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Premier League Fantasy Player Picks, Week 9

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The end of the international week usually brings us unbridled joy, but this time the ebullience has been tempered by a few painful injury reports. With those holes in your line-ups, who should you target in week 9 for your fantasy picks?

Will Southampton's top scorer have another celebration or two against leaky Leicester City?
Will Southampton's top scorer have another celebration or two against leaky Leicester City?
Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images

Week 9 Fixture List

Tottenham Hotspur v. Liverpool

Crystal Palace v. West Ham United

Manchester City v. AFC Bournemouth

Everton v. Manchester United

West Bromwich Albion v. Sunderland

Southampton v. Leicester City

Chelsea v. Aston Villa

Watford FC v. Arsenal

Newcastle v. Norwich City

Swansea City v. Stoke City

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My Best Bets for 2+ Goals: Southampton, Leicester City, Manchester City, Chelsea, West Brom, Everton

My Best Bets for a Clean Sheet: Swansea, Arsenal, Manchester City, Tottenham, Chelsea, West Brom

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Goalkeepers

Asmir Begovic (CHE) - The Chelsea defense has been horrid, but the injury to Branislav Ivanovic is addition by subtraction. Combined with the visit of anemic Aston Villa, there's actually a decent shot at a clean sheet. As an added bonus, Begovic is an absolute steal at his bargain basement price in Fantrax, allowing you to load up on big name players elsewhere.

Petr Cech (ARS) - Normally I shy away from road teams when it comes to expecting clean sheets, but not with a visit to Watford which has managed one score in its four tilts at Vicarage Road. The Hornets will try to keep things nil-nil as long as possible and that strategy could pan out as the Gunners have trouble cracking the nets when good defensive teams pack it in against them. Cech, of course, has also been brilliant since the opening two games.

Joe Hart (MAC) - While Alekssandar Kolarov is an injury worry, it looks like Vincent Kompany is back healthy which should help Hart's cause for a clean sheet, especially with Callum Wilson out for visiting Bournemouth. In terms of the game plan, with Aguero and Silva out injured on the offensive end, you have to expect the Citizens to adopt a more conservative approach than usual, which should also be a boon.

Defenders

Craig Dawson (WBA) - Sure, West Brom has given up a lot of goals this season, but those came in four games. It actually has clean sheets in the other four. Meanwhile, Sunderland has been shut out thrice and the game is at the Hawthorns. Decent shot at another clean sheet? You betcha.

Gabriel Paulista (ARS) - With Laurent Koscielny an injury worry, Gabriel is a great cheap option at a clean sheet. When it gets closer to game time, if it looks like Koscielny will play, you can always go with Hector Bellerin or Nacho Monreal instead.

Baba Rahman (CHE) - The much talked about but never seen newcomer could finally be in line for a start in place of Ivanovic and the low price is certainly right. Then again, it could go to Kurt Zouma, so keep an eye out for news closer to game time.

Kyle Naughton (SWA) - What do you get when you mix a solid defensive team against visiting Stoke? A nice chance at a clean sheet.

Pablo Zabaleta (MAC) - Looks to be preferred in the starting lineup in place of Bacary Sagna. Last game week's yellow card and lack of a clean sheet minimized his point tally, keeping his price down if you want to add him now.

Midfielders

Kevin De Bruyne (MAC) - With Silva out, the offensive duties from midfield will fall on the shoulders of De Bruyne, Yaya Toure and Raheem Sterling. I like the Belgian to keep things rolling.

Eden Hazard (CHE) - If you read my piece last week on Chelsea, you know I'm not especially high on the Blues' prospects for the rest of the season. However, Hazard is still scoring fairly well in fantasy, and that's without playing anywhere near his form of last season. I wouldn't pick him away against anybody or at home to a number of teams right now, but he's tough to resist with Villa coming to Stamford Bridge.

Riyad Mahrez (LEI) - Most of us have a bad taste in our mouths from the absence of Mahrez against Norwich. Rinse with some Listerine and get back to picking the Foxes' talisman in what should be a high scoring affair at Southampton.

James Morrison (WBA) - While he hasn't scored since his brace against Chelsea, he's got the most shots on target this season of anyone on Albion and Santa-like Sunderland is coming to town. If you feel like taking a punt on a midfielder, why not Morrison?

Dusan Tadic (SOU) - You can't go wrong with Tadic and/or Sadio Mane, but Tadic could be on penalty duty and that's always the tie-breaker for me.

Strikers

Saido Berahino (WBA) - We've established that Sunderland is very giving, correct? You could go with Berahino or Salomon Rondon, but I'm going with the former because we've also already established the tie-breaking criteria.

Wilfried Bony (MAC) - Come on, you know you want to. Aguero's out. Bony's cheap. He's up against Artur Boruc and Bournemouth, right?

Diego Costa (CHE) - Sure, the F.A. is finally onto Costa and hopefully the referees won't let him get away with any of his shenanigans, but he's well rested and raring to go with a great fixture.

Graziano Pelle (SOU) - If he keeps knocking the nets like he has been so far -- and he should again this week -- I think we're going to have to start calling him "The Maestro." Unless he already has a cooler nickname.

Jamie Vardy (LEI) - This season's top goal scorer in a game that looks like it should offer plenty of goals. Not much more to say than that.

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While there is plenty of time for further injury news and mind-changing, currently my teams are:

Gomes / Azpillicueta, Kolarov, Cathcart / Ayew, Cabaye, De Bruyne (C), Mahrez (V), Sanchez / Bojan, Ighalo (Official BPL)

Butland / Cathcart, Monreal, Zabaleta / Ayew, Cabaye, De Bruyne, Mahrez / Martial, Pelle, Sanchez (Fantrax)

Cech / Dawson, Monreal, Naughton, Zabaleta / DeBruyne, Mahrez, Payet, Tadic / Pelle, Vardy (Togga Perfect XI)

So who is set in your line-ups and what choices are you agonizing over?