With the return of the Champions League midweek, much of our attention was squarely focused on who played and which players returned un-injured. Rotation now becomes a concern for those teams participating in the CL and as we saw last weekend, namely with Raheem Sterling, big players will be given a rest in league duties to be fresh for Europe. Given the squad depth of many of the big English teams in the CL, we now take rest and rotation into consideration (we are looking at you Mourinho!). Okay off to the fixtures for this week in the EPL:
QPR v Stoke City
Swansea v Southampton
West Ham v Liverpool
Spurs v West Brom
Manhester City v Chelsea
On paper this looks a bit of a difficult week to pick players from the big teams as they either play away to tricky opposition or face one another as in City v Chelsea. The picks of the bunch for me would be Everton, Manchester United, and Spurs with consideration for Arsenal, Liverpool, Burnley and QPR. But this week may see many of the smaller clubs gain more prominence in your starting 11.
Rob Green - Okay, the QPR keeper took a battering from United at Old Trafford, but his price marks him my budget option for Week 5 at home to Stoke City. This gme has 0-0 written all over it and Green may just surpise with a few saves and hopefully not allow another 40 yard Free Kick goal.
Forster - Southampton looked ferocious against a free falling Newcastle last weekened, and new keeper Forster played a huge part in keeping a clean sheet for the Saints. His price has risen since the 4-0 victory and faces a bit of a tricky fixture away to Swansea City, but given his quality, saves will always be on the cards.
David DeGea - Manchester United have arguably the best fixture for the top sides away to Leicester City. After their 4-0 demolition of QPR at Old Trafford, United will be looking to build quickly on their first win of the season. Although QPR didn´t hold the attacking talent to properly test the United, their newly formed back line looked good, espeially with Daley Blind in the central defensive mid role. I can´t imagine Leicester City will have too many opportunities, so I expect a United clean sheet here.
Hugo Lloris - Tottenham have looked brilliant at times this season and new boy Eric Dier has proven to be a great addition. They have faltered in recent weeks, being tamed at home to Liverpool and held by Sunderland last weekend. However, I expect Spurs to bounce back against West Brom at home. A representative from Spurs defense will surely pay dividends this weekend.
Eric Dier - As I stated above, the new Spurs defenseman has been in stellar form, getting forward, scoring goals, and colleting a fair number of fantasy points so far this season. Although unlucky to conceed a soft penalty against Liverpool, Dier has looked solid in each of his matches. With a bit of a price redution from the Sunderland draw, Dier looks primed to be part of many fantasy manager´s teams this week.
Caulker - He was a fantasy stud for Cardiff City last season, but hasn´t fully reached those heights just yet for QPR this season. But like the Rob Green pick, I expect QPR to bounce back from their 4-0 hiding at Old Trafford. Caulker´s physical presence will be needed against a tough Stoke City side which should generate defensive returns. We all know his threat as a set piece target, and Caulker man be the man to turn a probable 0-0 draw into a QPR win.
Bertrand - I was very close to dropping the Saints fullback to the bench for Week 4, thankfully I did not as Bertrand returned an incredible 20pts. His attacking runs down the flank will generate plenty of attacking returns and the bonus of a clean sheet makes him a must have if you retain him at under 5mil. Even at his higher price, Bertrand looks like a player that can be relied upon for phantom points even with tough match ups.
Rojo - Making his debut at home to QPR, Rojo looked promising on the flank for United. With doubts over Luke Shaw, Rojo should continue to operate the left flank. United should have too much for the Foxes to over come, even at home, so Rojo should couple good attacking returns with a likely clean sheet. My pick of the United defenders this week.
Leighton Baines - He is the priciest defender and yet has failed to deliver like season´s past. Is this the week the Everton leftback makes his mark? We all know his quality and ability at set pieces, I am a bit hesitant to find the funds but something keeps drawing my attention back to him. Last season, Baines failed to deliver his usual week in week out production, but he always pops up with 3-4 stellar fantasy weeks, could this be one of those? Pricy and a bit of a dark horse (really?) but Baines is on my radar.
Patrick van Aanholt - The young Dutch defender has been a fantasy surprise this season, seemingly hoovering up phantom points in each of his previous matches. Although his return was low for the draw with Spurs (cue YC), I expect PvA to get back into the action against Burnley. Certainly on my radar for Week 5.
Trippier - It is about time the Burnley full back gets some recognition. With a home game against Sunderland at Turf Moore, Trippier has a solid match up to continue his quiet but fruit-full fantasy start. With Burnley playing quite well at home, Trippier may be the defensive differential you are looking for.
