Week 13 Fixture List
Best bets for 2+ goals: Chelsea, Leicester, Southampton, Everton, Manchester City
Best bets for a clean sheet: Crystal Palace, Tottenham, Chelsea, Southampton, Arsenal
Wayne Hennessey - Alan Pardew seems to have settled on Hennessey as his number one, despite the return to fitness of Julian Speroni. Crystal Palace have a very favorable home match against a Big Sam Sunderland side, and given their defensive solidarity so far this season I think a win and clean sheet are both reasonable expectations.
Hugo Lloris - Spurs have been one of the best defensive sides this season, breaking the trend of the past few seasons when they've been routinely suspect. With a settled defense in front of him, Lloris looks like an even better keeper, and with West Ham missing their key creative influence in Dimitri Payet, I like Lloris' chances to put up a big score this week.
Asmir Begovic - Yes, Chelsea have been terrible in defense for the majority of the season, but I think they're on the cusp of turning it around. In salary-cap leagues, Begovic has seen his price drop significantly, so he represents a potential bargain for the visit of Norwich.
Petr Cech - Arsenal are level on points with top-of-the-table Man City and have a great opportunity to leapfrog them into first place against West Brom this weekend. Despite playing away from home, I like the Gunners' chances of keeping a clean sheet, with the potential for a few cheap saves for Cech thrown in to sweeten the temptation.
For the Brave: Heurelho Gomes - Manchester United have rarely looked as impressive as their results have been so far this season, while Watford have proven one of the most difficult sides to break down at home. With Anthony Martial likely missing out with an ankle injury, it will be up to an out-of-sorts Wayne Rooney to lead the line. That could be the recipe for success for Gomes and the Hornets.
Virgil van Dijk - Where did this guy come from? Oh right, Celtic. A relative unknown before moving to Southampton, van Dijk has announced himself in a big way with some very impressive performances in the Premier League. I expect that to continue against Stoke this weekend, and have a hunch we could see the big man get on the score sheet again.
Joel Ward - One of my favorite fantasy players from seasons past is fit again and ready to return to the fold for the Eagles. A match at home against Sunderland should afford him plenty of opportunities to show everyone why he was such a highly owned fantasy player when he was starting regularly.
Danny Rose - Rose seems to have ousted Ben Davies as the regular starter at left back for Spurs, and represents an upgrade in fantasy earning potential. With both attacking and defensive qualities, Rose is capable of putting up solid numbers despite the result.
Aleksandar Kolarov - Although his price is more prohibitive and the match-up isn't as appealing than other options, it's hard to ignore the impact the Serbian has had for City and fantasy teams alike this season. Though he may not be on set piece duties with the imminent returns of David Silva and Sergio Aguero, expect him to weigh in with both attacking and defensive contributions against Liverpool.
Nacho Monreal - Full disclosure, I've never liked Monreal very much and didn't understand why Arsenal purchased him or started him ahead of Kieran Gibbs. That's all changed this season, with the Spaniard putting in some of the most consistently positive performances among Premier League defenders. The attacking side of his game has come along leaps and bounds, and he should cause problems for the Baggies defense with the rest of his Arsenal teammates.
Darryl Janmaat - Another favorite of mine, Janmaat has been one of the few bright spots for Newcastle this season. This isn't a recommendation based on his team's ability to keep a clean sheet (they won't), but rather an endorsement of the Dutchman's ability to kickstart the attack for the Magpies. This match should be wide open, and I think Janmaat will be heavily involved.
For the Bold: Branislav Ivanovic - One of the most maligned players this season (and for good reason), Ivanovic is fit again and should reclaim his spot at right back if Jose Mourinho's selection history prior to his injury is anything to go by. Like I said, I'm a fan of Chelsea's chances this week, and like Ivanovic's attacking potential (it's still in there somewhere) more than any of the other Blues defenders.
Gerard Deulofeu - Roberto Martinez is finally rewarding strong attacking performances with consistent starts, and we're seeing Deulofeu reap the benefits of an extended run in the team. A bit less of an appealing option if he's listed as a forward in your game of choice, and in that case you may want to take a look at the equally impressive Ross Barkley for the home match against Aston Villa.
Dusan Tadic - Having an excellent season for Southampton and on penalties against a Stoke side who just love to give them away, I prefer the Serbian to Sadio Mane this week.
Riyad Mahrez - There will be goals. Mahrez will almost certainly be in amongst them this week. Pick him up and don't look back.
Eden Hazard - Yes, yes, I know. Another Chelsea player. And it's not Willian. Hazard is going to figure things out and it's only going to take one performance to see him return to form. Don't sleep on him this week.
Kevin De Bruyne - KDB has consistently been among the top performers for City, despite having a rotating cast of characters around him due to injuries and form. Liverpool are facing a bit of an injury crisis themselves, and the absence of Mamadou Sakho in defense may present the young Belgian with a few more looks at goal than usual.
Yohan Cabaye - The former Newcastle maestro has been one of the best additions in the Premier League this season, reuniting with former boss Alan Pardew at Crystal Palace. Expect another all-around masterclass against Sunderland, with the potential for another PK thrown in.
Philippe Coutinho - If there's one Liverpool player who knows what to do against Manchester City, it's the little Brazilian. He always seems to put in his best performances against the Citizens, and if Liverpool are to get anything out of this match he'll have to be on top of his game yet again.
For the Adventurous: Heung-Min Son - Christian Eriksen is probably the safer choice among Spurs midfielders, but Son showed flashes or real brilliance before falling to injury. Now back to fitness and priced to move, I like his chances to show his quality again, but he may not yet be ready to put in a full shift.
Romelu Lukaku - Aston Villa put in a valiant performance against Manchester City for Remi Garde's first match in charge in Week 12, but Lukaku is an entirely different proposition than Wilfried Bony this season. The big man's powerful run and precise finish against West Ham last time out showcased his quality, and he'll be eager to add to his tally. Unless he decides to troll us all again.
Olivier Giroud - With Theo Walcott missing through injury, Giroud has reclaimed his starting role, and to good effect. He'll have his chances against West Brom, though whether he takes them is another question. Still, I expect a goal or two from the Gunners in this one and I'd be surprised if Giroud missed out altogether. Joel Campbell represents a much cheaper option if you're looking to allocate funds elsewhere.
Diego Costa - As much as I hate the guy and his antics, he is an excellent player when on form. I think he'll be a thorn in the side of the Norwich defense all day, if he can keep himself out of disciplinary trouble.
Harry Kane - The next big thing in English football seems to have rediscovered the form that earned him that label in the second half of last season. The goals are flowing along with his confidence, so you should like his chances of building on that form against West Ham.
Ayoze Perez - The youngster has been in excellent form for the Magpies lately and has been attracting attention from some big-name clubs as the January transfer window approaches. Leicester have struggled to keep clean sheets this season and Ayoze's tenacity and energy will cause problems.
Jamie Vardy - You'll have to keep an eye on the injury news to see whether Vardy will be ready to start, but I'd be remiss not to mention the league's top striker in my picks, especially in a game against Newcastle. If we get confirmation that he's 100% (or even 90%), you should be making room for him in your side if he's not already there.
For the Daring: Bafetimbi Gomis - What's happened to Swansea and Gomis? After a white-hot start to the season, both club and player have cooled considerably. Bournemouth have been the Premier League's whipping boys on their travels, though, so if you think that trend is set to continue you could certainly do worse than to pick up Gomis in hopes that he can get a goal to kick his season back into top gear.
What are your thoughts on these picks? Have I missed any that you're considering for your team? Why are they in your thoughts? Share with everyone in the comments and let's get the conversation started!