Welcome to Week 12 of my player picks for the Yahoo Fantasy Premier League game. It's good to be back after yet another extended international break - thankfully the last until March next year - and I'll be hoping AM FC can continue the excellent fantasy form which saw me go in to the break at the top of my main private league.
This upward trajectory was due to a 136 point haul in Week 11 thanks to Sergio Aguero, Ryan Bertrand, Diego Costa, Aaron Cresswell and numerous others chipping in with handy contributions. Aguero is certainly doing his best to emulate Luis Suarez's performances from last season, so I'm mightily relieved to have jumped on the bandwagon when the Argentine was priced at £17million back in Week 6. If you're still without him, is it worth investing £23million now? With Aguero only 11% owned and averaging almost 20 points per game it's something to seriously consider, but only if you can do so without decimating the rest of your squad, and that may prove easier said than done.
Before moving on - if you're in one of the Rotoworld Private League, I've put together a giant standings table of the 1500+ teams involved so you can see how you're doing while we await the re-introduction of Global Rank. Click here to check your position
Week 12 Fixtures
Arsenal v Man Utd
Aston Villa v Southampton
Chelsea v West Brom
Crystal Palace v Liverpool
Everton v West Ham
Hull City v Tottenham
Leicester City v Sunderland
Man City v Swansea
Newcastle v QPR
Stoke v Burnley
While Arsenal v Manchester United stands out on paper as the fixture of the weekend - and it should be a cracking encounter - it's not one to get too excited about from a fantasy perspective because it's difficult to back either team with confidence. As usual you'll want to focus on teams who have a clear advantage over their opponent so we are once again looking at Chelsea at home to West Brom, Southampton travelling to Aston Villa, Manchester City at home to Swansea and Stoke hosting Burnley.
In-form Newcastle are also an interesting proposition as QPR visit St James' Park, but the rest of the matches are tough to call, which says a lot about the disappointing form shown by Everton, Tottenham and Liverpool so far this season. In the past these three "Champions League hopefuls" would be clear favourites to dispatch the likes of West Ham, Hull and Crystal Palace with ease, but I won't be putting any money on that treble happening this weekend. We're left with Leicester v Sunderland, which looks like a 1-1 draw all day and is possibly best avoided unless you feel confident of picking a goal scorer.
With that in mind please click over to the next page to view my Week 12 player recommendations.
Asmir Begovic - This is the first time Begovic has appeared in the column this season, but it's well deserved given his home fixtures against Burnley. Steve has the full details in his Bargain Hunter column.
Thibaut Courtois - The vast majority of us own Courtois already and have been alternating between him and the man below, but this week I feel the Chelsea man has the edge as his side face a home game against West Brom.
Fraser Forster - Fresh from an England appearance against Scotland, Forster is part of the stingiest defence in the Premier League and is an excellent choice once again as the Saints travel to goal-shy Aston Villa.
Ryan Bertrand - Continuing his outstanding form at left-back, the Southampton man will be starting to wonder what he has to do to make the England squad after watching Nathaniel Clyne nail his debut international appearances. A fine chance of another clean sheet against Villa.
Branislav Ivanovic - Two poor performances in a row from Ivanovic has seen his price plummet to a shade over £9million, meaning he is now the cheapest way in to the Chelsea defence. We know what a danger he can be in the opposition’s box and that makes him terrific value for the home games against West Brom.
Gael Clichy - With Aleksander Kolarov facing a spell on the sidelines it gives Clichy the chance to re-cement the role permanently and he has been performing very well in Yahoo fantasy when given his chance this season. Should get the chance to get forward against an attacking Swansea right-flank.
Kieran Trippier - Continuing to defy the odds with stellar fantasy returns in a struggling team. Trippier is prolific at winning tackles, intercepting passes and getting crosses in to the box, meaning he doesn't need clean sheet to be productive.
Aaron Cresswell - The bargain of the season if you picked him up for £1million in Week 1, Cresswell put in another assured display along with 14 points in Week 11 and is another defender bringing home the bacon no matter the result.
Ryan Shawcross - A Stoke defender should be high on your list of considerations with the Potters hosting Burnley, and Shawcross is the man I'm tipping for a big week. Provided he can avoid giving away any more needless penalties, a clean sheet opportunity awaits, plus he's dangerous from set pieces.
Paddy McNair - Still cheap, still guaranteed a start at the heart of Manchester United defence. Don't expect a clean sheet, but McNair literally needs to win one tackle, intercept one pass or block one shot to return his value.
Massadio Haidara - Filling in at left-back for Newcastle this weekend against QPR, Haidara is another bargain option. Steve has the full low-down in his column here.
Victor Moses - For the first time this season (and probably ever) Moses tops the midfielder list. The Stoke winger has had a really decent start to his season both on the pitch and in the fantasy terms and I fancy him to cause Burnley big problems on Sunday.
