AM's Week 19 Fantasy Player Picks

Richard Heathcote

A detailed look at who you should be considering for your Yahoo fantasy line-up ahead of the Week 19 deadline on Boxing Day.

Merry Christmas and happy holidays to all of our readers! As I'm sure is the case for households around the world, it's pretty hectic here with the festivities less than 24 hours away. For that reason this is going to be a quick run through of the teams and players you should be focusing on ahead of the Week 19 deadline, which is at 12:00 GMT on Wednesday 26th December.

The pick of the fixtures appear to be EVERTON at home to Wigan, MANCHESTER UNITED at home to Newcastle, SWANSEA away at Reading, MANCHESTER CITY away at Sunderland, FULHAM at home to Southampton and TOTTENHAM away at Aston Villa. Please remember that ARSENAL and WEST HAM do not play in Week 19 - their match has been postponed until late January due to a Boxing Day tube strike so I'm afraid we'll need to take a zero for Santi Cazorla.

Here are the players I'm considering.

KEEPERS
Howard - Affordable price and with a home game against Wigan, Tim Howard is my pick of the keepers this week if you're buying at full price.
Lloris - Really starting to look the part as Spurs number 1 and facing a Villa side who will be shot to pieces by the 8-0 drubbing at the hands of Chelsea. Hugo Lloris is a long term hold for many of us @ 2.02 and he should remain in your team if you have him at this price.
Schwarzer - He hasn't been in his best form so far this season but Mark Schwarzer's price has dropped to 7.68 and he comes up against a Southampton team badly missing their captain Adam Lallana.

DEFENDERS
Baines - It's a lot of money to spend but I have a fairly strong hunch that Leighton Baines is going to bang in a penalty this weekend so I'm seriously considering splashing the cash.
David Luiz - Playing in midfield, taking a free kicks and shooting from all of the place, he was a no brainer on the barndoor and should continue his new role at Norwich with John Obi Mikel still suspended.
Vertonghen - Super Jan Vertonghen keeps racking up the points and remains a terrific option for Tottenham's trip to Villa Park.
Smalling - I'd be very suprised to see Nemanja Vidic start 2 games in 4 days after such a long time out and the same could be said of Phil Jones, so I believe Chris Smalling will find himself in the starting line-up at home to Newcastle either at right back of center half.
Kompany - It appears Vincent Kompany will be ready to start at Sunderland after sitting on the bench against Reading and his price is down around 9.00. A bit pricey but City should beat Sunderland comfortably and the big man is due a goal some time soon.
Riether - The cheapest way to get involved in the Fulham defence if you fancy them to keep a clean sheet at home to Southampton.
Fabio - At 2.99 (or less) he's the filler we've all been waiting for, so thankfully Fabio seems to have worked his way in to Harry Redknapp's plans and QPR have a must-win home game.

MIDFIELDERS
Michu - Michu is the league's top scorer. Swansea are playing well and they face rock-bottom Reading. Michu should be in your team.
Bale - Expensive, but Gareth Bale looked pretty well rested against Stoke and managed 14 points without appearing to do to much. Villa will be petrified of him.
Pienaar - Being asked to fill the rather large boots left by Fellaini for the next few games and he got off to terrific start with a man of the match display against West Ham.
Silva - With Nasri, Rodwell and Kolarov all out I'd imagine David Silva will play the majority of the minutes over the hectic Xmas period and he appears to be taking the majority of corner and free kicks in and around the box.
De Guzman - If you can't afford Michu or refuse to pay full price after making the mistake of dropping him earlier in the season then Jonathan De Guzman is your alternative and he's in excellent form at the moment.
Valencia / Young - I was set on picking Ashley Young for Week 19 but he played the full 90 minutes at Swansea while Antonio Valencia sat on the bench. I'm now tempted to give Valencia a whirl against Newcastle instead as I want a United attacker, but the fact he's already disappointed me twice this season makes it hard to pull the trigger.
Mackie - Harry Redknapp will chop and change his side as he looks to find the right balance but Jamie Mackie work-rate should ensure he starts most games including this weekend's match against West Brom. We all know he has a knack of popping up with a goal.
Oscar - Rested for the Villa match but came off the bench to grab a goal and an assist. He should start at Norwich.
Sidwell - I can't stand the bloke, but putting all bias aside I have to admit Steve Sidwell is a very good option for Fulham's home game against Southampton.

STRIKERS
Dzeko - I'm absolutely certain Edin Dzeko will get his chance from the start at Sunderland so I'm going to take the a punt and put him in my team.
Berbatov - He's cut a frustrated figure during Fulham's recent struggles but his quality is unquestionable and he should find more opportunities to shine against an open Southampton side.
Jelavic - While Fellaini serves his suspension and Mirallas remains injured it will be down to Nikica Jelavic to find the goals and he won't find many more willing opponents than Wigan on the road.
Torres - A trademark header making it 7 goals in 6 games suggests the resurgence of Fernando Torres is well and truly on. He was given a nice rest when subbed early against Villa so he'll be fresh to lead the Chelsea line at Norwich.
van Persie - Wayne Rooney looked absolutely shattered at Swansea so he could well find himself rested, which would mean penalty duty for Robin van Persie. Just to tempt you further, his price has dropped to a shade over 27.
Anichebe - Rarely gets a start but seems to do something positive when he does get on the pitch, Victor Anichebe is a very interesting and affordable option if you want an Everton representative but can't afford Baines, Pienaar or Jelavic.
Defoe - Did you see Villa's defending at Stamford Bridge? He's had a few quiet games but Jermain Defoe will be licking his lips.

That's if for the players. I don't know whether we'll get much team and injury news ahead of the deadline but if we do we'll make sure we get a post up here on NMA outlining the most important information.

I haven't spent any time looking at my team yet but Lloris, Shorey, Vertonghen and Michu will stay while Baines, Luiz, Dzeko and Torres are all likely to make the final cut.

How's your team shaping up?

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