Our weekly focus on player recommendations over the next four to six Gameweeks is rolled out once again this afternoon. The decimated Gameweek 29 schedule plays a significant part in our assessment, however, with 10 teams facing a blank. Expect next week’s refresh to be a little more substantial, then, with the current rankings available in the sidebar on your right:
Stoke pair Asmir Begovic and Ryan Shawcross take a climb up this week’s rankings. Crucially, Mark Hughes’ men have a fixture this weekend (away to Norwich) and then face three home games in five (WHM, HUL, NEW) in addition to a trip to Villa – a run that bodes well for the Britannia side on the back of last weekend’s 1-0 win over Arsenal in front of their own fans.
Palace budget duo Julian Speroni and Joel Ward are also on the rise. Again, a Gameweek 29 fixture helps, with Tony Pulis’ side set to entertain Southampton, whilst games against Sunderland, Newcastle, Cardiff and Villa offer promise for the Eagles, who also have a double Gameweek yet to be arranged.
United’s trip to West Brom and double Gameweek 31 bring David De Gea and Patrice Evra into consideration. With home games against Villa and Hull sandwiching a trip to Newcastle in the subsequent three, David Moyes’ side will be looking to continue the defensive form which has harvested five clean sheets in nine. At 6.7 in the Fantasy Premier League (FPL) game, Evra is considerably more expensive than his defensive team-mates but his raids down the left have already served up a goal, five assists and 18 bonus points this season, leaving him 57 points clear of any other backline option for the Red Devils.
Ben Foster and Liam Ridgewell are afforded a rise in the rankings, with the latter a cheaper alternative to team-mate Gareth McAuley. Whilst a home game against United isn’t the easiest this weekend, it is, nonetheless, a chance to earn Fantasy points at a time when 10 other teams sit on the sidelines. The following four Gameweeks see the Baggies face Swansea, Hull, Cardiff and Norwich – vital clashes with relegation rivals which could prove profitable.
Sunderland pair Vito Mannone and Phil Bardsley are without a fixture this weekend but, with 12 fixtures in the final nine Gameweeks, the duo are on the radar. The Black Cats may only have two clean sheets in their last seven but Mannone’s save-point potential has helped him average five points per game this season, whilst Bardsley’s attacking threat has already returned two goals and an assist under Gus Poyet. At 4.5 and 4.3 respectively, they look real value options, with home clashes against Palace and West Ham on either side of a double Gameweek 31.
Fixture-wise, Joe Hart and Vincent Kompany are in a similar situation, with a double Gameweek 31 and a couple of fixtures still to be rescheduled. With three goals in the last 10 Gameweeks, the City skipper gets the nod over Pablo Zabaleta as our secure option amongst Manuel Pellegrini’s men, though the fixtures are a mixed bag for the Etihad side – whilst a trip to Hull looks promising and a home clash with Fulham starts their double Gameweek 31, City also have trips to United, Arsenal and Liverpool in the next six to perhaps curb our enthusiasm over their defensive assets.
Eden Hazard and Adam Lallana’s consistency ensures the pair hold steady ahead of their weekend games against Spurs and Palace, while Juan Mata moves up the rankings after last weekend’s blank Gameweek. United’s winter signing grabbed an assist in his first three starts before producing back-to-back blanks and has now fallen in price from 9.8 to 9.6 in FPL – his ascent into our top three reflects the fact that David Moyes’ side are the only team to play four times in the next three Gameweeks.
Robert Snodgrass drops down due to the wrist injury that forced him off against Villa at the weekend. With two goals in his last four starts and home games against Stoke, Sunderland and West Brom supplemented by road trips to Swansea and Fulham in the next six, though, Norwich’s fixtures keep him relatively high in our refresh.
Chris Brunt has a home clash with United this weekend followed by games against Swansea, Hull, Cardiff and Norwich. He’s played every minute under new West Brom boss Pepe Mel so far and, at 5.0, could prove a canny cut-price fifth midfield option for the run-in as the Baggies look to secure their top-flight survival.
