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Premier League Fantasy Player Picks, Week 36

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Well glory be, the stars have aligned and confusion dissipates as the schedules return to being identical for Fantrax, Official BPL and Togga Perfect XI fantasy. There is a full slate of 10 games, no teams with double game weeks and none on bye, in another nod to old-fashioned simplicity and order. Take gander at a selection of promising player picks to bring your squads fantasy glory.

Has Eden Hazard finally returned to fantasy relevance?
Has Eden Hazard finally returned to fantasy relevance?
Clive Mason/Getty Images

Week 36 Fixture List

Watford v. Aston Villa

Newcastle v. Crystal Palace

Stoke City v. Sunderland

West Brom v. West Ham

Everton v. Bournemouth

Arsenal v. Norwich

Swansea City v. Liverpool

Manchester United v. Leicester City

Southampton v. Manchester City

Chelsea v. Tottenham

NOTE: While this post focuses on GW36, keep in mind that GW37 is a double game week for a number of teams (Chelsea, Everton, Liverpool, Manchester United, Norwich, Sunderland, Watford and West Ham) in Official BPL [and Gavin is working to make that the case in Fantrax as well], so when it's a coin toss, you should probably favor a player on one of those teams.

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Best Bets for 2+ Goals: Arsenal, Everton, Watford, Liverpool, Newcastle, Crystal Palace, Sunderland

Best Bets for a Clean Sheet: Arsenal, Leicester City, Sunderland, Watford, Manchester United

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Goalkeepers

Petr Cech (ARS) [12,618 Fantrax] - The league's second-stingiest home defense (0.65 goals per game) welcomes Norwich, the fourth-poorest away offense (0.76 gpg). Norwich's best strategy is probably trying to keep things nil-nil as long as possible and Cech will certainly be happy to oblige.

David De Gea (MIN) [10,328 Fantrax] - The league's stingiest home defense (0.41 goals per game) welcomes Leicester City, which has scored a single goal or fewer in six out of its past eight away games.

Heurelho Gomes (WAT) [5.0 Official, 10,990 Fantrax] - There is a strong temptation to load up against horrific Aston Villa, which has lost 10 straight by a combined score of 31-5. Watford certainly has a good chance at a clean sheet; however, it's by no means a lock as Villa is coming off a shock two goal effort against Southampton and struggling Watford has kept only three clean sheets in its past 17 games.

Vito Mannone (SUN) [4.3 Official, 4,528 Fantrax] - If you're looking for an affordable option in the nets, Mannone's your man. Sunderland has three clean sheets in its past four games and travels to the Brittania against a Stoke squad that has scored only once in its past three tries.

Kasper Schmeichel (LEI) [5.0 Official, 12,923 Fantrax] - The game is at Old Trafford but Manchester United doesn't score much more at home (1.35 gpg) than on the road (1.12 gpg), while the Foxes have clean sheets in six of their past seven games including three straight on the road. The game should be good, though nil-nil would not be a big shock in this one.

Defenders

Nathan Ake (WAT) [4.4 Official, 8,954 Fantrax] - Averaging 8.98 ppg in Fantrax at home and has a good chance at getting into double digits with a clean sheet against visiting Villa.

Hector Bellerin (ARS) [6.5 Official, 13,432 Fantrax] - Has been delivering on the defensive end all season and finally seems to be contributing offensively lately.

Christian Fuchs (LEI) [5.2 Official, 14,958 Fantrax] - While Vardy and Mahrez have taken the limelight, Fuchs has been a premier fantasy performer in his own right, especially since Leicester started delivering clean sheets around the season's midpoint.

Jan Kirchhoff (SUN) [4.3 Official, 3,867 Fantrax] - Spending too much on a Sunderland defender may leave you with a queasy feeling, so a budget option just might help you avoid a painful bout of gut-ache. Kirchhoff has four clean sheets in his past six games and the match-up at Stoke has a decent chance at bringing another.

Jamaal Lascelles (NEW) [3,816 Fantrax] - Averaging 10 ppg in Fantrax over the past four games with at least six points in each and has a favorable match-up with Crystal Palace coming to town, although you should never count on a clean sheet for Newcastle so that's why he's not an advisable pick in Official.

Alberto Moreno (LIV) [4.7 Official, 12,923 Fantrax] - There is some rotation worry with Liverpool in the midst of horrific fixture congestion which does not end anytime soon, but Moreno's been a huge offensive contributor in recent weeks and should have no problem continuing to do so against Swansea if he gets the call.

