No rest for the weary as Premier League Fantasy Football managers have only a couple of days before Gameweek 17 starts up on Saturday. There were a few surprises midweek, most notably Hazard and Iheanacho missing out, but if you made the right lineup decisions, especially defensively, there were plenty of points out there to be had. I managed 75 myself in Draft Fantasy, thank you Eriksen! Ok, now that I have finished gloating, let's get to it.
Crystal Palace v Chelsea
The big miss of last week was the late withdrawal of Hazard and he is 50:50 to make this one. Willian came in, notching an assist, and Fabregas was the only other change, scoring the lone goal, both could have earned another start. Everything else should remain the same, and the usual advice is coming...roll with all your Chelsea players, especially your defensive options. Palace gave Utd some problems but I have not recommended any players against Chelsea recently and will not start here. But if you think they will score, then it will most likely involve Benteke, Zaha or MacArthur.
Stoke v Leicester
Stoke will be without Arnautovic after his red card last game so that could open the door for Bony to return. Shaqiri will need to step up, and don't forget Adam is on pks. Shawcross returned to the backline at the expense of Muniesa and they can be considered an average play as while Leicester were shut out at Bournemouth, they really should have scored and are improving offensively. For Leicester, the playing time of Vardy and Mahrez seems the best bet as Slimani, Okazaki and Musa are all fighting for minutes. The defense has just as good a chance as their opponents at a clean sheet due to loss of Arnautovic.
West Ham v Hull
The Hammers did not produce offensively the way that was hoped for against Burnley but keeper Randolph and the defense came through and have a great chance to do so again in a home matchup against Hull's anemic attack. Reid and Cresswell have the biggest upside. You have no choice but to back the likes of Payet, Antonio and Lanzini in this matchup and Carroll should be under consideration along with the pk-taking Noble. Hull = Snodgrass.
Middlesbrough v Swansea
Middlesbrough's offense is struggling without Ramírez, who is a doubt, and Negredo is nursing an issue also. But, despite allowing three goals to Liverpool, the defense is a decent pick at home to Swansea so Gibson, Barragán and Fabio are serviceable but keep in mind that Chambers picked up a late injury. Swansea are led by Sigurdsson and Llorente but I think this will be a low scoring game so their backline can be used in a pinch too.
Sunderland v Watford
Sunderland, already without Watmore, will be sweating the availability of Anichebe for this important home matchup. Defoe is obviously a good start and it is again one of those times where van Aanholt should be deployed. This game could be 1-0 or 3-2 so a range of players could produce fantasy points. Deeney will return as he was held out against City due to sitting on the suspension tightrope, this game is clearly seen as priority for Watford. Pereyra is out injured again, while Success has returned but likely will be a sub for awhile. Holebas is the best threat from defense due to his set piece delivery.
West Brom v Man Utd
Utd are playing some good football but this will be a tough road game as West Brom are scoring at home. Utd will be without Mkhitaryan again but Pogba and Ibrahimovic are producing. The midfield could have any of Rooney, Mata, Rasford, Lingard or Martial if he is healthy. Valencia returns but Bailly is out again so Jones and the two foot tackling Rojo should continue their centre back partnership. West Brom were led by a Rondón hat trick in their win over Swansea. Phillips and Brunt are giving some great service right now but temper your expectations against a Utd team that is finding its form.
Bournemouth v Southampton
Both defenses here are worthy of starts as this game should be low scoring. Daniels and Smith are really getting forward for the Cherries so they are preferred. For Southampton, Soares has missed the last two games so make sure you have a good bench replacement ready if he misses out again. Neither attack is expected to light this game up but the most dangerous players are Afobe and Wilson (check his status) for Bournemouth and Redmond, Boufal and Tadic for the Saints. Note: Romeu is suspended.
Man City v Arsenal
Big matchup, should have goals so I don't like either of the defenses for a clean sheet, but Bellerín and Kolarov can still produce offensive points. Mustafi remains out so Gabriel should get another central start, but like I said, steer clear. Sánchez and Özil are locks to start and probably Walcott too as Wenger seems to want to keep rolling with Sánchez as a striker. Giroud is waiting in the wings so he could throw a wrench in the works. For City, Iheanacho was surprisingly left out last game, so while I feel he returns for this one, his minutes are unpredictable. De Bruyne and Silva are also locks, but Sterling faces competition from Navas and Sané. Gündogan is out injured so Touré is likely to get the nod.
Tottenham v Burnley
Another Gameweek where Premier League Fantasy Football managers will be looking to load up on Spurs players in another plum home matchup. You need to be extremely wary of Davies and Trippier getting a start for Rose and Walker so you could pick either up as insurance so that you guarantee yourself a piece of this likely clean sheet. Eriksen is on fire and Kane will start, plus Son was rested last time so expect him to be included. With Lamela still sidelined, Alli's spot should also be safe. Burnley players are not good plays as they struggle on the road.
Everton v Liverpool
We finish things up on Monday with the Merseyside Derby. Last preview I tipped Mignolet to start and a good shot at a clean sheet for Liverpool's struggling defense, but this time around I will just stick with Mignolet back in the net as I expect goals in this one. Liverpool's offense is being led by Lallana, Origi and Mané but Firmino's lack of production continues. Origi picked up a knock but is expected to be fine, but if you hear otherwise in the lead up then Firmino's stock goes back up in the striker role. Everton will be without Jagielka after his red card, so Liverpool fans don't have to worry about another famous thunderous strike 😜. Lukaku will need a big game as Everton are relying on pop-up defender goals too much lately.
Enjoy the games and look for special gift under your tree on Christmas morning, hint: it may be my Gameweek 18 Preview...
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