After a two week gap, hooray, the games return! Unfortunately, four teams are absent (Arsenal, Southampton, Manchester City and Manchester United) from the schedule, so the pickin’s may seem a bit slim. However, several teams boast favorable home match-ups, leaving my pint half full rather than half empty...though either way, drink up!
Thibaut Courtois (Chelsea v. Swansea) [5.9 Official, 14.10 Fantrax]
The Swans have certainly not been pushovers of late and you’ll have to pay up the wazoo for Courtois at retail. However, the Blues have seven clean sheets in their 12 home games, so if you have the cash to splash and you want to rest easy, you will not be faulted for going with the lanky Belgian.
Ben Foster (West Brom v. Bournemouth) [4.7, 10.41]
Albion is coming off two straight home clean sheets (Stoke, Sunderland) and a third could very well be in the offing with the Cherries’ visiting. After all, Joshua King and Callum Wilson are tied for the Bournemouth team lead with only six goals each.
The Tigers have surely had this game circled for a while now as a must-win if they hope to avoid relegation. After all, Burnley is one of the league’s worst away teams, and to Jakupovic’s particular benefit, the visiting side is the most anemic scoring team away from home with only five goals total in 11 away fixtures. Jakupovic is averaging 5.0 ppg at home in Official and 11.6 ppg at home in Fantrax, so you’re getting an amazing bargain with a pretty perfect match-up.
Joel is averaging 5.4 ppg in Official and 10.4 ppg in Fantrax, which simply screams value. Everton average less than one goal per game allowed at home, while Sunderland average less than one goal scored per game away. In short, it all adds up to more of the same for the Toffees’ shot stopper.
Hugo Lloris (Tottenham v. Stoke City) [4.4, 11.14]
The Premiership’s stoutest home defense, Tottenham has allowed only five goals with eight clean sheets in 12 games at White Hart Lane. Meanwhile, Stoke City is merely mediocre on the road, tying for the 10th most goals away from Pottersville.
Marcos Alonso (Chelsea v. Swansea) [6.7, 10.12]
In the year of the Blues defensive domination, going with a Chelsea defender at home is a must, and Alonso offers the best combination of offensive and defensive returns. You always have to worry about whether he will get the clean sheet bonus in Fantrax due to that format’s scoring rules, but it’s never a question in Official.
Leighton Baines (Everton v. Sunderland) [5.7, 9.91]
Of the two high-priced Everton defenders, Baines is a better value compared to Seamus Coleman, but both are certainly good plays this weekend. Call me crazy, but the lefty seems awfully due for a penalty kick or free kick goal.
Chris Brunt (West Brom v. Bournemouth) [5.1 Official]
Albion is always a tough nut to crack at the Hawthorns, while Middlesbrough is tied for the second-fewest away goals (eight) on the season, so you have a good chance at getting the clean sheet bonus on top of any offensive returns. Brunt has scored less than 7 points in Official only once in his past seven games (9, 13, 8, 0, 10, 14, 7) at the homestead so to say he is in fine form would be an understatement. (Note: Brunt is listed as a midfielder in Fantrax.)
Ben Davies (Tottenham v. Stoke City) [4.7, 2.82]
While Jan Vertonghen returns from injury, Danny Rose remains out, so Davies will be expected to continue his run in the starting line-up. Spurs are about as close to a lock for the clean sheet bonus as you’re getting this weekend. Davies is averaging 3.4 ppg and 7.8 ppg, respectively, in the five games he’s played at least 60 minutes. Combine that with the low, low prices and you’ve got yourself a winner!
Ramiro Funes Mori (Everton v. Sunderland) [4.7, 8.10]
The forgotten man in Everton’s defense, RFM is an even better bargain than Baines, Coleman, or Ashley Williams and has been racking up the points lately, averaging 5.4 ppg and 8.6 ppg, respectively, in his last seven starts.
Ross Barkley (Everton v. Sunderland) [7.1, 11.71]
After disappointing with only two goals and one assist in Everton’s first 15 games, Barkley has perked up with two scores and five helpers in the past 10 fixtures. On top of that, he’s got a favorable home match-up and an affordable price.
Robbie Brady (Burnley at Hull City) [5.5, 1.81]
Brady notched a beauty of a free kick goal against no less of an obstacle than Chelsea’s Courtois and looks to have supplanted Joey Barton as the must-have new cheap Clarets midfielder. Goals (and therefore assists) are always hard to come by for Burnley on the road, so Brady is a better option in Fantrax (12.5 ppg) than Official.
Christian Eriksen (Tottenham v. Stoke) [8.8, 19.52]
The Danish playmaker tallied two assists in the reverse fixture, so you have to like his chances for more glory this time at home.
Eden Hazard (Chelsea v. Swansea) [10.3, 18.58]
If you’re planning on dropping Alexis Sanchez due to his absence, Eden Hazard looms as the most obvious replacement. He’s averaging a mouth-watering 7.7 ppg in Official and 13.5 ppg in Fantrax at home, and despite Swansea’s improved form of late the travelers have allowed 16 goals in their past six away games.
Robert Snodgrass (West Ham at Watford) [5.8 Official]
The Hull City transplant has started relatively slowly for his new side, with only an assist (in the wacky Official format) to show for it. That said, he took an absolutely delicious near-assist/near-goal free kick against West Brom. It may surprise you to see that West Ham is tied for the fourth-most away goals on the season, while Watford is closer to Swansea than Tottenham in terms of conceding at home, so this could be the week to click for Snoddy, at least at his cheap price in Official.
Son Heung-Min (Tottenham v. Stoke City) [6.8, 11,50]
Son enjoyed his best game of the season (two goals, one assist) in the reverse fixture and he’s played fairly well lately with a score and a helper across his past four games. Compared to Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen, Son offers a much more affordable way of getting into the Spurs midfield this weekend.
Ashley Barnes (Burnley at Hull City) [4.5, 7.66]
Given Burnley’s miserable away form, it would be unwise to expect much offensive joy at Hull. Even so, any time you have an affordable penalty taker going up against the squad that has conceded by far the most spot shots in the league, it’s not a bad option.
Diego Costa (Chelsea v. Swansea) [10.6, 19.45]
Chelsea may merely be the second-best defense at home, but it boasts the best offense, averaging nearly three goals per game at Stamford Bridge. Costa has slowed a bit off his scorching pace from earlier in the season, but you’ll want to find a way to squeeze in the sniper who nabbed a brace in the reverse fixture.
Troy Deeney (Watford v. West Ham) [6.7, 8.32]
He may have played second fiddle to Odion Ighalo last season and gotten off to a sluggish start this campaign, but Deeney is heating up with three goals in his past four games. This weekend, the Hornets welcome the Hammers who do not possess anything close to an airtight defense. In Official, Deeney has scored the 7th most points of any striker while he’s tied for the 20th highest price, leaving him a nice under the radar option.
Romelu Lukaku (Everton v. Sunderland) [9.9, 18.00]
In classic King Troll fashion, the big Belgian followed up his masterful four goal performance against Bournemouth with a dud at Middlesbrough. But a chance at redemption beckons immediately at Toffee land against a Sunderland side which he bullied for his other hat trick earlier this season.
Harry Kane (Tottenham v. Stoke City) [11.2, 17.64]
The Spurs star managed a goal in the reverse fixture and is a must-have for your teams given the locale and match-up. After all, he’s averaging a whopping 7.5 ppg in Official and 16.9 ppg in Fantrax at White Hart Lane.
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!