It’s Matchweek 29 in the Barclays Premier League or the EPL as it is commonly know worldwide, and there are some fascinating match-ups, with Tottenham v Arsenal at White Hart Lane set to take centre stage.
This is one of the most significant North London Derby meetings in years, with Spurs sitting in 2nd place 3pts behind Leicester on 54 points, with Arsenal a further 3 points behind on 51. Both teams missed a chance to get closer to the leaders, with Spurs losing to West Ham in the week and Arsenal also losing to Swansea.
With home advantage Spurs will be well fancied but you just don’t know which way these derby games are going to go on the day.
Another intriguing match-up this week are the two in-forms teams playing each other, as West Ham who currently sit 4th in the form table (last six games) make the trip North where they will face Everton (6th) at Goodison Park. In reality these two teams sit 6th and 11th respectively in the league, but they are certainly in fine form as it stands.
West Ham can make top-4 a reality though if results against the two Manchester clubs go their way as they are a point behind the two with City sitting 4th and United 5th. They will find it tough though, as they have not beaten Everton at Goodison in the last seven years, and have lost four of those meetings in that time. They have also won just one of their last six games on the road, although they will take heart from the fact that Everton have won just one of the last six games in front of their own fans, losing four in the process.
Looking at the form it can go either way on the day as both teams are evenly matched, with Everton maybe having the slight edge thanks to a certain Romelu Lukaku. Lukaku who found the net again in the week against Villa, marked his 17th goal of the season. This was his first in seven, but he will keen to get to the 20-goal mark before the end of the season. Other stars on show will be the likes of Dmiri Payet and Ross Barkley who will be throwing themselves in the mix as midfielder of the season alongside Mesut Ozil and Deli Alli.
There are a five other games on Saturday ; Chelsea v Stoke, City v Villa, Newcastle v Bournemouth, Southampton v Sunderland, and Swansea v Norwich. These are the games that I will be focusing my attention on regarding fantasy picks.
I will be picking two players from each category, my favourite player in each position (without price consider) and a sleeper/value pick who to me represent the best value of the week.
DraftKings Premier League Preview:
Lukasz Fabianski ($3,800) – Norwich have lost their last five straight away games and scored just one goal in the process, since beating Manchester United 2-1 the weekend before Christmas. With that in mind I can see them struggling against this Swansea side that beat Arsenal at the Emirates in the week.
Fabianaki made 13 saves against Tottenham three games ago, and made 3 last game against Arsenal.
His points chances must be boosted by Norwich’s lack of ability to score on the road and I can see him slamming the door shut this week, hopefully keeping a clean sheet for just the second time in his last ten games.
He maybe a risky play, but he represents good value considering the opposition, and there are question marks about the others above him in the price list.
Charlie Daniels ($4,200) – Daniels has double-digit outings in his last three matches against ; Southampton (10.5), Watford (14.0) and Stoke (17.5), this was of course helped by clean sheets for Bournemouth against both Southampton and Watford in the last two starts.
His best tally in that time was obviously the 17.5 against Stoke and that was secured with his 5th assist of the season, six crosses and also adding a shot on goal. Strangely this was the game of the three where he didn’t keep a clean sheet, and it’s likely he doesn’t keep one again this week.
In Newcastle’s last three games they have scored 6 goals, including 3 against United in the 3-3 draw and the should be good enough to get a goal against this Bournemouth.
It’s the upside that you get with Daniels’ production and if Bournemouth can score a goal, there is a good chance he could be involved.
Vincent Kompany ($2,700) – Despite City not keeping clean sheets in any of their last three league games, they have played Tottenham, Liverpool and Leicester you have to fancy them to keep an Aston Villa side who sit bottom of the table at bay for 90 minutes.
In this fixture, Villa have only managed 4 goals in the last 8 meetings, those goals coming over the space of three games and City have won every time, winning to nil on five occasions.
Kompany, although not a prolific point scorer (averaging 5 points this season) is the sort of the player that can nick a goal at any point and if you expect, like I do he will keep a clean sheet he’s worth the $2,700 you need to spend on him.
Xherdan Shaqiri ($6,100) – Shaqiri is slowly turning into Stoke’s main attacking outlet, taking the reigns from early season form man Marco Arnautovic.
Crosses are a big part of players points scoring in this game and Shaqiri has put in 33 of them in his last two starts, which is absolutely off the charts.
He has got a goal and two assists in his last three games, and he is definitely in the reckoning for the best fantasy midfield option at present.
His 29.5 points tally against Newcastle last week was a great performance, and he can put in a solid effort again at Stamford Bridge. These two fixtures actually came in a row earlier in the season and he got 6.5 against Newcastle and 11.0 the next game against Chelsea, so I think he can get a decent score again this time around.
I am playing Shaqiri until there is a significant drop in form from him.
Michail Antonio ($5,100) – Antonio has finally started showing what he’s capable of on a regular basis and with goals in his last two starts I am happy to take a chance of him scoring again.
West Ham will be well up for the visit to Everton, and will fancies their chances of taking points back to East London.
If he doesn’t score, he should at least be busy with efforts on goal and will hopefully be involved in any chances or goals his team can muster up.
His points total in fantasy has very much relied on him scoring goals, as he’s not the busiest player otherwise in the other scoring facets of the game, so I’m hoping the scoring streak makes it to 3 in 3.
Sergio Aguero ($8,600) – There’s a reason Aguero is the priciest player this week, and that is because he has the softest matchup, Villa at home.
Whilst he drew blanks against Tottenham and Liverpool in his last two league starts, he’s scored 8 goals in all competitions since the start of 2016 and he should find the net again this week.
Villa are the sort of the side Aguero can run ragged and it wouldn’t be a surprise at all to see him chip in with a hat-trick this week.
Max Gradel ($4,100) – Gradel has returned from a torn ACL he suffered back in August and on his two games back he has accumulated 28.0 points.
He only played 67 of the 90 minutes on his return as he came on for Junior Stanislas in the 23rd minute against Watford, but he still managed to fire 3 shots on goal and swing in another 2 crosses, whilst generally being busy, good enough for an 11.0 point showing.
In his last game he put in 10 crosses and also took a shot on goal, which along with the other facets of his game was enough for 17.0 points.
Now in his third game back he should be firing on all cylinders, and given the type of player he is, he has the ability to score double-digits every week.
If he can get some more shots in and get his first goal for the club, something that is feasible against a questionable Newcastle side, he could be a great option, given his $4,100 price tag this week.
Struggling to fill your team, due to low funds after you’ve tried to fit in the likes of Aguero and Costa in the same lineup? Here’s two players under $3,000 who could well add some cheap points for you.
Ramiro Funes-Mori ($2,500) – Funes-Mori has played fairly well this season and generally likes to get involved at the attacking end of the pitch as well as doing his defensive duties, chipping in with 9 shots in his last four games.
He contributed a goal and an assist against Villa mid-week, which secured him 21.0 points and in a game where a set-piece could be the difference, it may be worth having the Everton man in your line-up.
Bertrand Traore ($2,800) – At $2,800 Traore offers great value. Listed as a midfielder, the forward can add a goal against Stoke and he’s definitely worth adding to the lineup.
He’s got double-digit points in the last two games thanks to a goal and an assist, which should have been enough to secure more playing time.