Midfielders

Ross Barkley (EVE) [7.0 Official, 14,602 Fantrax] - The young star has been a huge fantasy dud in recent weeks, but Barkley had a goal and assist in the reverse fixture and will try to follow the lead of similarly styled midfielder Eden Hazard who notched a brace against Bournemouth over the weekend.

Yannick Bolasie (CRY) [6.0 Official, 11,040 Fantrax] - Ripped through Newcastle for a brace in the reverse fixture while the more expensive Yohan Cabaye went AWOL, fantasy-wise, racking up hockey assists.

Eden Hazard (CHE) [6,868 Fantrax] - You still don't want to touch the overly expensive Hazard in Official with a 10 foot pole, but he's a steal in Fantrax if he can build on his electric weekend performance which amazingly accounted for his only two goals of the season.

Son Heung-Min (TOT) [4,884 Fantrax] - Son is most likely to fill in for the suspended Dele Alli and while the trip to Chelsea could be tricky, the talent is there and the price is right. (NOTE: Son is listed as a Striker in Official where his price is not nearly as tempting.)

Alex Iwobi (ARS) [4.6 Official, 2,951 Fantrax] - You can probably expect somewhat similar fantasy production out of Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey as you can can from Iwobi, who is available at a considerably cheaper price.

Wahbi Khazri (SUN) [5.7 Official, 3,816 Fantrax] - While midseason addition Khazri has cooled off after a hot start, facing Stoke could get him back on track as the Potters have leaked 14 goals in their past four games.

Andros Townsend (NEW) [5.7 Official, 6,258 Fantrax] - Boasts three goals and a pair of assists in his past eight games, with a favorable match-up at home against Crystal Palace which has conceded 15 goals in its past seven away fixtures.

Strikers

Andy Carroll (WHU) [6.4 Official, 7,123 Fantrax] - A visit to the Hawthorns should be no picnic, but Carroll's got six goals in his past five games and it doesn't seem to matter who he goes up against and whether he starts or comes off the bench, the big man simply scores.

Troy Deeney (WAT) [5.2 Official, 10,277 Fantrax] and Odion Ighalo (WAT) [5.5 Official, 15,823 Fantrax] - Ighalo has no goals or assists in his past 10 games, while Deeney has managed only one goal in his past eight tries, but accommodating Aston Villa beckons and you're not exactly looking to anyone else on the Hornets for goals.

Jermain Defoe (SUN) [5.2 Official, 11,549 Fantrax] - The Black Cats' undisputed lead sniper with 13 goals, Defoe will be licking his chops against a struggling Stoke defense.

Kelechi Iheanacho (MCI) [4.8 Official, 3,409 Fantrax] - Two goals (and an assist via the wacky Official scoring system) against Stoke should earn him another start as Pellegrini will probably look to give some rest to his fatigued squad again.

Romelu Lukaku (EVE) [8.7 Official, 14,805 Fantrax] - The Belgian's been in Troll mode for quite a while now, but Lukaku scored in the reverse fixture against Bournemouth (again, which just gave up four goals to Chelsea) and was very active in the recent F.A. Cup semifinal loss. Are you feeling lucky?

Daniel Sturridge (LIV) [7.021 Fantrax] - Klopp may keep him out of the starting line-up to give him a rest, but much like Carroll, it doesn't matter if Sturridge starts or comes off the bench, he just seems to find a way to score with six goals and two assists in his past seven games.

Leonardo Ulloa (LEI) [5.3 Official, 5,647 Fantrax] - Last season's starter has taken advantage of Jamie Vardy's sendoff and suspension with three goals in his past two games. While the trip to Manchester United seems daunting, he could be worth a punt given his attractive price.

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While there is plenty of time for further injury news and mind-changing, currently my teams (named Stallone Wall) are:

Schmeichel / Bellerin, Moreno, Van Aanholt / Barkley, Milner, Payet, Sanchez (C) / Aguero (V), Carroll, Kane; BENCH: Ruddy, Willian, Coleman, Kirchhoff (Official BPL)

Cech / Ake, Lascelles, Morgan / Bolasie, Hazard, Iwobi, Townsend / Aguero, Carroll, Sanchez (Fantrax)

Schmeichel / Fuchs, Kirchhoff, Koscielny, Moreno / Cabaye, Eriksen, Payet, Ozil / Carroll, Sanchez (Togga Perfect XI)

So who is set in your line-ups and what choices are you agonizing over?