Welcome to AM's Players To Watch for Gameweek 16 of the 2019/2020 Premier League season. As long-time readers of my columns will know, the advice in seasons' gone by had revolved around games that would allow you to make unlimited transfers each gameweek, selecting an entirely new 11 players if you so wished. Unfortunately Yahoo Fantasy Premier League is a glorious but distant memory, as is Togga's Perfect XI game which inspired my previous Rotoworld column.
Nowadays I’m mixing things up by generalising the player recommendations given each week. So, whether you're playing Official FPL, FPL/Fantrax Draft, Fantrax Salary Cap, Sky Sports, The Sun, The Telegraph or any number of other the fantasy games available to fans each season, I'll be offering my top picks for the week ahead, mixing "must-haves" with hunch picks and players flying under the radar. Hopefully this will offer something for everyone, whether you're considering captain options, looking to make a transfer or picking up a free agent in draft.
My FPL team had an average midweek with 62 points enough for a minimal green arrows to climb in to the overall top 700k. As always my target is a top 100k finish come the end of the season but for that to happen I’ll need to build momentum as we head in to the hectic festive period. Let's get in to it with a look at the Gameweek 16 fixtures.
Saturday 7 December 2019
Everton v Chelsea
Bournemouth v Liverpool
Spurs v Burnley
Watford v Crystal Palace
Man City v Man Utd
Sunday 8 December 2019
Aston Villa v Leicester
Newcastle v Southampton
Norwich v Sheffield Utd
Brighton v Wolves
Monday 9 December 2019
West Ham v Arsenal
Gameweek 16 brings us back to a regulation 11:30am GMT Saturday FPL deadline as Everton host Chelsea in the early kick off. As always our main focus will be on players from the teams that look set for wins, with goals and potential clean sheet points on the cards. Liverpool at Bournemouth and Leicester at Aston Villa look like the pick of the bunch, with Manchester City hosting rivals United, Chelsea at Everton and Spurs at home to Burnley all worth a look. The remaining fixtures should all be tightly contested affairs but we'll look to pick out a player or two to act as a decent differential. With that in mind, here are the guys to keep in your thoughts ahead of the deadline ...
Dele Alli (MF - Tottenham v Burnley) - Follow the form. While José Mourinho's Tottenham side were woeful at Old Trafford in midweek there was another moment of brilliance from the rejuvenated Dele Alli to make it four goals and an assist in his new manager's first four games. The catalyst for this change of Fortune is twofold; firstly, Alli is finally full fit after the best part of 18 month's struggling with various injuries. Secondly, he's being played in his best position up in support of Harry Kane with less responsibility to do the hard graft back in midfield. The rewards have been instantaneous and can continue in to Gameweek 16 with Spurs hosting Burnley.
Danny Ings (FW - Southampton @ Newcastle) - There's a reason Danny Ings earned a move to Liverpool four seasons ago. The striker's spell on Merseyside was destroyed by two devastating knee injuries in quick succession but he had proved in his time at Burnley that when injury-free he's one of the very best finishers in Europe. It's wonderful then to see Ings back playing regular Premier League football for Southampton with a smile on his face and it's no surprise that the goals are starting to flow. Four goals in four straight games makes it eight for the season and the Saints travel to Newcastle full of confidence after back-to-back wins lifted them out of the relegation zone. Get involved.
Lewis Dunk (DF - Brighton v Wolves) - Lewis Dunk is quietly having a phenomenal season for Brighton and not just due to his rock-solid displays in the heart of defence which has helped the Seagulls to four Premier League clean sheets. The 28-year old has proved a consistent threat in the opposition's box, helping himself to two goals and two assists and picking up FPL bonus points on no fewer than six occasions already. A home clash with Wolves will be tough but I have an extremely strong hunch that Dunk will play a key role at both ends of the pitch once again.
Christian Pulisic (MF - Chelsea @ Everton) - Christian Pulisic may have blanked in three Premier League matches in a row, but if you ask any Chelsea fan they'd likely say he's been their best player across those 270 minutes. Manager Frank Lampard has been equally impressed, praising the attacker's all-round performance against Aston Villa while suggesting he's capable of scoring more goals. Pulisic had five shots in that match but failed to find the back of net to improve on his impressive six goals and six assists in all competitions. The run of blanks can end on Saturday as the Blues visit Goodison Park to face a manager-less Everton side sitting down in the relegation places.
Vice-Captain: Mohamed Salah (MF - Liverpool @ Bournemouth) - I made the switch from Sadio Mané to Mohamed Salah last month and have not regretted it, with the latter struggling to find his best form while nursing a troublesome ankle. However, if I had the chance to swap the two men for one week only it would be this Gameweek 16. Salah and Roberto Firmino were rotated in midweek while Mane played the full 90 minutes once again, so there is a chance that the Senegalese star gets some sort of rest at Bournemouth. On the flip side, we know Salah will certainly start and is due a big performance so if I owned him, he'd be contesting the captaincy. However ...
Captain: Jamie Vardy (FW - Leicester @ Aston Villa) - This will be the fourth consecutive week that Jamie Vardy takes the captain's armband for my FPL side and he's yet to let me down during that time, even though a five point (x2) performance in midweek was less than hoped for. Leicester's talisman has scored in an astonishing seven games on the spin and was very unlucky not to finish with more than one goal against Watford after another farcical VAR decision saw him denied a penalty and booked for diving. Villa isn't any easy place to win at but they do give up a lot of chances and so we should expect further fantasy returns from the Premier Leagues top scorer.
NOTE: Michail Antonio (MF - West Ham vs Arsenal) was all set to make his debut in this week's column until I discovered he was an injury doubt for the weekend. If there's any word of a recovery in today's press conferences then he's a terrific differential given the Gunners' defensive frailties, owned by less than 1% of FPL managers.
That's it for Gameweek 16's Players to Watch. Check out the Rotoworld Features page to access a host of fantastic content to get you ready for the weekend. If you have any questions about a specific player or your own fantasy team then feel free to post them in the comments below or hit me on Twitter (@nikarg) and I will get back to you.
Thanks for reading - good luck to all managers this weekend.