Sixth place Arsenal and Everton in the seventh spot each have 54 points, with Arsenal having a slightly better goal differential along with a pair of games in hand. Alexis Sanchez (203 points) and Romelu Lukaku (199) are the top two scorers in the Official BPL fantasy format, with only Eden Hazard (191) of first place Chelsea and Dele Alli (188) of second place Tottenham in hailing distance.
In his past five games, Alexis has one goal and one assist which have translated into 19 fantasy points. Meanwhile, Lukaku is absolutely on fire over his last handful of fixtures with five goals, two assists and 45 points. To say the Belgian big man is gaining fast on the diminutive Chilean would be an understatement.
Additionally, whereas Alexis is the highest-priced midfielder and second highest-priced player overall in the game, Lukaku comes in as only the joint fourth highest-priced striker (along with Diego Costa) and joint fifth highest-priced player overall (with Costa plus Eden Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne), so he’s provided better value than his Gunners counterpart.
On a personal note, I notched 69 points in GW28, 73 points in GW29 and 91 points in GW32 thanks largely to captaining the Everton star on each occasion as he finished in double digits for the seventh, eight and ninth time this campaign, respectively. What do those three games all have in common? If you said Everton was at home, hooray, you get a cookie! Are the Toffees at Goodison Park this weekend? If you said yes, go ahead and reach your hand in the jar again, smarty pants...
The Potters defense is middle-of-the-road. The reason you should look at them this week is that they’re home to the Tigers who are saddled with the weakest away offense in the league (a paltry eight goals in 16 games). Be sure to check Jack Butland news as it gets closer to game time as last season’s star newcomer nears a return.
The Foxes’ offense has come roaring to life with five wins and 15 goals in their past six games, scoring at least two in each. On the other hand, the Welsh international has scored double digit points in Fantrax in five of his past six games as the Eagles are also flying high, boasting an identical quintet of wins in their past half dozen including impressive triumphs at Chelsea and home to Arsenal. With this fixture coming at Selhurst Park, it would be no surprise to see Palace’s momentum trump that of the reigning champs.
Hugo Lloris (Tottenham v. Bournemouth) [5.5, 12.23]
The best overall back line in the league, Spurs also boast the best home defense, allowing only 0.5 goals per game at White Hart Lane. Meanwhile, the Cherries average a mere 1.1 goals per away game. Danny Rose is injured and Kyle Walker remains a doubt, but that doesn’t change this being one of the best chances you have at a clean sheet victory.
Darren Randolph (West Ham at Sunderland) [4.4, 3.38]
If you’ve read any of my recent player picks, BROKEN RECORD ALERT!!! Sunderland is having extreme trouble scoring, having suffered shutouts in seven straight games and nine of 10, so keep rolling with the opposition keeper and reaping the rewards until the Black Cats show any sign of life.
Joel Robles (Everton v. Burnley) [4.7, 7.84]
Everton’s defense has been stingy at home, allowing only 12 goals in 15 games thus far, the fourth fewest of any team. Meanwhile, Burnley has scored only nine times in 16 away matches this season, more than only Hull City. Sure, Seamus Coleman and Ramiro Funes Mori are injured, but hey, don’t look this gift horse in the mouth.
Ben Davies (Tottenham v. Bournemouth) [4.9, 4.69]
The Danny Rose fill-in has delivered on a budget price with four clean sheets in his past eight games. Another one is not altogether unlikely here.
Mason Holgate (Everton v. Burnley) [4.1, 4.28]
Cheap? Check. Strong shot at the precious clean sheet bonus? Check. So what are you waiting for, an engraved invitation?
Matthew Pennington (Everton v. Burnley) [3.9, 1.01]
Ditto, and even cheaper. If you think Phil Jagielka is going to score a goal in three straight games, there’s a bridge in Brooklyn I’ll sell you for a song.
Erik Pieters or Glen Johnson (Stoke v. Hull City) [4.7 and 7.90, respectively]
Pieters is a great value in Official given the locale, competition and price, while Johnson is a savvier play in Fantrax.
Mamadou Sakho (Crystal Palace v. Leicester City) [4.8, 2.14]
The Liverpool loaner is averaging 5.5 ppg in Official and 7.33 in Fantrax covering his past six games. As Stall laments, Sakho won’t be able to play both games of the tantalizing double GW34 since one of those comes against the Reds. But this week, there should be no sorrow having him in your squad.
Dele Alli (Tottenham v. Bournemouth) [9.2, 18.23]
Spurs have the third-best home offense, but the top two (Liverpool and Chelsea) are both on the road this week while Tottenham’s at White Hart Lane. On top of that, Alli is one of the hottest players in the league with five goals and three assists in his past six games.
Marco Arnautovic (Stoke City v. Hull City) [7.1, 9.09]
No, the Potters are certainly not the 1927 Yankees’ famed Murderer’s Row. Joe Allen leads the team with a mere six goals, but only one of those has come since week 18. Second leading scorer Arnautovic continually looked dangerous against Liverpool, but could never get the final touch right. However, things should come more easily against Hull’s horrible away defense. [Note: Arnautovic is listed as a midfielder in Official but as a striker in Fantrax.)
Son Heung-Min (Tottenham v. Bournemouth) [7.1, 12.71]
In a shorter period of time, Son has actually been more fiery than Alli, with four goals and an assist in his past three games. He’s cheaper, too.
Xherdan Shaqiri (Stoke City v. Hull City) [6.0, 6.06]
I never look at the Swiss midfield maestro as a long-term play because he tends to get injured frequently. As a short-term option, however, this is a great time to grab him since he’s healthy and home to horrible Hull City which has allowed the most away goals.
Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace v. Leicester City) [5.9, 16.03]
With two goals and three assists in his past five games, the former Manchester United starlet is at the forefront of the Eagles’ Renaissance. Leicester City’s offense has been on fire recently, but its defense has not quite brought back memories of last season, especially after allowing four goals to Everton midweek.
Kun is a bit of an anomaly, with 11 goals away compared to only five at home this season. On top of that, he’s in absolutely fine form with a goal in four straight games and five of his last six regardless of locale.
Troy Deeney (Watford v. Swansea City) [6.9, 8.67]
The Hornets’ star striker has returned to health. Good timing, as Deeney’s got six goals in his past eight starts and the visiting Swans have shipped the second-most away goals of any team in the league.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Manchester United v. Chelsea) [11.4, 15.97]
The Blues boasted the best defense in the league for much of the season, but shockingly haven’t kept a clean sheet in any of their past nine games. If somebody’s going to score for the Red Devils at Old Trafford, the big Z should be front and center in more ways than one.
Harry Kane (Tottenham v. Bournemouth) [11.3, 18.65]
The squad has flourished in his recent injury absence, but even so, Kane remains the straw that stirs the Spurs. Mauricio Poccetino will want to keep the pressure on Chelsea, especially given the Blues’ tougher away fixture, so it would be no shock to see Kane get the start over subpar fill-in Vincent Janssen. After all, in his past four home starts, the Tottenham talisman has tallied an absolutely obscene nine goals plus one assist.
Romelu Lukaku (Everton vs. Burnley) [10.4, 20.72]
I’ve probably already gushed enough above, but let me add one more thing. Lukaku has scored in each of his past seven home games, with a remarkable 12 goals in that span along with three helpers. Despite Tom Heaton’s brilliance, Burnley beckons invitingly, having allowed fewer away goals than only Hull City, Swansea and Bournemouth.
Who else do you like this week and how are your teams shaping up? Join in the comments section below!