Gameweek 20 marks the beginning of the second half of the season for Premier League Fantasy Football managers and it comes pretty much right away...like tomorrow! We better get right to it and see what could be in store for your Draft Fantasy team in a Gameweek where rotation could be a major factor with such a short turnaround for many teams.
Middlesbrough v Leicester
It looks to be a low scoring start to the Gameweek as Middlesbrough hosts Leicester. Middlesbrough are led by Negredo, Ramírez and Gibson but something tells me that Traoré has to come good in fantasy terms at some point, he has so much pace. Leadbitter has returned from a long layoff and we can't forget he was the designated pk taker in their promotion winning season. Leicester will be getting their final game out of the Algerian pair of Mahrez and Slimani so they should both start. Others to consider for the Foxes are Fuchs, Okazaki and Musa as all are due a start. Vardy serves the final game of his suspension.
Man City v Burnley
Agüero blanked against Liverpool in his return from suspension but expect him to start once again and produce at home to Burnley. Elsewhere there is certainly a risk that some combination of De Bruyne, Silva and Sterling will get a rest with the likes of Iheanacho, Nolito and Navas all possibilities. On defense, both Sagna and Clichy could get starts with Otamendi and Kolarov in the middle and Stones dropping out. Gray has been on fire for Burnley in two great home matchups but he will likely find it tough going at the Etihad along with most of his teammates. Heaton could make up for the goal they will surely concede by making a bunch of saves.
West Brom v Hull
It goes without saying that a home matchup with relegation threatened Hull brings all kinds of West Brom players onto our fantasy radar as a clean sheet is a possibility along with the chance of multiple goals going forward. Foster, McAuley, Dawson, Evans and Nyom seems fairly settled on defense, with Phillips, Brunt and Chadli your midfield options. Despite Robson-Kanu grabbing a goal last game I fully expect Rondón to be back leading the line and is an excellent play. Hull looked a much livelier team in their draw with Everton and everything revolves around Snodgrass, treat him similarly to Sigurdsson in that regard.
Everton v Southampton
Everton host a Southampton team that is suddenly leaking goals and will be without their defensive stalwart Van Dijk after his red card. Everton players can be started with confidence including Lukaku, Mirallas, Barkley, Baines and Coleman. As mentioned above, Van Dijk is suspended so Yoshida likely partners Fonte. In attack, Rodriguez should return to the starting lineup along with Ward-Prowse. Long scored last game and that may be enough to get another start too, with Tadic in the mix as well. The bad news is that Boufal has been called to the AFCON, he had been looking dangerous recently.
Sunderland v Liverpool
Liverpool rolled out a lineup more consistent with ones earlier season as Firmino got the start as a false nine v. City. Origi came on for the last half hour and looked sharp so I expect he will be back starting with Henderson unlikely to feature due to injury, everything else should be pretty similar. This is a good matchup for their defenders but in typical Liverpool fashion they will blank City one day and give up one to Sunderland probably. Sunderland are coming off a 4-1 beating to Burnley where their D looked awful but still have Defoe, that's something, right?
West Ham v Man Utd
With both teams coming off just a single day of rest there could be rotation issues on both sides. On defense for Utd, Jones, Rojo and Darmian could all return at the expense of Smalling, Bailly and Blind. Carrick should be a lock to get back into the midfield and Pogba is in great shape so should also be included. Martial had a solid game but is being pushed by Rashford. Mata and Lingard are also in line for starts. Ibrahimovic could get a rest but with Utd on a roll and a chance to rest him after this one, I think Mourinho will opt to have him lead the line once again. West Ham do not have a ton of depth so other than Lanzini coming in for Noble, it could be business as usual.
Bournemouth v Arsenal
Arsenal were without Özil and Walcott against Palace but it did not make a difference as they dominated. Both are still big question marks so expect a similar lineup for this one. The changes I could see happening are Mustafi, Ramsey and Oxlade-Chamberlain coming in with Gabriel, Perez and Iwobi's places at risk. Giroud and Sánchez will continue to be the relied upon heavily. For Bournemouth, they are coming off a solid win of their own, and are a decent team at home but I would stick with their offense as the Gunners should score on their defense. Stanislas, Afobe and Wilson are the likeliest to get you something from this game for the Cherries.
Stoke v Watford
Stoke have an extra day to prepare, are at home, and Watford looked awful against Spurs so all signs are pointing to backing the Potters. Grant and the backline are a decent play despite coming off of a poor display against Chelsea. Arnautovic returns from his suspension and it would be a surprise if he was not inserted back into the starting eleven. Allen, Shaqiri, Adam and maybe even Bojan if he can grab a start are worth a go. Figuring out where Watford's fantasy points will come from has been a bit of a mystery this year with Deeney and Ighalo not putting up numbers anywhere close to last season, but Deeney is guaranteed to start at least.
Crystal Palace v Swansea
This actually a spot where you can give serious consideration to the Palace defensive options as Swansea are in awful form right now. Dann is the pick of the crop due to his set piece goal potential. Going forward, Benteke, Zaha, Townsend, Puncheon and Cabaye will carry the offense that could be due for a big day too. Benteke could be off pks so keep an eye on who could be favored now. For Swansea, Sigurdsson's stock is falling as they struggle but he is still the main man on set piece duty so he always has the possibility of popping up with goals or assists.
Tottenham v Chelsea
Chelsea has the best schedule as they get the most amount of time to recover before this showdown with Spurs so there may not be many changes for this team that is on a roll with both Willian and Fabregas making cases to keep their spots. It was been pretty simple to back their defense recently but this one is not so easy as it is reasonable to think that Spurs will get one at home. The same can be said for the solid Spurs backline too. This is just one of those games where you start your fantasy players but temper your expectations a bit and be happy if they come through for you.
Alright, bring on the second half of the season, and remember to hold onto that waiver priority as the transfer window opens on January 1st and you never know when a big signing could happen and you could have a fantasy game changer welcomed to your squad.
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