Portsmouth v Everton
Birmingham v Bolton
Blackburn v Aston Villa
Liverpool v Hull City
Stoke City v Man Utd
Tottenham v Burnley
Wigan v Chelsea
Fulham v Arsenal
Sunderland v Wolves
Man City v West Ham
It could be a great week to have players from the big sides as all top seven sides are strong favourites to win this week. In fantasy terms, Liverpool, Spurs and Chelsea have particularly attractive fixtures and should be a good source of points this week. Of the big four sides, Liverpool are by the far the strongest play, with the bookies offering 23-1 odds on a Hull victory. Liverpool have the most home goals this season while the Tigers have the second worst away record. The potential for goals is so strong that it might be worth considering using your transfer solely for the purpose of getting Torres or Gerrard in just for this week.
1. Steven Gerrard
2. Fernando Torres
3. Jermaine Defoe
4. Frank Lampard
5. Nicholas Anelka
As noted above, three teams standout this week - Liverpool, Spurs and Chelsea - and you can pretty much take your pick of players from these teams to excel. While Gerrard and Torres give you almost guaranteed returns, players like Kuyt, Johnson and even Benayoun could be shrewd picks for those looking to gain on the opposition. Similarly, their should be goals at White Hart Lane as Spurs welcome Burnley who have surrendered 9 goals in 3 road games this season. Defoe and Lennon are the obvious choices while whoever starts out of Keane and Crouch should also have a chance at providing good value. Finally, at the DW Stadium, Chelsea will look to continue their run of success under Ancelotti and should have too much firepower for Wigan, even if Drogba is rested. Lampard is the obvious choice for success due to his penalties and bonus potential but I also like Anelka to get back in the scoring charts having not netted in September so far.
Clean Sheets Rankings
2. Aston Villa
4. Man City
I like this week for clean sheets and defenders from all of the above have an excellent chance of netting the 6 points. Chelsea are, in what seems to be trend, the best defensive pick of the week and with the defensive line a bit more settled now, all become good picks.
Villa have kept 3 straight clean sheets and the arrivals of Dunne and Collins have turned that defense around. They travel to a Blackburn side that failed to score in 2 of their 3 homes games this year and are generally struggling for goals (4 in 5 for the season). Villa's side is perfect for playing on the counter attack with the pace of Young and Agbonlahor, which allows them to keep it tight at the back (only 1 conceded on the road this year).
Liverpool could be higher on this list but I am nervous about their Arsenal like tendency to throw away silly goals, though at home they have notched two cleans this year. With Hull likely to setup to defend, Glen Johnson looks particularly valuable in this one.
City's defense has been up and down this year with 3 clean sheets followed by 6 goals shipped in 2 games. However, those goals came against two of the best attacking sides in the league and a struggling West Ham side is a different proposition. I think Hughes will have placed an emphasis on defending this week and this will particularly be keen to avoid conceding more goals from set pieces. I don't expect fireworks going forward but I like City to be tighter at the back than they were last against their home town rivals.
Finally, Birmingham are the budget pick of the week as they welcome a very average Bolton side that have only managed 6 goals this year. Birmingham have conceded a single goal in 3 home games (Portsmouth, Stoke and Villa) so Hart and Parnaby look like great value at just 4.1 and 4.0m each.
- Drogba appears to be fit and so long as you have a solid sub I would activate him for the mouth watering trip to Wigan. If you're squad is thread bare then bring in Rooney or Anelka just in case as you don't want to draw a blank for the week.
- Andrei Arshavin looks set to return for Arsenal though I think he might only make the bench I wouldn't pay the 10.7m just yet. Stick with Cesc for now and then re-evaluate in a week or so when the situation is clearer.
- Theo Walcott also looks set to return for the Gunners but at 7.8m he is way too pricey considering the uncertainty over his fitness and certainty of minutes. Stay clear of this one until he can prove he can stay fit and string a few games together.
- Andy Johnson is injured again, this time due to an 'attack' from a Amkar Perm player in the Europe league. Fulham are considering legal action such was the severity of the challenge. It isn't clear how long he is out so sell him if you still have him.
- Fabio Aurelio played a full 90 minutes in midweek and this could spell the end of Insua's useful fantasy run. Liverpool's defense looks poor this season and after this easy matchup they get @Che, @Sun, ManU, @Ful so I'd sell Insua regardless after this game.
- The impressive Diniyar Bilyaletdinov looks like he is struggling to shrug off a groin strain and the uncertainty over his place in the side suggests it is too soon to bring him in. Stick with Pienaar for now but consider bringing in the newcomer when/if he is a first team regular.
- Ben Foster will keep his place between the sticks for United, with Van der Sar confirmed as being 3 weeks away from fitness. Despite his shaky form, the United man is still good value at 5m.
- Ricardo Fuller is out and Beattie is a doubt for the visit of Man United. Either way, neither are good plays now and should be sold if owned.
- Bassong should be able to go for Spurs and will likely partner Corluka with Hutton slotting in on the right. This is good news for Huddlestone owners, as the midfielder should be deployed in his traditional role rather than at the back. Spurs are a great pick this week so Bassong owners might want to switch to Assou Ekotto if you have a free transfer to be sure of getting a shot at the clean sheet.