With the arrival of another international break, it is time for the second installment of 'Looking Ahead', where I take a peek 3 games forward in the Premier League schedule to see if there are any teams that Draft Fantasy managers may want to consider adding players from for some short term dividends, and also who to avoid relying heavily upon. It is pretty obvious that investing in teams like Chelsea and Liverpool right now is a smart play so I will focus on more of the borderline teams where some value could be found. Alright, let's get to it.
Burnley (H), Hull (A), Watford (H)
Look no further for an excellent run of games where both defensive and offensive points could be found. Foster, McAuley, Dawson and Evans are all solid G/D options, while Chadli, Rondón and Phillips are your picks for the M/F positions. News on Chadli and Rondón will need to be monitored as both are dealing with minor injuries but should be able to recover in time.
West Ham (H), Chelsea (A), Swansea (H)
A visit to Chelsea is not an enviable matchup but it is in the middle of two really good home fixtures against West Ham and Swansea. Alderweireld is scheduled to return to a defensive unit that will be highly sought after in those two games so add him to Lloris, Walker, Rose and Vertonghen as strong starts. Kane is back which is great news for fantasy managers but his return could impact the offensive midfielders playing behind him as Son, Eriksen, Lamela and Dembélé will all fight for the minutes at those 3 positions. The siutation will also get murkier when Alli returns from injury. Eriksen seems the best option despite his average start to the season, as his set piece deliveries make him necessary for Spurs.
Bournemouth (H), Watford (A), Burnley (H)
Stoke have been playing better and have a nice looking run of winnable games, including twice at home. Arnautovic returns from suspension and Shaqiri was close last game so he should also be good to go. Add Bony and Allen and you have your top picks offensively. There is a reasonable shot at some defensive rewards too so keep the likes of Shawcross, Pieters and Martins Indi in your thoughts. In net, Grant could be a good play too but watch the news on Butland as he is closing in on a return.
Watford (A), Middlesbrough (H), Sunderland (A)
Leicester obviously are not the force that they were last season but this stretch of games looks favorable for some fantasy output. Rotation has become a bit of an issue with Ranieri prioritizing Champion's League play. Musa has been stealing some of Vardy's minutes but he is still a threat along with Mahrez and Slimani. Zieler is deputizing for Schmeichel in net and Fuchs, Morgan and Huth are the reliable options on defense.
Sunderland (A), West Brom (H), Middlesbrough (A)
What?! I am recommending Hull? Well let's not go too crazy, I will keep it to a minimum. Let's start by saying that if Snodgrass is available in your league, go pick him up, he is involved in everything Hull does. There is a striker crisis with Hernández and Keane now out injured. Diomande has one more game to serve of his suspension also, so Mbokani will likely get his chance to lead the line and establish himself going forward. I am not going to go overboard and suggest their back line holds any value but keeper Marshall could get some save points for you.
Tottenham (A), Man Utd (A), Arsenal (H)
West Ham have the toughest string of fixtures coming up, and despite recently turning things around a little, there are still some issues there. It is hard to envision any clean sheets from these three matchups so really only Aaron Cresswell is worth starting due to his offensive upside. Dmitri Payet can still be used as his set piece expertise makes him a threat but temper your expectations regardless for all your Hammers.
Stoke (A), Arsenal (A), Liverpool (H)
After their dismantling of Hull, Bournemouth players were a popular choice but they have not performed very well since. Now the schedule turns against them with trips to an improved Stoke side and Arsenal, plus a home matchup with high flying Liverpool. Stanislas was a trendy pick but frustrated fantasy managers by picking up an injury although he has returned now. Wilson did the same thing last week and was a no-show. Smith is also suspended for the Stoke game so best to just avoid the whole Bournemouth situation for now.
Chelsea (H), Leicester (A), Hull (H)
There is a plum home matchup with Hull down the line but games with a surging Chelsea side coming off 5 clean sheets in a row, and a visit to Leicester who are still tough at home does not invoke much faith in the fantasy potential of Middlesbrough. Find alternatives until that above mentioned game with Hull, then look for spot starts for that Gameweek.
West Brom (A), Man City (H), Stoke (A)
Burnley's road form has been very different to that at home so playing 2 out of 3 away is a distinct disadvantage. Sandwiched in there is a matchup with title contenders Man City, so that has their fantasy stock heading in the wrong direction.
Everton (A), Crystal Palace (H), Tottenham (A)
A combination of an unsettled lineup under a new coach and a couple of difficult road games has Swansea in my bad books. Gylfi Sigurdsson seems to be involved every time they score though and is on set piece and pk duty, so he can still be utilized for those reasons.
So what is The Ugly this time around you ask? How about the fact that Zlatan is suspended for the Premier League's feature early Saturday game when we return from the break as Man Utd host Arsenal, Wayne Rooney anyone?...
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