With Charlie Adam banned by the FA for three matches as a result of Saturday’s challenge on Olivier Giroud, we opt for his Potters team-mate Jon Walters. Priced at 6.1, the latter’s role in “the hole” could be worth a gamble as Mark Hughes’ side face a very favourable run, with trips to Norwich and Villa supplementing home showdowns against West Ham, Hull and Newcastle in the next six Gameweeks.
Similar to the defensive situation, our thoughts start to turn to City and Sunderland, with Yaya Toure and Adam Johnson on the rise. Toure’s average of 6.4 points per game is top for midfielders and second only to Sergio Aguero amongst Manuel Pellegrini’s men, whilst Johnson, now down to 6.6 in FPL, has six goals and a pair of assists in his last five league matches and looks to be the Black Cats’ main attacking threat over the remaining 12 fixtures. Expect both players to rise significantly when they return to action next week.
Craig Noone and Kevin Mirallas are amongst the main fallers this week. The Bluebirds winger missed out with a knock last weekend but his owners will be concerned by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s decision to switch to 5-3-2 and utilise a pair of defenders on the flanks. Mirallas has now been named on the bench for both Everton’s last two league matches. Granted, the Gameweek 26 clash with Palace was postponed before proceedings got underway but there’s plenty doubt over the Belgian’s game time now, with the likes of Gerard Deulofeu and Aiden McGeady offering Roberto Martinez alternatives on the right.
Having been usurped by team-mate Daniel Sturridge at the top of the forward rankings last week, Luis Suarez returns to the summit after serving up an imperious display in Liverpool’s weekend thrashing of Southampton. Granted, both players now have a blank but most owners will be happy to hold – a Gameweek 30 trip to out-of-sorts United should hold little fear, whilst Suarez and Sturridge look big armband favourites for their double the following week, with a trip to Cardiff and home game against Sunderland likely to see the duo heavily backed. Games against Spurs and West Ham then follow, offering Brendan Rodgers’ side further chance of goals – Liverpool have already put five and four past the London pair earlier this season.
Four goals in five appearances brings Robin van Persie back into the top three after last weekend’s blank Gameweek. As mentioned above, the fixtures are mainly kind for David Moyes’ side over the following six, though the Dutchman is currently a doubt for his nation’s friendly against France this evening due to illness – with Wayne Rooney still misfiring, van Persie looks the safest option amongst the United forwards.
Emmanuel Adebayor drops down this week, despite having a fixture on his agenda. The Tottenham forward rolls up to Stamford Bridge on Saturday evening and then squares up to Arsenal, Southampton and Liverpool in back-to-back Gameweeks, suggesting he may struggle to serve up the returns so consistently.
Mid-price pair Peter Crouch and Gary Hooper go head-to-head at Carrow Road this weekend and, as explained above, both have very favourable fixtures to follow – the downside, of course, is that neither player has a double on their agenda. Fit-again Romelu Lukaku returned to action with a weekend winner against West Ham and also has a very kind run of matches to boost his appeal. Crucially, Everton’s pair of double Gameweeks (one yet to be confirmed) should see plenty of investment come the Belgian’s way, with Lacina Traore ruled out for up to eight weeks for Roberto Martinez’ side.
Sergio Aguero and Fabio Borini are set for a rise in next week’s refresh in light of City and Sunderland’s schedules. There’s no doubt Aguero’s propensity for picking up injuries is a real concern but the Argentine is a far superior option to any of Manuel Pellegrini’s frontmen – an average of 7.7 points per game is almost double the four points per game offered up by both Alvaro Negredo and Edin Dzeko.
Borini could be a real differential option to consider. Mainly utilised on the flank under Gus Poyet, he was moved to the lone forward role in the weekend Capital One Cup final against City and fired the opener to suggest he may be worth considering at just 6.2. The downside is he will be unable to play the second match of Sunderland’s double Gameweek 31 against parent club Liverpool due to the conditions of his loan deal.