Friends, fellow travelers . . Greetings from the magical kingdom of Cambodia, where I am in my third year of helping with a soccer academy, here in Siem Reap. I look forward to missing most of winter and hope it is a temperate one for each of you.
Of course, the sun never sets on Fantasy Soccer or Football and it is a pleasure to be able to offer up some player picks for your consideration this week. Let's get started.
My preferred selections are mostly from four teams, Chelsea and Liverpool, who each have great fixtures for the next three weeks at least. Arsenal has Stoke at the Emirates and Southampton has a plum matchup at home against Middlesbrough who haven't won on the road since beating Sunderland back in August.
Petr Cech is my first choice this week at home against Stoke. Although Stoke appear to be rounding upward, they are still struggling to score goals and I like the Arsenal defense as well as some attacking options.
Thibaut Courtois would be my second choice. Top of the table Chelsea have 5 consecutive outstanding fixtures approaching and I would encourage everyone to load up where they can. This particular week they host West Brom.
Liverpool is still in the middle of its own nice run of fixtures and Loris Karius is a reasonably priced option in most formats. West Ham travel to Anfield this week.
Fraser Forster is also worthy of consideration against Middlesbrough. Just keep in mind, the Southampton players are mostly good just for this week, as the schedule stiffens considerably.
I think Shkodran Mustafi is the best bargain and safest pick among the Arsenal defenders against Stoke.
I actually might suggest a Tottenham defender against Manchester United this weekend. The Spurs have only allowed 10 goals on the season and follow up this week with Hull and Burnley. Danny Rose is the selection here.
You can't go wrong with any of the Chelsea defenders but I particularly still like Marcos Alonso who is also capable of delivering attacking points.
Choose any Liverpool defenders at your own risk (and yes I mentioned Karius, but only because he is still a bargain), but I do like Southampton's defense at home. Cedric Soares is still a bargain pick and the Saints defense have tightened since his entry on the back line.
Eden Hazard is nearly a must have heading forward in all formats. He's in good form, get him and keep him, should you not have him already.
Alexis Sanchez is listed as a midfielder in most formats and starting as the lone forward in Arsenal's high powered offense. He's scored five goals in the past two weeks and has 4 multi goal matches on the season. Watch out Stoke!
Consider one or more of any Liverpool midfield options. Emre Can is the bargain, here, but Sadio Mane (check the late injury reports), Jordan Henderson, James Milner or Roberto Firmino. You can't go wrong with any of them.
Other picks to consider might be Hull's Robert Snodgrass home against Crystal Palace or perhaps bargain priced Wilfried Zaha or James McArthur, should you favor Palace. Leroy Fer and Gylfi Sigurdsson deserve a mention for Swansea as they host Sunderland in an early relegation avoidance matchup.
Diego Costa will be at the top of everyone's list with the upcoming schedule smiling brightly. He's delivered 7 goals with 4 assists in Premiership completion so far.
Charlie Austin has proven himself to be the man for Southampton with 6 goals so far. Again, the Saints are a huge favorite against Middlesbrough.
Many people are considering Sunderland's Jermain Defoe, Liverpool's Divock Origi or Manchester City's young Nigerian, Kelechi Iheanacho as their third forward. Any would be a fine pick.
My official game team is as follows: Lloris, Soares, A. Williams, A. Smith, Hazard, Sanchez, Barry, Firmino, Kane, Costa and Austin.
My Fantrax 100 squad will probably end up looking like Karius, Alonso, van der Hornn, Soares, Hazard, Sigurdsson, Routledge, Zaha, Firmino, Costa, Austin.
So how is your own team looking? Who do you like that I haven't named?
Best wishes and fair play to all.