The final international break before the summer’s tournaments in Europe and the Americas is now over and the return of Premier League action is upon us. Plenty of the league’s top players staked their claim for an international spot this summer and the likes of Harry Kane, Jamie Vardy, Dele Alli translates their domestic form onto the international stage.
There is a big eight game schedule this Saturday and the following article looks at the top options at every position ahead of the slate with both ends of the market examined in great detail.
David Ospina/Petr Cech – ($4,400/$3,500) – Arsenal – Following their exit from the Champions League and FA Cup, Arsene Wenger’s side have looked like a team with the shackles off. Ospina, who has played since that FA Cup exit, has looked assured in goal since filling in for Cech and is averaging 5.6 saves per game in the three matches since then. He has 11.6 fantasy points per game (FPPG) since filling in and faces a Watford side that has lost four of the last five away games, failing to score in all those losses. Whichever of these two starts, get them in your team.
John Ruddy – ($3,900) – Norwich City – The Premier League’s second worst away side in Newcastle visit Carrow Road on Saturday and Ruddy is all set to benefit. Newcastle have scored just seven goals in 15 away games and have lost their last six away trips, scoring just twice. The Canaries have kept two clean sheets in a row and manager Alex Neil looks to have sorted out their back four at the best time possible, something that is of huge benefit to the ‘keeper Ruddy.
Ben Foster – ($3,500) – West Bromwich Albion – Playing away at Sunderland is a nice fixture for any side and the Baggies have kept an impressive five clean sheets away from home this season already. Foster only returned around the festive period, but has already posted an impressive 7.6 FPPG in just eight games. It’s enough to give Foster a leg up into your lineup this Saturday.
Jakob Haugaard – ($2,900) – Stoke City – England stopper Jack Butland ($3,300) has been ruled out for three months with a broken ankle and it gives the youngster Haugaard the opportunity to step into the breach. The fact Butland leads the league in saves suggests that Haugaard will be kept busy and with Stoke sitting second in the form table, they will expect to win against Swansea. At just $2,900, this young Dane will be highly owned.
Danny Rose – ($4,600) – Tottenham – Charlie Daniels ($4,700) has had a couple of quiet outings and Aleksandar Kolarov ($4,700) is out of favour at Man City. It means Rose is the top option in defence this Saturday. The Spurs left back has 15.6 FPPG over his past five Premier League starts and is scoring points across a plethora of categories (crosses, tackles won, interceptions, fouls drawn and even shots). Manager Mauricio Pochettino will also encourage him to get forward against Liverpool side that is far-from secure at the back.
Aaron Cresswell – ($4,000) – West Ham – Palace have been woeful at the back of-late and the English left back is all set to take advantage at the Boleyn Ground. In his last three home starts in the Premier League, Cresswell has 10 FPPG and, as well as being a threat from out wide, regularly takes free kicks in threatening positions.
Phil Bardsley – ($2,800) – Stoke City – A serious injury to Glen Johnson ($2,800) failed to make Mark Hughes alter the Stoke game plan and it plays into the hands of Bardsley who has been afforded way more freedom than usual to go forward. Last time out against Watford, the Scottish right back had three crosses, an assist and three tackles on the way to an 11 DK point outing.
Jan Kirchhoff – ($2,500) – Sunderland – Sam Allardyce has been playing the lanky German in defensive midfield for the past few games and his eligibility as a defender makes him a steal. Whilst he won’t score a goal or notch in the assist column, Kirchhoff scores well in the tackle and interception departments. If you take out his sub appearance against Man Utd, he has 3.28 tackles and 2.71 interceptions per game in the other seven appearances. As long as Sunderland are scrapping it out, he holds great budget appeal.
Dimitri Payet – ($8,600) – West Ham – The Frenchman could yet drag West Ham into the Champions League ahead of their first season at the Olympic Stadium and faces a Palace side that hasn’t kept a Premier League clean sheet since December 2015. His Premier League leading 19.8 FPPG this season is only half the story and it’s in the cross department where he excels with 9.17 crosses per game. Payet has averaged 29.6 FPPG over the last three weeks and looks cheap at this price, such has been his form. If your bank balance doesn’t stretch to Payet, you can pick up his team mate Michail Antonio ($5,200) for a shade less.
Willian – ($8,200) – Chelsea – It’s tough to overlook Swansea’s Gylfi Sigurdsson ($7,800) here, but Chelsea travel to an Aston Villa side that look to have stopped trying in recent weeks. Willian has been Chelsea’s best player this season and it says a lot for his performances that 17 FPPG over the past three is seen as a disappointing return. Another who loves to cross, Willian is averaging 7.05 crosses per game in 36 games in the Champions League and Premier League.
Matt Jarvis – ($3,300) – Norwich City – Due to injuries, Jarvis has been used sparingly this season and a serious injury to Nathan Redmond ($4,000) has bumped him up the pecking order of Norwich wingers. Jarvis showed his fantasy football value by scoring 14.5 DK Points in the 1-0 win at West Brom last weekend, floating in seven crosses and picking up the only assist.
Bakary Sako – ($3,000) – Crystal Palace – Representing somewhat of a risk due to the high chance that he won’t start, Sako showed just what fantasy football players have been missing in a 45-minute cameo against Leicester. The Mali international had 15.5 DK Points courtesy of his 10 crosses and two shots (both on target). Manager Alan Pardew could well experiment due to Palace’s woeful form. If that happens, Sako should start.
Harry Kane – ($8,700) – Tottenham –There are few superlatives left to use when describing Kane and his goal for England last weekend only cemented his burgeoning reputation. A brace last time out against Bournemouth (32 DK Points) saw him take sole leadership of the top scorer table with 21 goals and he averages 4.13 shots per game, joint second behind Philippe Coutinho ($5,800). He has at least 10 FPPG over the last three games for shots alone and an open game against Liverpool will allow him to expand upon his 30.6 FPPG over the last three league fixtures.
Alexis Sanchez – ($7,800) – Arsenal – Even with all the doom engulfing Arsenal, Sanchez has managed to keep scoring DK Points at a healthy level and a home fixture against Watford will see that continue. Sanchez has 14.4 FPPG over the last five games and in that time has a goal and three assists. He looks, to all intents and purposes, like a player who is about the break out of a slump and a game against an out of form Watford will be just the tonic.
Jermain Defoe – ($4,700) – Sunderland – It’s hard to ignore Defoe’s recent goal scoring feats and his price is still low enough for him to be used as a utility man. The former England international’s 12 goals in 26 games is almost one every two games and he is the third highest English goal scorer in the top flight behind Kane (21) and Jamie Vardy (19). Three points here would move Sunderland even closer to safety and, should they stay up, Allardyce will have a lot to thank Defoe for.Diafra Sakho/Andy Carroll/Emmanuel Emenike – ($4,200/$4,100/$3,800) – West Ham – As we heard previously in this article, Palace have struggled defensively since the turn of the year and any member of this trio is ready to pounce on that. One of these players will start at centre forward and the supply from Payet, Antonio, Manuel Lanzini ($3,500) and Mark Noble ($3,400) mean a goal is a certainty. Just remember to check lineups to see which one starts.