Fantasy Premier League Gameweek 36: Bounce back with Chelsea, Man City stars
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.
Last week was one of the lowest scoring weeks in recent fantasy history. Ten teams were shutout while just five managed to score more than one goal. Unfortunately, rotation also took a toll on fantasy scores as a handful of FPL stars, including Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane, did not make the starting lineups. All we can do is go again. A quick note: Arsenal and Southampton each play twice this week, but Arsenal's recent struggles and Saints' squad rotation mean few of Arsene Wenger or Claude Puel's players made the column 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.
Tom Heaton (vs. West Brom)
Key Stats: It took all season, but Burnley finally won an away match, and Heaton was a big reason behind the clean sheet victory at Crystal Palace. The shot-stopper notched five saves, extending his lead at the top of the saves chart. He has now recorded four clean sheets in his last seven starts, the best stretch this season for Burnley. Revenge games aren't a statistically sound reason to pick a player, but West Brom's 4-0 victory over Burnley in Gameweek 12 remains the Clarets' worst loss this season, and Sean Dyche will have his side ready to exact a measure in return.
Plan B: Hugo Lloris (d; at West Ham); Ben Foster (d; at Burnley); Fraser Forster (at Liverpool; vs. Arsenal)
Lloris and Tottenham are fighting for every point and playing excellent defense in the process. Four consecutive clean sheets, including an impressive 2-0 win in the North London Derby, have seen Lloris climb the fantasy standings as well. He's only been credited with 66 saves all year but now boasts a league-best 15 clean sheets and has an excellent chance at No. 16 against a team that has been blanked by Everton and Stoke the last two times out.
Marcos Alonso (vs. Middlesbrough); Ryan Bertrand (at Liverpool; vs. Arsenal); Leighton Baines (at Swansea); Charlie Daniels (d; vs. Stoke)
Key Stats: Bournemouth has recorded clean sheets in its last two games, bringing its season total to 10. When these two sides last met, Adam Federicci made five saves and blanked the home side deputizing for Artur Boruc. While the Cherries have kept consecutive clean sheets, the Potters have been blanked in their last two. Daniels has scored four goals and is the Cherries defender with the highest upside.
Plan B: Michael Keane (vs. West Brom); Daley Blind (d; at Arsenal); Harry Maguire (d; vs. Sunderland); Laurent Koscielny (vs. Manchester United; at Southampton)
While Chelsea and Manchester City have great matchups on paper, Hull City and the dynamic duo of Maguire and Andrea Ranocchia face a Sunderland side that was relegated last weekend. Maguire edges Ranocchia here on the strength of two goals in his last four and four consecutive FPL scores of at least 13.25 points.
Eden Hazard (vs. Middlesbrough); Christian Eriksen (at West Ham); Kevin De Byrune (vs. Crystal Palace); Leroy Sane (d; vs. Crystal Palace)
Key Stats: Sane came off the bench against Middlesbrough for the final 42 minutes of the 2-2 draw. He's now earned minutes in 13 straight, but he hasn't played a full 90 since Gameweek 30 against Arsenal. A potential season-ending injury to Sergio Aguero should see both Sane and Sterling line up on either side of Gabriel Jesus and plunder a suspect Palace defense missing the injured Mamadou Sakho.
Plan B: Riyad Mahrez (d; vs. Watford); James Milner (d; vs. Southampton); Victor Moses (d; vs. Middlesbrough); Ander Herrera (d; at Arsenal)
Milner has played exclusively in the back four of Jurgen Klopp's side this season; however, he was classified as a midfielder this season after a career in the center of the field. With Liverpool riddled with injuries, Milner likely remains on penalty duty, could push into the attack and is guaranteed starting minutes. He's a risk for big points but ends up in the Perfect XI if he scores against Southampton. If Cesc Fabregas makes a Monday start for Chelsea, he is worth starting over Moses in your lineups, too.
Diego Costa (vs. Middlesbrough); Joshua King (d; vs. Stoke)
Key Stats: In his last 10 matches, King has scored nine goals with an assist and topped double-digits in FPL scoring eight times. Last weekend against Sunderland, King set season highs with five key passes and three shots on target. No player in the EPL is in a richer run of form. It is likely Benik Afobe will miss with injury, ensuring King remains the focus of the Cherries' attack.
Plan B: Alexis Sanchez (vs. Man United; at Southampton); Gabriel Jesus (vs. Crystal Palace); Jamie Vardy (d; vs. Watford); Romelu Lukaku (at Swansea)
Stacking your side with Costa and Pedro or Jesus and Sterling is certainly viable this week. For managers looking to fade the big matches, Vardy is a good alternative. He scored the only goal in Leicester's 1-0 away win last weekend now has seven in his last 10 matches. This has been an unquestionably poor FPL season for Vardy, but his late-season run is worth riding as the Foxes chase a top-half finish after a relegation scare.