Saturday’s slate kicks off the final weekend of games before the busy festive period when managers will have to shuffle the pack to keep player’s fit for the New Year. Today’s EPL Targets will examine the best players based on price by position and those guys that are vital for you to record a win come Saturday evening.
David de Gea – ($4,500) – Manchester United – Even though Manchester United has a threadbare defence right now, de Gea is still the most valuable ‘keeper this weekend. Norwich usually set up very defensively away from home and will be going for the draw after losing four of their last six away from home. United, meanwhile, have conceded just once in six home games coming into this one. United’s untried defence guarantees that de Gea will make more saves than usual plus there is a big chance he gets the five points for the win. Definite double figure point potential.
Thibaut Courtois – ($4,400) – Chelsea – Courtois has just returned from a long lay off and is settling back into a lineup that enters a relegation six pointer at home to Sunderland. The Wearsiders are statistically the worst away side in the division with just four points from eight games therefore Courtois can expect to pick up the win plus a rare clean sheet.
Jack Butland– ($3,500) – Stoke City – The Stoke stopper has been the most impressive ‘keeper in the Premier League this season and won’t be fazed by facing Palace. He has only failed to hit double digit points twice this season and was flawless last weekend against West Ham with a nine save, clean sheet performance that earned him 23 points.
Leighton Baines – ($3,900) – Everton – Baines is back in the Everton lineup and offers high point potential every week from here forwards. Expect the left back to take on extensive set piece duties and the fact he takes penalties should also not be overlooked. With Romelu Lukaku in such good form, the amount of crosses put in by the England international will be high and don’t let the fact they’re playing champions in waiting, Leicester City, put you off.
Cedric Soares – ($4,000) – Southampton – Cedric remains one of the best daily fantasy options in defence despite the fact the South Coast side are on a terrible run. The defender has managed double digit points in the last five games and with Graziano Pelle back in the starting lineup, the crosses won’t cease against Spurs. Don’t let the unfavourable matchup persuade you against picking Cedric. He will get forward and the points will come. Trust me.
Guillermo Varela – ($2,300) – Manchester United – Defenders playing for the red side of Manchester represent a risk right now but I think all of them are working off a three-point clean sheet head start this weekend and are low priced as a result. It’s not too outlandish to rely on de Gea to keep them in the game and Norwich’s attacking weapons aren’t up to much. If you add a clean sheet to any of Varela’s last two performances he would have hit double figures and, although raw, will get forwards.
Adam Smith – ($2,700) – Bournemouth – Smith is one of those rare full backs that scores points across an array of categories whilst playing for a side that almost never keeps a clean sheet. He will draw plenty of fouls against a rough West Brom side and there will be plenty of opportunity to cross the ball. Assists and goals will be hard to come by but for a full back he is good value at well south of $3,000.
Riyad Mahrez – ($8,300) – Leicester City – Anyone not picking the Player of the Season so far needs their head tested. No one has contributed to as many goals (11 goals and eight assists) than the fearless Algerian playmaker and nothing suggests that Everton will be able to cope. He is the only player to be averaging over 20 fantasy points with 22.7 per game and is close to an every week must pick as you can get in the Premier League.
Matt Ritchie– ($6,400) – Bournemouth – Ritchie and his team-mates have picked themselves up out of an injury crisis to look like genuine contenders to stay in the Premier League. The midfielder has been pivotal to this and his ability to get into wide areas to deliver balls for the forwards is key to his fantasy point potential. West Bromwich aren’t a particularly good side and 14 of the 21 goals they have conceded this season have been at home.
Yann M’Vila – ($3,600) – Sunderland – M’Vila has been one of the key beneficiaries of Sam Allardyce’s decision to switch to a 3-5-2 due to the fact he has been given far more creative licence. He gets more of the ball than any of the other central midfielders and crosses at will for the aerial threat of Steven Fletcher. Chelsea are very flimsy right now and pinging balls into the box, even if no goals are scored by the visitors, is a potential boon for any fantasy managers picking up M’Vila.
Jordan Veretout – ($3,300) – Aston Villa – Manager Remi Garde is placing a lot of faith in the young midfielder and Veretout has been all over the pitch these past three weeks. Any matchup for Villa looks decidedly dodgy right now given they have not won since the opening day of the season yet Newcastle are one team they will fancy themselves against. Veretout takes the corners for Villa and the aerial presence of Rudy Gestede will bear fruit one of these weeks. Newcastle’s defence could very well be in for a combat filled evening.
Romelu Lukaku – ($8,000) – Everton – Lukaku has scored in six successive Premier League games and is averaging 21 fantasy points per game over that period stretching back to the start of November. There’s nothing to suggest that Leicester will be any better at coralling the Belgian than anyone else has been and by the week Lukaku edges ever closer to Jamie Vardy’s consecutive scoring record of 11 games.
Anthony Martial – ($6,200) – Manchester United – Martial has one of the best matchups of any striker this weekend and will end his scoring drought against Norwich. Ander Herrera may return this Saturday and the longer Wayne Rooney is side-lined, the better chance there is that Martial plays as a centre forward and gets opportunities to score. There is also the added luxury that Martial does drift wide and swing crosses into the box.
Salomon Rondon – ($4,300) – West Bromwich Albion – Rondon was destined to be the battering ram of a forward that Tony Pulis always wanted even though there’s actually way more to him than that. The Venezuelan international only has three goals and two assists all season yet this weekend against Bournemouth it is a favourable matchup with a team that doesn’t keep clean sheets – except when they play Chelsea. He has won 3.1 aerials per game and this Bournemouth defence looks weak enough to suggest they will concede to Rondon.
Bojan – ($3,500) – Stoke City – Mark Hughes’ Barcelona-lite experiment is working wonders in oatcake country and Bojan is at the centre of it all. He leads Stoke with 2.1 dribbles per game and the real anomaly in his statistics is the lack of any assists so far this season. That could easily change against a Palace side that, although it doesn’t concede from set pieces, sometimes struggles when up against individual trickery, Gerard Deulofeu being a fine example of this. Bojan is a gamble but at this price is a one worth taking.