With the final international break of the pre Christmas period just about done we can look forward to an extended time of Premier League action.
The opening 11 games has taught us to bank on LIverpool attackers, Tottenham defenders, Chelsea's star players and inconsistency with most of the rest. Let's take a look at some of my preferred player picks for the week 12 fixtures.
WBA have not looked the normal defensive sure shots this season but as the weather gets colder WBA get tougher. Just the 1 clean sheet in 8 for Foster could put you off but he is a tempting price in both Fantrax and FPL. The return to the solid Baggies can't be far of and a surprise win at the Champions last time out can be the building block.
Seems his parents couldn't decide on his 1st name but that's no concern to a fantasy football player. Zieler is your 1m keeper for the week. We cannot be sure which Leicester City will turn up and a trip to Watford isn't easy. The Foxes however are much more suited to playing away and as this Watford side are quiet bold in their attacking play it could suit them.
5 straight clean sheets sees Luiz at 4m in Fantrax looks a season keeper. At just over 8m is now the cheapest way into the Chelsea defence. Maybe Boro can stifle the obvious blues attackers and one of those bullet Luiz freekicks gets the win.
13 Fantrax points in a 5-0 loss in week 11, boy I should have held onto this guy at around 6 million. A great one one week pick if you have the money.
So if we are to see a WBA clean sheet then why not double up on the play. Brunt was a fantasy spark at times last season and is a great option in FPL this week. Classed as a defender he may play in a midfield role, he will be on set plays and is one of the best assist kings from defence. In Fantrax he is classed as a midfielder taking away some of his appeal.
Shawcross's return has seen a much more solid looking Stoke side. A solid clean sheet shout against a Cherries side with no win in 7 away games.
Playing Sunderland away still offers Snoddy a chance for fantasy points. He scored off the bench last time out and will start this time. He isn't exactly a known regular goalscorer so he may not reward 2 goals in 2 games but to repeat he is playing Sunderland.
In the form of his life he maybe the most on fire player in Fantrax. His lowest score in the last 6 games is 8 points and he has 5 double digits. Of those he hit over 20 points twice.
It is a tough away game but with Sunderland coming to Anfield next week he will be very expensive to buy back in Fantrax should you go with better fixture matchups this week. The injury to Adam Lallana needs consideration for me. I hold Coutinho at 16.60m in Fantrax so should Lallana miss a St Marys return it becomes a thought to look elsewhere.
A midfield role in FPL and its in that game that I am recommending this choice. Marko like his Stokie side have been improving. We have seen Allen, Bony and Shaqiri all have break out weeks and I think we may see Arnie have his this week. On penalties and Bournemouth have conceded 2 or more in the last 3 aways.
Theo is fit once again and this game looks one he can enjoy. Facing either Daley Blind or Luke Shaw at left back is promising. Blind is slow and Theo's one trick move set to kick the ball past the full back and sprint past is something he can easy do against him. If it's Shaw then his lack of concentration when picking up movement off the ball and lack of confidence in general has seen him look very unsure recently suggesting more joy for Walcott. Either Rojo or Blind will likely start at left central defence and both find the position extremely hard against movement and pace both of which Theo has.
In FPL as listed as a midfielder Walcott is a good play t hold if you have him this week.
Nacer Chadli/Matt Phillips
Should we get news that Chadli is back fully fit then he is a great play in Fantrax and a great squad investment in FPL. WBA have Burnley, Hull and Watford in their next three and Chadli may be on pens (Brunt is the other choice).
If his injury isn't clear then how about Matt Phillips? An excellent fantasy player for QPR he may now be finding his WBA feet. The opposition should mean he has more of the ball than he has had so far this season, plus his confidence must be back after his goal at Leicester.
Maybe the player of the season in Fantrax and those of you who have held him from week one are laughing with joy. For sad souls like myself he is too expensive in a tricky away day and coming off injured for Belgium. It sounds like a knock though and Boro will have a hard time holding a Hazard who is playing with all the flair of 2014/15.
Palace don't seem to be able to close space on any attacking player in the final third right now. There maybe no better player in the league who can find that space and provide such quality of supply to teammates or shoot himself. His stats tell us he is better at home, plus he is very expensive but KDB is due a haul of points and faces a side that seem set up to help him do so.
Young Ross is quickly becoming one of those players who I too often have a fantasy hunch on but doesn't prove me right often enough. That fantasy soft spot is here once more for the visit of Swansea.
Barkley has fired in 18 shots in his last 6 games and has more shots and key pases per game than Lukaku at home. That 1st home assist is due and he may be able to add a goal to his total against a Swansea side that keep giving up chances.
One more player I didn't keep the faith with long enough. Interesting comments from Koeman this week publicly saying Lukaku needs to aim higher than Everton. The fans won't like it but it is reality that the likes of Chelsea etc can offer much higher wages and chances for winning trophies.
Unusual approach by the manager and this will either drive the player forward or add too much pressure. I'm thinking the former. Lukaku himself has been pretty public with his career aspirations and self confidence. This week he faces a Swansea side whose change of manager has made little difference so far. Expensive pick but a plumb fixture for Lukaku to add a few more million to his price tag.
Not quite match sharp but Kane faces a West Ham side that have lost 5 of their last 6 away games. Spurs run of 4 draws has in large parts been due to not having a player successfully step into Kane's boots. Kane is himself a season slow starter but has got going around this time in the last couple years. Assuming he starts he scores in this one.
Love him or hate him Costa has been brilliant this season and the league's most complete forward in 2016/17 so far. One yellow from a ban and having a minor injury I'm not buying him at retail this week. If you already hold him in at discount in Fantrax or in your squad in FPL you have to play him, even in a fixture that is tougher than it looks.
I see nothing in the City defensive set up to suggest clean sheets will be at all common any time soon. Their best defender Vincent Kompany may never be the same player again due to injury. John Stones is at time great on the ball and perhaps could become a Gerard Pique type when he learns to read the game better. Right now he is making mistakes and giving teams too many chances with risky passes and losses of concentration. I don't see him or whatever partner city use as being a match for Benteke in the air and Palace do load up on crosses.
As always with Tekkers he may rack up enough fouls to wipe out a chunk of his goal points with FC and a yellow card. I do like him this week however and I think he scores at least once.
Dull pick for sure. Palace have no clean sheet this season, have lost 4 in a row, conceded at least 3 in their last 3 so Kun is the last player they need to face. Obvious captain in FPL.
Gamble pick but with something to go on. Forwards are confidence players and often go on good and bad runs. Vardy had the season of his life last year, then turned down Arsenal from where it has all gone a little wrong. He didn't get much of a chance in the Euros and has been far from the player of 2015/16 since.
No goal since week 3 and incredibly just 4 shots on goal in the following 8 games. That is quite the stat isn't it. None of those were on target so at the very least he is due a couple this week. As I said before I think Watford's set up suits Leicester and they will be channels for Vardy to run into.
Midweek Vardy should have been sent off against Spain, then won a penalty in a move where he almost feel over trying to control the ball before finally scoring in the second half. There was a smile on his face again and maybe that is just the lucky game that follows on with a run of good performances. At !0m in Fantrax and with plenty of other options few if any will have him but I think Vardy can score this week. Maybe even he can comeback with a bang.