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Staff Picks: Best EPL Fantasy Fixture, Week 31

All the Premier League teams are back in action this weekend. Which ones are the best bets to deliver big fantasy points?

Spurs are nipping at the heels of league leaders Leicester. Can they make up ground this weekend?
Spurs are nipping at the heels of league leaders Leicester. Can they make up ground this weekend?
Alex Broadway/Getty Images
Gavin - Tottenham Hotspur v. AFC Bournemouth

With Mauricio Pochettino seemingly abandoning the possibility for a Europa League title in favor of a more realistic Premier League title challenge, we should see a similar scenario for this week's match against Borussia Dortmund. Expect heavy rotation on Thursday, with the regulars getting a full week's rest ahead of a crucial home match against the Cherries.

With Eddie Howe's men all but confirming their survival for next season in their thrilling win over Swansea in Week 30, they may take their foot off the gas just a touch for this one, and Spurs are fully equipped to capitalize on even the smallest mistakes this season. I'll mostly be looking to attackers like Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen (if he is rested on Thursday), while defenders Kevin Wimmer and Kyle Walker are also in my thoughts for the potential clean sheet.

Roberto - Crystal Palace v. Leicester City

If the Eagles defense, led by Scott Dann, can stop the Leicester attack of Mahrez and Vardy, it might be worth putting him on the team. With a clean sheet unlikely for Alan Pardew's men, though, Yohan Cabaye might the man to provide the fantasy returns if you feel like they will have a chance against Leicester. The usual suspects like Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez are options for the Foxes, however Shinji Okazaki is someone who played well against Newcastle on Monday evening, so he is a cheap buy to get as a sleeper/differential.

Chris - West Bromwich Albion v. Norwich City

If you saw my last Mathematical Musings piece, you may have noticed that Norwich was extremely accommodating in fantasy points from GW20-29. Shocker, right?! In Fantrax, Norwich allowed the most points (per player per game average) of any team to strikers as well as the fifth most points each to midfielders, defenders and keepers; isolating home/away splits, its away ranks were 11th most, 6th most, second most and most, respectively. In Official BPL, it allowed the fourth most points to strikers, the most to midfielders, the third most to defenders and the fourth most to keepers; its away ranks were 10th most, fourth most, most and second most, respectively. Not surprisingly, it also conceded plenty of BPL bonus points to midfielders (fifth most total) and defenders (second most).

Obviously, West Brom is not an elite team such as Leicester City, Tottenham, Arsenal or Manchester City, any of which would be an automatic pick at home against Norwich. However, Albion is probably better primed to take advantage of the Canaries' visit to the Hawthorns than most people would expect, as West Brom is undefeated in its last half dozen home games (four wins, two draws) while keeping three clean sheets. Meanwhile, Norwich has lost all of its past six away games, allowing 13 goals and getting shut out five times in that stretch. So you might be well served taking advantage of the favorable match-up, especially since you can generally grab players such as Saido Berahino, Jonny Evans (if healthy), Ben Foster, Craig Gardner, Jonas Olsson, Salomon Rondon and Stephane Sessegnon at more affordable prices than the big clubs' stars.

Charles - Swansea City v. Aston Villa

These appear to be two teams headed in different directions, that is even considering Aston Villa might not be able to head any lower. Villa have allowed 32 goals on the road this season tied for highest and scored but 11, the second fewest. They are headed to Liberty Stadium a very tough place to travel under the best of conditions. The Swans have been edging toward safety, away from the relegation zone and this is a good fixture for them to take another step against the beleaguered Villains.

I have added Lukasz Fabianski to my Official Game team as Swansea actually enjoys a nice run of fixtures ahead including matches against Bournemouth and Newcastle. My captain this week will be Gylfi Sigurdsson, as he has enjoyed a great run of form since Francesco Guidolin took the reins. Ashley Williams is probably the best option in the back four but quite expensive in Fantrax, where Angel Rangel may be the better value selection. I also have Leroy Fer and Alberto Paloschi on my Dugout (draft) team. I believe in Swansea. And I would not recommend anyone from Villa this week.

Zach - Tottenham Hotspur v. AFC Bournemouth

30 matches played and Tottenham can look down from a lofty 2nd position, just 5pts behind league leaders Leicester City. But it is hardly the time for Pochettino's side to take the foot off the accelerator. Even though they boast an impressive 6pt lead on bitter rivals Arsenal (albiet with one more game played) Spurs must not relax if they are to upset the underdogs in top position. Harry Kane and Dele Alli have formed an exciting partnership that has propelled Spurs to their current position.

The two leading men bagged a brace of goals and assists respectively against an utterly defunct Villa side last time out and will look to do more damage when Bournemouth visit White Hart Lane. Spurs' talisman has now amassed 19 of Tottenham's 53 goals, with Alli adding a further 7 and 11 assists so far this season. Coupled with their resolute defense, which has allowed just 24 goals this season (the lowest in the league) and you have the making for a fine fantasy fixture. Offensive and defensive picks look a like a solid investment for any avid manager.

Bournemouth on the other hand, have scrapped their way to an almost safe position sitting on 38pts in 13th. The addition of Benik Afobe has largely filled the void left by injured striker Callum Wilson, who looked to be having a Vardy/Ighalo type season early on. However, with nothing much more to play for besides securing safety, Bournemouth might see their upward momentum begin to decline. The Cherries have allowed 47 goals this season, 5th worst in the league. Given this fixture is away to Spurs, I just don't see Eddie Howe's men keeping Kane et al at bay.