Every Premier League side plays on Boxing Day in a busy period of four days that sees everyone appears at least twice. Remember to check the lineups on both days and expect surprises as managers attempt to juggle the demands of the schedule.
Joe Hart – ($4,400) – Manchester City – Hart edges the top spot this week thanks to a favourable matchup and the heightened chance of multiple saves thanks to the poor defence sitting in front of him. In his last home league game against similar opposition in Swansea, Hart ended up making six saves on the way to a 16-point day out. Expect similar against Sunderland on Boxing Day.
Hugo Lloris – ($4,300) – Tottenham Hotspur – Lloris has the best matchup of any ‘keeper this week and is almost guaranteed at least 10 points for a clean sheet and win. He only isn’t top here due to the fact he will make very few saves against a Norwich team expected to dig in and come here for a draw. The quality of the Spurs defence also makes it hard for the French number one to make any saves as not a lot gets through.
Adrian – ($3,400) – West Ham – There aren’t many fixtures in the Premier League more favourable than a game against Aston Villa and West Ham’s Spanish stopper will revel in that. Adrian’s last three performances have resulted in clean sheets against sides in Man Utd, Stoke and Swansea that don’t score many goals. Even though none of those games resulted in wins, Adrian’s point totals were decent and the low price point is real value this week.
Wayne Hennessey – ($3,700) – Crystal Palace – Hennessey goes for his third straight double-digit return and Bournemouth is an average enough opponent to suggest it won’t be too tricky. The Welsh ‘keeper has been instrumental in gaining points for his side in the last three games and offers good point potential in the save, clean sheet and win columns.
Leighton Baines – ($4,300) – Everton – Returning from injury only three games ago, Baines was back to his normal self against Leicester and it won’t be long until his price hits the $5,000 mark. In that game, Baines had 11 crosses and there’s no defender that takes as many set pieces and penalties as Baines. Everton don’t have great clean sheet potential but his other stats more than make up for this.
Aleksandar Kolarov – ($5,200) – Man City – Kolarov may be the only defender priced over the magic $5,000 level but he’s also in an elite group of five defenders that average over 10 fantasy points per game. City play against Sunderland who, although they play a 3-5-2 that gives them two defenders on each flank, will struggle against the relentless overlapping of Kolarov. It means plenty of crosses and a big chance that one is an assist.
Branislav Ivanovic – ($4,000) – Chelsea – Jose Mourinho is finally out of a job and in the first game following his departure, Ivanovic arrived with a headed goal – his first of the season. Ivanovic has actually managed 11.8 fantasy points per game over his past five league games and always scores points across multiple categories. Watford represents a tough test of whether Chelsea have turned a corner but Ivanovic’s averages in recent weeks are enough to suggest he is very good value.
Charlie Daniels – ($2,900) – Bournemouth – Playing for one of the form teams, Daniels has quietly crept up to post an impressive 9.1 fantasy points per game and faces an injury-hit Crystal Palace on Boxing Day. Daniels will have more chance to neglect the defensive side of his game in the clash due to the absence of some key players in wide areas for the visitors and is very likely to post a score over 10. If you discount the game against Manchester United, Daniels always gets forward in home fixtures and has only failed to register double digit points on two occasions.
Mesut Özil – ($8,100) – Arsenal – Özil’s two assists on Monday night gave him 15 on the year and pushed his value above $8,000 for the first time this season. Özil has over double the assists of the next best player (Gerard Deulofeu) and his 4.2 key passes per game is by far the best of any player. Southampton is not a hard place to go right now and Alexis Sanchez’s continued absence means that Özil will be involved almost every time Arsenal score.
Riyad Mahrez – ($8,600) – Leicester City – It’s got to the stage with Mahrez that you cannot leave him out of a fantasy team in any format. With 22.9 fantasy points per game, he is still the only one to eclipse 20 and Mahrez has scored six goals in his last three games. No player has had a hand in more goals this season than Mahrez’s 20 (13 goals and seven assists) and his 3.6 dribbles per game is the Premier League’s highest. Liverpool have been dreadful in recent weeks and are suffering a crisis defensively at just about the wrong time to face Leicester. Translation: Mahrez and Jamie Vardy will fill their boots.
Moussa Sissoko – ($4,400) – Newcastle United – Sissoko is constantly linked with a move away from Newcastle and the Frenchman will add fuel to that fire against a poor Everton defence. As an attacking outlet, Sissoko is there or thereabouts whenever the Toon Army score a goal and has averaged a respectable 9.6 fantasy points per game in the last three weeks. Sissoko’s position as a wide midfielder owes much to this and at $4,400 he is very good value.
Jordan Veretout – ($3,500) – Aston Villa – Another French midfielder looking rather undervalued is the Aston Villa man, who is putting up double digit numbers despite playing for the worst side in the Premier League. Veretout has not missed a minute since Remi Garde arrived as manager and has 13.2 fantasy points per game over that time. He put in 12 crosses last time out against Newcastle and West Ham, without many key players, will give Veretout the freedom he craves.
Romelu Lukaku – ($8,100) – Everton – Lukaku is threatening to take Jamie Vardy’s consecutive scoring record after netting in seven consecutive Premier League games. Newcastle has been a particularly happy hunting ground for the Belgian marksman and he should add to the five goals in six games he has achieved in recent years against them. Lukaku has hit double figures in fantasy points in his last seven games, which have all involved a goal, and the amount of shots he tallies up makes the striker a great player to build your lineup around.
Sergio Agüero – ($8,000) – Man City – Agüero returned to the Man City team to little effect on Monday night at the Emirates yet the clash against Sunderland at the Etihad Stadium will be very different. The Argentinean striker has the fourth best minutes per goal (105.86) ratio in the Premier League and has only played three times in the league since hitting five goals against Newcastle. He has already scored once against Sunderland this season, albeit in the Capital One Cup, and when City click they have the best attack in the league bar none.
Harry Kane – ($7,400) – Tottenham – After a mini goal drought of three games, Kane notched at Southampton and should make it two weeks running against his former club Norwich City. The England striker has nine goals this season and his 3.7 shots per game almost guarantees that he will score fantasy points – especially at home. Key to him scoring goals is the build-up play of Christian Eriksen and with these two clicking it could be very bad news indeed for Alex Neil’s Norwich.
Theo Walcott – ($5,000) – Arsenal – Walcott is an interesting player for fantasy purposes if only for the sole reason that there’s no guarantee he starts every game. It explains his low price and must be taken into consideration. Boxing Day is a trip to Walcott’s old club Southampton and it’s conceivable that Arsene Wenger’s chooses to start him after a one-goal, 18-point performance on Monday against Man City. It included a beautiful strike from the edge of the area and Olivier Giroud will be fearing for his place.
Jordan Ayew – ($4,200) – Aston Villa – Villa are still rooted to the bottom of the league but Ayew is showing why the club splashed out a moderately large amount on him in the summer (£8 million). Ayew has two goals in four games and his one goal performance against Newcastle also saw him swing in seven crosses on the way to 21 fantasy points. West Ham are solid at the back but not unbreachable and if Ayew persists in adding crosses to his play then it makes him a playing worth taking at this price.