Hello everyone. I know Neal & Jeremy have sometimes posted this feature within their Week Ahead posts, but I am hoping to make this a weekly column here on NMA that highlights some of the players to keep an eye on for the upcoming game week. I'll choose my favorite option at each position each week, with the potential to expand to more picks should this prove a popular and/or successful endeavor. My picks for Match Week 17 after the jump.
Tim Krul - Provided you don't hold DDG in the 5.xx price range and are looking for a solid keeper, look no further than Newcastle's #1. With Tiote, Coloccini and Williamson all close to returning, Newcastle's defensive stock will be on the rise, meaning this weekend's match against Swansea has the potential for a Clean Sheet and a host of points for the Dutch keeper. Grabbing Krul around his current price of under 5 could represent good business with a home match against struggling West Brom in midweek.
Leighton Baines - His price has remained high despite a markedly less successful fantasy season than we're used to thus far, but the beginning of Everton's annual ascent up the table almost always corresponds with the festive period. A favorable match-up this weekend against Norwich could see Baines tally the sort of fantasy return we've all come to expect from him over the past couple seasons. Even at a premium price of around 18, Baines represents great value in midweek against a Swansea side that struggles to score on the road. With the return of Roysten Drenthe, Baines should have a lot of room to roam the left flank against the Swans.
Jordan Henderson - He definitely hasn't lived up to his price tag just yet (and this is coming from a Liverpool fan), but in the absence of Lucas and with the subsequent suspension of Jay Spearing, Kenny Dalglish has decided to play Henderson in his natural central midfield position, and it's beginning to pay dividends for his confidence. He's put in solid, almost-fantasy-relevant performances in the past couple matches and certainly looks ready to repay the faith placed in him. A match against Aston Villa should see him fashion some chances and go into the midweek game against Wigan flying high.
Yakubu Aiyegbeni - His price has come back down a bit after his four-goal game against Swansea, and he now faces West Brom and Bolton in the space of a couple days. He's Blackburn's goal poacher and isn't likely to get you many phantom points (i.e. 42.5 points from 4 goals, one of which a match-winner), but he knows where the target is and it's difficult to imagine a situation in which he doesn't knock at least one home over the next two games.
So there you have it: my top four players to keep an eye on this weekend and hopefully snatch up before their prices skyrocket. I'll be at work tomorrow, unfortunately, so I won't be able to follow my own advice, but I hope this is helpful to all of you looking for some alternative options next week. Please let me know in the comments if this is something you would like for me to continue doing, and also feel free to provide your own players to watch. This is, after all, a fantastic community. May we Never Manage Alone.