Friday Foreplay – Gameweek 21

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FF - GeneralThis is how I show my love I made it in my mind because I blame it on Friday Foreplay baby

Vandalization of a hit song. Check. Captain picks, heavy hitters, clean sheets, punts, and the big ol’ rumbling gut. Check. On to the Friday Foreplay.

Captain Picks

1. Suarez: ATFPL’s captain this week, Suarez is on both amazingly consistent and explosive this season. He has been involved in 20 of Liverpool’s last 21 league goal and is on 19 goals and 12 assists in 15 games since coming back from suspension in Gameweek 6. He’s facing a Stoke defence sitting 15th in the league in goals conceded, and have also conceded 10 goals in their last four games. However, Stoke have been resilient at home, letting in only 0.70 goals per game, but their single clean sheet against the top 8 was against a stuttering Manchester City team in the early stages of the season.

2. Lukaku: Despite scoring only 1 goal in the last 7 league games, he has been consistent enough thanks to 3 assists in the same time frame. Everton are at home against a Norwich team sitting 18th in the league with 2.20 goals conceded away from home. This gives us confidence that Lukaku will be involved supported by his 13 goals or assists in 15 games since coming back from injury in Gameweek 5.

3. Silva: The outside shout this Gameweek as Manchester City travel to a rejuvenated Newcastle team that are enjoying not having to suffer the rigors of the Europa League this season. However, since Gameweek 11 City have won 3 of 4 away games in the league, averaging 2.75 goals per game and should score at least a goal at St. James’ Park. Silva is a dependable if rather boring pick due to his consistency, averaging 6.3 points per game as noted in the Midfielder Wildcard Watchlist. He has blanked in only 3 of 11 games this seasons with an unexciting two double-digit returns, although both came away from home.

Heavy Hitters

Since Gameweek 8 Hazard’s Fantasy value has exploded, with six double-digit returns to claim the top midfielder spot in the Fantasy game. He’s Mourinho’s favorite while posting better underlying numbers than Yaya Touré. He’s a given each week unless proven otherwise.

Coleman is still on top of the defenders’ Watchlist due to both Everton’s excellent defensive record and his contributions in attack. He’s playing as more of a wing-back than a traditional right-back for Martinez and is a season keeper. A home game against Norwich is the perfect visit for Coleman as Everton is likely to keep a clean sheet and Coleman will get the licence to attack.

With Van Persie and Rooney both likely out of Manchester United’s home clash against Swansea, Welbeck will get a chance to continue his fine goal-scoring streak of 5 goals in 5 games. He’s a short term pick coming at the perfect time as he can be rotated for those patient enough to still be holding on to their January Wildcard.

Rodriguez’s 2.3 shots and 0.7 key passes are decent and not in itself worthy of an inclusion in the Heavy Hitters. However, both his underlying numbers and production have been improving of late, including 5 goals and 1 assist in the last 8 league games. He’s not part of the Fantasy elite, but a fine budget striker choice to be used in Gameweeks like these, where Southampton welcome West Brom to St. Mary’s. If you want him for the future you would be wise to act quickly as he is the most transferred in player before Gameweek 21, as noted in our Market Mechanics article.

Punts

Despite facing resilient Crystal Palace, Tottenham are heavy favorites, in large part due to Adebayor’s excellent performances under Tim Sherwood. He’s returned 31 Fantasy points in 4 appearances and is a great punt for those needing to catch up in their mini-leagues.

Fulham are again looking like a Premiership team under Meulensteen and Berbatov is again looking like a Premiership striker. He’s returned attacking points in all four appearances, as highlighted in the Forward January Wildcard article, and has a great schedule, starting this week at home against Sunderland.

Giroud, back on the Fantasy radar after missing Arsenal’s last league game, is essential for Wenger’s campaign unless Arsenal get another striker in the transfer window. He’s guaranteed a starting spot due to injuries to both Bendtner and Walcott, as covered in the Mid-Week Round-Up. He’s also another forward punt, to consider for your Wildcard.

Clean Sheets

Everton and Southampton are clean sheet picks due to playing at home against blunt attacks, while Arsenal and Chelsea are in the best defensive form, and likely the best defences in the league.

We’ve already highlighted Coleman from Everton’s defence. Another option is going cheap and opting for Alcaraz, now a solid pick due to Jagielka’s  and Distin’s injury.

Southampton’s nightmare December schedule is now over and easier fixtures are ahead. A home game against West Brom is a decent, if not a great, pick and Fonte is a safe pick.

With Ivanovic out, Azpilicueta is guaranteed a starting spot for Chelsea against Hull City attack that, despite scoring 6 against Fulham, should be contained by Mourinho’s defensive setup. He’s also a fine outside pick, as noted in our Differential article.

For those confident that Arsenal’s defence will continue to flourish in the latter part of the season, Koscielny and Sagna are great pickups at 5.5 mil. Indeed, both are covered in the Defenders January Wildcard article.

Big ol’ Rumbling Gut Pick

Writing for a Fantasy football website, what would your verdict be on a striker that hasn’t finished a league game this seasons, is without a goal or an assist, and is now considered to be a wasted purchase by his club’s owner? Of course, highlight him as a potential pick in your preview article for Gameweek 21. Andreas Cornelius started for Solskjaer’s first game in charge of Cardiff and should get game time against a injury-ravaged West Ham side. We can’t be wrong, since 0.1% of Fantasy managers clearly agree with the pick, having drafted him in at the start of the season and then failed to update their team since Gameweek 1.

Credits

Statistics gratefully lifted from squawka.comwhoscored.com, soccerstats.com, and statto.com.

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