Fantasy Premier League Gameweek 23: Spurs, Man United stars offer potential

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Monday January 30th, 2017

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.

Depending on when you set your fantasy Premier League squad ahead of Tuesday's midweek matches, there could be another big name added to the mix. But barring the unforeseen arrival of marquee talent, the following 26 players are the best of the best for the week at hand. Remember, in all formats of FPL the Tuesday/Wednesday matches are Gameweek 23 while the Saturday/Sunday matches will be Gameweek 24 and will be addressed later this week.

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 week. Togga has added "Own %" to its app so differentials are based on players' ownership percentage at the time of writing. You can check for updates when you set your squad.

Goalkeeper

Tom Heaton (vs. Leicester)

Key Stats: Heaton was the Perfect XI goalkeeper in three of the first 10 weeks of the season. He should have added his fourth in Gameweek 21; he posted 18.5 points in a 1-0 shutout of Southampton. When these sides met the first time it was 3-0 to Leicester, but Burnley is a different side at home. In fact, its 8-1-3 record is fourth in the home table behind Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham. Heaton has four clean sheets, 40 saves and only nine goals conceded in those matches.

Plan B: Ben Foster (d; at Middlesbrough); David de Gea (vs. Hull); Fraser Forster (d; at Swansea)

Forster and Southampton have had an up-and-down season. Forster's eight clean sheets trail only Chelsea's Thibaut Courtois this season, but he has also had howlers– allowing three goals from four shots on target to Palace and four goals from five on target to Tottenham. In Southampton's first meeting vs. Swansea this season, Forster blanked the Swans and recorded three saves. His 14 points that match are his second most of the season.

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Defenders

Laurent Koscielny (vs. Watford); Leighton Baines (at Stoke); Antonio Valencia (vs. Hull); Cedric Soares (d; at Swansea)

Key Stats: When Southampton played Swansea at St. Mary's early in the season, Soares was everywhere. He created two chances, won four tackles, made three successful crosses and his fantasy total benefited–he scored 19.75 points. Coming into this match on the heels of his season-high, 31.25-point return against Leicester, Soares deserves more respect but can still be owned as a differential.

Plan B: Kevin Wimmer (d; at Sunderland); Ben Mee (d; vs. Leicester); Mason Holgate (d; at Stoke); George Friend (d; vs. West Brom)

Spurs' defense has been one of the very best units for fantasy purposes. Kyle Walker (13.25 points per match), Danny Rose (12.84) and Jan Vertonghen (9.43) are all top-20 at the position (minimum 810 minutes played).  But Vertonghen (ankle) and Rose (knee) are joined on the trainer's table by Toby Alderweireld (thigh) and Kieran Trippier (groin). Even so, Spurs' make-shift defense faces Sunderland this week, and whoever is starting is a worthy differential pick for your squad.

Midfielders

Christian Eriksen (at Sunderland); Paul Pogba (vs. Hull); Mesut Ozil (vs. Watford); Michail Antonio (vs. Man City)

Key Stats: In Spurs' 2-2 draw with Manchester City, Eriksen saw his nine-match streak of recording at least 12.5 points snapped. In that span he average 24.6 points per match–including a pair of 40+ point efforts–by far the best in FPL. Speaking of hot hands: Antonio has been a superstar in Dimitri Payet's absence, recording an average of 19.7 points per match over the last three games, and now Payet is gone for good. Both should find a place in your midweek XI.

Plan B: Dele Alli (at Sunderland); Henrikh Mkhitaryan (vs. Hull); Steven Defour (d; vs. Leicester); Dusan Tadic (d; at Swansea)

Robert Snodgrass has joined West Ham as Payet heads to Marseille. He isn't guaranteed a start Wednesday so he isn't included here–but he's worth a start in FPL provided he's in Slaven Bilic's lineup. Featured in his place here is Burnley's Steven Defour, who has posted back-to-back double-digit fantasy returns without recording a goal or an assist and now has four such matches this season. Against Leicester his floor is high single-digits, while his ceiling has 30-point potential, like the 31 points he posted in Burnley's 2-0 win over Watford in Gameweek 6.

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Forwards

Harry Kane (at Sunderland); Zlatan Ibrahimovic (at Hull)

Key Stats: Kane's opponent Saturday sits at the bottom of the table, has a raft of injuries which which to deal and will be without its two best fantasy defenders (Patrick van Aanholt to Crystal Palace is a done deal; Papiss Djilobodji is suspended for violent conduct). Kane has five goals away from home this season and did score against the Black Cats at White Hart earlier this season. The only concern is his fitness, and he'll face a late check for a groin injury.

Plan B: Alexis Sanchez (vs. Watford); Christian Benteke (d; at Bournemouth); Andre Gray (d; vs. Leicester); Raheem Sterling (d; at West Ham)

On Saturday, Arsenal ran out as a 5-0 winner against Southampton at St. Mary's to progress to the fifth round of the FA Cup. The goals were all claimed by Theo Walcott (three) and Danny Welbeck (two). While that is excellent news for Arsenal, it throws the FPL value of Olivier Giroud, Walcott and Welbeck into limbo. Whichever players are selected against Watford are must-starts. Alexis is the only forward who looks like a given to start every match moving forward.

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