Di Maria - This is a no brainer, if you don´t already have him in your side, get him in NOW!
Ramsey - The only consistent bright spark for Arsenal´s attack, Ramsey was listed as doubtful for the weekend after returning from International duty with an injury. He was passed fit however, and put up some impressive phantoms against Man City. Villa have proven to be one of the surprise teams of the season so far, but if any Arsenal midfielder will find a way to break them down (sorry not talking about you Mr. Ozil), then it will be the young Welshman.
Sigurdsson - The Icelandic midfielder had a quiet game against a rampant Chelsea but will be looking to continue Swansea´s stellar start to the season against an equally impressive Southampton. With his fair share of set pieces and accurate crossing, Siggy should be considered for a slot in your starting 11 this week.
Tadic - A bit of a quiet match by his standards as other Saints players took the glory in their 4-0 mauling of Newcastle. But the Dutch midfielder has been putting up solid attacking phantoms and assisting on one of the golas from last weekend. It won´t be long until he gets himself on the score sheet, coupled with his phantom production, my advice is to get on the band wagon now before his price is too high.
Kevin Mirallas - Finally listed in his proper place as a midfielder, Mirallas is now a firm contendor for your fantasy teams. With a goal at the weekend, his price has risen but a home match against Crystal Palace looks enticing. If you can find the funds, Mirallas should provide a decent return for Week 5.
Erik Lamela - Amazing that the Argentine´s price is still so low given how involved he has been for Spurs this season. It won´t be long, as with Tadic, before the Spurs man makes his mark on the score sheet. West Brom don´t pose that scary of a threat for Lamela, so I expect a decent return and hopefully a goal or two from him soon.
Lukakku - The Belgian forward opened the scoring in Everton´s 0-2 away win over West Brom last weekend. Although Lukakku has a tendency to be a bit of a troll (scores when you don´t have him and doesn´t when he should), but the quality is undoubtable. He can disappear in matches however, but should get his opportunities at the weekend.
Naismith - The Scot is having an incredible fantasy and live season so far for Everton. At a much lower price than Lukakku, Naismith still offers a goal threat for an affordable price. I only wish I had jumped on the band wagon a few matches back.
Falcao/Rooney/RvP - Making his debut in a 20 min cameo at Old Trafford, Falcao was given a clear opportunity to heap more gloom on QPR by jumping on a spilled Blind shot only for Green to save. I am not sure if Falcao will be given a starting role in an away match, but RvP looked a bit off the pace in United´s 4-0 win. I think Wayne Rooney is probably your safest option at this point. However, Falcao offers a great differential pick if he can start. I think this might be a hold and wait for team news kind of deal. But regardless, it won´t be long until the Colombian will be off the mark, so just make sure he is in your team when he does score!
Balotelli - Opened his account for Liverpool in their 2-1 Champions League victory over the Bulgarian Champions, the young Italian will be looking to continue against West Ham with Sturridge still out. It will be interesting to see how Liverpool can respond to their 1-0 humbling at home to Aston Villa, but the Red's should surely not be written off. I expect to see Balotelli amongst the goals and hopefully not petulant cards.
Pelle - A fantastic haul by the new Saints striker at the weekend's 4-0 drubbing of Newcastle with 2 goals. The SOT striker is in great form and will be needed to continue the Saints march up the table in light of their high profile sales in the summer transfer window. If you picked him up at his barn door price, Pelle looks primed to return fantasy gold once again.
Sanchez - Another bright spot for Arsenal and coming into some form (Dortmund match aside). If you have him at his barn door price then stick to the former Barcelona winger. Aston Villa have started very strong, but Arsenal may use the Villians to kick start their own campaign.
Berahino - Quietly announcing himself as a firm contender for one of your coveted forward slots, the young English U-21 star has been in solid form. Everton have been faulty at the back lately regardless of the clean sheet last weekend. Berahino is still quite affordable for under 8mil and is my dark horse pick of the strikers this week. I don't think West Brom will win away at Everton, but Berahino will be the danger man for the Baggies.
Okay that wraps it up for another Kellz Player Picks. My current team is in shambles, but you can expect that the majority of players will come from the teams I have highlighted above. I am a bit restricted with my selection because of the discounts I hold on Costa and Fabregas, so I will look to switch around my formation to see what I can come up with.
How have your teams unfolded? Who are your differential/hunch picks for the week?