We’ve been covering the shifting landscape of the Premier League schedule for several weeks, and GW33 deprives eight teams of matches.
Add to that difficult matches for Southampton (hosting Liverpool) and Burnley (a trip to Bournemouth), plus the general awfulness of Huddersfield (there’s a dog joke in there somewhere), and you’re left with fewer than half of the players typically ripe for selection. Boo!
So without further ado…
Emerson, Chelsea (DF, £5.5m)
Selected by: 0.2%
Emerson is going to get a second consecutive start and Chelsea are going to get a second consecutive clean sheet. Look, anything can happen – Wes Morgan has scored in back-to-back matches.
So taking a punt on a 0.2% selected defender, playing at home, against one of the most infuriatingly inconsistent and under-performing sides in Premier League history, is absolutely worth it.
For those of you who prefer ‘statistics’ and not ‘insane red herrings’, West Ham have recorded the third-fewest shots on goal in away matches this season, and are averaging less than a goal per match on the road. It’s a fool’s errand to predict clean sheets, but Chelsea are totally keeping one on Monday night.
Realistically, all five of the highest-scoring defenders have matches this weekend. Ten of the top 13 defenders are all in play, and most of those are facing Southampton, Huddersfield or West Ham. This probably isn’t the position to get too cute, so picking Morgan’s team-mate Ben Chilwell (3.3% selected, £5.1m) is the safer differential choice.
David Brooks, Bournemouth (MF, £5.1m)
Selected by: 5.5%
Before his injury, Brooks was rounding nicely into form. In the 18 matches between GW7 and GW24, he scored all six of his goals and four assists – including a goal and two assists in his final two starts.
It’s now four matches since he returned, and he’s played 90 minutes in each of the last two – plenty of time to reintegrate himself into a Cherries attack which also features the fit-again Callum Wilson.
Brooks’s ownership (5.4%) is a nice bonus, but the real value is facing Burnley away from Turf Moor. Sean Dyche’s side have the second-worst expected goals allowed away record – trailing only Fulham – and have allowed 99 shots on target, leading to 31 goals, in just 16 away days. That’s a river’s worth of claret spilled.
If you’re not into differentials, you need to be investing in one or more of Ryan Fraser, Callum Wilson and Josh King. The two forwards each have 11 goals this term, while Fraser (six goals, 10 assists) has linked with Wilson to create more goals than any other duo in the Premier League this season. Added to that, Bournemouth’s final six matches are Burnley, Brighton, Fulham, Southampton, Spurs and Crystal Palace.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin (FW, £5.4m)
Owned by: 1.9%
This column isn’t shy about picking from the edges, but Calvert-Lewin is selected by fewer managers than Isaac Success. Picking him this weekend is less a long shot and more a calculated gamble that Arsenal’s recent form might implode with the energy of a supernova.
Everton did inflict a 2-0 defeat upon the Gunners at Goodison Park back in GW6, and Calvert-Lewin has recorded a goal and two assists against top six clubs this season.
He has featured heavily in Everton’s last five matches – a stretch in which the club have kept four clean sheets – scoring twice and grabbing an assist. As an added bonus, those who add him for this slender gameweek can hold him for next week’s trip to Craven Cottage.
At £6.5m he’s coming in much cheaper, and a low 2.1% ownership makes him the differential of choice if you’re on a budget and trying to break away from the template team to make up ground.
FantasyYIRMA started in 2012 focused primarily on news and previews for the Fantasy Premier League, and has now managed consecutive fantasy coverage across 261 gameweeks. Losers.