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Week 17: Outs, Doubts, Ins and Wins

This week concerns me as I have a feeling that the so-called "easy" match-ups are fraught with fantasy peril and may result in low scores. As a result, I am opting out for a more "unconventional" team, hoping that my sixth sense does not let me down. But more about that later…

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Below is a breakdown of what each of the categories means:

Out: Fantasy-relevant players who have been confirmed out for the week, either through injury or suspension

Doubt: Players facing the dreaded late fitness test, rotation concerns and those who are out of form/favor

In: The likeliest replacements for the Outs & Doubts

Win: Fantasy player to watch / my hunch pick of the week



Out: Aaron Ramsey, Mesut Ozil, Jack Wilshire, Mikel Arteta, Tomas Rosicky

Doubt: Nacho Monreal, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Theo Walcott

In: Santi Cazorla

Win: Alexis Sanchez

Alexis Sanchez has not scored a goal in two game weeks and what could be a better opportunity to get back on track than a game against defensively poor Liverpool team. I expect the Chilean to do really well in this one.


Aston Villa

Out: Nathan Baker, Tom Cleverly (ineligible), Alan Hutton (suspension), Kieran Richardson (suspension)

Doubt: N/A

In: Matthew Lowton, Carlos Sánchez, Charles N'Zogbia

Win: Christian Benteke

Priced at £8.79 and owned by only 1.57% of fantasy managers, the big Belgian scored in double digits in two consecutive weeks (with 17 and 16 points, respectively) before a shocker against West Bromwich. Benteke is a type of player who always scores well when you don’t expect him to and I foresee a good fantasy score from him, home against Manchester United.



Out: Matthew Taylor, Sam Vokes, Stephen Ward

Doubt: Michael Duff

In: Jason Shackell, Michael Keane

Win: Danny Ings

The best offensive talent for the struggling Burnley team, don't be surprised if Ings gets on the scoresheet this week; Burnley is playing against a leaky Tottenham defense after all.



Out: N/A

Doubt: Thibaut Courtois, Didier Drogba

In: Cesc Fabregas

Win: Cesar Azpilicueta

I will not have any Chelsea players in my team this Game Week for two reasons: (1) Chelsea has not been a good away team; and (2) Chelsea has has not played well at the Britannia. If you want to invest in a Chelsea player, look into their "reasonably" priced defenders and hope for a Clean Sheet.


Crystal Palace

Out: Marouane Chamakh, Paddy McCarthy, Glenn Murray

Doubt: Adrian Mariappa, Wilfried Zaha

In: Dwight Gayle

Win: Martin Kelly

Away to a Manchester City team that plays well at home, it is tough to recommend anyone from Crystal Palace. City will play compact and without a forward, so expect a lot of hard-fought battles in the midfield with plenty of fouls and yellow cards. If you have Martin Kelly at £1 and need cash elsewhere, do not hesitate to start him as his output even without Clean Sheets has been nothing to scuff at.



Out: Kevin Mirallas

Doubt: James McCarthy, Leon Osman, Tony Hibbert

In: Steven Pienaar

Win: Ross Barkley

There is no doubt that Ross Barkely is an immense football talent but he is young and inconsistent. I have a feeling, however, that he will follow up his last week's 16 point haul with a good score against a struggling Southampton team.


Hull City

Out: Mohamed Diame, Tom Ince, Robert Snodgrass, Michael Dawson, Tom Huddlestone (suspension)

Doubt: N/A

In: Stephen Quinn

Win: Allan McGregor

It is difficult to recommend any field players from Hull City until the team begins to perform well again. When this may happen no one knows but Hull's Scottish keeper has been very consistent since coming back from injury and even saved a penalty against West Bromwich. He has also had two of the highest goalkeeping scores this season with 29 and 22 points in game weeks 1 and 15, respectively. Priced at £4.44 and home to Swansea, he will be busy and may have a good fantasy week.


Leicester City

Out: Kasper Schmeichel, Matthew Upson

Doubt: N/A

In: Ben Hamer

Win: Esteban Cambiasso

No one should have a Leicester City player this Game Week, but for the thrill seekers out there, if there is one player who may just create some magic, the 34 year old Argentine is that man.



Out: Simon Mignolet (out of favor), Mario Balotelli (suspension), Jon Flanagan, Glen Johnson, Daniel Sturridge

Doubt: Dejan Lovren

In: Bradley Jones, Kolo Toure

Win: Raheem Sterling

Sterling scored twice in the League Cup against a very decent Bournemouth squad. Could he be back to his goal scoring ways?!


