After what feels like a long, long international break, the Premier League returns this weekend with a full programme of fixtures. The following article goes through my top player picks at each position from both ends of the market.
Thibaut Courtois/Asmir Begovic – ($5,900/$5,800) – Chelsea – Antonio Conte’s team look completely nailed on for the Premier League title and have lost just one game at home all season (1-2 v Liverpool) and won the other 12. Courtois is way out in front of every other keeper on 13 clean sheets and even a resurgent Palace side that has three successive wins likely won’t be able to trouble the Blues.
Heurelho Gomes – ($5,300) – Watford – Watford are in the enviable position of playing bottom side Sunderland and know that a win will be enough to drag them to a third straight Premier League season. Sunderland are without a win in four games and have just two away wins all season. Add in that their 10 away goals scored is the league’s fourth worst and you realise that Gomes looks very good to get at least a win, maybe a clean sheet too.
Kasper Schmeichel – ($5,100) – Leicester City – Since Claudio Ranieri was forced out, Leicester have been a side possessed. Schmeichel is one of the few players who has been decent all season, something illustrated by his 7.4 FPPG and 3.6 saves per game. In the last five games for Leicester in all competitions, the son of Peter has ramped up his performances to hit an average of 12 FPPG. This week’s visitors, Stoke, have just one win in the last six away from home, and that was at Sunderland. It makes Schmeichel a strong consideration at a price this cheap.
Tom Heaton – ($4,000) – Burnley – Some will 100% see this game as the perfect storm to produce fantasy points for the Englishman. Spurs’s 17.2 shots per game is more than any side, and Heaton just loves to make saves, something evidenced by his average of 4.2 saves per game. Burnley are also eight games without a loss at home and face a Spurs side bereft of their best player in Harry Kane. At just $4,000, Heaton is well worth a look.
Kyle Walker – ($5,400) – Tottenham Hotspur – It’s tough to go against Walker on any week of the season, and this week is no exception. Burnley have given up more crosses to defenders (208) than any other team, and players from the same position have created 86 chances against Burnley, the highest number allowed of any side by some margin (Leicester are second with 73). Walker does only average 3.0 crosses per game, but also brings 2.3 tackles and 1.2 interceptions per game to the table. He leads all defenders with five assists and it would be no surprise to see him make it six here.
Cedric Soares – ($5,200) – Southampton – Cedric is in the same league as Walker in that you can consider him every week. Home against Bournemouth is a good spot as Cedric is such a threat going forward, and the Cherries have conceded 31 away goals, the third highest total in the Premier League. The Portuguese full back ranks second among Saints players on 2.3 tackles per game and only Dusan Tadic averages better than Cedric’s 5.0 crosses per game.
Aaron Cresswell – ($4,000) – West Ham – Hull are another side very open to full backs causing them damage, and I think Cresswell is the most likely on West Ham’s side of things to do so. Hull have given up some 193 crosses to defenders this season, but even more intriguing than that is the 11 goals and six assists that defenders have managed versus the Tigers. Cresswell is having a quiet season on that account but is no stranger to getting on the scoresheet and might just be the under the radar player you’re looking for.
Wes Morgan – ($3,100) – Leicester City – Staying with goals, 12 of the 42 goals that Stoke have conceded this season have been of the headed variety. Although it didn’t come from his head, Morgan showed in the Champions League win over Sevilla that he is a threat in the area and is another you should consider very much an under the radar pick. If he doesn’t score, he won’t score many points, but there’s every opportunity for him to score against a defence this porous.
Christian Eriksen – ($10,200) – Tottenham Hotspur – Eriksen carried his excellent fantasy form at club level onto the international stage by scoring 18 fantasy points without a goal or an assist for Denmark on Sunday and it was his third successive double digit return. Eriksen has topped 20pts in five of the last seven games, three of those matches seeing him eclipse 30pts. The Dane has 10 assists in the Premier League, second only to Gylfi Sigurdsson and brings 3.7 shots per game to the table, third behind only Sergio Aguero and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Pedro – ($8,400) – Chelsea – Pedro is another on excellent fantasy form and has not dipped out of the double digits in his last seven starts for Chelsea. That run includes three goals and one assist in his last four games in all competitions, and the Spanish forward now has seven goals and seven assists in the league, the latter number joint best alongside Cesc Fabregas. It makes him a very strong consideration in a home game Chelsea will almost certainly win.
Kamil Grosicki – ($6,800) – Hull City – Even after only making the bench against Everton, the Polish winger scored 5.0 fantasy points in just 26 minutes, and before that had three successive double digit returns. The reason for that is the 4.3 shots and 10 crosses per game that he has averaged across those games. If he starts against West Ham, he’s a decent option.
Marc Albrighton – ($6,100) – Leicester City – Albrighton has looked like the rich fantasy commodity of last season recently and is averaging 15 FPPG over the last four games, a number that is well above the 8.9 FPPG for the season as a whole. Most of his points are earned from the cross category, but Albrighton also has one goal and two assists over the course of the last four games. That certainly helps his cause, and a home game against Stoke is not a tough ask for him to make it five straight double digit returns.
Eden Hazard – ($9,100) – Chelsea – Hazard’s form has improved over the last few weeks, and the playmaker has a goal and an assist over the course of the last two Premier League games. In his last three appearances for Chelsea, Hazard has managed to reach double digit fantasy points and is already on 11 goals for the season. In home games, Hazard or fellow forward Diego Costa are almost always reliable considerations.
Riyad Mahrez – ($7,200) – Leicester City – Last year’s Player of the Season has ramped up his form and is on a run of at least a goal or an assist in each of the last three games in all competitions. Mahrez also averages 17 FPPG over that run, which is closer to his form from last term than the 10.6 FPPG he averages for this season as a whole. The Algerian also leads Leicester with 2.1 shots and 1.5 fouls drawn per game, and will look to continue his good form against a faltering Stoke City.
Joshua King – ($6,400) – Bournemouth – King has been a great target over the past few weeks and this weekend doesn’t appear any different in that respect. Whilst the forward didn’t score for his country Norway over the break, he still managed 9.0 fantasy points. For Bournemouth, things couldn’t be better, King notching five goals and one assist in four games, averaging 22 FPPG along the way. Southampton’s defence rarely keeps a clean sheet, and, in a South Coast derby, that could continue.
Troy Deeney – ($5,700) – Watford – The Watford captain has four goals in his last six games for the Hornets and you can lift that to five if you’re counting the own goal he scored in the 1-0 defeat to Palace. You don’t get many shots with Deeney, just 1.2 per game to be exact, but he is a legit goal threat especially against teams as bad defensively as Sunderland.