We are now a quarter of the way through the Premier League season and trends are starting to pop up. Teams are starting to look strong (Arsenal, Chelsea) and teams are looking like they should prepare for relegation at the end of the season (Crystal Palace, Sunderland). In addition, we have a better idea of who the key fantasy players are for each team now that they have nine games under their belts. Questions regarding attacking options for teams have been sorted out and can easily be seen each week and tracked with stats like goals, shots, and shots-on-target.
This is important for multiple reasons: not only can you see who is likely to provide value each week, but you can also begin to see which teams are going to “give up” value each match. Certain teams struggle defending players and shots that are within the penalty area. Other teams are stingy against opponents’ strikers but struggle against some of the mid-range shots that midfielders and defenders typically take. We now know which goalkeepers struggle against set-piece situations and which players are typically taking those set-pieces.
It's all important because this is how you can determine value each week and how you can land good buys from the Bargain Bin. Lately, the Bargain Bin has begun to provide more options that are useful to your fantasy team. Last week was more of the same, as clean sheets were kept by Artur Boruc, Jose Fonte, Andros Townsend, and Jordon Mutch. In addition, Jozy Altidore picked up his first assist of the season in a much needed win for Sunderland.
Keep all of that in mind when you are setting your lineups for Week 10. And when you’re looking to save a little cap money for the week, be sure to consider one of the guys from Week 10’s edition of the Bargain Bin.
Artur Boruc continues to be one of the best goalkeepers in the game. His six clean sheets are tied for the league lead and his three goals allowed are less than everyone with at least six starts this season. Sure, he doesn’t make a lot of saves thanks to the blanketing back line of Southampton. But who cares? He’s as good an option to keep a clean sheet every matchweek. You could also argue that Southampton have had a very easy schedule to start the season, but Boruc kept a clean sheet on the road against Liverpool, which remains the only time Liverpool failed to score a goal in a Premier League match this season. Regardless of all of that, Boruc gets to face Stoke City this Saturday. The Potters rank dead last in goals scored at home and 18th in shots taken at home. That is a recipe for a clean sheet.
Dejan Lovren is the defender paired with Boruc for this weekend’s Bargain Bin Special. All the stats that were discussed with Boruc apply for Lovren, as well. Lovren and his fellow defenders are doing a superb job at preventing good opportunities for their opponents and that is leading to what is quickly becoming one of the best defenses in the Premier League. In addition to the clean sheet potential, it was discussed last week and is mentioned here again, Lovren averages a shot per game on the road and has picked up a goal and an assist in four road matches this season.
Curtis Davies is the only Tigers’ player to have played every minute for what has been a very good squad at home this season. Hull City have allowed just one goal through four Premier League matches at KC Stadium. This weekend they play host to a Sunderland squad that is tied for last in away goals and ranks 19th in shots taken away from home. Although the team will be without normal starter, Allan McGregor (thigh), replacement goalkeeper Stephen Harper looked sharp and filled in admirably last weekend. The change in goal should not have a big effect on the chances of keeping a clean sheet Saturday. But it’s not just the opportunity for keeping the clean sheet that has Davies on this list. No team has allowed more than Sunderland’s four goals to opposing defenders this season. And with that, Davies leads all defenders on Hull City in shots taken through the first nine matches this season. Between the clean sheet potential and the possibility for some offensive production, Davies is a good play this weekend.
Adnan Januzaj burst onto the scene earlier this month with a two-goal performance against Sunderland. His playing time over the past couple of weeks has been sparse, but it doesn’t mean he’s not taking full advantage while he’s been on the pitch. Last week, Januzaj was on the field for just over 30 minutes but still managed to fire two shots on net during that short time. He’s impressed many this season, including teammate Robin Van Persie. This Saturday, Manchester United travel to take on a Fulham squad that has struggled defensively. Only one team has allowed their opponents to take more shots during the course of a match than Fulham have this year. That includes allowing the second most shots and third most goals to opposing midfielders. Look for Janujaz to take full advantage of the shooting range that Fulham will allow this weekend.
Stephane Sessegnon may be banned from driving but he isn’t banned from scoring. The West Brom midfielder is tied for the team lead in shots-on-target and will be facing a Crystal Palace squad that ranks 18th in goals allowed on the road this season. Sessegnon also gets a fantasy boost thanks to an injury to fellow midfielder, Morgan Amalfitano (knee). Even if Amalfitano is able to play, he will more than likely not be at 100 percent. This should allow Sessegnon to see more chances against a Crystal Palace squad that has seen only two other teams in the Premier League allow more goals to opposing midfielders this season. Sessegnon should be up on the attack quite often, as the Baggies should have plenty of opportunities to score and good chances to convert.
Fernando Torres is riding a bit of a hot streak for Chelsea. The striker has taken nine shots, scored three goals and assisted on another in Chelsea’s last two matches in all competitions. He’s beginning to assert himself as the unquestioned starting striker for The Blues. He was rested during the Capital One Cup match against Arsenal earlier in the week, along with most of Chelsea's other regular starters. The matchup this weekend for Torres can’t get much better. No one allows opposing forwards to take more shots per game than Newcastle United. In addition, The Magpies rank 18th in goals allowed this season. Look for Torres' hot streak to continue Saturday against Newcastle.
If Sone Aluko (calf) is able to go for Hull City this weekend, he’s good to go for your fantasy squad as well. The striker has been described as 50-50 for Saturday’s match against Sunderland, but if he plays he will find himself a tremendous matchup. The Tigers will face a Sunderland squad that has allowed the most goals to opposing forwards in Premier League play this season. They allow strikers to take a high number of shots but also allow a very high conversion rate on those attempts. Aluko currently leads Hull City in shots this season and continues to be a leader on the Tigers’ attack.