Gameweek 32 returns the fantasy world to a sense of normalcy with a typical 10-match week. This following last week’s 15-match week in which 10 of the 20 Premier League teams featured twice. Many players took advantage of multiple games and an increase in chances to produce above-average numbers for fantasy owners.
Although the double gameweek is behind us, it can still have an effect on fantasy teams this week, as some teams will be playing their third match in seven days. Couple that with key players like Sergio Aguero, Michu, and Aaron Ramsey either trying to return from or still dealing with injuries, and roster uncertainty is at a high point for the season.
Uncertainty with these players, certain injuries to others, and the need to compensate for owning expensive players leads to a need for bargain options. When it comes to cheap fantasy options, having a good matchup is a key contributing factor to producing at a level similar to their more expensive counterparts. Each of this week’s recommended players find themselves in favorable matchups that are ripe for exploitation.
Last week saw Nikica Jelavic take advantage of a good matchup against a struggling West Ham defense to tally a goal. Similarly, Tim Howard, Aleksander Kolarov, and Gareth Barry exploited weak attacking units in order to pick up clean sheets.
This week’s bargain players will be looking to follow a similar path to fantasy success.
David De Gea had an up and down Gameweek 31. He started the double gameweek with a clean sheet against West Bromwich Albion, but then proceeded to get beat for three goals against rival Manchester City. A close look at Manchester United’s recent form shows that this went exactly as expected. In the 12 Premier League matches Manchester United have played since the beginning of 2014, six have been against teams currently sitting in the top half of the table and six have been against teams in the bottom half. In the matches against the top half teams, De Gea and Manchester United have allowed 13 goals and kept just one clean sheet. In the matches against the bottom half, they have allowed just two goals and kept five clean sheets. Saturday, Manchester United host Aston Villa, who are currently 11th in the table. United will be looking to bounce back from the travesty that was the Manchester derby and will get their chance against the Lions.
Luke Shaw and Southampton have fallen out of form defensively in recent weeks. Despite allowing 20 goals since the start of 2014 (12 matches) they are in good shape to keep a clean sheet this weekend. This is because they will be facing a Newcastle United squad that will be without Loic Remy. While the Magpies were able to score their first goal without Remy in the lineup this past weekend, they have managed just one goal in eight such appearances. A Remy-less lineup would certainly rank in the bottom-five in terms of offensive production this season. Against teams ranked in the bottom-five in terms of goals scored, Southampton have allowed just two goals in four matches, while keeping three clean sheets. Saturday should provide Shaw another opportunity to pick up a shutout.
Chico has recently returned from suspension and just in time to help keep some clean sheets. Swansea City struggled to keep their opponents off the board in the double gameweek, but those matches were on the road against Arsenal and Everton. Saturday, Swansea City will get to host a Norwich City squad that does not quite have the same offensive firepower as the Gunners and Toffees. The Canaries rank 18th in the Premier League in goals scored per away match and will be in a tough relegation battle against the Swans. All of this bodes well for Swansea to keep a clean sheet and get Chico some much needed fantasy value.
Ross Barkley is not new to the Bargain Bin, but he has been absent due to injuries and lack of playing time in the Everton lineup. That appears to have changed, as he was able to get regular playing time in Everton’s last two matches and managed to score goals in both. Now healthy, he appears to add another scoring option to the potent Everton attack. Sunday, Everton host Fulham and will certainly have plenty of opportunities to put up impressive numbers. No team has allowed more away goals per match than the Cottagers and they will certainly have their hands full with the Toffees' attack. Everton should find multiple goals this weekend and Barkley will likely be involved now that he has found his health.
Charlie Adam is returning from suspension Saturday, and will do so in a favorable matchup. The Potters host a Hull City squad that allow plenty of shots to their opponents and have a below-average save percentage in matches on the road. Adam will certainly be anxious and ready to join an attack that has scored seven goals in their last two matches. They have found their flow and the team’s leading shot-taker and second-leading scorer will certainly look to further improve a team on the rise.
Peter Odemwingie is a main reason the Stoke City attack has been buzzing recently. With three goals in the team’s last two matches, Odemwingie has provided plenty of offensive production and will have a good chance to extend his run against Hull City.
Victor Anichebe is finally starting to see regular playing time, as he has been in West Brom’s starting XI for their last three matches. Unfortunately, they have not been favorable matchups, as one was against Manchester United and the other two have come on the road. Saturday, Anichebe will get a chance to score against a Cardiff City squad that ranks 18th in goals allowed per away match. The Bluebirds have struggled mightily on the road recently, allowing 19 goals in their last eight away matches. Anichebe leads the team in shots and shots on target during the last three matches he has started and will look to add a goal to his stat sheet this weekend.