Having reached a third of the way through the season, the title race is one of the closest in years with the top four separated by just three points. As last week showed, looking for the best fantasy players does not just mean relying on those top sides and the goal feat put on by Swansea and Palace illustrated exactly that. The following article takes a position-by-position look at the players you need in your line-ups this weekend. Good luck!
Hugo Lloris – ($5,800) – Tottenham Hotspur – It will take a lot more than a few tight losses against good sides to put me off targeting Lloris this week. Take out Swansea’s ludicrous 5-4 win last weekend and they have one of the worst attacks in the league. Spurs were unbeaten up until last week and only Chelsea boast a defensive record as good as Spurs’. That’s all before you remember that Spurs never lose to Swansea. It’s, like, the law.
Lee Grant – ($5,500) – Stoke City – It’s almost time for the return of the Butland. Until then, Lee Grant is as solid a pick as any goalkeeper. The stand-in has performed manfully enough to achieve an 8.9 fantasy points per game (FPPG) average. Grant had a clean sheet and two saves to reach 14 fantasy points in last Sunday’s 1-0 win over Watford and Burnley are yet to win an away match.
Jordan Pickford – ($4,500) – Sunderland – Pickford very nearly snagged a second clean sheet of the season last weekend in the most unlikely of places: Anfield. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be as he conceded twice, yet the youngster still made five saves on an encouraging afternoon for David Moyes’ team. Only Tom Heaton (62 saves) has made more than Pickford’s 52 saves and Sunderland are another team that face a side that cannot win away from home, Leicester City.
Heurelho Gomes – ($4,400) – Watford – Gomes endured a tough day at the office last weekend as his own goal was all that Stoke needed to earn all three points. It was harsh on the Brazilian ‘keeper who has picked up three clean sheets already this season. Watford didn’t concede in either game to West Brom last season and the Baggies are almost a mirror image of what they were last term. At this price, Gomes represents excellent value.
Danny Rose – ($5,300) – Tottenham Hotspur – Rose missed last weekend’s game against Chelsea and given the way Spurs use their full backs, he was sorely missed. The Englishman hasn’t been the fantasy beast he once was, but the full back scored against this very team last season and still averages 10.1 FPPG. The fact that number is slightly disappointing just goes to show how good Rose is.
Erik Pieters – ($4,900) – Stoke City – Stoke’s return to form has had a positive effect on Pieters’ fantasy output and last weekend was his second consecutive double digit performance. A clean sheet looks like it’s on the cards this weekend and Pieters leads the team in tackles (3.3 per game) and fouls drawn (2.3 per game). At a sub-$5K price, Pieters is certainly worth a look.
Arthur Masuaku – ($4,000) – West Ham – Left back Aaron Cresswell limped off in the EFL Cup against Man Utd and Masuaku is expected to take his place. Whilst his defensive work is woeful, Masuaku posted some good numbers earlier this season to reach 8.3 FPPG. At this price, you only need him to hit around 10pts to be getting value.
Jose Fonte – ($3,500) – Southampton – For anyone that watched Crystal Palace defend set pieces last weekend and against Liverpool last month, you’ll understand this pick. Palace have conceded 13 from set plays this season and it would be no surprise were Fonte to emulate his former team mate Dejan Lovren by smashing a header into the back of the net at his former stomping ground.
Gylfi Sigurdsson – ($8,600) – Swansea City – Whatever you think of Swansea’s survival prospects this season, Sigurdsson is playing like a man possessed right now and his 39.75pts last week came courtesy of a goal, an assist and a whopping 17 crosses. Everything good that Swansea do involves Sigurdsson and he is inside the top five for shots per game in the Premier League with 3.3. Until his run of form stops, consider Sigurdsson matchup proof.
Christian Eriksen – ($8,400) – Tottenham Hotspur – Eriksen has finally awoken from his slumber and scored a stunning goal against Chelsea last weekend. He had 12 crosses in that match as well as four shots and sits a place ahead of Sigurdsson in the shooting charts with 3.5 shots per game. Add to this the fact that Harry Kane is fit again and you realise that Eriksen could easily break out a huge day against a poor Swansea defence.
Wilfried Zaha – ($7,100) – Crystal Palace – As an attacking force, Palace are one of the Premier League’s best and no player embodies that more than the home-grown winger Zaha. The soon-to-be Ivory Coast international has a goal or an assist in each of the last five games and it has pushed his average to an impressive 12.4 FPPG. His 4.8 dribbles per game is the third best in Europe and shows just how hungry he is to attack. This guy is another player who is matchup-proof right now.
Matt Phillips – ($6,700) – West Brom – In the same way that Zaha is putting in consistently good performances from the wing for Palace, Phillips is swiftly making a name for himself by doing the very same for the Baggies. Phillips has two goals and three assists in his last three appearances for Albion, the Scottish winger getting an assist and 12 crosses in the 1-1 draw against Hull City to finish on 18 points. It means he is averaging 23 FPPG over the last three and should have some joy against Watford.
Alexis Sanchez – ($9,700) – Arsenal – Five of Alexis’ eight league goals have come away from the Emirates this season and striker’s with a lesser reputation than the Chilean’s have had a lot of fun at the London Stadium this campaign. The centre-forward also has three assists and leads the team with 2.9 shots and 2.7 dribbles per game. If you trust the West Ham defence to concede, which you should, Sanchez is your guy.
Harry Kane – ($8,700) – Tottenham Hotspur – On the other side of North London, Kane is fit once again and has four goals in four games in all competitions since his return against Arsenal on November 6. It means he averages 17.75 FPPG in that time and you can detect the change in attitude of the entire team since Kane has returned. Up against a Swansea side that have not beaten Spurs in years, Kane can be relied on for points.
Jermain Defoe – ($6,500) – Sunderland – Going by Sunderland’s recent record and Leicester’s away form, Defoe has a very good opportunity to build on the seven goals and two assists he already has this campaign. The former England international has three goals and two assists over the course of the last four games and his 2.5 shots per game is by far the most of any Sunderland player.