Welcome to the AM's Players To Watch for Gameweek 17. As long-time readers of my columns will know, my 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, while Togga, sadly, was not able to return for this campaign which put an end to the Perfect XI column I'd been penning for the past two years.
This season I'll be a bit more general in my advice. Whether you're playing Official FPL, FPL or 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 five 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 transfers or pick up a free agent in draft.
Last week's column was a huge success. A reminder of the picks:
Kolasinac picked up a clean sheet and bonus points, Dele scored and picked up bonus points, Snodgrass scored and picked up bonus points, Richarlison scored, Lukaku scored and Aubameyang grabbed an assist. Let's hope for the same success this week!
On to Gameweek 17 ...
Saturday 15 December
Man City v Everton
Crystal Palace v Leicester
Huddersfield v Newcastle
Spurs v Burnley
Watford v Cardiff
Wolves v Bournemouth
Fulham v West Ham
Sunday 16 December
Brighton v Chelsea
Southampton v Arsenal
Liverpool v Man Utd
We're entering the busy season with games coming thick and fast throughout December and early January. This weekend our focus should be on Tottenham players at home to Burnley, Manchester City hosting Burnley, West Ham away at Fulham, Chelsea away at Brighton and Arsenal away at Southampton. With that in mind, here are the players ....
Leroy Sane (MF - Manchester City v Everton) - Leroy Sane has been involved in 12 goals in his last 11 starts for Manchester City, notching nine goals for himself and supplying three assists for teammates. Those are the statistics of a world class player at the very top of his game and it seems likely he'll continue to start for Pep Guardiola, providing the width down the left flank that is so vital to City's slick attacking system in the absence of Benjamin Mendy. Good luck Everton.
Ben Davies (DF - Tottenham v Burnley) - Danny Rose was absolutely outstanding for Tottenham at the Nou Camp in midweek and will have earned himself a rest this weekend, which means Ben Davies will come back in. Davies has been Mauricio Pochettino’s first choice left-back over the past 18 months but the Welshman will need to improve his performances to keep his spot over the resurgent Rose. We can expect a clean sheet and plenty of attacking contributions against Burnley.
Raúl Jiménez (FW - Wolves v Bournemouth) - Raúl Jiménez has been a key cog in the Wolves machine this season, with the forward acting as both scorer and provider with four Premier League goals and six assists for the season. It's worth noting that all of his goals have come at Molineux, which bodes well for this weekend's home clash with Bournemouth, especially as the Mexican should be fresh after being given the night off against Newcastle last weekend.
Felipe Anderson (MF - West Ham @ Fulham) - It was very nearly back-to-back appearances in this column for Robert Snodgrass but I'm leaning towards Felipe Anderson for West Ham's trip to leaky Fulham. Anderson took a few games to settle but he has been a revelation for the Hammers over the past two months and added his sixth goal and third assist of the season against Palace last weekend. I'm tipping the Brazilian to improve on those already-impressive stats in gameweek 17.
Eden Hazard (MF - Chelsea @ Brighton) - Nine games without a Premier League goal is a proper goal drought for a player with the ability of Eden Hazard but there were clear signs the Belgian is almost back to his best in the win over Manchester City. Hazard's drive, pace and creativity were all in full flow and he set up both Chelsea goals to make it four assist in three matches. It's surely only a matter of time before he finds the back of the net again and Brighton will be wary that they're next on the fixture list.
Captain Choice: Harry Kane (FW - Tottenham v Burnley)- The easiest pick. Harry Kane's benching in gameweek 16 was devastating for fantasy managers but it kept him fresh to help Spurs grab a deserved draw in midweek and there's pretty much zero chance the England captain is rested for two Premier League games in a row. Anything less than a brace for Kane against Burnley would be a surprise. Please don't let us down Sir Harry.
That's it for Gameweek 17. Check out the Rotoworld Features page to access a host of fantastic content to get you ready for the new season. 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.