Welcome to the latest instalment of the Weekly Shop, where, once again, we scan the player list of our partner game FanDuel to bring you some of the key assets on offer in the upcoming round.
Before that, we should acknowledgde that it’s the final of our Survivor contest this weekend with 25 left standing in the tournament. Well done to James Cox for topping the leaderboard from last weekeend with a score of 317.75 points – his four-man back-line paid off with Harry Maguire (42.25 points) and Leighton Baines (31.75 points) the stand-out picks.
There’s another chance to enter a Survivor competition as a four-week contest kicks off on Saturday with a £500 pot on offer for the overall winner. There’s a £2 entry fee – you can build a line-up and enter the tournament here.
Despite there being only six fixtures on the full weekend ‘slate’, there are still match-ups that promise healthy FanDuel returns on offer.
Crystal Palace travel to Liverpool having lost only once in seven outings – that record maintains our interest in Sam Allardyce’s budget options throughout his squad. The Reds have netted 12 goals in their last five matches at Anfield, so it seems we also have to consider Jurgen Klopp’s attack in this fixture.
West Ham picked up a first home clean sheet in five clashes when they beat Swansea City, so we consider their defence as they welcome an Everton side that are winless in five road trips. The Toffees’ convincing home form hints they could break that poor away run, particularly with their star asset enaged in a race for the Golden Boot.
Elsewhere, Swansea City are in desperate need of a victory. The Welsh side host a Stoke City outfit that could prove to be obliging opponents since they’ve lost four of their last five away encounters – both could offer kindly priced assets for what could be an edgy but eventful contest.
The Better Buys
We start by casting our eye over the top end of the market to analyse the players who have the form and fixture to warrant inclusion – even when their selection requires significant investment.
In goal, we’re considering a pair of premium-priced options that have the potential to score heavily.
Only Jordan Pickford (30) has more saves than Artur Boruc’s (£8.2m) 29 over the last six matches, helping the Bournemouth shot-stopper average 17.5 points in FanDuel. Eddie Howe’s side have conceded nine goals in their last three but that was against Liverpool, Chelsea and Spurs, and two clean sheets prior to those bodes well for a shut-out as Middlesbrough pay a visit to the south coast.
While Tom Heaton (£8.2m) appears unlikely to keep a clean sheet in the encounter with Manchester United – three in five at home indicates Burnley’s resilience at Turf Moor. The stopper should at least make plenty of saves – he’s recorded 20 over his previous five performances to pick up a strong average for a keeper of 18.1 points. Jose Mourinho’s men may also lack the energy to breakdown Sean Dyche’s rearguard on Sunday followng tonight’s Europa League clash with Anderlecht.
Everton’s Phil Jagielka (£8.4m) has scored in three successive matches. While a fourth straight goal seems improbable, he’s picked up at least 44 points in each of those outings to demonstrate he’s also turned in strong defensive displays.
The centre-back ranks top over four matches for the key FanDuel metrics of clearances, blocks and interceptions (CBIs) – tallying 62, including 45 clearances over that time-frame. Those underlying numbers make his improbable goal threat an added bonus.
We’re expecting Watford’s Jose Holebas (£8.2m) to pick up points at both ends of the pitch in the trip to Hull. A 19.7 point FanDuel average over his last six appearances includes 15 tackles and nine chances created. The Greek ranks fourth for goal attempts among defenders, with 27 this term, while he also boasts four asissts.
Swansea’s Gylfi Sigurdsson (£11.7m) might have blanked five times in a row, but he is still the struggling side’s main goal threat – the midfielder scored 23.25 points in FanDuel last time out with three shots on target at Watford.
Paul Clement needs to elicit a more telling performance against a Stoke City outfit that offers the opportunity for a vital win. The Icelander’s dead-ball deliveries should be an important weapon – the Potters have conceded the joint-most attempts (33 along with Burnley) from set plays over the last six Gameweeks.
Philippe Coutinho (£13.4m) remains the most appealing midfield pick from a Liverpool side still missing Adam Lallana and Sadio Mane. The Brazilian has created nine chances and netted a trio of goals over his last four matches to average 29.8 points. Compatriot Roberto Firmino (12.9m) has delivered returns in each of his last six outings, with his three goals and four assists making him an enticing forward option to consider from the Reds for the Eagles’ visit.
Middlesbrough roll up to the Vitality Stadium with their list of fixtures dwindling fast, which should push Steve Agnew into implementing a more proactive approach than of late. That could leave space for a favourably-priced Josh King (£9.5m) to exploit – the forward has established himself as the most reliable Bournemouth asset with attacking points in six of his last eight matches (delivering seven goals and an assist).
