Fantasy Starters Come off the Bench - Draft Fantasy Football

Gameweek 8 had its frustrations for Draft Fantasy managers as some big names like Agüero, Mahrez and Son did not start and came off the bench for minimal or even negative output. There were still some shining stars like Walcott, Austin, Allen and Stanislas. Actually Bournemouth were a wealth of fantasy points from multiple players so it seems fitting that we start the Gameweek 9 preview with their potential exploits.

Bournemouth v Tottenham

The Cherries looked very impressive in their last game but that was Hull and Spurs are a whole different beast. Last week I recommended the majority of the Bournemouth side but this week let's trim it down a bit. Boruc in net is still useable as he will likely get some additional saves. On defense, Daniels and Smith have been moving forward well and at home they still hold value. On offense, the clear star is Stanislas as he is on set-pieces and seemingly now penalties too. Wilson is your next best bet as he looks to be improving every game. For Spurs, Alderweireld is likely to miss out on defense with Dier the preferred replacement, but remember he has midfield designation so less potential clean sheet points. Rose was back in the Champion's League action so both he and Walker are worth starting. In attack, Son also returned on Tuesday so he should be in the starting 11, along with Eriksen, Alli and Lamela. Kane is close but seems too risky a pick this week, wait until you see him on the field.

Burnley v Everton

Burnley have been a stubborn opponent at home this season and Everton may not find it easy to break them down. I still like Lukaku and Bolasie as the main threats but there could also be value from all the back row of Jagielka, Williams, Coleman and Oviedo. Baines will not feature again after re-aggravating his injury. Stekelenburg had a monster game against City, and while the same can't be expected, he is still a strong play. If Burnley are to get something from this game then, as in previous articles, I would say Vokes is your best bet, but his service takes a hit with Defour ruled out with a hamstring issue. Heaton and Keane are your best options defensively as you might get something out of this one, remember they did shut out Watford at home and were only undone by a late controversial goal against Arsenal too.

Hull v Stoke

Hull are in shambles right now after a 6-1 thumping at the hands of Bournemouth and Stoke are just beginning to show signs of life after a slow start. For Hull the only player who seems reliable is Snodgrass but maybe Hernández could surprise if given a start. Fantasy managers will be looking to take advantage of Hull's poor defense and try to figure out who are the best plays from Stoke. Arnautovic and Allen are the prime targets but I feel like Bony is just due to get a goal. I do not see a clean sheet for either team as Hull will probably find a way to score at home.

Swansea v Watford

Swansea has been a capable team on home turf so Sigurdsson and Fer are decent plays and I guess there is a chance of a clean sheet against an average Watford side. Looking for a sneaky play in deep leagues, then maybe Barrow is your man as he looked very lively versus Arsenal and could be rewarded with a string of starts by new coach Bob Bradley. Watford will be led by Deeney and Success after he impressed last game. Holebas is a popular pick on defense as he has scored a couple of goals this season and don't forget a home matchup with Hull is on the horizon so this week may be the time to invest in Watford players in general before others do, even if it is to stash them on your bench.

Arsenal v Middlesbrough

Middlesbrough looked pretty inept at home to Watford so despite allowing a couple of goals to Swansea I am putting my backing behind the Gunners defensively again. Cech, Koscielny, Mustafi, Bellerín and Monreal are all top notch picks. While Sánchez is a great start as usual, Walcott has been on a tear and is currently the top point getter in Draft Fantasy. Özil is beginning to show his true form lately (just watch the UCL highlights), but Iwobi's production has tailed off along with Cazorla, although he is always a pk away from being relevant. Middlesbrough are in a rut right now and I am not going to recommend using them in this tough road matchup, find an alternative.

Leicester v Crystal Palace

Ok, I am finally going to advise in investing in Leicester players as they have a very winnable home game against a Palace side that could not score on West Ham at home last weekend. There are plenty of days to rest up after Tuesday's Champion's League victory so expect a strong lineup with Slimani, Vardy and Mahrez all back featuring. A clean sheet is a distinct possibility so if you own Schmeichel, Fuchs, Morgan or Huth then feel better about starting them. There is no disputing the weapons Palace has with Benteke, Townsend and Zaha but a lot may depend if their leader Dann returns or not, he was a surprise omission last time out after training all week, he should be good to go now. Regardless I just prefer Leicester at home in this one.

West Ham v Sunderland

How things can change in one week, huh? West Ham's defense had been taking a battering on the field and in the fantasy community but now we find ourselves looking at them as one of the better picks for a clean sheet, albeit mostly because struggling Sunderland is coming to town. Cresswell was looking like a great play until he picked up a red card last match and is suspended. Regardless I like their defensive chances and like the potential for a big game for Payet even more. Throw Lanzini and Antonio in there and West Ham could be a nice source of points this Gameweek. Sunderland on the other hand, well they look poor and would only consider using their players in positive home matchups at this point in time.

Liverpool v West Brom

Now that Mourinho has left town, Liverpool will be looking to get back to the free flowing football that has made them an exciting team to watch this season. Lallana should come right back into our thoughts after returning from injury to get some minutes off the bench. This will likely mean that Sturridge will drop to the bench and Firmino will adopt the false nine position. Along with Firmino and Lallana, expect production from Coutinho, Mané and possibly Milner. The defense has a shot at points too with Clyne having the biggest upside. West Brom are led by Chadli and he has delivered so far big time, becoming a must start from the midfield position despite the poor matchup.

Man City v Southampton

Both these teams will have come off of European football with City having an extra days rest. They both have an EFL Cup game coming midweek too so there is a risk of rotation. As far as defense goes, City are the liklier candidates for a clean sheet at home but they have made a habit of conceding. Austin, Redmond and Tadic are the contenders for breaching the City defense. For City it gets a bit more difficult to predict the starting midfield. De Bruyne, Sterling, Silva and Nolito have been preferred but Gündogan and Sané are possibilities. Agüero should be back in the 11 after coming off the bench in City's last two games. I think Pep will start a strong squad to get that Barcelona defeat out of everyone's minds quickly.

Chelsea v Man Utd

Well I will be the first to admit that I said that the Utd-Liverpool game would have goals but in my defense it did not have a history of nil-nil games. What I overlooked was the Mourinho-factor and it could come to rear its ugly face again in this matchup. Mourinho would love to get a win against his former club but first and foremost will certainly be to avoid defeat on the road. This situation could put a big damper on the fantasy potential of a lot of big stars. It is the type of game that could be 2-2 if an early goal is scored but a repeat of Monday's result could also be in the cards. I think as fantasy managers we have to back our players and hope for the best. For Chelsea, Costa and Hazard are in-form, Willian should return and Moses has found his manager's faith in the new setup. For Utd, Zlatan is due a goal and Pogba is finding more freedom with Herrera and possibly Fellaini playing in the mid with him.

With European involvement this week and EFL Cup games next Tuesday/Wednesday, there is the chance of lineup disruptions in what is a busy stretch for some clubs, let's just hope it is minimal. Enjoy the weekend's games and keep those fingers crossed for some goals in Mourinho's return to Chelsea.

Simon Wardle

Draft Fantasy Football 2015/16 Global Champion

Visit my website at: simonsayssoccer.com

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