Saturday, December 16, 2017

Best Picks for FPL Gameweek 16: Midfielders and Forwards

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A Merseyside Derby and a Manchester Derby on the same day? Clear your schedules, dear readers, because you are not going out on Sunday. And, what’s more, the only thing more exciting than being able to watch two of England’s best derbies is the ability to scream ‘shoot’ at your TV whenever your fantasy players have the ball. Get your voice box ready, because part two of the Best Picks series is concerned with midfielders and forwards.

Midfielders

Budget Option: Andrew Surman (4.8m)

Bournemouth haven’t really been having a great season, but at least they aren’t as bad as Crystal Palace, who they happen to be playing this weekend. The Cherries have only scored 13 times so far, but the Eagles have conceded a monstrous 25 times, so there’s a decent chance that the home side will grab at least one in this game. Surman has been heavily involved in the goals that Bournemouth have managed to score, with two goals and three assists on the season. If there’s any matchup that the midfielder can take advantage of, it’s this one.

Budget Option: Pascal Groß (6.0m) 

The German is without a goal contribution in his last three games, although two of those fixtures were against Liverpool and Manchester United. You have to believe in the talent with Groß, and he does have three goals and five assists in this campaign. Against a Huddersfield side that has hit an awful patch of form, the midfielder has the perfect opportunity for a bounce back game. The Terriers have conceded 26 league goals, and haven’t kept a clean sheet in their last four games. Roll out Groß with some confidence this weekend.

Premium Option: Eden Hazard (10.8m)

Having returned to full fitness, the Chelsea winger has also returned to the sort of form that we have come to expect from him. Five goals and three assists on the season is highly impressive, and last week’s two goal performance shows how explosive he can be in the right matchup. Luckily for Hazard owners the Blues travel across London to face an awful West Ham team. The Hammers have the worst defensive record in the Premier League, having conceded 32 times in 15 games, and should give Chelsea the perfect chance to pad their goal difference. Hazard is heavily involved in every attack, and I would be incredibly surprised if he didn’t return a goal contribution this weekend.

Premium Option to AVOID: Leroy Sané (8.8m)

The Manchester City midfielders seem to be going through a rotation system of who is in the best form, and at the moment it is Raheem Sterling that is on fire. The German is now without a goal contribution in the last three games, and this weekend he faces eternal rivals Manchester United. Sané may not even start this game, but even if he does it may be difficult to rely on him to return a goal, especially with the plethora of other attacking options on display. United are the stingiest defence in the league, having let in just nine goals all season.

Forwards

Budget Option: Chris Wood (6.4m) 

I really don’t like to advise starting a Burnley forward, simply because you are often better off making use of the Clarets’ defenders instead. However, Wood has four goals this season, and Sean Dyce’s men look like a much better team when they play at Turf Moor. Luckily they host Watford this weekend, and the Hornets have conceded a whopping 26 goals so far. I expect Burnley to win this game, and I could definitely see Wood grabbing the only goal.

Premium Option: Harry Kane (12.8m)

Despite having 10 goals already this season, Kane has actually been quite a frustrating FPL player so far due to the inconsistency of his scoring, seemingly regardless of matchups. He failed to score last week against a poor Watford defence, but with Lukaku and the City forwards tied up in a tense derby this week, Kane looks like an appealing option. Tottenham host a Stoke side that has the second worst defensive record in the league, and is conceding two goals per game. Kane can be an explosive scoring option, and this could be the week in which he finally blows up and rewards those who captain him.

Premium Option to AVOID: Romelu Lukaku (11.4m)

The Belgian only has one goal in his last eight Premier League games, and despite netting against CSKA Moscow in midweek, I don’t expect Lukaku to be a reliable start this week. United have a vitally important derby against Manchester City this weekend, and it looks to be an incredibly difficult game to predict. The striker has a tendency to disappear in big games, and there is always the risk that Zlatan Ibrahimovic might start ahead of him. I can’t trust Lukaku in this game, and perhaps not until we find out what sort of role Zlatan is going to play going forward.

Bonus Tips

This week sees a lot of matches between mid to lower table sides. Matches like Newcastle v Leicester and Crystal Palace v Bournemouth can be fantasy goldmines, but are often ignored by many players. Have a look at cheap options from those games who could grab a goal or an assist.

Derbies are notoriously hard to predict, which means that fantasy points are not guaranteed regardless of which players you have. Think about captain choices carefully this week, and perhaps avoid the two late games on Sunday. Harry Kane looks like a decent option this week.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dan Steeden


Dan is a recent graduate of the University of Birmingham and an often frustrated Wigan Athletic fan. When not despairing at events unfolding at the DW Stadium he can be found fangirling over Antoine Griezmann or staying up into the early hours of the morning to cheer on the Seattle Seahawks.

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