Assuming we’re able to kick off despite the Arctic weather in the UK, what can we expect from Saturday’s matches? Let’s chat live!
The Early Bird
A battle royale for “best of the rest” table position. Unless you’re a fan of either team, I’m not sure there’s a whole lot to recommend here other than, say, having a good look at two promising young keepers (Nick Pope and Jordan Pickford) who could battle it out for one of three position spots in Gareth Southgate’s England World Cup squad.
After a bright start to life with Everton, Theo Walcott has slowed down and isn’t much of a factor. I do expect both teams to score at least a goal, so I can’t get too excited about the defenses either. I’m passing on this game unless I already own a player.
Stuck in the Middle With You
Spurs have a quick turnaround after this one, facing Juventus in the second leg of the Champions League 16-round. Spurs are a little light at the back with the stud Belgian pair of Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen carrying some knocks. The latter has been back in training, but it is up in the air whether Mauricio Pochettino will risk or rest him ahead of the clash against The Old Lady.
I like most any Spurs asset in this game, and would be willing to risk a Terrier player or two (Steve Mounie and Alex Pritchard come to mind) on the assumption that we could see Spurs take it easy (rotation, early hooks) before they have to face Gianluigi Buffon, Gonzalo Higuain and Douglas Costa.
This is the last chance for the hapless Alan Pardew to save his job. Reports out of the Midlands suggest that Pardew will load up on the midfield while moving away from his recent 4-4-2. I’m usually okay playing Craig Dawson and Chris Brunt against most (non City) opponents, and I won’t be changing my mind this weekend.
With Watford’s Gerard Deulofeu injured I don’t expect Watford to be as dynamic in attack as they’ve been in recent weeks. Having said that, the Troy Deeney bandwagon is most certainly gathering speed, so I’ll be happy to start him in my Togga draft league in the hopes he earns a few aerial duels and takes a few shots on target even in the absence of goals. If you own players on either team, I think it’s okay to play them this weekend; it’s a lottery but I do believe one player in this matchup will be among the weekend’s top scorers in Togga.
This is another bland-on-paper matchup that I believe will yield some fantasy gold. Fresh from a call up to Argentina’s national team, Hammer playmaker Manuel Lanzini is poised for a nice weekend. Likewise, I’m in on Marko Arnautovic.
For the Swans, Jordan Ayew has been a good play for most of the season, as has goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski.
James Ward-Prowse’s time in the fantasy sun is coming to an end. This game offers one last chance to milk something out of what has been a pretty solid differential play. In recent weeks he has been getting pulled from games frustratingly early, and he could be in danger of a surprise benching, so he is a gamble. Last chance saloon for him.
Stoke players have been much better in Togga than they have in most other formats (and certainly in real life). This weekend I’m happy to start Jack Butland, Ryan Shawcross (if he’s back and in the starting XI), Geoff Cameron (especially if he starts as a central defensive mid), Xherdan Shaqiri and newbie Badou Ndiaye.
This is yet another meh game that will be much better in fantasy than in real life. For the Foxes, I’m happy to roll with any of Harry Maguire, Wilfred Ndidi, Riyad Mahrez, Marc Albrighton and/or Jamie Vardy.
For Bournemouth I could be talked into Nathan Ake or a fullback, as well as an attacking midfielder such as Junior Stanislas, Ryan Fraser or Jordon Ibe. If I were to choose a forward in Togga, I’d go with Joshua King over Callum Chambers as the former is far less dependent on goals and assists to collect points.
Better Late than Never
The battle of the babies! It will surely come as a surprise to many of us that these two are the youngest squads in the Premier League!
Picking players from the Reds for fantasy success this week is easy: Virgil van Dijk, Andrew Robertson, Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino practically pick themselves.
For The Toon, I’d prefer to avoid the defense, but would be OK starting a defensive midfielder such as Mohamed Diame or (in Togga) an attacking mid/winger who can earn points despite not scoring goals or assists (Ayoze Perez comes to mind).
And live from your screen it’s Saturday chaaaaaaaaaat! Join me in the comments section as we share updates, views, news, in-game updates, and funny random musings!