Although Romelu Lukaku’s (£13.8m) form away from Goodison Park is a concern, the Everton striker is difficult to overlook on a reduced slate. A visit to the London Stadium is a good opportunity to break his poor run away – the Hammers have yielded 30 big chances in front of their own fans this term – only Hull City and Swansea (both 34) have a worse record.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s (£12.5m) excellent away record makes the Swede a stand-out pick in the trip to Burnley. The United forward has scored in seven of his last eight road trips, notching nine goals and an assist. Promisingly, only Hull (160) and Sunderland (159) have conceded more chances at home from inside the penalty area than the Clarets (136) this season.
We now turn to the more budget-friendly section of the player list to pinpoint some of the picks that can offer value and also provide some points for our final tallies.
Again we consider a couple of goalkeepers who have caught our attention. David De Gea (£7m) looks underpriced away at Burnley. United have four clean sheets in six away (conceding only twice). We’d expect Jose Mourinho’s back-line to turn in another resilent performance and hand their Spanish stopper the ten points on offer to keepers for a shut-out in Fanduel.
Stoke have failed to score in their last five away matches ahead of their trip to the Liberty Stadium, which puts Lukasz Fabianski (£7m) on our radar for the keeper’s jersey. The Pole has a healthy 16 saves over his last three outings.
Jurgen Klopp faces some injury issues in his defence, with doubts around both Ragnar Klavan and Joel Matip’s fitness. Liverpool’s coach has suggested that Joe Gomez might make a first appearance of the season – the youngster would be battling Palace’s Christian Benteke and is available for a bargain £5m.
Stoke City provide a defender who should accrue some CBI’s while dealing with the threat from Fernando Llorente and Gylfi Sigurdsson’s. Ryan Shawcross (£7.7m) has recorded 45 CBIs over his last four matches and has a 17.8-point average over his previous four away ties.
It’s worth checking West Ham’s teamsheet, with Winston Reid a potential returnee. If he fails to make it, James Collins (£7.4m) is still a reasonable price after scoring last time out. The centre-back also provided 13 clearances at Sunderland to help him to a 38-point haul. The Irishman’s registered 48 CBIs over his last four and should be kept busy against Romelu Lukaku.
Mamadou Sakho will miss the encounter at his parent club, which sets up a rare start for Eagles’ defender Damien Delaney (£6.7m). He should provide value as he attempts to help hold off waves of Liverpool attacks. After a cameo in the home tie with Leicester City, Patrick van Aanholt (£7.5m) is also set to make the first XI after a stint on the sidelines. He has averaged 17.3 points per match over his last four starts.
Junior Stanislas (£7.1m) was welcomed back into Bournemouth’s starting XI against Spurs and could start again against Boro – the midfielder has an 18.5 average this season in FanDuel
Relegation-threatened Hull are likely to go all out for a win – Tom Huddlestone (£7m) should be on penalty and direct free-kick duties during Watford’s visit and has a 17 point average over his last six appearances. At £7.3m, Kamil Grosicki is another intriguing midfield pick from the Tigers, having produced four assists in as many home matches.
Meanwhile, Oumar Niasse provides a viable forward option from Marco Silva’s outfit, with an average of 65 minutes per goal over his last five appearances at the KCOM stadium.
Crystal Palace’s Andros Townsend (£7.9m) has picked up an impressive 29.8 average over his previous six outings with two goals and 23 tackles. The winger has served up an assist in each of his last three and should help pose some problems on the flank at Anfield as he attempts to supply front-man Christian Benteke (£8.9m). The Belgian is also worthy of selection as a differential pick, considering he’s back at his old club with a point to prove and has netted three goals in four matches.
Middlesbrough’s desperate need to find goals is demonstrated by Alvaro Negredo’s (£7.6m) 13 attempts over their last four clashes. The forward has scored in each of his last two starts from four shots on target to score 28.75 and 34 points.
Another Spanish striker who is also a tempting prospect as his side battles to avoid the drop is Swansea’s Fernando Llorente, available for 8.6m. While he’s missed their last two home matches, a brace and 41.5 FanDuel points in his last outing at the Liberty shows his potential to cause some damage against Stoke.
I’ll be back tomorrow with a run-down of the contests on offer this week in Fanduel. As usual, I’ll also select my strongest XI for the weekend fixtures.
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