty Images
Outside of the all-conquering Liverpool, Burnley’s defence has racked up more clean sheets than almost anyone else, with 9 for the season so far.
Goalkeeper Nick Pope has been between the sticks for every one of those, meaning he’s kept the opposition at bay exactly as often as Liverpool’s Alisson and has accrued 105 points to the Brazilian’s 81 thus far.
Add in the fact that he’ll cost you a couple of million less and betting on him to turn in another formidable display against Southampton this weekend seems like a reasonable call.
Cost: £4.6m Points 105
George Baldock, Sheffield United
Baldock has played a key role in Sheffield's underdog act this season. Picture: Michael Regan/Getty Images
Anyone who expected Sheffield United to fade out as the campaign wore on might now be getting a little nervous as they sit sixth place with a European spot now looking like an entirely reasonable aim.
Best of all, this weekend they’ve got a cosy home game against the ailing Bournemouth side that are currently languishing near the bottom of the table after three consecutive defeats.
Aside from John Fleck, all of Sheffield’s big points earners make up the back-end of the team so right-back George Baldock could be a very decent choice for the coming weekend. He’s well-priced and currently has more assists than anyone else in the side.
Cost: £5.1m Points: 105
Kevin De Bruyne, Manchester City
City should be in for smooth sailing this weekend. Picture: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
Bookending things with another glaringly obvious pick – Kevin De Bruyne is one of the best players in the world and has continued to shine even as City have stumbled.
With 17, he currently leads the league in assists thanks to his unrivalled passing ability and he is also sitting pretty with the Premier League’s second highest points tally at this point in the season, beaten out only by Salah.
While City have been far from their best this season, a game at the Etihad against 18th-placed West Ham should provide the perfect chance for De Bruyne and his team mates to vent their frustrations.
Cost: £10.7m Points: 161
This article originally appeared on our sister site, The i.