EPL is back from its international break! Wait, Southampton aren’t playing? I don’t want a lineup if I can’t play Tadic and Pelle!! Okay, seriously, we are all going to need to actually think about our lineups without the go-to stack of Southampton players we have been using all season.

We have a really nice slate ahead of us this weekend with six games kicking off at 10am ET followed by the big clash of the weekend in Man Utd against Arsenal at 12.30. As usual I will go position by position and try to break this down for you giving a couple of my favourite plays followed by a few others to consider. I’ll also try and give an option to fit different price points.

Okay, lets get started!

Goalkeeper

Joe Hart $5,100 – Hart and Courtois of Chelsea make for my top two plays today, I debated which to write up, but decided to go with Hart on the basis of the small $400 discount. Salaries are tight this week so any savings we can make are welcome. Man City face a visit from an impressive Swansea side on Saturday, City have been struggling of late defensively and I think coming back off the international break this is the perfect game for them to look to make a statement and start the run in to Christmas with a win. Swansea are a team that like to counter attack so I like Hart’s upside from shots faced too.

Costel Pantilimon $3,700 – Here is my GPP special. Having seemingly claimed the starting job from Vito Mannone, Pantilimon will be under pressure to keep it. He gets a game on the road against a Leicester side who have really struggled to score goals of late. The Sunderland defence like to give up shots, so the upside is there from saves, if you think you can trust Sunderland to win the game I think this makes for a great GPP play.

Others I like: Thibaut Courtois $5,500, Asmir Begovic $5,300, Tim Krul $5,000.

Defender

This weekend feels like there aren’t very many defenders I like to get a clean sheet and also produce going forward. In this situation rather than take a defender I don’t expect to do much but think will get the clean sheet and risk getting nothing, I will be recommending players I expect to provide a solid floor from other stats with the understanding a clean sheet is not expected and would be a bonus if achieved.

Kieran Trippier $5,100 – Here is a guy who has had multiple games with double-digit crosses. That is DFS gold. If he were playing for Chelsea or any team with a tighter defence than Burnley, he would be plug-and-play every week. That said, I expect him to get forward plenty to provide a solid outing this week on the road at Stoke, regardless of the final outcome of the game. He does not need a goal, assist or clean sheet to give you a good outing.

Aaron Cresswell $3,700 – This is basically a poor mans Trippier. He isn’t quite as consistent but I am still a big fan. Unfortunately his price is climbing but I still think he provides good value. He also had 16 assists last season, so has proven track record of contributing on the offensive end. I think he is one to watch both this week and going forward, if you haven’t already been on him.

Others I like: Branislav Ivanovic $4,800, Seamus Coleman $4,600, Pablo Zabaleta $4,500, Daryl Janmaat $4,100, Tony Hibbert $2,500 (if he starts with Coleman/Baines questionable).

Midfield

Angel Di Maria – If you can afford him at $12,900 and like the rest of the lineup, then you are doing better than me. Always in play but at over $3,500 more than any other midfielder its a really tough one. I will never talk you out of a player of his talent.

Eden Hazard $9,300 – The second most expensive midfielder on the slate, is the one that has caught my eye. Hazard has been stepping up his game a bit recently, with three straight double digit scoring games. A lot of people will compare him to Cesc Fabregas who is just $300 cheaper. I like both, but where Cesc was running the show early on in watching the game tape, I am seeing Hazard really step up as a focal point again recently allowing Cesc to sit back and take on more of a facilitator role. Of the two today, probably for the first time my season, Hazard is my guy.

Victor Moses $6,300 – This is another player who has stood out to me in recent game tapes. Moses is a very confidence based player, and can be as brilliant as he can be terrible. In the last couple of games, he, and Bojan have combined to terrorise defences for Stoke. I really like him in this matchup against Burnley at home, he should be able to run at the away defence and cause plenty of problems, draw fouls and put crosses in. The price point makes him very interesting priced in this middle ground above traditional ‘value plays’ but at a discount from top plays. I never thought i’d find myself writing up Moses this season but the combination of circumstances this week have me very interested.

Others I like: Stewart Downing $7,300, Oscar $7,100, Jesus Navas $5,800, Samir Nasri $5,000, Aiden McGeady $4,800.

Forward

Forward is really tough to pick out the ‘top play’ this week. We have Sergio Aguero $13,200, Diego Costa $12,700 and Alexis Sanchez $12,500 as what I would call the “Big 3”. Aguero and Costa both have nice matchups at home, Alexis is the wildcard up against Man Utd. This game is really the wildcard of the entire weekend, these are usually the type of game where big players really step up and their quality shows. I love Alexis in a GPP for that reason but I think of the 3 i’ll be trusting Costa the most. I think getting the entire 2 week International break off to recover without traveling to play for Spain will give us a revitalised Costa in Chelsea’s return to EPL action this week.

Diafra Sakho $8,100 – I love this guy. He should be fully recovered from his shoulder injury and raring to go. West Ham have been impressive to me this season. Big Sam has brought in some massive talents in Sakho and Valencia and completely changed West Ham’s brand of football and fortunes. I think there is a chance they pull an upset on Everton this weekend and many people will overlook the West Ham players in GPPs.

Papiss Cisse $7,200 – Cisse needs to be leading the line week in week out for Newcastle. He is their most reliable striker and source of goals. If he gets 90mins this week I can really see him scoring multiple times against a poor QPR defence. His price point makes him all the more appealing, just make sure he is starting.

Others I like: Romelu Lukaku $10,900, Charlie Austin $7,400, Stevan Jovetic $7,000 (as long as he starts), Bojan Krkic $5,600, Mame Diouf $5,000.

That wraps things up for today folks! Best of luck in your games this weekend. Feel free to hit me up on twitter @cjhopkins07 with any questions. I’ll also be trying to tweet out starting lineups as they are released on Saturday morning as usual.

Good luck!