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Week 29 Player Picks: No Good Options Edition

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With only half the teams in action and no stand-out fixture, putting a team together this week is a real challenge. Add in the fact that many of us have multiple discounts we're reluctant to part with and fielding 11 solid players is tougher than it's been all season.

Can Chelsea win again at home? Eden Hazard will likely have a big part to play if so.
Can Chelsea win again at home? Eden Hazard will likely have a big part to play if so.
Shaun Botterill

Let's take a brief look at the fixture list to determine which teams are playing at home and which will be on the road because, honestly, that may be a deciding factor in some cases this week:

West Bromwich Albion v. Manchester United

Cardiff City v. Fulham

Crystal Palace v. Southampton

Norwich City v. Stoke City

Chelsea v. Tottenham Hotspur

As you can see, there's not a lot to love, especially from an attacking perspective, but there are quite a few opportunities for solid defensive returns based on the home form of teams like the Eagles and Canaries. With that in mind, let's start at the back and move forward from there!

Since there aren't many options out there this week, I'll offer one or two picks from the expensive (14+), mid-range (8-14) and bargain (under 8) price range rather than the usual 8+ players at each position.

Goalkeepers

Expensive

David De Gea - The United keeper will set you back £16m+, but West Brom seems far less threatening on the attack than Spurs, so the Spaniard gets the nod here over Petr Cech.

Mid-Range

Artur Boruc - After the heavy defeat at the hands of Liverpool in Week 28, the Saints keeper has seen his price drop to a very affordable £8.34m ahead of the trip to goal-shy Crystal Palace and is definitely worth considering.

Julian Speroni - Then again, Boruc's opposite number has been a big part of the Eagles' improved defensive record under Tony Pulis. The Saints have quite a bit of offensive firepower and could pepper the Palace keeper with a number of shots. If he can make the saves, he'll be in for a big day.

Bargain

John Ruddy - Norwich have very quietly turned Carrow Road into a fortress in the second half of the season, posting shutouts against Hull City, Newcastle, Manchester City and Tottenham in their last four matches. Ruddy's price has fallen sharply after the heavy defeat on the road against Aston Villa last time out and looks like a steal at £6.78m.

Defenders

Expensive

Jose Fonte - The Portuguese defender has been a stalwart in the Saints team since January, taking the mantle from Lovren as the best performing defender in the team. He'll cost you a pretty penny, but if you believe he and his teammates can keep Crystal Palace off the scoresheet, he could be a worthwhile investment.

John Terry - Despite the aforementioned attacking potential on display from Tim Sherwood's Spurs team, Chelsea have a habit of closing up shop at home, and the Blues captain has been an ever-present in the league this season.

Mid-Range

Martin Olsson - His price is creeping up towards the expensive category, but Olsson has been a reliable source of points for Chris Hughton's side this season. Even without a clean sheet, the Swede is capable of contributing with successful crosses and some other phantom points.

Ryan Shawcross - While Norwich have been solid on the defensive side of the ball, their attacking contributions have been sorely lacking this season, even in front of their home fans. Stoke should have a good shot at a rare road clean sheet, and their captain regularly pops up in the box for set pieces.

Bargain

Fabio Da Silva - I'm very happy I grabbed him for a spot on the bench for just £4.32m, but even at his current price a bit under £8m, he represents great value against a Fulham team that have been atrocious on their travels. With 15 points in his last two games without any clean sheets, he's definitely in my Week 29 team.

Scott Dann - The shot block specialist should have plenty of opportunities to bring in the points 2 by 2 against Southampton. We still haven't seen the best out of the former Birmingham and Blackburn man, which is promising for his potential as he settles into his new side.

Midfielders

Expensive

Adam Lallana - Even if he doesn't always put up the numbers from a fantasy perspective, there's no denying the young Englishman's talent. Even in the 3-0 defeat against Liverpool, Lallana was in strong contention for man of the match in my opinion. Against lesser opposition, he should have more freedom to make things happen.

Chris Brunt - There's a real dearth of exciting midfield options this week, so consistency may be the key when completing your midfield. Even if he doesn't score against United, the Baggies captain should chip in with plenty of phantom points from set pieces and long-range shots on target.

Mid-Range

Nathan Redmond - With slight injury concerns over Robert Snodgrass and with Leroy Fer definitely out, the young midfielder should be called upon to take kicks and generally lead the attack from midfield.

Bargain

Thomas Ince - The on-loan midfielder has disappointed in the weeks following his 22 point debut, but we all know the potential is there, and having a midfielder playing at home in an advanced role and taking kicks all for less than £8m seems like a winning recipe in a week with few options.

Lewis Holtby - Speaking of loanees, the German international started on the bench in Week 28, but should be given the chance to pull the strings in midfield against Cardiff. There's a slight risk he doesn't start, but we've seen how capable he is of contributing with good performances and could be worth the risk.

Stephen Ireland - We'll have to keep an eye on the team news to see if we can figure out how Mark Hughes is planning to line up with Charlie Adam suspended, but if it looks like Ireland will get the start he's very cheap and could be in charge of some set pieces. Definitely a risk, but could help you afford some of the more expensive options available.

Forwards

Expensive

Wayne Rooney / Robin Van Persie - Similarly priced for their trip to the Hawthorns, both United strikers are worth consideration this week, even if they haven't been their best. We'll have the early lineup for this one so there is the potential that loading up on both will mean you've got two guaranteed starting strikers in a week with a lot of uncertainties.

Eden Hazard - Hazard is having an excellent season and if anyone is going to lead Chelsea to a big win over Spurs, it has to be the Belgian. There is a very slight chance he gets a rest, but that seems unlikely considering the impact he's had on the team nearly every time he's played this season.

Mid-Range

Rickie Lambert - With troublemaker Dani Osvaldo out of the squad, Lambert has seen a bit of a resurgence back to last season's form in recent weeks. On penalty and direct free kick duty, the England hopeful is always capable of a big score, and could find his scoring boots again on the road against Crystal Palace.

Glen Murray - The Eagles striker is another player rediscovering his form from last year. Since his return to the team from injury, Palace's top scorer from their promotion campaign has looked dangerous and notched his first Premier League goal in week 28.

Bargain

Kenwyne Jones - The Cottagers' road difficulties are well-documented and Cardiff will see this match as a must-win in their quest to survive for a second season. The big man has found life difficult since his January transfer, but the leaky Fulham defense could be the perfect remedy.

Kostas Mitroglou - We've yet to see anything to convince us that the Greek striker is the answer to Fulham's striker issues, but if he's confirmed fit for the weekend, Mitroglou has been known to shoot on sight and could quickly rack up enough points to return his paltry £4.31m price tag.

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I hope this has been helpful and that I've provided a few options you may not have been considering up to this point. I'm still waiting on team news to see if there's anything solid about the Stoke lineup, but here's where things currently stand with my team:

Ruddy, Shawcross, Lovren, Fabio, Ince, Lallana, Brunt, Redmond, Ireland, Rooney, RVP

Bench: Cala, Suarez, Bertrand, Stockdale

As you can see, this team is dependent upon Ireland getting the start, and since I'm not confident of that I'm likely to switch things up. I'm toying with the idea of going 4-4-2 if Ireland is unlikely to play and dropping Redmond down to Holtby so I can afford Scott Dann, and that may also give me enough funds to bring in Hazard over one of the two United strikers, but for now everything is very much up in the air. How is your team coming together? Who did I miss with my player picks? And, finally...the big question: