clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Week 32 Player Picks: Welcome Back Edition

The matches keep coming as we accelerate to the season's end, and it's still all to play for at both ends of the table. With many players returning from injury or suspension, we've got a lot to sort through. Let's get started!

Adam and Jagielka are both back in contention this week. Will either make your fantasy team?
Adam and Jagielka are both back in contention this week. Will either make your fantasy team?
Clive Brunskill

With the weekend's fixtures being the third in a week for some teams, rotation is surely on the cards for a number of players who were active in midweek, so let's take a look at the fixtures to determine where we should be investing:

Manchester United v. Aston Villa

Crystal Palace v. Chelsea

Southampton v. Newcastle

Stoke City v. Hull City

Swansea City v. Norwich City

West Bromwich Albion v. Cardiff City

Arsenal v. Manchester City

Fulham v. Everton

Liverpool v. Tottenham Hotspur

Sunderland v. West Ham United

We'll have the early team news for the United - Villa game, so any fears as to the starting status of Wayne Rooney can be delayed until just before the deadline (I'm looking at you, Renegade). In addition to United players, the match ups look promising for Swansea, Chelsea, West Brom, Everton, Southampton, Liverpool and possibly Sunderland.

Let's take a look at the players who should be getting your attention this week. Keep in mind these recommendations are generally for players at retail prices. If you have players like Joe Hart, Leighton Baines, Vincent Kompany, Steven Gerrard, Yaya Toure or Christian Eriksen at sizeable discounts, they're all good options this week with an eye on their future fixtures (especially City and Everton players with a favorable DGW on the horizon in Week 34).


Tim Howard - His price has rightly jumped after his 25 point haul over the double week, but Fulham have looked completely toothless going forward recently, especially away from home. If you have the funds on hand, or if you have the American at a discount, he's well worth keeping through to the double in Week 34.

Artur Boruc - One of the recommendations that almost never works out for me (especially when I pick him), Boruc brings proven quality, but also a bit of risk into the equation for the Saints' home match against Newcastle. The Magpies are still missing a few key men in Mathieu Debuchy and Loic Remy, though, so the Pole could be in line to keep a clean sheet in a winning performance.

Ben Foster - Alongside Fulham, Cardiff have looked like a team consigned to relegation in the majority of their recent games, barring a good first half against Liverpool last weekend. The potential for goals is always there, but Foster is a good cheap bet to return value, especially if you have him at his barn door price of 1.38.

Michel Vorm - Swansea's difficult double in Week 31 has seen their Dutch keeper's price plummet to less than 4. With a home game against a weak traveling side in Norwich, Vorm should be great value this week.

Gambler's Pick: Steve Harper - With Alan McGregor (perhaps wrongly) sent off in midweek, it's up to Harper to keep Stoke's strangely potent attack at bay. The price is right, but Hull haven't traveled well and McGregor has been a key man for them.


Luke Shaw - An expensive option over 15, but the future England left back has been in scintillating form of late and contributing solid points even without a clean sheet.

John Terry - Terry is the most affordable of the Chelsea defenders ahead of their match against Crystal Palace, but any of the typical starting back four is a good bet this week.

Marcos Alonso - Returning from suspension after his red card, Alonso's price is as low as it's been since being added to the Yahoo game after his January transfer. Phil Bardsley offers a similarly-priced alternative, but red card aside, Alonso has looked to be the better fantasy player in recent weeks.

Steven Reid - With Billy Jones still ruled out through injury, Reid is an affordable way into the West Brom defense for their home match against Cardiff. With Chris Brunt also still out, Reid may take his fair share of set pieces as well.

Nemanja Vidic - The early team news will confirm whether Vidic returns to the United starting lineup, but if he does he has to be considered at his post-suspension price of just over 6. If Vidic doesn't start but Alexander Buttner gets another run in the side, he's also a nice option in the 8 range.

Gambler's Pick: Davide Santon - There's a possibility he may still be ruled out through illness, but with Cheikh Tiote and Paul Dummett not exactly delivering the goods from set pieces over the double week, Newcastle could use a free kick taker with real ability to put the ball in dangerous areas.


Adam Lallana - Perhaps a bit expensive at retail given his inconsistent form, but the England hopeful has been putting up solid numbers in home matches and faces another winnable game against Newcastle.

