- Before the crazy winter slate forces managers into squad rotation, here's who to look to for your Fantasy Premier League lineups.
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.
After 12 weeks, fantasy Premier League is about to kick into high gear. Eight gameweeks will be played between November 26 and January 4. Before squads succumb to rotation in order to combat fixture congestion and fatigue, we'll take the opportunity to ride hot hands. Because sometimes it doesn't matter who is best–it matters who is best right now.
Selecting the Perfect XI each week isn't an easy task and even the best-laid plans can use a 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.
Lukasz Fabianski (vs. Crystal Palace)
Key Stats: The Swansea City goalkeeper has been forced into making 37 saves this season, posting a total of five saves on four separate occasions. He's kept his place even as the Swans made eight changes to their starting lineup for the match at Goodison Park, where Everton needed a last-gasp header to salvage a draw and deny Fabianski his third clean sheet. Swansea appears to be gelling a bit more under new manager Bob Bradley and faces a Palace side that has lost five matches on the spin.
Plan B: Thibaut Courtois (d; vs. Tottenham); Ben Foster (at Hull City); Heurelho Gomes (d; vs. Stoke City)
No goalkeeper is riding a hotter streak that Chelsea's Courtois. He has posted six clean sheets on the bounce while recording just 10 saves. Those are as many as Foster (two), Jordan Pickford (one) and Tom Heaton (three) have kept this season. Facing Spurs a week after their 3-2 comeback win over West Ham will prove to be a stiff test, but Chelsea forces bad shots from opponents and Courtois's FPL value benefits from the save chances.
Virgil van Dijk (vs. Everton); Nacho Monreal (vs. Bournemouth); Cedric Soares (d; vs. Everton); Robert Huth (d; vs. Middlesbrough)
Key Stats: The Saints held Liverpool without a goal in their 0-0 draw. That snapped a four match run for the Reds in which they had scored at least two goals per match. In fact, Liverpool had only been held scoreless once before Saturday: Gameweek 8 at Anfield against Manchester United. Van Dijk is the heart of Claude Puel's side and anchors the defense by winning the ball. He has recorded at least one tackle won in six straight and at least one interception in all 12 EPL matches this term.
Plan B: Laurent Koscielny (vs. Bournemouth); Gareth McAuley (d; at Hull City); David Luiz (d; vs. Tottenham); Marcos Alonso (d; vs. Tottenham)
It's likely that the Chelsea duo of Luiz and Alonso are differential plays this weekend. FPL managers tend to play match-ups, and Spurs are firing with Harry Kane back to full fitness. But Alonso has scored at least 11.25 points in six straight matches and continues to play in the midfield despite nominally being a defender. As long as Antonio Conte employs a back three, Alonso deserves consideration in your XI, regardless of opponent.
Kevin De Bruyne (at Burnley); Mesut Ozil (vs. Bournemouth); Xherdan Shaqiri (d; at Watford); Etienne Capoue (vs. Stoke City)
Key Stats: Watford's Capoue scored four goals in the Hornets' opening five matches, recording double-digit fantasy points in all five weeks. After a four match fallow period, Capoue has posted double-figures in three straight despite scoring just one goal (and no assists) in those matches. His next three are vs. Stoke City, at West Brom and vs. Everton. This is a great time to re-invest.
Plan B: Sadio Mane (vs. Sunderland); Robert Snodgrass (d; vs. West Brom); Paul Pogba (d; vs. West Ham); Dusan Tadic (d; vs. Everton)
The top performing midfielders this season have a favorable slate of opponents in Gameweek 13 and FPL stacks will be popular as a result. The LFC trio of Philippe Coutinho/Mane/Roberto Firmino will be heavily owned and host lowly Sunderland; every fantasy manager should find a place for one of them in their squad. We're picking Mane, who averages a goal every other league match this season.
Theo Walcott (vs. Bournemouth); Raheem Sterling (d; at Burnley)
Key Stats: Walcott and Sterling both play wide roles for their respective clubs, but that has done little to slow their production. Walcott (five goals, two assists) and Sterling (four goals, three assists) are both heavily involved in the final third–Walcott has created 13 chances and Sterling 16. With the opposition likely keying on Alexis Sanchez (or Olivier Giroud) and Sergio Aguero, this duo of England internationals will have space to exploit and each can deliver big fantasy points without scoring a goal.
Plan B: Diego Costa (vs. Tottenham); Troy Deeney (vs. Stoke City); Christian Benteke (d; at Swansea City); Charlie Austin (d; vs. Everton)
The obvious Plan Bs are the strikers leading the Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester City attacks this weekend. But no EPL player is hotter than Costa, who has scored 10 goals in the first 12 games, including tallies in three straight league matches. While he faces a Spurs side that has posted four clean sheets this season, just one has come away from White Hart Lane. For those managers looking to dive a bit deeper, Benteke could break form and post a big match against Swansea City.