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Week 17 Premier League Preview: Who have been this season's best fantasy surprise?

We're nearly halfway through the BPL season. Let's take a look at the big picture with five burning questions.

Surprise of the season? How many Stoke players are in your teams?
Surprise of the season? How many Stoke players are in your teams?
Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images
Are Leicester City legitimate title contenders?

Just one short year ago, most of us were had already placed Leicester City into the relegation-bound category. Their escape is now a part of Premiership lore. City (Can we start calling them that now?) had a hot start to open the season and most of us remained skeptical. The difficult part of the schedule has now kicked in, but Leicester has tied Manchester United 1-1 , spanked Swansea 3-0 and last week dispatched Chelsea 2-1.

It has long been observed, if they have an Achilles heel, it might be the lack of quality depth and this week it will severely be tested, with the injuries to Danny Drinkwater, Jeffrey Schlupp, and the one-game suspension to central defender Robert Huth for yellow card accumulation. Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez are as important to Leicester as any two players for any team in the Prem, and an injury to either and it would be difficult to recover.

With Everton, Liverpool and Man City on tap for the next three and two matches against Tottenham Hotspur following the New Year, more will be revealed, but no team leading the league after 16 weeks has ever finished below 4th so you have to like the Foxes' chances.

What can be done to right the ship at Chelsea?

Last week we addressed the Chelsea issues, and this week there are even more. Each week, many of us suspect that this will be the one that Chelsea starts its run to recovery. And then, it's followed by a disappointing result and more Mourinho whining. This is basically the same roster that captured last year's title nearly 4 weeks before the season ended. Should Mourinho be fired? Why do the players appear to be so unmotivated? Are the players, other than Willian, really not up to the task? What on Earth is the source of the problem? Is Mourinho right about his team, or has he lost the plot?

Are any of the Manchester United stand-ins worth picking up?

Well, it has certainly been an interesting year for the Red Devils. Their defense has been stout but their scoring has been limited and it has been challenging for Louis Van Gaal to go with a set roster each week. For a while Chris Smalling was pretty much the only lockdown certainty as an outfielder but now even he is injured. David de Gea has remained the sole bankable starter and given the rotation issues among the back four, even selecting him has been questionable. With Wayne Rooney injured and the younger attacking options displaying mostly inconsistency, where do we look at the United roster for points yields? Perhaps it might be best to wait until the fog lifts, but do you see a potential place to buy in?

Is Manchester City subject to more rotation surprises?

Manuel Pellegrini indicated last week that he will do some roster rotation going into the holidays and sure enough player of the season candidates Kevin de Bruyne and Aleksandar Kolarov started on the bench. Raheem Sterling, early on, admitted that he had accepted that squad rotation was just part of the City way. For fantasy managers, of course, this leaves a lot of uncertainty in player selection. Many of us had locked in KDB and Kolarov early on as season keepers. Sergio Aguero has been declared fit this week, but can he deliver and how long will he last? I guess we just need to read the tea leaves and do the best that we can. What are your thoughts on who can be relied on to be a sure starter?

Are Stoke City players the surprise fantasy package of the season?

Jack Butland and the Stoke defenders have been superb recently, but are they worth considering as season keepers? Erik Pieters has been a revelation, Glen Johnson has enjoyed a resurgence, Philipp Wollscheid has plugged in nicely and they have yet to concede a goal with captain Ryan Shawcross, in the lineup. The attacking options appear to have been sorted out also, with Mame Biram Diouf apparently the odd man out. Their roster, unlike some of the more glamorous sides, offers some certainty for those who appreciate consistency when making selections. Are they the surprises of the season, or are you more inclined to vote for Leicester or Crystal Palace?