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AM's Week 11 Fantasy Player Picks

An early look at who you should be considering for your fantasy line-up ahead of the Week 11 deadline.

Get stuck in to the Toffees this weekend.
Get stuck in to the Toffees this weekend.
Scott Heavey

There are some great games in store for us in Week 11 but once again there isn't a lot to get excited about from a fantasy point of view, with a whole bunch of match-ups between teams close together in the table, in similar form and of similar ability.

I can see only two fixtures that really appeal to me as "stand-out" games:

EVERTON v Sunderland

I'm going to stick my neck out and say - when at full strength - Everton are playing the best football in the league at the moment. Sunderland meanwhile are finding it very tough to score goals and even create chances, so this could be a thumping home win for the Toffees. Aside from this game it's difficult to see Aston Villa keeping Manchester United out at Villa Park, despite Paul Lambert's men being lifted by their vital win last weekend, and I'm calling it as an away win by a couple of goal.

There should also be some fantasy value for:

SWANSEA @ Southampton
ARSENAL v Fulham
CHELSEA v Liverpool

Swansea had a great start followed by a very rocky spell but they seem to have stabilised now and were very impressive against Chelsea last weekend. Down at the foot of the table Southampton are continuing to leak goals at an alarming rate and I don't see them stopping Michu and co from picking up the 3 points. West Ham are having a very solid season back in the top tier under Sam Allardyce, but they often struggle away from home so I expect Newcastle to edge past them this weekend with a fully fit Demba Ba ready to fire.

Arsenal aren't playing well but they have the stronger squad and we all know Fulham don't travel well, so I'm feeling a narrow home win in my bones for the Gunners. There is some serious recent history between Chelsea and Liverpool so it's bound to be a highly-charged affair, but Chelsea will have too much quality for the Reds who are completely reliant on Luis Suarez until Brendan Rodgers can strengthen his attacking options in January.

Finally Spurs travel to Manchester City and if they play like they did against Wigan last weekend they will get murdered. I'm hoping to see a bit more fight and urgency in such a big match but sadly (for me) I can't see past a home win.

Wigan v West Brom could be an entertaining game but I can't call it either way and I don't see much value or excitement in Stoke v QPR or Reading v Norwich. Would anyone argue with me if I stated all 3 games would end 1-1?

Let's move on to the players ...


Howard - He generally lets me down whenever I pick him but Tim Howard appears to be the stand-out keeper choice this weekend with goal-shy Sunderland coming to Goodison Park.
Tremmel - Replacing the injured Vorm in net for Swansea, he looked tidy against Chelsea, is cheap and has a chance of some saves and a win at Southampton
Boruc - For the first time this season I present the option of taking a deliberate zero for Artur Boruc at a price of 1.00 to allow you to spend elsewhere.

Baines - A clean sheet chance, on set pieces, taking penalties and in great form means Leighton Baines just about justifies his huge price tag this weekend.
Shorey - Started the campaign on the bench but Nicky Shorey has since ousted Ian Harte and has proceeded to pick up terrific phantom points, meaning the lack of clean sheets for Reading aren't a problem.
Cameron - One of the most consistent defenders in the Yahoo game this season thanks to phenomenal number of tackles and interceptions and Stoke are typically miserly at home.
Vertonghen - Jan Vertonghen had Spurs' two best attempts on goal against Wigan and looked a constant threat. Don't expect a clean sheet at City, it's the attacking points that is set him apart.
Mertesacker - With Kieran Gibbs out, Carl Jenkinson back on the bench and Andre Santos ... well, Andre Santos, it leaves Per Mertesacker as my pick of the Arsenal defenders against Fulham.
Nelsen - The king of the blocked shot this season, he's still well priced for QPR's trip to Stoke and continues to return solid points.
Bassong - Norwich are looking far more solid in defence after a disastrous start and Sebastian Bassong is a big reason for that. He remains a decent cheaper option and is guaranteed a start.

Fellaini - He was simply outstanding at Fulham last weekend, unplayable in fact and Marouane Fellaini has a cracking fixture this weekend. How I wish I'd grabbed him on the barndoor, but he's still tempting at his current price.
Michu - Should be licking his lips at the prospect of facing Southampton in his new role as the lone frontman.
Valencia - Gave Santos the run-around last weekend without earning the fantasy returns he deserved but I have a bit of a hunch that Antonio Valencia will score big points at Villa Park.
Cazorla - I am slightly concerned he may get a rest soon as he looked shattered last night but can Arsene Wenger afford to? Probably not, so Santi Cazorla remains Arsenal's best goal threat against Fulham.
Pienaar - Lots of people will be on Howard, Baines, Fellaini, Mirallas and Jelavic this weekend so Steven Pienaar may fly under the radar if you're looking to do something different.
Ben Arfa - Played well at Anfield last Sunday and should enjoy running at West Ham's strong but not particularly agile defenders.
Gaston Ramirez - He's back, he's taken some of Lallana's set pieces away and remains a bigger goal threat at a cheaper price.
Oscar - Had a poor game at Swansea and I can't help but feel it's the big home games rather than the rainy away days where we'll see Oscar at his best. Prove me right young man.
Yaya Toure - If Ben Watson can run the game against Spurs, what could Yaya do?

van Persie - So very, very pricey but I think we'll see him put up 30 points at Aston Villa. The question is, can you get him in your team without destroying the overall balance? It's a tough one.
Ba - Demba Ba was clearly not fully fit vs Liverpool, but the league's inform striker will be ready to face his old club after a rest in the Europa League and I'm expecting at least 1 goal from him.
Mirallas - Fast becoming one of my favourite players, Kevin Mirallas looks like he could match Theo Walcott for pace but has the added benefit of a first touch and a football brain. I'm picking him this weekend and expect bumper points in return.
Jelavic - He's having a quiet spell after his early season goal-rush but the chances are there to be taken and in my opinion it's only a matter of time before he's back on the score-sheet. Sunderland beware.
Rooney - The more affordable forward option for United's trip to Villa but I'm wondering if he'll still be on penalty duty after his Arsenal miss? RvP has a much better record over the years and if Wayne Rooney loses the role his fantasy value decreases significantly.
Hazard - My pick of the Chelsea forward this week given his price, his quality is unquestionable and he'll pick up points for shots on targets and crosses, but Eden Hazard could add a few more goals to his pace and trickery.
Giroud - Clearly a confidence player, he added to his goal tally in midweek and could do the same against Fulham. I continue to prefer him to Lukas Podolski.

That's it for the players. Please check back here at NMA on Friday for all the team and injury news as there's bound to be plenty of injury fall-out from the midweek Champions League and Europa League ties.

This is what I currently have on my Yahoo team page...

Boruc, Shorey, Vertonghen, Baines, Oscar, Cazorla, Valencia, Michu, Mirallas, Hazard, Ba

If I decide not to take a deliberate zero for my keeper then Baines or Ba may need to be downgraded to go to free-up funds for Howard or Tremmel. I'm not sure about Oscar at the moment and I have a nagging feeling that I need Robin van Persie in my team but this seems impossible given his current price. Shorey, Vertonghen, Valencia, Michu, Cazorla and Mirallas will probably stay but Hazard could become Giroud.

How's your team shaping up?