It’s the final Premier League weekend before Christmas, and Saturday sees a tasty six-game slate on offer. This article picks out top targets at each position that are available in the five games taking place from 3pm onwards. As always, hit me up on Twitter @JamieRHinks for if you have any questions.
Darren Randolph – ($5,300) – West Ham – Randolph bagged his first clean sheet of the season in the 1-0 win over Burnley, and the Hammers play a similarly poor side in Hull City this Saturday. The Tigers have scored just 14 goals all season, and, when you add that to their shocking defensive record, Randolph will be confident of a win and clean sheet combo.
Lee Grant – ($4,900) – Stoke City – Stoke City had Grant’s four saves to thank for a point against Southampton, and it was part of a 13 fantasy point day for the on-loan stopper. Leicester City’s away record this season has been abysmal and have won just one game. Grant, at this price, looks a really tempting pick and one who has a good look at a win and clean sheet.
Jordan Pickford – ($4,800) – Sunderland – The big clubs are sniffing around the English youngster and the five saves he made against Chelsea only moved to embellish his burgeoning reputation. His 4.5 saves per game is only bettered by Burnley’s Tom Heaton, and the fact that Sunderland won the two home games before the Chelsea one gives me confidence that Pickford will hit double digits against Watford.
Patrick van Aanholt – ($5,500) – Sunderland – Top of a weak pool of defenders on this matchday, van Aanholt has been bubbling along nicely over a four-game run where he has 8.25 FPPG. His stats come across a range of different categories, and the Dutchman averages 1.9 tackles and 2.0 interceptions per game for the Black Cats. Watford’s defence can be very erratic at times, and you may even get some fouls drawn for van Aanholt due to the Hornets’ poor disciplinary record.
Fabio – ($4,600) – Middlesbrough – The former Manchester United and Cardiff City full back is on 8.0 FPPG over the last four games and scored a surprising 9.0 fantasy points in the 3-0 loss to Liverpool. In the home game against Hull City that preceded that, he helped himself to 11 fantasy points, and against a Swansea team that does not travel well, I think he can get close to that number once again this weekend.
Dimitri Payet – ($9,100) – West Ham – Payet produced the goods with a 14 fantasy point performance against Burnley on Wednesday, not needing anything other than shots, crosses, fouls drawn and an interception to get to that figure. He is one of the most creative players in the league and his 4.0 key passes per game is the best figure by some margin. It all means he is still averaging 16.1 FPPG, and in an easy matchup against Hull City, considering him is an easy decision.
Gylfi Sigurdsson – ($9,000) – Swansea City – Another player who produces the fantasy goods every week regardless of his goal scoring is the Icelandic midfielder Sigurdsson. The playmaker was at his best on Wednesday when he scored 15.25 points in the loss to West Brom, mainly thanks to his 15 crosses, and anything that Swansea do on the attacking side of things goes through Sigurdsson. His 3.0 shots per game is also among the top 10 in the entire league. Middlesbrough are the kind of side that he should shine against, and even at this high price, he has big point potential.
Paul Pogba – ($7,700) – Man Utd – Pogba is finally starting to live up to that huge price tag, and had a hand in both goals against Crystal Palace on Wednesday night. That performance was worth 25 fantasy points and the three-man midfield that has Michael Carrick playing at its base is giving Pogba more license to get forward. 3.1 shots per game is the sixth best total in the top flight, and he also has 2.4 fouls drawn per game.
Matt Phillips – ($6,900) – West Brom – Phillips is having the season of his life right now and picked up his fifth assist of the season in the 3-1 win over Swansea on Wednesday. His 10.9 FPPG is at that level because of his consistently dangerous performance out wide, and Phillips has scored double digit fantasy points in five of the last six games. The only one where he didn’t was against runaway leaders Chelsea, and United’s back line should hold no fears for the Scottish winger.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic – ($8,800) – Man Utd – Zlatan teamed up with Pogba for both goals against Palace, and the way these two are linking up is looking increasingly impressive. Ibrahimovic now has nine goals for the season following the winner at Selhurst Park. He also averages 4.8 shots per game – only Sergio Aguero has a higher total. West Brom have only kept three clean sheets in 16 games this season and the biggest threat to that staying at three is Zlatan.
Jermain Defoe – ($7,200) – Sunderland – Defoe has been throwing back the years this season and has eight goals so far. It’s when you notice that Sunderland have scored just 14 times that you realise how important his contribution is. He also has two assists, and if David Moyes brings Victor Anichebe back in, their partnership will likely be productive Saturday afternoon.
Alvaro Negredo – ($6,500) – Middlesbrough – Swansea conceded three headed goals on Wednesday night to West Brom, and if anyone for Boro will give them problems in that department it’ll be the Spaniard. Negredo has three goals and three assists this season, and, whilst not top numbers, it is good in a team that hardly scores. It should be good enough against a Swansea defence that has conceded eight times over the course of the last two away matches.
Andy Carroll – ($6,400) – West Ham – Carroll made his first start in the Premier League since losing on the opening day to Chelsea and ended the night with 9.0 fantasy points after having six shots (two on goal). Up against a defence in Hull that is even worse than the Burnley one, Carroll has a good look at a goal. That’s especially the case thanks to the supply from Payet and Michail Antonio.