Fantasy Premier League Gameweek 24: A good week to fade some stars

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Thursday February 2nd, 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.

Manchester City Gabriel Jesus burst onto the scene with nine exciting minutes in Gameweek 22 and followed up with a remarkable 90-minute, one goal, one assist effort against West Ham. Perhaps lost in the excitement of his effort was the failure of the top names to find the goal: Harry Kane, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Diego Costa and Romelu Lukaku all failed to record a goal or an assist. If you faded–a fantasy sports term meaning to strategically bet against top talent and opt for players with a lower ownership for your FPL squad–midweek, then you likely came out ahead.  

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

Joel Robles (d; vs. Bournemouth)

Key Stats: Robles has started seven matches for Everton this season, with three of those matches at Goodison Park. In each of his home starts he has posted a clean sheet, blanking West Ham (three saves), Southampton (three) and Man City (four). The only home goal he has allowed was in his 27-minute substitute appearance against Liverpool. The Cherries only average one goal scored per away match from 3.55 shots on target.

Plan B: Ben Foster (vs. Stoke); Heurelho Gomes (d; vs. Burnley); David de Gea (at Leicester)

De Gea may be owned by more than 5% of FPL managers by kickoff, and with good reason, Manchester United has the third-best road defense in the league. De Gea will also benefit from playing the Foxes, who have been shut out four times at home already. The down side? When Leicester has scored at home, Claudio Ranieri's squad averages better than two goals per match (16 goals in seven home matches in which it has scored).

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Defenders

Danny Rose (vs. Middlesbrough); Patrick van Aanholt (vs. Sunderland); Nicolas Otamendi (vs. Swansea); Jose Holebas (d; vs. Burnley)

Key Stats: Holebas missed Watford's win at Arsenal due to suspension but will be available for Burnley's visit. While the Clarets are a top side at home, they are bottom of the table in away matches with just one draw from 10 games; in fantasy terms, Burnley has allowed an opposing defender into the Perfect XI 11 times. Holebas himself has been in the Perfect XI twice this season–Gameweek 15 (25.75 points vs. Everton) and Gameweek 8 (36.25 points at Middlesbrough).

Plan B: Marcos Alonso (vs. Arsenal); Kyle Walker (vs. Middlesbrough); Seamus Coleman (d; vs. Bournemouth); Marcos Rojo (d; at Leicester)

If ever there was a time to fade Alonso, this is the match. Despite being–by some distance–the most valuable FPL defender on a per match basis, Alonso hasn't been exceptional vs. top-four opponents. He scored just 6.25 points against Arsenal in Gameweek 6, was held to 8.5 and 2.5 points in two matches vs. Tottenham and recorded -0.5 points in the midweek draw with Liverpool. He's included here because, just two weeks removed from a season-best 40.5 points, he is always capable of making the Perfect XI.

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Midfielders

Gylfi Sigurdsson (at Man City); Dele Alli (vs. Middlesbrough); Sadio Mane (at Hull); Ross Barkley (d; vs. Bournemouth)

Key Stats: Sigurdsson scored one goal and assisted on the other in Swansea's midweek win. He leads all midfielders in shots on target this season (32), while his seven goals and seven assists each rank fifth. The Swans have scored 28 goals this season, with Sigurdsson having a direct hand in half of them. Importantly, he has recorded a goal or assist against Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool, Man City and Man United this season–meaning he's a viable fantasy starter regardless of the opponent.

Plan B: James Milner (d; at Hull); Kevin De Bruyne (vs. Swansea); Matt Phillips (vs. Stoke); Wilfried Zaha (vs. Sunderland)

Prior to his departure for the Africa Cup of Nations, Zaha experienced a dip in form. The explosive Crystal Palace winger has scored just one goal in his last six league matches, but it is the lack of assists that is most concerning for FPL managers. At his zenith, Zaha notched seven assists in seven matches, but he does not have a helper since Gameweek 15. Despite the lack of goals and assists, he has double-digits fantasy points in two on the spin and should benefit from Palace's winter window acquisitions.

Forwards

Romelu Lukaku (vs. Bournemouth); Roberto Firmino (at Hull)

Key Stats: Lukaku is capable of big outings, having scored 20+ points on six occasions this season. He also scores in bunches, recording goals in back-to-back matches three times. Everton as a squad has scored in six straight–netting 13 total goals in that span–with Lukaku having a hand in four of those.

Plan B: Christian Benteke (d; vs. Sunderland); Troy Deeney (d; vs. Burnley); Sergio Aguero (vs Swansea); Raheem Sterling (d; vs. Swansea)

For managers looking to fade the big name forwards–and why not in a week when Arsenal hosts Chelsea and United travels to Leicester–this is a perfect week. Benteke and Deeney both represent valuable upside plays. The former faces the Black Cats, against whom he scored in Gameweek 6 while racking-up 24.5 points. Deeney and Watford are coming off an impressive win over Arsenal and face a Clarets unit that has allowed 22 away goals in only 10 matches. After scoring just three times in the first 15 weeks, Deeney has found form, scoring three in the last six games, including each of Watford's last two league matches. 

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