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Staff Picks: Best EPL Fantasy Fixture, Week 8

We've taken a look at the Week 8 Premier League fixtures and picked our favorites for fantasy investment. Do you agree?

Ganging up on Sunderland is a popular fantasy strategy this season. Will it pay off this weekend?
Ganging up on Sunderland is a popular fantasy strategy this season. Will it pay off this weekend?
Chris Brunskill/Getty Images
Charles (the orphanage) - Sunderland v. West Ham United

There are some excellent matches to choose from this particular week, but my own selection is Sunderland hosting West Ham United (yes). This is a character game for both squads. Sunderland is last in the table and anxious to make a move. They are playing at home and need a win, desperately. West Ham, on the other hand, has found themselves in the rare air of third place in the Premiership. Big Sam Allardyce was replaced after the season by former West Ham player Slaven Bilic, who has achieved the best win percentage ever for any permanent manager at West Ham. Early yet, but heady times for sure.

Fantasy wise, West Ham players are a bit under the radar. Midfielder Dimitri Payet might be a must have this game week (and West Ham's schedule is favorable for a few more matches, by the way).  Senegalese striker Diafra Sakho is also an excellent choice. Aaron Cresswell or Winston Reid are worth your consideration as defenders against the goal-challenged Black Cats.

The pickings are a bit slim for Sunderland but Yann M'Vila might be worth a shout or perhaps, Jermaine Defoe can get behind the Hammers defense. Last year's miracle working coach, Dick Advocaat, may be on the hot seat if results don't start showing up. They have achieved but two ties, thus far, out of seven matches. Buying in on their opponents seems to be a viable strategy this season.

Simon (Stall express) - Manchester City v. Newcastle

As much I would like to pick something more fun,you just have to go with Manchester City v Newcastle. There is danger in the fitness of David Silva, Yaya Toure and Vincent Kompany. We need to see if Pablo Zabaleta makes the bench midweek before we consider Bacary Sagna, the same with Eliaquim Mangala and Nicolas Otamendi.

The temptation to go all in City on Togga is there. Jamie Carragher did an interesting piece on Monday showing how much more effective the Magpies had been on the counter against the bigger sides and the extra space they leave at the back. That may or may not make you consider just a couple defensive options.

In midfield the obvious Raheem Sterling, Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva trio faces competition from Samir Nasri and Jesus Navas. I have a horrible feeling on of the big names misses out but who? Perhaps its not the banker fixture I think but then there is Mr Aguero. Kun is a must and a must captain in FPL. I'm sure he scores and a hat-trick would not be a surprise.

Gavin (Gavin Wright) - Norwich City v. Leicester City

There are a number of marquee matchups this weekend with the Merseyside Derby and the big game between the Gunners and Red Devils, but this clash of "lesser" clubs has all the makings of a blockbuster. Both the Canaries and the Foxes have exceeded expectations in terms of style of play and results so far this season, but are both coming off of disappointments in Week 7.

Norwich lost the lead twice against West Ham to only come away with a point (which is still a positive result given the Hammers' form, mind you), while Leicester couldn't stop the Alexis Sanchez onslaught. However, there were also positives on both sides, with Robbie Brady moved up the pitch and scoring his first goal for his new club and another goalscoring performance from Jamie Vardy.

Look to attacking players on both sides to contribute here - the aforementioned Brady and Vardy should be joined in your fantasy deliberations by the likes of Riyad Mahrez and Nathan Redmond, while attack-minded defenders like Jeffrey Schlupp and Steven Whittaker could also be nice differentials to pick up points this time out.

Jason (jasonuk17) - Arsenal v. Manchester United

Manchester United and Arsenal often play entertaining, exciting matches that tend to be open in play. There's no reason to expect anything less this Sunday, as the two sides square off for the first time this season. Arsenal will be looking to bounce back from a tough Champions League loss, while United will be seeking to stay atop the Premier League table. With his current form, Theo Walcott should be involved in the lineup, while a refreshed Alexis Sanchez is an enticing option for fantasy owners.

On the other side, Anthony Martial continues to show why he was so highly sought after, and with Memphis Depay and Wayne Rooney finally on the score sheet, both look to score a second and really get going. With many other solid options this weekend--such as Juan Mata and Santi Cazorla--you can't go wrong picking players from this matchup.