Fantasy Premier League Gameweek 29: Amid contract squabble, Lukaku a good bet

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Thursday March 16th, 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.

After a full week of Fantasy Premier League action featuring only half of the clubs, it's nice to have the full cast back for selection. Of course, nothing is ever that simple and selection of your ideal fantasy XI remains complicated by injuries, suspensions and a meme-worthy fallout at The Emirates. But there are plenty of matchups this weekend that present opportunities for big fantasy returns.

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 (vs. Hull)

Key Stats: A week ago we picked Joel Robles as the Perfect XI goalkeeper–while he didn't make the cut, he posted 12.25 points and a clean sheet against West Brom. Darren Randolph won't save another penalty this week, but Robles has a great chance posting a second straight clean sheet. Hull has scored only seven away goals in 14 games the lowest total and per-match tally in the league.

Plan B: David de Gea (at Middlesbrough); Hugo Lloris (vs. Southampton); Wayne Hennessey (d; vs. Watford)

Hennessey has been part of a solid Crystal Palace defense, well it's been solid for fantasy purposes. The Palace shot-stopper has recorded double-digit fantasy returns in four of the last six weeks, including clean sheets in the last two weeks. The downside is that Hennessey has posted four weeks with a negative fantasy return since securing the starting job 16 weeks ago. Watford could prove tricky, but Hennessey remains one of the few quality differential starts in a week with many better matchup options.

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Defenders

Antonio Valencia (vs. Middlesbrough); Seamus Coleman (vs. Hull); Ben Mee (d; at Sunderland); Ben Davies (d; vs. Southampton)

Key Stats: Davies has been exemplary in his limited minutes as Danny Rose's replacement. While the Spurs and England defender continues to recover from injury, Davies will earn another start. He may only have one assist (and no goals) this season, but it came last time out against Everton, when he recorded an additional four key passes. With seven key passes in his last three, Davies has proved capable of emulating Rose's attacking prowess while also capitalizing on three clean sheets in Spurs' last five league tilts.

Plan B: Mamdou Sakho (d; vs. Watford); Kyle Walker (vs. Southampton); Martin Olsson (d; at Bournemouth); Aaron Cresswell (d; vs. Leicester)

It might just be time to sell high on Chelsea's defenders. With the league all but won, Antonio Conte's side has not been as ruthless in its own defensive third–Chelsea hasn't kept a clean sheet in the EPL since Gameweek 22. The Blues now have just two clean sheets in their last nine league tilts. Without a single Chelsea defender picked this week, we're fading Conte's team in favor of attacking options with the potential to capitalize on soft opposition.

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Midfielders

Gylfi Sigurdsson (at Bournemouth); Mesut Ozil (at West Brom); Henrikh Mhkitaryan (d; at Middlesbrough); Ross Barkley (vs. Hull)

Key Stats: One could do worse than simply selection the four best midfielders to date in draft FPL: Eden Hazard (446.50), Christian Eriksen (417.50), Sigurdsson (412) and Paul Pogba (367), but it is Sigurdsson who's been in the best form. The Swans' midfield dynamo has recorded a goal or an assist in seven straight, and eight of his last nine, and now boasts eight goals and 11 assists for the season. Bournemouth has allowed 23 goals in just 14 home matches; if Swans find the goal–and they should–expect the Iceland international to be involved.

Plan B: Kevin Mirallas (d; vs. Hull); Roberto Snodgrass (d; vs. Leicester); Philippe Coutinho (d; at Man City); Riyad Mahrez (d; at West Ham)

Everton's Mirallas shows how different the weekly format of Perfect XI is from the season-long draft format also played on Togga. In season-long leagues, Mirallas is owned in 81% of leagues, and started in the majority of those leagues in which he's owned. But he can be had as a differential this weekend against a Tigers' side which is poor on the road. Mirallas has averaged 15 points per match over his last three, the third best score for midfielders in that span. He's a great value play as your fourth midfielder.

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Forwards

Romelu Lukaku (vs. Hull); Troy Deeney (d; at Crystal Palace)

Key Stats: Deeney has been a consistent FPL producer all season in leagues that value statistics other than goals. In recent weeks, Deeney has rectified that deficiency in his game. After scoring just four goals in Watford's first 21 league matches, Deeney has shown a lethal touch. The Hornets' captain has scored in two on the spin and recorded one goal in five of his club's last six League clashes. After Palace, Deeney and Co. host Sunderland and West Brom–buy in now and hold him for the next two weeks, as well. As for Lukaku, he may be involved in a dispute with Everton over his future and the club's transfer policies, but his matchup this weekend should allow him to separate from the injured Harry Kane atop the EPL's Golden Boot standings.

Plan B: Joshua King (d; vs.Swansea); Diego Costa (at Stoke); Marcus Rashford (d; at Middlesbrough); Christian Benteke (d; vs. Watford)

King missed a penalty early but rebounded to score a magnificent hat trick in Bournemouth's 3-2 win in Gameweek 28. The Cherries' versatile attacker ceded the striker role to Benik Afobe last weekend but still proved value. With a home match against Swansea–a club that has allowed a league-high 31 away goals–looming, King should be owned in more FPL sides. As it stands, he looks to be a differential option just days after posting one of the biggest scores of the season.

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