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Fantasy Premier League Player Picks Week 23

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Tough week to pick the "right" fantasy fixtures, but let's try to narrow down our choices with a little bit of research and, of course, some luck...

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Week 23 Fixture List

Saturday, January 23

Norwich City v. Liverpool

Manchester United v. Southampton

Leicester City v. Stoke City

Watford FC v. Newcastle

Crystal Palace v. Tottenham Hotspur

Sunderland v. AFC Bournemouth

West Bromwich Albion v. Aston Villa

West Ham United v. Manchester City

Sunday, January 24

Everton v.  Swansea City

Arsenal v. Chelsea

GOALKEEPERS

Boaz Myhill - Tony Pulis' men have not kept a clean sheet since GW 19 win vs Newcastle, but they will be facing Aston Villa at home.The Welsh keeper has done a commendable job as a Ben Foster replacement, and while Foster is back from a lengthy injury, he has not looked convincing in the recent FA Cup games, which leads me to believe that Myhill will continue to deputize in goal for the Baggies for the foreseeable future.

Hugo Lloris - Crystal Palace has not scored in their last 5 Premier League games, losing 3 of those. The lack of a goal scoring striker is really hurting Alan Pardew's team and I expect the Eagles to bring in at least one in the the transfer window (apparently Emannuel Adebayor could be joining). For now, expect more offensive struggles for Palace.

Fraser Forster - there is slight cause for concern with this pick - not because Manchester United is playing well offensively but because Southampton have lost their last 4 away Premier League matches and have not defeated United in 12 of their last 13 matches in all competitions. Still, I view it as a bargain pick as Forster was available at a barndoor price of just £1 and is currently £1,707 in Fantrax.

Adrian - This pick is better suited for a GPP/DFS play. The Hammers were humiliated by Newcastle last game week and will be looking to rehabilitate themselves in front of the home crowd when Aguero & Co. come to Upton Park.

DEFENDANTS

Leighton BainesSwansea have failed to win 10 of their last 11 away matches in the Premier League. Everton's form has been dwindling a bit, but I don't see this one being close, new manager or not.  Expect Baines to be involved heavily and contribute towards the W.

Charlie Daniels - a monster performance against Norwich with a penalty kick goal and an assist. Daniels, sometimes used as a midfielder, was slicing through the Canaries defense like knife through butter and I expect him to do the same against the Black Cats.

Craig Dawson - here is another player who has been slightly under the radar but, hopefully, not for longer. Dawson provided the assist for Salomon Rondon’s FA Cup winner over Bristol City in the midweek and had registered 14 penalty box touches over the last four game weeks, second among defenders. Home to Aston Villa should prove a good game to get back on track.

Daryl Janmaat - the Dutch fullback and his Newcastle teammates will be facing the Watford team in somewhat of a free fall. While I do not expect a clean sheet, Janmaat is always a safe bet for plenty of crosses, a few shots on target with an assist or even a goal being not outside the realm of possibility.

Matt Targett - the youngster benefited from the formation change by Ronald Koeman - used as a wide defensive midfielder in the last two game - and it paid off as Targett registered two assists and two clean sheets, having played full 180 minutes in both matches.

MIDFIELDERS

Dan Gosling / Junior Stanislas / Matt Ritchie - there have been over 2.5 goals scored in Sunderland's last 6 games. Sam Allardyce's defense is atrocious, bordering on lazy (just watch Jan Kirchhoff's half-assed defending on Christian Eriksen's second goal and his foul on Danny Rose which led to a penalty converted by Harry Kane). Eddie Howe's men play fast paced, witty football that will surely cause trouble for Sunderland, even away. Ritchie already scored in the teams' prior meeting this season and should be back after sitting the Norwich game with a dead leg.

Dimitri Payet - had a stinker against Newcastle, but is a big game player (think his first Premier League game against Arsenal this season when he was still relatively "unknown") and I reckon he will be involved heavily at home against a Manchester City team that has struggled away from the Etihad.

Georginio Wijnaldum - Watford is spiraling down, losing their last 4 matches in the Premier League while Newcastle is experiencing a bit of a "renaissance", even if short lived, having defeated a heavily favorite West Ham United team and drawn Manchester United. I see the Magpies only getting more stable with the acquisition of Jonjo Shelvey which should directly benefit the Dutch footballer playing in the No. 10 role.

Dele Alli - playing in a No. 10 role, I reckon Ali's quickness will prove too much against Crystal Palace. Furthermore, Alli has thrived away from home, with four of his five goals scored away. I am not recommending Christian Eriksen because his first goal was a result of a Lee Cattermole error and the second goal a deflection, and he occasionally played too deep.

James McClean - a streaky, hot-headed player who can have a good game or get a red card in a matter of minutes. With James Morrison definitely out and Chris Brunt nursing an injury suffered mid-week in the FA Cup game, it will be up to the Republic of Ireland national to carry the offensive torch.

Kevin Mirallas - looked incredibly sharp, scored and wasted a 1 on 1 opportunity with Thibaut Courtois. Trying to secure his starting status and revive his Everton career. Reasonably inexpensive and at home against Swansea.

Adam Johnson - it is tough to overlook AJ's contributions to Sunderland in the past few weeks even amidst the losing efforts. He is very cheap in all the games but would probably be best suited as a cheap enabler in DFS.

FORWARDS

Sergio Aguero (@ WHU) vs. Romelu Lukaku (SWA): West Ham at home conceded 4 goals in 6 games, while Manchester City away scored 3 goals in 6 games. Everton at home scored 17 goals in 6 games (including routes of Sunderland and Aston Villa), while Swansea away conceded 7 goals in 6 games. The big Belgian is the winner here.

Steven NaismithAnyone who scores a hat trick against Chelsea (game week 5) is worth a consideration against an average Liverpool defense. Naismith will be excited to kick-start his career in Norwich and should slot straight into the starting 11.

Jamie VardyVardy has had the most shots hit the woodwork in the Premier League this season with 5. One of those will surely find a way into the Jack Butland goal this game week.

Olivier Giroud - the Frenchman missed 2 very good chances in a scoreless draw at Stoke. Home to Chelsea would again present the opportunities that he should be able to convert.

Roberto FirminoLiverpool have won their last 4 away matches against Norwich in all competitions by scoring at least 3 goals in the away matches at Carrow Road. The Brazilian is the only current healthy Liverpool player that I would pick. Still reasonably priced, he was very dangerous and came close to scoring in a loss to United after scoring two against Arsenal.

Aleksandar Mitrovic - the Serb has more efforts inside the box (20) in the last 6 game weeks than any other striker in the Premier League. Yes, he is a slight gamble away at Watford but a few of these shots are going to cross the line eventually.

Odion Ighalo - speaking of Watford, we have not heard the Nigerian's name in a long while as he has yet to score in January. There won't be a better opportunity to remind the fans of his offensive prowess than at home against Newcastle.

Good luck!