Manchester City

Out: Vincent Kompany, Stefan Jovetic, Edin Dzeko, Sergio Aguero

Doubt: N/A

In: Jose Pozo (maybe)

Win: Yaya Toure

I would be surprised if Toure pulls two stinkers in a row against the mediocre competition and does not go big in this one.


Manchester United

Out: Daley Blind, Luke Shaw

Doubt: Rafael da Silva, Angel Di Maria, Marcos Rojo

In: Juan Mata, James Wilson

Win: Wayne Rooney

I am still not entirely sold on picking Manchester United players until Angel Di Maria comes back to full fitness. There is lack of creativity because let's face it: with Ashley Young and Antonio Valencia on the flanks, you are mostly getting inaccurate crosses into the box. Since I cannot recommend players from the "dead to me" list (e.g., Robin Van Persie), Wayne Rooney is the only plausible option from the United line up. Yes, he played in the midfield last game week against Liverpool but that was a tactical decision rather than indication of where the United captain will play this season.


Newcastle United

Out: Rolando Aarons, Tim Krul, Gabriel Obertan, Ryan Taylor

Doubt: Sammy Amoebi, Mehdi Abeid, Papiss Cisse, Moussa Sissoko, Cheick Tiote

In: Remy Cabella (maybe)

Win: Ayoze Perez

Another talented youngster who plays on the flank but is listed as a forward by Yahoo, Perez has great speed and versatility, and should present plenty of problems for Sunderland defenders.


Queens Park Rangers

Out: Alejandro Faurlin, Adel Taarabt

Doubt: Steven Caulker

In: Charlie Austin (back from suspension)

Win: Charlie Austin

Back from a one game suspension for yellow card accumulation, Austin will be eager to add to his goal scoring total in a tasty match up at home against West Bromwich Albion. He should be in your team.



Out: Dusan Tadic, Morgan Schneiderlin (suspension), Jay Rodriguez, Jack Cork, Victor Wanyama (suspension), Florin Gardos (suspension)

Doubt: Graziano Pelle, Steven Davis

In: Shane Long

Win: Ryan Bertrand

If there is one consistent fantasy player on the Southampton team, Bertrand is it and he is the only one I would pick. The international break cannot come soon enough. This team needs rest: a sunny beach and a warm ocean would do some players a world of good as the long season is wearing them out.


Stoke City

Out: Peter Odemwingie, Andy Wilkinson, Victor Moses

Doubt: Steven Ireland, Bojan Krkic

In: N/A

Win: Asmir Begovic

Nobody can deny the quality of the Bosnian keeper. Priced at £5.20, at home to a Chelsea team that does not play well away from Stamford Bridge, he is worth a punt and should make plenty of saves.



Out: Patrick Van Aanholt, Billy Jones, Emmanuele Giaccherini

Doubt: N/A

In: N/A

Win: Adam Johnson (hunch)

I have yet to pick him this season, but one goal through 16 games is unlike Adam Johnson even out of form. Priced at £7.65, he is a real differential playing against a team that has a rookie goalkeeper making rookie mistakes and should be in your thoughts this game week.


Swansea City

Out: N/A

Doubt: N/A

In: N/A

Win: Wilfried Bony

Away to a struggling Hull City team, the Ivorian will be licking his chops. The only downside is that he is expensive if you have not brought him in at a "barndoor" price.



Out: N/A

Doubt: Emanuel Adebayor

In: Ryan Mason, Federico Fazio

Win: Harry Kane

In scoring form and home to Burnley, he should be in your team.


West Bromwich Albion

Out: Jonas Olsson

Doubt: Victor Anichibe

In: Brown Ideye

Win: Brown Ideye

The "ultimate" punt of the week, priced at £2.73, there is little doubt that the Nigerian can score goals. Looking to start his second game in a row and playing against Queens Park Rangers, the timing could be perfect.


West Ham United

Out: Modibo Maiga, Mark Noble

Doubt: N/A

In: N/A

Win: Stewart Downing

Why go against a player who is in form of his career and home to the worst team in the league?


So there you have it! My team at the moment is: Begovic, Cresswell, Walker, Kolarov, Sigurdsson, Silva, Downing, Johnson, Sanchez, Austin, Kane, w/ Kelly (£1), Fabregas (£5.39), Okore (£1.29) and Jones (£1) on my bench. I am relatively happy with it, although I may switch Kolarov to Caulker. Anyone else not going with any Chelsea players?