Fantasy Premier League Gameweek 30: How to manage return from break, quick week

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Thursday March 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.

The international break is over, and the Premier League slate picks right back up on Saturday, starting with a Merseyside derby. The first matches back from a break are always difficult to predict, but this 11 (and the Plan B options) have proved this season they're capable of big performances, regardless of the circumstances. Gameweek 30 is followed immediately by Gameweek 31–Tuesday and Wednesday next week–making rest and rotation possible in this weekend's matches.

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. Tottenham)

Key Stats: Last time out, Heaton snapped a short streak of bad fantasy outings by posting five saves and a clean sheet at Sunderland. The last time he faced Spurs, Heaton recorded 10 points despite allowing two goals. While he allowed the brace, the Clarets' keeper logged seven saves, his second highest total this season. Without an injured Harry Kane, Spurs look poised to shoot in bunches but score sparingly–the perfect combination for your FPL goalkeeper.

Plan B: David de Gea (vs. West Brom); Kasper Schmeichel (d; vs. Stoke); Lukasz Fabianski (d; vs. Middlesbrough)

There are a number of goalkeepers playing at home who have quality matchups in Gameweek 30, which means both De Gea and Heaton may see a dip in ownership ahead of kickoff Saturday. Fraser Forster (vs. Bournemouth), Heurelho Gomes (vs. Sunderland) and Thibaut Coutois (vs. Crystal Palace) could each have made Plan B in any other week, making this one of the deepest weeks for shot-stoppers this season.

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Defenders

Marcos Alonso (vs. Crystal Palace); Kyle Walker (at Burnley); Christian Fuchs (d; vs. Stoke); Martin Olsson (d; vs. Middlesbrough)

Key Stats: Fuchs has not had a good fantasy season, but the recent form of the Foxes has led to markedly better scores for the defender. He remains a boom or bust player, with two scores over 17 points and two negative returns. Notably, both of the poor returns came on the road (-1.75 at Swansea; -0.75 at West Ham) and the two quality outings came at home. 

Plan B: Antonio Valencia (d; vs. West Brom); Ryan Bertrand (d; vs. Bournemouth); Cesar Azpilicueta (vs. Crystal Palace); Michael Keane (d; vs. Tottenham)

Valencia would have headlined the defenders section if not for the late Wednesday match and concerns over fatigue. The Manchester United defender has posted double-digit fantasy returns in nine of 12 games, including his last seven outings. In that span he's recorded a goal and two assists, with one assist notably coming in a 28.75-point performance against Leicester City when he won five aerial duels and made seven clearances, setting personal bests in each category.

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Midfielders

Christian Eriksen (at Burnley); Gylfi Sigurdsson (vs. Middlesbrough); Henrikh Mkhitaryan (vs. West Brom); Riyad Mahrez (d; vs. Stoke)

Key Stats: Mkhitaryan has been excellent value on a per minute basis this season. His 885 minutes do not rate in the top five among United midfielders and he even trails Marouane Fellaini's 997. But in his last nine league appearances, Mkhitaryan has scored three goals with an assist and made 23 key passes. He has also been better on the dribble, recording 14 successful take-ons in that span.

Plan B: Nathan Redmond (d; vs. Bournemouth); Cesc Fabregas (d; vs. Crystal Palace); Wilfred Ndidi (d; vs. Stoke); Paul Pogba (vs. West Brom)

It's rare that not one of Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne, Mesut Ozil or Philippe Coutinho make this column. The quartet all suffer from concerns over injury or fatigue impacting performance in what could be–apart for Chelsea's clash with Palace–high-intensity affairs. Ndidi sneaks in on the strength of recent performances, including assists in two on the bounce. He could post serious stats against the Potters.

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Forwards

Anthony Martial (d; vs. West Brom); Fernando Llorente (d; vs. Middlesbrough)

Key Facts: Like his teammate Mkhitaryan, Anthony Martial has been excellent in limited minutes. Martial boasts three goals, four assists in 888 minutes. United will welcome back Zlatan Ibrahimovic from suspension after this match, and the Red Devils must play nine matches in April making rotation a necessity. No fooling here: Martial is healthy and is worth a start in your fantasy XI if he's starting for United on April 1.

Plan B: Roberto Firmino (vs. Everton); Romelu Lukaku (at Liverpool); Troy Deeney (vs. Sunderland); Diego Costa (vs. Crystal Palace)

Merseyside derbies are known for many things, but drab 0-0 editions is not one of them. Only 35 times in 278 meetings have both sides failed to score, with just six of those scoreless matches coming since the turn of the century. Contrast that with 44 meetings in which the sides combined to score at least five goals, and the potential in starting both Firmino and Lukaku comes into clear focus.

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