Holy cow, we’re already at Week 10! Why, my almighty, it seems like the season just started yesterday. Or a couple months ago. Either way, which players looks tempting for the ten spot?
GW 10 Fixture List:
Sunderland v. Arsenal
Watford v. Hull City
West Brom v. Manchester City
Manchester United v. Burnley
Tottenham v. Leicester City
Middlesbrough v. Bournemouth
Crystal Palace v. Liverpool
Everton v. West Ham
Southampton v. Chelsea
Stoke City v. Swansea City
Best Bets for 2+ Goals: Watford, Arsenal, Everton, Tottenham, Liverpool
Best Bets for a Clean Sheet: Arsenal, Watford, Tottenham, Everton
Petr Cech (ARS) [5.5 Official] - I wouldn’t recommend paying premium for Cech in Fantrax, but in Official he’s worth the price. The Gunners boast the staunchest road defense in the league (two goals allowed total in four games) while the Black Cats only average one goal per game at home. You don’t have to be Stephen Hawking to crunch that math.
David De Gea (MUN) [5.5 Official, 8.46 Fantrax] - The luster has certainly worn off Manchester United with recent performance. But still, the Red Devils are allowing an average of only one goal per game at home while Burnley has managed just a single goal on the road total in three tries, so the brilliant Spanish net minder remains a strong play.
Hugo Lloris (TOT) [5.5 Official] - Sure Toby Alderweireld is injured, but even so Spurs notched a clean sheet last weekend for the fifth time already. The Foxes are no slouch, but the defending champs have managed only three goals total across four away fixtures thus far and the game is at the fortress also known as White Hart Lane, where the home side has allowed only one goal total in its quartet of tilts therein. As with Cech, Lloris comes with a hefty price to pay at retail in Official.
Kasper Schmeichel (LEI) [5.0, 8.39] - I do think that Spurs have a pretty good chance to get a pair of goals against the Foxes, who have shipped an average of 3.25 goals per game so far away from the comforts of King Power Stadium. That said, no matter how many (or few) goals Tottenham manages, they are a maddeningly wasteful team which means that Schmeichel should nab a flurry of saves in the process. Also, Harry Kane is still injured as you surely recall.
Heurelho Gomes (WAT) [4.9, 6.92] - After opening the season in style with a pair of scores in each of its first two contests, Hull has hit the skids, scoring one goal or fewer in each of its past seven games; on top of that, the Tigers’ most dangerous weapon, Robert Snodgrass, is expected to be out injured for about a month. Meanwhile, Watford has nabbed two straight clean sheets and played pretty stout defense at home last season. You might say it’s fairly clear to see which way the signs are pointing here.
Laurent Koscielny (ARS) [6.4 Official] - Last year Hector Bellerin was Arsenal’s fantasy star in the back line, mixing offensive with defensive prowess. This year it’s unquestionably Koscielny, who has two goals, four clean sheets and eight bonus points in Official. Can you afford not to have him in your teams this week against anemic Sunderland?
Seamus Coleman (EVE) [5.5, 9.67] - The rampaging wing back usually offers nice potential for offensive and defensive returns and this week at home against West Ham is no exception. Everton has faltered a bit following its strong start, but the Toffees are still allowing less than one goal per game on average at home, while the Hammers have yet to find a solution on offense, unable to score more than one goal in any of their past four games.
Shkodran Mustafi (ARS) [6.67 FT] - Averaging 6.67 ppg in Fantrax and remains the only affordable way to get in on the stifling Arsenal defense in Fantrax, whereas Koscielny is a much better alternative in Official where his price tag is only a tad more dear than his fellow defenders.
Jose Holebas (WAT) [ 4.7, 8.59] - We expected big things from offensive-minded wing back Holebas last season, but the Greek international was a no-show. Now after a year of acclimation, he’s delivered as a goal scoring threat highlighted by the rocket out of nowhere two weekends ago, plus there’s a strong chance at a clean sheet bonus with Hull City coming to town. His price has shot up in Fantrax so hopefully you got him on the barn door, but he’s still a strong play at retail considering he’s averaged a stupendous 9 ppg in Official and 17.33 ppg in Fantrax over the past three weeks.
