Matchday 7 starts with another Friday game so lineups and choices will need to be made before all the pertinent weekend team news is in. We also have Champion's League and Europa League action to factor in so rotation could be an issue for Draft Fantasy managers. This article will give you some tips and advice on how to potentially maximize your lineup this gameweek. Let's get right into it, the deadline is looming!
Everton v Crystal Palace:
Palace visit Everton on Friday to begin the gameweek riding a three game win streak and Everton have looked a little vulnerable recently. Baines looks to be losing his battle to be fit so if you choose to use him then make sure you have suitable bench backup ready. Palace are without influential defender Dann once again so the likes of Lukaku, Bolasie, Mirallas and Barkley look like strong plays. But be slightly wary of Barkley and Mirallas as Deulofeu and Valencia are pushing for extra minutes and Koeman could look to shake things up. Palace are scoring of late, but Coleman and Williams are still decent starts at home. For Palace, Benteke has given them a new dimension and this has raised the potential of Townsend, Puncheon and Zaha. Zaha missed last game with a slight hamstring injury so watch the pre-game news for that one. Investing in the Palace defense is not suggested as they gave up 2 goals to Sunderland, so...
Swansea v Liverpool:
Liverpool head to Swansea with a wealth of relevant players to choose from. Many fantasy managers do not like to start two midfielders from any one given team but Coutinho, Lallana, Mané, and Firmino are proof that it can lead to fantasy gold right now. And despite currently playing defense you can throw Milner into the mix due to his pk and set-piece duty. Up front I do not see Sturridge cracking the starting 11 so if you have a better option then bench him. On defense it is difficult to back anyone other than Clyne as Liverpool have had a knack for conceding at least one goal every game. For Swansea, Sigurdsson is the pick of the crop but they may not see much of the ball so it is hard to like Fer or Llorente, even at home. And avoid their back line like the plague against a fresh and rampant Liverpool squad.
West Ham v Middlesbrough:
A few weeks ago people were jumping all over the Hammers defenders and now you need to bench, no, actually drop them as this team looks to be a shell of the one from last season. At home to Middlesbrough looks like a good matchup and it certainly could be for the likes of Payet and Antonio so you should start them despite the struggles versus Southampton. For Middlesbrough, I think Negredo will get the start again but could be on a short leash with Rhodes pushing for some game time. Downing could be a sneaky play against this currently awful looking West Ham defense.
Hull v Chelsea:
Chelsea will be looking to bounce back after some disappointing performances and fantasy managers will be looking for some points too against Hull. The uncertainty on defense makes you think a clean sheet is up in the air. Only Luiz and Azpilicueta are most likely to retain their spots as Conte could experiment to find the right mix. Offensively, Costa, Hazard and Willian are solid plays with Oscar possibly coming back in for Fàbregas. For Hull, Snodgrass has been productive as he is on all set-pieces and should be involved if Hull are to cause an upset. Hernández has not lived up to his hype after a great season in the Championship as Hull gained promotion but could he cause problems for that fragile Chelsea backline? Might be worth the risk.
Sunderland v West Brom:
David Moyes' team is in desperate need of a victory in a home matchup against a beatable West Brom side. So what could desperate fantasy managers expect to get from this game? Defoe is the pick for Sunderland players and although a clean sheet is unlikely, this is a good spot to play defender van Aanholt as he continues to move forward and get involved in free kicks too. West Brom's strong plays are Rondón and Chadli, but Phillips and McLean's speed could give Sunderland some issues, keep in mind this is a team that shipped three late goals to Crystal Palace. Dawson seems due for a goal and is a decent start on defense for West Brom.
Watford v Bournemouth:
Watford players have been frustrating fantasy managers so far as they have blanked for the most part in favorable matchups but scoring in the tough ones, while probably on a lot of people's benches at the time. But if you own the likes of Deeney, Ighalo or Capoue then a home matchup with Bournemouth is certainly a situation where you must start them regardless of the previous stats. A defender that could be serviceable is Holebas as he continues to get forward and is getting some set-piece duty also. For Bournemouth, they are coming off a nice win over Everton so if this turns into a shootout then Wilson and Stanislas are probably your primary weapons with Wilshere and Arter getting some recognition too. Surprise fantasy defender Smith is recovering from a nasty head injury so keep an eye on that situation before deploying him in your backline.
Man Utd v Stoke:
Fantasy managers will be expecting returns at both ends of the field for their Utd players as they host struggling Stoke. The lineup that decimated Leicester last weekend will probably be what Mourinho sticks with after their success, so while the big names of Ibrahimovic and Pogba will be obviously be started, the likes of Rashford, Mata and even Lingard should find their way into fantasy lineups. Rooney, Martial and Mkhitaryan are all players that should be benched, especially if they start in the Europa League game on Thursday. De Gea is a very strong start along with the entire back row of Valencia, Smalling, Bailly and Blind. The only one at risk there is Blind if Shaw returns to health but after his assists versus Leicester it seems likely he will start. Stoke have not mustered up many fantasy returns so far this season and with Bony struggling to make an impact so far it is tough to recommend any of their players for this one but if you made me then I would say Arnautovic looks their most dangerous player again just like last season.
Leicester v Southampton:
Both of these teams will be coming off of European action but it will affect Southampton more as they will have had two days less rest. I expect a fairly tight low-scoring affair despite all the talent on the field. I can envision a 1-1 scoreline but either team could escape with a 1-0 win so all the defenders come onto our radar. I give the edge to the home side so Fuchs and Morgan are the prime targets due to their offensive upside. For the same reasons, Van Dijk and Bertrand could give you the same if you choose to back Southampton. In goal, Schmeichel has returned so feel free to deploy him if that is your best option. On offense, Leicester are led by the usual suspects of Mahrez, Vardy and Slimani and Southampton by Tadic and Austin, but I would not stray too far outside of these guys in this matchup.
Tottenham v Man City:
Despite both teams having played a Champion's League game, this is a matchup of the #1 vs. #2 currently in the Premier League and both sides should play their top lineups, especially with the international break looming. City are without De Bruyne and Nolito so Gündogan, Silva, Sterling and one of Sané/Navas should be joining Agüero in attack. Spurs are being led by Son and Janssen up top while Kane is out injured. Eriksen, Alli and Lamela are the suppliers to be considered. Neither defense or keeper can be relied upon for a clean sheet as City always seems to score and Spurs are no slouch on their home field.
Burnley v Arsenal:
Arsenal players will be highly sought after as they are firing on all cylinders in the PL right now. Sánchez should continue in the striker role with Iwobi, Özil and Walcott as offensive midfielders. Cazorla continues to hold value as he is on pks (I doubt Sánchez can take the ball away from him again after his miss) and with the injury to Coquelin, Xhaka can be used in this matchup as he has showed a knack for contributing thunderbolt goals. Defensively, confidently start Cech, Bellerín, Koscielny, Mustafi and Monreal. Despite having a pair of home victories over Liverpool and Watford, Burnley players are not good starts this week as Arsenal should dominate possession. If Burnley were to get anything from the game it is most likely to come from Defour in some way, a set-piece maybe.
I would wish you all luck this Draft Fantasy Matchday, but as the great Vinnie Jones told my brother in a recreational football match once after scoring, "It's all skill, mate".
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