Gameweek 31 kicks off on Tuesday and could have its fair share of rotational issues for Premier League Fantasy Football managers. This time around I will look at which players are at risk and which could get a start to give your Draft Fantasy squad a surprise boost. Let's look at those matchups then.
Leicester v Sunderland
Leicester are rolling and could there be a better matchup right now than at home to struggling Sunderland. Rotation is likely at some point in the next two games before their UCL game but it seems logical that distancing themselves from the bottom is best done with a full strength team for this one. Vardy and Mahrez are re-born but if you are looking for a sneaky pick then Gray looked great last game, plus Ndidi had a beauty. Slimani and Musa are bound to get a start soon, but I think the Everton game is more likely. As far as the defense goes, they are all solid plays, Morgan will miss out again so Benalouane anyone? Sunderland...I really wouldn't, even Defoe is a doubt.
Burnley v Stoke
Going to keep it short and sweet for this one as there is much more to discuss elsewhere. So can we all agree that this one has 0-0 written all over it? Yes? Well then that should obviously bring both goalkeepers and both sets of defenders into your thoughts. Ok, fine, if it does end up 1-0 for someone who could get the vital goal. Burnley = Gray, Stoke = Arnautovic.
Watford v West Brom
West Brom and Watford, hmmm...some people might earmark this as a defensive battle but I think the Baggies will go for the win here after parking the bus at Old Trafford. An early Baggies goal and we could be looking at a 2-2 game. My favorites from Watford would be Deeney, assuming he is recovered from his illness, Okaka, and maybe Success is ready for a start. Britos and Holebas are your defenders of choice. For West Brom, Róndon will be back with Chadli in support, but Phillips has failed to even make the bench yet. McAuley seems to be a constant controversial threat so might be time for another "goal".
Man Utd v Everton
Utd supporters and fantasy owners will be sharing a big sigh of relief that Ibrahimovic is back from his suspension. And he is also joined by Herrera and from what I saw in training Pogba looks ready too. Mourinho was not happy with his offense on the weekend so he could ring in some changes with the above three returning. Rooney could also be in line for a start against his old (and possibly future?) club. Mkhitaryan's creative ability is likely needed but Martial, Rashford and Lingard will all be fighting for spots after failing to come through against West Brom. With all this said, Everton did not look good v. Liverpool so I fancy Utd to win...please not another 0-0. As far as Everton goes, Lukaku is always worth mentioning, and starting of course, but Koeman saying that the big man was tired last game is worth noting, could he possibly give him a break? Barkley is a safe bet to start and Mirallas will be needed as the youth movement did not exactly work last game.
Hull v Middlesbrough
Hull are on a nice little run and could be worth investing in at home to low-scoring Middlesbrough. The defense may not get a clean sheet but has been chipping in with some offense with Robertson showing some attacking flair and Ranocchia a set piece threat. Davies left the game at halftime so watch for news on his availability. Grosicki should have earned himself a spot back in the starting eleven after his two assists helped Hull come back to win. Niasse, Hernandez and Markovic are the others to consider but keep in mind Middlesbrough are not a terrible defensive team and this could be a low scoring affair. When Middlesbrough do threaten it always seems to involve Negredo and Traoré, and now with Ramírez likely out then Gestede or Stuani will have to step up, I'm just not sold it should be for your fantasy squad.
Southampton v Crystal Palace
The Saints failed to come through with any offense against Bournemouth but predictably got their clean sheet and something similar could be in the cards here. Rodriguez was active up front but I could envision Long getting the nod due to the fixture congestion, with the same going for Boufal after he came off the bench. Tadic and Redmond should, with the emphasis on should, start again. Gabbiadini is struggling with his recent injury and is likely to be a couple more games away. Palace are coming off of a huge upset of league leading Chelsea and were led by Zaha and Benteke who both continued their good form from the international break, odds are any breakthrough comes from them.
Arsenal v West Ham
Arsenal showed a good fight back at home to City and will be looking for 3pts at home to West Ham. A clean sheet is remote the way they are playing defense right now but if you choose to back the Gunners then take note that Ospina will remain in net and that Koscielny left at halftime so Gabriel is likely to partner Mustafi. In attack it is reasonable to think that Giroud will get a start after coming off the bench with Sánchez, Özil and Walcott in support. The Hammers are coming off a disappointing loss to Hull but still have the offensive tools to trouble the Arsenal backline. Carroll scored their lone goal and will continue to spearhead the attack with Snodgrass' delivery seemingly important here. Noble's return could make Lanzini's stock take a hit assuming he loses his pk duty.
Swansea v Tottenham
Llorente's late absence yesterday was a loss for fantasy managers and Swansea alike as the offense stuttered without his presence. Sigurdsson was involved in anything positive and that won't change. Despite being at home this is not a great matchup for the Swans as the Spurs' defense has looked solid despite the absence of both Walker and Rose. Speaking of that siutation, both Davies and Trippier are good handcuffs to have for Walker/Rose owners with their upcoming fixtures. The attack will be led by the usual suspects right now with Alli, Eriksen and Son being relied upon to make up for the absence of Kane. Rotation should not be an issue here.
Liverpool v Bournemouth
The obvious top waiver option this week in any groups where he is available is to go and try to get Origi. With Mané's availability in serious question and Lallana also out, plus a solid home matchup then Origi could be in line for a big day with Firmino and Coutinho supplying his service. The defense has a good shot at blanking the Bournemouth attack so you could do worse, and note Lovren is back with Matip. And what about the Cherries? Well they have drawn the most penalties in the league but it seems nobody knows how to put them in. After that shocking miss by Arter, you would think it would fall back to King or possibly last season's taker Daniels? Or Stanislas if he finally gets a start? I don't fancy Bournemouth's chances here regardless but it would be nice to see a pk and who's next for future weeks.
Chelsea v Man City
A big matchup with lots of fantasy options. Chelsea's injury issues ended up being limited to the absence Moses but they still stumbled to a rare home defeat. I expect a similar lineup with maybe only the inclusion of Willian. The defensive points have slowed down recently and with City coming to town a clean sheet should not be expected. That being said, they still hold value as Alonso, Cahill and Luiz could pop up with a goal. I would still feel good about Chelsea's offense as City's defense is not exactly solid. For City, their main concern is Sterling leaving last game but Agüero, Silva, De Bruyne and Sané should be immune from rotation in such a big game. So who could replace Sterling assuming he misses out? Well Navas is a like for like, but Nolito is an option, and Touré could also come in, only Pep truly knows, but are any a great matchup at Chelsea you should be thinking?
I hope GW31 is kind to your team, and remember that all is good, Zlatan is back...ok you got me, I may own him...
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