FPL Gameweek 18: Reece James replacements

Holly Shand
Shaw is a good James alternative
Shaw is a good James alternative / Matthew Ashton - AMA / Contributor | Getty Images
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Plenty of managers gambled on a strong return from injury for Reece James in Gameweek 17 against Bournemouth, bought by over one million managers to take his ownership above 20% once again this season.

Chelsea kept a clean sheet but James was substituted on 52 minutes with a recurrence of the knee injury which kept him out of the World Cup in Qatar. He’s rumoured to miss the next three to four weeks, so who are the best replacements?

Sven Botman vs Leeds (H)

Sven Botman
Doubling up on Newcastle defenders with Botman could be inspired / Stu Forster/GettyImages

Newcastle have kept more clean sheets (8) than any other Premier League side this season, and with only Erling Haaland more highly owned than Kieran Trippier, doubling up on their defence is the best way of guaranteeing green arrows from the inevitable Magpies clean sheets.

Centre-back Sven Botman is very kindly priced at £4.4m and already has an assist this season against Fulham. Newcastle’s fixtures are mixed, but with an average of a clean sheet every two games this season, you can never bet against them. 

Marc Cucurella vs Nottingham Forest (A)

Marc Cucurella
Cucurella could be a straight Chelsea swap / Marc Atkins/GettyImages

Reece James was a popular asset for the restart for a reason; he offered clean sheet potential from promising fixtures as well as possible offensive returns. Sticking with the Chelsea defence and Potter favourite Cucurella on the opposite flank could make for an easy switch. 

Cucurella already has two assists this season, matching James for goal involvements, although admittedly he has played more minutes. Chelsea face Nottingham Forest, Fulham and Crystal Palace in their next four games.

Luke Shaw vs Wolves (A)

Luke Shaw
Shaw should revert back to left back / Matthew Ashton - AMA/GettyImages

Erik ten Hag used a surprising Manchester United lineup against Nottingham Forest on Tuesday night, with Luke Shaw playing centre-back in a squad blighted by injury. But with Harry Maguire and Lisandro Martinez available for Gameweek 18, Shaw should be back in his usual spot on the left flank.

Diogo Dalot is currently out injured, making Shaw the best option from the Manchester United back line, with two assists already this season. Clean sheet potential is high against Wolves, who have scored one goal in their last four home games.