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Late Fitness Check: Fantasy EPL Injury and Suspension Analysis

It's one of those weeks where there's a lot of uncertainty over key players. Will give you the rundown and our take on what to do about it as you finalize your Fantasy Premier League line-up for Match Week 28.

Will I start or won't I?
Will I start or won't I?
Michael Regan

If you'd like to see the consolidated Team News that the nice people at ESPN SoccerNet put together, it can be found here, before you do that, check out the highlights and the implications for your fantasy team below:

Chelsea vs. West Brom - No major absences for the Blues which means that you just have to worry about rotation risks with Fernando Torres/Demba Ba and the right back/center back situation being the other major uncertainty with one of Cesar Azpilicueta or John Terry likely to line up with Ashley Cole, Gary Cahill and Branislav Ivanovic. Honestly, I'd focus my Chelsea budget on Frank Lampard first and Juan Mata second and not worry about the rest. Just a reminder that Romelu Lukaku cannot play against his parent club which hurts the Baggies attack but I don't think it really elevates any alternatives to being worthy of fantasy selection.

Everton vs. Reading - Tim Howard and Victor Anichebe are both question marks which means that you should probably ignore both as well as Nikica Jelavic (whose spot is likely at risk if Anichebe returns to the line-up). On the other side of the coin, everyone's favorite Eden Dzeko-lite Adam La Fondre is in line for a start with Pavel Pogrebnyak suspended. ALF is interesting but a little expensive given his less than stellar showings when he has started - some guys (Dzeko, ALF, Chicharito to name three) are just better coming off the bench.

Manchester United vs. Norwich City - Pretty much everyone (except Phil Jones and Paul Scholes) are healthy which means your guess is as good as any as to whom SAF will start. With this match representing Ryan Giggs' 1,000th United appearance you have to figure a) he'll start and b) he'll score. Just hard to bet against him in that situation at Old Trafford, isn't it?

Southampton vs. QPR - The only meaningful news is that Bobby Zamora is out which means that Loic Remy will likely come in for at least a few minutes before hurting himself again. He is an interesting option but betting on QPR to score goals against modest opposition on the road has been a poor choice thus far this season.

Stoke City vs. West Ham United - There are issues down the spine for both teams with Robert Huth suspended for Stoke and Kevin Nolan (out) and Mark Noble (doubtful) leaving a gap in the attack for the Hammers. One of Marc Wilson or Geoff Cameron will take Huth's spot which likely reduces their value (more chance of a card playing out of position) but we're not sure which one. I think the absence of the two WHU midfielders more than counter-balances the downside for whichever defender finds himself partnering Ryan Shawcross.

Sunderland vs. Fulham - The injury news, like the match-up, is a lot of "meh".

Swansea City vs. Newcastle - The only definitive news here is that Tim Krul is out meaning modestly-priced Rob Elliot is available (although I wouldn't do it given the rate the Magpies have been shipping goals). In less certain news, Fabricio Coloccini and Michel Vorm are question marks which means that you should probably stay away from both players as well as their potential replacements.

Wigan Athletic vs. Liverpool - The big question looming over this one for fantasy managers is whether Daniel Sturridge will play. If you're thinking about him at retail you should probably think about someone else. If you're holding him at a discount then you have to think long and hard about your decision - this is a genuinely tough call.

Tottenham vs. Arsenal - So, Jermain Defoe is available (but presumably at something less than 100% fitness/sharpness) while Clint Dempsey is not. This leaves a lot of questions about formation. We know (or are at least fairly certain) Bale, Lennon, and Dembele will start but who from Defoe, Adebayor, and Holtby joins them will be a very interesting question. On the Arsenal side, Bacary Sagna is still out (as is Keiron Gibbs) meaning that the task of matching up with Gareth Bale will fall primarily on Carl Jenkinson - GULP.

Aston Villa vs. Manchester City - The only interesting news here is that Vincent Kompany appears likely to remain sidelined meaning that Kolo Toure is likely a decent value play against the goal-shy Villains.

Good luck with your final team selections and we hope to see you tomorrow, Sunday and Monday for The Barn Door Live