Bryan Oviedo (EVE) [1.97 Official] - If Leighton Baines remains out with injury, Oviedo is a nice plug and play option on the cheap. [Note: Unfortunately, Oviedo is listed as a midfielder in Official.]
Alexis Sanchez (ARS) [17.29 Fantrax] - Here’s a fun fact: Arsenal has not lost to Sunderland in the past 13 games. So you may want to jump in on the Gunners, who additionally are looking to show that the nil-nil draw at home to Middlesbrough was an abominable aberration. Should you go with Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez and/or Alexis Sanchez? Well, Alexis has only played thrice against the Black Cats and netted a brace in one of those contests, plus he’s scored in double digits in Fantrax in five of his past seven games with four goals and three assists in that time, so he sure seems to be the choice of the bunch. [NOTE: Alexis is listed as a midfielder in Official and as a striker in Fantrax.]
Sadio Mane (LIV) [9.0, 14.36] - It’s never a slam dunk at Selhurst Park, but I still think it’s an exploitable matchup for the visiting Reds with Crystal Palace’s Yohan Cabaye and Andros Townsend looking to bomb forward. As always, it’s tough to choose between Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and James Milner, but given the matrix between price, consistency, injury likelihood (Coutinho and Firmino being higher injury risks in their recent careers) and penalty likelihood (Milner being PK-reliant), I’d lean toward Mane.
Son Heung-Min (TOT) [7.7, 10.69] - Son has disappointed the past couple of weeks, but I’d give him one more chance before cutting bait. As mentioned, Leicester City’s defense has been suspect away from home this season and with Kane out injured, that leaves Son the most lethal scorer for Spurs by default.
Junior Stanislas (BOU) [5.6, 8.43] - Boasting three goals and three assists in his past trio of contests, hopefully the young playmaker is healed up and ready to go against middling Middlesbrough.
Joe Allen (STO) [5.1, 16.74] - Xherdan Shaqiri turned plenty of heads with his brilliant performance last weekend, but the Swiss maestro is wildly inconsistent with point tallies of 18 and 26 mixed in with those of 0, 4 and 8 in Fantrax. If you want someone steady for suddenly surging Stoke at home against the struggling Swans, turn to Allen who has notched at least 9 points in seven of his past eight contests and is averaging 15.8 ppg in his past half dozen in Fantrax as well as 9.25 ppg in his past four in Official.
Romelu Lukaku (EVE) [9.7, 16.56] - With a goal and/or assist in six of his past seven games, Lukaku is in a rich vein of form. On top of that, the hopefully former King Troll could be on PK duties, whether or not Baines is out injured, so the Belgian should have no trouble continuing his exploits against visiting West Ham.
Christian Benteke (CRY) [7.7, 3.48] - As everybody knows from all the famous psychological tomes from Freud, soccer players love scoring against their former teams. It just so happens that the fairly new Palace striker is playing against a Liverpool side that struggles to keep clean sheets. Look for Benteke to get a fair share of service into the box and deliver on his very affordable price tags.
Theo Walcott (ARS) [7.5, 15.25] - Between Alexis and Theo, you’ve got to have at least one, and grabbing both isn’t a bad idea. Theo is a much better bargain in Official, whereas they are more of a coin toss in Official. [NOTE: Walcott is listed as a striker in Fantrax and a midfielder in Official.]
Odion Ighalo (WAT) [7.2, 9.98] - Watford’s offense has opened up considerably this season, while Hull City has been torched to the tune of 19 goals over the past five games. The Hornets’ star striker from lat season has struggled thus far, but he has taken by far the most shots of anyone on the team, so look for him to connect as he keeps firing against the woeful Tigers.
Troy Deeney (WAT) [7.1, 8.17] - With three goals, Deeney has been more effective than Ighalo this season, and he’s on penalties, so if you’re choosing one rather than going with both, Ighalo’s strike partner is probably the better option. (I’m not as bullish on Watford midfielders Etienne Capoue, Roberto Pereyra or Juan Zuniga, who have scored a whopping six times from a meager eight shots on target, a blindingly unsustainable ratio.)
So which players are you grabbing or avoiding this week?