Tuesday/Wednesday may not have quite the cachet of a Saturday/Sunday game week, but hey, everything else is the same, right?
As discussed in my last piece, Heaton is not a good play away from Turf Moor in Fantrax, but he is an absolute beast at home in both Fantrax and Official formats. Four of his five clean sheets and all eight of his wins have come at home, leaving him robust home scoring averages of 4.82 ppg in Official and 9.55 ppg in Fantrax. Leicester City may be the reigning champs, but the Foxes have managed only eight goals in 11 away games this season and on top of that Islam Slimani is doubtful.
Petr Cech (Arsenal v. Watford) [5.4, 10.79]
The Hornets have been shut out in three of their past four and five of their past nine away games. The Gunners have notched clean sheets in two of their past three home affairs and three of their past five overall. Mathematics are fun!
The Red Devils boast the league’s fourth-stingiest home defense. Hull City is tied for the second-most anemic away offense. The Tigers’ most dangerous weapon, Robert Snodgrass, has departed for West Ham. Let’s just say that a clean sheet victory in Old Trafford is as close to a lock as you’re going to get.
Victor Valdes (Middlesbrough v. West Brom) [4.6, 5.23]
The two sides played to a 0-0 affair in the reverse fixture and this one’s at home for Valdes. As luck would have it, Albion has been shut out in three of its past away games, managing only nine goals in 10 games outside of the Hawthorns for the season. Valdes doesn’t tend to make many saves at home, so you really need a clean sheet for this pick to pay off, but there’s a good chance of getting it.
The Potters have three clean sheets in their past five home games. The Toffees are no pushover, but are significantly less dangerous away from Goodison Park, averaging barely over a goal per game. Coincidentally, Grant averages 9.22 ppg in Fantrax at home compared to only 3.25 ppg on the road.
Leighton Baines (Everton at Stoke City) [5.6, 9.65]
Everton shut out Stoke City 1-0 in the reverse fixture, so there’s not a bad chance at another clean sheet, especially with only four teams scoring less at home than the Potters. Add to that Baines’ offensive prowess, as he has two goals and three assists despite missing a half dozen games this season.
Ryan Bertrand (Southampton at Swansea) [5.4, 9.73]
The Saints are away, but they travel to sorry Swansea and Bertrand has seven clean sheets in his 14 games. Combine that with Bertrand’s offensive forays, you’ve got a pretty strong option.
Chris Brunt (West Brom at Middlesbrough) [5.0, 8.42]
As mentioned, the reverse fixture was scoreless, leaving Brunt a decent chance at a clean sheet despite being away from the Hawthorns. More importantly, Brunt boasts three goals and three assists in his past nine games, which is off the charts for a defender! (At least in Official, unlike Fantrax where he is listed as a midfielder.)
Erik Pieters or Glen Johnson (Stoke City v. Everton) [4.5 BPL and 8.50 Fantrax, respectively]
I like Pieters better in Official and Johnson more in Fantrax. Pieters has four clean sheets and two assists (in the wacky BPL format) in his past 10 games, and this one gives him a pretty good chance more of the same. In Fantrax, the more affordable Glen Johnson scores 8.86 ppg at home at a cost of 8.50.
Bernardo or Fabio (Middlesbrough v. West Brom) [4.3 or 4.4 BPL, 5.89 or 1.97 FT respectively]
It would be wise to check team news to try to get a feel for which one-named Boro defender will benefit from the injury to Calum Chambers, particularly given the return of Antonio Barragan. Whomever it does end up being should give you plenty of bang for the buck.
Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal v. Watford) [11.9, 22.57]
Alexis is the highest scoring player and second place isn’t even close, with a margin of 30 points in Official and 26 in Fantrax. Sure he’ll cost you a pretty penny, but he’s on fire with 11 goals and four assists in has past 13 games. This one’s at the Emirates welcoming Watford which has allowed 14 goals in its past six games outside of Vicarage Road. (He is listed as a midfielder in BPL but as a striker in Fantrax.)
Dele Alli (Tottenham at Sunderland) [8.8, 16.03]
Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen are both outstanding values, scoring in the same ballpark as the much more expensive Eden Hazard in Official. You can’t go wrong with either, but I like Alli a little better since he’s got at least five points in eight of his past 10 games, whereas it’s only six times for Eriksen. In Fantrax, Alli is also cheaper than Eriksen and has averaged 15.83 ppg in the past six games against 6.83 ppg for Eriksen. Comparing to Hazard this week, you also have to like Spurs’ chances at Sunderland better than Chelsea’s at a much stronger Liverpool.
Paul Pogba (Manchester United v. Hull City) [8.5, 13.25]
This is not the type of game that Manchester United purchased Pogba for, but it’s the kind of match-up that has fantasy managers salivating. Back toward the start of the season when the Tigers were punching above their weight, Pogba took six shots (but only put one on target) in the reverse fixture. He should have much more success this time bossing things around against a struggling Tigers squad which has allowed 25 scores in its past nine away games.
Manuel Lanzini (West Ham v. Manchester City) [6.3, 8.01]
Lanzini has picked things up in the absence of want-away Dimitri Payet, nabbing a goal and a pair of assists in the past two games. In Fantrax he’s scored 13, 12 and 12 points in the past three games and comes at a cost of only 8.01. Meanwhile, the Citizens have allowed nine goals in their past four games away from the Etihad. The arrival of Robert Snodgrass could impact the dynamic, so keep an eye on whether Snoddy is expected to start or come off the bench for his new team.
Jack Wilshere (Bournemouth v. Crystal Palace) [5.48 Fantrax]
Don’t look now, but Jack Wilshere may finally be turning into a fantasy-worthy player. After scoring a total of 15 points in Fantrax across his first 13 games, he’s got 51 points in his past five tilts and his price is still very affordable. Add in a home match-up against relegation-quality Crystal Palace, how can you say no to the former Arsenal starlet?
Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Manchester United v. Hull City) [11.7, 18.40]
10 goals and four assists in his past dozen games. At home against Hull City. Looks like a perfect time for the Ibra and Pogba show.
Diego Costa (Chelsea at Liverpool) [10.4, 19.95]
The game at Anfield will be no picnic. But Costa has scored at least five points in BPL in 16 of his 20 games and he’s averaging 11.8 ppg away compared to 14.6 ppg at home in Fantrax, so he’s officially established himself as match-up proof.
Olivier Giroud or Theo Walcott (Arsenal vs. Watford) [8.7 or 7.4, 8.59 or 14.96, respectively]
Giroud has been starting up front with Walcott out, but Theo just made a return from injury in the F.A. Cup victory over the weekend. Arsene Wenger may choose to rest Walcott, leaving Giroud the starting nod, but then again, Theo could slot back in. Whomever gets the call should be loving life.
Andre Gray (Burnley vs. Leicester City) [6.2, 7.03]
Gray’s got five goals in his past four games, Burnley’s a strong home team and Leicester City has not traveled well this season, tying for the third-most away goals allowed.
Ashley Barnes (Burnley vs. Leicester City) [4.5, 4.99]
It’s really not a bad time to double up on the Clarets’ offense. Barnes (two goals and two assists in his past six games) should also get in on the action.
Which of the above players are you adding into your fantasy teams and who else do you have your eyes on? Join in the comments section below!