This article is part of our Mondogoal Fantasy Soccer series.
After an eventful FA Cup weekend left only five Premier League matches to be played last round, England's top-flight returns with a full slate this weekend.
Week 31 features six games on Saturday, all of which are included in Mondogoal's Perfect Million contest. Using the allotted £100M budget, here's a lineup that could produce cash rewards for fantasy owners to pocket heading into the upcoming international break.
Lukasz Fabianski, v. (£7.1M): With the help of an eye-opening 12 saves in Week 27 at Tottenham, Fabianski's current total of 89 saves this season trails only two players league-wide. Among all goalkeepers eligible in Saturday's contest, Fabianski's 143.00 fantasy points rank sixth, and include double-digit returns in two of his last four outings. Following a letdown last weekend at Bournemouth, Fabianski and Swansea return home to play last-place Aston Villa on Saturday, giving the Polish shot-stopper a chance to bounce back with a matchup against the Premiership's lowest-scoring side.
Wes Morgan, at (£7.2M): Merely eight matches from completing its Cinderella championship campaign, Leicester City's defense is to thank lately, as the Foxes have won three of their last four games by a score of 1-0. In doing so, the Foxes are up to a league-high 12 one-goal victories, and their recently flawless defending has pushed Morgan to 11 clean sheets on the campaign. That leaves only three Premiership defenders with more such outings than him, yet his £7.2M salary falls outside the top 40 players at the position. Having played every single second for the Foxes this season, Morgan is a reliable option for Saturday's game at Crystal Palace, where he will hope to hold the Eagles scoreless for a second straight time.
Allan Nyom, v. (£7.2M): Checking in at the same price as Morgan, Nyom has registered over six fantasy points in three consecutive displays, including Watford's improbable FA Cup triumph at two-time defenders Arsenal last weekend. On that high, the Hornets should be buzzing ahead of this Saturday's visit from Stoke City, a matchup that historically bodes incredibly well for Watford defenders. Dating back to 2005, Watford has held Stoke scoreless in six straight encounters, including when the sides met earlier this season. Sporting the second-best tackle total (71) among Saturday defenders, Nyom, a top 20 player in that field, should be keen on his first clean sheet of 2016.
Gareth McAuley, v. (£6.2M): Like Nyom, McAuley is also coming off a valiant performance in his team's surprise victory last time out, as he recorded 7.43 fantasy points in West Brom's 1-0 win over Manchester United two weekends ago. That showing helped McAuley take his clean sheet count to nine, which includes one earlier this season against his opponent this weekend, Norwich City. Since then, the Canaries' offense has remained fairly grounded, particularly on foreign soil, where they've mustered just one goal from their last six away matches. That terrible span has been accompanied by just as many losses, making McAuley, who also leads West Brom in passes intercepted (80), a stellar selection for Saturday.
Dimitri Payet, v. at (£14.7M): The Premier League's hottest midfielder at the moment, Payet's recent brilliance has really punctuated what's been a magnificent first season in England. Boasting eight goals and seven assists in league play, Payet has averaged a whopping 14.98 fantasy points per game in his last seven outings across all competitions. That span includes five goals and five assists from West Ham's fabulous Frenchman, who will hope to lead the Hammers to a fourth straight league win Saturday at London rivals Chelsea. Payet provided an assist when West Ham topped Chelsea earlier this season, and given the form he's enjoying, it's realistic to expect more from Mondogoal's top-priced midfielder this time around.
Riyad Mahrez, at (£12.5M): Whereas Payet costs more than any other midfielder on Mondogoal, Mahrez has still scored more points (338.97) than any player at his position. Credited with 15 goals and 11 assists, no player league-wide has contributed toward more of his team's scores than Mahrez this season. The electric Algerian has helped Leicester City increase its lead atop the table, and could do so once again this weekend at Crystal Palace. Putting their FA Cup advancements aside, the Eagles haven't won in the Premier League since Dec. 19. Such prolonged poor play from an opponent makes Mahrez all the more enticing in Week 31.
Gylfi Sigurdsson, v. (£12.1M): Thanks to Sigurdsson, two of Swansea's mere eight wins this season have come from its past three games, a span in which the Icelandic midfielder claimed two goals and an assist. Furthermore, since the turn of the year, Sigurdsson has supplied seven of his nine goals, giving Swansea some cushion from the relegation zone. If those exploits aren't enough, Sigurdsson's home matchup against last-place Aston Villa should cement his status as a top fantasy midfielder Saturday. Not only have the Villains allowed three more goals than any other outfit, but Sigurdsson has scored against them in two of Swansea's last three dates, including this season's previous meeting.
Giannelli Imbula, at (£7.2M): Since arriving at Stoke City for a club-record fee in January, Imbula has nailed down a starting spot in the center of the Potters' midfield. That box-to-box role has translated nicely to fantasy points for the Frenchman, even though he's scored just once in Potters colors. To that point, Imbula's average of 6.78 fantasy points per game ranks 15th among midfielders eligible in Saturday's contest, when he'll be tasked with facing Watford. Though the Hornets' defense has been stingy lately, Watford holds the fourth-least amount of possession this season, which should offer Imbula ample opportunities to break up play, thus earning extra points to further justify his budget-friendly £7.2M salary.
Romelu Lukaku, v. (£12.9M): Scorer of five goals in Everton's last four outings across all competitions, including a match-winning brace against his former team, Chelsea, in the FA Cup last weekend, Lukaku has been a menace in front of goal all season. In fact, through 36 total starts for the Toffees this term, Lukaku has struck for an outstanding 25 goals and six assists. At only 22 years old, the Belgian is now emerging as one of Europe's best all-around center forwards, and he gets a chance to continue his assault against a beleaguered Arsenal side Saturday. The Gunners have shipped 14 goals over their last seven appearances in all competitions, so as Mondogoal's top points per game (10.07) Saturday striker, Lukaku should smell blood in the water ahead of Arsenal's visit to Goodison Park.
Danny Welbeck, v. (£8.5M): Expected to spearhead Arsenal's attack versus Lukaku and company Saturday, Welbeck's pace and mobility has resulted in a more fluid Gunners frontline in his appearances since returning from injury. In only 292 total minutes played this season, the equivalent of just over three games, Welbeck has notched three goals while firing off 19 shot attempts. Such involvement makes Welbeck an underrated option for only £8.5M this weekend, when Everton's league-worst home defense should be put to the test. Not only have the Toffees' tended to leak goals at Goodison Park, but they've also conceded 13 in their last six games against Arsenal, giving Welbeck a good platform to build on his recent success.
Pedro, v. (£4.4M): Admittedly, Barcelona's former boost from the bench has struggled since arriving in England over the summer. Sure, Pedro notched a goal and two assists through his first two games, but his current tallies of four goals and three assists evidence little production since. That dip has resulted in Pedro's paltry £4.4M price tag, but with Chelsea striker Diego Costa once again suspended this weekend, the Spaniard could make for a great roster-filling selection. No team has scored more goals than Chelsea over its last six home matches, and now the Blues will host a West Ham team that's conceded two goals in back-to-back road games. Moreover, Pedro bagged a brace in his last appearance at Stamford Bridge.