This article is part of our Starting Eleven series.
7:30 a.m: Liverpool v. Stoke City
10:00 a.m: Southampton v. Bournemouth
10:00 a.m: Burnley v. Brighton
10:00 a.m: Crystal Palace v. Leicester City
10:00 a.m: Huddersfield v. Everton
10:00 a.m: Newcastle v. West Brom
12:30 p.m: Swansea City v. Chelsea
The forward pool is a bit tough this week, with Liverpool possibly resting their top unit ahead of Wednesday's Champions League match in Rome. The potential absences of Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah could open the doors for Danny Ings, who scored last weekend against West Brom, and Dominic Solanke, who is still looking for his first Liverpool league goal this season. They both have decent anytime goal scorer odds, but there isn't a whole lot left if they fail to find the back of the net. Luckily, Liverpool play in the first game of the day, and if Salah and Firmino are in the starting XI, it'll be hard to ignore them even with the probability neither plays the full 90 minutes.
Chelsea's front line should get some attention, except who knows if manager Antonio Conte will rely on Alvaro Morata to lead the line instead of Olivier Giroud, or maybe he starts both. Or neither. It's a conundrum that will make fantasy players start looking at guys like Jamie Vardy at Crystal Palace, Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood at home against Brighton and Salomon Rondon at Newcastle. Vardy is the most goal dependent of that group, though that's not to say Barnes and Wood are reliable fantasy producers when they don't find the back of the net. Rondon has actually won the most duels over the past 12 gameweeks, and his shooting floor makes him a little more reliable than the others. With West Brom desperate for three points, there's every reason for them to feed Rondon as much as possible.
The Liverpool midfield leaves a lot to be desired, especially with Sadio Mane likely missing out due to injury. As a result, we'll turn to Chelsea, who offer solid options like Willian, Eden Hazard and N'Golo Kante. Being such heavy favorites away to Swansea could make them popular options, though there are definitely pivots for those looking to differentiate.
Leicester City's Wilfried Ndidi is one of the most reliable fantasy options thanks to his ability to win duels (his 310 this season lead the league) while also chipping in with tackles won (he's the league leader there too), interceptions and passes completed. He was exceptional against Southampton in the Foxes' last Premier League match, scoring 30.70 fantasy points thanks, in part, to 50 completed passes, two shots (one on goal), four tackles won, six interceptions and 13 duels won. That kind of production without a goal or an assist is tough to ignore and makes him easier to rely on than Riyad Mahrez, who last scored in the league on March 10 at West Brom.
Looking for a little more upside, Crystal Palace's Wilfried Zaha has been on a nice tear, winning 30 duels and scoring three goals on 10 shots (six on target) in his last three games. Palace are six points out of the relegation zone, and a win this weekend at home against Leicester would be very helpful in their survival chances. You could always try to get some penalty love from Luka Milivojevic, but it's not a game I like to play.
Burnley's matchup at home to Brighton will certainly make me interested in Johann Berg Gudmundsson, who has been a pretty reliable double-digit fantasy-point scorer thanks to his role on set pieces. Having Barnes and Wood to created chances for is a nice bonus, one that's resulted in two assists in his last three games. He probably needs another to really pay off this week, but that shouldn't be too difficult against the Gulls.
DEFENDERS AND GOALKEEPERS
Liverpool at home to Stoke, even without one or two attackers, is still a great situation to take advantage of in terms of defensive personnel. In fact, it gets even better this week if you trust @AnfieldExpress, who said earlier Friday that we could see Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joe Gomez, Virgil van Dijk, Alberto Moreno and Ragnar Klavan all start against the Potters. I wouldn't play all of them, but five potential pieces will make it easier to differentiate. Van Dijk is the most reliable of the bunch, but if Moreno starts in the midfield, the attacking upside may be too much to fade.
Chelsea's back line will be a bit different because Marcos Alonso is suspended, which means Emerson could get the start on the left wing. The other spots are a little questionable, though manager Antonio Conte said Friday that he's been pleased lately with how Gary Cahill has played in the middle of their back three, so it wouldn't be surprising to see him in the starting XI again.
The decent clean sheet odds pretty much end there, with Newcastle at home against a West Brom side desperate for a win the next best option, followed by Burnley at home to Brighton. Both offer interesting choices but neither make me comfortable if we're looking for a shut out. Burnley's Nick Pope continues to make a good number of saves, but he has just one clean sheet in his last 14 Premier league starts. Meanwhile, Martin Dubravka has allowed one goal in each of his last three games, but more concerning is that he's failed to make even a single save in three of his last four. West Brom have obviously struggled this season – they come into the match last in the table – but they haven't been shut out since March 3.