Eden Hazard - In form - check. Home match - check. Penalty taker - check. If you can afford Hazard then I prefer him to Fabregas this weekend.
Dusan Tadic - That massive 40 points week seems a long time ago now, but Tadic has continued to return reasonable if unspectacular points as the Saints continue to march on in 2nd place in the table. Those of us holding the forward long term could do with another decent week to convince us that he really is justifying his "season-keeper" status.
Cesc Fabregas - The Chelsea man is featured here every week and almost never lets us down. As mentioned earlier, if you're buying new then Hazard is the better option due to the added goal-threat but Fabregas has been an assists machine.
Angel Di Maria - We need to check team news on Friday after Di Maria picked up a knock during the international break, but early reports suggest he'll be fit and the British-record signing remains undroppable in my opinion.
Yaya Toure - Call me crazy, but I have a hunch that Toure might put in a big display against Swansea. Saying that, I'm not confident enough to pick him over my current midfielder line-up (see the bottom of the this column) but if you're looking for a City attacker yet can't afford Aguero then Yaya could be your man.
Remy Cabella - It's been a while since Cabella featured here but he's shown enough in the past couple of weeks to suggest he could yet become a success on Tyneside. The Frenchman's set piece delivery is second to none and Newcastle have a winnable home match against QPR.
Ross Barkley - A tough game for Everton at home to vastly improved West Ham, but Barkley has been looking sharp in his attacking midfield role so if you fancy including a Toffee in your line-up then he appears to be the pick of the bunch.
Raheem Sterling - I felt I had to include one Liverpool player considering they face a Crystal Palace side struggling themselves, and with Daniel Sturridge injured again the only option was Sterling. There are signs that the 19-year-old (yep, he's still that young) is a bit jaded after playing a lot of football during the opening three months of the season but his pace can trouble the Eagles back-line and he does seem to be due a goal.
Mile Jedinak - When you look at the central midfielders on show at Selhurst Park this weekend it appears to be a match that Jedinak could dominate if the Aussie is at his best. Back from suspension and knowing his side are in desperate need of a result, I'm expecting an all action display and plenty of fantasy points from the usual array of tackles and interceptions.
Sergio Aguero - Officially hitting his very best world class form and facing a winnable home game against Swansea, Aguero is the top striker pick for this week and the foreseeable future. The only question (as raised in the introduction) is can you afford him without decimating the rest of your squad?
Diego Costa - After an injury-hit October the international break came at a great time for Costa. The Chelsea man will be well rested and ready to fire on West Brom as he looks to work his way back to the top of the Premier League scoring chart.
Mame Biram Diouf - It took me a while to settle on a Stoke striker recommendation this week, and I had initially decided on Peter Crouch, but in the end I had to agree with Steve's assessment of Diouf in his Bargain Hunter column.
Graziano Pelle - Three games without a goal means Pelle's price has dipped back below £8million which makes him terrific value for Southampton's trip to Aston Villa. The forward hasn't been playing badly and has picked up a couple of assist, but this looks like the week for him to break out of his mini goal-drought.
Alexis Sanchez - The stand-out player of Arsenal's campaign so far, Sanchez has settled remarkably quickly and looks like a genuinely world class talent. Most of us own the Chilean at a discount already and you should certainly keep him for Week 12 as he comes up against a makeshift Manchester United defence.
Wayne Rooney - The England captain put in his best international displays for some time over the break, grabbing three goals and looking as fit as we've seen for months. As we have learnt over the years Rooney tends to score his goals in bursts and he has a very good record against Arsenal.
Ayoze Perez - Perhaps this pick represents "points chasing", but Perez has looked extremely impressive during Newcastle's incredible revival and the young forward will lead the line against leaky QPR.
Abel Hernandez - At this moment in time pretty much anyone can score against Tottenham's defence so I wouldn't blame anyone for taking a punt on a Hull attacker this weekend. Penalty taker Hernandez looks to be the man to go for with Nikica Jelavic likely to return from injury to reunite a promising strike partnership.
So those are the players I'm considering for my Week 12 Yahoo team. Please make sure you check back here on Friday for all the team and injury news as we analyse the fall-out from the midweek international matches.
My own team page currently looks like this ...
XI: Courtois, Cresswell, Trippier, Bertrand, Fabregas, Moses, Tadic, Di Maria, Sanchez, Costa, Aguero
Subs: Kelly, Bridcutt, McNair, Gazzaniga
This is one of the few weeks that I find myself 100% happy with my team on a Wednesday, so barring injury or some unexpected team news there won't be any changes before the deadline. PLEASE NOTE - the Week 12 deadline has been moved back to 2pm GMT on Saturday as there is no early kick-off, so you have a bit of extra time to consider your options.
How's your Week 12 team looking?