GW29 - Normal is Good - Draft Fantasy Football

Ahhhhhhhh...a full 10 games on the slate for this upcoming Premier League Fantasy Football GameWeek 29 should have Draft Fantasy managers feeling much better about their selections, and hopeful of a much higher score. Lots to talk about, especially the emergence of some new fantasy royalty in the form of King... see what I did there. Okay, let's get into the matchups.

West Brom v Arsenal

Having had some time off since their UCL elimination, I think Arsenal will come out fresh and strong for this one, and they should be led by a similar lineup that gave them early season success with Sánchez leading the line and Walcott back providing an additional threat from the right side. Özil should also make his return. The defense are an ok play, but the Baggies could easily score one at home. For West Brom, Tony Pulis made a few changes that frustrated fantasy managers last weekend with Róndon, Brunt and Morrison starting from the bench, but it did not work out too well so expect all to return. Chadli is another option but Phillips continues to be questionable. I wouldn't expect much from the defense unless they can pop up with a set piece goal as Arsenal should score.

Crystal Palace v Watford

Palace are hoping that Townsend is going to start producing more regularly now that his goal drought is over, I think it will do wonders for his confidence and this is a good spot to deploy him plus Benteke and Zaha. Unfortunately, it looks like they will have to do without van Aanholt due to a minor injury. Watford have Deeney playing some inspired football again and the goals have been coming for him. This might not be the best game to watch this weekend, I could see 0-0 late with a late winner coming for one or the other, leaning towards the home side but I'll let you decide.

Sunderland v Burnley

Seems like it has been awhile since I recommended any Black Cats other than Defoe and I am not going to stray too far away from him this time other than to say that the defensive line could hold some value as Burnley are by no means an offensive juggernaut, especially away from home. I fancy this as a defensive battle so I will back similar options for Burnley, Gray and the defense. I just asked my visiting Dad what else I should say about this one and he replied, ".......", enough said.

West Ham v Leicester

But he does like this one for some goals and so do I. West Ham are at home but did give up 3 goals to Bournemouth last game and it could have been worse with the two missed pks. I would stick with the offenses, which includes Vardy, Mahrez and Albrighton for Leicester, plus Slimani could be in line for a start after getting some minutes off the bench on Tuesday. For the Hammers, Antonio returned with a goal and Ayew scored again off the bench so things are getting a little crowded in attack with Lanzini, Carroll, Feghouli and Snodgrass too, the rotation risk is clearly there. Noble will miss out so Lanzini should be on pks.

Everton v Hull

Everton are an obvious good pick at home to Hull. Lukaku has declined to sign a new contract but don't let that fact make you question him in your fantasy lineup for the remainder of the season, both player and club will be looking for great things to enhance his value. Barkley and Mirallas are your other best chances at finding points as Barkley is coming off of a pair of assists and Mirallas a goal last week. On defense, Baines picked up a minor injury but is back training so he joins Coleman and Williams as your safest plays. Hull are without Niasse as Everton are his parent club for his loan so Hernández will be the focal point of the attack I think. Despite playing better recently, I don't like this matchup for the Tigers.

Stoke v Chelsea

Chelsea have been pretty easy to write up each week this season as the starting eleven is pretty set. Pedro should return after Willian got the FA Cup start and Fabregas could displace Matic in an attempt to break down what is sure to be a stubborn Stoke team. Start your Blues as usual. If Stoke are to have a chance here then it will likely come from Arnautovic but don't stake your fantasy hopes against this Chelsea unit.

Bournemouth v Swansea

King was on fire last game and I expect it to continue at home to Swansea but who takes the next pk is up in the air as both King and Afobe missed last weekend so possibly Daniels?, if so he will see an increase in his value which is already going up due to playing in his more familiar marauding outside position now that Francis is back. Afobe's minutes have been sporadic but he is another dangerous player to watch for. Swansea have had a knack for scoring at least one goal recently but they will find it tougher if Llorente is unable to go, as along with Sigurdsson, he has been a go-to guy. This game should have goals in it if the recent trends continue for both teams so stick with the attack-minded players, but take Olsson out of that mix as he is injured.

Middlesbrough v Man Utd

Man Utd have some roster issues for their trip to Middlesbrough as Ibrahimovic and Herrera are both suspended plus Martial, Rooney and now Pogba are nursing injuries. This should make the fantasy selection a bit easier though as Rashford, Mkhitaryan and Mata should be locks to lead the attack, maybe Lingard too. I expect Middlesbrough to be up for this game and if there is anything to this whole conspiracy of goalies playing better against Utd then Valdes should have the game of his life...but it may still not be enough as Middlesbrough have had a lot of trouble scoring goals and it has them down in the relegation zone. Will sacking Karanka spur them on?...I would not back anyone until they break out of this scoring slump.

Tottenham v Southampton

The big news coming out of Tottenham is that Kane has picked up a injury that rules him out of this week and potentially a few more. Son's stock should rise with this news and possibly Janssen too if he gets a string of starts. Alli and Eriksen will also continue to shoulder the load. Southampton have proved to be a very capable team, playing the top teams well, but Spurs at home are still worth backing. This game would have looked like a low scoring battle earlier in the season but a little uncertainty in both defenses gives it the potential to have have goals. Walker and Bertrand are your best offensive options from defense for both clubs. The Saints have a red hot striker in Gabbiadini, with added help coming from Tadic, Redmond and Ward-Prowse making this an intriguing matchup.

Man City v Liverpool

The weekend finishes off with a big showdown between top 4 hopefuls as City hosts Liverpool with an array of fantasy talent to consider. The main question is, which Liverpool will show up, the one that plays the top teams tough or the one that struggles with the weaker ones. I like City at home in this one, and the offense should be the first choice one consisting of Agüero, Sterling, Sané, Silva and De Bruyne. The defense has been susceptible to rotation with Kolarov looking the most dependable. For Liverpool, Firmino should return, if not expect Origi to get another start. Mané's pace could give the City defense some big problems and Wijnaldum has also been popping up with big goals recently so he is one to keep any eye on with Coutinho underperforming. Fingers are crossed for 4-4 game but more likely 2-1 City?

So that about wraps up the outlook for Gameweek 29, enjoy the full weekend of games and if you get a monster score, be proud and tweet it out!

Simon Wardle

Draft Fantasy Football 2015/16 Global Champion

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