With gameweek 23 in fantasy Premier League this week, FPL managers need to be aware of the players missing in action either through suspension, injury, or otherwise. There are quite a few that are either out or questionable for this weekend.
At the top of this list is the recent suspension of Diego Costa. You can read up on my thoughts about whether he is worth the hassle of keeping in your FPL team with my article over at Togga.
Closely behind Costa are the injuries and questionable status of both Alexis Sanchez for Arsenal and Cesc Fabregas at Chelsea. This means that out of the top five players in fantasy Premier League, only two are available, Eden Hazard and Stewart Downing.
Fortunately, FPL managers do have the option of playing their wild card this week in the Official League game, unless you’ve already done so. Don’t forgot that you have until the start of gameweek 24 to play your January wildcard (February 7 at 11:30 is the cutoff).
This leaves us needing to replace several top players, but only for a relatively short period of time. This is certainly true for the likes of Fabregas and Sanchez, although I could see Costa being a longer term replacement considering that he won’t be available to return until February 21.
The top five players moving out this week include: Gylffi Sigursson, Diego Costa, David Silva, Charlie Austin, and Cesc Fabregas.
With Arsenal facing Aston Villa it is a great time to give Sanchez a rest instead of playing of him and risking further injury. I would be more inclined to keep Sanchez even if he isn’t very likely to play this weekend. His form this entire season has been outstanding and at £11.5M he isn’t the sort of player that is easily stuck back in after you replace him.
The question this week has now become who to bring in as replacements. I would recommend getting rid of both Costa and Sigurdsson. They are both out until February 21 serving suspensions and there are better players that can be brought in.
Without Wilfried Bony up front and Bafetimbi Gomis not proving himself just yet, Sigurdsson’s fantasy value is on the way down. There are, however, other options that you can look at, including a few that are of good value.
Let’s look at some of this weekend’s matchups to see where we can find that value:
Liverpool v West Ham United – Liverpool may be the hosts here, but I’m predicting West Ham will come away as winners in my week 23 Premier League predictions. Don’t bother looking at any defensive points in this one. Both teams have attacking options that you are much better off picking up.
For West Ham they pose a strong attacking threat from set pieces and the likes of Stewart Downing (£6.6M) and Andy Carroll (£6.9M) are good midfield and forward options. They do have attacking potential in defense with Aron Cresswell who would be an excellent pick at just £5.6M.
Liverpool’s defense could really struggle, especially on the back of the 120 minute slugfest against Chelsea in the Capital One Cup. There are a few possibilities for midfield though with Jordan Henderson (£6.1) and Raheem Sterling (£8.4) both viable choices.
Southampton vs Swansea City – The Saints youngster Eljero Elia is getting picked up by quite a lot of teams. At just £5.5M he is a cheap, albeit risky, choice, especially if you’d rather keep Sanchez on the bench and have the funds to pick up someone like Aguero up front.
Ryan Bertrand and Nathaniel Clyne continue to impress in defense and Southampton’s defense continues to be the stingiest in the league. With both of them at £5.8M, now is as good a time as any to pick them for both their offensive and defensive abilities.
Manchester United vs Leicester City – The last time these two met the Foxes ran away as 5-3 winners. I highly doubt they will have as much luck this time around. Marcos Rojo has been starting in defense more recently and at £5.8M could be a decent pick this weekend. Phil Jones is the only other defender who could also get a start and is £5.3M. The problem is that the rotating defense means they aren’t reliable enough to really get behind.
Wayne Rooney has been dropping deeper and deeper in matches meaning that his points tallies are on the decline. Robin van Persie and Falcao are likely to start together again, but their price tags, £12.2M and £10.5M respectively, mean that they are also a risk considering their lack of scoring recently.
I know I put this one down as a matchup pick, but that is more than anything to show the volatility of the Manchester United squad. Angel Di Maria could be a bargain at £9.5M, but he is just another one of the large number of United players that have failed to hit their potential.
There are some bargains to be had with Stoke v QPR, West Brom v Tottenham, Sunderland v Burnley and Crystal Palace v Everton as well. If you look at Crystal Palace v Everton you can see two teams heading in opposite directions. Attacking options abound in that one, but both will be a gamble.
Sunderland and Burnley look like candidates for a 0-0 draw, but I would shade Burnley for the win and Danny Ings (£5.7M) as the game changer. West Brom and Tottenham could very easily play out a 0-0 as well, but again, the game changer could be Christian Eriksen who has been a solid fantasy performer and decent pick at £8.2M.
That about rounds up my fantasy Premier League tips for gameweek 23. As always I wish you the best of luck over another weekend of matches. If you need any injury updates head over to PremierInjuries.com and get the latest. Don’t forget to follow me on twitter and get the most recent articles every week.