Just when you thought we had come through the worst of the winter fixture crunch, another intense period of games every three days is right around the corner.
Now this season’s last FA Cup-only is out of the way, Fantasy Premier League returns with four deadlines in the space of two weeks.
At least many broke the 100-point barrier last time out, in the highest-scoring gameweek of the season so far.
And an extra special congratulations to those of you who brought in John Stones. Some of us went for Joao Cancelo instead...
Son Heung-Min - LIV (H)
Son is an obvious De Bruyne replacement if you don’t already own him, even with Liverpool visiting north London this week. The champions are leaving plenty of space in behind with their high defensive line and Son capitalised on that at Anfield just last month.
His recent underlying statistics are a little inflated by the standard of opposition - Tottenham have played Leeds, Fulham and Sheffield United in their last three - but excellent nonetheless. And given his 58% ownership, going without Son is a risk.
Ilkay Gundogan - WBA (A)
If you already have Son, want to gamble or would just rather not give up a City asset on the week they play West Bromwich Albion, consider swapping De Bruyne for Gundogan. Now playing in a slightly more advanced role, he has four goals in his last five appearances.
Gundogan also appears to be on penalties in De Bruyne’s absence following Raheem Sterling’s miss against Brighton. And priced at just £5.5m, he allows you to spread De Bruyne’s funds around the rest of your squad.
Joao Cancelo - WBA (A)
Cancelo is consistently returning when it comes to clean sheets but we are still waiting for him to make good on his attacking promise. Somehow, he still has just one Premier League assist to his name this season.
The City full-back hit the crossbar last time out against Aston Villa, assisted Phil Foden’s equaliser against Cheltenham in the FA Cup at the weekend, and may take on more creative responsibility in De Bruyne’s absence. Surely the points are coming sooner or later?
Dominic Calvert-Lewin - LEI (H)
Calvert-Lewin does not have the most favourable fixture this week, with Leicester visiting Goodison Park, but things are falling into place for the Everton striker to rediscover his early season form.
Lucas Digne and James Rodriguez are back to provide the ammunition for Calvert-Lewin, who has Newcastle and Leeds to come in the next two as well as Fulham further down the line. Jumping on early could give you a huge advantage.
Luke Shaw - SHU (H)
Luke Shaw’s renaissance continues apace. Shaw has started all of United’s last four Premier League games, has a decent run of fixtures from a defensive standpoint and comes in at the modest price of £4.8m.
The one worry is the risk of rotation with Alex Telles, especially after Shaw played 90 minutes in the FA Cup on Sunday, but his form is excellent and seems to be making the left-back spot his own.
Bruno Fernandes - SHU (H)
Unfortunately, De Bruyne’s injury deprives us of a truly reliable option in City’s fixture. Fernandes is the next best bet. Though he blanked in the reverse fixture at Bramall Lane, he is hard to look past given Son, Harry Kane and Mohamed Salah all play each other.
Manchester City. Not only do City have the league’s best defence, they are playing its worst attack. It’s a no brainer.
A City defence triple-up is a viable option until gameweek 23 for those who see De Bruyne’s injury as an opportunity to bring in Stones, Cancelo and Ruben Dias.
Elsewhere, Manchester United should be reliable enough to shut out Sheffield United and Aston Villa will fancy their chances of walking away unscathed from a trip to Turf Moor.
Martinez; Cancelo, Shaw, Targett; Fernandes, Son, Gundogan, Raphinha; Bamford, Calvert-Lewin, Antonio.