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Player picks: Rotation Frustration

Getting 11 starters is tougher than ever

Liverpool FC Training and Press Conference
Mr rotation thinks his team choices are funny, Mr Stall does not agree!
Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Think Fast!

It’s at this period of the season the fixture congestion can retard performance. With rotation seemingly heavier year on year, it’s messing with our fantasy plans. When it comes to the player picks it’s a guessing game moving forward. The best we can do is pay extra attention to any quotes from the various Premier League managers at their conferences. With all that in mind, onto the game week 17 picks.


Nick Pope and any of the Burnley back four

Burnley have been solid at home all season, and they lack the depth of squad to mess around with their stating 11 too much. Stoke meanwhile have been poor. In FPL the whole Burnley defense remains great value.


Ederson and Nicolas Otamendi

In Ederson city finally look like they have a top quality keeper.

Otamendi is safe as house to start, and he’s the best attacking defender right now having scored in back to back league games. Swansea are lacking attacking ideas and a clean sheet does seem very likely.


Ryan Shawcross

An unlikely pick it’s true, but sides walloped as Stoke were on Saturday tend to focus on avoiding a repeat. It says plenty about Burnley’s season that coming away from their home with a point would be a great result for Stoke.

I can see Stoke concentrating on achieving a 0-0, and Shawcross can rack up the blocked shots, pass interceptions etc. Maybe he can even score his 3rd goal this week.


Virgil Van Dijk

The Foxes have struggled defending balls into their box this season and VVD may be a contender for the best attacker defender at set pieces. A clean sheet shot and overdue a goal.



I’ve been waiting for the young player to hit a rut of form as that is the normal situation with players in his situation. Perhaps his blanks in two home games against Manchester United and Tottenham are a sign of that happening, but that was tough opposition, and he has been a better player away from home despite the blank at Burnley. Playing away to Palace with no Sakho, I’m giving him the benefit of doubt and saying he can get back in the fantasy points this week.


The Liverpool Fab Four

Klopp has shown no issue resting players and after he decided to play Philippe Coutinho, Sadio Mane and Mo Salah for the full 90 in last week’s 7-0 Champions league win (why???) then rested Coutinho and Firmino in the Merseyside derby.

As Philippe Coutinho and Firmino were benched on Sunday they should start the tasty home game against WBA. Mohamed Salah may get a rest but he got taken off at 1-0 just after half way through the 2nd half (again why???).


The Tottenham Trio

If Spurs have finally found their Wembley feet, then Dele Alli, Christian Eriksen and Son can all be in the points. I will guess its Alli’s turn to score a goal, Eriksen to add an assist but you can’t dispute that Son was man of the match against Stoke and is the form horse.


Wilfried Zaha

Potentially explosive Zaha has been on the verge of a big points score, and Watford are open enough to help him.


Manuel Lanzini

He makes the Hammers tick when they play well, and they will be on a high coming into this game. Lanzini should find space in the massive gaps Arsenal leave in front of their back 3.


Aaron Ramsey

There are some concerns Ramsey may have a hamstring strain, but if he’s fit, then his late runs into the box can cause the Hammers problems.


Matt Ritchie

Rafa hasn’t the squad to rotate, and Ritchie has been clearly their best player for weeks. He has yet to score this season, but that run has to end sometime. Everton come into this after a draining derby, so legs and minds may not be as sharp as they need to be. Maybe Ritchie breaks his duck.


Eden Hazard

Assuming he starts, he is clearly not only Chelsea’s best player but player most in form. Almost unmarkable at times, he is thriving in his new role and getting into shooting situations much more often than when he was playing on the left of the attack.

Huddersfield Town showed against both Manchester clubs that they are no pushovers at home, so they’ll give the Champions a game and be hard to break down. Still, I can’t ignore the Hazard form but I will feel more settled when I see the teamsheet.


Alvaro Morata

Like with Hazard, I wonder about Morata’s starting status, but I’m not convinced that Conte will ever trust Batshuayi away from home against this type of opponent. If Huddersfield sit deep as they did against City and Utd, it may be a cross into the box and an excellent Morata header that undoes them.


A word on Manchester City

Who knows whom Pep starts these days? Still, it’s a great fixture. A new worry is the gap City now have at the top of the table. With so much room for maneuver, Pep need take no risks with his starting 11.

Honestly, any player from the midfield further could miss out, but I will guess that KDB and Kun start. Having been subbed early in the derby, Jesus may also keep his starting position.


Romelu Lukaku

He has the shadow of the Zlatan hanging over him and is in need of a strong set of performances and goals to retain his no1 status. It will be interesting see if this inspires him or strangles his play a little.

Bournemouth’s style always opens them to opposition chances, so I see this as a game where Lukaku will start and get 3 or 4 good opportunities. His form means he is unlikely to get the FPL captain’s armband in many sides, so he offers you a differential. If you are in the chasing pack in your private leagues, then he is a transfer that offers you a way to close the gap should he regain his early season form.

He was terrible in the derby, unable to control the ball, at fault for both City goals, and missing a glorious chance to snatch a point. I think Jose will back him and have him start maybe even over a soon-to-be match fit Zlatan.


Alexis Sanchez

I don’t see back-to-back Hammer clean sheets against Chelsea and Arsenal. Do you? With Lacazette being unable to complete 90 minutes, we will go with Sanchez. He is 1 yellow from a ban, so I wouldn’t buy him in FPL. In other formats, while he doesn’t show the form of last season, he’s still the one player in Arsenal’s side who enjoys a physical battle on a cold midweek night.


Harry Kane

It’s been all or nothing for most of the season by fantasy football’s most explosive player. That continued with his brace against Stoke City. His Premier League form reflects his side’s form rather than the achievements they have made in the Champions League. Perhaps with Europe out the way for a few weeks, Kane and Co can click consistently. If you have him in FPL, then I would add the armband. He is a must in Fantrax/Togga.


So what moves are you considering in what fantasy formats on this quick turn-around day? Please share in the comments below. GW 16 concluded just yesterday, and the GW 17 deadline is already nigh, so think fast!