Charlie Adam - There are so many players back from suspensions this week! Adam is among the best of that bunch, though, after rediscovering the form that made him such a fantasy powerhouse during his time at Blackpool. His set piece delivery could be the key to unlocking a difficult Hull defense.

Jonathan De Guzman - Something tells me to stay away from De Guzman this week, but with so many people commenting about their plans to include him in their teams I felt compelled to address him here. He certainly represents a lot of potential with his set pieces, and the home match against Norwich is a good one, but with Michu returning and Bony undroppable, he may be forced deeper into midfield where he won't have as many chances to add attacking phantom points from the run of play.

Adam Johnson - Changed the game for Sunderland after coming on against Liverpool in midweek. I'm not sure why he was left out, but he's making his case for a spot on the England World Cup known to everyone paying attention. He'll be desperate to continue his good form against West Ham.

Raheem Sterling - With Philippe Coutinho starting both matches in Week 31, Sterling looks to be in line for a recall against Spurs. Brendan Rodgers could even return to the 4-3-3 formation that saw Sterling pushed forward to make SAS into SSS. The slight chance he doesn't start, coupled with the match up, makes it difficult to buy in, though.

Stephane Sessegnon - As mentioned above, West Brom are still dealing with the injury to Chris Brunt. Sessegnon's return from injury has helped, and he should continue to be the fulcrum of the Baggies attack in this match.

Aidan McGeady - With Roberto Martinez rotating his wingers lately, it looks like McGeady's turn for a start, and with the manager claiming the player has an important role to play in the run-in, the Irish international is in my team as a bargain pick at just over 4.

Gambler's Pick: Michu - Making his return to the starting lineup against Arsenal after a long time out, the Spaniard understandably looked a little rusty. A home match against Norwich should be a great opportunity for him to rediscover the form that made him a contender for signing of the season last year, or it could be another 60 minute performance trying to recover some semblance of match sharpness.


Luis Suarez / Daniel Sturridge - Most managers will have both players this weekend after both put up great scores in the double week and don't look like slowing down any time soon. I made the unfortunate last-minute decision to drop Sturridge for Rooney, so can't afford him at his current price.

Wayne Rooney - That said, Rooney still put up nearly 30 points over the two games in Week 31 and was just about the only good thing going for United in the Manchester Derby. A return to the central striker role would be ideal after his man-of-the-match performance in the position against West Ham, so keep an eye on team news to see if Danny Welbeck gets another start of Kagawa/Januzaj starts in his place.

Eden Hazard - Jose Mourinho may have one eye on the Champions League tie against PSG on Tuesday, but with the Premier League title race still hanging in the balance he'd be crazy to drop the Belgian, who has been Chelsea's best attacker this season. I expect him to continue his contributions on the road against Palace.

Romelu Lukaku - His price is back up in the premium range after two goals in Week 31, but against Fulham he may be worth the investment even at retail. Then again, this is the troll we're talking about, so you could just as easily wind up with 25 points a big fat 0.

Wilfried Bony - Having settled wonderfully into the league following Michu's injury, Bony looks worth every bit of his Swansea-record transfer fee, contributing with another two goals in Week 31. Norwich's road troubles are well-documented, and you wouldn't bet against the Ivorian adding to his goal tally against them.

Fabio Borini - Despite technically being listed out of position as he generally plays on the right side of midfield, the on-loan Liverpool winger will be raring to go after being ineligible against his parent club. That he is Sunderland's top scoring forward by nearly 80 points highlights his importance to the team, as well as his fantasy potential.

Gambler's Pick: Fernando Torres - You'd have to expect Tony Pulis' men to park the bus in front of their penalty area against Chelsea, but that may leave quite a bit of space on the flanks for Hazard, Ivanovic and company to whip in crosses for Torres to attack. He's better in the air than he's given credit for and on his day can lose defenders with his movement.


I'm happy with my team so far, though it may change slightly depending on any injury news. Here's where I'm at:

Vorm, Ivanovic, Kompany, Baines, McGeady, Yaya, Lallana, Eriksen, Hazard, Rooney, Suarez (c)

Bench: Bertrand, Nocerino, Vergini, Davis

Have I missed anyone? How is your team coming together?