The Bargain Bin had a change of fortune last week. For weeks, Bargain Bin players offered plenty of clean sheets, but were a bit reluctant to find the back of the net. Gameweek 27 players finally found the right blend of attempts and precision as Nikica Jelavic scored twice, Victor Anichebe picked up an assist in limited action, and Martin Skrtel also scored… on his own net. Skrtel and Simon Mignolet looked like great options to pick up a clean sheet, but ultimately disappointed when they conceded three goals at home to Swansea City. The own goal by Skrtel was just salt in the defensive wound. Gameweek 28 will look to combine some offense and defense.
Four teams will not be playing in Premier League action this weekend: Manchester City and Sunderland will be playing in the Capital One Cup final, while their Gameweek 28 opponents, Manchester United and West Bromwich Albion, will be forced to sit out the weekend. While you may not be losing any sleep about the lack of Jozy Altidore from your fantasy lineup, you will have to do without the likes of Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie, and Yaya Toure among others. This will more than likely force you to go look for cheap options that could return good value when you go to resell after the week ends.
For good options among the remaining players, matchups will play a key role in value. Defensively, the two teams that have scored the fewest number of away goals (Crystal Palace and Cardiff City) both play on the road this weekend and offer good clean sheet opportunities for their opponents. Offensively, some of the lesser-used goal scorers find themselves at home and in favorable matchups. The combination of these two give a good mix of options to fill your roster during a gameweek that lacks some of the fire power that is usually available.
Michel Vorm has two straight clean sheets at home and will be welcoming Crystal Palace to Liberty Stadium. The Eagles have scored the fewest number of road goals this season and provide Vorm a great opportunity to extend his streak to three. Crystal Palace have not scored a goal against Swansea since 2009 (I know that being in different leagues plays into this a little) and have not scored on the road since Boxing Day. In fact, the last time these two teams met, Swansea blanked the Eagles at Selhurst Park. Vorm should have a good opportunity to do exactly the same at home this time.
Chico gets the same opportunity for a clean sheet that his goalkeeper Vorm does. He’ll play a key role in keeping Crystal Palace from finding the back of the net. In addition, Chico has the opportunity to add some bonus offensive value this week. It seems that Chico gets a little more freedom to attack more in home matches, as his involvement can be seen in his increase in shot total in home matches. He currently ranks in the top-10 of defenders for shot attempts and will have a good opportunity to add to his goal total. Look for Chico to get the clean sheet and take any offensive fantasy points as an added bonus.
Kyle Walker should hopefully be ready to take to the pitch Sunday when Tottenham host Cardiff City. Should he find himself on the field, he’ll be playing against a Bluebirds squad that has scored the second-fewest away goals this season. I know that the two teams have not been in the same division much, but the last time Cardiff City scored on Tottenham was in 1978. Tottenham’s chances of a clean sheet are high this weekend, and a player like Walker can add extra value with some offense. Walker is second-overall among defenders in assisted shot attempts and could help in Tottenham finding the back of the net. He should find plenty of opportunities, as Cardiff City have also allowed the fourth-most away goals this season.
Jake Livermore is coming off a big week, scoring a goal and assisting on another in their rout of Cardiff City. This week Hull find themselves playing at home against Newcastle United. Newcastle have struggled recently, allowing 10 goals in their last four matches. In addition, Hull City scored three times in their trip to St. James’ Park earlier in the season. That was done before the Tigers added some firepower up front to help Livermore find space, as well as teammates to assist. With one goal and two assists in his last three matches, Livermore is finding his form and will look to continue against a struggling Newcastle squad.
Nacer Chadli is another player that, if he can find himself on the pitch, could have a big weekend. Chadli is becoming more confident, as seen by his four-shot performance off the bench last weekend. With a goal the week before, Chadli is looking to play himself into a position to get more playing time. On a short week (Tottenham played a Europa match Thursday), Chadli has a good opportunity to do just that. Cardiff City have allowed the fourth-most goals while playing on the road this season, and Chadli will look to add to their frustration.
Wilfried Bony has scored five Premier League goals so far in 2014, good enough to rank him fourth overall. He’ll look to add to his total this Sunday against Crystal Palace. While the Eagles’ defense has improved under new manager Tony Pulis, they have only kept one clean sheet in their last six away matches and have allowed multiple goals in four of those six. The last time these two teams met, Swansea City scored twice. Bony is always a great play at home and will be an even better play this week with some of the big name strikers not eligible to be in your lineup.
Nikica Jelavic stepped into the spotlight last weekend with his two-goal performance. Fantasy owners that have been riding his high shot total were rewarded with a great performance. He’ll look to continue his good form for another week against Newcastle United. The Magpies have allowed seven goals in their last two trips away from St. James’ Park, while also allowing 16 shots on goal. Jelavic is not afraid to take his shot, as he is tied for the league-lead in that category since joining Hull City. He was brought in to score and keep Hull City from getting relegated, and he will continue his assault on the opponent’s goal this Sunday.