Another international break is upon on us (Grrrrrr!) so as Draft Fantasy managers we have two options, sit on our hands or get proactive and look for ways to get the most from our lineups in the upcoming weeks. If you are like me and enjoy being an active manager, then looking ahead a few games for positive matchups and planning your add/drops can be a crucial part of success. I have taken a look ahead 3 games for all the Premier League teams and will feature 5 whose players could be on the rise and 5 who have a tough road ahead which should lead you to temper your fantasy expectations.
Swansea (H), Middlesbrough (H), Sunderland (A)
The pick of the fantasy crop is clearly Arsenal as they have three favorable matchups, two at home and the other on the road to the last place team in the PL. While they always offer an attacking potential, the defense is where the value looks to be highest over this stretch. Cech, Bellerín, Koscielny, Mustafi and Monreal are clearly the featured players and doubling up is a sound strategy if you own them. On offense, Sánchez, Iwobi, Özil, Cazorla and Walcott are preferred right now but keep Giroud on your radar as he could get some starts once healthy.
West Brom (A), Bournemouth (A), Leicester (H)
Spurs also have three very winnable games coming up as they have looked strong on the road, plus we all saw what they did to Man City at home last time out. I am always hesitant about playing defenders on the road but Rose, Walker, and Alderweireld offer an offensive upside that makes it easier. With Kane sidelined, Son has been the shining star, plus after that Lamela miss this past weekend he looks to be the preferred pk taker. Janssen was looking like a good sleeper pick but I can't see Pochettino changing from the lineup that defeated City so Eriksen, Alli and Lamela are the other prime options.
Sunderland (H), Hull (A), Swansea (H)
Stoke have been a major disappointment in real life and the fantasy world, but things may be about to turn around for them based on their upcoming favorable schedule. I am not going to advise doing anything crazy to bring in these guys, but now may be the time to start the likes of Arnautovic, Bony, Shaqiri, Allen, Johnson and Grant. If they fail to produce in the next few weeks then they are probably going to be dead weight this season.
Middlesbrough (A), Swansea (A), Hull (H)
Watford are in midst of a favorable run of games but focusing on the offensive upside is the best bet as their defense is leaking goals lately. Deeney and Capoue have been the top performers but picking who could join them is the key. Ighalo has been unproductive and it looks like Success may begin to steal some of his minutes. Amrabat had an active game versus Bournemouth and could be a sleeper pick going forward. On defense, Holebas still holds value despite Watford not picking up clean sheets.
Hull (H), Tottenham (H), Middlesbrough (A)
Despite having a matchup with Spurs in there, it is at home where they have looked quite good recently. Boruc is tied for the best fantasy keeper currently and is an excellent play at home to Hull as are Smith, Daniels, Francis and Cook. Looking at their M/Fs Wilson is starting to find his form and is being helped by Stanislas, King and Arter. Wilshere could be included if he starts converting his chances.
Stoke (A), West Ham (A), Arsenal (H)
While Stoke and West Ham are both struggling right now, so are Sunderland and they have to go to their home grounds, plus their only home matchup is versus Arsenal. Only van Aanholt is recommended as far as defenders goes but it is a little worrisome that he came off the bench last game, although his game-tying goal should get him back starting. Jermain Defoe is still managing to get chances so can be started in deep pools.
Southampton (A), Everton (H), Man Utd (A)
Burnley have an awful looking schedule coming up with two tough road matchups and one at home to a solid Everton team. In net Heaton is tied as the best fantasy keeper but while he could get you saves points I would not expect any clean sheets. Offensively the outlook is pretty bleak too as I doubt they will score much over these three games.
Tottenham (H), Liverpool (A), Man City (H)
West Brom have looked more threatening with the addition of Chadli but other than being at home for two of the games, could you pick a worse three teams to have to face right now? Only Arsenal comes to mind. It certainly does not make me want to invest in any of their backline and Chadli seems like the only serviceable attacking option.
Leicester (H), Man Utd (H), Southampton (A)
This was a tough one to include as Chelsea have two home games, but it is hard to argue against the quality of their opponents. Offensively they could still be a threat with Costa, Hazard and Willian but figuring out which other offensive mid will join them is difficult as a change in formation has brought Moses into our thoughts. Costa is also one yellow card away from a 1-game suspension, my guess is it will come sooner than later. The defense looked better against Hull last time out but these teams all bring better scoring credentials so it is a risk to start them, but Alonso may be one to consider down the line if he locks down a wingback spot. Like I said in the intro, temper your expectations for a few weeks.
Liverpool (A), Chelsea (A), Burnley (H)
Another along the same lines as Chelsea is Man Utd. They have two tough, rivalry games on the road coming up so goals and clean sheets could be at a premium. Looking on the bright side, feel free to load up for that home game with Burnley. You will need to monitor the lineups over the games leading up as Martial is pushing for a recall and Mkhitaryan was brought in to create goals so he could be given his shot soon. Another situation to watch is at left back as despite Blind's excellent play of late, look for Shaw to potentially re-take his starting spot as I feel his pace will be needed against Liverpool and Chelsea.
Well, we have gone through the Good and the Bad but what could the be the Ugly for Draft Fantasy managers? How about the fact that we still have to wait over a week for Gameweek 8!
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