The following Fantasy Premier League advice is tailored toward players of Togga's Perfect XI. It's a weekly game in which every Premier League player is eligible to be selected into a 4-4-2 formation. There is no salary cap, no squad restrictions and you pick a fresh XI every week.
If you've played fantasy sports for any length of time, you've likely heard the term "stacking." It is simply the act of playing multiple players from the same team. You can stack with the crowd (Liverpool's full midfield vs. Watford) or against the grain (starting five Toffees at Chelsea). In traditional salary-cap games, stacking is nearly impossible to achieve because rules prevent it, but in one-week games without squad limitations stacking becomes a valuable tool to capitalize on match-ups you believe will be fruitful. This week you'll see players from the same teams appear across positions in both the Perfect XI and Plan B.
Selecting the Perfect XI each week isn't an easy task and even the best-laid plans can use that Plan B, so we've provided alternatives for each position. Those designated (d) are differentials–players we expect will be owned by fewer than 5% of FPL managers this weekend.
Tom Heaton (vs. Crystal Palace)
Key Stats: A week ago, Manchester United took 37 shots on Burnley, forcing a remarkable 11 saves from the Clarets' No. 1. Heaton has now recorded 29 saves in his last three games and should have plenty of opportunity to build on his league lead in the category this weekend.
Plan B: Ron-Robert Zieler (d; vs. Petr Cech (d; vs. Tottenham); Lukasz Fabianski (d; vs. Manchester United)
Zieler will fill in for the injured Kasper Schmeichel at Leicester and earned a clean sheet against Burnley earlier this season, though he made just three saves and leaked four goals against Manchester United the following week. Even so, he's a strong differential play against West Brom. If Fabianksi can replicate Heaton's heroics against United, he'll be a valuable differential play.
Nicolas Otamendi (vs. Middlesbrough); Matteo Darmian (d; vs. Swansea City); Virgil van Dijk (at Hull City); Marcos Alonso (vs. Everton)
Key Stats: With 26 chances created, Manchester United's pairing of Daley Blind (16) and Antonio Valencia (10) have paced the competition. The closest partnership is Bournemouth's Charlie Daniels (12) and Adam Smith (9), and among defenders Blind trails only Nathaniel Clyne (17). While Valencia is sidelined with a broken arm, Darmian will earn significant playing time and is an excellent upside, differential selection against Swansea.
Plan B: Charlie Daniels (d; vs. Sunderland); Christian Fuchs (vs. West Bromwich Albion); Nathaniel Clyne (vs. Watford); Michael Keane (d; vs. Crystal Palace)
Three players have made 80+ clearances this season: Jan Vertonghen (82), Steve Cook (82) and Michael Keane (80). The Clarets defender–and partner Ben Mee (77)–have done yeoman's work in front of Heaton this season. Look for Palace to pepper Burnley's penalty area this weekend, providing ample opportunity for Keane, Mee and Co. to earn valuable fantasy points from clearances, interceptions and tackles won.
Kevin De Bruyne (vs. Middlesbrough); Philippe Coutinho (vs. Watford); Eden Hazard (vs. Everton); Dusan Tadic (d; at Hull City)
Key Stats: A year ago Tadic struggled to cement a place in Ronald Koeman's side despite producing eye-popping numbers when given the chance. He scored eight goals with 13 assists in 2,280 minutes–a 12-goal, 19-assist pace across a full 3,420 minutes. This year Tadic has the minutes in Claude Puel's squad, but has struggled with the counting stats. Despite recording just one goal and one assist in the opening 10 matches, he is a top 20 FPL player due to his contributions across the pitch.
Plan B: Dimitri Payet (vs. Stoke City); Michail Antonio (d; vs. Stoke City); Nathan Redmond (at Hull City); Juan Mata (at Swansea City)
Redmond had scored in back-to-back games before being stifled by Chelsea last weekend. The 22-year-old scored six goals with four assists in 2,341 minutes last season, but looks poised for a breakout in his first season at Southampton. No team has allowed more goals than Hull City (23) and a van Dijk/Tadic/Redmond/Austin stack could reap FPL rewards this weekend.
Sergio Aguero (vs. Middlesbrough); Roberto Firmino (vs. Watford)
Key Stats: Aguero and City start a three-match run against Boro, Palace and Burnley this weekend. Why is this important? Aguero scores in bunches and feasts on lower-half opposition. Last year he enjoyed a late-season surge, hitting seven goals in a five-match span from April 2-23. This year Kun is doing it early. He already has three two-goal outings, including his two-goal, one assist effort last weekend. Boro won't be able to contain him.
Plan B: Zlatan Ibrahimovic (at Swansea City); Charlie Austin (at Hull City); Jermain Defoe (d; at Bournemouth); Callum Wilson (d; vs. Sunderland)
There is little doubt that Bournemouth hosting Sunderland holds minimal appeal for the typical neutral. But for fantasy Premier League managers, this match provides a quality opportunity to sneak a differential into their XI knowing if the Cherries or Black Cats score, it's likely to be Wilson and Defoe who do the damage. Ibrahimovic, meanwhile, is due for a breakout, and Swansea's putrid defense should provide ample opportunity.